Email marketing for your travel business

9 Reasons Why I Kicked Mailchimp to the Curb

An Honest Comparison Between Mailerlite and Mailchimp

We sat down at our regular booth over a dark roast with vanilla swirl. I stared at him deeply and said…

“It’s not you; it’s me.”

I just couldn’t put up with his limitations any longer. And so I grabbed my things, including my existing email list, my collection of Neil Diamond 45s, and my hairdryer, and headed out the door. Oh, Sweet Caroline.

My long-term relationship with Mailchimp was indeed over…and there I went – into the arms of Mailerlite. 

Never mind all the things you might read on Instagram or Tik Tok. Let me tell you the “real” story.

And for the purpose of this article, let me be clear, I am comparing apples to apples – free version to free version.

Here are the real reasons:

1. Tags and Segments and Groups

Every email service provider offers a way to send select emails to select groups of people on your email list. This option is usually a premium feature, as it is with Mailchimp, but this feature is FREE for Mailerlite users. This is probably the number one reason ‌I parted ways with the Chimp. 

Mailchimp only allows one audience (group), so whatever you email to one person, you have to email to all. That’s a bit annoying.

Versus

With Mailerlite, you can set up all sorts of groups, and it allows you to take those groups and segment them even further. I won’t go into all the reasons you’d want to do that here. I cover it as part of my email marketing module inside my signature course but for now…just know… 

For travel advisors, the ability to email a targeted group of people is a pretty handy feature.

Let’s say you are an expedition cruise expert and you go to an event that is geared for polar enthusiasts. But you also sell small-ship cruising in Europe. And then let’s say you get a really hot deal on a trip to Antarctica…while you may still send that special to your whole audience, how cool would it be if you sent out an email that said…

Hi Bill and Margaret, It was great seeing you at the Polar Region Show a few weeks ago. I saw this special come across my desk, and it made me think of you. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to the sounds of albatrosses flying overhead as the ship nears the Antarctic coast? 

How much more powerful would that email be when it lands in Bill and Margaret’s email box?

As opposed to your clients, Barry and Dave, who didn’t go to that show and are actually more interested in romance cruises on the Mediterranean? 

Mailerlite allows you to do this on its free account. Mailchimp expects you to open your wallet.

Email marketing for your travel business
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats

2. Scheduling

The old me who had to work alongside the whimsies of the chimp used to sit by my computer every Thursday at noon EST to hit the “send” button because there was no scheduling option in the free version. That means I could never say yes to any last-minute date requests to go sky-diving on Thursdays. 

Yeah, okay, truth be told. Old habits die hard. It’s not unusual to still find me hunched over my laptop every Thursday, waiting to strike the “send” button. I’m just sayin’….if I wanted to go skydiving…I could. 

I choose not to.

Email marketing for your travel business

3. Automations

Another big win for Mailerlite is that it allows as many automations as you can want. Email automation simply means the ability to send a series of emails without your direct interaction. This series can be targeted to a specific group of people. You decide when they receive the emails based on a schedule, you set up. 

Let’s say someone signs up for your Honeymoon Planning Guide free download. Yes, they will go directly into your main audience, but what if you could set up a series of emails that will go to just these people with a Hot Tip of the day over 10 days (as an example).

All you have to do is write out the email sequence, schedule it, and then sit back and let Mailerlite do the rest. This is also referred to as an email funnel. 

It is seriously such a win. Most email service providers, including Mailchimp, will charge you for this feature.

4. Easy to use drag and drop design features

While the Chimp did a fair job with its easy-to-use design features, it still doesn’t compare to Mailerlite. I found the Chimp to be a bit clunky and dated. I couldn’t help but think the designers figured…well, it ain’t broken; why do we need to fix it?

But with Mailerlite, it’s so effortless to drag and drop whatever element you want into your email. And customization of each design feature is so intuitive. Everything just makes sense. I didn’t have to spend hours watching tutorials on how to use each feature – total win.

5. Extra design elements

While both Mailerlite and Mailchimp allow users to upload their own images into their email creations, Mailerlite takes things one step further and offers free images straight from Unsplash as well giphys (if you like annoying your clients).

There is also an image editing 3rd party software built right into Mailerlite – I do all my image editing in other software prior to loading, but I can see how this could be useful for some.

Email marketing for your travel business
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats

6. Onboarding

Mailerlite comes with its own step-by-step academy. With the Chimp, I found I always had to reference YouTube videos to teach me everything. And it’s not like you need to spend hours learning Mailerlite either. The videos are concise, and you can easily skip around to find help in any specific area.

