18+ Best Email Marketing Software Service Providers

by David Utke | Last Updated: January 15, 2022

Email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools for turning any website into an online business. So what are the best email marketing software service providers? The answer depends on your budget, marketing needs and overall goals.

From sending out a simple weekly or monthly newsletter to your followers, to building out advanced full featured user journeys to convert subscribers into buyers, in this detailed software review I’m going to break down your best options for different and specific use cases.

Best Email Marketing Service Features

Before we get started I want to first cover a few essential features you’re going to want in an email list provider. Not all email marketing software is equal so when making a purchase decision it’s important to understand specific terminology and concepts.

Deliverability of your emails

You want your emails hitting the inbox, not the spam folder or the promotions tab in Gmail. Deliverability of your emails comes down to a few things. Images, what words you use in your copy (“make money online” is a sure fire way to land in the promotions tab or spam folder!) and your overall domain reputation.

Don’t use any of these software tools without checking their deliverability rates for the type of content you want to send out. This is one of the key things that you need to look for in order to make sure your emails are getting delivered successfully and aren’t being marked spam or promotional in nature.

Email autoresponder

The first critical aspect an email marketing service provider needs to have is the ability to create an email autoresponder series with ease. An autoresponder is simply automated emails someone gets when they sign up to your list.

This way, you can create an email list and make it into another revenue stream with careful testing of what emails work. This is ideal because once you create a 3 month or long series of emails that works, it becomes a set it and forget it type setup.

Email funnel customization

With email marketing you can create an email funnel for your list. A funnel is a series of emails someone gets with the end goal to convert them to buy. More advanced software provides detailed funnel construction, if/or functions and user behavior.

List separation

List separation means you can create different funnels for different types of content. Maybe you have subscribers signing up on a video where you talk about how to start a YouTube channel and another video where you talk about personal finance for solo creators.

With list separation, you can set two funnels up and have your subscribers get a different email series based on what entry point they subscribe too. After they go through the funnel they are then added to your broad list.

Affiliate Marketing Friendly

Affiliate marketing is promoting products and services for a commission. It’s one of the most effective ways to monetize your email list yet a few email service providers frown on affiliate marketing.

Instead, some providers want you to only promote your website, videos and offers where the email is providing value. So if affiliate marketing is going to be important to you, get the right provider.

Best Email Marketing Software Overall

Let’s lead off with what I consider the best overall options for most people, organizations and small business owners. The following are feature rich, flexible and ideal for a wide variety of use cases.

Convert Kit – Best for content marketers

Convert Kit was made for bloggers and YouTubers who engage in affiliate marketing and who also sell their own digital products like courses and ebooks. They are my top choice for both YouTubers and bloggers because they have the right mix of deliverability and features content marketers need.

Specifically, Convert Kit is designed for you to create a product funnel. They have a unique built in tagging system so you can separate your list into various segments and behaviors. Those who bought, those who did not, those who opened the email those who did not.

You can also create different funnels with one account with ease. For example, I could set up a free “how to start a blog” email course and put opt-in forms on relevant pages here. I could also create an “affiliate marketing for beginners” course and put different opt-in forms on different pages and posts.

Those are two similar audiences so broadly speaking, they would both be interested in my content but I could create a higher value offer for both groups. It’s this funnel centric nature that makes Convert Kit so popular.

Pros: 

Cons: 

Active Campaign – The professional choice

The Active Campaign email marketing software is a very robust solution for professional content marketers and small businesses. The system features many different templates and optimization tools that allow you to segment and track your audiences behavior easily.

You can send highly personalized emails based on customer preferences and behavior as well as manage all phases of the user experience from the welcome email to the funnel process. Active Campaign also lets you send emails that based on local time, SMS messages as well the ability to cycle subscribers through the same email series.

Pros:

Cons:

Aweber – The classic choice for internet marketers

Aweber used to be the go to email marketing software for internet marketers. Today, it’s still a top choice among internet marketers looking to build large lists. Aweber comes with various features such as A/B testing of emails, autoresponders, automatic blog post updates to subscribers and good deliverability.

