Email marketing is a definitive strategy for promoting products, services, and content on the internet. It makes use of automated messages to send by different companies. There are thousands of email marketing software solutions that are effective to deliver emails to targeted audiences. The success rate could be more than 50 percent.
More and more people are turning online for their communications. It’s much cheaper for businesses to build relationships online with their customers than print products, run ads, or hold events. Your email marketing strategy needs to be at the heart of your online marketing plan.
Understanding the best email marketing tools is vital to your success as a marketer. There are both free and paid services. Some of them are actually decent but most of them will cost you an arm and leg for basic features. The free tools might be less powerful than the premium ones, but they’re more than enough for small businesses to start with.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re looking for the best online email marketing tools. Maybe you just built your first website and are now looking to build some email lists? Or maybe you’re a seasoned pro and are looking to switch to something new. Either way, I’ve got the best online email marketing tools covered. So, let’s get started…
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing automation refers to the process of automating email marketing.
An automated campaign consists of a series of marketing emails that are sent automatically to subscribers based on their actions.
The purpose of email marketing is to create email messages that reach the right people at the right time without you having to work every time.
It allows businesses to target people based on factors such as previous sales, behavior, and preferences.
Email marketing is not like email blasts or broadcasts as they offer the same level of personalization that individual emails do.
There are quite a number of email marketing automation systems available in the market today.
Apart from a standalone Service Bay product (covering activities such as live chat, helpdesk reports, tickets, and more), EngageBay offers three products:
- Marketing Bay
- CRM & Sales Bay
- All-in-One Suite
Email marketing is included in both the Marketing Bay and the All-in-One Suite, although CRM email integration is part of the CRM & Sales Bay. Their email marketing system includes rich text formatting, a landing page builder, email marketing templates, free email automation, and more.
Key Features of the Marketing Bay (most also Included in the All-in-One Suite):
- Marketing automation
- Email marketing
- Email sequences
- Landing pages
- Web forms
- SMS marketing
- Inbound marketing
- Site messaging
- Push notifications
- Contact segmentation
- Email templates
- Bulk SMS marketing
EngageBay is free for up to 500 contacts and 1,000 branded emails. Pricing for their All-in-One Suite (including both Marketing and CRM & Sales Bay options) starts at $8.99 per month when paid biennially.
ConverKit is a great fit for both eCommerce businesses and creators. Its clean interface makes for an enjoyable experience, and it’s feature rich. It includes features like opt-in forms, landing pages, email workflows, tagging systems, data management and list segmentation, personalization, automation, and a lot more. ConvertKit also comes with helpful integrations with other platforms creators and creators are accustomed to like Woocommerce, PayPal, Stripe, and WordPress.
- Automate your sales funnel to send content to subscribers automatically, getting them prepped to make a purchase.
- Sell digital products with a tool built for creators.
- Change a URL after the email is already sent with Creator Pro.
- Create personalized email marketing campaigns.
- Building professional landing pages and sign-up forms.
ConvertKit offers a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers. Paid plans start at $29/month.
Payment Plans: Based on the Number of Contacts
Pricing: Starting From $9.00
Ease of Use: 3/5 – Average
Free Version: Yes
Drag & Drop Editor: No
Mobile-Friendly Editor: Yes, browser
Ease of Use
Here’s a brief summary of our testers’ experience with ConvertKit: “ConvertKit’s user experience is very simplistic, maybe even too bare-bones. You miss out on some modern features like a drag and drop editor tool or a more comprehensive selection of templates, but you can get the job done fast. Also, the clean look and feel aren’t that confusing for beginners.”
You can build your email list in three ways: add individual contacts, upload emails in bulk from a CSV file, or import your email contacts from another service. Even though there isn’t an option to copy-paste your data, you can easily create a CSV file to bypass this inconvenience. ConvertKit only supports one list of contacts, and you can organize them by using tags.
Building your email is where things get a bit clunky. ConvertKit doesn’t have a modern drag and drop tool you can use, and the only options are plain text and custom HTML code. There’s also a confusing process for selecting a template, and there are only three options. However, we like that the plain text editor is robust and not cluttered with endless possibilities that can confuse beginners. You can still access several editing options by highlighting a line of text.
