Best email marketing software for small business

Introduction

Email marketing remains a cornerstone of digital marketing strategies, especially for small businesses looking to engage directly with their customers. The right email marketing software can help streamline campaigns, automate processes, and deliver targeted messages that encourage customer interaction and drive sales. Essential features to consider when choosing an email marketing platform include automation, ease of use, integration capabilities, affordability, and insightful analytics. In this listicle, we explore several popular email marketing tools, detailing their features, pricing, and how they can specifically benefit small businesses aiming to boost their marketing effectiveness.

Mailchimp

Overview:
Mailchimp is a leading email marketing platform that has evolved into an all-in-one marketing solution for small businesses. Known for its user-friendly interface, extensive template library, and powerful automation features, Mailchimp supports businesses in creating, managing, and optimizing their email campaigns with ease.

Key Features:

  • Automation: Mailchimp provides advanced automation capabilities, allowing businesses to send triggered emails based on subscriber activity and other custom events.
  • Templates and Design: Users can choose from a wide range of customizable templates or create their own designs from scratch using a drag-and-drop editor.
  • Segmentation and Personalization: Mailchimp allows users to segment their audience based on behavior, preferences, and previous sales, tailoring messages to different groups for more effective campaigns.
  • Analytics and Reporting: With comprehensive analytics, users can track campaign performance, monitor open rates, click rates, and overall engagement to refine strategies.

Pricing: Mailchimp offers a free tier, which supports up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, making it an excellent option for small businesses just starting out. Paid plans start at $11 per month and scale up based on features and the number of contacts.

Benefits for Small Businesses: Mailchimp’s ease of use, combined with its robust toolset, makes it a practical choice for small businesses that need a reliable, powerful marketing platform without requiring deep technical expertise. Its integration with various eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce also ensures that businesses can seamlessly connect their online stores to their marketing efforts.

Bravo (formerly sendinblue)

Overview:
Brevo is a versatile email marketing tool that caters to small businesses looking for cost-effective solutions to manage not only email campaigns but also SMS messages and automated marketing workflows. It distinguishes itself with its strong emphasis on automation and transactional email features, making it suitable for businesses that require advanced functionalities without a hefty price tag.

Key Features:

  • Multi-Channel Campaigns: Beyond traditional email marketing, Brevo allows users to manage SMS campaigns and automated sequences from the same platform.
  • Automation: Brevo’s automation tools are robust, enabling businesses to create workflows for sending emails, segmenting contacts, and triggering personalized messages based on user behavior.
  • Transactional Emails: Essential for e-commerce businesses, Sendinblue excels in sending transactional emails, such as purchase confirmations and password resets, with high deliverability rates.
  • Design Tools: Users can easily design emails using the drag-and-drop editor and customize templates to fit their brand’s aesthetics.

Pricing: Brevo’s pricing is unique as it is based on the number of emails sent, rather than the number of contacts in your database. This can be highly cost-effective for businesses with a large contact list but lower frequency of sends. The free plan allows for 300 emails per day, and paid plans start at approximately $25 per month for 20,000 emails without any daily sending limit.

Benefits for Small Businesses: Brevo offers a scalable solution that grows with your business. Its ability to handle large volumes of both marketing and transactional emails, coupled with detailed reporting and analytics, makes it a powerful tool for businesses focused on growth and engagement. The pricing model also makes it attractive for businesses looking to manage costs while expanding their marketing capabilities.

Constant Contact

Overview:
Constant Contact is one of the oldest email marketing services, well-known for its reliability and ease of use. It is particularly favored by small businesses and nonprofits for its straightforward tools and exceptional customer support. Constant Contact stands out with its extensive industry-specific template designs and a wide array of additional marketing tools.

Key Features:

  • Email Templates: Offers an extensive library of customizable templates designed to suit various industries and occasions, making it easy to create professional-looking emails quickly.
  • Event Management: Unique among email marketing platforms, Constant Contact provides features for managing registrations, invitations, and tickets for events, which is a significant advantage for businesses that host frequent events.
  • Marketing Automation: Allows users to set up welcome emails, trigger email series based on clicks, and resend emails to non-openers, enhancing engagement.
  • Social Media Tools: Integrates tools for managing social media posts and advertising, helping businesses expand their reach beyond email.