If you’re looking for something designed for those who want to focus on marketing to a list more so than other forms of content, consider Aweber. They are a great choice for YouTubers and bloggers looking to grow and market to a list.

Pros:

Cons:

Constant Contact – Easy to use email marketing for small business.

Constant Contact aims to serve small business owners. They provide 100+ contemporary, mobile-optimized templates that users can engage with and convert into customers in real time, as well as real-time reporting and analytics. Another one of their more distinctive capabilities is event management, which allows users to manage invites, registrations, and tickets. Email delivery is excellent, with over 90% deliverability in the email service provider industry.

Constant Contact’s pricing is tiered according to the number of email contacts in your list, with monthly rates ranging from $20 to $200. Their premium packages start at $20 per month for up to 500 contacts. The drip campaigns are simple to use and intuitive.

You can develop basic sequences, but you cannot combine conditions or apply sophisticated filtering. So if you need an advanced user journey pipeline, I would take a look at the email providers for ecommerce. Finally, if you’re searching for niche features like event management and excellent email deliverability, Constant Contact is the software to choose.

Pros:

Cons:

Best Email Marketing Software For Free

Email marketing is another layer of complexity for most beginners which is why many want a free solution to get started with before committing to a paid plan. As such, here are my favorite providers who offer users a free plan to get started with.

Mail Chimp – Most Generous free plan

Mail Chimp offers a free plan of up to 2,000 subscribers with a limit on how many emails you can send out per month. Mail Chimp is designed for small business and creative entrepreneurs who simply want a way to collect emails and send updates to their list.

Nothing fancy, just good old fashioned list building and email marketing. Most bloggers start with this because it’s free, but Mail Chimp is a solid choice as it allows you to try out their service and allows you to learn how to write and send emails to a list.

Sounds perfect! So why would anyone have an issue with Mail Chimp?

Mail Chimp is NOT friendly towards affiliate marketing because too many affiliate marketers abuse email and send spammy products and services which hurt the deliverability of Mail Chimp emails which in turn hurts everyone in the long term who has decided to use Mail Chimp.

Instead, Mail Chimp is designed to send content rich emails and drive traffic back to your website. Marketing is fine, linking to your own website is fine.

What you can’t do is link directly to any product in your email with an affiliate link. You can read more about their terms here. As this is vague, they can disable your account at any time if they think you’re violating their service.

Pros:

Cons: 

Mailer Lite – The best budget provider

Mailer Lite offers a free plan where you can have a list size of up to 1000 contacts and can send out 12,000 emails in a month. All totally free.

If you’ve never heard of Mailer Lite they are a light weight email marketing option for anyone who just wants to do basic email marketing. The software has all the features that you need to run an effective email campaign including list segmentation, automated campaigns, templates, deliverability tracking and more.

Mailer Lite is a solid choice for anyone running a branded blog looking to incorporate basic email marketing for their brand.

Pros: 

Cons:

Mailjet – Pay per email

Mailjet currently offers a free plan where you can have unlimited contacts! The catch? You can only send out a max 200 emails per day with a limit of 600 emails per month.

To remove these limits you’ll need to upgrade your account. I like Mailjet’s focus on paying per emails sent instead of list size. With any Mailjet plan you can have unlimited contacts, the price points are based on how much you need to send.

This is ideal for an ecommerce website who wants to break up their list into segments and email those segments independently.

Pros:

Cons:

Best Email Marketing Software for Small Business

Full scale online business with multiple employees and a large customer base need much more advanced features than a blogger, YouTuber or Shopify drop shipper. You’ll need a CRM or an integration with a CRM. Sales and marketing automation and perhaps even a way to accept payments through one platform. Here are my favorite email marketing tools for small business:

Keap – Formerly Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft, (often times lampooned as confusionsoft due to it’s complexity) has under gone a massive rebrand to Keap. This is the industry leading all in one sales and marketing software designed for business.

With Keap you get access to a CRM, email marketing and the ability to design sales pipeline, the ability to accept payments and even text marketing if you want to send SMS updates to your customers.

