Which Email Service is Right for your Business or Blog

There are so many mistakes I made when I started my site. One of them was not starting to build my subscriber base. My site had been live a little over two years before I started one! Yes, two years! So I’m essentially two years behind on building my subscriber list and have been missing out several of the benefits of having one.

The main reason I didn’t start a subscriber list was I didn’t know how beneficial it would be for my site. The ultimate benefit of a subscriber list is you have a group of people who have raised their hand to say they want to be contacted by you. They are open to receiving offers for products and services from you. Additionally a subscriber list allows you to
  • Directly communicate with your audience
  • Drive more engaged traffic to your site
  • Have control over what messages and content you share and to whom
  • Keep subscribers up-to-date

Tips for choosing an email service perfect for your blog or business | arelaxedgal.com

(This post includes affiliate links. Read my affiliate disclosure for more info.)

To capture, manage and use a subscriber list you need to have an Email Service Provider or ESP. Finding an ESP can be overwhelming as there are many options out there. So knowing how you want to use your subscriber list and what you need an ESP to do is helpful in choosing one.

When looking at the different options for an ESP here are some things to consider

What types of emails do you want to send?
RSS feeds of your latest posts or newsletters?

How much can you afford at the moment?
Can you afford to pay a monthly fee or do you need start out with a free service?

Do you want to use your subscriber list to make sales?
Are you planning to use affiliate links in your emails or sell your own products or services?

How much effort can or do you want to put into creating emails?
Some email providers have drag-and-drop options for building your emails. Others may require more HTML coding which may be something you want to truly customize your emails.

How much flexibility do you need for growth?
If you plan to grow your subscriber list, it's helpful to use and Email Service Provider who can grow with you.

Do you want to track email performance?
Some Email Service Providers have analytic capabilities built in and/or will connect to your Google Analytics.

Do you want to segment your subscribers?
If you have a blog with more than one topic you may want to segment your subscribers and send those segments different content and offers.

After determining how you want to use your subscriber list and what you need an ESP to do the next step is to select one.

From blogging Facebook groups and other blog posts I’ve read, the top Email Service Providers for small businesses and bloggers are ConvertKit, MailChimp and MailerLite.

ConvertKit

Claims to be an email marketing tool specifically for bloggers.

Cost

ConvertKit is the more pricier of the three, but that’s probably because of the features it has. Plans start at $29 a month for up to 1,000 subscribers.


ConvertKit email service provider costs | arelaxedgal.com

Features

Opt-in forms and landing pages
You get multiple ways to capture subscribers. Responsive opt-in forms, landing pages. A bonus for people using WordPress is there’s a plugin that allows you to select a form you’d like to use and easily add it to your blog post. So you can different opt-ins depending on the topic of your blog post.

You can create customized landing pages that can be used for digital product offerings or signs up for email courses.

Email series or sequences
You can set up email series which ConvertKit calls sequences.

Automation
With ConvertKit you can send automated emails that are triggered based on actions that your subscribers take.

Subscriber segmentation
Subscribers can be segmented using tags. This is helpful so you can communicate to certain subscribers when needed.

Analytics
You can see stats on how different opt-ins are doing and where your subscribers are coming from.

MailChimp

Overall it seems to be geared more for eCommerce businesses.

Cost

Free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. The downside to the free plan is that you get limited features with the free plan. After that, pricing for plans varies depending on your number of subscribers and features you want access to.


MailChimp email service provider costs | arelaxedgal.com

Features

Opt-in forms and landing pages
Custom forms that can be embedded or pop-up can be created. But there is no free landing page feature.

Automation
You can send automated emails based on different actions subscribers take. Such as signing up for your subscriber list, when they make a purchase or have been inactive for a while.

Subscriber segmentation
From what I hear and read there isn’t any. Additionally you are paying for every subscriber on your lists. So if someone is subscribed to multiple lists you are paying for that subscriber multiple times.

Analytics
MailChimp provides pretty robust analytics. You can monitor track overall performance and subscriber activity using interactive graphs.

MailerLite

Seems like it’s built with the email marketer in mind.

Cost

MailerLite has a free plan called the Forever Free Plan. It’s like having an unlimited free trial. With the Forever Free Plan you can have up to 1,000 unique subscribers and send unlimited emails each month.

Paid plans start at $10 for up to 2,500 unique subscribers and goes up $10-15 a month depending on the number of subscribers. You can pay monthly or annually

The great thing about the Forever Free plan is you get all the same features as the paid plans. The only difference is the number of unique subscribers you can have.

Costs for MailerLite email service provider | arelaxedgal.com

Features

Opt-in forms and landing pages
You can chose from an embeddable form, a button or a landing page for your opt-in form.

Email series or sequences
This feature is a newer one for MailerLite and I love it! Before you could just create trigger emails or Autoresponders. Meaning when someone subscribed they would get an email because of that action. What you couldn’t do was set up a series or sequence of emails.

Email series/sequences, called Automation Workflows in MailerLite, are easy to set up with the drag-and-drop interface. When creating an Automation Workflow you don’t have to create the emails from scratch. Instead you can use the existing free email MailerLite templates or you can pull in emails you’ve created for other Automation Workflows.

Automation
Automated emails are now created using the Automation Workflow feature. With this you can setup multiple email series or workflows based on actions or inaction from your subscribers.

Subscriber segmentation
Subscriber lists can be segmented based on several factors so you have choices depending on what your goals are.

Analytics
The MailerLite dashboard contains a snapshot of your analytics. There you can see
  • How many unique subscribers you’ve gained during the current and previous months
  • Your current MailerLite plan including how many emails you’ve sent during the month
  • The opens, clicks, unsubscribes and spam complaints for the campaigns you’ve sent out

If you’d like to dig deeper you can see full analytics for each email campaign or automation workflow. As well as your different subscriber segments and activity for each subscriber.

Other features include
  • Easy and multiple ways to create emails: You can leverage pre-existing email templates and customize them for your brand. Or you can create emails from scratch using the drag-and-drop editor or coding your own email
  • Auto resends: Resend emails that weren’t open or had any links clicked
  • A/B testing: Test headlines and emails to learn what works for your subscribers and what doesn’t

Choosing an email serivce for your blog or business subscriber list | arelaxedgal.com

Which service I use and recommend

I use MailerLite. I can’t even remember how I found MailerLite. It could have been from another blogger or an online search. Whichever way I’m glad I did. Once I admitted to myself I needed to start a subscriber list I started to see what my options where.

Convertkit looked great, but it was too expensive for me since my site wasn’t bringing in any money and I wasn’t planning on selling digital products.

I’d used MailChimp before for something else and hated it. The interface was clunky and I couldn’t figure out who to create and send emails without jumping through hoops.

That wasn’t the case when I first tried out MailerLite. With MailerLite I found the following benefits
  • An intuitive and easy to use interface
  • Reasonable fees including the Forever Free Plan that I am currently using
  • Multiple form options for capturing subscribers
  • MailerLite provides you room to grow your subscriber list so you don’t have to change ESPs
  • Emails can be easily created using drag-and-drop or the Custom HTML Builder
  • MailerLite has several helpful training videos
  • There are many free, modern looking templates you can use as a starting point or just pure inspiration
  • Mobile and desktop versions are created for each email
  • The customer service is awesome! It’s 24/7 and the customer service reps are quick to respond and very helpful

On the flip side opt-in forms have to be manually added to posts unlike ConvertKit. And an email address through a website domain is needed to send emails. So a Gmail or Yahoo email address can’t be used.

If you’re thinking about starting a subscriber list I recommend giving MailerLite a try.

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