The Ultimate List of Best Email Marketing Services in 2021
When it comes to ROI, nothing beats email marketing.
Despite its age, it continues to generate $42 for every $1 you invest and remains the key strategic channel for most marketers.
This isn’t surprising either. According to Statista, roughly 3.9 billion people across the globe now use email, and that number is expected to grow to 4.48 billion by 2024. This channel’s not reserved for one particular demographic either. Even Millenials love it.
Needless to say, email marketing’s not only not dead – it’s thriving! And if you’re considering using email marketing services, you can count on:
- reaching more customers on their preferred communication channel,
- boosting your sales, and even
- increasing your brand recognition.
So we’ve put together a list of 12 email marketing services you can choose from.
But before we take a look at them, let’s get on the same page about what email marketing services are and why they’re so important.
Table Of Contents
What’s an email marketing service?
An email marketing service is a piece of software or technology that helps you create, manage, and improve email marketing campaigns.
A good email marketing service makes it easy for you to send out newsletters, product launches, and abandoned cart emails to your list by giving you the tools to do it.
For example, the drag-and-drop editor in most email marketing services makes it easy to create polished emails without coding skills. And other features, like segmentation and tags, allow you to send out highly targeted and personalized campaigns.
Think of it as an assistant that’s working for you behind the scenes. So while you’re busy working on projects, your email marketing service will be nurturing potential customers in the background and building up your brand recognition in the process.
Why is email marketing so important?
We’ve already mentioned this, but the #1 reason email marketing is so important is that it’s been proven, time and time again, as the most effective marketing channel.
In a study by Content Marketing Institute, 31% of B2B marketers said email newsletters were their best medium to nurture leads.
These stats show us why email marketing isn’t just a nice-to-have for your business — it’s essential.
Not only is it still the most effective marketing channel nearly 50 years after it was first used, but it’s also managed to make a smooth transition onto mobile devices.
Take a quick look at a real-life case study of TechSoup Polska — it’ll give you a much clearer view of the importance of email marketing.
A quick case study of a business who increased sales through email marketing:
TechSoup Polska helps the community and social organizations gain access to new technologies like software and hardware by teaching them how to use them.
The company began using email marketing, specifically a newsletter, to target their customers with new offers and suggestions.
TechSoup Polska’s Project Coordinator, Liza Nema, said the company used segmentation to send customers offers about different products, interests, and equipment.
Their strategy was simple:
- The content was structured: Content sent out was divided into sections of information to make it easier for customers to understand.
- Each email had consistency: Users were always aware of who the emails were from because TechSoup used their brand colors and similar graphics in them.
Different emails were sent to different groups: They didn’t send the same email to everyone on their list. Instead, specific content was sent to segmented recipient groups such as sending out information about Google Ads training to customers using the Google for Nonprofits platform.
So, how important was email marketing to TechSoup Polska’s bottom line?
After 12 months, they had a 1200% increase in orders value from their newsletters! (And just by the way, they used our email marketing software!)
Now you know what email marketing services are and why they’re so important, let’s look at our top ten email marketing service recommendations.
1. GetResponse (yep, that’s us)
- Create automated email campaigns using a marketing automation workflow builder
- Preview and test your emails before sending them using Spam check and Inbox preview
- Segment your lists using advanced filters
- Track opens, clicks, unsubscribes, purchases, etc.
- Send out emails according to each subscriber’s time zone or based on their behavior
- Track and test your email efforts using analytics and A/B testing
Plans start at $15/month for up to 1,000 subscribers. However, the tool’s Plus plan, which starts at $49/month, has features like sales funnels, contact scoring, and automated workflow builders that make it even easier for small businesses to build successful email campaigns. It offers two main types of discounts – 18% for annual, and 30% biannual plans. There’s also an extra deal for nonprofit organizations.
Free trial account available with access to all key features for 30 days – no credit card needed.
Okay, so we’ll try not to be biased here (and you’ll soon see that we’re not).
But we think that GetResponse is one of the best email marketing services out there — based on its versatility and ease of use.
Our email template library is packed with templates that small businesses and freelancers can use to build professional, polished email campaigns right out of the box.
All you have to do is use the drag-and-drop tool to customize the templates by adding your branding, images, and text. And you can test and preview them, too, before sending them to your recipients.
But the most powerful part of GetResponse’s platform is its functionality. It simplifies the more complex aspects of email marketing.
