You need email marketing services to get the best ROI for your business. Here are a few facts to drive the point home, courtesy of Campaign Monitor.
The Holy Grail of email marketing is to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
That requires an email marketing service that does more than just send emails to a list of people. You need to segment your audience by specific interests and use automation to deliver a triggered campaign based on their actions.
How do you choose the right email marketing service?
The best email marketing services have different pricing plans, features, and user interfaces. Most are Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, but you can also manage your email marketing inside of WordPress using a plugin.
Email marketing services vary from each other. While all of the services listed below are great. You just need to choose the one that's best for your needs.
Our guide helps you understand the strengths, benefits, and features of the different email marketing services so you can decide which one is best for your business.
About our review criteria
For each of the email marketing services below, we want to give you some common criteria to consider to help you evaluate and compare them to each other.
Other criteria to consider
Since each of these email marketing services is different, we'll help you understand some of the issues that aren't common among each one.
For example, most offer their pricing based upon the number of subscribers on your list. However, one charges based on the number of emails you send rather than the size of your subscriber base.
The email and landing page editors vary, so you may like one better than another.
Email deliverability may vary from one month to another. We rely upon an average test score from Email Tool Tester on our metrics.
Our Recommendations for Best Email Marketing Services
Look over the options below and choose the one that works best for your business. The best email marketing services make it easy to manage your list, create the emails that look the way you want, have high deliverability rates (over 90%), allow you to segment your list, and have useful analytics to show the performance of your campaigns.
Best Overall – $9/month to start
Email marketing can be a tough nut to crack. You want to send out engaging content that connects with your customers, but you also don't want to bombard them with too much information.
ActiveCampaign is the perfect solution for small businesses that are looking to get the most out of their email marketing efforts. With an easy-to-use platform and robust features, ActiveCampaign makes it easy to create beautiful emails that will resonate with your customers.
Plus, with powerful automation tools, you can take your email marketing to the next level by segmenting your list and sending targeted content that is relevant to each customer. ActiveCampaign is the Email Marketing Automation & CRM Platform that makes it easy to connect with your customers and grow your business.
ActiveCampaign is my #1 recommendation for a few reasons.
One of the most difficult things to do is change your email marketing services from one vendor to another. While you can export the contacts on your list, you can't export all of your email automation, sequences, or landing pages that you built on a platform.
ActiveCampaign is a dream service because you can start for $9/month and then grow into the best email marketing service around without ever having to switch vendors. That's a huge benefit.
Take it from me, as I've switched platforms a few times and it's a bugger to make sure you get everything right.
Remember what I said earlier about the Holy Grail of email marketing? You want to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
ActiveCampaign uses machine learning to predict which lead may become a customer and sends an email to get started on a sales funnel.
Not every service on this guide has a CRM, but the ActiveCampaign CRM syncs with predictive machine learning. In turn, that fuels one of the most advanced lead scoring systems in email marketing. You get data that tells you when a lead is hot or perhaps needs a bit more nurturing to make a sale.
Advanced reporting in ActiveCampaign lets you view the status of your efforts. Use the reporting data to make decisions and fine-tune your marketing efforts.
ActiveCampaign has many reports, including:
The ActiveCampaign user interface makes building your email marketing system easy to understand and use. This example of the automation funnel shows the flow you can build when a contact subscribes to a list.
You can choose from existing templates and recipes or build your own automation. The same type of help works for building your emails. Choose from blocks on the email editor to build your message or use one of the hundreds of templates to craft your message.
ActiveCampaign pricing starts pretty low at $9/month on the Lite plan. The great advantage here is that you can get started without a major investment and then grow with your business.
One of the most difficult challenges among email marketing services is switching from one provider to another. That usually happens when you outgrow the services of your current provider.
It's typically easy to export your customer list and import it to a new provider. The part that isn't easy is rebuilding your email sequences and automation. Those important funnels that drive your business won't transfer from one email marketing service to another because there is no standard for automation.
That's why it's best to choose a service that can start where you're ready and grow with your needs. No need to switch to another provider and spend all that effort re-creating what you built.
The various plans available with ActiveCampaign can allow you to start as a beginner and grow into the best-in-class email marketing services it offers when your business is ready for them.
Pricing depends upon the size of your email list, which is customary in the email marketing services industry.
Each plan comes with a 14-day free trial.
What I Like/Dislike About ActiveCampaign
There's a reason why ActiveCampaign is my #1 recommendation. It's easy to get started at any phase of your email marketing journey and has the tools that allow you to grow your business without ever needing to move to a more “advanced” email marketing service. Start with ActiveCampaign to get access to the overall best service.
Best for Beginners – FREE to $19/month
In this review, we'll see how MailerLite uses simplicity and its best-in-class delivery metrics to make it the best option for beginning email marketers.
MailerLite makes it easy to create beautiful newsletters and track your results, making it the perfect choice for small businesses and busy professionals.
MailerLite is my top recommendation for people who are just getting started with a simple list and don't have plans to grow into a major sales automation business that needs ActiveCampaign's features (mentioned above)
MailerLite is the only email marketing service here that includes automation on its FREE plan, which is a major benefit compared to other services. The ability to create automation funnels allows you to define a series of events that occur when a subscriber trips a trigger to kick off the process.
You can start for free with up to 1,000 users and the paid plans are still inexpensive to add more features as you need them. It's
According to the Email Delivery Test, MailerLite has the highest overall delivery rate of any email marketing service tested with a score of 97%.
Some other key features include:
MailerLite has over 130 integrations with popular tools. If you can't find a native integration you need, there's a specific MailerLite Zapier integration that allows you to connect over 3,000 other tools to your email service.
The user interface is simple and uncluttered. From this dashboard display, you get a quick look at the status of your subscribers. On the left, the menu makes it easy to find the important features of MailerLite so you can easily get to the tool you need to use.
Drilling down on a specific subscriber is easy. You can see the subscriber management display above that shows metrics on a particular subscriber and you can also add notes individually.
MailerLite automation is simple to use and offers instant metrics to show how they're performing inside of each one. Remember, MailerLite is the only email marketing service that provides automation within its FREE plan.
You can choose from over 60 email templates within the MailerLite email editor or create your own using various block types. Choose your colors and typography from Google Fonts.
The dynamic blocks inside the editor do more than just personalize your messages with the recipient's name. You can also choose to display or hide blocks within the email based on personalized criteria.
That lets you choose which message block to display based upon where your subscriber is in the customer journey. Personalization like this causes higher click-through rates and subscriber engagement.
Reporting in MailerLite isn't as robust as some other tools, but it does what it's designed to do for the target audience that prefers simplicity and ease of use as opposed to complex options.
MailerLite is an easy-to-use email marketing service that includes features most other providers would charge to receive, including automation and websites. You could start a small business using nothing more than the free plan and continue to grow with the paid plans.
To get a small business off the ground, MailerLite is an outstanding option. It lacks the advanced features of some other providers, but the basic services are robust and no other service can match its email deliverability.
What's the point of having a plethora of back-end features if your audience doesn't get your emails?
Paid plans come with a 30-day free trial.
What I Like/Dislike About MailerLite
MailerLite is a well-respected email marketing service that's satisfied customers for many years, which means it's a stable choice in the field. 92% of customers recommended MailerLite to a friend or colleague.
The motivation behind the company is to provide a customer-friendly approach that removes complexity while still offering advanced features.
With the most generous free plan on the market and low prices, best-in-class email deliverability, and an easy-to-use product, MailerLite is perfect for the small business just getting started and growing into a decent e-commerce business.
Best for WordPress Users – $129/annually for one site
FluentCRM is a great WordPress plugin CRM that offers many benefits and features.
Unlike other email marketing services here, FluentCRM doesn't actually send an email. You must integrate it with an email service like AWS Simple Email Service or other providers to send your email.
The benefit of this approach is that you aren't charged by the size of your list. You only pay for the emails that you send, as well as the annual fee to license FluentCRM. AWS Simple Email Service only charges ten cents per 1,000 emails sent.
Overall, FluentCRM is an excellent choice for any business that wants a powerful CRM solution that is easy to use and installs within WordPress as a plugin.
DISCOUNT: Use coupon code BEEM to save 20%
Suburbia Press uses FluentCRM as our email marketing service and customer CRM. We integrate with Amazon Web Services SES to send an email, which provides us with a very high deliverability rate and very low cost to send an email.
However, we incur other costs for our WordPress hosting. In our case, that's a cost we already had and it made FluentCRM very attractive for both its features and low cost of operation. See more details in the pricing section below.
A WordPress CRM is not for everyone. You need to have appropriate hosting with a VPS (Virtual Private Server) and not shared hosting. FluentCRM doesn't have high resource requirements, but you need to know that you have dedicated server resources. It's also important to configure FluentCRM with a service to actually send emails.
If you're comfortable with the technical aspects of operating a CRM inside of WordPress, the benefits are a MUCH lower cost of operation compared to any SaaS email marketing service.
The vendor, WP Manage Ninja, is continually upgrading FluentCRM and offering new features and integrations to make the product better. In its first year, FluentCRM won the Torque WordPress Plugin Madness competition and beat out several excellent and well-established competitors.
Not every email marketing service in this guide has a CRM, but FluentCRM does! That means you don't just have a list of email subscribers, but you have the resources to track and understand their actions & behaviors.
Which of your subscribers are customers and what did they buy? FluentCRM integrates with ThriveCart, WooCommerce, and other eCommerce platforms to collect data on their purchases, and interests, and provides opportunities for add-on sales of related products or services.
It's pretty easy to create FluentCRM automation and there are plenty of options to use, including triggers from various integrations with other tools and actions to perform, not to mention conditional branches.
If you use LearnDash, for example, student activity inside of your LMS can act as a trigger for FluentCRM automation. You can send an email when a student completes a lesson, module, or course.
There are currently 33 native integrations with FluentCRM and other products. Thousands of other integration possibilities exist with native Webhooks in FluentCRM or by using Zapier.
There are several reports available within FluentCRM to track your progress.
My one complaint with the reporting is that there is no centralized area or menu option to look for reports. Each report exists with the area that it's covering.
For example, automation reports exist with each automation. Campaign reports exist with each campaign.
The report above is from a campaign I sent to a small segment of students introducing a new lesson. I can see campaign performance at a glance. Hovering over the pie chart shows which activity (listed on the left) to get a visual representation of the results.
The menu options below give me granular insight into this campaign's performance.
Deliverability may differ depending upon which service you choose to integrate with FluentCRM. Most people who discuss this on the Facebook Group for FluentCRM seem to go with Amazon Web Services Simple Email Service, which has excellent deliverability.
Amazon Web Services SES has its own filtering technologies, where it scans the email and ensures that the email meets the ISP standards. SES automatically blocks the emails which have malicious and spam contents.
Although FluentCRM exists within WordPress, the developers create their own user interface. It's sleek, modern, and easy to use. There are subtle animations to let you know when a task succeeded.
The email editor gives you different options to style your messages and it takes you step-by-step through the process to compose, define your subject & settings, choose the recipients, and finally review & send your email.
There are no email templates available with FluentCRM. However, there is an option for HTML email and you can use a service like Stripo. It has more template options than you find in most email marketing services.
You can find the major menu options on the left WordPress admin menu under the FluentCRM option (which sticks to the top). There are additional menus for each of the major components.
FluentCRM pricing does not cost extra based upon the size of your email list, like most SaaS services. You pay an annual fee based upon the number of sites where you want to use FluentCRM.
Want a FluentCRM discount code?
Use the coupon code BEEM when you check out to save 20% (as shown above) on your order. This code may not be available when there is a sale offering a larger discount, so you win either way.
In addition to the cost of your annual license, you also need to connect FluentCRM to an email service in order to send emails.
FluentCRM uses a free plugin called FluentSMTP to connect it to your email service provider. You can use any SMTP service, but FluentSMTP makes it easy to set up an integration with several other email services, like Amazon Web Service SES, SendGrid, or Google Workspace.
The different email services vary in cost, but Suburbia Press uses AWS SES and our bill is under $10/month for three different websites that send emails (10 cents per 1,000 emails sent).
What I Like/Dislike About FluentCRM
I'm a happy user of FluentCRM. It does exactly what I need it to do and has a very low cost of operation. You don't have to pay the success tax to grow your list, which makes your operational costs predictable.
However, those who are uncomfortable digging into technology to create integrations with other services won't feel comfortable using a WordPress-based CRM like FluentCRM. The development team does its best to manage integrations, but you are your best judge of technical ability.
Instead of using pre-built landing pages, you can build your own pages using a WordPress page with Gutenberg blocks. There is a free version of Fluent Forms (made by the same team) to help you build email opt-in forms, and it works with some other 3rd party email form vendors.
FluentCRM is a great product for WordPress users who understand how to install and integrate plugins with other services, and you can't beat the price of deliverability when combined with AWS SES to send email.
Best for Bloggers & Influencers / Free to $25 per month for 300 Subscribers
ConvertKit founder, Nathan Barry, had a specific audience in mind while developing his email marketing service. The plan was to develop an email service for creators and influencers – people who write blogs and need a service that's easy to use and fairly priced.
With that in mind, ConvertKit is basic compared to some other email marketing services. However, that simplicity serves the purpose to eliminate features that aren't required for the audience. In turn, ConvertKit is easy to use and achieves the objective that its audience needs.
ConvertKit is best for:
You didn't find a lot of eCommerce tools when ConvertKit started, but they've grown to include tools to help people make some basic sales and earn revenue.
Email deliverability is rather high, per the Email Deliverability Test tool from EmailTestTool. At the time I wrote this review, ConvertKit was the 3rd highest tool based upon an average of the last three months of testing with a score of 93%. Deliverability varies by month, but ConvertKit typically offers good scores.
The key features of ConvertKit allow you to grow your audience, connect with them, and earn some revenue from your audience.
To help you do that, ConvertKit starts with email opt-in tools like Landing Pages and Email forms. You can also integrate with plenty of other services that can help you add users to your audience.
The connection with your subscribers is your reason for using email marketing services in the first place. On the paid plans, you get automated funnels and sequences that let you send the right email at the right time.
Adding commerce into the mix provides basic tools to start charging for your offers, rather than relying upon an external tool to process payments and deliver your goods. This service won't compete with some advanced tools, but it's simple and robust enough for the audience of creators and influencers.
ConvertKit doesn't offer a Customer Relationship Manager, though it will integrate with other services. If you need a CRM, this isn't the tool to use for that purpose.
One of the things that I liked about ConvertKit was its ease of use. To help with that, ConvertKit offers a lot of training articles, videos, and knowledgebase articles to help you understand how to use its tools and features.
If you're not sure what to do, much less how to do it, ConvertKit offers stories and ideas from other creators to show how they've used the tools to grow their audience and benefit their business.
Additionally, you always have access to the ConvertKit community to interact with your peers and ask questions.
My experience with ConvertKit support was always friendly, but sometimes my needs stumped them. Here's an example.
I used ConvertKit for my photography blog and sometimes I included a photo in my email. Rather than delivering a photo, ConvertKit delivered a link for my subscribers to download the image (this was in 2017).
When I asked about it, the support person admitted she was stumped. It turns out there was a size limitation that my photo exceeded and large attachments tend to hang up emails from delivery. She submitted my request for a new feature.
As for the user interface and tools, they are clearly marked and easy to understand. I never had a problem with the user interface. It was the occasional unexpected behavior, like the photo issue I just mentioned, that caused me to reach out to support.
The power begins with the Creator plan where you get to use automated funnels and sequences. The Creator and Creator Pro plan also includes a free migration from other email services.
The Creator Pro plan introduces subscriber scoring, Facebook custom audiences, and better reporting.
You get a 14-day free trial with the paid plans so you can check out the services, user interface, and training that comes with ConvertKit.
What I Like/Dislike About ConvertKit
ConvertKit is a solid choice for creators; its intended audience. It offers reliable service to create and send emails, capture email addresses, create basic automation and email sequences, and offers basic commerce tools that will suit more bloggers and influencers.
Customer support is friendly and responsive. If you need advanced automation, a CRM, or complex e-commerce tools, you may need to look elsewhere.
Best for Startups – $9 to $19/month
Moosend is a powerful tool that can help you streamline your email marketing efforts. In this review, we'll take a closer look at what Moosend has to offer and how it can benefit your business.
Moosend is an all-in-one platform for managing email marketing from creation to delivery and tracking. It offers a great drag-and-drop editor with preset templates which gives amateur users or people who aren't design-savvy the ability to create
Moosend is one of the newer email marketing platforms on the scene, but it's already making a name for itself. It offers some great features and a robust platform that makes it easy to create and send out newsletters.
