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Over the years, we’ve managed dozens of email lists, ranging in size from just a few hundred fans to more than 100k+ subscribers. Along the way, we’ve tried nearly every email marketing service in existence from the most basic to the most complex. Based on our experience and extensive research, Constant Contact stands out as the best for most because of its incredible versatility and extensive feature list without the premium price tag.
The Best Email Marketing Service for Most
Best for Most
Get everything you need to build and launch your website plus email marketing services in one package. Having everything under one roof greatly simplifies the process and comes at a fraction of the price compared to buying each software individually.
Sporting great versatility at an affordable price, Constant Contact is our top recommendation for most people seeking a new email marketing service. Even at its lowest-cost plan, you get all the crucial email features you need, plus a drag-and-drop site builder and hosting services for those just starting out.
For those looking to make the switch from their current email service provider, there are dozens of features packed into an affordable package, including selling products via email, unlimited transactional emails, subject line A/B testing, shoppable landing pages, and unlimited monthly sends. Plus, you can upgrade for not a lot more and unlock advanced email automation, automatically personalized email content, and many other useful features.
The 8 Best Email Marketing Options to Consider:
- Constant Contact – Best email marketing service for most
- AWeber – Best for managing multiple lists
- Hubspot – Best email marketing service if you need a CRM
- Sendinblue – Best for integrating with your WordPress site
- Moosend – Best if you’re brand-new to email marketing
- MailerLite – Best for local businesses
- ConvertKit – Best for bloggers and content creators
- Drip – Best for growing ecommerce stores
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Email Marketing
For most businesses, email marketing is a smart investment because it delivers an incredible return for little expense. It’s also one of the most personal ways to connect with your audience—you show up right in their inbox.
Whether you’re a blogger, an influencer, a local business, a global ecommerce store, or anything in between, it’s never too early to start building an email list.
Plus, many providers have a free-forever plan, so you have nothing to lose by trying them out.
You can sign up for as many as you’d like, test the waters, set up your systems, and play around without ever having to pay a penny.
From there, you can easily cancel your account if you decide it isn’t for you or upgrade to a paid plan if you outgrow the free version and need access to more advanced automation capabilities.
#1 – Constant Contact — Best for Most
Best for Most
Get everything you need to build and launch your website plus email marketing services in one package. Having everything under one roof greatly simplifies the process and comes at a fraction of the price compared to buying each software individually.
With Constant Contact, you pay $20 per month and get everything you need from an email marketing service, including hundreds of free templates, a marketing calendar, access for up to three users, and a website if you need to build one.
Since everything is in one place, you don’t have to worry about integrations, making it much easier to get started if you’re new to email marketing or building websites.
Constant Contact’s website builder isn’t quite as robust as Wix’s, but it’s easier to use and still gets the job done well. It’s an excellent, no-fuss way to quickly launch your website and start growing your email list with ease.
There’s also an intelligent AI-powered quick-launch option that builds your entire website for you in just a few minutes.
All you have to do is choose your industry and answer a few questions about your business. From there, the software creates a custom website based on your answers complete with images and content suggestions to help you write content for your pages.
Then you can add new pages and customize your website as much as you’d like using the what-you-see-is-what-you-get website editor.
If you want to sell physical or digital products on your website, every Constant Contact plan includes unlimited products, transactional emails (like confirmation and shipping info), and dozens of pre-designed stores you can customize to match your brand.
Adding new products, removing old products, and managing your inventory is easy. Plus, you can track orders right within the platform and offer real-time shipping rates to customers.
Despite being a budget-friendly and straightforward solution, it delivers everything you need. Constant Contact comes with other beginner-friendly features that most email platforms don’t.
One of those features is a powerful logo-builder. With it, you can have a brand-new, professionally designed logo for your website and emails in just a few clicks.
All plans include a built-in marketing calendar that makes planning your marketing efforts a breeze. You can also schedule and publish social media posts directly within the platform.
When you’re ready to start focusing on email marketing, you get unlimited monthly sends, which is an excellent feature since many email platforms limit this. You can send as many emails as you want without worrying about hitting a monthly cap.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, there are 100+ mobile-friendly email templates, including several industry-specific templates to help kickstart the process.
One critical quirk of Constant Contact’s basic plan is that you can’t create automated workflows or sequences on the entry-level plan.
You can, though, set up a single-email autoresponder with each form, so new subscribers will still get a welcome message or your lead magnet. You just won’t be able to create a multi-email sequence.
So, you’ll need to upgrade to the Plus plan to leverage dynamic content and long-term multi-email automations with behavior-based triggers when you’re ready to start tackling more complex email strategies.
The entry-level plan also doesn’t come with the ability to add products to your emails.
So, ecommerce businesses have to upgrade if they want to send more than simple newsletters and transactional emails.
That being said, the step up from the basic plan to Plus is not very steep at all.
There are three plans to choose from, including:
- Email – starts at $20 per month
- Email Plus – starts at $45 per month
- Pro – starts at $195 per month
Note: these prices increase as your list grows.
If you’re just getting started, the entry-level plan is more than enough. You can build your website, start growing your list, and nurturing existing subscribers with unlimited newsletters and broadcasts.
