The rite of passage for 99.9% of online entrepreneurs  (<— totally official stat, kinda) is MailChimp. It helps new email list-builders explore the wonderful world of digital marketing.

But what if you had the same Forever Free entry point that MailChimp offers… PLUS you had free auto-responders? Oh, and some dreamy list management options with an insanely easy interface. Interested?

It is my pleasure to introduce you to MailerLite!

Before we stroll through the glories of MailerLite, two bits of house-keeping ::
1) MailerLite does not pay me any affiliate income to promote them. I am in no way receiving any kind of compensation for singing their praises. This post is exclusively about delivering gold to you, which this service does; and
2) All of the HOW TOs of using MailerLite – complete with screenshot + videos – are included in this post as well.

So whadya say we hit up the reasons to love this platform hard, m’kay?

The first reason MailerLite rocks socks is…

FREE AUTO-RESPONDER FEATURES

Auto-responders are also called email or drip sequences. Anyone who signs up for a list will AUTOMATICALLY have these emails delivered.

When would you use auto-responders?

So let’s say someone signs up to your email list. This is your opportunity to send an email that will INTRODUCE who you are + what you do. Then, a few days later you can have your auto-responder set up to send some of YOUR JUICIEST CONTENT. 👈 Why bother? It helps fast-track the know-like-trust factor that makes people want to buy from you. After all, they see you as someone who delivers value (so make it count!).

Next, you can send even more VALUABLE stuff a few days later to further reinforce your position as the EXPERT.

Finally, introduce them to your paid products after you’ve ESTABLISHED FAMILIARITY, LIKE-ABILITY + TRUST with your new subscriber.
Keep in mind that this is a simplified + abbreviated version of how this goes down. But you get the idea.

Likewise, when you’ve made a sale, you can use an auto-responder to FOLLOW-UP with your client. By providing POST-SALE BONUSES, you can get REPEAT CUSTOMER or even a REFERRAL SALE from people who feel like you went above + beyond for them. Only you didn’t. You simply set up your auto-responders to make you look like you did.
Auto-responders provide a level of VIP attention to every single person who engages with your content… except it’s all automated + requires no further effort from you than the initial set-up. Amazing!

Don’t other services offer auto-responders?

With MailChimp, your only options for using auto-responders requires payment. Either you’ll upgrade to a paid account or set up a pay-as-you-go credit options. Obviously, neither of which is ideal if you aren’t making money yet. (Frankly, you’ll burn through your credits faster than a MailerLite starter account will cost you at $10/month for 1,000-5,000 subscribers.)

And if you bring this subject up in a Facebook Group? I GUA-RON-TEE you the next round of drinks that someone will bring up ConvertKit.
Why? Because ConvertKit truly is a gateway drug to amazing auto-responders + list segmentation.
But again, that’s a paid service. This article is about FREE. Not trials or pay-as-you-go or even inexpensive. We’re talking about your totally freaking FREE OF CHARGE options. When it comes to free auto-responders? MailerLite is the email marketing service of choice!

The next reason I fan-girl for MailerLite is this ::

DREAMY LIST MANAGEMENT

You may be thinking that MailChimp has the upper hand by giving you 2,000 subscribers for free while MailerLite only allows for 1K. Looks are deceiving, boss! 👉 HOW THOSE SUBSCRIBERS ARE MEASURED will matter a whole lot if you’re on a budget!

Let’s say you have 3 lists. You happen to have a single subscriber using a single email address… who is signed up to all 3 of your lists.
👉 MailChimp counts that as 3 subscribers. Meanwhile, MailerLite counts 1 email address as 1 subscriber, no matter how many lists that email is on.

These vanity metrics mislead you into thinking you have a bigger list than you actually do. Plus! You end up having to sign up for a paid subscription before you really have to because you, my friend, are paying for duplicate email addresses. Womp! Womp!
Yeah, it’s nice to watch your list grow like gang-busters… but are you really? You’re not making any more money out of having an inflated list. In fact, your conversion rates will suffer like a vegan at a BBQ.

Trying to grow a business based on vanity metrics isn’t ideal. MailerLite helps you keep it real + charges you accordingly

In a world full of complicated platforms with learning curves so steep, you’ll swear you were skiing in the Alps? MailerLite also has this going for it ::

It is INSANELY EASY TO USE

Every tab is laid out in the exact same way. Everything is easy to find + just as easy to modify. Plus, you never have the opportunity to get overwhelmed or feel that you’re not tech-y enough to do this – it’s EEEEASY!

Oh, and you know how some services make creating your first list this big complicated ritual? By the time you’re done, you’ve needed two bathrooms breaks + several generous servings of gin + Tylenol?
Not so with MailerLite. This bad boy goes ahead + creates your first list FOR YOU as soon as you register – DONE!

No hoops to jump through. Skip the questions you’ve already answered. Forget the cutesy entries. It’s like going to dinner at mom’s house – you just show up + it’s there, ready to go, DONE! MailerLite has done such a genius job at making email marketing so SIMPLE TO DO that you start to wonder WTF everyone else is complicating things for so much.

“Wait. Whaaaa… but how come I’ve never heard of this, Lanie? What’s the catch here?”

Basically, MailerLite simply hasn’t been able to find its audience yet. But they won’t be the best kept secret of email marketing services for very long. And you, my entrepreneurial friend, will be ahead of the curve. Just remember that you heard it here first! 😉
No HTML necessary, no surprise credit card charges, no sacrificed sales funnels – just drag + drop templates you can customize to your email needs + sales targets.

Don’t believe me? Just watch!… my video series on MailerLite, that is. (P.S. I know you sang that first part.)

Or you can follow along with the written instructions below!