The next step takes you to the preview area, where you can see the full message and double-check if it’s ready to go. You then have the option to send the email immediately or schedule it to a later date.
ConvertKit doesn’t have a dedicated mobile application. However, their email editor and dashboard are easy to access from the mobile browser with full functionality.
ConvertKit’s feature list is quite typical for a modern email marketing service. They greatly emphasize supporting your growth and even have a cleverly crafted course for building and launching your email marketing campaigns.
ConvertKit lets you send out an unlimited number of emails to your contacts. The other main features are email automation options, personalized content, sign-up form builder, tag-based customer segmentation, and 70+ integrations with various 3rd party applications.
Their customer support is available over live chat during business hours. However, you can create an email ticket to contact support outside of this time. You get upgraded support features with the paid plans, namely Premium and Priority support. ConvertKit also has a wide array of useful marketing articles and a knowledge base that you can use for further information about the service or email marketing in general.
Pricing & Plans
ConvertKit offers both free and paid plans. The paid plans are subscriber-based, and they also provide you with a free migration option if you need to move your data from another email marketing service.
The cheapest paid plan starts at $9/month (annual payment) with 300 contacts.
On top of the free plan, ConvertKit offers a 14-day free trial with their paid plans up to 35,000 contacts. If you have more than that, you qualify for a personalized demo from the company. Also, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
GetResponse is one of our favorite email marketing platforms and it’s widely used by marketers across industries. It includes email automation, email templates, segmentation, and personalization. There’s also a neat Auto Funnel feature that provides a ready-made marketing funnel for email marketing campaigns. Altogether, GetResponse packs a set of powerful features geared toward brand growth. From A/B testing to a comprehensive analytics tool that tracks email campaign performance.
- Autoresponders to send welcome emails, followups, educational series, and nurture leads automatically.
- One-click integration to run powerful retargeting campaigns using Facebook Pixel.
- Website visitor tracking lets you send relevant communication based on page visits.
- Build landing pages for lead and sales generation.
- Create paid ads for Facebook, Instagram, and Google.
GetResponse offers a 30-day free trial. Pricing starts at $15/month.
Payment Plans: Based on the Number of Contacts
Pricing: Starting From $10.50
Ease of Use: 5/5 – Very Easy
Free Version: No
Drag & Drop Editor: Available
Mobile-Friendly Editor: Yes and no
Ease of Use
A brief summary of what our testers thought of GetResponse: “The whole process from start to finish feels smooth, is user-friendly, and you have a ton of options along the way. However, the experience would be even better with a built-in image editor.”
You can add your contacts easily through the quick-action buttons from the dashboard. You can choose to upload your contacts individually or import them from a file. Depending on your contact list’s size, the importing may take a couple of seconds up to a few hours.
Building your email is relatively straightforward, and you can pick a pre-designed template, start from a blank template, or insert your HTML code in the editor. Working with a template gives you access to drag and drop tools and the building blocks toolbar. We especially enjoyed the block’s name display when hovering over an inserted building block. You can also preview your created emails in the desktop or mobile view making sure the content looks great on all devices.
GetResponse also gives you access to thousands of free stock photos and an integrated Shutterstock gallery. However, the latter doesn’t come free, but you can purchase the desired image after previewing it in the editor. Unfortunately, they lack an internal image editor, so when you upload your image, make sure you’ve already edited it.
Once you create your email, you are directed to the summary page. Here you can name your campaign, write the subject line, and add your email recipients. Most of these options open a popup window and don’t redirect you to a different page, except when you want to redo the editing phase.
GetResponse has a mobile application that you can use to access data, create emails, and manage your contacts. However, the email editor in the app is disappointing. The customization options are minimal, and you can only create text-based messages (minus some emotions).
GetResponse focuses heavily on webinars and eCommerce sites. In fact, you get tools for both with even the starter plan. Of course, that doesn’t mean that this service isn’t working with other businesses – quite the opposite.
Since the pricing model is based on the subscriber count, you can send out an unlimited number of emails to your list. The other main features are a drag and drop email design tool, mobile-friendly emails, dynamic content based on customer segmentation, and automated email options with blog digests.