But the best part is that there’s a 60-day free trial which gives you plenty of time to test it out and build your website without forking over your credit card info. You can upgrade to the Email plan whenever you’re ready to launch, or your free trial expires.
As you grow, you can upgrade to the Plus plan for more advanced automations and ecommerce email functionality.
The Pro plan is best for larger businesses looking for an advanced marketing automation solution with features like AI automations, smart segments, personalized product recommendations, ecommerce integrations, a visual automation builder, and more.
Sign up for a 60-day free trial to get started with Constant Contact today!
#2 – AWeber Review — Best for Managing Multiple Lists
Best for Multiple Lists
Manage an unlimited number of lists across an unlimited number of businesses all within the same account. You can connect all of your websites, manage everything in one place, and set up numerous sent-from emails to ensure you’re always on-brand. Get your first 500 subscribers for free or upgrade for $16.15 per month.
It can be a huge pain switching between accounts and paying for each.
Maybe you run email marketing for several different clients. Perhaps you have several subscriber lists that must be kept discrete. Or it could just be a case of daily switching from email management at your day job to building up your side hustle’s fan base.
The good news is that AWeber lets you have as many lists as you want within one account. With it, you can manage emails for your blog, your ecommerce business, your clients, or anything else all in one place.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you get an unlimited number of monthly emails, autoresponders, sign-up forms, and landing pages.
So, you can set things up however you’d like without having to worry about hitting any monthly caps.
Each list within your account can have its own campaigns, automations, broadcasts, schedules, sign-up forms, and landing pages to maintain a degree of separation between them.
You can even associate different lists with different websites entirely.
Most other providers don’t have this option and only allow you to connect one website for your entire account. Most don’t allow you to set up multiple sent-from email addresses, either.
Without this capability, you wouldn’t be able to manage multiple businesses or blogs from the same account. When you add a new sent-from email, you can connect it to specific campaigns and sign-up forms to ensure emails always come from the correct address.
From there, you can set up separate DKIM and SPF records to verify ownership of your domain emails to improve deliverability across your entire account.
However, one of the most handy features is the ability to copy automated campaigns from one list to the next. When you’re getting started, you only have to create one workflow. You can then copy it over to the next list and customize or rebrand it to match that business.
You can do the same thing with landing pages and sign-up forms, too.
Every AWeber plan comes with an unlimited number of user accounts, which is perfect if you have a team or virtual assistant helping you out.
Other providers make you pay extra or upgrade to higher tiers to unlock this, so it’s definitely a standout feature.
If you’re a solopreneur running several blogs, for example, you can add your virtual assistant as a team member to help you manage your emails without having to pay for an extra account.
Or you could add your business partner as an admin so they can make changes to your account.
With that said, team members and admins can see and access all of your lists. There’s no way to limit who can work on which lists, so it’s crucial to make sure everyone knows how to use the software before letting them loose.
AWeber’s pricing is a bit different from other providers.
There are no tiers whatsoever. Pricing is solely based on the number of subscribers you have and every paid plan includes access to all features, even if you’re just starting out or working with a small list.
There are five different pricing plans based on the number of subscribers you have, including:
- 0 – 500 — $16.15 per month
- 501 – 2,500 — $26.15 per month
- 2,501 – 5,000 — $46.15 per month
- 5,001 – 10,000 — $66.15 per month
- 10,001 – 25,000 — $146.15 per month
Note: these prices are for annual plans—you’ll pay 15% more for monthly pricing. AWeber also considers unsubscribed and bounced email addresses as subscribers. Even if someone unsubscribes, it still counts towards your total number of subscribers.
If you have more than 25,000 subscribers, you can call for a custom quote. So, you can stay on this platform forever without the risk of outgrowing it in the future.
Plus, if you’re switching email marketing services, AWeber offers 100% free white-glove done-for-you migrations.
There’s also a limited free plan you can use if you’re just getting started. It includes up to 500 subscribers and 3,000 monthly emails. However, you can only have one list so it’s only suitable if you’re just getting started.
Sign up for a free account to take AWeber for a test drive today!
#3 – Hubspot — Best If You Need a CRM
Best for Getting Email + CRM
Hubspot's intuitive drag and drop email builder, dozens of free templates, and the world's leading CRM solution come together into a powerful email marketing platform. It’s easy to use without sacrificing the essential features you need to grow and nurture your list. Get unlimited users and up to 2,000 monthly emails for free!
Hubspot is the world’s leading platform for customer relationship management (CRM), so it’s often overlooked as an email marketing service. It’s easy to use while also being one of the most robust marketing tools on our list.
You can get started in just a few minutes and there are hundreds of free, professionally designed email templates to kickstart the setup process.
And, you can start for free.
Whether you’re starting a list from scratch or managing an extensive list with thousands of segments and complex automations, Hubspot is an excellent choice.
So, Hubspot can work for anyone needing email marketing services, but it’s a no-brainer choice for anyone who also needs to lock down a CRM platform that will stand the test of time.
For anyone larger than a solo operation, a CRM and email marketing go hand-in-hand. Indeed, your choice of CRM will dictate a lot of your daily operations, sales and marketing strategy, and your business as a whole.
That can go either well or poorly depending on what CRM provider you go with. So, if you need to establish your company’s software for the long haul, why not go with the top name?