For example, you can use GetResponse’s workflow builder to visualize email campaigns when you create them and decide when certain emails are sent. So if you only want a specific offer to be sent to a reader if they click a link, you can do that:
Not only can GetResponse automatically segment contacts on your email list, but it can also give them a score based on the level of their engagement.
If a lead is consistently opening emails or clicking links, GetResponse will give them a higher “score” so you can easily see who your most engaged leads are.
So if you want to send out an offer to people who frequently engage with your emails or are loyal customers, you can build a campaign that’s targeted at subscribers or leads with high scores.
GetResponse’s automation tools also allow you to send out autoresponders to segmented groups in your lists like new subscribers and cart abandoners. instead of everybody on your list getting the same email messages.
It also gives you access to other tools like a landing page builder, conversion funnels builder, Facebook and Google Ads, and a webinar solution. Having these tools under one roof makes it easier to run successful email marketing campaigns without switching between platforms.
- Easily automate scheduled email campaigns
- Track open and click rates for individual campaigns
- Check the success of each campaign with real-time reporting
Mailchimp’s free plan allows you to send out emails for free until your contact list reaches 2,000. However, the free plan has limited features. If you want to unlock them, Mailchimp’s Essentials plan starts at $9.99/month and goes up incrementally based on the number of subscribers you have.
Yes – forever free plan.
MailChimp’s simple drag-and-drop editor comes with a number of templates that are designed for responsiveness across all devices.
Small businesses can use the templates and add logos, text blocks, and images, then choose if they want to send out emails using regular or automated campaigns (on the paid plan).
Mailchimp’s regular campaigns use HTML email that also has a plain-text alternative, while automated campaigns allow you to trigger when an email is sent, like if someone signs up to a webinar or subscribes to your newsletter:
There’s a Mailchimp mobile app, too. It automatically syncs updates with your Mailchimp account so that you can check on campaigns in real-time from anywhere.
- Embed custom forms that feed subscribers into your email list
- Trigger email campaigns to send automatically
- Combine email marketing campaigns with SMS, push notifications, and Facebook Messenger
Omnisend has four plans, including a forever free plan. Like Mailchimp’s free plan, Omnisend’s is limited by the number of features you can access.
The paid options start at $16/month for the Standard plan which includes 15,000 emails and automation. And the Pro plan ($99/month) includes advanced reporting and push notifications.
Yes – forever free plan.
Omnisend is a combination of marketing automation tools.
The tool is tailor made for ecommerce platforms as a lot of its pre-built automations are around cart abandonment, welcome series, and transactional emails.
Using its advanced features like segmentation, you can even send out automated emails based on purchasing behavior. You can segment customers based on past purchases like average order value or purchase frequency and target users with campaigns accordingly.
For example, you can send an email campaign to push sales to people who have recently purchased a black t-shirt dress that cost at least $50:
For small ecommerce stores who rely on forming relationships with their customers, Omnisend’s segmentation options combined with automation workflows can get your email marketing efforts started quickly.
- Schedule automated email campaigns to be sent on triggering events rather than a time or date.
- Send campaigns to users based on advanced segmentation filters like gender, age, or past purchasing behavior.
- Design email campaigns using drag and drop (no HTML skills needed!)
iContact’s Essential Plan starts at $30 /month for 500 subscribers, which includes the tool’s drag-and-drop editor, stock images, and welcome series automation. The Professional Plan starts at $99 /month for the same amount of subscribers.
Free trial available for 30 days.
iContact’s suite of email marketing tools combines templates, RSS feeds, surveys, autoresponders to make it an all-round option for small businesses and freelancers.
Like other tools on our list, iContact’s drag-and-drop editor lets you create polished email campaigns without needing HTML knowledge. You can then use their easy-to-use A/B split tests on a few of your email contacts to see which message resonates best:
Also, The tool’s form creator lets you embed forms straight into your website, landing pages, and emails, making it easier to build your subscriber list and manage them throughout their life cycle.
iContact uses features like SpamcheckTM to boost deliverability rates and make sure every email you send lands in your contact’s inbox, not their spam folder. This makes it easier to track how successful your campaigns are and makes sure every email you send has a chance of being read.
- Link email sign up forms to custom landing pages
- Create custom drip email marketing campaigns from scratch
- Add trigger and automation rules to individual campaigns
ConvertKit offers a forever free, limited plan that includes unlimited landing pages and 1000 subscribers. Paying for the Creator plan ($29/month) unlocks automated funnels, integrations, and support.
