If you’re a business owner who doesn’t regularly use email marketing, you could be missing out on one of the most effective ways to reach customers. Modern email providers offer more personalized tools and metrics, to the point where it's now possible to see and even anticipate consumer behaviors, which make email marketing more valuable than ever.
Here are the top email marketing services available today, and tips for how you can pick the right software for your company.
What is email marketing software?
Email marketing software helps you manage your contact list with services such as signups, segmentation, and list cleanup. But it’s so much more than that. Other valuable features include the ability to create funnels or behavior-driven automations, as well as integration with social media and ecommerce apps. Email marketing solutions are also cloud-based and offered as an online software as a service
Best email marketing software providers
There are more than two dozen mass email service providers mentioned in today's active business communities, and each has a passionate fanbase. What makes one service popular with a business is what may make it inconvenient for another, so shop around to find the one that best fits your needs. Here are the top choices among all major industries for lists of all sizes.
1. Constant Contact
is one of the oldest and most straightforward email marketing providers. It launched in 1995 and still offers simplified contact list management and email newsletters for those with no email marketing experience.
Constant Contact also offers ecommerce options, website builders, social media tools, and ad buy services. SMBs should consider a free trial to see what they offer, while companies with more than 50,000 contacts should contact them for a quote. Prices start at $20 per month for email with included website services.
Analytics show heat mapping for links, actions by segment, real-time open rate, and desktop vs mobile stats.
- More than 240 drag-and-drop email templates
- Simplified automation tools
- Free image library
- Subject line A/B testing
- Phone, chat, or community support
- More than 100 responsive mobile templates
Once mostly popular among small website owners and bloggers, MailChimp
has grown into a solid option for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s notable for its “forever free plan,” which gives companies with fewer than 2,000 contacts access to 12,000 emails. Not every feature is available under this limited plan, so you’ll need to pay for access to automation and better analytics.
Plans start at $10 per month for your first 500 contacts, and the cost increases for each additional 500 subscribers. For more robust features, such as comparative testing, phone support, unlimited audiences, and service for up to 10,000 contacts, you’ll pay $299 per month.
The audience analytics are intuitive, showing trends in engagement, then allowing you to launch new campaigns with a click from those trends. Data shows growth sources and geographic data, while predictive analytics help you send targeted messages based on predicted demographic data
- Numerous, beautiful drag-and-drop templates
- Chat support
- Simplified segmentation tools
- Attractive, easy-to-read reporting dashboard
- Integrations with popular tools, such as WordPress and Shopify
If you want the basics of email marketing with a no-nonsense pricing plan, Mailerlite
may be your best bet. This is a popular choice for business owners who want automation, lead captures, and real-time reporting but don’t want to immerse themselves in the tool to get results.
Mailerlite may look barebones, but it’s feature-packed. Plans start at $10 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers, and any number less than that is free. Plans go up to $140 per month for 30,000 subscribers.
Higher plans are available, as well, and the company will give you a discount on annual billing packages to help you save on your email marketing campaigns.
Analytics are simple but useful, including activity by device type, geographic location, email client, and subscriber. It also works with Google Analytics for robust tracking data.
- A/B testing
- Simple templates with drag-and-drop editor
- Personalized segments
- Landing pages
4. Zoho Campaigns
If you already use Zoho’s customer relationship management (CRM) product, then adding in their email software service, Zoho Campaigns
, just makes sense. You can choose between plans based on subscriber counts or plans based on email sends.
The lowest-priced plan starts at $3 a month for 500 email sends and up to 250 subscribers. The price goes up as you add more email addresses or sends. There is also a free version of the service for those who want to test the waters. Plus, you can save money if you choose annual billing.
Analytics are similar to other email providers, with geographic, device, source, and engagement data for each campaign. Zoho campaigns integrate with Google Analytics for more detailed information.
- More than 270 email templates
- Customizable dashboard with drag-and-drop features
- Library of autoresponders
- Contact path tracing
- Send time optimization
- Deliverability scans and feedback reports for past mail campaigns
- Integration with Zoho Meeting, as well as third-party tools
- 24/7 telephone support
A long-time player among email marketing platforms, AWeber
offers a simple interface and essential features for a reasonable price. Drag-and-drop email, templates, and automation keep it competitive with other companies, but it also provides an ecommerce page for you to sell your items.