Hubspot is exactly that… and more. There are four feature-packed Hubs that cover marketing, sales, customer service, and content management.
That may be the best part about Hubspot—it’s a modular solution.
You can upgrade one Hub to a premium tier while continuing to use other Hubs for free. You can bundle them all together to save money while maximizing your available feature set. Or, you can stick to one module if you don’t need all the extra functionality.
Inside the Marketing Hub is an all-in-one email marketing service that comes with everything you need, regardless of the size of your business. You can use it solely for email marketing or you can use it to manage multiple areas of your marketing strategy in one place.
You can send up to 2,000 monthly emails on the free plan, build up to 20 landing pages, and create embedded or pop-up forms to gather emails.
There are also dozens of goal-based, pre-built email templates you can easily customize in a few minutes using Hubspot’s drag-and-drop designer.
So, even on the free-forever plan, you can have beautiful emails without hiring a developer or designer in-house.
The free plan lets you set up one autoresponder email per form. So, you can deliver a lead magnet, welcome new subscribers, share more information about your business, encourage them to connect with you on social media, or a little bit of everything.
As your list starts to grow, you can create up to five dynamic segments that use form submission data and recent email activity to ensure you’re continuously sending hyper-targeted messages to the right people.
For example, you can send your next newsletter, promotion, or exclusive discount code only to people who opened one of your emails in the last three months.
Hubspot includes unlimited users on the free plan, so you can invite your entire team without paying a penny. Most other free options on our list limit you to just one user, so this is an excellent deal.
If you upgrade to the Starter Plan, you unlock more advanced automation capabilities, higher monthly sending limits (5x the number of subscribers you have), and room for more marketing contacts (up to 1,000 included for free).
Plus, you can remove Hubspot branding from your emails, landing pages, and forms.
The free plan limits you to one email autoresponder per form, but the Starter Plan allows for up to three emails per form. As such, you can create a nurturing welcome sequence that helps new subscribers connect with your business on a deeper level.
From there, you can create up to 25 dynamic segments (vs. five on the free plan), giving you more opportunities to target relevant groups.
All plans—even the free one—include access to more than 650 integrations with other essential tools, CRMs, and website platforms to help streamline operations across your entire business.
There are four plans to choose from, including:
- Free – includes CRM features + up to 2,000 monthly emails
- Starter – $45 per month (includes 1,000 contacts for free)
- Professional – $800 per month (includes 2,000 contacts for free)
- Enterprise – $3,200 per month (includes 10,000 contacts for free)
While it looks intimidating after the Starter plan, don’t worry. You can add more subscribers to the Starter Plan without having to upgrade to the next tier. Each additional 1,000 subscribers is $45 per month.
Keep in mind, we don’t recommend Hubspot for smaller ecommerce stores because transactional emails are an additional $600 per month. You also have to be on the Professional Plan ($800 per month) to unlock this feature. If you’re a small or midsize ecommerce business, go with Drip unless you have a different way to handle transactional emails.
Hubspot’s plans are priced this way for a reason—by the time you need those super-advanced features, you’ll be generating enough revenue to justify the high price tag.
However, there’s another option that’s more valuable in terms of what you get for the price you pay. You can bundle all of Hubspot’s packages (marketing, sales, service, and CRM) for $50 per month.
So, for just $5 extra per month, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
This option also includes up to 1,000 subscribers for free. But each 1,000 after that is only $16.67 per month (rather than $45).
Plus, you get the added benefit of premium sales and service features you can use for other aspects of running your business. There are cheaper email marketing-specific options out there, but none of them rival the value Hubspot delivers to its customers.
Sign up for a free forever plan to see if Hubspot is right for you today!
#4 – Sendinblue Review — Best for Integrating with Your WordPress Site
Best for WordPress Integration
Sendinblue offers you a great way to send beautiful emails to your subscribers and eminently scalable pricing plans. But above all else, its integrations and apps will make your WordPress site more potent at capturing leads and new subscribers.
WordPress powers nearly 40% of all websites on the internet. It’s a good chance, then, that your website is one of those.
While the prominence of WordPress means a lot of the products on this list can play nice with the platform, Sendinblue has shown the most versatility in integrating with the top WordPress plugins.
Whether you lean hard on WooCommerce or have employed an array of more specialized plugins, Sendinblue can streamline your efforts by working well with them.
Heck, you can even use Sendinblue as your email campaign manager and integrate it with tools like TOPOL.io that help you create stunning email content and layouts.
Where this really shines is when coupling Sendinblue with tools like Poptin or Optinmonster. These WordPress plugins are excellent at capturing leads from website visitors, giving you a constant pipeline of contacts you can add to your subscriber list.
Because of Sendinblue’s excellent integration, taking the info from those plugins and immediately turning them around into targeted emails and campaigns has never been easier.
Another example is supercharging your list segmentation by integrating Sendinblue with Bouncer or Lytics, giving you incredible agility when thin-slicing your list for maximally effective targeting and personalization.
But, of course, Sendinblue isn’t just a connector between WordPress tools and your emails—it’s a full-fledged platform for professional marketing.
