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Email marketing uses email to promote a business and their products to a group of contacts. Contacts typically fall within two groups: customers who have made a purchase and individuals who have expressed an interest in buying a product or service. Software for email marketing can make the process of reaching out to contacts faster and easier through automated features.
The best email marketing software offers pre-built templates and campaigns, landing pages, lead capture forms, A/B testing, and reporting and analytics.
Mailchimp: Best overall email marketing software
Pricing: A free version as well as three paid plans are available; cost increases based on incremental changes in contact numbers.
Free plan for up to 500 contacts.
Essentials: Starts at $13/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Standard: Starts at $20/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Premium: Starts at $350/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Feature overview: A free plan with limited features or a one-month free trial of the Essentials or Standard plan lets you test the Mailchimp software. The monthly cost per plan, monthly email send allowance and number of user seats will vary based on your number of contacts. All paid plans include:
Pre-built email templates.
Basic reporting and analytics.
Customizable landing pages and forms.
Creative assistant tools to help automate design customization.
Free website builder tools.
24/7 email and chat support.
Advanced features such as a campaign manager, pre-built email journeys and a content optimizer are available with Standard and Premium plans. Email and chat support are available 24/7, and when you purchase the Premium plan, you also get phone support during business hours. Step-by-step guides, a help center, articles, podcasts and films are available to help you understand the platform and better market your business.
Constant Contact: Best free trial
Pricing: Three paid plans are available; cost increases based on incremental changes in contact numbers; prepay and nonprofit discounts are offered.
Lite: Starting at $12/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Standard: Starting at $35/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Premium: Starting at $80/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Feature overview: Constant Contact’s plans include the following core features:
Hundreds of customizable email templates.
Customizable website sign-up forms.
Custom landing pages.
AI content generator.
Reporting and analytics.
Posting to social media platforms.
Live phone and chat support.
Additional features such as subject line A/B testing, email campaign scheduling, automated email resends and social campaign scheduling are offered with the Standard plan. Unlimited users, an email engagement heat map and search engine optimization tools are some features available with the Premium plan. Phone support is offered Monday through Saturday and live chat is available Monday through Friday, both with extended hours. In addition, step-by-step articles, webinars and events are available. You can try Constant Contact risk-free with its 60-day free trial, and it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its paid plans.
MailerLite: Best for frequent email sends
Pricing: A free version plus three paid plans are available; pay-as-you-go monthly, or receive a discount when paying annually.
Free plan for up to 1,000 contacts.
Growing Business: Starts at $10/month for up to 1,000 contacts (billed monthly).
Advanced: Starts at $21/month for up to 1,000 contacts (billed monthly).
Enterprise: Quote-based pricing for businesses with over 100,000 contacts.
Feature overview: Test-drive the MailerLite software with its 30-day trial or a limited free version for up to 1,000 contacts. All the paid plans include the following features:
Unlimited websites, landing pages, embedded forms and pop-ups.
Email automation builder.
Landing page templates.
Drag-and-drop blog builder.
Real-time reports and analytics.
The Enterprise plan offers advanced features such as a dedicated success manager and custom newsletter and landing page designs. Email support is available 24/7 for paid plans and on weekdays for the free plan. The Advanced and Enterprise plans also include 24/7 live chat help. Free online courses, articles and video tutorials can be accessed by all users.
Moosend: Best for seasonal or occasional senders
Pricing: Two paid plans are available with monthly and annual billing options (discount when paying annually), as well as a pay-as-you-go credit bundle option with no monthly fees.
Pro: Starts at $9/month for up to 500 contacts (billed monthly).
Enterprise: Quote-based pricing.
Credits Bundle: Starting at $350 for 350,000 email credits (no monthly fee).
Feature overview: Moosend’s Pro plan includes the following core features:
Sign-up and subscription forms.
Email newsletter builder.
Pre-built automation templates.
Reporting and analytics.
Advanced features such as an account manager, priority support, a dedicated IP address and custom reporting are available with the Enterprise plan. Another option for businesses that don’t regularly send out emails is the Credit Bundle, where you purchase a set number of credits. There’s no monthly fee, but features are limited. Each credit purchased is equal to one email sent to a single email address. Email and live chat support are offered 24/7 with all plans, and priority support is available with the Enterprise plan.
Campaigner: Best advanced email marketing features
Pricing: Three paid email plans are available; billed monthly.
Starter: Starts at $59/month for up to 5,000 contacts (billed monthly).
Essential: Starts at $179/month for up to 25,000 contacts (billed monthly).
Advanced: Starts at $649/month for up to 100,000 contacts (billed monthly).
Feature overview: A 30-day trial with full features is offered so you can become familiar with Campaigner’s software. All plans include the following core features:
Full code editor.
Facebook audience builder.
Dynamic content, custom footers, purchase behavior and sales engineering are features available with higher-tiered plans. Support is available 24/7 by phone or email, and there is a knowledge base with articles and video tutorials. Campaigner also offers e-commerce plans, as well as email and SMS bundles.
iContact: Best custom design options
Pricing: A free version and one paid plan are offered. Cost increases based on incremental changes in contact numbers, and a discount is offered when paying annually.
Free plan for up to 250 contacts.
Advanced: Starts at $14/month for up to 750 contacts (billed monthly).
Feature overview: A free plan is offered to get a feel for the product. The Advanced plan includes the following core features:
Unlimited sends per month.
Landing page creation and hosting.
Email template library.
Email and landing page reporting.
Stock images and a photo editing tool are included in both iContact’s free and paid plans. For an additional fee, a design services team is available to help you design custom marketing materials. Phone and live chat support is offered weekdays. In addition, webinars, videos and articles are available.
What to look for in email marketing software
The best email marketing software is the one that has the features you need at a price that fits your budget. Taking advantage of free trials and weighing the pros and cons of each software can help you in your decision.
Here are some core features to consider when selecting an email marketing platform to support your small-business marketing plan.
The cost of an email marketing software plan is typically influenced by the features offered and the number of contacts it supports. The more features a plan offers, the higher the base cost. You can also expect the cost of a plan to increase with incremental changes in the number of contacts you have. For accurate monthly pricing, look for interactive pricing tiers or links to adjust the cost based on your contact number. Some providers offer a discount when you commit to annual billing. This can save money in the long run, but there’s also the risk that the fee won’t be refundable if you’re not satisfied with the product.
Templates and tools
The best software will offer pre-built templates, image libraries and drag-and-drop editors to help you easily create professional-looking emails. If a digital newsletter will be a part of your marketing strategy, look for newsletter templates and editors among the features offered.
Email campaigns, a group of individual emails that are sent over time, are a great way to nurture leads. Pre-built campaigns can save you the time and effort of building something from scratch. Campaign manager and content optimizer tools also are useful to track your efforts and fine-tune your messaging.
Forms and landing pages
Landing pages are a good way to expand your contact list. They allow you to collect the contact data of visitors, often through the use of forms. Look for software that offers pre-built landing pages and forms or builder tools that can save you time. This can be especially helpful if you don’t have coding experience.
Performance reports and analytics
Email and landing page reporting will help you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, while A/B testing lets you test different versions of an email to see which one gets the best results. In addition, reports that are specific to emails can provide analytics such as open, click, unsubscribe and undelivered rates.
Email and live chat support is commonly offered; some providers offer 24/7 support while others limit support to weekdays. Dedicated support is also available with some top-tier plans. However, if you don’t need dedicated assistance or don’t want the additional cost, alternatives such as webinars, video tutorials, free online courses and help articles are offered by many providers at no additional cost.