I remember a time when email marketing used to be really hard. Back in 2009 I was working for an email marketing agency in Frankfurt, and constantly getting frustrated at how expensive and complicated it was to send a simple email campaign.
The problem was mainly the software. Back then, newsletter services charged obscene setup fees as they were almost exclusively made for large enterprises. Oh, and they were far from what you’d call user-friendly. I was always wishing that something better and easier would come along.
Amazingly, this wasn’t actually all that long ago – which just goes to show how quickly things can change.
Together with my team, we’ve been following the market since 2011, and in the last few years, we’ve seen do-it-yourself email marketing software become more prevalent. These have made email marketing much more accessible to small-to-medium businesses.
These cloud-based solutions are user-friendly, affordable (and sometimes even free), and often packed with powerful template editors, automations and even landing page builders.
Our job here at EmailToolTester is to test and review these tools, looking at factors such as ease of use, flexibility, features, and deliverability, to help you find the best email marketing software for your needs.
So whether you’re completely new to email marketing or looking to make a switch, start your search for the right email marketing tool by checking out our ranking table below:
The Automation Champs
Up to 500: $15/mo
Up to 1,000: $29/mo
Up to 2,500: $49/mo
Up to 5,000: $89/mo
Up to 10,000: $139/mo
Up to 50,000: $299/moHigher Price Calculator
Extremely powerful automation
Features can be overwhelming
The Swiss Army Knife
Up to 1,000: $15/mo
Up to 2,500: $25/mo
Up to 5,000: $45/mo
Up to 10,000: $65/mo
Up to 25,000: $145/moHigher Price Calculator
Intelligent list automation
Landing page editor
Design and spam testing
Templates look dated
Simplicity and Design
Up to 1,000: $0/mo
Up to 2,500: $15/mo
Up to 5,000: $30/mo
Up to 10,000: $50/mo
Up to 15,000: $75/moHigher Price Calculator
Landing page editor
Missing some pro features
800 Pound Gorilla
Up to 2,000: $0/mo
Up to 2,500: $30/mo
Up to 10,000: $80/mo
Up to 30,000: $225/mo
Up to 50,000: $250/moHigher Price Calculator
Generous freemium plan
Great template editor
High-cost subscription plans
Limited email automation
Email Marketing Made in Germany
First 1,000 emails: $0/mo
2,500 emails: $20/mo
5,000 emails: $40/mo
7,500 emails: $55/mo
10,000 emails: $80/mo
20,000 emails: $125/moHigher Price Calculator
Recipient list management
Very good deliverability rates
Excellent free plan
High data protection standards
Basic autoresponder feature
Customization of registration form design
No unlimited pricing plan
Bang For Your Buck
Free Plan: $0/mo
40,000 emails: $25/mo
60,000 emails: $39/mo
120,000 emails: $66/moHigher Price Calculator
Solid email automation
Landing page editor
SMS marketing tool
Editor and general usability
Up to 2,000: $0/mo
Up to 3,500: $43.99/mo
Up to 7,500: $65.99/mo
Up to 15,000: $106.99/mo
Up to 50,000: $254.99/moHigher Price Calculator
File storage charges
Up to 1,000: $29/mo
Up to 3,000: $49/mo
Up to 5,000: $79/mo
Up to 10,000: $119/mo
Up to 25,000: $199/mo
Up to 50,000: $379/moHigher Price Calculator
Landing page editor
Flexible user-subscription management
Poor designs options
Reports are lacking in depth
The Expensive Choice
Up to 500: $20/mo
Up to 2,500: $45/mo
Up to 5,000: $65/mo
Up to 10,000: $95/moHigher Price Calculator
High deliverability rates
Very poor price-performance ratio
For Stunning Emails
1,000 emails: $19/mo
2,500 emails: $29/mo
5,000 emails: $39/mo
10,000 emails: $59/mo
25,000 emails: $79/mo
50,000 emails: $99/mo
100,000 emails: $179/moHigher Price Calculator
Keep data in-house
Email Marketing Old-Timer
Up to 500: $19/mo
Up to 2,500: $29/mo
Up to 5,000: $49/mo
Up to 10,000: $69/mo
Up to 25,000: $149/moHigher Price Calculator
List management tools
High price and unfair subscriber count
Prices are 'per subscriber' if not stated otherwise. We do our best to keep the prices on this page up-to-date but can’t promise that we are always able to reflect price changes immediately. Also, try our newsletter cost calculator.
Up to 2,500 subscribers: $0/mo
Up to 5,000 subscribers: $10/mo
Up to 10,000 subscribers: $22/mo
Up to 15,000 subscribers: $33/mo
Up to 20,000 subscribers: $44/mo
Up to 25,000 subscribers: $56/mo
Up to 30,000 subscribers: $67/mo
Up to 35,000 subscribers: $78/mo
Up to 40,000 subscribers: $90/mo
Up to 45,000 subscribers: $101/mo
Up to 50,000 subscribers: $113/mo
Up to 60,000 subscribers: $135/mo
Up to 70,000 subscribers: $158/mo
Up to 80,000 subscribers: $181/mo
Up to 90,000 subscribers: $203/mo
Up to 100,000 subscribers: $226/mo
This email marketing tool has its focus on ecommerce and integrates with platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce.
Up to 5,000: $10/mo
Up to 10,000: $40/mo
Up to 25,000: $80/mo
UK-based email marketing software with a focus on simplicity and affordable prices.
Up to 500: $10/mo
Up to 1,000: $15/mo
Up to 5,000: $50/mo
Up to 10,000: $85/mo
Email marketing software with a strong focus on ecommerce. Provides integrations with Shopify, BigCommerce and many more platforms.
Nowadays, most email marketing software is designed to perform a range of functions beyond simply sending emails and newsletters. Which features are an absolute must? Here’s our list of the key things you should be looking for:
Still not sure? Take a look at our short video which highlights how these features should work in your email marketing software.
At EmailToolTester, we only review cloud-based email marketing software. They have a couple of advantages over packaged software which is installed locally on your computer:
However, there are some disadvantages too:
In general, we’ve noticed that cloud-based email marketing software is coming out on top. Smaller and medium-sized companies, in particular, benefit from having no IT maintenance to worry about. Never underestimate the amount of time and money that this costs. For smaller companies, it’s almost impossible to run an email server for newsletters that isn’t blocked by services such as AOL or Gmail at some point.
And then there’s the security aspect: many companies don’t like hosting their recipient lists off-site. The email marketing software services themselves will obviously be very careful to fix any security issues as quickly as possible – after all, it’s their reputation on the line. However, there will always be some residual risk.
Cloud-based software is usually available for a monthly subscription fee. There’s no upfront cost, and you’ll often get the chance to pay month by month, or opt for discounted yearly plans. You can expect the following to be included within your monthly fee:
Gone are the days of running simple ‘batch and blast’ campaigns where businesses used to spam entire databases with exactly the same newsletter. Modern email marketing software has (thankfully) gotten smarter – now, you can target messages to contacts based on their profiles, preferences, and even online behaviour.
Here are the types of campaigns you’ll be able to run with a capable email marketing tool:
With 50,000 (paying) users, ActiveCampaign isn’t the most popular tool out there, but in the recent years, it has been growing at an astonishing rate. This Chicago-based email marketing company does automations like no one else, and this has given them a high reputation among email marketing experts.
But in our experience ActiveCampaign is more than good email automations. They have really advanced features like on-site personalized messages for your audience. But of course this fantastic newsletter tool is not for everyone, so let’s check their Pros & Cons.
What we like: Undoubtedly, the best automations and list management options that we’ve ever tried, allowing you to set up sophisticated campaigns using tags, their CRM as well as sales automation. The support team isn’t a letdown either, in our experiences they’ve been fast and friendly. Integrating forms is as easy as it gets, you can choose from: inline forms, floating bars, floating boxes and modal pop-ups. On top of that, their deliverability rate has been among the highest in our recent tests.
What they should improve: Although it isn’t the most expensive tool out there, you’ll need some budget for it – especially if you need the most advanced features. This is a really advanced solution and beginners can feel overwhelmed with the insane amount of features. Sadly, it doesn’t have ecommerce reports as there is no purchase-tracking available.
GetResponse’s founder started developing his idea back in 1997. Since then, this Polish company has grown and over 350,000 customers in 183 different countries have chosen them. Their team has more than 300 employees and they offer their services in more than 24 languages.
GetResponse stands out for having two (almost) unique features: a landing page editor and the ability to host webinars. These can be a no-brainer for some, but let’s check them out more in detail to see their advantages and disadvantages.
What we like: Their automations are also top notch and their list management system is pretty powerful – for beginners, these may take a bit of getting used to. Having a landing page editor allows you to start with email marketing even if you don’t have your own website (e.g. using social media). Of course, people wanting to organize webinars will like GetResponse’s unique solution. Other useful features are the spam and design testing checks that GetResponse performs before you send out a campaign.
What they should improve: Unfortunately, their deliverability results weren’t terrific; we’d like to see this issue solved soon. Generally, their templates are slick-looking, but some of the designs can look a bit outdated.
Two guys that owned a web design agency in Lithuania decided to pivot their business in 2010. They started MailerLite, a new email marketing service that in less than 10 years has collected over 400,000 users and employs 33 professionals.
We think that their rapid success comes from two factors: an easy-to-use, solid email marketing tool that has a really generous free plan. It reminds us a bit of MailChimp’s approach, but if it worked for the US giant why wouldn’t it work for MailerLite too.
What we like: The very first thing you’ll notice is their free plan that will let you use all the features, and have 1,000 subscribers at no cost. Design stands out – MailerLite’s efforts to have gorgeous newsletter templates and a well-designed backend have paid off. Ease of use is core part of their system, even beginners will find it intuitive. On top of that, it comes with a landing page editor for those who want to do email marketing but don’t own a website – pretty convenient for influencers and YouTubers.
What they should improve: MailerLite doesn’t perform spam and design checks before you send your communications. They could have more variety of templates, but the ones they offer are pretty cool-looking. Although they have solid automations and list management options, these aren’t as advanced as with GetResponse or ActiveCampaign.
MailChimp was founded in 2001 and since then they’ve become the most successful email marketing software out there. Their solid newsletter tool and their aggressive marketing policies have consolidated them as the absolute Email Marketing King.
But more success doesn’t always correlate with a better product. MailChimp is indeed an outstanding tool, but it has relevant flaws that you should take into account (see below). Nor do they have the best deal; for instance, MailerLite’s range of features is similar and they offer a much better deal than MailChimp.
What we like: Along with MailerLite’s, their free plan is one of the best, as you get 2,000 subscribers for free. They offer monthly subscription plans and a pay-as-you-go pricing model where you only pay if you actually send out newsletters. It has probably the most flexible editor we’ve tried, you’ll be able to create (virtually) any design. Their reporting is amazing, allowing you to dive as deep as you need in your stats – and they even offer ecommerce conversion tracking (as a few tools do).
What they should improve: Sadly their automations and list management features aren’t as good as they should be, they aren’t flexible nor easy to use. The paid plans are actually quite expensive; if you have a lot of subscribers your fees can soon skyrocket. In our last tests, we found some concerning deliverability issues with Gmail users. MailChimp didn’t provide the best support when we tested it, they were quite slow when answering our questions.
Over half a million users rely on Benchmark’s software to send their emails and communications. On top of that, they employ over 100 professionals and they’re present in more than 15 countries. Impressive numbers for this Californian email software newsletter provider.
They are really proud of their awarded customer service team and they claim to offer ‘WorldClass’ support. But obviously, you also want to know the main strengths and flaws of their product, so let’s check them out.
What we like: We agree, their support was indeed awesome, nothing to question here. This is another tool which is extremely easy to use; we are big fans of their intuitive backend. Design is also a thing they get right – they offer many modern-looking templates to choose from. Big fans also of their flexible drag & drop editor, it’s fast and intuitive. They top all these up with an excellent free plan – you can have up to 2,000 subscribers for free but no access to cutting-edge features like A/B testing or advanced automations.
What they should improve: Their biggest issue is deliverability. In our latest tests they didn’t score too good. They offer low storage for your images, if you go over it you’ll have extra costs. Unlike GetResponse and MailerLite they don’t come with a landing page editor.
They started in email marketing back in 1995 and have achieved some considerable success. There are 270 app integrations and they have about 650,000 users – impressive numbers if we consider that they don’t offer a free plan.
Unfortunately, even though Constant Contact is an experienced provider, that doesn’t mean that they offer a good product. There’s a reason why they rank last on our website: Constant Contact is expensive, lacks some important features and their support should be better.
What we like: In our tests, their deliverability scores were good. The unique (niche) features like the event management solution may be interesting for some.
What they should improve: It doesn’t have email automation as only simple autoresponders are included. Managing contact lists is unflexible as there are not many options available to segment users. Customizing registration forms is limited. And the support was a constant disappointment and unable to help.