Keap is not cheap and is one of the most expensive options available. However they provide an all in one solution and free migration from any provider.

Pros:

Cons:

Hubspot – A budget friendly CRM for small businesses

Hubspot is a competitor to Keap and provides a similar service with multiple automations for any business. From marketing to sales to operations and service. Hubspot has the features a small business needs.

They are one of the simplest choices to create, optimize, and deliver excellent-looking emails through their email marketing software. They have a lot of unique features available, so whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, you can pick and plan and upgrade your account as desired.

When you create an email, you may either use one of their pre-made templates or start from scratch. These templates let you add text, photos, buttons, dividers, and a variety of other assets and layouts to your emails. Once you’re satisfied with your email design, preview it across a variety of recipients, devices, and email clients like Gmail, Apple Mail, and Office 365.

Last Hubspot provides you with the ability to “smart send” based on when your audience is most likely to open emails. The software also reports back to you if the person read, glanced or skimmed the email.

Pros:

Cons:

Send in Blue – Pay per email sent option

Send In Blue is a cost effective solution where you pay per email sent. With their free plan allowing you to send 300 emails per day, and their first paid plan at $25 a month for 10,000 emails with unlimited contacts.

With Send in Blue you can technically have a list of 10,000 emails and email that list once a month for just $25. Perfect for anyone wanting to start a once a month or once a week email newsletter.

Send in Blue is also employing machine learning and AI to schedule emails at the optimum time of day in order to maximize response. You also get access to real-time data, including metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, deliverability, and heat maps, in the reports section.

One aspect about this platform I really liked was their email automation workflows, which allow you to define triggers and follow specific processes for your subscribers based on actions they take on your website and in the funnel.

Pros:

Cons:

Gist – The affordable all in one solution

Gist monitors your blog, social media platforms, and all of your online sales channels. It also provides a 360-degree view of your company with marketing automation, live chat, and email software.

With a goal of providing a better user experience, improved performance and more security. Gist also features sophisticated tools like event tracking for viewing what people do on your website, as well as a knowledge base to automate your customer service with a chatbot.

The Gist chatbot features are what sets them apart from other providers. Their “GistBot” pre-qualifies leads and schedules meetings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in any language. You can then assign conversations your visitors have with Gistbot to different team members, exchange private notes, and arrange your discussions using simple open and close statuses.

You might also use the automation tool to create visual workflows that engage and convert clients. You can use actions and tags to understand consumer behavior, segment your audiences, and utilize timing variables to deliver the appropriate message at the optimal moment.

Gist is an overall flexible all-in-one marketing solution that enables companies to generate leads for their sales team by using advanced live chat, event management, and marketing automation.

Pros:

Cons:

Best Email Marketing Software for Ecommerce

Without a doubt, honing in on your email marketing for ecommerce websites is how you can turn a simple store into a thriving business. There are a lot of good, ecommerce focused software solutions you should be aware of:

Drip – Email and SMS marketing

Drip was one of the first email marketing software solutions with an emphasis on ecommerce based businesses. Their main focus is on email marketing automation and growing your sales.

The ’email builder’ function of Drip is efficient, but it would be even more helpful if the platform offered a wider variety of templates to design from. You can also create your own workflows with Drip’s builder, which gives you a lot of leeway to automate your sales and funnel processes.

You can accomplish all of this with most CRM systems, but Drip’s emphasis on ecommerce makes it an incredibly simple and powerful tool for online store owners who don’t have a lot of expertise with CRMs.

Last, Drip is all about customization and personalization. Their software allows you to develop unique customer journeys, for example after the first conversion, ecommerce businesses must develop a long term marketing approach to optimize revenue and repeat purchases. Drip can help with specifically this.

Pros:

Cons:

Moosend – Business and ecommerce automation

Moosend is an email automation software that allows you to create and grow your email list, customize your emails, and automate activities so you can focus on client interactions.