The tools you need for sending automated transactional emails, setting trigger events for autosends, segmenting your audience, and retargeting are all there. Plus, you can harness SMS and live chat interactions all within the same platform, allowing your team to see interactions across all channels in one convenient inbox.
Like many providers, Sendinblue has a free forever option that can work for limited needs or for an extended trial of the service. Above that, there are three paid tiers, of which two scale up in price based on your needed monthly sending limit.
At the free tier, you get up to 300 emails to send per day to unlimited contacts, which is a great way to try Sendinblue on for size.
Upgrading will unlock the powerful features at your disposal, starting with the Lite plan at $25/month for up to 10,000 monthly emails. At that tier, you get A/B testing and basic integrations at your disposal.
The only downside is that there isn’t too much more to the Lite plan than the free forever version. It’s worth going straight to the Premium tier—starting at $65/month for up to 20,000 emails—to wield all the tools Sendinblue has to offer.
There’s also an Enterprise tier with custom pricing that comes loaded with advanced integrations, wider access permissions, and a feature set tailor-made to your needs. Sendinblue will work with your team to create the perfect package for your needs.
Get started on Sendinblue’s free plan today to give it a test drive.
#5 – Moosend — Best If You’re Brand-New to Email Marketing
Best for Beginners
Get everything you need to start and grow a brand new email list, including unlimited email campaigns, workflow automations, signup forms, pop-up boxes, and reusable email templates without paying a penny. With Moosend, your first 1,000 subscribers are 100% free, with paid plans starting at $8 per month.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing, you may feel overwhelmed. We certainly did the first time we started exploring all the opportunities and possibilities that came with our new service.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to feel that way, thanks to Moosend. It’s the platform we wish we knew about when we were just getting started.
Most people recommend Mailchimp for beginners, but Moosend paid plans are half the price, and it’s much easier to use, making it a clear winner in our book. If you’ve already tried your hand with Mailchimp and felt frustrated, we highly recommend giving Moosend a try.
If you’re struggling to design your emails or are unsure of what to say, you can browse through hundreds of free, professionally designed email templates and sipe files on Moosend. From standard emails like newsletters, promotions, and informational emails to more niche things like wedding invitations or travel booking emails, there’s a template for everyone.
Once you find one you like, you can import it and customize it using Moosend’s intuitive drag-and-drop email designer.
As such, you never have to start writing or designing anything from scratch.
There are also pre-made sign-up forms you can customize and embed on your website in just a few seconds. The Moosend team seriously thought of everything to make the service as easy to use as possible.
As your list starts growing, it becomes more and more important to segment your list. However, doing it is much easier said than done.
The good news is that Moosend offers valuable segmentation suggestions, so you don’t have to do it yourself.
They update in real-time as your subscribers take action (or don’t take action). For example, when someone buys something from you, they automatically move to the right segment.
Aside from the software itself, you can use numerous other resources to improve your marketing efforts continuously.
For example, you can use the subject line tester to practice writing them and get actionable feedback on how to get better at writing them.
From there, you can head back to the resource center to check out more subject line best practices, guidelines, and examples.
What really stands out to us is that Moosend has worked diligently to make its services and resource hub a one-stop-shop for anyone just getting started with email marketing.
You can learn everything you need to know without ever leaving the platform.
There’s also an entire step-by-step online covering everything you need to know to set up your new account and get started. It’s very linear and tells you exactly how to do everything to get started.
There are general business courses and specific courses for brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, and publishers. Regardless of how your business works, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Aside from courses, there are over 300 blog posts you can filter for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users, plus on-demand webinars designed to teach you the basics of email marketing, GDPR compliance, using automations, and more.
If they missed something, you make a mistake, or you need more hands-on guidance, Moosend’s customer service team is quick, friendly, and knowledgeable.
You can get in touch 24/7 via an online form, email, or live chat.
We highly recommend starting with the free plan.
You get everything you need on the free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, so you can try it out as long as you’d like.
Once you outgrow it, Moosend’s paid plans are the most affordable on our list. They start at just $8 per month for up to 2,500 subscribers. Here’s a quick look at pricing beyond that:
- $16 per month for up to 3,500 subscribers
- $24 per month for up to 5,500 subscribers
- $32 per month for up to 9,000 subscribers
- $44 per month for up to 10,500 subscribers
They continue like this up to $608 per month for up to 200,000 subscribers. And you can get a custom quote for anything beyond that.
You don’t have to worry about outgrowing your provider or experiencing any unexpected price jumps to go from one tier to the next.
There’s also an enterprise package with more advanced features. Some of those features include custom reporting, a dedicated account manager, priority support, onboarding and migration support, and deliverability strategy sessions.
So, the advanced capabilities are there whenever you’re ready for them complete with detailed documentation and tutorials to teach you how to use them.
Sign up for a free forever plan to get started with Moosend today!
#6 – MailerLite Review — Best for Local Businesses
Best for Local Businesses
Looking for an easy and affordable way to connect with your customers? MailerLite’s free plan (up to 1,000 subscribers) is more than enough if you’re just getting started with email and comes with everything you need in an easy-to-use platform. Includes basic ecommerce functionality, unlimited sign-up forms, compatibility with your POS, and more.
If you’re a local business, simplicity and affordability are key. You don’t need anything super fancy.