Pricing: Constant Contact's pricing starts at $20 per month for the basic plan, which includes all the core email marketing features with a limit based on the number of contacts. The pricing scales up based on the size of the email list and additional features, like more advanced automation and additional users.

Benefits for Small Businesses: Constant Contact is incredibly user-friendly, making it easy for those with limited marketing experience to start effective campaigns. Its support team is noted for its responsiveness and helpfulness, providing excellent customer service that is crucial for small businesses needing a bit of extra guidance. The platform also offers extensive resources and training to help users maximize their marketing efforts.

MailerLite

Overview: MailerLite is recognized for its simplicity and efficiency, making it a popular choice among small businesses that prioritize ease of use and affordability in their email marketing software. It's particularly well-suited for beginners and those who need a straightforward tool that still offers a robust set of features.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive Interface: MailerLite's clean and simple interface is designed for ease of use, allowing even those new to email marketing to create campaigns without a steep learning curve.
  • Comprehensive Editor: The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to design attractive emails. Users can also build landing pages, pop-ups, and surveys—all integrated within the platform.
  • Automation Features: Supports basic automation for campaign triggers based on user behavior, such as opening an email or clicking a link, which helps in personalizing communication.
  • Advanced Segmentation: Allows users to segment their lists based on various criteria, ensuring that the right messages reach the right audience segments.

Pricing: MailerLite offers a very competitive pricing structure, which includes a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Paid plans start at $10 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers with unlimited emails and additional features like auto resend and advanced segmentation.

Benefits for Small Businesses: With its low cost, simplicity, and range of features, MailerLite is ideal for small businesses that need an effective email marketing tool without the complexity or high costs associated with more advanced platforms. It's also beneficial for businesses looking to engage their audience through multiple channels by using integrated tools for creating websites, landing pages, and more.

Moosend

Overview:
Moosend is a powerful email marketing platform that has gained a reputation for its advanced automation capabilities and real-time analytics. It's particularly appealing to small businesses due to its ease of use and the ability to scale as a business grows. Moosend is suitable for businesses that want to automate repetitive tasks and enhance their marketing efforts with data-driven decisions.

Key Features:

  • Automation Workflows: Moosend's automation features are robust, allowing users to create custom workflows for virtually any scenario, from subscriber behavior tracking to weather-based recommendations.
  • Personalization: Offers advanced personalization capabilities, enabling businesses to tailor their messages based on customer data and behaviors, increasing engagement and conversions.
  • Real-time Analytics: Provides detailed insights into campaign performance, including open rates, click-through rates, and user activities, to help businesses refine their strategies on the fly.
  • List Segmentation: Supports dynamic segmentation, allowing users to segment their audience based on real-time movements and interactions, which can optimize the relevance of the campaigns.

Pricing: Moosend offers a free tier that includes access to all core features but with a limitation on the number of subscribers and email sends. Paid plans start at $8 per month when billed annually and offer more comprehensive features, including landing pages and transactional emails, which are crucial for eCommerce businesses.

Benefits for Small Businesses: Moosend is ideal for small businesses looking to leverage powerful automation tools and analytics without investing heavily in enterprise-level solutions. The pricing model is attractive for growing businesses, as it allows them to start small and expand as their needs evolve. Furthermore, its user-friendly interface ensures that even marketers with minimal technical knowledge can effectively manage and execute campaigns.

GetResponse

Overview: GetResponse is a versatile email marketing platform that serves small to medium-sized businesses with an array of tools for campaign management, automation, and e-commerce integration. It’s known for its robust automation features, comprehensive landing page editor, and the ability to host webinars, making it a multifunctional platform that extends beyond basic email marketing.

