The 16 Best Email Marketing Services: Find Your Top Provider for 2024

Robert BrandlInka Wibowo

By Robert & Inka

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email marketing services

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robert

For the past 16 years, I've been working in the email marketing industry.

First for a digital marketing agency and then I set up EmailTooltester. My goal with this website is to save you time and assist you in successfully setting up your email marketing.

I will also help you to avoid important mistakes that can cost you 💸.

Consider the EmailTooltester team and me as your expert buddies, always there to help if you ever find yourself lost in the forest of email services. You are welcome to leave a comment on this page or contact us directly.

But now, let's get started! By the end of this, you will have a clear idea of the best email marketing service providers!

Quick Breakdown: Best Email Marketing Services for Small Business and Ecommerce

Use Case Emailing Service Free Option? Paid Plans
Best tool for marketing automation ActiveCampaign  Free trial only From $39/mo
Most intuitive tool for beginners MailerLite Yes From $25/mo
Best range of advanced features GetResponse Yes From $19/mo
Great value for money Brevo Yes From $25/mo
Best for ecommerce automation Omnisend Yes From $16/mo
Very affordable tool Moosend Free trial only From $9/mo
Good transactional service SMTP2GO Yes From $10/mo

Video Review of the Best Emailing Services

Find out more about the pros and cons of the top 4 in this video review:

the best emailing services

ActiveCampaign, MailerLite, Brevo, GetResponse, Omnisend

Smart Quiz: Use Our Interactive Tool

email service provider quiz

What is an ESP? Well, there are two main parts that belong to an ESP (email service provider): software that helps you set up a newsletter, manage your contacts and forms. The other building block is an email engine that will deliver your newsletters. On top of that, email marketing service providers can cover everything from automation and segmentation to customer relationship management (CRM) and reporting.

These marketing tools exist to make our lives easier and are crucial to a strong email marketing strategy, so it's important to find one that's easy to use and has the functionality you require.

Check out our guide to lead generation through email marketing for tips and best practices on how to make the most of email marketing.

Some may prefer to go for an all-in-one email marketing service with all the features formerly mentioned, others might prefer to keep it simple with an easy-to-use email newsletter service. We'll introduce you to various options below so you can make an informed decision and make sure your marketing efforts don't go unrewarded.

So what is the best email marketing tool? Take a look at our ranking table below to find out.

The Top Email Marketing Services Ranked

# Email marketing service Pricing Pros and Cons
1

activecampaign logo

Try ActiveCampaign

The Automation Champs

4.5
Try for free

  • 1,000 contacts: $39/mo
  • 2,500: $61/mo
  • 5,000: $99/mo
  • 10,000: $174/mo
  • 50,000: $486/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Extremely powerful automation
  • Thorough reporting
  • Good deliverability
  • Free migrations

  • Features can be overwhelming
  • Not the cheapest

> More about ActiveCampaign

2

Mailerlite

Try MailerLite

Simplicity and Design

4.4
Try for free

  • 1,000 contacts: $0/mo
  • 2,500: $25/mo
  • 5,000: $39/mo
  • 10,000: $73/mo
  • 15,000: $109/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Free plan
  • Easy-to-use
  • Landing page editor
  • Excellent deliverability

  • Missing some pro features

> More about MailerLite

3

GetResponse

Try GetResponse

The Swiss Army Knife

4.3
Try for free

  • 500 contacts: $0
  • 1,000 contacts: $19/mo
  • 2,500: $29/mo
  • 5,000: $54/mo
  • 10,000: $79/mo
  • 50,000: $299/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Intelligent list automation
  • Conversion funnel feature
  • Design and spam testing

  • Email automation is expensive


> More about GetResponse
4

brevo

Try Brevo

Bang For Your Buck

4.15
Try for free

  • 300 emails/day: $0/mo
  • 20,000 email: $25/mo
  • 40,000 emails: $35/mo
  • 60,000: $49/mo
  • 100,000: $115/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count: ✅
(learn more )