Whether you’re solely a brick-and-mortar business or have started selling online during COVID, it’s easy to use, comes with everything you need, and is one of the most affordable options on our list.
You still get all the features you need to stay in touch with your customers, ask them for online reviews, invite them to your store, offer up a promotion, or talk about upcoming events.
Beyond staying in touch with your customer base, you still need the ability to create sign-up forms so new customers can join your list in the first place.
With MailerLite, you can create as many forms and landing pages as you want for free. You can deploy different forms to help segment your subscriber list.
You can also connect your online store and create custom product recommendations based on different subscribers’ recent purchases.
Plus, you can import products from your ecommerce platform and drop them straight into your emails to encourage subscribers to shop online.
To put things in perspective, Hubspot charges $600 per month as an add-on for this type of functionality.
If you want to take your email game beyond newsletters, you can use MailerLite’s visual automation builder to create multi-step workflows based on recent activities.
For example, you could set up a workflow to send friendly reminders to someone who bought something a month ago but hasn’t made a purchase since then. Or you could send an automated birthday coupon two weeks before, one day before, or on the day of their birthday to help them celebrate.
One of the most significant capabilities, though, is the ability to connect your email marketing service to your POS system. In doing so, you can feature a sign-up form at checkout to add in-store customers to your email list automatically.
MailerLite offers more than 100 pre-built integrations, including Shopify, Squarespace, PayPal, Magento, Stripe, BigCommerce, and more.
So, if you use an ecommerce platform for your in-store POS, making this integration is a breeze. If you use something else for in-person purchases, you can use Zapier to connect the two or get with a developer to leverage MailerLite’s open API access for a completely custom connection.
What’s even better—this is all included on the free plan.
MailerLite’s free forever version includes up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 monthly emails. It’s more than enough if you’re just starting your list or growing a new local business.
The free plan comes with all the basic functionality, like the ability to send regular newsletters, design emails with a drag-and-drop builder, and manipulate photos without leaving the platform.
And while the free tier does do a lot, there are also a few considerations to think about. The biggest one is that the MailerLite logo appears at the bottom of every email you send.
However, the good news is that most people are used to seeing this so it’s not really a deal breaker in our book.
Another setback is that you can’t use the pre-built newsletter templates.
Pricing is based solely on the number of subscribers you have, with tiers including:
- Free up to 1,000 subscribers
- 0 – 1,000 — $10 per month
- 1,001 – 2,500 — $15 per month
- 2,501 – 5,000 — $30 per month
- 5,001 – 10,000 — $50 per month
You can save 30% if you opt for an annual plan instead of paying monthly.
Most of you can start on the free plan and many of you can stay there for a while, depending on the size of your list. However, paid plans are affordable and you can scale the service as your list grows.
Sign up for a free forever plan to see if MailerLite is right for you today!
#7 – ConvertKit Review — Best for Bloggers and Content Creators
Best For Bloggers
Creating automated funnels for lead magnets, digital courses, nurture sequences, and affiliate marketing campaigns has never been easier. Includes a visual automation builder, powerful automations, dozens of pre-built landing page templates, simple email templates, and 70+ integrations. Plus, your first 1,000 subscribers are absolutely free.
As a blogger, YouTuber, podcaster, influencer, or creator, email marketing is one of the best ways to create deeper connections with your audience. As such, you need an email marketing service that understands how you do business.
ConvertKit was created by a frustrated blogger who was tired of using email platforms built for more traditional businesses that were a huge pain to use.
The founder (Nathan Barry) lived your business model before creating ConvertKit and built the tool he always wished he had.
Rather than focusing on fancy, image-filled emails that scream “Hello, I’m marketing to you!”, the service helps improve email deliverability and showcases the human behind your brand by focusing on text-based email templates.
Of course, you can still play around with them and add your own personality, but the heart of ConvertKit is simplicity.
People are comfortable with text-based emails because that’s how they communicate with friends and family. When you do the same, you come across as a friendly colleague rather than a business, which is exactly what you want as a creator.
With that said, the company recently added a drag-and-drop email builder. It’s much more intuitive than its previous rich text editor, but doesn’t go overboard in the slightest.
With the new email builder, it’s easy to add customized CTA buttons and you can access the HTML code to add further customizations. You can create as many templates as you want for different types of emails and everything is mobile-responsive out of the box.
You can also add photos using the Unsplash integration without ever leaving the platform. So, you can certainly still jazz up your emails if you’d like to.
Unlike other providers, ConvertKit’s interface just makes sense.
As your list gets bigger, you can leverage advanced list segmenting features. Accurate segmentation ensures the right people get the right emails without hitting them with too many messages at once.
You can also your segments to determine when to send what.
If someone’s regularly clicking to buy your affiliate product but hasn’t followed through, you can automatically add them to a sales sequence to push your product a bit harder.
At the same time, you can stop emailing those who aren’t interested, clicking, or engaging with emails about that particular product.
However, one of the most significant benefits of using ConvertKit as a creator is the ability to sell digital products without needing to invest in any other piece of software.
You can even start generating revenue with digital products on the free plan.
The digital product feature lets you add as many products as you’d like, create product pages, accept online payments, and automatically deliver your product the moment a payment goes through.
