Author Email List Providers: MailerLite vs. SendFox

In a nutshell:

  • Compared to MailerLite, SendFox is an extremely inexpensive way to send out an email newsletter to over 1,000 subscribers.
  • SendFox works well but has far fewer features than MailerLite.
  • Price comparison:
    • MailerLite is a monthly-subscription program starting at $0 for up to 1,000 subscribers. Prices increase to $15/month for up to 2,500 subs, $30/month for up to 5,000 subs, and $50/month for up to 10,000 subs.
    • SendFox has a Lifetime plan that can be purchased through AppSumo. It’s a one-time cost of $49 per 5,000 subscribers. You can buy up to 5 codes that will give you up to 25,000 subscribers.
  • I recently switched to SendFox and am happy with it, though I miss certain features of MailerLite. All the SendFox links in this post are affiliate links. I paid full price for my SendFox service.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty!

One of the most common pieces of advice indie authors get is this:

Start an email list.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

When I was writing my first book, I followed that advice. I got a free account with MailChimp, because I’d heard of them.

Before long, I switched to MailerLite, because I learned that if I ended up with a big list, it would be a cheaper option. I used their free plan until I hit 1,000 subscribers, at which point I switched to a paid plan ($15 a month).

Then I started hearing about SendFox, a service that would let me pay $49 one time for up to 5,000 subscribers. Yep, that’s a lifetime plan. I avoided switching for a while, because I’d heard it’s not as fully featured and because I didn’t want the hassle of moving my email to another service.

Last week, however, I decided to make the switch. I plan to do a big giveaway soon to grow my email list. I know that will likely push me over 2,500 subscribers, which would’ve bumped me into MailerLite’s next tier, $30 a month (ouch).

I’ve heard a rumor that SendFox will eventually have more features…and will also force all new subscribers into monthly subscription plans. Those with existing lifetime plans, however, will be protected.

I don’t know if that’ll happen, but it makes a lot of sense. So I decided to buy three sets of 5,000 subscribers…allowing me to send newsletters to up to 15,000 subscribers. I paid $147.

For some reason, SendFox added 3,000 free subscribers to my Lifetime plan. As long as I never have over 18,000 subscribers, I’ll never again have to pay for an email-distribution service.

SendFox is not as fully featured as MailerLite. I’ve used it for four email campaigns and have also set up some automated email series with it, so I’ve gotten a good sense of what it does and doesn’t do. To me, the price difference is worth it. You’ll have to determine if it’s worth it for you.

Let’s talk about what SendFox does well.

  • Simplicity
    • I appreciate the streamlined interface.
  • Create multiple email lists
    • It’s easy to create multiple lists. For instance, I have my big Email Insiders list for readers plus a smaller list for authors who want notification about posts like this one. (See the bottom of the page.)
  • Website forms
    • It’s very easy to create forms for my website (so people can sign up).
  • Automation sequences
    • I can set up email Automation sequences (for instance, when someone signs up for a list).
  • Image size
    • I haven’t run into any issues with image size. In MailerLite, I sometimes had to make images smaller for them to be accepted in my emails.
  • Deliverability
    • SendFox claims to have very good deliverability, and I’ve had good open and click rates in the emails I’ve sent.
    • From their website: “We use a best-in-class sending platform that gives all Sumo-lings access to a IP address ranked High in Google Postmaster Tools. On many other email tools, customers are given a Medium or Low IP address unless they pay for an expensive dedicated IP.”
  • Sumo is the parent company
    • Sumo is the parent company of SendFox, AppSumo (who sells the SendFox 5,000 subscriber codes I’m telling you about), and KingSumo. They’re a respected company.

Now I’ll review what I miss about Mailerlite (ML).

  • Email options
    • ML has a lot more options to make an email “pretty.” For instance, in MailerLite, I can post a photo of a book with text next to it. In SendFox, I have to post the book photo with text underneath.
    • Note: I’m primarily drafting my SendFox emails in Google Docs, then copying/pasting them into SendFox.
    • There is a $10/month “Empire” add-on for SendFox that includes an HTML editor. I’m not comfortable enough with HTML to consider this.
  • Form options
    • When I created forms for my website through ML, I had more customization options on the form.
    • I was also able to do a pop-up form through ML. When I switched to SendFox, I had to use another service to make that pop-up form. (I used the Sumo WordPress plug-in. Sumo is part of the same company as SendFox.)
  • Automation options
    • In ML, the Automation sequences have more options.
  • Automatic resend
    • ML makes it easy to automatically resend an email to those who didn’t open it the first time. While I know there’s a way to do that on SendFox, it’s not as straightforward.
  • Link-click info
    • ML has a cool, visual interface showing which links have been clicked. The interface in SendFox is text-based, and it’s not always easy to tell what each link is for.
  • Using with StoryOrigin
    • I use StoryOrigin, a service that lets me add readers to my mailing list when they download free copies of my books. It also lets me arrange newsletter swaps with other authors.
    • StoryOrigin connects with both ML and SendFox (and will send new subscribers directly to either service). However, ML’s API allows StoryOrigin to import stats on Open and Click rates. SendFox’s API doesn’t allow that. That means my email list on StoryOrigin is no longer “Verified.” I have to input my Open and Click rates manually.

Summing it up…

I spent just shy of $150 on SendFox since I wanted lots of room to grow my subscriber list. As I said, I don’t think I’ll ever have to spend money on an email service provider again. Normally, I’d spend $150 every 10 months on MailerLite … and that’s at my current subscriber level. The price is, as far as I know, unbeatable.

I do miss some of the features of MailerLite, but the massive price difference makes the tradeoff worth it. I hope SendFox will continue improving their software, but it does what I need it to do.

While SendFox does have a free option, they slow down your email delivery with that option. If you want free, I’d suggest going with MailerLite or MailChimp’s 1,000-subscriber free service.

If you’re concerned about trying SendFox and not liking it, you can try the free option, or you can get the paid option and cancel it if you’re not happy. They have a 60-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. (Please note, you also have to activate the service within 60 days or your purchase codes won’t work!)

Full disclosure: The SendFox links in this post are all affiliate links. If you purchase it using my link, I’ll get paid. (However, I paid full price for SendFox.)

If you’d like to get SendFox for $49, click here. Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it out.

What email service provider do you use? Feel free to comment below and share your experience.


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