Best Email Marketing Services – the 2020 Roundup

How many email marketing services can you name at the top of your head? Maybe Mailchimp? Any others?

The thing is, there is an increasing amount of providers available these days. Many of them haven’t got the marketing power of Mailchimp, but they shouldn’t be ignored either.

So if you’re confused about which email marketing service to try, check out our guide on the best 5 providers available today.

Why Use an Email Marketing Service For Your Business

It may be the oldest digital marketing tool available, but email marketing is still one of the most efficient for businesses. Here’s what it could do for you:

  • Reach customers everywhere: While SMS or in-app notifications only work on smartphones, email lets you get in touch with everyone, everywhere.
  • Market at an affordable cost: sending an email is virtually free. Sending thousands of them comes at a cost, but it’s still one of the cheapest marketing techniques you can use.
  • You have full control: email marketing is becoming increasingly sophisticated these days. You can create automations, complex rules, and have complete control over the branding through templates and custom design.

Can I Really Use an Email Marketing Service for Free?

Yes – a lot of them work under a freemium model. You start with a free plan and, hopefully, as you grow you’ll come to realize how much you need them, so you’ll upgrade to a paid plan.

Usually, the free plans have limits such as:

  • Capped number of emails or subscribers: you can only send a certain amount of emails per month.

  • Missing features: The most powerful features only become available with the higher paid plans.

  • Email marketing service branding: Free plans don’t allow you to remove the name of the service you are using. It’s usually an unobtrusive picture and link in the footer of each email you send.

#1. Easiest to Use and Affordable: MailerLite

Easiest to Use and Affordable: MailerLite

A lot of email marketing services operate under a freemium model, where you can sign up for free, send a limited amount of emails, and need to upgrade to reach more users. But whether you stay with MailerLite’s Free Forever plan or upgrade to a paid one, you get a lot for your buck.

This is mostly to do with the company’s fantastic user experience. MailerLite is extremely easy to use, delivering tons of customization options in a clean, uncluttered interface. The dashboard comes with nice step by step guides, and even the least tech-savvy will be able to create a campaign in no time.

Once that campaign is launched, you’ll get some good reporting (but not the best on the market), simple automations, and a landing page editor, so you can direct email readers towards a specific conversion page.

  • MailerLite Pricing: The Free Forever plan is indeed completely free. After that it’s a mere $15 per month for 2,500 subscribers, $30 for 5,000, $50 for 10,000, and $75 a month for 15,0000 subscribers.

  • Why it’s number #1: A great free plan that comes with advanced features. Extremely easy to use, and even the paid plans are more affordable than the competition.

#2. The Most Famous: MailChimp

The Most Famous: MailChimp

MailChimp claims to send around 600 million emails every day, and it’s easy to see why. As mentioned in this article’s intro, they are one of the most recognizable email marketing brands, thanks to their friendly mascot and high promotion budget.

Then, their success probably also has a lot to do with the generous free plan. It lets you send 10,000 emails, and you get most of the features available with the more expensive plans. It’s a really good deal – even if the emails will come with the Mailchimp logo in the footer.

Finally, the ease of use and friendliness is apparent as soon as you sign in with MailChimp. They make it easy to create a new campaign, and their dashboard is clean and intuitive, even if you’re completely new to email marketing.

  • MailChimp Pricing: There’s a lot of options there, including a free plan that comes with ads. The lowest monthly plan is $9.99 for 500 contacts and 500K emails. You can pay more to increase those limits. There’s also a pay as you go plan that costs around $0,03 per email sent.

  • Why it’s number #2: The generous free plan, ease of use, and friendly templates. The automations aren’t as great as with ActiveCampaign.

#3. The Most Feature-Rich: ActiveCampaign

Most email marketing services want you to send more emails because it usually means higher profits. ActiveCampaign, however, is focused on quality rather than quantity. To that end, they give you the most amount of features to send marketing that is smart, efficient, and effective.

The most important of these features if probably the ActiveCampaign automations. It’s a very powerful feature that can look overwhelming to beginners, but if you’re serious about marketing online, you have to give it a try. It allows you to create complex chains of emails that act like complete sales funnels. You can change the frequency, the send time based on a user’s location, and add rules to A/B test your campaigns.

Note that there’s no free plan, but you can try it for 14 days. And you can also migrate your marketing from other platforms for free if you’ve already dwelled in email marketing but want to experience a fully powerful solution.

  • ActiveCampaign Pricing: It starts at $15 per month for 500 subscribers. Then there’s $29 a month for 1,000; $49 a month for 2,500 etc…

  • Why it’s number #3: The flexibility and powerful automations can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. While it’s very easy to use, it’s still probably not great for beginners though.

#4. Recommended for Online Stores – GetResponse

Recommended for Online Stores - GetResponse

Like ActiveCampaign, sadly GetResponse doesn’t have a free plan. You do get a 30-day free trial, though, which should give you enough time to see if it’s the right solution for you. Our recommendation: do give it a try if you need email marketing services for an eCommerce or online store.

In fact, the eCommerce features are probably some of the best available. You get integrations with Shopify, Magento, and more. You can create dynamic email content and track sales to ensure your customers always receive the right email. The Autofunnel feature is also a fantastic tool to increase conversions directly from your emails, social media, and specific landing pages.

Best of all, it all comes in a dashboard designed to tag leads, assign scores to specific senders, and segment recipients to tailor your next campaign more efficiently. The drag and drop editor is easy to use and navigate, so you can get started with your first email campaign in no time.

  • GetResponse Pricing: It starts at $15 per month for 1000 subscribers. Then there’s $25 a month for 1,2,500 subscribers; $45 a month for 5,000, and it goes all the way up to $145 a month for 25,000 subscribers.

  • Why it’s number #4: It’s a very versatile email marketing service that particularly shines when it comes to integration with online stores. But other users can also enjoy the excellent drag and drop editor and powerful automation features.

Best Email Marketing Services Comparison

Lowest paid plan Best Feature Creating campaigns Customization
MailerLite $15 a month for 2,500 subscribers. Landing page creator Very easy Good
MailChimp $9.99 for 500 contacts and 500K emails Great campaign tracking Very easy Good
ActiveCampaign $15 a month for 500 subscribers. Full and complex automations Can be as easy or complex as you want Excellent
GetResponse $15 a month for 1,000 subscribers The drag and drop campaign editor is a breeze to use Very easy Good

The Bottom Line

Email marketing services have evolved a lot over the years. It used to be an expensive tool that only enterprises could afford. These days, it’s within reach for any kind of business, whether you’re a global leader or a solopreneur.

So as always with consumer online software, there is no one-size-fits-all. But here’s what we would recommend depending on:

  • If you are a small business or solopreneur: you probably have a tight marketing budget. MailerLite and MailChimp’s free plan can give you a lot, and you won’t have to spend a dime.

  • You are an experienced marketer: the quality of the ActiveCampaign features makes it hard to beat for newsletter pros.
  • If you own an online store: You might want to look at GetResponse and their great eCommerce integrations. The AutoFunnel and abandoned cart features are also great for increasing sales.

  • If you are a blogger: MailerLite has specific features for RSS integrations that make it easy to create emails from your latest posts

We hope this helps and you get started on your first campaign soon!


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