Best Email Marketing Software – Top 5 (And More)

Best Email Marketing Software

Welcome to the ever-evolving world of email marketing in 2024! If you're on the hunt for the best email marketing software, you've landed in just the right place. We get it – navigating through the maze of email marketing services can be quite overwhelming, especially when you're aiming to find that perfect fit for your unique business needs. Whether you're a small business owner, a bustling e-commerce guru, or just starting out, we're here to guide you through this journey.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive deep into the world of email marketing platforms, comparing and contrasting the top contenders. We understand that each business has its own set of requirements and challenges, and that's why we're here to help you make an informed decision. From discussing the nuances of marketing automation to exploring the realms of free email marketing services, we've got you covered.

We'll also shed light on the best email marketing tools tailored for different business sizes, ensuring that whether you're managing unlimited contacts or just a handful, you'll find the right tool to amplify your marketing efforts. And for those of you wondering about the cost-effectiveness of these tools, we'll explore options that won't break the bank.

So, sit back, relax, and let's embark on this journey to discover the email marketing software that will elevate your marketing campaigns to new heights. Get ready to transform your email marketing strategy with insights and tips that will set you apart in the digital marketing space!

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Top 5 Best Email Marketing Solutions

Use the table and reviews below to compare the email marketing software solutions that we have chosen to help you make the right purchasing decision.

Rank

Live Chat/Email Support

Mobile Apps

Free Version

Pricing

ConstantContact-Email-Marketing-Software

Both

Yes

1st Month Free

From
$20/month

 #2

Drip

Drip-Email-Marketing-Software

Both

No

Yes

From

$49/month

ConvertKit-Email-Marketing-Software

Both

No

14-Day Trial

From

$24/month

ActiveCampaign-Email-Marketing-Software

Both

Yes

No

From

$17/month

MailChimp-Email-Marketing-Software

Both

Yes

Yes

$10/month

Key Comparison Highlights of Top Email Marketing Platforms

1. Constant Contact

  • Overview: Constant Contact stands out for its ease of use and excellent customer support. It's a great choice for small businesses with its scalable pricing based on contact numbers.

  • Key Features: Offers contact management, marketing tracking and reporting, email scheduling, integrations, and customizable email templates. The "Email Plus" plan includes more powerful automation and event marketing.

  • Pros: User-friendly interface, extensive template library, and robust support system.

  • Cons: Can become costly for businesses with larger customer bases.

  • Best For: Small businesses seeking an intuitive and feature-rich platform.

2. Drip

  • Overview: Drip is known for its high customizability and automated workflows, making it ideal for creating personalized customer journeys.

  • Key Features: Includes smart email segmentation, subscriber information tracking, prebuilt email campaigns, and marketing workflows.

  • Pros: Extensive integration options and highly customizable email templates.

  • Cons: The email builder can be complex for beginners, and the platform is relatively expensive.

  • Best For: Businesses requiring extensive customization and with a significant budget for email marketing.

3. ConvertKit

  • Overview: ConvertKit offers simplicity and effectiveness, particularly for businesses with segmented subscriber bases.

  • Key Features: Features a visual automation tool, subscriber segmenting and targeting, and unlimited email sends.

  • Pros: User-friendly for beginners, excellent for managing automated email funnels.

  • Cons: Lacks some advanced features and customization options.

  • Best For: Small businesses or individual creators looking for a straightforward and efficient email marketing solution.

4. ActiveCampaign

  • Overview: ActiveCampaign combines email marketing with a CRM, offering a comprehensive solution for businesses.

  • Key Features: Includes a CRM with sales automation, mobile apps, automatic responses, date-based and drip campaigns.

  • Pros: Budget-friendly for basic email marketing needs, intuitive UI, and a good drag-and-drop email designer.

  • Cons: Limited features in the basic plan and can become expensive for more advanced needs.

  • Best For: Small businesses needing both email marketing and CRM capabilities.