  • Low-cost plans
  • Solid automation
  • SMS marketing

  • Inconsistent deliverability rates


> More about Brevo
5

omnisend

Try Omnisend

Ecommerce Automations

4.1
Try for free

  • 500 emails to 250 contacts: $0
  • 2,000 contacts: $30/mo
  • 5,000: $65/mo
  • 10,000: $115/mo
  • 50,000: $330/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Niche ecommerce features
  • Excellent automations
  • Live website tracking
  • Landing pages

  • Deliverability issues


> More about Omnisend
6

Mailchimp

Try MailChimp

800 Pound Gorilla

4.0

  • 500 contacts: $0/mo (limited features)
  • 2,500: $45/mo
  • 10,000: $110/mo
  • 30,000: $300/mo
  • 50,000: $385/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count ❌
(learn more )

  • Thorough reporting
  • Limited freemium plan
  • Great drag-and-drop editor

  • Expensive paid plans
  • Limited allowances on free plan


> More about Mailchimp
7

moosend

Try Moosend

Pay-as-you-go plan

3.8
Try for free

  • 500 contacts: $9/mo
  • 1,000: $16/mo
  • 2,000: $24/mo
  • 3,000: $32/mo
  • 5,000: $48/mo
  • 10,000: $64/mo

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Tons of automation workflow templates
  • Unlimited emails on all plans

  • Small UX issues
  • Custom reporting reserved for Enterprise plan

> More about Moosend

8

drip

Try Drip

CRM Ecommerce

3.75
Try for free

  • 2,500 contacts: $39/mo
  • 5,000: $89/mo
  • 10,000: $154/mo
  • 50,000: $699/mo

Fair subscriber count ❌
(learn more )

  • Ecommerce CRM features
  • Excellent automations
  • Contact tagging

  • No spam or design testing
  • On the pricey side

> More about Drip

9

mailjet

Very affordable

3.72

  • 6,000 emails: $0/mo
  • 50,000: $35/mo
  • 100,000: $95/mo
  • 250,000: $225/mo

Pricing details

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Transactional emails
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • Affordable

  • Premium features cost extra

> More about Mailjet

10

 robert

Try HubSpot

All-in-one sales and marketing

3.71
Try for free

  • 1,000 contacts: $20/mo
  • 5,000: $96/mo
  • 10,000: $176/mo
  • 20,000: $336/mo

Fair subscriber count ✅
(learn more )

  • Email marketing + CRM
  • Powerful automations

  • Confusing pricing
  • Overwhelming feature range

> More about HubSpot

Tip #1: Want to be able to analyze two or more of the best emailing systems side-by-side? Compare email marketing platforms with our comparison tool.

Choosing an Emailing Service – Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Selecting the right emailing service is critical for your marketing strategy, but it’s easy to get it wrong. The problem is: once you’ve integrated the wrong email marketing service into all your processes, it becomes a pain to switch. Here are the most common pitfalls you need to avoid:

Mistake #1: Underestimating Email Deliverability

Deliverability can make or break an email campaign – not many people trust messages that are caught in the spam folder (or even see them). We often see significant differences in email deliverability between various email marketing platforms. The average deliverability rate is at 79.7% as per our latest test. That means that over 20% of newsletters land in the spam folder or go missing!

Low deliverability means fewer people will see your emails, making your campaigns less successful.

Mistake #2: Neglecting Advanced Marketing Automation

While you may not intend to automate your email marketing initially, you might eventually want to engage in triggered messages that run on autopilot. Advanced features like contact tagging and tracking visitors on your website are nearly impossible to add to an email marketing service that doesn’t support these features.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Essential Integrations

Choosing a service that doesn't integrate with your other key applications – like your blog, ecommerce, CRM, or live chat tool – can lead to a fragmented marketing strategy. It's better to check directly if the newsletter service integrates with your favorite applications.

Tip: at the very least, it should have a Zapier integration, as this is usually a good workaround for connecting different platforms.

