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Email marketing software has become popular in recent years. Once reserved for only larger companies that had advanced marketing plans, email marketing software is now omnipresent for all sizes of businesses in all industries.
Email marketing is one of the most popular and effective ways of creating a touchpoint with current and prospective customers. It’s an easy way to get your message directly into the hands of people who have, in most cases, signed up to receive your information and, therefore, would be classified as your better leads.
There are a plethora of email marketing software providers on the market today. So, many companies find themselves trying to decipher which provider is the best.
How to choose the right email marketing software
There is no one way to choose the right email marketing software because what is good for one company may not be good for the next. In general, though, you should look for some basic features.
First and foremost, whatever email marketing software you choose, you need to make sure it is easy to use. The last thing you want is to have to know computer coding or languages in order to create simple email marketing campaigns. What you want to look for is not just one built-in template that looks good, but a nice variety of templates so you can switch up the look and feel of your ongoing campaign.
The next most important feature of email marketing software is the ability to build and manage subscriber lists effectively and, ideally, automatically. While you may want to import your initial subscriber list from a spreadsheet you already have built, you also want to be able to have a form somewhere that will automatically populate into your list when it’s filled out. As such, software platforms that offer landing pages and similar features are good to look for.
The last basic feature you need to make sure your email marketing software has is in-depth reporting tools. You should be able to run the basic statistics we mentioned above, as well as more in-depth reporting and customization based on whatever your company’s needs are. This data is essential, as it’s the only true way you’ll be able to make adjustments to your email marketing based on the results of past campaigns.
The features that are important to you beyond these are really dependent on what your company needs. You may desire to integrate your email marketing software with your CRM, for example, or you may need some hands-on help setting up and running your email campaigns. You may have a small list you’re just building out, so you desire a small starting price that allows you to grow.
Even with all this in mind, it can be difficult to figure out what email marketing software is best for you. Thankfully, we have made this process easier for you. Below is our list of the best email marketing software in 2021.
- Impressive automation, real-time reporting, and personalization (even with a free plan)
- Email and SMS integrated into one platform
- Provides easy integration with web hosting and e-commerce as well
- Pay only for the number of emails you send
- User interface looks a bit dated and could use a fresh coat of paint
Sendinblue is a SaaS-based email and SMS marketing platform. The company offers impressive layouts and designs for building your email marketing campaigns that help drive higher response rates.
The company has more than 80,000 clients, and they are one of the fastest-growing cloud-based email platforms for many reasons. The software has easy automation tools that are great for new and experienced users alike: their Send Time Optimization sends emails at the best time for each recipient, removing decision fatigue while seamlessly improving open rates by up to 10%.
Sendinblue’s pricing model is attractive, too, as it’s based on the number of emails you send on any given month. They’re one of the few ESPs offering a free-forever plan, which starts at $0 and allows you to send up to 300 emails a day with basic automation tools. The pricing then scales up with your emailing needs.
- Extensive library of email templates
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop email builders
- Integration with more than 400 apps
- Been in business for a long time
- Cumbersome approval process required to use the software
- Can get very expensive to use for larger lists
- Lacks some of the features that some others on this list have
Constant Contact has been in the industry for more than 20 years, one of the longer-running companies out there. The software provides an impressive suite of features including survey management, email marketing, social campaigns, and email automation tools.
Constant Contact is very easy to use and has a responsive email editor built into the software. They also provide an extensive list of apps that they integrate with, 466 in all.
The company bases its pricing model around the size of your subscriber lists. One of the downfalls of using them for your email marketing software is that in addition to being pricey compared to their competitors, it is also difficult to figure out exactly how much their services cost.
- Free forever plan is great for businesses who manage smaller lists and don’t send a lot of emails
- Innovator in the industry
- Comprehensive reporting
- Simple to use
- Limited automation capabilities for emails
- Subscription plans are high in cost for larger companies
MailChimp is one of the most well-known email marketing platforms around, and many people consider it to be the industry leader. Perhaps the best part about MailChimp is that they offer a forever-free plan, which allows users to send up to 12,000 emails per month for a contact/subscriber list of up to 2,000.
MailChimp is also very scalable, so it’s a good fit for companies of all sizes. The software provides simple automation capabilities – it’s very easy for anyone to design and send high-impact, well-designed email campaigns.
Even for those who have a larger list, MailChimp provides affordable plans that start as low as $10 per month. The company also provides great customer service via live chat, email, and online documentation resources.
- Easy-to-use back-end
- Emails are designed well and are easy to read, resulting in higher conversion rates
- Award-winning customer support available 24/7
- Integrates with third-party programs such as Salesforce
- Pricing can be confusing because of all the different factors
- Can get expensive for companies with larger lists that want advanced functionality
GetResponse aims to provide more than just an email marketing platform. The company provides an all-in-one service that makes it easy for businesses to integrate email marketing along with list-building resources such as landing pages. GetResponse also integrates with Salesforce for companies who use that for their CRM.
The software is very strong in the design and looks aspect of the emails. They are designed well so that recipients are more likely to open and respond to emails. GetResponse provides an extensive array of resources on their website for support, as well as learning tools such as webinars.