5. Mailchimp

  • Overview: Mailchimp is popular for its free plan and functionality, making it an excellent choice for businesses on a tight budget.

  • Key Features: Offers marketing automation, mobile apps, and an extensive support knowledge base.

  • Pros: The free version supports up to 2000 subscribers, great integration options, and useful webinars for learning.

  • Cons: The drag-and-drop email creator can be buggy, and the mobile app needs improvement.

  • Best For: Small businesses or startups looking to build a strong email marketing campaign without a significant investment.

Best Overall Email Software

Constant Contact

ConstantContact-Email-Marketing-Software

5/5 Overall Rating

Constant Contact is the winner of our best overall email marketing software for 2018.

It’s our favourite for a number of reasons, including its great functionality, ease of use, and stellar support system.

 It does everything we think email marketing software needs to do and more.

Constant Contact’s pricing plans are based on the number of contacts you have, so the price will scale with the size of your business.

For the lower “Email” plan, you will pay just $20/month for up to 500 contacts, but then $45/month for up to 2500 contacts. 

It can, therefore, get quite pricey for small businesses who have larger customer-bases or higher requirements, like people who are conducting SEO outreach campaigns

The “Email Plus” plan starts at $45/month for up to 500 contacts and scales in a similar way to the regular “Email” plan, but offers a number of additional features that may come in handy. 

While not exceedingly pricey, it is a fair bit more expensive than most competitors.

Budget permitting, we would recommend the “Email Plus” plan for small businesses who have less than 500 contacts simply for that added functionality.

The cheaper plan does pretty much everything that an email marketing software solution should do at its core, such as contact management, marketing tracking and reporting, email scheduling, integrations with popular business apps, and customizable email templates.

However, the more powerful automation, event marketing, and additional storage and users of the “Email Plus” plan make it an invaluable addition to any small business.

As mentioned, the support that Constant Contact offers their customers is top notch.

Any issues that you may experience with the smooth-running and intuitive UI, or any bugs that find their way into your software, can be fixed in no time if you make use of the live chat or email support, or help yourself using the extensive knowledge base or video tutorials.

Main Features

  • Contact management
  • Marketing calendar
  • Up to 2GB file storage
  • Mobile apps

What we like

  • Email automation and scheduling
  • Comprehensive library of customizable email templates
  • Very easy to use and intuitive UI
  • Great live chat/email support

What we dislike

  • Costlier than some competitors
  • Email template designing can be finicky and buggy
Key Takeaway

Constant Contact is an intuitively designed software that has all the features and a great support system, ensuring the success of any small business’s email marketing campaign.

Editor's Choice

Drip

Drip-Email-Marketing-Software

4.5/5 Overall Rating

Drip is our Editor’s Choice email marketing software, because it offers unmatched customizability (if you know what you’re doing) and automated workflows that will give you a great bigger picture view of your email marketing campaign.

It will help you create a personalized roadmap of the process of getting contacts from initial contact all the way through to that final sales email.

Where Drip falls a bit short is its price tag. While there is a free version that gives the user access to the full functionality of the software; it will be mostly unusable for the majority of small businesses as it only allows up to 100 subscribers.

For between 100 and 2500 subscribers, the price jumps to $49/month; a price tag that a lot of small businesses won’t be able to afford for an email marketing software.

If your small business fits that free version, then great; but we doubt there are many established small businesses out there that will have such a small subscriber-base.

A feature that Drip has that may possibly be polarizing is that the email builder is fairly complex.

We say polarizing because, while it allows for some interesting customizability for those who know what they are doing, beginners or light users will struggle to make it work for them.

Possibly a drag-and-drop template builder on top of the current would be a nice touch to make it easier for beginners or those without any real programming knowledge.

All of that being said, Drip offers everything else your small business might need in email marketing software.

They offer good live chat support; integration with a number of business applications; smart contact segmentation, tracking and targeting; and a list of prebuilt email campaigns that can get you up and running in no time.

