The Best Email Marketing Software to Engage Your Audience

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This is a super-detailed review and guide for picking the best email marketing software. 

I created it from real-world experience and extensive reviews of the top email marketing services. This means my recommendations are informed and logical with specific advice on what to do that you can rely on.

In other words, this post differentiates the best of the best so you can make the right decision for your needs.

So, if you want to:

  • Learn about the best email marketing software;
  • Understand their differences and suitability;
  • Read in-depth reviews of each one;

Then, you’ll love the super-detailed information in this post.

Get comfy and settle in.

Best Email Marketing Service & Automation Tools in 2021

  1. Reviews
  2. What is email marketing?
  3. Is email marketing still effective in 2021?
  4. What are the benefits of email marketing?
  5. Why is email marketing so important?
  6. How does email marketing work?
  7. Summary

Disclosure: This site is a free resource that is supported entirely by its visitors. If you purchase a product or service here a referral fee may be received. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps create lots more useful content. Thank you.

1. Email Marketing Software Reviews

Here you’ll find a deep investigation of the best email marketing tools and their key features to help you make the right decision. 

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SendInBlue – The #1 Choice

Best for Beginners, Customer Support & Overall Value

Free Plan – $25/month

Founded in 2007, SendInBlue is cloud-based email marketing software that offers a suite of highly effective features and functions.

These include email marketing & automation, transactional emailing, customer-relationship management, landing pages, Facebook ads, retargeting ads, live chat and SMS marketing.

It is a brilliantly well-rounded platform that anyone can pick up and use effectively: from the beginner-friendly drag and drop email editor to advanced AI powered ‘send time optimization’ for maximum engagement.

Features
  • Create effective email sign up forms to gather subscribers
  • Automation – triggers, workflows, segmentations, transactional emails
  • SMS Marketing – communicate more directly with time-sensitive offers
  • Live chat – offer embedded live chat on your website (incl. WordPress)
  • Audience targeting – engage with unlimited contact lists
  • Facebook Ads – launch campaigns from your account
  • Retargeting – shows adds to your visitors as they browse other websites
  • Open & click through reporting
  • Email heat map analysis and insights
  • A/B Testing – test two ideas in your email then let data decide
  • Real-time statistics to drive performance and engagement
  • Send Time Optimization to deliver emails at the perfect time
  • Powerful email tracking – who’s opening, ignoring and sharing
  • Event creation and management – Eventbrite integration
  • Online store and WordPress website integrations

Additionally, SendInBlue has rich array of business tool integrations including WordPress, Elementor Page Builder, WooCommerce, Shopify, OptinMonster, Zoho, Facebook Lead Ads, EventBrite and many more.

However, all of these features are eclipsed by their support which is the real jewel in the crown. SendInBlue customer support is fantastic. They’re dedicated, genuine and the best in the industry by a long way.

Pricing

The best plan for beginners is ‘Lite’ because it has no sending limits, can include A/B testing (for subject line and content optimization), and the SendInBlue branding can be removed.

Premium plans include more of the advanced features like landing pages, phone & chat support, heat map reporting, and Facebook ads integration.

  • Free plan (sending limits apply)
  • Lite – $25 (£16.50) per month
  • Premium – All Features – $65 (£41.65) per month
  • Pay-As-You-Go Email and SMS credits also available

Click through to set up a free plan with SendInBlue here:

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ConvertKit

Best for Bloggers and Advanced Email Marketing

Free – $29/month

In their own words, ConvertKit helps creators earn a living online. With a clear mission and very strong values, they’re intensely focused on delivering the very best software for your email marketing.

One value that stands out is that they truly care about your success, and put existing customers first over gathering new ones.

” When you interact with our team, you’ll know you’re talking to a real human who cares most about helping you succeed as an online creator… “

– ConvertKit

In short, ConvertKit is a truly powerful and robust email marketing platform that makes engaging with your audience easy yet highly effective.

