Email marketing remains a direct and cost-effective way for small businesses to target their customers. But for your email campaigns to be successful, you need to invest in a powerful email marketing solution. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of email marketing platforms to choose from.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
The choice gets overwhelming due to the wide range of options available.
In this article, we compare the best email marketing platforms to help you pick the tool that best serves your small business.
But first, let’s detail the most important features to look for in an email marketing platform.
What to look for in an email marketing platform
Picking the most suitable email marketing platform for your small business comes down to what your needs and objectives are.
However, there are certain factors that you should consider before making a choice. So, here are the most essential elements to look for:
- Ease of use: One of the reasons behind the effectiveness of email marketing is that it saves you time and effort. But for it to work, your ESP should turn specific actions like creating and dispatching emails or setting up automated workflows into a walk in the park. So, go for an email marketing platform with drag-and-drop functionality, user-friendly interface, and pre-built templates you can customize to suit your needs.
- List management capabilities: There’s no email marketing without segmentation and personalization. That’s why it’s crucial to search for a tool with easy to grasp list management capabilities to collect and segment your marketing contacts. You must be able to segment your list based on several recipient characteristics to personalize your email content accordingly.
- Automation features: For small teams, automating their email marketing is a non-negotiable factor. Doing repetitive tasks manually could take up a lot of time and effort they can’t afford. So, a solid ESP should offer pre-made automation workflows, various triggers, and an intuitive automation builder that allows them to set up and tweak automated emails and sequences in no time.
- Data security and privacy: Regardless of your business size, every customer who provides you with sensitive data wants to feel protected and safe. That’s why it’s critical that your email marketing platform complies with data privacy and security regulations, such as the GDPR. Also, it must follow all the best practices in the book to protect and manage user data ethically.
- Excellent customer service: It’s preferable that your email marketing platform is uesr-friendly and intuitive. But even then, you’ll need to get in touch with the customer service team at some point. So, opt for a solution that’s known for its excellent customer support, with quick response times. Make sure it comes with different communication channels,too, so you can easily reach them in case of trouble.
- Detailed analytics: The first step to optimizing your email marketing efforts is to have detailed analytics at your fingertips to know what worked and where there’s room for improvement. Keeping track of key email marketing metrics like open and click-through rates, conversions, deliverability, and more enables you to make informed decisions in terms of email performance optimization.
Best email marketing platforms for small businesses
From email campaign creation to monitoring email performance, the first prerequisite to small business email marketing success is to find the perfect platform for your needs.
We tested the best email marketing tools in the market so that we can list their best features, along with pros and cons, and help you make an informed decision. Ready to dive in?
Moosend is a relatively new player in the market. The platform gained popularity due to its cost-effectiveness and user-friendly interface.
Moosend’s powerful capabilities combined with its attractive pricing constitute reason enough for businesses of every size to trust it for their email marketing efforts. Its intuitive drag-and-drop email creator, detailed reporting, and lead generation options make this ESP a top pick for small businesses and entry-level marketers who lack technical expertise.
Even with no coding skills, Moosend’s editor makes building compelling emails as easy as pie. Any small business can leverage its pre-made email templates to craft the perfect email from scratch. Also, the tool features an automation builder that is easy to grasp and comes with a variety of premade workflows, conditional rules, and several triggers to set them in motion.
With the use of such a workflow, you can automate a large part of your customer journey and save valuable time and effort to focus on optimizing your strategy.
- Advanced automation features for all pricing plans, with pre-built and fully customizable recipes to personalize your customer journey
- Easy-to-grasp segmentation based on a multitude of criteria, from recipient demographics to behavioral data
- Spam testing capabilities are available even in the low-tier plan for you to optimize your email marketing results and avoid the spam folder
- A wide selection of beautifully designed and responsive templates for users to edit by adding or tailoring components
- Powerful personalization options like cart abandoned emails, AI-powered product recommendations, and cross-selling or upselling opportunities
- Some users report that importing large email lists with thousands of contacts could take a long time
Moosend doesn’t offer a free-forever version but there’s a generous 30-day free trial that includes the majority of the platform’s features.
Paid plans start at $9/month, giving you access to its email template gallery, automation, and personalization features, advanced reporting, and more. We should note that the platform lets you send unlimited emails and have email and live chat support regardless of the plan selected.
Omnisend is an email marketing platform that is extremely popular among small online store owners, especially Shopify users. What makes it a great option for this type of business is that it’s packed with robust e-commerce marketing functionalities.
Also, store owners who want to follow a multi-channel approach find extreme value in the platform’s combination of SMS, social media, and email marketing.
Another reason behind Omnisend’s popularity with small businesses is that it comes with one of the most generous free plans in the market.
This version allows SMBs to test features like pre-made automation workflows, reports, and even web push notifications and SMS campaigns. Omnisend’s free plan doesn’t limit you in terms of functionality. Instead, they put a limit on the number of contacts in your email list and email sends.
- Pre-built and attractive email templates that you can customize using its flexible drag-and-drop email editor
- Seamless integrations with reputable e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and more
- Built-in SMS marketing capabilities for marketers to contact customers across more than 200 countries via SMS campaigns
- Options for e-commerce companies to increase conversions, such as scratch cards or discount codes, and grow their email list through gamified forms like Wheel of Fortune
- Users report Omnisend support to be rather slow
- Its reporting is considered a bit difficult to grasp for novice marketers compared to the analytics offered by competitive ESPs
Omnisend’s free version gives you the ability to send up to 500 emails and 60 SMS monthly to 250 marketing contacts.