Key Features:

  • Email Automation: GetResponse provides advanced automation services that help businesses create complex, behavior-driven campaigns. Users can set conditions, actions, and filters to automate the entire customer journey.
  • Landing Pages and Conversion Funnels: Includes tools to build landing pages that are optimized for high conversion rates. It also offers ready-made, automated sales funnels (conversion funnels) that guide the user from acquisition to sale.
  • Webinar Hosting: Unique among email marketing tools, GetResponse allows users to host webinars directly from the platform, integrating this feature with email campaigns for greater reach and engagement.
  • E-commerce Features: Supports direct integration with e-commerce platforms, enabling features like abandoned cart campaigns, which are essential for online retailers.

Pricing: GetResponse pricing starts with a basic plan at $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers, which includes email marketing, autoresponders, and a landing page builder. More advanced plans add features such as automation, webinars, and e-commerce tools, with prices increasing based on the size of the subscriber list and the selection of features.

Benefits for Small Businesses: For small businesses looking to execute more sophisticated marketing strategies, GetResponse offers a broad range of tools that can help streamline various aspects of digital marketing. The integration of webinars and e-commerce functionality makes it particularly valuable for businesses that are looking to educate their audience or sell products online. Additionally, its automation capabilities allow businesses to set up detailed, effective marketing sequences with minimal ongoing management.

ActiveCampaign

Overview: ActiveCampaign stands out in the realm of email marketing with its emphasis on customer experience automation, combining email marketing, CRM, and advanced automation into a single platform. It's designed for small to medium businesses that want to leverage sophisticated automation to enhance their customer interactions and increase sales.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Automation: ActiveCampaign's automation capabilities are among the most powerful on the market, allowing businesses to create complex workflows tailored to specific customer behaviors and interactions.
  • Integrated CRM: Unlike many email marketing services, ActiveCampaign includes a full CRM system to help manage leads and keep customer information organized, enhancing the overall sales process.
  • Site Tracking: With site tracking, ActiveCampaign can monitor your contacts’ interactions on your website, enabling you to tailor your marketing strategies based on individual user behavior.
  • Email Segmentation: Sophisticated segmentation features allow users to deliver highly targeted and personalized emails, improving engagement and conversion rates.

Pricing: ActiveCampaign offers a tiered pricing structure starting from $15 per month for up to 500 subscribers on the Lite plan, which includes basic features such as email marketing, automation, and unlimited sends. Prices increase with the addition of more advanced features like sales automation, CRM, and lead scoring in higher tiers.

Benefits for Small Businesses: ActiveCampaign is particularly beneficial for small businesses that need a high degree of customization and control over their marketing and sales processes. Its deep integration capabilities with other tools and platforms, such as Shopify, WordPress, and Facebook, make it a versatile choice for businesses looking to streamline and automate a significant portion of their marketing efforts. The CRM component also adds a layer of functionality that can help small businesses nurture leads more effectively and convert them into loyal customers.

AWeber

Overview: AWeber is a well-established email marketing platform that focuses on providing small businesses with straightforward and reliable email marketing tools. Renowned for its superior customer service and ease of use, AWeber is especially appealing to those new to email marketing or businesses that prefer a more hands-on support approach.

Key Features:

  • Email Templates: AWeber offers a vast library of over 700 email templates, making it easy to create professional-looking emails that are responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • Autoresponder Functionality: Its autoresponder tool is robust, allowing users to automate the delivery of a series of emails, which is great for onboarding new subscribers or nurturing leads.
  • List Segmentation: Effective segmentation options enable users to target emails based on subscriber behavior and preferences, enhancing the personalization and relevance of campaigns.
  • Integrations: AWeber offers seamless integration with a wide variety of business tools and apps, such as WordPress, PayPal, and Shopify, allowing for a smoother workflow across platforms.

Pricing: AWeber provides a free plan for up to 500 subscribers and 3,000 email sends per month, which includes most of its core features. The Pro plan starts at $19.99 per month for up to 500 subscribers, with pricing increasing based on the number of subscribers, and includes additional features like advanced analytics, split testing, and removed AWeber branding.

Benefits for Small Businesses: For small businesses, AWeber offers a balance of simplicity and power, making it easy to get started with email marketing without the need for extensive technical knowledge. The strong focus on customer support helps users maximize their email marketing efforts effectively. Additionally, its straightforward pricing and comprehensive feature set make it a good choice for businesses looking to grow their email marketing without switching platforms.

Benchmark Email

Overview: Benchmark Email focuses on providing user-friendly email marketing solutions that allow small businesses to craft beautiful emails effortlessly and manage campaigns with ease. It's known for its intuitive design interface and robust support options, making it ideal for businesses that prioritize simplicity and visual appeal in their email marketing efforts.

Key Features:

  • Drag-and-Drop Editor: Benchmark's email editor is extremely user-friendly, allowing anyone, regardless of technical skill, to create attractive and engaging emails. The editor also supports the incorporation of interactive elements like polls and videos.
  • Automation Pro: This feature offers automation capabilities that enable businesses to set up automated customer journeys based on subscriber actions, such as website activity or email engagement.
  • List Management: Benchmark provides sophisticated tools for managing your email lists, including segmentation features that allow for targeted and personalized email campaigns.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Users get detailed reports on the performance of their emails, including open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement, which are crucial for refining strategies and improving results.

Pricing: Benchmark Email offers a free plan that supports up to 250 emails per month, which is great for small businesses just starting out or those with smaller email lists. The paid plans start at $13 per month and provide unlimited sends and access to more advanced features like A/B testing and targeted emailing.

Benefits for Small Businesses: Benchmark Email's ease of use and powerful editing tools make it particularly suitable for small businesses that need to create high-impact email campaigns without a steep learning curve. The platform's focus on providing detailed insights into campaign performance also helps businesses optimize their strategies to achieve better outcomes. Moreover, Benchmark’s responsive customer service ensures that businesses receive the support they need to succeed in their email marketing efforts.

Campaign Monitor

Overview: Campaign Monitor is renowned for its design excellence and powerful, yet user-friendly, email marketing tools. It's particularly favored by businesses that value high-quality design and want to create visually stunning email campaigns with ease. Campaign Monitor caters to businesses of all sizes, offering advanced features in a straightforward interface.

Key Features:

  • Engaging Templates: Campaign Monitor provides a vast selection of professionally designed templates that are fully customizable, ensuring that emails look attractive on any device.
  • Advanced Segmentation and Personalization: It allows for intricate segmentation and personalization options, enabling marketers to deliver highly targeted messages based on subscriber data like past behavior, demographics, and more.
  • Automation: Offers powerful automation capabilities that help businesses send timely and relevant email sequences, improving engagement and conversion rates.
  • Dynamic Content: Dynamic content features let users tailor parts of their emails to individual subscribers based on the data they have, making each email feel personally crafted.

Pricing: Campaign Monitor offers three main pricing tiers: Basic, Unlimited, and Premier. Pricing starts at $9 per month for the Basic plan, which includes core email marketing features and allows up to 2,500 emails to multiple recipients. The Unlimited plan starts at $29 per month and includes unlimited sends, advanced segmentation, and time zone sending, while the Premier plan offers advanced features like pre-built engagement segments and premier phone support.

Benefits for Small Businesses: For small businesses that prioritize branding and design, Campaign Monitor provides the tools to produce high-impact, visually compelling emails that can significantly boost reader engagement. The platform's robust analytics and customization options also make it easy for businesses to optimize their campaigns and see tangible results from their marketing efforts. Additionally, the scalable pricing plans allow businesses to grow their email strategies as their subscriber lists grow.

ConvertKit

Overview: ConvertKit is designed specifically for creators such as bloggers, podcasters, and other content-driven professionals, making it a standout choice for small businesses that focus on building and engaging a community around their content. Its straightforward functionality and creator-focused features make it ideal for those who need a robust yet simple tool for growing their audience and monetizing their craft.