Features
  • Create email sign up forms
  • Custom landing pages – share new ideas and creative projects
  • Commerce – sell digital products without a full online store
  • Offer free downloads in exchange for an email address
  • Personalized content – targeted emails to specific types of subscriber
  • Templates – easily create impactful and engaging emails
  • Set up sales funnels to pitch digital products to engaged customer groups
  • Audience surveying – divert subscribers to specific email sequences
  • Email Automation – send well-timed content to subscribers to build trust
  • Dripped content – triggered email series with feedback on interactions
  • Business tool integrations such as Shopify, Zapier and Crowdcast
  • Advanced growth with subscriber referral rewards
  • Custom Facebook audiences – import segmentations directly to FB
  • Broadcast new blog posts on publication or as a round up (eg monthly)
  • Powerful email tracking – who’s opening, ignoring and sharing

ConvertKit’s features are aimed specifically at professional creators, such as a blogger or podcater for example. They’re are a fantastic choice if you fit their mould because everything you need to earn a living from your audience is present on their platform.

What’s more, they offer 100s of articles and guides as well as proper workshops to ensure you know what you’re doing. Should you need specific help with something, or a problem arises you can fix, they operate a highly effective ticket-based support system.

Pricing
  • Free – up to 1,000 subscribers
  • Creator – $29 (£22) per month
  • Creator Pro – all features – $59 (£44) per month

The best plan for most people is ‘Creator’ as it includes the basics (landing pages, digital product sales, & email support) as well as the all important automated funnels and sequences.

‘Creator Pro’ includes advanced functionality like audience referral rewards, subscriber scoring, and Facebook custom audiences.

Try it out by signing up for their free plan here:

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Drip

Best for eCommerce Growth and Customer Retention

From $19/month

Drip email marketing software for eCommerce – from customer acquisition to loyalty and retention. They provide the tools you need to build personal and profitable relationships with your customers at scale.

Their email marketing platform offers seamless integration with all popular website builders including WordPress (i.e. WooCommerce). Easily add pop-ups and sign up forms to your website to convert casual visitors into customers.

Key features include intelligent automation tools, smart email segmentation, split testing, and visual workflows. All this adds up to highly effective targeted email marketing for your online store.

Features
  • Segment your customer base with the smallest details
  • Automation – engage with visitors at the critical moment
  • Pre-made visual workflows built for ecommerce businesses
  • Use abandoned cart emails to recover lost sales automatically
  • Target customers with dynamic content that’s specifically for them
  • SMS marketing – get sky high read rates with text messages
  • Behaviour-based automation for time-sent optimization
  • Visual Email Builder enables beautiful emails in minutes
  • Facebook and Instagram Ads integration from the dash
  • Integrate all your business tools to see the full customer journey
  • Deep analytics – see what customers do and how often
  • Automatic revenue attribution – clarity which strategies are paying off 
  • Clear data dashboards with key metrics all in one place
  • Build split tests inside of automated workflows to learn what works
  • Create sign up forms and pop-ups to grow your list
  • Transactional emails – deliver confirmations, receipts & notifications

There is a vast array of help and learning information available through guides, webinars, courses, and tutorials. Additionally, Drip also offers live chat if you require a solution for a specific problem.

Pricing

Drip don’t have a free plan but offer a 14-day free trial to test drive their feature set. Paid plans start at $19 (£14) per month.

Start your 14-day free trial here:

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Constant Contact

Best for Advanced Email Marketing & Social Media

Free Trial – $20/month

Constant Contact was established in 1995 (originally named Roving Software) and has been in its current form since the early 2000s.

As a result, they’re one of the largest and most well-known email marketing software providers in the world with over 600,000 customers. But they enable way more than email marketing campaigns.

In fact, they actually offer a full marketing toolkit for start-ups, smaller businesses and established companies.

Features
  • Email marketing automation – triggered series & contact segmentation
  • Social posting – scheduling, analytics and responding
  • Ads – create Facebook and Instagram ads including detailed metrics
  • Powerful email tracking – who’s opening, ignoring and sharing
  • Event creation and management – seamless Eventbrite integration
  • Surveys – gather actionable feedback from contacts and customers
  • Collect donations from a custom landing page
  • Online store integration with abandoned cart emails
  • Landing page and logo maker
  • Online Store and Website Builder including hosting and custom domain

All this adds up to more sophisticated and effective marketing to website/ store visitors, contacts and existing customers. Drip campaigns, surveys & polls, and subject line A/B testing enable targeted emails that maximize open rates and sales potential.

Constant Contact offers live chat, phone support and online learning resources to help you overcome any challenges.

Aside from their tutorials, they also offer a free downloadable guide to getting started with online marketing. This is full of practical advice, tips and examples for small business owners to quickly learn the basics of email marketing.

Plans

Constant Contact offer a 1-month free trial (no credit-card required).