They have drag-and-drop email templates in their campaign builder. You may use this tool to include pictures, text blocks, social icons, and more to your emails. They also provide a large collection of email designs that are adaptable and look beautiful on both desktop and mobile devices.

The automation features of Moosend are what set it apart. You may automate messages using upsells, customer engagement, and customer loyalty with their “recipes” which are what they call pre-built automation templates, functionally a sales funnel. The three main elements of every automation are the triggers, control steps, and actions. When you combine all three, you can filter email list segments

The cost of Moosend is determined by the number of people on your email list. For customers with under 1,000 subscribers, they provide a 30day free plan that includes sign-up forms, reporting, and the ability to send as many emails as desired.

Moosend offers several subscription levels, starting at $9 per month and scaling in increments up to the number of subscribers. Every paid plan includes transactional emails, page builders, and SMTP servers. Migration and onboarding assistance is available with their corporate plans, as well as security assertion markup language.

Pros:

Cons:

Omnisend – “Omnichannel” social media and email marketing

Omnisend combines email marketing across social media sites, text messaging, push notifications, WhatsApp, and other channels. This option can send users more relevant messages across platforms and devices for e-commerce companies. They accomplish this by analyzing website browsing habits and user device preferences based on any bespoke events you define.

You might, for example, track user activities on your website and then again within onboarding welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, and post-purchase automation sequences to segment communications more effectively.

Omnisend is also compatible with all of the most popular ecommerce platforms. You may connect Omnisend to other marketing solutions such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Big Commerce or any other ecommerce website bulder to help you generate more sales.

With their $16 per month Standard Plan, you may send 6,000 emails each month. You also get interactive sign-up forms and email components, SMS marketing and notifications, and product suggestions are some of the automated functions accessible for use on your online store

Omnisend is ideal for anyone looking to optimize conversion rates since customers will receive alerts based on the items they’ve visited your site and have shown interest in. Omnisend is a great option for omnichannel businesses looking to market and retarget their visitors.

Pros:

Cons:

Ontraport – The high end B2B choice

Ontraport is primarily known as a customer relationship management (CRM) software and an email marketing platform second. They offer a “campaign builder” which is the company’s core feature. It is a visual marketing automation and live reporting platform. With this tool, you may create sophisticated sequences and interact with other users in real time.

At its core, Ontraport has a strong block-based editor with lots of instructional contextual help and hover buttons to assist you with any problems you may encounter while developing campaigns. They also provide professional, responsive support. A breath of fresh air compared to other options.

So what’s the catch?

The price. Ontraport is not cheap and is only a viable option for high earning ecommerce websites. The basic plan starts at $79/month and only allows 1,000 contacts, which isn’t ideal. When your email list doubles from 1,000 to 2,500 subscribers, the monthly fee almost triples to $147.

Overall, this tool is best suited for revenue-oriented businesses in high-end B2B or B2C sectors, where automation and sales processes are more significant than sending huge mailings to massive lists of subscribers

Pros:

Cons:

Best Email Marketing Software for Nonprofits

Nonprofits need to engage in email marketing as a way to keep supporters up to date with events as well as fund raising events. For these needs you don’t need anything too complicated. What’s most important is deliverability.

Squarespace – Ease of integration

Squarespace is a website builder that aims to be your all in one solution for creating websites, blogs and online stores. As part of this they do provide an email marketing solution for users of their platform. If you’re not a Squarespace customer then this is obviously not an option.

But if you are using Squarespace to build a non profit website it’s worth considering their email offer as it integrates seamlessly with your Squarespace website. You get forms, basic automations and easily the most beautiful email templates I’ve seen. In addition, Squarespace has a whole host of services perfect for a nonprofit like donations, scheduling and an easy to use website builder.

Pros:

Cons:

Campaign Monitor -My favorite for nonprofits

In 2004, launch Monitor was created as an all-around email marketing platform. They don’t have any unique or standout characteristics except for their business culture that’s focused on giving back and volunteering.