Key Features:

  • Creator-Focused Templates: ConvertKit's email templates are simple and minimalistic, designed to highlight content rather than flashy designs, which is perfect for creators who want their words and images to stand out.
  • Email Automation: The platform offers easy-to-use automation tools that help creators manage their email sequences and subscriber actions effortlessly, allowing them to focus more on creating content.
  • Tag-based Subscriber System: Unlike traditional list-based systems, ConvertKit uses tags to organize subscribers. This allows for more dynamic segmentation based on actions, interests, and engagement, giving creators precise control over their campaigns.
  • Landing Pages and Forms: ConvertKit provides an array of customizable forms and landing pages designed to help creators collect more subscribers and effectively market their digital products or services.

Pricing: ConvertKit offers a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, which includes unlimited landing pages & forms, email sends, and community support. The paid plans start at $29 per month for additional features like automated funnels and sequences and premium support.

Benefits for Small Businesses: ConvertKit is particularly beneficial for small businesses and individual creators who need efficient, effective tools to engage with their audience without getting bogged down in complex technical details. The platform’s emphasis on content rather than layout ensures that messages resonate with the audience, helping to build a loyal community. Additionally, ConvertKit's focus on automation and easy integration with other tools allows creators to spend more time on their craft and less on administrative tasks.

HubSpot Email Marketing

Overview: HubSpot Email Marketing is part of HubSpot's broader CRM platform, which integrates marketing, sales, content management, and customer service into a cohesive system. It's ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that are looking for a comprehensive solution that not only handles email marketing but also ties it closely to other customer relationship activities.

Key Features:

  • Integration with HubSpot CRM: One of the biggest advantages is its seamless integration with the HubSpot CRM, ensuring that all customer interactions are logged and accessible, enabling highly personalized marketing strategies.
  • Powerful Automation: HubSpot allows users to create tailored workflows for automation that can include emails, social media posts, and other actions, all based on detailed customer data and behavior.
  • Extensive Analytics: Provides detailed reports on email campaign performance as well as insights into customer interactions across the entire CRM platform.
  • Customizable Templates: Offers a range of customizable templates that can be adjusted to match the specific needs and branding of a business, all while being easy to use with drag-and-drop functionality.

Pricing: HubSpot Email Marketing is available for free with basic features, making it a great option for businesses just starting out or those with limited needs. For more advanced features, businesses can upgrade to one of the paid plans in the Marketing Hub, which start at $45 per month and include additional marketing tools and higher levels of customization and support.

Benefits for Small Businesses: The integration of email marketing with the HubSpot CRM is particularly beneficial for businesses that are looking to provide a seamless customer experience from initial contact through ongoing engagement. The tool's robust automation capabilities allow for the efficient management of marketing efforts, reducing the time and resources needed to maintain effective campaigns. Additionally, HubSpot's comprehensive analytics help businesses better understand their audience and refine their marketing strategies accordingly.

Omnisend

Overview: Omnisend is a marketing automation platform specifically designed for e-commerce businesses, integrating email marketing with SMS, push notifications, and social media ads to provide a multi-channel approach to customer engagement. It's particularly suitable for small to medium-sized e-commerce stores looking to streamline and automate their marketing efforts across various channels.

Key Features:

  • Multi-Channel Marketing: Omnisend enables users to coordinate campaigns across email, SMS, push notifications, and social media from a single platform, creating a unified marketing message.
  • Automation: Offers powerful automation tools tailored for e-commerce, such as cart abandonment emails, welcome series, and post-purchase follow-ups, which can significantly increase conversion rates.
  • Segmentation and Personalization: Advanced segmentation allows users to target customers based on their shopping behavior and other personal details, enabling highly personalized and effective marketing communications.
  • Product Picker and Content Editor: Users can directly integrate their store's product details into emails with a simple drag-and-drop product picker, making it easy to design attractive, sales-driven campaigns.

Pricing: Omnisend offers a free plan that includes basic email marketing features and allows for up to 15,000 emails per month. Paid plans start at $16 per month and include more advanced features such as SMS marketing, more sophisticated segmentation, and additional automation capabilities.

