Opinions needed on Ghost or Substack as alternatives to Mailchimp

I currently use MailChimp to produce a weekly finance newsletter comprising several articles as well as a diary of upcoming events I host.

I have under 2000 subscribers, each tagged according to their importance to my business. I send slightly different versions of the newsletter to them depending on their tag.

None of my subscribers have to pay for access to the newsletter and I'm not seeking to substantially grow my audience (I'm more concerned about keeping my existing ones).

Mailchimp is clunky but I do like the repeatable and variable content blocks in the template that I use and being able to link to landing pages that act as registration forms or which house the full text of articles.

I've heard about Ghost and Substack - would any of these be better than Mailchimp for my purposes?

Thanks in advance!

maguay's avatar
almost 2 years ago

For your needs, I think you’ll find Mailchimp is actually a better option than Substack and Ghost.

The primary benefits to Substack and Ghost are publishing text-heavy newsletters easily (where you write once to make a blog post and an email newsletter), and putting that content behind a subscription paywall. If you don’t intend to add paid subscriptions, then the latter feature wouldn’t be helpful. And the simplicity of Substack and Ghost’s blog-to-email workflow wouldn’t fit the more advanced email templating you’re using. You could turn blog posts into landing pages with Ghost, and Substack includes a signup form at the bottom of every post, but you wouldn’t be able to customize much beyond that. And I don’t believe either would let you customize your emails per-recipient.

If you wanted to replace Mailchimp, seems like you’d likely need another dedicated email app, something like Campaign Monitor, AWeber, Active Campaign,, and more that are built around templated emails. ConvertKit could be worth looking into if you want to send more automated drip emails when people first signup; Revue or Curated could be interesting options if you wanted to explore a new style of emails built from curated content.

Substack would save you money, though, as it’s fully free versus the $25+/month a base Mailchimp plan would cost at your list size.

3 points
alexjmedick's avatar
almost 2 years ago

I just recently switched my newsletter from Mailchimp to ConvertKit. I really like CK so far and highly recommend it. A couple of positives:

  • The automation rules and ability to set email flows is a lot easier to integrate on websites. (for me, using with Wordpress and Podia was super simple).

  • The UI is clean and simple. The setting up of "broadcasts" is simple, with the ability to add code to enhance functionality.

  • NO MORE JUNK FOLDER LANDING! Since switching to CK, none of my emails have landed in Gmails "promotional" marketing folder.

Hope this helps!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @alexjmedick )
almost 2 years ago

That's super cool to hear, thanks for sharing! I've long been fascinated by ConvertKit, after watching Nathan Barry build it alongside his books/courses, and find it impressive how its matured and not just been a side venture.

If Convertkit does better at avoiding being marked as spam than Mailchimp, that's a huge win.

1 point
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