With a 99% percent client satisfaction rate and a “Giving Back” initiative, they are a worldwide business with people-first principles and company ideals that match the long term goals of nonprofits. Employees of Campaign Monitor spend hundreds of hours volunteering each year. They provide meals to local food banks, clean up parks and beaches, and give supplies to at-risk youth groups.

With your Campaign Monitor account, you get stylized emails with custom layouts are ideal for non-profit and commercial organizations alike. Additionally, their customer service and people-first mentality set them apart from the competition.

First, their email builder allows users to completely customize their designs down to the use of individual web fonts and color choices. You may restrict sections of emails with their premier plan and you also get the ability to insert videos from YouTube or Vimeo into your emails.

As with other platforms based on triggers and email actions, Campaign Monitor’s automation suite is comparable. With data segmentation you can exclude numerous segments and establish complex rules before sending them. They have over 250 pre-installed integrations that may be used to link with third-party applications like Salesforce, Magento, and WordPress.

Finally, their price points are quite reasonable. The Basic Plan costs $9 per month and allows you to send 2,500 emails. Perfect for an organization just launching an email list. Long term however I recommend their Unlimited Plan for $29 per month which has no send limit.

Pros:

Cons:

Best Email Marketing Software for Real Estate Websites

Real estate websites need to take advantage of email marketing as a way to keep in contact with potential sales leads, market and pricing updates and to send out reminders of open house events. There are a few select options perfectly designed for this.

Carrot – Real estate website builder

Carrot.com is a website builder for real estate websites. They offer three different plans, the Core plan, Content Pro and Advanced Marketer.

With the Core plan, you can create one Carrot website. You have access to Carrot’s highly successful lead management system, which lets you sort leads by new, follow-up, pending, won, and dead to build a marketing funnel that is suited for leads based on how eager they are.

The Core plan costs $69 per month or $55 per month if you pay annually. The Core plan does not include sophisticated SEO tools that are included in the more Premium version. Last, the Core plan provides users with 13 campaign tracking links which is useful for monitoring the performance of different ad creatives.

Carrot’s Content Pro plan allows you to connect third-party CRMs such as Zapier, Mailchimp, Aweber, Zoho, and REIPro with your lead management system. Carrot holds group coaching sessions twice a week where you can get help on digital marketing. You must have the Content Pro plan to participate in these group coaching sessions.

If you are a real estate investor and also provide services as an agent, the Advanced Marketer plan is worth considering. You get templates that are appropriate for both activities. So you don’t have to maintain two websites.

The Advanced Marketer plan costs you $199/month per month or $159 if you decide to pay upfront annually. Furthermore, Carrot provides one-on-one marketing consultation on a regular basis. You’ll also be able to see more high-quality designs and templates than Core or Content Pro members.

Pros:

Cons:

Get Response – Once a week emails

Get Response is an alternative to Constant Contact and is designed solo content creators, freelancers, real estate agents or small business in mind. Get Response has various helpful features like landing pages, email autoresponders and various backend automations.

When you sign up you get numerous free templates you can use for emails, lovely looking email opt-in forms and the actual emails you send out can be custom designed if you so choose. They also have a new ready made funnel you can edit to fit your business. Last, Get Response integrates with ease into WordPress, Slack or Magento.

For real estate specific features you’re able to create custom landing pages, setup QR codes for registrations for open houses and include a video tour of a property in your emails.

Pros:

Cons:

What is Email Marketing and Why is it Important?

Email marketing is the use of emails to build and nurture relationships with your subscribers in order to achieve an aim like a sale. It’s so effective because of the concept of a rule of 7. That is, it takes 7 interactions with your brand before people feel comfortable buying.

Email marketing is only one example of digital marketing, which also includes such activities as search engine optimization, social media, and blogging. In short, it’s another stack of a full scale online business and one of your most valuable assets.

Before email marketing, there was direct mail. Direct mail was a way to reach consumers by actually mailing them promotional material to their actual mailbox. Email marketing takes this approach to a much more advanced level by sending communications to recipients’ email inboxes through the use of advanced sales funnels.

To receive your email messages, an individual must opt in to your email list which makes them a “warm lead” rather than opting out like people had to do with direct marketing.