  • Email – $20 (£15) per month
  • Email Plus – All Features – $45 (£30) per month

Check out all features (such as LogoMaker, Ads, eCommerce and Websites) and start a free trial:

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AWeber

Free – $19/month

AWeber is an older provider of software for email marketing, offering an array of tools for small and medium-sized businesses.

Set up is straight forward, like most modern day Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) platforms, as is connecting with a WordPress website if required.

Features
  • ‘Smart designer’ – AI powered email template creator
  • Landing pages – easily build pages for your business (no website needed)
  • Drag & drop email creation – fast email customisation with no coding
  • Free template library – time-saving and convenient
  • Automated newsletters – let your audience new about new blog posts
  • Email automation – segment your subscribers for content targeting
  • Personalize communication – direct campaigns to the right people
  • Analytics – clean dashboard for email performance insights
  • Easy to understand reporting – simple data that’s useful
  • Split testing – test subject lines and messages
  • Identify and categorize your subscribers for better management
  • Create mobile-friendly sign up forms
  • Business tool integrations such as Shopify, WooCommerce & Zapier
  • Mobile functions for on-the-go activities and list growth

Additionally, there are advanced features such as automated new-boog-post-alerts (RSS feeds), AMP emails and mobile-friendly stats for remote working.

Support options include live chat, phone & email support, live webinars, and a knowledge base library of guides and tutorials.

Pricing

AWeber offer a free plan up to 500 subscribers with prices starting at $19 (£14.50) per month beyond that number.

Try it out by signing up for their free plan here:

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GetResponse

Free – $19/month

GetResponse is another popular email marketing solution for small businesses that is known for simplicity and eaase of use.

There stand out feature is being able to set up and host webinars to increase conversions and engagement. These can be for up to 1,000 attendees and you can share the stage with up to two other presenters.

create smart automated campaigns much like the other best email marketing software that is available.

Features
  • Create stunning emails with quick templates or the creator
  • Autoresponders – welcome, educate, nurture and know
  • Email analytics – track performance through key metrics
  • Transactional emails – deliver confirmations, receipts & notifications
  • List management – organise and segment your list into groups
  • Landing pages – easy to use tools to build revenue generating sales pages
  • Create sign up forms and pop-ups to grow your list
  • Countdown timer to offer time-sensitive deals
  • Ecommerce tools – promote products on shoppable pages
  • Automation – ready-made workflows to welcome, win back & upsell
  • Abandoned cart emails – recover lost sales automatically
  • Webinars with on-demand, screen-sharing and survey functionality
  • ‘Autofunnel’ – prebuilt funnels designed for specific end goals
  • Paid Ads – built-in tools to run and manage your paid campaigns.

With GetResponse, it’s possible to segment contacts, create campaigns and target specific customer groups all from one central dashboard. It also integrates with third party lead generation software like OptinMonster, SalesForce, and ZenDesk.

Support comes in various forms including phone, email and live chat. There is also lots of free learning material including videos, how-to guides and tutorials.

Pricing

GetResponse don’t have a free plan but offer a 30-day free trial to test drive their feature set. Paid plans start at $15 per month.

Start your 30-day free trial here:

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Mailchimp

Free – $9.99/month

Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing services in the world because they once invested heavily in promoting their forever free plan.

It comes with a drag and drop mail builder, autoresponse emails, segmentation, and analytics. MailChimp integrates with all the major platforms like WordPress and Shopify.

Features
  • Create pro emails – pre‑designed templates & drag‑and‑drop builder
  • Content studio – store and manage all your images and files
  • List management – organise and segment your list into groups
  • Automation – reach the right person at the right time
  • Customer journey tool – build meaningful relationships
  • A/B testing to work out what works best for customer engagement
  • Real-time analytics –  identify what’s working & make smarter decisions
  • Transactional emails – send personalized order confirmations & receipts
  • Brand your email marketing with flexible customisations
  • Integrations – connect your store then send product recommendations
  • Mobile app – allows you to create, edit, and track performance
  • Social media – share emails on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Landing pages – easy to use tools to build unlimited sales pages
  • Create sign up forms and pop-ups to grow your list
  • Paid promotion – integrated Facebook, Instagram & Google ads
  • Retargeting – recapture the attention of people who visited your site
  • Printed postcards – send promo codes to your most engaged shoppers

There are premium features such as advanced segmentation, multivariate testing and comparative reporting. Additionally, Mailchimp support comes in four main forms ranging from phone, email, live chat and self-service through guides and tutorials.