Benefits for Small Businesses: For small e-commerce businesses, Omnisend provides a comprehensive set of tools that are essential for nurturing leads and boosting sales through multi-channel marketing. The platform's focus on automation and integration with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce ensures that businesses can easily set up and execute sophisticated marketing campaigns that drive engagement and sales without needing extensive technical expertise.

Comparison Table

Here’s a detailed comparison table for the email marketing software platforms we've discussed. I’ll provide ratings on key features like pricing, usability, integrations, and customer support, based on general consensus and available reviews, along with an overall rating for each platform.

Software Pricing (1-10) Usability (1-10) Integrations (1-10) Customer Support (1-10) Overall Rating (1-10)
Mailchimp 7 9 8 8 8
Sendinblue 8 8 7 7 7.5
Constant Contact 6 8 7 9 7.5
MailerLite 9 9 6 8 8
Moosend 9 8 7 7 7.75
GetResponse 7 8 8 8 7.75
ActiveCampaign 6 8 9 8 7.75
AWeber 7 8 7 9 7.75
Benchmark Email 8 8 6 8 7.5
Campaign Monitor 6 9 8 7 7.5
ConvertKit 7 9 7 7 7.5
HubSpot Email Marketing 5 9 10 9 8.25
Omnisend 8 8 8 8 8

Key:

  • Pricing: Evaluated based on cost-effectiveness, value for money, and scalability for small businesses.
  • Usability: Assessed based on ease of use, learning curve, and the intuitive nature of the software interface.
  • Integrations: Rated on the number and usefulness of native integrations with other tools and platforms.
  • Customer Support: Based on availability, responsiveness, and helpfulness of customer support.

Summary:

  • Highest Overall Rating: HubSpot Email Marketing and Mailchimp score the highest overall, reflecting their broad capabilities, ease of use, and comprehensive feature sets.
  • Best for Pricing: MailerLite and Moosend are top-rated for pricing, providing excellent value and features for their cost.
  • Strongest in Usability: MailerLite and Mailchimp are very user-friendly, ideal for those who prioritize a straightforward experience.
  • Rich in Integrations: HubSpot stands out in integrations, thanks to its seamless connectivity with a wide range of platforms.
  • Superior Customer Support: Constant Contact and AWeber shine in customer support, offering excellent service and assistance.

Tips for Choosing the Right Email Marketing Software

Selecting the right email marketing software is crucial for the success of your small business's marketing efforts. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Understand Your Needs: Assess the specific needs of your business. Are you looking for basic email capabilities, or do you need advanced automation and integration features? Understanding your requirements will help you narrow down your options.
  2. Ease of Use: Choose software that you and your team can use efficiently. If the software requires a steep learning curve, it might slow down your marketing efforts.
  3. Integration Capabilities: Consider how well the software integrates with other tools you already use, such as CRM systems, e-commerce platforms, and social media. Seamless integration can enhance efficiency and data consistency.
  4. Scalability: Ensure that the email marketing platform can grow with your business. Look for options that offer scalability in terms of subscribers, emails, and features.
  5. Pricing Structure: Examine the pricing structure carefully. It should align with your budget and offer good value based on the features provided. Be mindful of any hidden costs such as add-ons or increased pricing as your list grows.
  6. Customer Support: Good customer support is invaluable, especially if you are just starting out. Check the availability of support services, including live chat, phone support, and resource libraries.
  7. Compliance and Security: Make sure the software adheres to international data protection regulations like GDPR, especially if you handle sensitive customer information.
  8. Trial Periods: Lastly, take advantage of free trials or free versions of the software. Testing the software can provide insights into its effectiveness and suitability for your business needs.

Conclusion

Choosing the right email marketing software is a pivotal decision for your small business. It can significantly influence the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and the overall engagement with your audience. Mailchimp, Sendinblue, Constant Contact, and other platforms discussed offer a range of features and pricing models to suit various needs. By considering your specific requirements, integration needs, and budget, and by utilizing available trials, you can select a platform that not only meets your current needs but also supports your business's growth over time. Remember, the goal is to find a tool that simplifies your marketing efforts while maximizing engagement and ROI.

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