Free trial available for 14 days.
ConvertKit is an email marketing service specifically designed for creatives like bloggers, designers, startups, or anyone with a small business looking to grow their list.
First off, ConvertKit plays super nice with most of the leading third-party apps on the web, including WordPress, Zapier, Squarespace, Instapage, Shopify, and WooCommerce, so it’s quick and easy to start using the tool no matter what platform you’re using.
They have three key areas that help with email marketing:
- Email sign up forms
- Email automation
- Email designer
Each of these features makes it easy for you to create simple, responsive elements to your website to boost subscribers and nurture relationships.
Unlike some other email marketing tools, ConvertKit also allows you to edit sequences when they’re up and running.
For example, you can use ConvertKit’s automated workflows to tweak content, build custom paths, and connect subscriber events without having to build new workflows. Just click on the event you want to edit and hit save:
- Free template library with hundreds of designs to choose from
- AI-powered email template designer to create branded emails automatically
- Combines landing pages and signup forms to help you boost subscribers
AWeber’s pricing depends on how many subscribers you have and the length of your contract. The cheapest plan is $19/month for up to 500 subscribers, and then the price goes up incrementally with their premium plans when your contact list increases.
You will get a discount of 14% with a quarterly plan or 15% with an annual plan.
Free trial available for 30 days.
AWeber takes its email marketing service back to the basics.
Its drag-and-drop designer allows you to create custom emails easily thanks to its mega library of free templates. If you’re in a hurry or need help with your design, their AI-powered assistant even builds branded email templates for you in seconds.
All you have to do is enter your website URL, and the designer will create a custom template for you that you can edit:
On top of this tech, AWeber is also one of the few email marketing services that offer all its features no matter what plan you pick.
And if you have any issues or questions, they also have 24/7 customer support on hand to help.
You may also want to read: GetResponse vs AWeber comparison
- Custom HTML and rich text editor for more complex projects
- Built-in photo editor to tweak images
- A vast template library to send out targeted emails to users easily
Like a lot of other tools on our list, MailerLite has a forever free plan, which allows you to send 12,000 emails a month for up to 1000 subscribers.
However, the forever free plan has limited features, so if you need more, their paid plans start at $15/month for 1,001-2,500 subscribers and unlimited emails.
Yes – forever free plan.
MailerLite is aimed at SMBs and solopreneurs who want to send out professional marketing campaigns with ease.
The tool’s growing list of integrations includes Magento, Shopify, and WordPress, making it geared towards ecommerce vendors.
For example, you can use MailerLite’s drag-and-drop editor to build automated email campaigns to target abandoned carts, subscribers, or even get feedback on products with inbuilt surveys.
MailerLite has also created a comprehensive educational program for its customers, too.
Every month, they release webinars, tutorials, and marketing guides to help their customers create more successful email marketing campaigns.
- Import your existing email list easily using .csv and text file uploads
- Send out email campaigns to unlimited contacts
- Create custom transactional emails to send automatically after customer purchases
Sendinblue is the only tool on our list that charges you for the number of emails you send, not your subscriber list. The free account lets you send up to 9,000 emails per month (300 emails per day) before you have to pay.
As your business scales, you can then upgrade to a plan that matches your needs. The Lite plan includes 100,000 emails/month, no daily send limit and AB testing for $25/month.
Yes – forever free plan.
Sendinblue ticks a lot of boxes for an email marketing service, like having a form creator, segmenting, and automation.
Along with having an inbuilt CRM and landing page builder, it also has a specific tool to build transactional emails.
If you sell products online, this tool is a must.
You can set the function up to link to your website using API, SMTP Relay, or a plugin. Then once a customer places an order, Sendinblue will automatically email them with details like their order confirmation number, purchase date, and delivery address:
The tool also has pre-built workflows you can use to send out email campaigns easily. Or, if you want to customize them to meet your specific marketing goals — you can do that too.
- ActiveCampaign Integrates with over 200 apps and services
- Track where your contacts live or travel for better targeting
- Build email campaigns quickly and easily with its drag-and-drop designer
ActiveCampaign’s Lite Plan starts at $15/month for up to 500 contracts ($9/month if you pay for an annual plan.) This will get you unlimited email sends, marketing automation, and signup forms.
If you need more contacts or features, the Plus plan is $70/month ($49/month if paid annually) or there’s an Enterprise option that starts at $229/month if you pay for a year upfront.