7. Split-testing

If I lost you on this one, split-testing helps you analyze which subjects lines perform better between two options. You come up with two killer subject lines and what Mailerlite will do is send out both to a small sub-set audience. Based on the open rates of that select audience, Mailerlite will then send out the rest using the better performing subject line.

This feature goes a long way in increasing your email open rates.

Mind you, unless you have an email list of at least 500 email subscribers, I probably wouldn’t worry too much about this. 

8. Reporting and email analytics

Both Mailchimp and Mailerlite offer useful reporting tools that you can check through either the desktop version or their mobile apps. Rumour had it that Mailchimp was far superior with its reporting, but now having used both, I wouldn’t say that’s true.


All the information I had in Mailchimp is just as easy, if not more so, to access in Mailerlite. I can see exactly who opened the email, when, how often, and if that person clicked on any links.

Email marketing for your travel business
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats

9. Pricing

Yes, all these great features are free with Mailerlite but only for up to 1000 subscribers. Once you inch your way over that threshold, you will have to pay to upgrade. 

Meanwhile, Mailchimp’s free version allows up to 2000 free subscribers, which may sound like a win… but remember, all the features I’ve described above…do not come with the free version.

So who cares if you have 1999 email subscribers if you can’t connect with them properly?

And as far as premium pricing…at the time of writing, Mailerlite’s premium version is still way more affordable than Mailchimp. Let’s say you have 2500 subscribers. Using Mailchimp will set you back 59 USD per month compared to 15 USD per month for Mailerlite.
And…let’s not forget that Mailerlite only counts active subscribers once, whereas Mailchimp also counts unsubscribes. And if a client sits in multiple groups but is the same client…Mailchimp counts that person as two. Kinda greedy sounding if you ask me.

Okay….so what’s the catch?

As my dear granny used to say…every boy comes with some annoying habit. Maybe he picks his teeth; maybe he uses “air quotes.” What’s the downside to Mailerlite?

Mailerlite offers fewer integrations

Mailerlite does not integrate directly with my scheduling app, Acuity. But this is easily remedied by using either Zapier or Automate.io. Both offer free versions that do the trick. So don’t let that one minor annoyance be a deal breaker.

I opted for Automate.io over the more popular Zapier.com only because Automate gave me 300 free connections per month vs. Zapier’s 100.

Email marketing for your travel business
https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-benchmarks/

So what are you waiting for?

Let it be said that I am not getting paid by Mailerlite for this article. I wrote this only for you. I know I struggled, in the beginning, trying to compare all the different email service providers, afraid to make a costly mistake. 

If you want to learn more, you can read the full articles:

A Countdown to the Top 10 Email Service Providers of 2021

What You Need to Know Before Choosing an Email Service Provider

Getting started, I settled on Mailchimp because everyone was using it, and I figured if I ever got stuck on something, there would be a bunch of people who could help me out.

And things weren’t going well between us for a while, but it just seemed like way more work to move on. We were sharing a house, kids, cars and bank accounts.  -Ooops. Wait…no, wrong relationship. What I mean to say is…you might think it’s too much trouble to switch email providers because you already have everything set up in Mailchimp – but I”m saying, it’s worth your effort.

Anyway… you get the picture. If you are a travel advisor using Mailchimp, why not give Mailerlite a chance?

Two final things to note for when you make the switch

Be prepared to see your open rates drop by about 30%

Short-term pain…long term gain.

Whenever you switch over to a new email service provider, you may initially see a decline in your open rates. There are numerous reasons, too numerous to discuss in this article, but know that’s normal. Nothing has gone wrong. 

Things will revert after the first few emails – and actually improve.

But don’t delay

The export process from Mailchimp to Mailerlite is dead easy. So phew…on that note. 

Note though, if you’ve already been assigning tags to your existing list in hopes of one day being able to run a proper email campaign to your various client groups, these tags don’t naturally carry over to Mailerlite.

You can manually update the fields, but nobody likes the word “manual” unless we are talking about driving an Audi R8.

If you want to learn all about email marketing and how to use it effectively to grow your travel business, well, you just gotta sign up for my upcoming signature course…Travelpreneur Mastercourse – Doors open April 29th. 

Save your spot,  Here.

Diane

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Louise
5 months ago

Thanks for all that useful info Diane! I’m not sure we’ll ever get around to an emailing list at this rate 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ but good to know if we do 🤗

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