Mistake #4: Not Fully Understanding the Pricing Model

Most email marketing services charge per subscriber and let you send as many emails as you like (e.g., ActiveCampaign, MailerLite, GetResponse). This makes sense if you are sending at least two emails per month to each subscriber.

If you’re not, you might fare better with a newsletter service that charges based on your email volume (e.g., Brevo). Another important pricing factor is the features you get in each tier. Sometimes A/B testing, landing pages, or email automations are not included in the cheapest tiers.

Other features to look out for:

  • drag and drop email editor
  • different campaign and email types
  • sign-up forms
  • detailed reporting

Mistake #5: Not Being Aware of the Support Options

Essentially, all email marketing platforms offer a knowledge base and email support. But that might not always be sufficient for urgent issues. So, if you prefer having a live chat option or even phone support, you need to check how much extra this will cost you.

Mistake #6: Analysis Paralysis

Now, I hope I haven’t worried you too much! The only thing worse than picking the wrong emailing system is not picking one at all.

Without a system, you won’t be able to build your email list. I encourage you to do your due diligence, but also to avoid getting paralyzed by it. If you find a newsletter tool that feels right for you, go ahead and start a free trial! You are also welcome to ask us for advice.

Tip #2: You can also compare the prices of different email marketing companies using our Email Marketing Cost Calculator.

best esp comparison template

The Best Email Marketing Tools Reviewed

Here’s a more detailed look at the best email marketing software from our ranking table. Each profile also contains a link to the full review, in case you need further information.

Tip #3: Looking for a newsletter software that is specifically geared towards ecommerce? We have a full article on the 12 Best ESP's for Your Ecommerce Store.

 


1. ActiveCampaign – The Best Email Automation Platform

activecampaign video review

Best Email Marketing ToolWe awarded ActiveCampaign our Best Email Marketing Tool badge for 2023!

ActiveCampaign’s main goal is to help you send fewer emails with better results. To that end, the American provider clearly focuses on marketing automation and highly targeted messages in order to make sure your marketing efforts are fruitful. Though other email marketing tools we’ve tested are working to improve their automation features, ActiveCampaign continues to rein in that field.

With ActiveCampaign, you can automate everything based on your website visitors’ behavior with complex if/when/then logic. The CRM also makes it easy to manage sales directly from the backend and target ‘at risk' or ‘hot' leads. It's worth mentioning that they recently divided their plans into two different Sales and Marketing plans, so you'll need to purchase their Sales plan for CRM access, or you can buy a combination of the two plans, which is now called a Bundle.

And with so much hype around AI, they have introduced ActiveCampaign AI, a content generator that helps you create newsletter texts faster (based on the GPT engine). This can help make implementing your newsletter marketing strategy a lot more efficient.

What we like about ActiveCampaign:

Where ActiveCampaign can improve:

Who ActiveCampaign is for:

ActiveCampaign offers more advanced automation features than other popular email marketing companies. I'd recommend it to power users, for example, ecommerce stores and B2B companies who optimize their lead generation process through the integrated CRM. Marketing agencies can benefit from ActiveCampaign's white labeling features.

Try ActiveCampaign for free

Full ActiveCampaign Review


2. MailerLite – The Best Email Marketing Platform for Deliverability

mailerlite video review

Best For Ease-of-UseWe awarded MailerLite our Best Email Marketing Tool For Ease of Use badge for 2023!

Based in Lithuania, MailerLite is made up of over 130 designers, developers, and email marketing experts, all with the shared interest of “keeping it simple”. And judging by their modern and easy-to-use email marketing platform, it's no surprise that the company started out as a web design agency.

And in spite of its basic appearances, MailerLite offers well-developed features, a robust editor, and a “free for life” plan. Too good to be true? Apparently not, as you’ll see in the pros and cons.

What we like about MailerLite:

Where MailerLite can improve:

  • More advanced automation options and email analytics features are needed.
  • Subscriber management: there are only text, number, and date fields and tagging isn't available either.
  • Email templates are not included in the free version.
  • To add custom HTML email templates, you'll need to upgrade to the highest tier plan.