You can use one-time purchases for things like ebooks, presets, coaching services, design assets, freelancing services, courses, and more.
And you can also set up recurring payments for memberships or premium newsletters.
What used to take three or four pieces of software duct taped together now takes less than five minutes and requires no additional software or expensive monthly payments.
Every plan—even the free one—includes unlimited landing pages, embedded forms, popup forms, and slide-in forms.
There are three pricing plans to choose from, including:
- Free – for up to 1,000 subscribers and limited features
- Creator – $29 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers and most features
- Creator Plus – $59 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers and all features
These prices increase as you add more subscribers. The Creator plan goes up to $49 per month for 1,001 to 3,000 subscribers, for example.
With that said, you probably won’t ever need to upgrade to the Creator Plus plan unless you need more than one user account or more advanced features like Facebook custom audiences, engagement scoring, and premium support.
If you’re just getting started or have a small list, the free plan is more than enough.
However, the biggest limitation of the free plan is that you can’t create multi-email automations. You can deliver a lead magnet with an autoresponder but you can’t build long-term welcome, nurturing, or sales sequences.
As such, it may want to start on a paid plan if you need that functionality.
Sign up for a free-forever plan to take ConvertKit for a test drive today!
#8 – Drip Review — Best for Growing Ecommerce Sites
Best For Ecommerce
Ready to leverage email marketing services and strategies that actually convert more subscribers into paying customers? Drip covers all the basics you expect, essential features for beginners, and advanced functionality to create personalized experiences for everyone on your list. Paid plans start at just $19 per month.
Ecommerce sites are a special beast when it comes to email marketing. There are a lot more facets and moving parts to create a successful strategy and you need more advanced connections with your ecommerce platform than most providers deliver.
You may have even given up on more advanced strategies because they’re simply not possible with the provider you’re currently using.
But then you meet Drip and all of those limitations magically disappear.
As you’d expect, you get all the essential features, like customizable forms, a drag-and-drop email builder, a visual automation builder, segmentation, and reporting.
Drip’s deeper ecommerce integrations allow you to learn everything there is to know about your customers to inform your email marketing strategies.
Rather than simply showing you customer data, the service tells you what it actually means. And it makes data-driven recommendations on when to do what, who to send it to, and what’s going to have the most impact today.
Drip has reinvented analytics to make it easier to understand.
Drip delivers numerous features you won’t find with most other email marketing services. For example, you can leverage liquid templates that let you gather data in real-time and serve dynamic content based on that data.
You can also use operational filters to display relevant content. You can use them in emails or workflows, making them an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal.
An example of this in action is using a customer’s location to suggest different products.
Someone in Florida probably won’t need a jacket in the middle of July but someone in Alaska or Montana might.
With liquid templates, you can display one CTA for the subscriber in Florida (Check out our newest sunglasses!) while delivering a different one for subscribers in Alaska or Montana (Check out our latest jackets!).
Another advanced feature is expired links. When you run a promotion over a specific time period, you probably send visitors to a specific page.
But what happens when that promotion is over? Does the link lead to a 404 page?
If so, you’re missing out on an opportunity to convert those later visitors into customers. With Drip, you can “magically” redirect clicks to a different page designed to convert them even though the sale is over.
If you use Shopify, you can also automatically pull personalized products related to each customers’ most recent purchase to encourage them to buy something else.
Every subscriber will see a different set of products, which creates a hyper-targeted experience for everyone without you having to do any work.
Alternatively, you can insert top-selling products and abandoned products into emails.
As your audience grows and you’re ready to start split testing, Drip lets you split test email content, pre-headers, subject lines, and entire automation sequences. Most only let you test subject lines and email content, so this is a huge bonus.
While we’ve focused heavily on advanced functionality, Drip also delivers for novices who are just getting comfortable with email marketing.
There are 24 different pre-built automation workflows you can install into your account for free. Not sure how to set up a cart abandonment workflow? No problem. Simply install the pre-built automation, update it with your own content, and hit publish.
Other pre-built workflows include removing no-engagement subscribers, re-engagement sequences, post-purchase workflows to encourage repeat purchases, and rewarding loyal customers.
There’s also a recommended segment option to help you learn the best ways to group your subscribers based on various factors, like their activity (or inactivity), location, previous purchases, and more.
As such, you can still leverage Drip’s advanced features if you’re just starting out. And you don’t have to know how to set up anything from scratch.
While it may feel overwhelming since there’s a lot to learn, Drip offers some of the most in-depth documentation and training materials we’ve seen. From hundreds of blog posts and dozens of on-demand webinars to online courses and product documentation, there are plenty of educational resources to match your preferred learning style.
Ready to learn everything you need to know to get started? There’s a webinar for that.
Want to explore all of Drip’s ecommerce features and see them in action? There’s a 25-minute video course for that. Whether you’re brand new or looking for help setting up the most complex workflow, you’ll find everything you need.
And if you don’t, Drip’s 24/7 email and live chat support team is there to help fill in the gaps and provide hands-on support anytime you need it.
Drip pricing is based solely on the number of subscribers you have. The introductory tiers include:
- Up to 500 subscribers – $19 per month
- 501 to 2,000 subscribers – $29 per month
- 2,001 to 2,500 subscribers – $39 per month
- 2,501 to 3,000 subscribers – $49 per month
That pricing structure continues up to 150,000 subscribers. After that, you get custom pricing as an enterprise user.
