Email is an essential part of your marketing toolkit. It’s flexible, relatively cost-effective, convenient and easy to measure – so it’s a great way to build customer relationships, drive engagement and increase sales.
To carry out email marketing effectively, you’ll need to pick the right platform for your needs and budget. There’s much to consider, from features to pricing to software limitations. To kick off your research, here’s an overview of some of the best solutions to consider (in no particular order).
Mailchimp is a veteran in the email marketing space, thanks to its generous free starter plan and well designed, simple interface with a drag-and-drop email editor tool. On the free plan, you can add up to 2,000 contacts and send 10,000 emails per month. You can also use Mailchimp’s signup forms and landing pages to generate new subscribers and even create a website through the platform.
The downside to the Free plan is that you won’t get custom branding, access to human support or advanced features like A/B testing, multiple audiences and other marketing channels like social posting and retargeting ads. You’ll start getting better features once you upgrade to a paid plan. These start at £7.53 per month for up to 500 contacts.
Another thing to note about Mailchimp is that subscriber lists are exclusive. So if you have the same contact on two separate lists, that contact will be counted twice. Many other platforms don’t do this.
Best for: startups and freelancers who are new to email marketing and have a small or non-existent budget.
Although it’s not as beginner-friendly as Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign is a powerful platform with advanced features for list management, marketing automation and CRM. With list management, for instance, you can have the same contacts on different lists but you’ll only get charged once for that contact.
You can build all sorts of sophisticated workflows based on various triggers and conditions. All ActiveCampaign emails go through a spam check before they’re sent, which helps with message delivery rates.
There’s no free option with ActiveCampaign; prices start at $9 per month (paid yearly) for the ‘Lite’ plan – that’s for up to 500 contacts.
Best for: those who are well seasoned in email marketing, that need a solid platform with a focus on features and value for money.
ConvertKit’s USP lies in its automation and sales features. You can tag email subscribers with any custom tag based on an action they’ve taken and then take them through a sequence of emails and sales funnels to encourage conversions. It’s also simple and quick to set up landing pages to sell digital products – no need to invest in another platform.
There’s a free plan available for up to 1,000 subscribers. After that, paid plans start at $25 per month (paid annually) for the same amount of contacts. Like with ActiveCampaign, you can add subscribers to different lists at no extra charge.
Best for: artists and creators that have a digital product they want to monetise.
As well as email marketing campaigns, Sendinblue allows you to set up transactional emails and live chat via your website or Facebook business page. Other features include marketing automation, CRM and SMS marketing. As you’d expect, you can easily create signup forms and landing pages.
Sendinblue is an attractive option when it comes to pricing. First off, the pricing structure is easy to get your head around. It offers unlimited contacts on all plans (even the free plan) and charges based on email volume. The free plan lets you send 300 emails per day (Sendinblue branding included). The ‘Lite’ plan costs $25 per month for up to 10,000 emails per month, with no daily sending limit, advanced statistics and no Sendinblue logo.
Best for: growing businesses – particularly e-commerce businesses that need to send transactional emails like order confirmations and despatch notifications.
5. Constant Contact
Constant Contact gives you plenty of useful features as standard, including unlimited monthly email sends, customisable templates, landing pages, signup forms, marketing automation, website creation and marketing tools. It easily integrates with CRM systems like Salesforce. and has a high email deliverability rate.
It’s a solid, user-friendly email marketing platform, although a little pricier than many of the others listed here. The basic ‘Email’ plan starts at £15 per month and the cost increases based on the number of contacts you have. There’s a free trial on offer, however, so you can try before you buy.
Best for: startup e-commerce businesses and other small or mid-sized businesses.
Campaigner offers advanced multi-channel marketing automation to help you drive sales and revenue, track conversions and nurture leads. On the email side of things, you can set up workflows, autoresponders and recurring and triggered campaigns, plus carry out experiments and testing.
Campaigner also lets you integrate with Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce so you can send highly targeted campaigns based on customer buying behaviour. It provides plenty of email templates to choose from and has an intuitive interface.
Campaigner isn’t the best option for startup creative businesses because of its price tag. The ‘Starter’ package begins at £42 per month, for up to 5,000 contacts. A 30-day free trial is available.
Best for: medium-sized or large businesses with complex email marketing requirements. Or for marketing agencies handling campaigns for clients.
A lightweight and affordable option, MailerLite offers a robust set of core features, including newsletter templates, a drag-and-drop editor, e-commerce campaigns, signup forms, a website builder and list management.
There’s a free plan available for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. For up to 2,500 subscribers, you’ll pay $15 per month, so if it’s a free plan you’re after, Mailchimp’s offering is marginally better as it includes a limit of 2,000 contacts.
Best for: budget-conscious freelancers and small businesses that need a no-frills email marketing solution.
With GetResponse, you can expand your marketing efforts beyond email and use web push notifications and email chat too – making this more of an omnichannel solution. Also included are marketing automation flows, a website builder and webinar software.
It’s a versatile, easy-to-use system that offers many third-party integrations and a comprehensive online ‘Help Centre’ as well as live chat. Pricing is attractive – the free plan will get you going with up to 500 contacts and the ‘Basic’ plan starts at £9.02 per month for 1,000 contacts.
Best for: digital marketers and small to mid-sized businesses that need to host webinars.
Whether you need an all-singing, all-dancing email marketing platform, or just a quick and easy way to send out emails in bulk, there’s sure to be something in this list to suit your needs.
Wondering what to read next? We have lots of useful resources articles like this one to check out in the Journal. Start with The best DIY website builders to help you get online or Eight brilliant e-commerce platforms for creative businesses.
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