14-day free trial.
ActiveCampaign’s email marketing tool is focused on customer relationships thanks to its inbuilt CRM.
Firstly, features like lead scoring and advanced segmentation allow you to create targeted content to send to subscribers on a smaller scale. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, this will allow you to target contacts and send personalized offers and information easily.
ActiveCampaign also has powerful automation features.
You can use their automation to update contact data and sales leads automatically. On top of this, you can use the tool to build complex workflows that combine triggers, actions, and logic to send out targeted emails.
It’s more complicated than the other tools on our list. But if you’re looking for an email marketing service that can target smaller groups of contacts effectively, ActiveCampaign has the features to make it happen.
You may also want to read: GetResponse vs ActiveCampaign
- Track email analytics automatically in real-time
- Segment lists based on signup data
- Customize emails with the code view tool if you know your way around HTML or CSS
The free plan includes unlimited emails, sign up forms, and reporting and analytics. If you need landing pages, transactional emails, and phone support, the Pro plan starts at $8/month.
Yes – forever free plan.
Moosend is geared towards agencies and ecommerce vendors that are looking for a low-priced tool that still packs a punch.
It has all the marketing automations most other tools have, like multiple email campaigns, newsletters, and mailing lists. It also has a range of customizable templates you can use to create quick and easy responsive email campaigns.
What makes this tool perfect for smaller businesses and freelancers is you can add customizable opt-in forms to your marketing platforms, like your blog or Facebook page:
That way, you can build your subscriber list easily using an omnichannel approach, while still having access to other tools like automated workflows and real-time campaign analytics!
11. Campaign Monitor
- Contact list segmentation that helps you get more granular with your campaigns
- Visual reporting that lets you see which links in your campaigns had the most clicks
- Link review tool that ensures your emails are ready to be sent
Campaign Monitor offers three plans: Basic, Unlimited, and Premier.
As with most email marketing providers, the pricing varies based on your list size and access to some key features.
The basic plan starts at $9 per 500 contacts, but if you want to use marketing automation for more than just welcoming new subscribers, you’ll be looking at a minimum of $29 per 500 contacts.
Also, Campaign Monitor has a pay per campaign option for those who are only sending emails occasionally and don’t want to add another fixed cost.
Yes – forever free, but limited to 5 contacts only. Aimed to let you test the account.
Campaign Monitor offers a reliable email and automation solution.
The drag and drop email builder, along with the 20+ email templates, will help you get your campaigns ready in no time.
Its visual reporting and advanced segmentation will help you run more data-driven programs that ensure high ROI.
While its pricing puts it at a slightly higher end, the pay per campaign option may be a useful option that’ll help you limit your monthly costs.
- Behavior-based automation built for ecommerce businesses
- You can send SMS campaigns in your workflows
- Dynamic content and personalization
Drip only offers one primary type of plan based on your email list’s size.
The pricing starts at $19 and lets you upload up to 500 contacts into your account and gives you access to email support. Once you cross $99 per month, you can also contact their team via chat.
If you also want to send SMS or MMS to your contacts, you’ll need to pay extra. For 1,000 SMS, that’s $15 per month, and for MMS, it’s $30.
14 free trial period available.
Drip focuses purely on two channels – email and SMS.
Its key features aim to help ecommerce businesses grow and better understand what marketing communications bring them the best results.
While it lacks some features typically available with other providers, like landing pages and Facebook ads, it offers useful integrations that help you overcome that.
Email Marketing Services Feature Comparison
To make your job of picking the best email marketing service easier, we’ve selected X key features & highlighted which platforms offer them inside their tool.
|Feature||1. GetResponse||2. Mailchimp||3. Omnisend||4. iContact||5. ConvertKit||6. AWeber||7. MailerLite||8. Sendinblue||9. ActiveCampaign||10. Moosend||11. Campaign Monitor||12. Drip|
|Spam Check & Inbox Preview||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Built-in Image Editor||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Marketing Automation||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (Limited)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Signup Forms||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes (Limited)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|A/B Testing & Analytics for Landing Pages||Yes||No||No||No||Yes (Limited)||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Social Ads Creator||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|24/7 Support Access||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes (Limited)|
|Phone Support||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes (Limited)||No|
Author’s note: This comparison is accurate on January 25th, 2021. We do our best to keep it as accurate as possible, and we check it on a regular basis, however, if you want to acquaint yourself with the offer of our competitors, you should check it at their official website or contact their representatives.
