Email Marketing Tools

The 16 Best Free Email Marketing Services: How far can $0 get you in 2024?

Roberta PhillipsRobert Brandl

By Roberta & Robert

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Best free email marketing services

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So you’ve decided to start focusing more effort on your ‘small’ business, and perhaps you’re still working out of your bedroom, but your customers don’t need to know that.

You’ve been sending out emails to your list of around 50-200 recipients that you’ve built up over the last few months, but Outlook isn’t quite cutting it anymore. Sometimes your emails get lost in the void that is spam folders, and then there was that one time you accidentally CC’d instead of BCCing! That sadly caused a few unsubscribes, which, of course, had to be removed manually.

There must be a better way, right?

It might be time to try out a more professional email marketing tool and develop your email marketing strategy. But wait, before you cry out ‘professional = expensive’, there are actually a bunch of free email marketing services that can do the job well. No more spam surprises and no more embarrassing personal data breaches.

In a Hurry? Find the Best Free Tool with our Video and Smart Quiz

Check out our video review of the top free email marketing services:

free email marketing services review video

 

You can also find the best free email marketing service for your specific needs with our Smart Quiz:

email service provider quiz

16 Best Free Email Marketing Services [Summary]

Free ESP What's included Comments
MailerLite
5 stars
Best Free Email Marketing tool
  • 1,000 subscribers
  • 12,000 emails p/m
  • Automations, landing pages and reports
MailerLite offers a decent amount of features on its free plan. Their free emailing software includes autoresponders, sophisticated web forms, (limited) reporting and email support. There are only basic structural templates included, however. (Read our full review)
Sender
4.5 stars
  • 2,500 subscribers
  • 15,000 emails p/m
  • Autoresponders + transactional emails
  • Push notifications
  • Forms
This simple and easy-to-use email marketing tool includes a sizeable free email sending allowance and some handy extras like automations and push notifications.
Brevo
4stars
  • Unlimited subscribers
  • 9,000 emails p/m (daily limit of 300)
  • Marketing automation
  • CRM
  • Basic reporting
You can send up to 9,000 emails p/m, but with a daily limit of 300. Brevo's branding is present in all emails. The good thing is you have access to pro features such as marketing automation and contact relationship management software for free. (Read our full review)
Zoho
4stars
  • 6,000 emails p/m
  • 2,000 contacts
  • Up to 5 users
  • Reports
Decent email and subscriber allowances. Though automation and campaign scheduling are reserved for paying customers, it does allow you to use its CRM features and offers a wide range of modern email templates. (Read our full review)
SmartrMail
4stars
  • Up to 1,000 email subscribers
  • 5,000 email/month
  • Segmentation
  • Popups
  • Marketing automation
  • Abandoned cart emails
One of the more generous free emailing software in terms of features. A large variety of automation workflows, including welcome email series, product recommendation series, etc. Decent sending and subscriber limits. Note that you need to have an online store to use this email service.
Omnisend
4stars
  • 500 emails p/m to 250 contacts
  • Unlimited subscribers
  • Landing pages
  • 60 international SMS
  • Segmentation & automation
  • Website tracking
Though the sending allowance is small, Omnisend's free plan comes with all advanced features, including landing pages, website tracking and marketing automation. (Read our full review)
SendPulse
4stars
  • 500 subscribers
  • 15,000 emails p/m
  • Web push notifications
  • Transactional emails
  • Basic autoresponders
A large sending allowance and some unique messaging features make SendPulse’s free plan a top option for multichannel marketers.
GetResponse
3.5 stars
  • 500 subscribers
  • 2,500 emails
  • Website/landing page builder, plenty of email templates
Email sending limit of 2,500 to 500 subscribers. Additional features included in the free emailing software are a well-designed website and landing page builder, but no marketing automation. (Read our full review)
EmailOctopus
3.5 stars
  • 2,500 subscribers
  • 10,000 emails
  • Stats for 30 days only
A refreshingly simple newsletter software with very low prices. Doesn't have a whole load of features, but what it does, it does well. You can integrate it with numerous other tools through Zapier.
HubSpot
3.5 stars
  • 1 million subscribers
  • 2,000 emails p/m
  • CRM
  • Web forms
HubSpot’s free plan is slightly limited in terms of emails, as you have a monthly sending limit of just 2,000. They are, however, pretty generous with subscribers and CRM features. Their branding is present in all emails. (Read our full review)
ConvertKit
3.5 stars
  • 1,000 subscribers
  • Unlimited broadcasts
  • Landing pages
  • Sell digital products & subscriptions
Tailored to bloggers and content creators, ConvertKit's free plan comes with unlimited broadcasts, landing pages and forms, and lets you sell digital products. However, it doesn't include automations, or access to its Creator Network. (Read our full review)
AWeber
3.5 stars
  • Up to 500 email subscribers
  • 3,000 email/month
  • Landing pages
  • One list
  • Simple automation
AWeber's free plan includes a good range of features and a reasonable email allowance. You'll have access to email and landing page templates, and also phone support. (Read our full review)
MailChimp
3.5 stars
  • 500 subscribers
  • 1,000 emails p/m (daily limit of 500)
  • Reporting
  • Mobile features & surveys
Restricted features on the free account (e.g. no automations, advanced segmentation, newsletter scheduling or delivery by time zone). Access to email & chat support only for the first 30 days. The email and subscriber allowance are quite low compared to other free emailing tools. (Read our full review)
Mailjet
3.5 stars
  • Unlimited subscribers
  • 6,000 emails p/m
  • Reporting
Similar to Brevo, Mailjet have a sending limit on their free plan, and a daily limit of only 200 emails. (Read our full review)
Benchmark
3
  • Unlimited subscribers
  • 250 emails p/m
  • Web forms
  • List management
  • Basic A/B testing
Though the free plan includes unlimited subscribers, with an allowance of 250 emails/month, you won't be able to do much. (Read our full review)
CleverReach
3
  • 250 subscribers
  • 1,000 emails p/m
  • Reporting
  • Web forms
CleverReach's free allowance is pretty limited when you compare it to other newsletter services. There is also a small ad in your outgoing emails that can’t be removed. (Read our full review)

> For in-depth reviews, please also check out our ranking table.

With the email marketing ROI being at 3600% (that’s $36 for every dollar you spend on your email campaign!), it's well worth using a free email marketing service to start bringing in the big bucks!

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can get for absolutely nothing! Some don’t even set a cap on the number of subscribers you can have or the number of emails you can send a month.

You’ll also see that other features such as landing pages, transactional email and automation are sometimes included with free mass emailing services, so look out for these nice extras.

The specific features that appeal to you will depend on the needs of your business. However, there are a few things to look out for when selecting an email marketing service:

  • Are email templates included for free? And are the designs attractive?
  • Does the free plan include landing pages and what are the designs like? (These can be very useful if you don’t have a website yet)
  • Is email automation included? And can I segment my contacts into different lists?
  • Will the reports offered give me the data I need?
  • Is there a limit to the number of forms I can create?
  • Are transactional emails included (if that’s something you need – also check our study of the best free SMTP servers)
  • Most often, the provider will include its own logo in your email, you might want to see what this actually looks like as some are more subtle than others
  • What other tools does it integrate with? (Especially worth considering if you have an ecommerce site)
  • What kind of support do you get? Mailchimp, for example, is notoriously difficult to get in contact with on the free plan

With the above table, you can see that it’s perfectly possible to use a free newsletter creator for your small business needs, at least up to a certain point, depending on how big your dreams (a.k.a. contact lists) become.


Free Email Marketing Services in Detail

Now that you've got an idea of what each of the free mailing services offer, let's take a closer look at their features and limitations.

1. MailerLite – Ticks most of the boxes

mailerlite free email marketing service

Best Free Email Marketing toolWe awarded MailerLite our Best Free Email Marketing Tool badge for 2023!

As its name suggests, MailerLite’s focus is on delivering a simple, no-frills email marketing service. The result is an easy-to-use newsletter tool with some surprisingly useful features (think landing pages, forms, and marketing automation). And their ‘Free Forever’ plan gives you access to most – but not all – of their features.

What we liked

This free emailer is super intuitive, so even if you’re an email marketing novice, you’ll have no problem getting campaigns up and running. And as long as you have less than 1,000 subscribers, you can send 12,000 emails a month, and even set up single-trigger automation workflows and landing pages for free.

Where they should improve

Unfortunately their templates aren’t available on the free plan, meaning you’ll need to build your own. There’s no spam or design testing, and while we like their workflow-based automation editor, it’s limited to just a handful of automation functions (sending trigger-based emails, updating contact fields, etc.).

Who is the free plan suited to?

We think MailerLite is one of the best free email marketing services around. But we think it’s especially handy for budget-conscious small businesses looking for an easy, all-in-one solution for their inbound marketing.

MailerLite Video Review

mailerlite video review

 

Free trial: www.mailerlite.com

> Read our MailerLite review


2. Sender – Easy does it

Sender

A simple interface and smooth user experience make Sender one of the easiest email marketing tools to use. Its free plan also has a substantial allowance of 2,500 subscribers and up to 15,000 emails per month, making it a great free mass emailing service. You get a nice amount of features included too – automations, transactional emails, push notifications and forms.

What we liked

The automations included on the free plan are surprisingly advanced – you’ve got options to send abandoned cart campaigns, for example, and to perform actions such as moving subscribers to different lists or updating custom field values. In general, the simplicity of this free mailing service is a nice change from the overcomplexity of other similarly-featured tools.

Where they should improve

While the email template designs aren’t bad, it would be nice to have a few more on offer. Integrations are limited to just a handful of third-party applications, including WordPress, WooCommerce and Magento.

Who is the free plan suited to?

If you’re after an easy-to-use, no-nonsense email marketing service (with a few nice extras thrown in), you’ll appreciate Sender’s simplicity and utility.

Free Trial: sender.net


3. Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) – Automation for free

brevo profile

You might know this email marketing tool as ‘Sendinblue', as this was its name up until May 2023. It's undergone quite a few changes over the years, starting out as a transactional email provider and later successfully transforming itself into an all-in-one email marketing service provider. It offers advanced features such as SMS marketing, email automation and contact relationship management.

On their free plan, you can have an unlimited number of subscribers and send up to 9,000 emails a month, although there’s a daily cap of 300 emails. A few of the features are also off-limits – you won’t get access to email heat maps, details of openers and clickers, or ad-free emails.

What we liked

Marketing automation is a little more sophisticated than other free ESPs on this list, with options to build and even test various campaign workflows (e.g. based on page visits, email engagement, product purchases). Reporting is also pretty good, although it’s a little annoying that the free plan doesn’t give you details of who opened and clicked. Their paid plans are pretty affordable, starting at only $35 for 40,000 emails.

> See how Brevo compares to Mailchimp

Where they should improve

While their templates are mobile-responsive, they could do with a wider variety (although you can always find and use your own templates). And they’re missing features such as A/B testing, which come as standard in most other tools.

Who is the free plan suited to?

If your email marketing is less about newsletters and more about sending trigger-based campaigns (such as welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, or emails based on web visits/email engagement), Brevo is a decent option to try. You can also send mass emails for free.

Brevo Video Review

brevo video review

Free Trial: www.brevo.com

> Read our Brevo review


4. Zoho Campaigns  – The Swiss Army Knife

zoho campaigns - free email service

Zoho are kind of a big deal in the sales and marketing world. Their impressive suite of services means that marketers and small business owners can find all that they need under one roof.

Zoho Campaigns is where the email marketing magic happens, and with a great selection of well-designed templates and an easy-to-use editor, it’s well worth checking out if you’re on a budget.

What we liked

Well-designed interface that is easy to navigate. The editor is fast and offers all the main elements, including columns, video and polls. A cool feature is that you can upload images from Unsplash directly in the editor. Segmentation is also possible. We particularly liked their range of email and form templates.

Where they should improve

It’s a bit disappointing that no kind of automations are included in the free plan, though if you want this feature you can get it for as little as $5/month. The form builder could be easier to use with the use of drag and drop technology.

Zoho recently removed the ability to A/B test your campaigns and even schedule them on the free plan. They also halved the email allowance, which makes it quite limited compared to some tools on this list.

Who is the free plan suited to?

Zoho Campaign’s free plan is for anyone looking for an easy-to-use email marketing service with excellent design templates. If you need basic email marketing automation and don’t want to pay, you’d be better off going with MailerLite.

Try out Zoho for free! 


5. SmartrMail

smartrmail

SmartrMail is directed toward small-to-medium-sized ecommerce businesses. It is a popular email marketing tool for Shopify users, most likely due to its easy-to-use interface and generous allowances and feature set.

Another important thing to consider is that with SmartrMail only active subscribers count towards your monthly allowance, unlike with Mailchimp, which includes inactive subscribers.

Note that you’ll need an online store to sign up. SmartrMail integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, Maropost and WooCommerce, or you can do so through a custom API. So if this isn’t you, then you’ll need to look at one of the other free email marketing services on this list.

What we liked

Free migration services are offered, which is great if you’re moving over from another email marketing service. SmartrMail will even help you get your automated workflows up and running.

The fact that marketing automation, and more specifically, abandoned cart emails, are included on the free plan is a big plus, as this is usually a feature reserved for email marketing services’ paid plans.

You’ll also have access to smart segments, which group subscribers based on certain criteria. For example, if a subscriber hasn’t ordered in 365 days, they are added to the At-Risk Customers segment. There are seven of these set up already, and you can edit them as you wish. These include the following smart segments: Recent purchasers, unengaged subscribers, loyal customers and repeat customers, and more.

Where they should improve

Unfortunately, there’s no dedicated analytics section in this free ESP. However, we’ve been informed by SmartrMail that they are developing this feature to be released in the near future.

No landing page builder, even on the paid plan.

Who is the free plan suited to?

Ecommerce brands looking for a generous free plan with marketing automation and segmentation capabilities.

Try SmartrMail for free


6. Omnisend – For ecommerce

Omnisend free email marketing service

As an email service that’s strongly geared to ecommerce, Omnisend has a lot of exceptional features, including automation workflows, the ability to automatically add your store’s products to your newsletters, and cool email add-ons like scratch cards and gift boxes. What's more, all of these features are available on the free plan, along with website tracking, 24/7 support, deep reporting, and landing pages. Not bad at all.

Unfortunately, a recent change in Omnisend's pricing means that the number of emails you can send has decreased dramatically. What were 15,000 emails per month (2,000 per day) are now just 500, and you can only contact 250 subscribers. This might work for you if you need an advanced service but have few subscribers, but I imagine you'll quickly outgrow the allowances.

Omnisend Video Review

omnisend video review

Free Trial: www.omnisend.com

> Read our Omnisend review


7. SendPulse – Multichannel messaging

Sendpulse free email marketing

SendPulse offers a multichannel platform for marketers looking to do more than just email marketing. Its wide range of features includes web push notifications, SMS, Viber and even transactional emails via SMTP.

SendPulse’s free plan is one of the more generous in terms of sending limits, with a monthly allowance of 15,000 emails, however, you are only allowed up to 500 subscribers.

What we liked

You get access to some very useful features even on the free plan, including autoresponders, A/B testing, a website builder, CRM features and advanced reporting such as click heat maps and opens by location. Web push notifications come included in the free plan, and you can also opt to have a free monthly plan of 12,000 SMTP emails.

Where they should improve

I came across a few issues with this free ESP's email editor, which was at times buggy and slow. Without a workflow-based editor for basic autoresponders, these can also be a bit cumbersome to manage.

Who is the free plan suited to?

A multichannel platform won’t appeal to everyone, but if your business uses web push or transactional emails to communicate with customers, SendPulse’s free plan could save you a considerable amount of time and money. The fact that it comes with a CRM and website builder is an added bonus.

Free Trial: sendpulse.com


8. GetResponse – Comes with a website builder

Sales funnel software: GetResponse

GetResponse has only recently added a free plan to their offering, but we’re very happy they have. We’ve been following GetResponse’s product updates for years, and can say that they have some very interesting niche features, though you’ll see below that the features included on their free plan are slightly more limited. These pro, paid features include webinars, sales funnels and advanced marketing automation

What we liked

Their free plan includes a website builder with 5 GB of bandwidth, signup forms and popups. You can also connect your own domain and make use of their SEO-optimization tools.

There are over 500 email templates to choose from, and the editor is flexible and easy-to-use.

Where they should improve

Unfortunately, you can only store up to 500 subscribers on the free plan, which isn’t many compared to the other tools on the list. They recently reduced their email send limit from unlimited email sends to 2,500 on the free plan. You’re also limited to just one landing page.

Autoresponders and automations are reserved for higher-tier paid plans, and, of course, you'll have to put up with the GetResponse branding.

Who is the free plan suited to?

Small businesses with few subscribers looking for a free mailing service to set up both a simple website and manage their email marketing.

Free trial: www.getresponse.com

> Read our GetResponse review


9. EmailOctopus

emailoctopus

After Mailchimp, here's another animal in the email marketing zoo. EmailOctopus is a special breed: it used to be built on top of the Amazon SES service that provides the email infrastructure. The AWS account is optional now, though, meaning that you can use it just like any other newsletter service.

They let you have a generous 2,500 subscribers for free, with a sending limit of 10,000 emails per month. If you are using Amazon's servers, you could also use their free quota of currently up to 3,000 emails/month (limited to the first 12 months).

What we liked

Prices on the paid plans are on the lower end (e.g. 10,000 subscribers for $36 per month) and once set up, the Octopus proved a well-spirited newsletter tool that is extremely easy to use. There's an API available as well as a Zapier integration.

What they should improve

The range of features is a bit limited, though, if you are only looking to send classic newsletters and autoresponders you may have everything you need. Also, you only have customer support for the first 30 days – after that you're on your own.

Who is the free plan suited to?

I'd recommend EmailOctopus mainly to cost-conscious marketers who maybe already have an Amazon SES. They also seem to be relaxed about senders dealing with cryptocurrency and affiliate marketing. Industries other email providers often reject.

Free plan: emailoctopus.com


10. HubSpot – Email marketing + CRM

HubSpot - The CRM powerhouse

Collect contacts through HubSpot’s forms, manage contacts in their advanced CRM and send up to 2,000 emails a month for free. You can also add unlimited users and assign contacts to each of them.

The drag and drop editor is pretty smooth and helpfully points out anything you might have missed. Unfortunately, they do not offer anything special when it comes to email templates – you just have one basic newsletter or promotion template to customize. It’s also not possible to unload your own or code it in HTML.

You also get a small allowance to build, automations, landing pages, and even webpages – if you want more, you’ll have to upgrade to their Sales or Marketing Hub.

What we liked

You have access to a robust CRM, form builder, ads and a few other cool features. In terms of ease of use, the software doesn’t feel overwhelming at all. Primarily a CRM, they are generous when it comes to contacts, allowing you to store up to 1 million for free!

Where they should improve

Though there is (virtually) no cap on contacts, you might find that 2,000 emails a month isn’t enough. You’ll also have to put up with the HubSpot branding being present at the end of every email you send. They could also include a few nice templates in the free plan or at least the option to upload your own.

A limitation to HubSpot’s free plan is that you’re not able to properly authenticate an email sending domain through SPF and DKIM – that said, they didn’t score too badly in our deliverability testing.

Who should use the free plan

Small to medium-sized businesses who are in need of a decent free CRM – because this is where HubSpot really shines. You’ll need to take into account that the monthly sending limit is quite low compared to other tools (though one-to-one sales emails don’t count towards this) and neither A/B testing nor automations are included.

Try HubSpot out for free!


11. ConvertKit – For bloggers and creators

convertkit free

ConvertKit is an email marketing platform for bloggers and creators. It offers features like landing pages, complex sequence setups, subscriber segmentation, and the unique ability to sell digital products and subscriptions directly through the platform.

While there is a freemium plan available for users with under 1,000 subscribers, it has limited features – for example, automations aren’t included. The more robust options start at $15 per month for marketers with fewer than 300 subscribers.

What we liked

ConvertKit stands out in certain areas, including its quick, friendly, and effective customer support. The platform's tagging system allows for flexible subscriber management, letting you target communications effectively to your audience. Additionally, the landing page editor lets you collect subscribers even without a website, making it ideal for social media campaigns. The monetization feature, which lets you sell digital products and subscriptions, is a unique offering not commonly found in other email marketing tools.

Where they should improve

While ConvertKit offers a range of useful features, it becomes truly effective when using its paid options. As a result, the cost can escalate quickly, potentially making it expensive for some users. It’s also not ideal if you’re looking to send highly visual, image-rich emails, as the default templates are all text-based.

Who is the free plan suited to?

ConvertKit’s free plan is best for individuals or businesses with fewer than 1,000 subscribers. Bloggers and creators who are just starting or have a small subscriber base can take advantage of this plan's basic features. However, as their subscriber list grows, they may need to consider transitioning to one of the paid packages to access more advanced functionalities and unlock the platform's full potential.

ConvertKit Video Review

convertkit video review

Try ConvertKit out for free!

> Read our ConvertKit review


12. AWeber – Phone support included for free!

aweber

AWeber is a Pennsylvania-based free email marketing service, and with over 20 years of experience under their belt, it’s fair to say they know the business. In fact, AWeber’s claim to fame is that they invented the autoresponder. But what does the free plan come with and how does it compare to the other emailing services on the list?

What we liked

AWeber’s free plan includes many of its paid features, including simple marketing automation, landing pages, unlimited users, phone support and thousands of stock photos.

You’ll have access to its entire newsletter and landing page template library, which comes with a good selection of mobile-responsive designs.

Where they should improve

The analytics are a bit thin on the free plan. If you want access to webpage and email sales tracking, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid plan. Bear in mind that your emails will include AWeber branding, and you can only manage 1 list.

We also find the subscriber limit quite low compared to other email marketing services like MailerLite and Sender.

Who is the free plan suited to?

AWeber’s free plan is a good option for those who want 24/7 support and would rather receive this over the phone. It’s also an advantage that there’s no daily sending limit.

AWeber Video Review

aweber video review

Try AWeber for free

> Read our AWeber review


13. MailChimp – Making email marketing fun

Mailchimp free email marketing service

Let’s face it – email marketing can be a little dry sometimes. MailChimp is a breath of fresh air, and their fun and quirky branding, paired with some solid, user-friendly features, have helped it quickly become the world’s most popular email marketing service.

Their free account used to be very generous, providing you with 10,000 emails a month for up to 2,000 contacts. However, this all changed when Mailchimp was bought by Intuit. You now only have 1000 emails a month to send to up to 500 contacts, plus there’s a 500 email daily sending limit. Though you’ll have access to landing pages, forms and reporting. If you want ad-free emails and access to features like automations, A/B testing, chat/email support, inbox previews, campaign scheduling and time zone delivery, you’ll need to upgrade to one of their monthly or pay-as-you-go plans.

What we liked

Their reporting is comprehensive, with stats on conversions, social activity, e-Commerce tracking and email domain performance. You’ve also got forms that easily integrate with your site, landing pages, and over 800 third-party integration options with both popular and niche applications (such as with table reservation systems like OpenTable – great if you run a restaurant). As email marketing tools go, Mailchimp is pretty easy to use.

Where they should improve

The free plan doesn’t allow for any automations and you can't even schedule your campaigns, which are really the main reasons for using an email marketing service. The basic templates available on the free plan are very outdated.

Emails also have a tendency to end up in Gmail’s Promotions tab, according to our deliverability tests – fine if your emails are promoting sales and offers, but less than ideal if they’re informational or transactional.

The reduced allowances and daily sending limit are also a disadvantage. Find out more in this Mailchimp alternatives post.

Who is the free plan suited to?

With all the new restrictions, it’s quite hard to recommend Mailchimp over the competition. It could be a good option for those looking for detailed reports, though the fact you can’t schedule your emails is a big red flag. Also, be aware that once you move onto a paid Mailchimp account, you'll see a pretty big jump in price.

MailChimp Video Review

mailchimp video review

 

Free Trial: mailchimp.com

> Read our MailChimp review


14. Mailjet – Lots of potential

MailJet free email marketing service

Another newsletter provider traditionally known for sending transactional emails, Mailjet has evolved into a more complete email service, although their features are still relatively basic. Their free plan is generous in terms of capacity (unlimited contacts and up to 6,000 emails a month, with a 200-email daily limit). It’s a little less generous in terms of access, however – premium features like automations, segmentation and A/B testing are only available to try out for free for 30 days.

What we liked

The drag-and-drop editor is a breeze to use, and they have a decent range of email templates to choose from.

Where they should improve

Everything still feels a little new and unpolished – there’s just a handful of automation workflows available, for example, and lots of features still under development.

Who is the free plan suited to?

If volume is important to you, and you don’t need sophisticated features, Mailjet’s free plan will serve you well.

Free Trial: mailjet.com

> Read our Mailjet review


15. Benchmark – Sleek and simple

Benchmark free email marketing service

With a clean and minimalist design, Benchmark is one of the most user-friendly email newsletter tools we’ve tried. What’s more, their free Starter plan gives you access to all areas – marketing automation, forms, surveys and reporting included – with a few caveats (you won’t be able to activate automations or A/B tests, for example, and sign-up forms will only allow you to add 75 subscribers a day). You'll also only have 250 emails/month, which is not many at all.

What we liked

They have a great variety of modern-looking and mobile-friendly templates, and a drag-and-drop editor that’s hard to beat in terms of usability. Support, even on the free plan, is fast and responsive. And they offer integration with over 300+ tools, including WordPress, Facebook and Shopify.

Where they should improve

Deliverability rates with Benchmark were disappointingly low (particularly to Outlook and Hotmail inboxes). You’re also unlikely to stay on the free plan for very long, as they charge $5/month to upgrade your image storage from 10MB to unlimited and only allow for 250 emails/month.

Who is the free plan suited to?

Businesses who tend to send more text-based emails might have a better chance of staying under the file storage limit (and having their emails delivered) – so if you’re after a nicely designed and straightforward tool, Benchmark is a good choice.

Benchmark Video Review

benchmark video review

 

Free Trial: www.benchmarkemail.com

> Read our Benchmark review


16. CleverReach – Professional but limited

CleverReach free email marketing service

CleverReach offers a complete, enterprise-grade email marketing service, with functions like marketing automation, forms, and reports. Their Lite plan gives you access to most of their features and allows up to 1,000 emails to a maximum of 250 subscribers every month for free.

What we liked

Their editor is easy to use. We also like their workflow-based automation editor, comprehensive reporting, and handy campaign calendar.

Where they should improve

The free plan is very limited in terms of automations, templates and registration forms. And it’s a shame that not all their templates are responsive.

Who should use the free plan

If your list is small and EU compliance is a big priority for you, CleverReach is the way to go – double opt-ins come as standard, and data is hosted within Europe.

Free Trial: www.cleverreach.com

> Read our CleverReach review


Email marketing free tools: What’s with this ‘free plan’ talk?

If you’re like me, whenever you hear the word ‘free’ for apps or tools you’re probably wondering ‘so what’s the catch?’

Well, it’s not a catch so much as a ‘freemium model’. This basically means that you may have certain restrictions perhaps based upon the number of subscribers you can have, emails you can send or features available. In most cases, though, if you’re a small business with a relatively simple newsletter marketing strategy, these plans will be enough to get you up and running!

And I guess the ‘catch’ is that once your budget has become a little less lean, you’ll be so happy with the service you’re using that you’ll stick with it and invest in a higher plan. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

What do I get for (not spending) my hard-earned cash?

As you've seen, you can access many email marketing tools for free. We’ve only shown you ‘hosted’ newsletter services, which basically just means that you don’t need your own email server or to install anything on your computer. In other words, they’re fully self-contained services. Nice and easy right?

Also, they all have a form of bounce management. This means that the service automatically takes care of emails that don’t reach their recipient, after a couple of tries, by removing them from your list. This helps keep your contact lists clean and uncluttered.

Even though your newsletters will most likely be the most useful emails your customers have ever received, there will always be those who aren’t as enlightened, and that’s where the next service comes in handy. They all offer quick and easy unsubscribe management, which can take place without you needing to do anything.

And finally, another useful feature of these providers is that they can provide you with statistics. Now you’ll be able to find out who’s actually opening your emails, and which ones are more popular than others…after all, it’s basically a popularity contest. May the best newsletter win.

What limitations do free email marketing services have?

Most free emailers restrict either subscriber or email numbers, and sometimes both, so pay attention to these amounts when deciding. All of the providers seem to restrict access to some features, so be aware of what is and isn’t included on their free plans. Also, most email newsletter services also put their own branding within your newsletters (usually a small badge in the footer). If this is a dealbreaker for you, check out our list of the best cheap email marketing services instead.

A premium feature that's hard to find with free providers is advanced email automation, so it’s worth taking that into account if you're planning on implementing a marketing automation strategy. It’s often also not possible to access detailed reporting with most of these free accounts either. So if you need this kind of sophistication you may need to open up your wallet, and in this case, ActiveCampaign would be our recommendation. You can get an idea of prices, and compare ActiveCampaign's prices with other providers, with our email marketing cost calculator.

In regards to recommendations, I’d probably try out MailerLite or Sender to begin with, they have relatively good subscriber and email limits, along with an easy-to-use system. MailerLite has some great features, such as landing pages and multiple languages, while still being wallet-friendly, even in their paid plans. Sender includes advanced automations for free.

Conclusion: What's the best free email service for you?

While there are a number of free email providers, it’s good to not only be aware of the limitations of each but also to go with one that feels best for you. To figure this out, simply TRY them…they’re free after all!

Note: We recommend you follow these email deliverability best practices and check out our guide to email authentication before you start sending. For list-building strategies, check out our complete guides on how to build an email list and lead generation. And then our guide to email list management.

You can find more information about many of the providers listed in our Constant Contact alternatives guide.

In need of CRM software? Check out this detailed list of the best free CRM providers.

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The authors

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Roberta Phillips

Marketing Manager

Hey, I'm Roberta! Having worked as a digital marketer for a host of online businesses, I've tried, tested, fallen in love with and despaired with so many marketing tools. I'm excited to help you find the email marketing and CRM tools you need to thrive.

Robert Brandl

Founder and CEO

Hello! I'm Robert, an email marketing expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry. After honing my skills by serving major corporations working for an agency, I founded EmailTooltester as a passion project to help small and medium-sized businesses. My goal is to assist you in maximizing email marketing's potential.

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We keep our content up to date

05 Jan 2024 - A couple of smaller improvements and corrections
05 Dec 2023 - Email Octopus removed support in the free tier (included only the first 30 days)
04 Dec 2023 - Mailchimp free plan no longer offers automations
11 Oct 2023 - Added new 'Best free email marketing software' video
07 Aug 2023 - Added ConvertKit
03 Aug 2023 - Small change for EmailOctopus related to Amazon SES, Moonmail removed (no more free plan)
02 June 2023 - Smart Quiz updated
16 March 2023 - Updated Mailchimp's pricing
22 Dec 2022 - Moved GetResponse down since they reduced sending allowance.
15 Dec 2022 - Added badge
01 Dec 2022 - Omnisend video review added
15 Sept 2022 - Moved Mailchimp down since they reduced sending allowances
01 Aug 2022 - Removed Moosend as they no longer offer a freemium plan
07 June 2022 - Added SmartrMail
15 March 2022 - Added AWeber and removed YMLP
03 Feb 2022 - Updated Sendpulse
20 Jan 2022 - Moved Mailchimp down since they removed the ability to schedule emails on the free plan 
09 Dec 2021 - Updated Zoho in light of changes to allowances and features
26 Oct 2021 - Moved Brevo up
25 Oct 2021 - Added smart finder
19 Oct 2021 - Added GetResponse
20 Sept 2021 - Omnisend's pricing updated and moved down. Moosend moved up
15 Jun 2021 - Small updates for Moosend
3 Feb 2021 - Zoho added
15 Dec 2020 - New video added
25 Nov 2020 - Added 'What can I expect from free email marketing software?' section
28 Apr 2020 - Added updated MailerLite video
22 Apr 2020 - Changes to Benchmark free plan allowance
18 Oct 2019 - CleverReach reduced their free allowance
22 Oct 2019 - HubSpot added to list.
16 Oct 2019 - Updated EmailOctopus.
22 May 2019 - Changes to MailChimp free plan.
11 April 2019 - Drip no longer offers a free plan.
28 Feb 2019 - CleverReach allowance is higher now.
20 Sep 2018 - SendPulse added to list.
4 Dec 2018 - Sender added to list.
25 Feb 2018 - Moosend added to list.

Our Methodology

This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

Our Methodology