Main Features

  • Live chat support
  • Smart email segmentation
  • Subscriber information tracking
  • Prebuilt email campaigns and marketing workflows

What we like

  • Extensive integration
  • Free version enables full functionality
  • Email templates are highly customizable using email builder

What we dislike

  • Email builder is a bit complex
  • Bigger learning curve for beginners/users without programming knowledge
Key Takeaway

Drip is a highly customizable email marketing software that may require some time in setting up and personalising. It should suit any small business that wants extensive customization and has a fairly big budget.

Popular Choice

ConvertKit

ConvertKit-Email-Marketing-Software

4.5/5 Overall Rating

ConvertKit is an easy to use email marketing software solution that seems to make up for its lacking feature set with its simplicity.

Though it doesn’t have the same bells and whistles of some competitors, the features that it does offer are powerful enough to manage any small business’s email marketing campaign.

ConvertKit starts off at $24/month for up to 1000 subscribers, steps up to $41/month for up to 3000 subscribers, and then $64/month for up to 5000 subscribers.

While it’s obviously up to your own business’s needs, a good portion of small businesses won’t have more than 1000 monthly subscribers; making this a fairly affordable option.

Probably our favourite feature offered by ConvertKit is the visual automation tool.

What this does is help you visualize the automated email funnel (that your subscribers will be experiencing) with a simple flowchart.

Each card within the flowchart displays the important information you’ll need to understand how the content in each step of your funnel is performing.

You can combine that information with the intuitive “if this, then that” conditional automation to achieve better click ratios from your email campaigns; ensuring greater success from your email marketing in the long run.

Though it excels in subscriber tracking and segmentation, it lacks a few other simple and more powerful features that we would have liked to see.

Firstly, there is no way to customize the software in a meaningful way without delving into the API; something most beginners won’t want (or be able) to do.

The same goes for the form and email template designers that are largely text-based and don’t have drag-and-drop functionality.

Main Features

  • Integrates with variety of business apps
  • Drag-and-drop sequence builder
  • Text-based email
  • Simple “if this, then that” automation rules

What we like

  • Unlimited email sends
  • Subscriber segmenting and targeting
  • Visual automation tool

What we dislike

  • Form templates are difficult to setup
  • Lacks simple customizability
Key Takeaway

While ConvertKit is fairly lightweight in terms of “extras”, it still has all the functionality that any email marketing software needs. Best for small businesses that have a segmented subscriber-base.

Good Overall

ActiveCampaign 

ActiveCampaign-Email-Marketing-Software

4/5 Overall Rating

ActiveCampaign is unique to our Top 5 Email Marketing Software Review in that it comes with a fully-fledged CRM in tow; provided you want to pay for it, that is.

With or without the CRM and sales automation, ActiveCampaign’s works just fine as a lightweight and beautifully packaged email marketing software solution.

For the sake of this review (it being a review of email marketing software), we will try as far as possible to ignore the features offered only in the plans that include the full CRM.

ActiveCampaign “Lite” is the only plan that does not include the CRM software, and starts at $9/month for up to 500 contacts.

From there it scales with the number of contacts your business has: $17/month for up to 1000 contacts, $39/month for up to 2500 contacts, $69/month for up to 5000 contacts, and so on.

This makes ActiveCampaign a good option for those businesses with limited email marketing needs and a limited budget.

ActiveCampaign has an extremely intuitive and attractive UI.

This, paired with the lack of complexity and volume of features, actually make it exceedingly easy to use. 

Even beginners shouldn’t struggle getting used to using this software effectively.

Though it doesn’t have as many features as most of its competitors, it offers just about enough to get your average small business by without any hassles.

It has a great drag-and-drop email template designer, mobile apps, automatic response functionality, date-based and drip campaigns, basic subscription forms, and even decent live chat and email support.

Though not ground-breaking, it certainly holds its own.