Pricing

Mailchimp offer a free plan up to 2,000 subscribers with prices starting at $9.99 (£7.50) per month beyond that number.

Try it out by signing up for their free plan here:

2. What is email marketing?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of email marketing is “the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations.

In reality, email marketing is used to identify, nurture, and build a community around your brand.

Email marketing is when you send a commercially fuelled message to your subscribers — contacts who signed up to your email list by giving express permission to receive such communications.

Modern email marketing moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings. Nowadays, it focuses on contact segmentation, automated workflows (i.e. delivering specific content to specific groups of people) and personalization.

3. Is it still effective in 2021?

Email marketing is more widely used today than ever.

Just take a look at these statistics:

  • In 2019, there were 3.9 billion global email users (source: Statista)
  • 80% of people check their email at least once per day (Fluent Inbox Report, 2018)
  • 80% of business professionals believe email marketing increases customer retention (Emarsys, 2018)

Given the figures, it’s not surprising that email is hailed as the most effective channel in B2B marketing.

“If you are not seeing the email channel as a money making machine, you have the wrong strategy.”

– Hans Smellinckx

4. What are the benefits of email marketing?

From order confirmations to monthly newsletters, emails are an essential component in the operation, management and growth of a business.

Email marketing fulfils three key objectives:

Conversions

Launching a new product or promotion? You can send an email marketing campaign to your subscribers to drive sales. 

Other email marketing techniques that lead to sales conversions include:

  • Emailing special offers – birthday/anniversary, welcome or reengagement emails;
  • Abandoned cart emails (triggered when a visitor leaves an online store with something in their basket)

Brand awareness

Email lets you reach someone directly. It’s great for one-to-one communication. What’s more, it’s a curated space reserved for favourite brands – people don’t let anyone into that space.

Showing up in someone’s email inbox helps your brand remain in their thoughts. A personalized marketing email is more impactful than a social media post because you can be sure your message will be seen.

One of the major benefits of email marketing is its scalability – a large number of emails can be sent in a single moment for a relatively low cost (compared to other marketing channels). 

Customer loyalty

Email drives customer loyalty at every stage of the customer journey: lead-nurturing, conversion, onboarding, retention.

The idea is to create newsletter content that’s so good your subscribers wait for it to arrive.

5. Why is email marketing so important?

Accessibility

Email is accessible to all age groups. It opens the door to a wide range of audiences. 

We might live in the digital age but not everyone is that comfortable using the internet. However, most people do know how to check their email. This makes it the most mainstream form of marketing.

Affordability

Email marketing is extremely cost-effective. Most email marketing tools offer pricing packages to suit all budgets. In reality, the barrier to entry is pretty low. 

Durability

If a social media platform went down it would take all your followers with it. Until it returned you’ve got no way of contacting those people. Therein lies the beauty of an email list – you own it, forever (provided you back it up locally ;-).

6. How does email marketing work?

Businesses use what’s known as an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send marketing emails. 

An Email Service Provider is software that sends and manages email marketing campaigns.

It’s also referred to as an email marketing platform, email marketing tool, email marketing service, or email marketing software.

7. Summary

Email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media, according to a study done by McKinsey & Company. The same report also explained how the customer buying process is up to three times quicker.

The bottom line?

Not only is email marketing a must-have in any modern day business strategy, choosing the right software is of paramount importance.

How to choose the best email marketing service for you

Like much of the Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) industry nowadays, there are several options in email marketing that are very good. In truth, you can’t go too far wrong with any of the above because all of them will enable you to grow your audience.

It just makes sense to find the best match for your needs which means you need to focus on their key differentiators.

For instance – if you’re starting out and are seeking the best overall value, with strong automation options then SendInBlue makes most sense.

If you’re looking to make money from blogging, or are some other professional creator, then ConvertKit is primed specifically for your needs.

Lastly, if your email marketing service is for an online store and needs to increase product sales then it has to be Drip.

Ultimately, your email marketing software underpins the way you’ll engage and grow your target audience. Get it right and the sky really is the limit; get it wrong and it’ll likely cost valuable time and money.

Still unsure?

Then there is only one thing to do… try out the email marketing software that you’re most drawn to. Trust your instincts and give it a go.

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