Top 10 email marketing services
When it comes to cloud-based email marketing services, there are dozens of options to choose from.
What you choose depends on the type of business you run, how many subscribers you have, the amount you plan on emailing, what marketing automation features you need (if any), and projections for estimated subscriber growth.
In this post, we’re going to examine 10 of the best email marketing services in 2021 for small and medium-sized businesses.
With more than 645,000 customers, such as BMW, GoPro, Bored Panda, and Marvel, MailerLite has all of the standard features you’d expect from an email marketing service, including a drag-and-drop email builder, signup forms, popups, landing pages, and light email automation features. They also offer 24-7 support and have galleries full of newsletter and landing page templates for design inspiration.
This is one of only a handful of platforms that offers a free version if you have less than 1,000 subscribers and plan on sending 12,000 or fewer emails. If you have relatively basic email marketing needs and have fewer than 10,000 subscribers, MailerLite’s $50 per month plan is a steal.
Once known as only an email marketing platform with quite possibly the cutest mascot, Mailchimp has significantly built out their core product in the last few years to be an all-in-one marketing CMS with a content studio, Facebook and Instagram ad integrations, social media, landing pages, marketing automation features, and even postcards. They also offer solid reporting and analytics features as well as hundreds of integrations.
They have a free version if you have less than 2,000 contacts or one audience, which makes it an excellent option for any small business or entrepreneur just getting started. If you have less than 100,000 contacts or five audiences, their $15 per month plan is a bargain. They also have robust support and knowledge base resources, including marketing tips, how-to articles, guides, tutorial videos, and even short-form entertainment content aimed at entrepreneurs.
Constant Contact was one of the first email marketing platforms. It’s a solid option for anyone who is brand new to email marketing and isn’t tech savvy. Many Constant Contact customers are local mom-and-pop shops such as bakeries, clothing boutiques, and pet shops.
They have an easy-to-use email builder that allows you to add text, products, photos, and even surveys with just a couple of clicks. They also have a free newsletter template builder, decent CRM functionality, some basic automation rules, and hundreds of integrations.
Constant Contact offers a free trial. Paid plans start at $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers or $45 per month for their email plus plan if you want to add their email automation features. If you have 10,000 subscribers and no need for automation features, you’ll pay $95 per month.
Similar to Constant Contact, iContact is another email marketing platform that has been around since the early days. They also have an easy-to-use email builder that doesn’t require any coding knowledge. They offer basic automation features such as the ability to send a full welcome campaign to new subscribers. One additional feature is their premier services team, which provides strategic one-on-one advice to help with list maintenance, email design, deliverability, and segmentation.
iContact offers a free, 30-day trial. Their paid plans start at $15 per month ($12.75 if purchased annually) for 500 subscribers and unlimited emails. If you have around 10,000 subscribers, it costs $89 per month ($75.65 if purchased annually), which is a lot cheaper than many of the other options in this post.
AWeber has been around for more than 20 years and mainly caters to online entrepreneurs and small businesses with a small but loyal list of subscribers (i.e., less than 10,000 subscribers). They have dozens of email templates, an easy-to-use email builder, analytics, basic automation features, built-in A/B testing, and even support accelerated mobile pages (AMP). They also have 24-7 support, which is all done in-house at their Pennsylvania office.
Like iContact, AWeber offers a free, 30-day trial. Afterward, the cost is $19 per month for 500 subscribers and $149 per month for 25,000 subscribers.
ConvertKit is specially designed for online creators and professional bloggers. They have the best user experience of any of the platforms we’ve analyzed. It’s as easy to use as AWeber or Constant Contact but way more powerful. In particular, their visual automation features make it easy for even non-tech savvy folks to build out powerful email workflows. They also have more than 80 integrations, including RightMessage, Shopify, Zapier, Gumroad, Teachable, WordPress, and LeadPages.
One of the most admirable things about ConvertKit is how transparent they are as a company. Their founder, Nathan Barry, often publicly writes about milestones and challenges, and they even publish their company metrics publicly on this Baremetrics dashboard. From this dashboard, you can see that they have more than 24,000 active customers and $1.4 million in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
ConvertKit also has a limited free trial. Their plans start at $29 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers. If you have more than 5,000 subscribers, they’ll also help you with a custom migration.
Drip initially started by catering to bootstrapped online entrepreneurs. However, they have transitioned their focus to go after fast-growing e-commerce businesses. This platform is robust and powerful but can be overwhelming to learn if you don’t have prior experience using a marketing automation platform. They offer advanced website and email tracking integrations, lead scoring, automated workflows and rules, and campaigns. They also integrate with hundreds of online software apps.
Drip’s pricing starts at $49 per month for 2,500 subscribers. However, if you have more than 5,000 subscribers — and if you’re looking for more robust functionality, you likely do — you’ll end up on their custom enterprise plan. This can get expensive quickly.
ActiveCampaign is designed for internet marketers, online entrepreneurs, and e-commerce businesses. It’s an enterprise-level sales CRM and marketing automation tool without the enterprise price tag. You can send personalized dynamic emails, create advanced email workflows, and set up custom sales automation, including lead scoring and win probability rates. It’s also one of only a handful of platforms that includes both SMS and live chat messaging.
ActiveCampaign offers a free trial. Their pricing is the most complex of all of the platforms we analyzed and starts from $9 to $129 per month for 500 subscribers depending on the features you need. Similar to ConvertKit, they also offer qualified accounts help migrating from another platform.
Klaviyo is designed to offer enterprise-level email marketing and automation features to growing e-commerce companies without an enterprise price tag. They integrate with all of the big e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Woocommerce, Magento, and Shopify Plus.
You can set up advanced email and website tracking; create advanced segments; and send dynamic emails, including personalized order details, product recommendations, and even add in custom web feeds. They also have advanced reporting tools and dashboards to gauge how your marketing campaigns are faring over time.
Klaviyo has a limited free version if you have fewer than 250 contacts and send less than 500 emails. However, this is designed to be a trial version. If you have less than 3,200 contacts, you’ll spend less than $100 per month and can send unlimited emails. It starts getting pricier if you have more than 20,000 contacts, which will set you back $375 per month.
HubSpot is the most sophisticated and advanced service that we included in this post. It’s designed as an easier-to-use alternative to Salesforce for fast-growing startups and medium-sized tech companies. One key advantage of HubSpot is that it’s an all-in-one solution where you can integrate your sales, marketing, and customer support teams in one platform. This makes it easier to get a pulse on the business and make faster, data-driven decisions.
However, all of this functionality comes at a steeper price. While they offer a $50 per month plan, you can have no more than 1,000 contacts and only get basic live chat and email marketing functionality. Most businesses will need to spend in excess of $800 per month for HubSpot’s professional plan, which includes detailed analytics dashboards, custom reporting, landing page creation, blog management, and a full suite of marketing automation features.
As you can see, there are many email marketing services out there.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing and have a brick and mortar shop, you may want to use Constant Contact, iContact, or Aweber.
If you’re looking for ease of use and best value for your money, MailChimp and MailerLite are great options.
If you’re looking for ease of use but more advanced sales and marketing automation features without paying for an enterprise solution, then Drip, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, and Klaviyo are all reliable options.
Finally, if you’re a startup or medium-sized business that’s growing quickly, a comprehensive solution like HubSpot might be a great fit.