AWeber offers a free plan for up to 500 subscribers with fewer features than the pro plan. Paid plans start at $19 per month for more than 500 subscribers, but you can save by paying annually. Pro plans give you unlimited sends for your list.
AWeber prides itself on having robust analytics, and the standard demographic data and actionable insights are the most useful data points. Sales data is more advanced with AWeber, and it comes with a user-friendly app to help see real-time data and take action right away.
- Image library
- Split testing
- Branded click track links and whitelisting
- Shopping cart abandonment tags
- Landing pages for various marketing channels
- Advanced analytics
- Unlimited users
- 24/7 phone support
made waves when it launched in 2013, becoming a fast favorite among internet marketers, influencers, and content creators. With its close-knit community and steady stream of webinar events, it’s easy to learn how to use this feature-packed tool from others who love it.
ConvertKit is designed for “creators,” so it may not be the best fit for a traditional small business looking for a standard bulk email service. It’s also priced slightly higher than other options, with their full-featured plan starting at $59 per month for 1,000 subscribers.
The lower-priced plan is $29 per month and offers a portion of the benefits. However, those perks are unique and serve those with courses to sell and fans to engage with. If you work in this space, you won't find another email provider that offers the same email marketing tools as ConvertKit.
ConvertKit’s analytics strength is in its presentation of the data. While it offers many of the same data points as other platforms, the visualization of the data is easy-to-grasp and actionable. It offers engagement, user data, and sales at a glance.
- Unlimited landing pages and forms
- Digital product and paid email subscription tools
- Free migration from another tool
- Numerous automations and funnel templates
- Robust segmentation features, including tagging by behavior
- Facebook custom audiences
- Subscriber scoring
- A beautiful dashboard with innovative reporting displays
doubles as a CRM and an email automation genie, giving you a way to get signups, maintain contact, and do more to engage them. Their biggest draw is the auto funnel feature, which helps you quickly and easily plan and deploy a marketing funnel for each new contact. If you don't have a ton of experience setting up funnels but want to make one quickly, GetResponse shines.
This tool has a number of features to help improve your clickthrough rates. Plus, there are live and on-demand webinar tools for marketing managers, while entrepreneurs can access paid ads.
Pricing varies based on features and total contacts, and plans start at $15 per month for 1,000 contacts and a single marketing funnel. As your list and feature needs grow, prices increase accordingly.
GetResponse outshines other providers with its side-by-side analytics tool, which lets you pick two campaigns and drill down on how they compare with engagement, deliverability, and more. Use this to tweak A/B test experiments and install code on your shopping site to find out which emails led to actual sales.
- More than 200 email templates
- More than 180 landing page templates
- More than 700 form templates
- 150 integrations
- Automated email sales funnels
- Live chat support
How to choose the best email management software for your business
It may seem overwhelming to pick software at first, but that’s why free trials are so great. You also don’t need to experience the entire migration process to test out a new service. Instead, just put in a few placeholder email subscribers to get familiar with the dashboard and onboarding process.
If you have a small list and don’t need all the bells and whistles (like ecommerce and paid Facebook ads), you’ll do well with a simple, transactional email service with basic plan options. But if you use your CRM daily or need a CRM included in the price, an enterprise-level option is a better fit.
Remember to look for email campaign software that will grow with you. What seems like an unnecessary frill now may be just what you need in a year or two once you ramp up your marketing. You may require automation, testing, and analytics at that point. It’s easier to grow into a plan than switch from a featureless service because you may face obstacles during a migration.
The best email service for you
From our recommendations above, you can tell that what’s best for you isn’t going to be the best for everyone. Overall, though, these two providers really stand out.
- Constant Contact is ideal for new users and business owners who want a straightforward email platform. But it’s also a full-service provider with more features if you need them (and have the budget). If you’re new to email marketing, this is a strong pick.
- Mailerlite is best for business owners who want a simple email marketing solution. It doesn’t require you to purchase a pricey CRM to make it work. It’s a good value with a clean interface, beautiful templates, and quick setup. If you want to send professional emails today, you won’t be disappointed with this service. It’s priced well and works with more than 125 third-party integrations.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech@Work. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.