How Does Email Marketing Software Work?

Email marketing software sends mass email campaigns to your list of email subscribers. Your deliverability of emails is based on your domain trust, reputation with regards to your IP address (which is why some companies like Mail Chimp don’t allow affiliate marketing) and the infrastructure of your email marketing provider.

The advantage of email marketing is that you can quickly and simply reach your audience where they are without having to pay for pricey advertising space and you can setup a funnel to help sell your products and services more effectively.

Email Marketing Best Practices

It’s not as simple as creating a message and sending it to a list of people in your email marketing campaign. There are several email marketing best practices to observe, as well as industry standards that must be met.

Here are some of the most common email marketing best practices that will help you succeed:

Setup an onboarding, welcome email series

The most common use for email automation is to send automated welcome emails to new subscribers. When new people join your list, these free autoresponders are automatically sent. This is important because you don’t want someone subscribing and then getting an email from you months later, they will market it as spam.

When setting up this welcome series you may send these emails at the right moment to your subscribers, such as day one, day three, day five, or even day ten. Only you know the best frequency for these emails based on your company’s objectives.

A welcome email series, for example, might provide a 10% discount on the first email. The follow up emails should use your branding narrative, product catalog, and social media accounts in emails 2 and 3 to promote broader aspects of your business.

Format your emails correctly

The ideal size for an email is 500 to 600 pixels wide, with any wider than that and users may have to scroll horizontally on their mobile devices. So whatever template you decide to use, even if it’s really beautiful and well designed make sure it’s not too wide.

Next, use a trustworthy, personal “from” address. Your subscribers will be getting your emails and will see this address. If they see something like admin@davidutke.com or no-reply@websitecreativepro.com it won’t feel like they are getting an email from someone they like. It will come off as cold and uncaring.

Above-the-fold placement of your key marketing message and call to action (CTA) is recommended. Most of your users will see it right away if you do this. I’ve found a putting a link in the in the above the fold, again in the middle and one last link in the “PS” to be most effective.

Last, choose a logo that is easy to read, such as a typeface or font that is easily recognized. Make sure the design and style of your email content and pictures are consistent with your brand. Finally, place your logo at the top of the email so that recipients immediately recognize your business.

This is most important for ecommerce brands. If you’re building a personal brand then having your logo is something you can skip.

Practice your copywriting with good titles

We all know email subject lines aren’t anything new. There’s a lot of knowledge on how to write them out there, but what if you want to use one that is more complicated than “Hi” or “How are you?” It may sound difficult at first glance, but it isn’t.

The subject line should be between 30 and 50 characters (many email providers cut off subject lines that are longer than that). They should cut through the clutter and entice readers to take action. Using numbers, symbols, well-thought-out emojis, and enticing offers and discounts will improve your open rates.

A good practice is to create a dedicated email that you use to subscribe to email lists from brands and individuals you admire. Pay attention to their copy, their titles, the way they format the email. Next, emulate and adjust based on the performance.

Do not purchase email lists

Email marketing is so effective because consumers want to interact with and receive your message. Buying email lists erodes trust by sending them unsolicited junk into their inboxes.

The penalties for breaking these regulations are severe. According to Forbes, you may face fines of up to $41,000 per violation under the CAN-SPAM Act. In addition to legal issues, your domain’s trust with regards to email deliverability will be ruined causing you at best to end up in the spam folder and at worst to be out right blacklisted.

In short, Never buy email lists, it’s that simple and more important than ever with GDPR implementation for Europe. It’s important to keep your email list up to date so that your contacts are accurate.

Conclusion: Best email marketing software service

So there you have it, some of the best email marketing services available for different use cases. A small business, startup, professional blogger or enterprise level business all have various different needs.

Hopefully with this detailed review you now have a good base to make a professional purchase decision.

My final recommendations summary:

I covered a lot in this guide. If you want a quick summary of my picks for different use cases this is what I suggest:

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He translates technical skills in an easy to understand way for beginners with his educational tutorials based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers.
Posted in: