Making the right choice when it comes to the best email marketing services is incredibly important.
And do you know why?
According to recent statistics, in 2019, global email usage amounted to 3.9 billion users.
That number is set to reach 4.3 billion in 2023.
And what’s more interesting, is that the same study shows that 81% of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel.
But the problem is, so many entrepreneurs do email marketing wrong. It’s so much more than having a list of addresses you send messages to every once in a while.
So where do you begin? All successful email marketing starts with choosing the right software for the job.
This is where this ultime guide comes in. With so many choices available these days, I’ve researched and compiled a list of 30 of the best email marketing service providers and platforms, so that you can pick the one that best suits you and your business.
You’ll also learn many other insights on why email marketing software is important, how to choose the right software, and much more.
Excited? Let’s get stuck in!
What Is Email Marketing Software?
Email Marketing Software (or Email Service Provider) is a tool (or set of tools) that will manage your email list and the sending of messages to that list on an ongoing (or automated) basis.
No, you can’t use GMail or Yahoo for your email marketing. You are going to need a tool that’s specifically built for that purpose.
The companies that build email service providers have a deep understanding of what is needed for successful email marketing.
What you’ll find included in a good email tool is often a set of features that you normally wouldn’t find in a ‘regular’ email platform (GMail, Yahoo and the rest).
Things like multiple lists, autoresponders, signup forms are all incredibly powerful tools you will definitely need in your email marketing endeavours, and even the most basic software include most (if not all) of them.
You really can’t operate effective email marketing without a dedicated platform.
So what are the best email marketing services out there?
What Are The Best Email Marketing Services & Software?
In this day and age, there is no shortage of good email marketing software. Which is both a good and a bad thing.
The good news is that you have so many options available at your fingertips, you’re bound to ultimately find something that works for you.
The bad news, on the other hand, is ironically the same thing. There’s so much choice out there, overwhelm is easy.
My advice is simple: choose the right software based on your specific needs, rather than going for the cheapest one or the one that boasts the most features.
We’ll dig deeper into how to pick the best email marketing service at the end of this article.
But for now, let’s look at some of the best options out there, all thoroughly examined with a full breakdown of their pros and cons, their main features and pricing plans.
Email Marketing Services Reviews
Here are my picks for the 17 best email marketing services, software and platforms. After the list, you’ll find an in-depth review of each tool. Enjoy!
- Keap (previously Infusionsoft)
- Market Hero
- Campaign Monitor
Let me cut right to the chase here, ActiveCampaign is by far my top recommendation when it comes to email marketing software.
Their lists and subscriber tagging system is second to none, but the real killer-feature here is their powerful automations system.
I’ve tried many email marketing tools over the years, but nothing comes close to what ActiveCampaign allows you to do.
It might be a little advanced for some, and the first impression you get from the software might get a little overwhelming.
But if you’re planning on being in the email marketing game for a long time, you should definitely check out ActiveCampaign, and let the software ‘grow with you’ as you expand your business.
Last but not least, ActiveCampaign has consistently been the best performer when it comes to email deliverability.
Who Is ActiveCampaign For?
Entrepreneurs and small businesses who are a little more advanced with their email marketing.
It’s an incredibly powerful tool, and if you plan on implementing automations any time soon, ActiveCampaign will definitely be your best pick.
Key Features Of ActiveCampaign Email Marketing Software
- ‘Regular’ broadcast emails
- ‘Triggered’ emails based on purchases, site visits, etc.
- Targeted emails
- Advanced email funnels and automation
- Scheduled emails
- Pre-made email templates
- Conditional content
- Site tracking
- Audience segmentation
- It’s probably the best when it comes to automations
- Top-notch deliverability rates
- Great split-testing features
- Pro-looking email templates
- Excellent support
- Free trial available
- Countless integrations
- You can share automations easily
- Interface can be overwhelming when you first use it
- Can get expensive as your audience grows
- Might be ‘overkill’ for some smaller businesses
ActiveCampaign offers a 14-day free trial.
Once that is over, charges are based on the number of subscribers you have on your list. Billing can occur monthly or annually (at a discount).
There are 4 pricing plans. The Lite plan does the job, but to get the best of ActiveCampaign’s powerful features, you’ll need to go with a higher-priced plan.
As an example, we’ve set the number of subscribers to 1000. Here’s what you will be charged for each plan.
|Plan||Email Send Limit / Month||Cost / Pricing|
|Lite||Unlimited||$29/mo or $17/mo (yearly)|
|Plus||Unlimited||$70/mo or $49/mo (yearly)|
|Professional||Unlimited||$159/mo or $129/mo (yearly)|
|Enterprise||Unlimited||$279/mo or $229/mo /yearly|
ConvertKit has become an incredibly popular choice among bloggers in recent years.
It began with a focus on simplicity, great design and ease of use, but it has recently added some advanced features (such as ‘visual’ automations), which make it a much more powerful tool than it was when the company started out.
Its great landing page editor and super easy-to-create forms make it a great one-stop-shop for those who need a tool that does not come short when it comes to features, but at the same time is not as complicated to use as some of the other more-advanced platforms out there.
Pricing, too, is great if you’re looking for a more affordable option.
Who Is ConvertKit For?
ConvertKit is great for solopreneurs, bloggers (even pros), authors, vloggers.
- Easily customisable and embeddable sign-up forms
- Great landing-page templates
- Email ‘designer’
- Automations (with visual editor)
- Advanced reporting
- Subscriber segmentation and tagging
- Countless integrations
- Great all-in-one tool for those who are just starting out
- Visual automations editor works great
- Forms and landing-pages can be used even without a website
- Extremely user-friendly UI
- Accessible price
- Free trial
- Lacks some more ‘advanced’ features
- Reporting can be improved
- Deliverability has worsened a little over the years
Plans And Pricing
ConvertKit offers a 14-day free trial to test the software out.
There are two plans you can choose from, which are billed monthly or annually.
The free plan can be free forever, but only up to 1k subscribers (and lacks automation features).
The “Complete” plan’s price varies on the number of your subscribers.
Free Plan: Only up to 1k subscribers. No automation. No reporting
Complete Plan (e.g. 1k subscribers): $29/month or $25/month (paid annually). Unlimited features.
GetResponse is one of the oldest-standing email marketing tools out there.
However, it has come a very long way since the company was founded in the early 2000s.
Today, it is a suite of tools which include email marketing, of course, but also marketing automations features, a webinar platform, a landing page builder and much more.
Its strongpoint is definitely its automation feature, which is implemented in both emails and in a proprietary tool called AutoFunnel:
AutoFunnel allows you to create a fully functioning funnel from scratch with fill-in-the-blanks templates and ready made emails, Facebook Ads and landing pages. All with a click of a button.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use that’s a little more advanced than ConvertKit, GetResponse might be your best bet.
Who Is GetResponse For?
GetResponse is a happy medium between ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit. It’s best suited for medium-sized businesses who don’t need an overwhelmingly large number of features, but are ready to implement more advanced things like automations.
- Newsletters, autoresponders and automated emails
- Segment-specific emails
- ‘Perfect Time’ and ‘Time Travel’ delivery tools
- Automated blog digests
- Drag-and-drop email editor
- Custom and dynamic content in emails
- Split-testing features (subject lines, email content, delivery times, etc.)
- Over 170 integrations
- Automations work great
- Templates have a ‘pro’ feel
- Visual automations workflow interface is top-notch
- Many other features apart from email can be added in higher-priced plans
- Reporting could be better
- Integrations sometimes have glitches
- Deliverability score not great
Plans And Pricing
GetResponse has a 30-day free trial. After that, you can be billed monthly, every 12 months (-18% discount), or every 24 months (-30% discount). Plans vary on list-size. Here’s a breakdown of their plans for a 1k-subscriber list:
Basic Plan: $15/month. All email marketing features included, but limited to 1 sales funnel.
Plus Plan: $49/month. Also includes Automation Builder (max 5 workflows), up to 5 sales funnels and 5 webinar funnels.
Professional Plan: $99/month. Unlimited Automation Builder, webinar platform and unlimited funnels
Enterprise Plan: $1,199/month. This is only for those who have list-sizes exceeding 100k subscribers.
When the company first started (and when it was acquired by LeadPages in 2016) Drip aimed at winning over many pro-bloggers as the best alternative to ConvertKit.
In recent years, though, the company’s direction has changed a lot. Drip now markets itself as a full-blown “e-commerce CRM”, and showcases its integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento as its main features.
Drip handles email marketing in a different way from other providers (it uses ‘tags’ and ‘events’ instead of lists).
Automations – once the company’s strongpoint – are still some of the best out there.
Who Is Drip For?
If you own an e-commerce store, Drip is a no-brainer choice: its integrations and automations (based on customer behavior) make it a killer option for engaging with your customers.
- Advanced customer-data collection
- Deep segmentation
- Personalized content
- Behavior-based automations
- Facebook and Instagram integrations
- In-depth reporting
- Workflow split-testing
- Probably the best CRM for ecommerce store owners
- Great integrations
- Lets you reach customers in multiple ways
- One of the best form-builders out there
- Great reporting
- Unsuitable for ‘general’ use
- Quite expensive compared to other tools
- Customer support not great
- Average deliverability score
Plans And Pricing
Drip offers a free 14-day trial. After the trial is over, pricing is based on the size of your list.
There is only one plan to choose from, which includes all features, and payments can only be made on a monthly basis.
Here’s a breakdown of Drip’s pricing based on email-list size:
|List Size||Cost / Pricing|
|Up to 2,999 subscribers||$49/month|
|From 3,000 to 5,000 subscribers||$122/month|
|From 5,000 to 12,499 subscribers||$184/month|
|From 12,500 to 17,499 subscribers||$246/month|
|From 17,500 to 22,499 subscribers||$370/month|
Constant Contact is one of the oldest players in the email marketing software game.
It was founded way back in 1995, and even though many entrepreneurs swear by it, overall the platform feels a little outdated in comparison with some of its competitors.
But it definitely has its strengths: the email editor is sleek and easy to use, and you get niche-specific templates you can customize to fit your needs.
Email automation is a little on the ‘simple’ side, but that could be a good thing if you’re not looking for advanced features.
Overall, small-medium businesses and solopreneurs are probably better off using a more updated (and cheaper) platform such as ConvertKit.
Constant Contact For?
Businesses looking for a platform that does its job, but don’t really care about taking their email marketing to the next level.
- Drag-and-drop email template editor
- (Simple) automation features
- Email triggering based on clicks
- Subscriber segmenting
- A/B Testing (limited to subject lines)
- Deliverability results are great
- Over 270 integrations
- Easy to use interface
- Great niche-specific templates to choose from
- Expensive when compared to similar providers
- Automation feature possibly ‘too basic’
- Some features look and feel outdated
Plans And Pricing
Constant Contact is one of the few providers who offer a full 30-day free trial.
The pricing is then based on the number of people on your list.
There are two plans to choose from, which are billed monthly.