Now that we’ve explored the best email marketing services, let’s discuss the types of businesses that benefit from them.
What types of businesses can benefit from using email marketing services?
A 2018 Inbox Report by Fluent found that 80% of Americans check their email at least once per day. This means every type of business should be using email marketing as a way to boost revenue.
If we narrow that down, email marketing can help businesses in three key areas:
- Building strong brand-customer relationships
- Increasing customer or subscriber loyalty using nurturing emails
- Boosting conversions through sales and marketing offers
And thanks to more affordable services, email marketing is no longer just for big businesses. In fact, email marketing is one of the best options for smaller businesses, consultants, and freelancers who need to increase their revenue on a tight budget.
You can further break the benefits down into three key areas:
Key benefit #1: You can use email to build and strengthen relationships with your customers and potential customers
If you own a small business or are a freelancer, expanding your customer base is tough.
But email marketing can give you a quick way to grow your audience and your paying customer base.
You can send out product updates or blogs to your list and strengthen your relationship with subscribers. All you have to do is take advantage of features inside an email marketing service like templates and segmentation to send out polished, professional campaigns.
If you’re a consultant or freelancer, you can offer discounted packages at Christmas time to existing customers instead of sending it manually to each client. Using the segmentation and personalization features in your email marketing service, you can even customize your offer based on the client’s previous purchase.
Will it boost your sales or revenue immediately? No. But email marketing works best when you do it consistently and frequently.
Key benefit #2: You can use email marketing as a two-way street to learn more about your customers
How much do you really know about your customers?
For small businesses and solopreneurs, getting an insight into your customer’s needs, buying habits, and feedback is one of the most useful aspects of email marketing.
You can use email campaigns to send out surveys asking for feedback on:
- What they hope to get out of being on your list
- Topics they’d like you to address in your content
- Your previous work
- Product releases so you can improve your future offers
You can also use these campaigns to discover what links your customers are clicking and what products and offers they are interested in the most.
Remember, you might think your product or service is great.
But how do your customers feel?
Once you have the answers, you can use all the info you get to offer better content and solutions to your customers that actually interest them.
What’s the ROI you can expect from an email marketing service?
Marketing can be an expensive endeavor, especially for small businesses or startups.
It’s another reason email marketing has retained the top spot as the most popular marketing channel.
A study by DMA found that the average email ROI is $42 for every $1 spent.
Now, there are a couple of explanations for this.
First, over 80% of consumers check their emails daily – more than half of whom, do so 1 to 3 times every day. That’s more than any other marketing channel like Facebook or Google can say.
Second, and as we’ve shared earlier, email gives you a more personalized way for you to talk to your clients. It’s a space where you can connect with them on a first-name basis and talk to them about their problems 1-on-1.
Finally, email converts better than other channels.
In the GetResponse yearly Email Marketing Benchmarks report, we see that email generates average click-through rates of above 3.4%.
And if you look at triggered emails specifically, the engagement is 3x time higher.
If you’re still not convinced, look at another case study:
LandCafe realized the power of email marketing when the company used it to boost its online artisanal coffee bean sales.
Instead of sending its customers a sales email, LandCafe created a campaign to educate customers about their products.
The company used GetResponse to launch the campaign which comprised six emails that explained:
- Where the coffee comes from
- Why their coffee is better than other brands ‘
- The characteristics of different coffee depending on its origin
- The differences between single-origin and blended coffee
- A masterclass on coffee grinding
- How to read the labels of the product in detail
When LandCafe finally sent out the campaign, here’s what landed in their customers’ inboxes:
The company’s founder, Łukasz Janik, said that the campaign was built specifically for their main target audience: people who know the difference between the quality of mass-produced and artisanal coffee.
“Our customers make conscious choices, which gave us the idea for an educational campaign that could make our subscribers more aware and ready to buy,” he said.
Sales rose 41.30% during the campaign, and 13.30% after customers were sent a discount coupon to encourage an initial purchase.
Now, what’s the best email marketing software for you?
Choosing the right email marketing service comes down to what you need.
Ultimately, your choice will come down to two factors: how big your contact list is, and what your overall email marketing strategy is.
While some tools are cheaper than others, they’ll also lack some advanced features like segmentation and automation.
Whatever your needs are, one thing is certain: picking the right email marketing service is essential to building an email marketing strategy. Take your time, do your research — and invest wisely!