Plus, its pricing is very affordable, making it a great option for small businesses and beginners. So if you're looking for an affordable, easy-to-use email marketing service, Moosend is definitely worth checking out.
Moosend is another low-priced gem with an easy-to-understand user interface. It has an advanced automation workflow builder to make it easy to build your funnels and automation systems.
Moosend's automation recipes are a great way to streamline your email marketing efforts. With Moosend, you can create automated email campaigns that are triggered by certain events, such as when a subscriber signs up for your list or makes a purchase.
Moosend's automation recipes make it easy to create and manage your email campaigns, and they can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. Moosend's automation recipes are also very flexible, so you can customize them to fit your specific needs.
Overall, Moosend's automation recipes are a great way to simplify your email marketing and make sure that your messages are always on target.
Moosend's email editor is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive on the market.
Moosend's prebuilt templates provide users with a professional-looking email that they can customize to fit their brand. Moosend's email editor includes a drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to add or remove elements from your email.
The results are mobile-responsive, meaning they'll look good on any device. Moosend comes with about 40+ email templates and you can add your own branding to them.
Moosend's reporting system is one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly on the market. Moosend Reports allow you to track your email campaigns in real-time, so you can see how your subscribers are engaging with your content.
You can also use Moosend Reports to segment your list and track specific metrics, like click-through rate and open rate. Moosend's reporting system is an invaluable tool for any email marketer, and it's one of the many reasons why Moosend is the best choice for your email marketing needs.
Moosend's reporting and analytics are unique in that they offer “Real-time” data. As soon as someone opens your campaign or visits any stage of the sales funnel, you get an instant report on what information is being collected about them through their interactions with our products/services.
Moosend's eCommerce AI is an extremely powerful tool that can benefit your business in a number of ways.
First, it can help you to segment your customer base more effectively, allowing you to target them with more personalized and relevant messages.
Second, it can help you to automate your marketing campaigns, saving you a considerable amount of time and effort.
Third, it can help you to track and analyze your customer behavior, giving you valuable insights into their needs and preferences.
Fourth, Moosend's eCommerce AI can also help you to improve your website's conversion rates by recommending the most effective products and offers to each visitor.
In short, Moosend's eCommerce AI is a powerful tool that can help you to boost your sales and grow your business.
Moosend provides an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that makes email marketing simple and quick for users of all levels of expertise. The Moosend user interface is designed to be streamlined and efficient, with all the features and tools you need to create beautiful and effective campaigns, conveniently located in one place.
Moosend also offers a wide range of templates, so you can create a professional-looking campaign even if you don't have experience with design.
With Moosend, creating an email marketing campaign is simple and straightforward, so you can focus on what's important – your message.
Moosend offers a free trial for 30 days. The Pro plan is $7/month for up to 500 subscribers if paid annually, or $9/month on a monthly basis for the same amount of subscribers.
Moosend is an email marketing service that offers a variety of features at a very affordable price. Its pricing structure meets the needs of both small businesses and large enterprises. Moosend offers a variety of features, including a drag-and-drop editor, autoresponders, and templates.
Moosend also offers a wide range of integrations, so you can use Moosend with your existing CRM or eCommerce platform. Moosend's pricing is very competitive, and you can sign up for a free trial to see if Moosend is the right fit for your business.
What I Like/Dislike About Moosend
Moosend is an email marketing service that promises to make it easy to create and send newsletters and other email campaigns. The service includes a drag-and-drop email builder, a wide selection of templates, and detailed analytics. Moosend also offers a free trial for 30 days.
Overall, Moosend seems like a solid email marketing solution. The drag-and-drop builder is easy to use, and the templates look professional. Moosend also has a good selection of features, including detailed analytics and a low price for up to 500 subscribers. If you're looking for an email marketing service, Moosend is definitely worth considering.
Email Marketing Services Summary
So there you have it – our list of the best email marketing services for small businesses. All of these providers offer great features and benefits, so be sure to check out their offers and pricing to find the one that’s right for your business.
ActiveCampaign is our #1 recommendation for growth and control. MailerLite is great for those just getting started. FluentCRM may be right for you if you like using WordPress services and it can save you a lot of money compared to the other services here.