To up-level your marketing strategies even more, you can add SMS messaging to any plan starting at $0.015 per message.
The cool thing about Drip’s SMS option is that you can include texting within your automated workflows to follow up and send transactional information via text on autopilot.
Unlike other providers, there is no free plan and every feature is included on every plan. As such, it can feel overwhelming if you’re brand new or just getting started with email marketing. It’s also a bit more expensive.
But those growing pains are worth it if you’re serious about using email marketing to drive continuous revenue and business growth for your online store.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial with up to 500 subscribers with 2,000 email sends today!
Methodology For Choosing The Best Email Marketing Service
When it comes down to it, most email marketing services deliver the same features. Despite their differentiators being small, they do exist and there are more suitable choices for different situations.
To help you navigate these slight variations, we developed a definitive set of factors to consider when choosing the best service for you and your audience.
The Size of Your List
The size of your list and your experience level both play a direct role in what to look for when choosing an email marketing provider.
If you have no experience with email marketing, are starting an email list from scratch, or have a small list with fewer than 500 subscribers, ease-of-use and affordability are the most important considerations.
At this point, you don’t need anything fancy and it’s important to avoid falling victim to shiny object syndrome.
You don’t need the most robust system—you need something you can start using today.
Some of the most important features to pay attention to include sign-up forms, landing pages, and pre-built templates. They help kickstart the process of getting things set up since you don’t need to create anything from scratch.
It’s also important to choose a platform with a drag-and-drop interface you’re comfortable with. It may help to sign up with a few different providers so you can try them out.
The good news is that most of the options on our list offer free-forever plans so you can try them out as long as you’d like to without paying a penny.
Doing so will help you get a better understanding of how they work and what your customization options are.
Don’t forget to look at the different pre-made templates you can use while you’re at it.
Many of you can actually stay on a free plan for quite a while until you get the hang of the platform and your list starts growing.
You don’t need to upgrade to a paid plan until your list grows beyond the limitations of the free plan or you need access to more advanced automation features.
For larger lists, it’s more important to focus on automation capabilities that help you grow your list and nurture existing subscribers on autopilot. As such, you should pay closer attention to workflow trigger options, advanced list segmenting, A/B testing, automated responses, and multi-step workflow builders.
If you have an in-house developer, designer, or email marketing specialist (or plan to hire one in the future), be sure to look for options that offer numerous built-in integrations, open APIs, and an HTML editor for advanced customization options.
Regardless of where you’re at, most email marketing services base pricing on the size of your list, the number of emails you send out every month, or a combination of the two.
So, the larger your list and the more emails you send, the more you can expect to pay.
If your provider charges based on the number of subscribers you have, you should research how they calculate your subscriber count. Some (like AWeber) include all unsubscribed and bounced emails in your total count.
Other providers consider a subscriber on multiple lists as more than one subscriber, while others don’t.
For many businesses, this isn’t a big deal. But this simple, yet often overlooked stipulation can have a significant impact on your monthly bill if you have multiple sign-up forms on your website.
If someone signs up on three various forms, it could count as three separate subscribers instead of one.
All of your email marketing efforts are for naught if your emails consistently land in spam boxes or don’t get delivered at all.
Most providers have an average of 90% deliverability or higher. Constant Contact, for example, has an average of 97%, and ConvertKit’s is around 99%.
However, your deliverability depends on your sending reputation and the quality of senders using the same platform. As such, it’s essential to pay attention to how well a provider vets its customers and the features they deliver to help everyone improve their sending reputations.
So, it’s important to look for providers that monitor sending activity to flag and ban accounts that aren’t following the rules.
Your data, like opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and other engagements, also play a role. The best thing you can do is send emails that people actually want to read. From there, it’s good practice to segment your list to ensure you’re always sending targeted messages.
However, there are several other things you can do as well, including:
- Enabling double opt-in to reduce inactive subscribers and bots
- Regularly removing old or inactive subscribers from your list
- Use a domain email that’s properly connected via DNS records
- Use a dedicated IP address (most providers offer this at an extra charge)
- Leverage personalization to create a better inbox experience
- Run A/B tests to see what your subscribers respond better to
- Avoid spam trigger words and clickbait subject lines
- Don’t use a link shortener for links inside your emails
- Looking at and understanding your email analytics
Some providers offer features and tools that can help with improving deliverability. For example, Hubspot has a graymail suppression option you can use after you’ve sent out numerous emails.
It automatically flags and excludes contacts that haven’t engaged with your emails in quite some time. As a result, your emails only go out to those who’re more likely to open them, read them, and take action.
ConvertKit has a pre-built cold subscriber automation you can use to identify inactive subscribers and remove them from your list.
And Drip offers a free best practices guide to ensure you’re doing everything you can to improve deliverability.
Regardless of the provider you use, if your sender reputation starts to drop or a monitoring algorithm gets the slightest hint you’re doing something sketchy, your provider can (and will) lock your account.
Unfortunately, this can happen even if you’re doing nothing wrong. If it happens, you can’t export your list or send emails, and all of your automations stop.