LISTS

While some will complain about how complex it is to create a list with MailChimp, MailerLite is the exact opposite.
In fact, MailerLite uses the information you used to register your account + to create your first list for you. The definition of “no-brainer”, amirite?

MailerLite refers to lists as “groups”. They’re (logically!) located under your SUBSCRIBERS tab.
To add subscribers to this group, you can import spreadsheets, copy + paste data or simply click the green button to enter it manually.
To create a new group, it couldn’t be more obvious than clicking that big orange button.

CAMPAIGNS

To send a single email out to your list, you will go to the CAMPAIGNS tab. Once again, the big, obvious orange button in the upper right hand corner that says CREATE CAMPAIGN says it all.
You will enter your subject line + the name as you would like it to appear on the email. Then click NEXT: CONTENT.

You can go on to select from a BASIC drag + drop editor, explore the TEMPLATE GALLERY or you could visit RECENT EMAILS to replicate the layout from something you’ve already sent out.

Since the last two options are pretty straight forward, let’s take a look at how the EDITOR works.

Designing your campaign

First thing to know is that to edit any area (such as the header, the body or the footer), simply hover over that area + click the little EDIT icon that appears.

To the far right are your two areas for editing :: CONTENT + DESIGN.

The DESIGN area is pretty self-explanatory. This is where you establish the look of your newsletter. You can roll with one of their existing themes or easily customize + save your own for future use.

From the CONTENT area, you can select whatever type of content you would like to include into your newsletter. To do so, simply drag it into the body of your content.
You may also drag + drop that same content from within the body of the email to shift the order in which your content appears.
Remember how I mentioned hovering over the header or footer will show that little EDIT icon to change the actual content? Yup, it’s the same thing for any content type you bring into the body. Simply hover over anything you want to change as it relates to text or links! Easy, huh?

You’ll notice that within each of these EDIT windows, you’ll have CONTENT + SETTINGS to choose from.
SETTINGS is a lot like DESIGN.  If you want to change the font type, the size, the colors or the style of your layout, the magic for that will happen in SETTINGS.

Don’t forget to save each step with the orange SAVE button at the bottom. Once you’ve completed your newsletter, go to DONE EDITING in the top right corner.

Sending your campaign

You’ll then select the LIST you want this newsletter to go out to. You’ll review the details + finally, you’ll opt for your campaign to SEND.

AUTORESPONDERS

What we call email sequences or autoresponders, MailerLite calls AUTOMATION.
Click that in the top menu to get started + click the orange button that says CREATE NEW AUTOMATION.

You’ll be presented with 3 autoresponder options ::
1) When a new subscriber joins this list (this is the default + the one you’ll likely use most often);
2) The anniversary date (handy for retail peeps with birthdays and such);
3) The exact match date (a blessing to peeps who run subscriber or membership services).
Select the one that best fits what you want your autoresponder to do + click NEXT.

This is where you’ll set the rules for your autoresponder.
Let’s say you want to deliver more value to people who have just signed up to your list. You want to set up an email to go out 2 days after they’ve signed up to your list.

First, you’d change the SEND THIS EMAIL section by clicking the dropdown menu, selecting SPECIFY A TIME + then selecting “2” + “days” from the dropdown menu.
Decide whether you want someone to receive this autoresponder if they’re already on your list. then, give it a subject line + fill in your from field. Select NEXT.

You’ll then create your CONTENT. This works exactly the same as creating an email campaign.
Then, you’ll select which LIST this autoresponder will be sent out to. Click NEXT. You are then re-redirected to the AUTOMATION dashboard. Any autoresponder you have created will be located here.

You must switch your autoresponder ON from this area. Of course, you may also turn it off any time.

If you have multiple lists with multiple email sequences + you would like to limit you view to the emails going out to one specific list, simply click your AUTOMATION tab to see your sequences.
Then click the FILTER button. Using the dropdown menu, select the list from which you would like to view the specific sequences for.
Click APPLY + voilà!

Your stats relating to these autoresponders for emails sent, opened + clicked will all be located in this area as well. You may easily COPY, EDIT or DELETE any of them by clicking the little gear icon to the far right.

FORMS + BUTTONS

Creating forms + buttons is easy in MailerLite. Click on WEBFORMS. You can probably guess by now that there will be a big orange button that says CREATE NEW WEB FORM ready for you to click.

Give it a name + select FORM or BUTTON. Then, select the LIST to which you would like email addresses to be collected to. Now, start creating!

Creating a form

The first thing to notice is the switch near the top that says DOUBLE OPT-IN. A double opt-in is a precautionary tool that serves to confirm that the person whose email you have received actually wants to sign up to your list.
Choose whether you want to use a double opt-in or not.  If you do, you will notice that you have CONFIRMATION EMAIL as well as CONFIRMATION THANK YOU PAGE that you will have to create in relation to that double opt-in. Designing these will work with the exact same layout as you did when you created an email campaign.
If you choose to switch the double opt-in off, those tabs will disappear.

As for designing your form, the DETAILS tab will be where you content goes.
DESIGN will of course allow you God-like powers over how your form appears.
You will add more sections in your form to be completed (such as “name”) in the FIELDS section. You can also establish whether or not this information is optional or required from the subscriber in this section.
Finally, GROUPS reconfirms which list this form will subscribe new leads to.
When you’ve completed your form, click SAVE + you will get the links to a mini-landing page you can use as well as the code you can use to embed this form on your web site.

Creating a button

Creating a BUTTON will work in a similar manner. You’ll decide if this button is a double opt-in, you’ll design your button + then you’ll create the form that will appear when someone clicks your button. Breezy!

And that’s how you roll with MailerLite, in all of its easy-to-use, free autoresponder glory!

Wanna know about more free tools you can use to start freelancing – even on a budget?