Standard pricing starts at $16/month for 6000 emails to 500 contacts and unlimited web push notifications. You should keep in mind that for unlimited email sends you’ll have to upgrade to the Pro plan, starting at $59/month.
MailerLite is a solid email marketing tool, but it also boasts a top-notch landing page creator. Even free plan users can dive into landing page creation with the software’s builder, along with the option to build one website and up to 10 landing pages.
When it comes to crafting email campaigns, MailerLite provides advanced email marketing functionalities such as email personalization based on several segmentation criteria.
Where MailerLite truly stands out compared to most of its competitors is that it features three different email editors: drag-and-drop, rich-text, and custom HTML. You can use any of them to set up an engaging email campaign depending on your needs.
In addition to that, there’s an AI-powered writing assistant and subject line generator for small businesses to get inspired from and optimize their content creation.
- A full-featured website builder that enables users to create a website from scratch, even people with no coding skills – which makes it an attractive option for SMBs
- Its powerful segmentation allows you to personalize your email communication, offering options like delivery by timezone for subscribers to receive emails at an optimal time
- Monetization features to create and sell digital products and accept payments through the platform’s numerous e-commerce integrations
- MailerLite’s free plan is ideal for small business owners looking for an all-in-one solution to build their website, design landing pages, and craft email campaigns
- Many of its users mention that its automation capabilities are poor, especially for lower-tier plans
MailerLite comes with a free-forever plan. However, it’s limited to 1000 contacts and 12000 emails. If you want to test the most advanced features, you should try its 30-day free trial version.
But to get access to options like its pre-made email templates, unlimited websites and emails, or 24/7 email support, you should pick one of the tool’s paid plans starting at $9/month.
Mailchimp is a widely recognized all-in-one marketing solution, with options covering different marketing aspects, ranging from social media to website creation.
However, its selling point is the wide range of email marketing options. Some of them are included in the free version, which makes it a suitable option for small businesses and startups on a budget.
Mailchimp is a great tool for SMBs looking to scale their business with limited resources, providing them with CRM functionality and lead capture tools.
Some of them include its customizable landing page and sign-up form templates or even the option to integrate your social media ads. All these actions empower marketers to grow their contact list and optimize their overall marketing efforts.
- A Creative Assistant that enables even less creative individuals to customize ready-made email designs and turn them into beautiful emails
- More than 300 integrations with popular apps and platforms, including WordPress, Shopify, and Salesforce
- Multivariate testing options for marketers to test multiple components and emails, thus helping them improve their campaign performance
- The tool’s resources aren’t limited to its Help Center but they take it one step further with podcasts and series
- Premium features like pre-designed email journeys, email scheduling, and phone support are only available in paid plans
- If you have large email lists or a big volume of email sends, the platform gets pricey
Mailchimp’s free plan limits you to 500 contacts and you only get email support for the first 30 days. Pricing starts at $12.43/month, offering up to 5000 email sends, basic analytics, and limited automation options. Also, keep in mind that all pricing plans come with restrictions when it comes to the number of monthly email sends.
GetResponse is a reputable email marketing platform for any small business starting out. That’s because it is considered a rather cheap and easy-to-grasp option.
However, it has nothing to envy from its competitors in terms of email design and customization options, advanced reporting capabilities, or contact management features. Particularly for email marketing, its user-friendly email builder allows you to effortlessly drag and drop elements
GetResponse isn’t just another ESP seeing that it covers different aspects of marketing, such as landing page creation, social media, SEO, and conversion funnels.
With GetResponse, there’s even the option to implement a live chat functionality on your website. What makes this email marketing software really revolutionary is its webinar hosting capabilities, though, which help you take your marketing efforts to the next level.
- GetResponse comes with an AI-powered email generator that you can leverage to create inspiring email content and subject lines
- You can use its website-building features to build your own site, even if you’re a free plan user
- Its reputable webinar hosting software grants you access to options like automated invites and room for up to 1000 attendees
- Several options for sending autoresponders, managing and segmenting email lists, and A/B testing options
- According to reports, GetResponse scores low in terms of deliverability
- Best features like advanced automation workflows and segmentation are reserved for the higher pricing plans
GetResponse’s free plan is a suitable choice for users who send up to 2500 emails to 500 subscribers while having the option to create one landing page. To access its email marketing features, pricing starts at $13/month.
To unlock the platform’s full potential, though, you should probably go for its Marketing Automation plan, starting at $44/month, which offers automation, webinar, and segmentation features.
Email marketing is a wonderful way to generate ROI without upfront costs. We won’t lie to you, though; it’s a make-or-break strategy. So, it’s vital to invest in the right tool to implement the most effective small business email marketing strategies and drive the desired results based on your goals.
As a beginner, it takes time to decide on the email marketing platform that best fits your objectives and resonates with your audience. Our list of the top email marketing platforms will help you sort things out.
Pick your favorite based on the features, pricing, and ease of use, test them out, and you’ll be one step closer to giving a memorable customer experience.
Guest Author: Maria Fintanidou works as a copywriter for email marketing automation software Moosend, having created the Help Articles (FAQs) and overseen the platform’s translations in Greek and Spanish. She loves exploring new cultures and ways of thinking through traveling, reading, and language learning.