This can cause significant issues if you’re in the middle of a launch or rely on email marketing as a significant revenue source.
So, it’s essential to choose a provider with top-notch, 24/7/365 support who can hop in and help you resolve these issues to get your account back up and running as fast as possible.
Around the Clock Customer Service
Even if your account never gets locked, responsive and friendly customer service is something you’ll probably need on more than one occasion. Around-the-clock support is mostly the norm in email marketing, but a handful of providers don’t offer it.
Constant Contact, for example, only offers support from 8 am to 8 pm ET.
If you’re based in the U.S. and usually work during standard business hours, this isn’t a big deal. But if you’re somewhere else or work odd hours, 24/7 support is a must-have.
It’s particularly important if you’re brand new to email marketing. When you’re just getting started, email marketing feels like a massive monster to wrap your head around because it is. There’s a lot to learn and sometimes documentation or training videos simply aren’t enough.
When that happens, you should be able to contact support for help with specific questions and for feature walkthroughs at any time.
Even if you’re a seasoned email marketer, issues pop up all the time. After hours of troubleshooting on your own, you still may not be able to get to the bottom of it.
Regardless of what’s happening or who’s at fault, you shouldn’t have any problems connecting with a customer service rep who can help you straighten it out.
To really gauge the quality of a provider’s customer support, it’s worth using a free account to ask specific questions that help you really understand how they handle issues.
Before signing up, though, pay close attention to how easy (or difficult) it is to cancel your account. Email marketing services are notorious for making the cancellation process lengthy or impossible without contacting customer support.
With Constant Contact, for example, you can’t cancel your account online.
It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, but it is something to pay attention to, especially if you’re signing up for multiple accounts to test them out before upgrading to a paid plan.
Importing an Existing List
Regardless of where you and your subscribers live, there are a TON of legal regulations surrounding online privacy. As such, most email marketing services take importing contacts seriously.
Which can be both good and bad news if you need to import an existing list.
The good news is that it helps protect the provider’s reputation, which helps protect your sending reputation. It also ensures higher deliverability rates for all users on the platform.
Because of this, most providers check your list before you’re allowed to send out marketing messages. This in itself isn’t bad, but the not-so-great part is that most platforms use an algorithm to ensure you’re not importing scraped or illegally acquired email addresses.
Like most algorithms, they aren’t perfect, and your account can get flagged for manual review or suspended from the service, even if you did everything right.
The best way to avoid getting flagged or suspended is to thoroughly explain how and where your subscribers opted into your list. There’s usually a box for a description, so be sure to provide as much detail as possible.
If you get flagged for manual review, someone has to manually go through your list one-by-one, which can take a lot of time, particularly if you have an extensive list.
The real kicker, though, is that you can’t send emails while your account’s under review.
One way to avoid surprises like this is to take advantage of your new provider’s free migration services. Most providers can move your list, forms, automations, and tags from the old service to your new platform.
Depending on the platform you choose, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but you won’t face any surprises as long as your list is legit.
And you can continue using your existing service until the migration is done.
Some providers also limit the number of subscribers you can import or manually add in a day to help limit abuse and illegal lists from making their way onto the platform.
While all of these extra steps are actually a good thing, they can feel frustrating, and there’s not really a way around it. So, we highly recommend looking through the documentation for importing a list to see what’s required and how long it takes if you get flagged for a manual review, so you know what to expect.
Integrations with Your Website Platform and CRM
If you have a website, it’s much easier to choose an email marketing platform that integrates with the platform you used to build your website.
Having an easy, one-click integration makes life easier. If you use WordPress, look for a frequently updated plugin from the email provider or a built-in integration on its website.
If the WordPress plugin hasn’t been updated in a while, don’t use the plugin. Instead, look for a different way to connect the two platforms.
For WordPress sites, your best bet will likely be Sendinblue.That email service offers a wide array of integrations with WordPress itself and its most useful plugins.
Website builders like Wix or Squarespace often have add-ons and apps you can use in addition to your email provider’s built-in integrations.
If you are an ecommerce business, integrating your website and email marketing platform is crucial if you want to send transactional emails through your new email provider.
You can segment your list based on previous purchases, buying behavior, and more. You’ll also be able to embed products directly into your emails.
Aside from your website platform, your email marketing service should play nicely with your CRM. Many of them come with a built-in CRM, but 99% of them pale in comparison to full-blown CRM software.
There’s one exception to this—if you’re not already using a CRM and you know you need one, go with Hubspot. Its built-in CRM is one of the best out there.
If the integration’s done well, you only have to enter lead and customer information once.
So, when someone subscribes to your list, they’re automatically added as a new contact inside your CRM. Plus, you can use CRM data like previous purchases, customer service interactions, and custom fields to segment your list into targeted groups.
Switching email marketing platforms is super common, but you’ll likely never change your CRM once you find one you’re happy with. So, it’s worth the extra effort to make sure your new email service integrates seamlessly with your CRM.
Best for Most
Get everything you need to build and launch your website plus email marketing services in one package. Having everything under one roof greatly simplifies the process and comes at a fraction of the price compared to buying each software individually.
However, they’re not a perfect fit for everyone. So, be sure to use the methodology we talked about as you work through finding the best email marketing service for your business.