GetResponse’s customer support is available 24/7 over the live chat and email, which is reassuring, especially if you’re new to email marketing. Once you opt for a custom plan, you also get the additional phone support, Slack channel option, and a dedicated support person.
Pricing & Plans
GetResponse’s pricing model is based on the number of contacts you have on your list. You can get the best prices with a 2-year commitment.
The cheapest plan starts at $10.50/month with 1,000 contacts ($0.0105/contact).
GetResponse doesn’t have a refund policy with their paid plans, but you can try out their service for 30-days. The trial version doesn’t require your credit card details, either.
While MailerLite is one of the cheapest email marketing software tools you can find, it still manages to offer a comprehensive package. This service helps you through every step of your email marketing campaigns, including building and sending emails, and designing landing pages for interested recipients.
- Design emails using an intuitive drag-and-drop email builder that requires no coding experience
- Gather subscribers through different types of signup forms, landing pages, or on social media
- Automate your email campaigns, and create customized workflows
- Track your engagement, open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes using easy-to-understand analytics reports in real-time
- Easily build pop-ups and landing pages to gather subscribers and turn them into customers ready to take out their credit cards
When it comes to cost, MailerLite keeps things simple. All of its plans include the same feature set and permit unlimited emails per month.
The only difference between tiers is how many subscribers you can have.
The free plan lets you have up to 1,000 subscribers, and there’s a $15 per month option that includes up to 2,500 subscribers.
MailerLite is a good option if…
All in all, MailerLite is one of the best and most well-rounded options available.
It provides plenty of help creating your emails, managing your list, and automating your campaigns, while keeping the cost low. There are also email marketing webinars to educate you on some aspects of the trade.
In addition, it’s a particularly strong choice if you’re also looking for a tool to help you design pop-ups on your site to attract subscribers, as well as landing pages where you can send those who open your emails. This makes it a great option for bloggers.
Why Does Email Automation Matter?
Email automation matters because it offers better results. Here are five reasons why you should consider email marketing automation:
Create Segmented Mailing Lists
Email automation allows businesses to create segmented mailing lists based on CRM data and subscriber activities.
Effective segmentation allows marketers to send out relevant marketing messages to their customers and potential clients.
Automation lets brands understand what clients are interested in. Segmented campaigns have 14.3 percent higher open rates and 100.9 percent higher CTRs than traditional campaigns.
Improve Your Conversion Rate
Email marketing is very effective because about 60 percent of customers still prefer emails as a method of contact. It can prove to be a great nurturing tool if used right.
Companies can choose a variety of campaigns from special offers to birthday wishes. The latter can boost conversion by up to 60 percent. You can’t always have a person sending special birthday wishes to your clients, especially if you have thousands of clients.
You can feed this information into a software that can send your automated email message on the given date.
Email automation allows marketers to send out timely, personalized, and appropriate messages to their subscribers. This helps to improve engagement.
Businesses spend a lot of time and money to improve engagement since engaged customers are more likely to convert.
On top of that, they are also more loyal and can help bring new buyers to a business.
Automation tools provide marketers with data that can help them identify links or assets within their campaigns that get favorable responses.
Marketers can use this information to create emails that generate curiosity and keep readers engaged by building positive brand impressions, reducing the number of bounces and subscribes.
Increase Efficiency and Revenue
Automation makes the job of sending emails less tiring and more efficient while also improving the bottom line. It allows marketers to automate boring and repetitive tasks, which helps save effort and time.
Some of the activities they can handle include storing customer data, tracking customers, determining interest level, re-establishing contact, and calculating ROI.
This information helps improve revenue by adding personalization fields to the email such as name, company name, location, etc.
Customization has been proven to be effective in increasing revenue. It improves open rates by up to 26 percent and can boost loyalty as well as personalized emails lead to 600 percent increase in transaction rate.
When it comes to email marketing, there are a lot of platforms you can choose from. In fact, more than one hundred platforms are available online. Given these numbers, it becomes hard to decide which platform is the best among the rest. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t differences between each one of them. It’s just that choosing the right platform for your business isn’t an easy thing to do.
It is a well-known fact that email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing methods that generates the highest ROI. Thus, a well-executed online email marketing campaign will allow your business to see good performance. If you want to start sending email campaigns, then you should use the best email marketing platform.