Main Features

  • CRM with sales automation
  • Mobile apps
  • Automatic responses

What we like

  • Budget-friendly for the pure email marketing plan
  • Date-based and drip campaigns
  • Simple UI
  • Drag-and-drop email designer

What we dislike

  • Becomes expensive if you want anything more than the basics
  • Not as many features as most competitors
Key Takeaway

ActiveCampaign comes in a beautifully designed UI package and offers the full CRM experience, with sales automation and all. Perfect for small businesses that also need a CRM and want one that can be integrated with their email marketing campaign.

Best Value

MailChimp

MailChimp-Email-Marketing-Software

4/5 Overall Rating

MailChimp is the winner of our Best Budget email marketing software award.

This is because of the free version that supports up to 2000 contacts and has enough functionality to hold its own against most paid solutions currently on the market.

It’s an extremely popular solution and, with the functionality and ease of use that it offers, we can see why.

Aside from the aforementioned free version with support for up to 2000 subscribers, MailChimp’s pricing system works much the same way as most do.

Starting at $10/month for up to 500 subscribers, then $15/month for up to 1000 subscribers, $20/month for up to 1500 subscribers, and $25 for up to 2000 subscribers.

The main difference between the free version and the paid versions is that the paid versions allow an unlimited number of emails to be sent every month; while the free version is pretty severely limited to just 12000.

MailChimp offers an extensive library of webinar training videos that are an invaluable method of teaching your staff to use the software if they are new to it.

Taking you all the way through setup to each of the various functions, the webinars will help your small business implement the new software in no time (and at a minimal cost).

When using MailChimp, you’ll never sweat the basics. Easily create email templates and autoresponders; segment contacts into groups for better tracking, targeting and analysis; and connect with Shopify, Magento and other e-commerce applications.

MailChimp has got your needs covered.

Main Features

  • Marketing automation
  • Mobile apps
  • Extensive support knowledgebase

What we like

  • Free version is actually decently functional and allows up to 2000 subscribers
  • Webinars are a great way to learn to use the product
  • Great integration options

What we dislike

  • Drag-and-drop email creator is buggy
  • Mobile apps need some work
Key Takeaway

MailChimp is a popular and well-rounded email marketing software solution. Perfect for small businesses looking to build a strong email marketing campaign on a tight budget.

Other Email Marketing Software

Before closing off the review with the buyer’s guide below, a couple of honourable mentions we’d like to make go to Aweber and GetResponse.

If you haven’t found what you’re looking for in our top 5, maybe one of these two will suit your needs.

Aweber offers a wide range of tools that cover all of the basics, and has an easy to use interface. Starting at just $19/month for up to 500 contacts, it’s also an affordable option for small businesses.

GetResponse is extremely easy to use and will be a great choice for any beginners. For only $15/month for up to 1000 contacts it’s a great budget option that will run smoothly and cover any small business’s needs.

Best Email Marketing Services for Different Business Sizes

For Small and Medium Businesses

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) need email marketing services that are both cost-effective and rich in features. These businesses often manage unlimited contacts and require robust email marketing platforms that offer a balance between functionality and affordability.

  • Constant Contact: Ideal for SMBs, Constant Contact offers a user-friendly interface with a drag-and-drop editor, making it easy to design compelling email marketing campaigns. Its pricing scales with the size of your business, making it a cost-effective solution.

  • ConvertKit: Known for its simplicity, ConvertKit is a great email marketing tool for SMBs that prioritize ease of use. It offers essential marketing automation features and a landing page builder, perfect for businesses looking to streamline their marketing efforts.

  • Mailchimp: A popular choice for SMBs, Mailchimp provides a free email marketing service with advanced email marketing services. It's an all-in-one platform that includes a website builder and landing pages, ideal for businesses looking to expand their online presence.

For E-commerce Businesses

E-commerce businesses require email marketing platforms that integrate seamlessly with their online stores and offer features like automated marketing campaigns, web push notifications, and advanced segmentation.

  • Drip: Drip's email marketing platform is tailored for e-commerce, offering dynamic content and automation features that help in personalizing the shopping experience. Its integration with e-commerce platforms makes it a top choice for online stores.