The software is the best fit for smaller businesses that are just starting to build out their email marketing plan, though, because they don’t provide as many features as some other providers on this list.
- Experience and history in the industry
- Great looking email campaigns that are easy to create
- Impressive tracking features
- Affordable plans
- Integrates easily with WordPress
- Easy to get started using the software
- Not the best fit for large companies
AWeber is one of the longest-running email marketing software platforms on the market. They provide easy-to-use email marketing templates, autoresponders, list management, and email tracking with impressive reporting tools.
AWeber is a good fit especially for small- and medium-sized businesses who are looking for automated, powerful email marketing campaigns that look good and drive results. The pricing of the software is based on the total number of subscribers on your list and starts as low as $19 per month.
The company also provides award-winning levels of customer support, with 24/7 support via email and live chat, as well as phone support (one of the only companies on our list to do so) 5 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. They also provide a huge library of online resources, training, and demo on their website.
- Comprehensive reporting and tracking offered
- Designed for small businesses and those just starting out
- Very easy-to-use platform
- Must pay for features such as live chat support or custom emails and landing pages
- Limited templates available to choose from
- Extensive approval process is required before you can use the software
True to their name, MailerLite’s goal is to keep everything simple for their customers. While they provide a wide range of features for email building, email automation, form building, landing page design, and even CRM integration the focus is on keeping it simple.
As such, they provide an easy-to-use drag-and-drop system for building emails from their templates. They also have a visual workflow builder that allows users to easily schedule their email campaigns.
MailerLite bases its pricing model on the number of subscribers on your list and provides unlimited emails for all plans except the free plan. You do have to pay for add-ons such as live chat support or custom emails and landing pages that come standard with other software plans.
- Provides CRM in addition to email marketing
- Powerful software for automation
- Allows for segmentation of lists and higher response rates
- Not very easy to use
- Doesn’t provide integration with a variety of third-party apps
- Expensive for even basic plan
- Doesn’t offer phone support
Drip was purchased by Leadpages in 2016, and since then has become a market leader in the CRM space. The software was first created as a marketing service to help small- and medium-sized businesses. In fact, it is more than just an email marketing platform that allows its users to help prospects move along the customer pipeline as they progress in the sales funnel.
Drip is focused on allowing users to create multiple lists for their marketing based on different tags and categories. This provides for more targeted marketing, which, in theory, should result in higher response rates.
One of the big downfalls of Drip is it is not very easy to use. In addition, their base plan starts at $49 per month for 2,500 subscribers. Finally, they don’t offer phone support for any of their customers.
- Impressive offering with all-in-one marketing automation
- Lite plan starts at very affordable $9 per month
- Features include the ability to SMS messages to customers and prospects
- Not a good fit for smaller companies that just want email marketing
- Email marketing platform clunky
- Pricing can get very expensive and is hard to figure out
- Phone support offered just for top plans
ActiveCampaign looks to provide an all-in-one solution for businesses by integrating an easy-to-use email campaign creator with a CRM system. This allows users of the software to be able to control their entire marketing plan right from one platform.
While this feature is very attractive, the downfall of it is that it seems to spread the software too thin. Compared to some of the others on this list, ActiveCampaign doesn’t have the most robust email marketing software. For smaller companies that are just looking to solve this one particular area of business, this company might not be the best fit for them.
- Best for personal bloggers or smaller companies
- Sliding scale of pricing based on subscribers
- Easy integration with website or landing page forms
- Not nearly as many options for email templates or design as others
- Not a great fit for companies with large subscriber lists
- Need to have knowledge of HTML or CSS to use the software
ConvertKit’s email marketing software is tailored to bloggers or small companies that produce content. The platform is designed to help you grow your audience, and it allows you to customize all aspects of your campaigns.
One of the more attractive parts about ConvertKit’s software is it’s not only easy to use, but easy for recipients to read and digest. The goal of the company is to make the emails sent through the software look more like messages you’d receive from a friend rather than an email blast.
ConvertKit does lack some of the features that a lot of their competitors, offer, though. Their pricing model is based solely on the number of subscribers you have, and packages start as low as $24 per month.
Why you need email marketing software
Sending a single email is very simple. Sending emails to a list of people can also be very simple. But sending effective, well-designed emails that drive high response rates, provide real-time feedback and automatically schedule your messages is a whole different story.
That’s why you need email marketing software. A good platform will help you not only design beautiful, visually-pleasing emails from templates, it will also help you create and manage your list of subscribers. Many email marketing software platforms will have more advanced features that allow you to integrate the software into other apps that help you build your subscriber lists.
When you need email marketing software
If you intend to send multiple marketing emails to a list of people who signed up to receive your information, then you need an email marketing software solution. Yes, you could manually build and manage a subscriber list through contact lists in your email program or through a spreadsheet. But doing so is not only cumbersome, it is ineffective.
In addition, most email programs don’t provide any templates at all, and it is very difficult to create emails that look visually pleasing, with pictures, graphics, and colors in addition to simple text.
Finally, without email marketing software, it is next to impossible to have any type of feedback on your efforts, as there is no built-in way for you to track important statistics such as open rate, click rates, and overall response.