  • ActiveCampaign: With its customer relationship management (CRM) system, ActiveCampaign is perfect for e-commerce businesses looking to combine their email marketing with customer data insights. Its marketing automation features and email marketing tools are designed to boost sales and customer engagement.

  • Mailchimp: Mailchimp's advanced email marketing services, including its free email marketing software, are well-suited for e-commerce businesses. The platform offers targeted email marketing campaigns, landing page builders, and integration with e-commerce platforms, making it a versatile choice for online retailers.


CRM Software Buyer's Guide

If your small business is looking to revamp your email marketing campaign, then you’ll need an email marketing software.

Without one you’ll be stuck designing templates, entering data and managing contacts manually; all of which can be extremely time and budget consuming.

Should you not be certain as to what you are looking for in email marketing software, read this buyer’s guide in which we have detailed the main categories for you to consider when choosing.

We can’t tell you what kind of functionality your own business requires, but maybe we can point you in the right direction and help you decide what will be best to cover your needs.

CRM Software Pricing

As we will always advise any owner of a small business, budget is the biggest concern in any of your operations.

Small businesses don’t have the luxury of having heaps of free cash flows that larger businesses have. You have to be careful what you spend your limited cash on.

Be careful to consider your basic needs when choosing which email marketing software you want to implement, because you don’t want to pay for extra features that you won’t ever use.

For example, don’t fork out $49/month for ActiveCampaign’s full CRM package if you just need email marketing software and won’t actually use the CRM functionality. Be real with yourself; though it might be fun to have all those bells and whistles, it’s probably not necessary.

Ease of Use

Ease of use of the software that you choose is important. If you’re a new user of email marketing software or other business applications in general, you’ll want to choose a product that has the simplest feature set and design.

It will help you implement the new software into your business far quicker and for much cheaper, as you won’t have to spend as much money or time on training the staff who are going to be using it. When implementing new technology into your business, you want it to make your life easier, not harder.

CRM Features

Because of that limited budget that your small business is likely to have, you want to make sure that you choose an email marketing software solution that covers all of your basic needs for the smallest possible price tag. The more features you want, the more you are likely to pay. If you can cover the basics and still have cash left in your budget, then you can have a look at some of the fancier and more powerful features.

The basic features you should look for include the following:

  • Some form of support system that you can work with (live chat, email, webinar videos, self-help knowledgebase, etc.)
  • Simple email template designer
  • Automatic responders
  • Email automation/scheduling
  • Contact management and segmentation
  • Basic reporting and insights
  • Customer list-building tools

Integration

How your email marketing software integrates with your other business applications is important for a number of reasons.

You may have an online market place that you can create customer forms for using your email marketing software, or you may want to integrate the insights collected from your email marketing campaign into your sales and CRM software.

The more your software can integrate with the rest of your business, the better. Integrations are a powerful tool, and can make your life a whole lot easier.

FAQs

  1. Which software to use for email marketing?

    • Answer: Choosing the right email marketing software depends on your business needs. Look for a service that offers a comprehensive email marketing platform with a variety of tools and features. The best email marketing services provide user-friendly interfaces, robust email marketing tools, and are popular among businesses for their efficiency and effectiveness. Consider factors like the size of your email list, the type of campaigns you want to run, and your budget.

  2. Is Mailchimp the best for email marketing?

    • Answer: Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing services, known for its user-friendly interface and a wide range of features. It's a great choice for businesses of all sizes, offering a versatile platform with tools like a drag-and-drop editor, email automation, and detailed analytics. However, the best email marketing tool for you might vary depending on your specific needs, such as integration capabilities, advanced features, or customer support.

  3. What is an email marketing platform?

    • Answer: An email marketing platform is a comprehensive system that allows businesses to design, send, and track email marketing campaigns. These platforms offer various features like email template creation, audience segmentation, automation, and detailed analytics to measure campaign performance. They are designed to enhance marketing efforts and help businesses effectively communicate with their audience in the email marketing space.

  4. Can you use a CRM for email marketing?

    • Answer: Yes, you can use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for email marketing. Integrating a CRM with your email marketing service allows for more personalized and targeted campaigns. It helps in managing customer relationships by providing detailed insights into customer interactions, preferences, and history. This integration can lead to more effective and efficient marketing strategies, improving overall engagement and conversion rates.

  5. What are the 7 email marketing strategies?

    • Answer: The 7 key email marketing strategies include:

      1. Segmentation: Dividing your email list into targeted groups for personalized content.

      2. Personalization: Tailoring emails to individual preferences and behaviors.

      3. Mobile Optimization: Ensuring emails are mobile-friendly.

      4. Automation: Using automated emails for timely and relevant communication.

      5. A/B Testing: Testing different elements of your emails to optimize performance.

      6. Engaging Content: Creating content that resonates with your audience.

      7. Analytics and Reporting: Using data to refine and improve your email marketing efforts.

  6. What is the best free email marketing tool?

    • Answer: The best free email marketing tool often depends on your specific needs, but many businesses find value in services that offer a comprehensive free plan. These free email marketing services typically include basic features like email templates, automation, and analytics. Look for tools that provide a balance between essential features and usability, without incurring email marketing costs.

  7. Is email marketing still worth it?

    • Answer: Absolutely, email marketing remains a vital part of digital marketing strategies. Its effectiveness lies in the ability to reach customers directly, offering personalized content and fostering relationships. With the evolution of marketing platforms and strategies, email marketing continues to offer a high ROI, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses.

  8. How do I set up email marketing for my small business?

    • Answer: Setting up email marketing for a small business involves a few key steps. First, choose an email marketing app or platform that caters to small businesses, offering ease of use and essential features like automation, templates, and analytics. Next, build your email list, create engaging content, and plan your campaigns. Remember, email marketing for small business should focus on building customer relationships and providing value.

  9. How much does email marketing cost for small business?

    • Answer: The cost of email marketing for a small business can vary widely based on several factors, including the size of your email list, the complexity of your campaigns, and the features you need. Many platforms offer tiered pricing, with basic plans often being very affordable or even free. However, as your needs grow, you may need to invest in paid plans to access more advanced features.

  10. Is email marketing still effective in 2024?

    • Answer: In 2024, email marketing continues to be an effective tool for reaching and engaging customers. With advancements in digital marketing, email marketing platforms have become more sophisticated, offering advanced features that allow for more targeted, personalized, and effective campaigns. The key to success lies in adapting to the latest trends and technologies in the email marketing space.

  11. What does email marketing software do?

    • Answer: Email marketing software automates and streamlines the process of creating, sending, and managing email campaigns. It provides features like pre-made email templates, audience segmentation, automation tools, detailed email analytics, and integrations with other marketing tools. This software helps businesses effectively communicate with their audience, track the performance of their campaigns, and optimize their email marketing strategies.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the landscape of email marketing is vast and dynamic, offering a range of solutions to fit every business need. Whether you're looking for an email marketing service with advanced marketing automation capabilities or a platform that excels in creating engaging marketing emails, the options are plentiful. The best email marketing platforms provide a suite of tools including landing pages, SMS marketing, and the ability to send unlimited emails, ensuring that your marketing efforts are as effective and far-reaching as possible.

With features like phone support and advanced marketing automation, these platforms not only simplify the process of email marketing but also empower businesses to craft more targeted and impactful campaigns. Choosing the best email marketing platform for your business means aligning these features with your specific marketing goals and audience needs.

Remember, the key to successful email marketing lies in understanding your audience, leveraging the right tools, and continuously adapting to the evolving digital landscape. With the right platform, you can transform your email marketing efforts into a powerful driver of engagement and growth.

About the Author Greg Jacobs

Greg is a business graduate from the University of Cape Town. Passionate about the interface of technology with small business, Greg covers all things business software at the Sustainable Business Toolkit.

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