Who MailerLite is for:

MailerLite is a great email marketing software for small businesses, bloggers and freelancers who want an affordable solution with an easy learning curve and well-designed features with good functionality. It's also a great choice for EU-based companies who need to comply with the GDPR (i.e. having to host their data inside the European Union among other things).

Try MailerLite for Free

Full MailerLite Review


3. GetResponse – Email Marketing Software With Biggest Feature Set

getresponse video review

With 350,000 users in 183 countries and more than a billion messages sent monthly, the numbers look good for GetResponse. We particularly like two unique features of theirs: the ability to create webinars and sales funnels, both of which come under their popular Conversion Funnel feature.

Moreover, GetResponse offers excellent automation functions, and we like their free access to 1000 iStock photos. They also offer a well-designed landing page builder and website builder with a range of attractive templates – making it quite the marketing hub!

In addition to these great features, they have also jumped on the ChatGPT bandwagon with a brand-new AI email generator, which assists you with your email newsletter content and subject lines. 

What we like about GetResponse:

  • Easy creation of landing pages and advanced automation workflows
  • Selection of responsive templates
  • Webinar feature, beneficial for those offering online courses
  • Free plan for up to 2,500 emails every month
  • Capability to set up Facebook ads and integrate with social media accounts

Where GetResponse can improve:

  • Pricing is on the higher side for those wanting to utilize automations (from $59/month).

See how it compares to our top-rated email marketing service, in this GetResponse vs ActiveCampaign guide.

Who GetResponse is for:

Sales-driven small and medium-sized businesses looking for an all-in-one marketing tool. This includes advanced automations, sales funnel tools as well as its CRM and webinar solution.

Try GetResponse for Free

Full GetResponse Review


4. Brevo – Best Emailing Service for transactional email and SMS

brevo video review

Best Value For MoneyWe awarded Brevo our Best Email Marketing Tool For Value For Money badge for 2023!

Launched in 2012 as Sendinblue, the Parisian platform, Brevo, used to focus on transactional emails (for invoices, subscriptions, etc…). They have since pivoted and now provide mass email services with their own newsletter platform. The bet seems to have paid off. They now send around 30 million emails and SMS daily in more than 14 countries. However, since this recent name change, they now brand themselves as a CRM suite.

What we like about Brevo:

  • Very appealing prices, especially for infrequent senders (they charge by email volume and not by the size of your email list)
  • Good list management, automations, and reporting.
  • Offers advanced features like free CRM software, live chat functionality, and SMS marketing.

Where Brevo can improve:

  • The user experience could be smoother, including the drag-and-drop builder.
  • Email templates need an update for a more modern look.
  • The deliverability rate hasn't been very convincing recently

See how Brevo compares to Mailchimp in this guide.

Who Brevo is for:

Small businesses who want a good budget solution with a wide range of decent features and unlimited contacts.

Try Brevo for Free

Full Brevo Review


5. Omnisend – The Best Email Marketing Service for Ecommerce Automation

omnisend video review

Omnisend’s mission is to give marketers ‘the power to rise above the promotional noise and get better results than ever.’ Sounds pretty appealing, right?

Due to its many automations, including browse abandonment and cart recovery, Omnisend is a great choice for online store owners (in fact, we think it's the best email marketing software for ecommerce out there).

What we like about Omnisend:

  • Offers excellent automated workflows for ecommerce.
  • Unique features such as ‘wheel of fortune' incentives for sign-ups, interactive gift boxes, automated product recommendations, and ‘live view' website tracking.
  • Allows setting up unlimited landing pages, SMS marketing, adding products directly in the email editor and segmenting lists based on specific details (e.g., customers who purchased a specific product).

Where Omnisend can improve:

  • Omnisend's deliverability isn't the greatest.
  • Creating advanced non-ecommerce automations can be tricky for those without much experience.

Who Omnisend is for:

It's ideal for ecommerce stores (like Shopify) looking for an affordable option that helps them maximize conversions.

Try Omnisend for free

More about Omnisend's plans here.

Full Omnisend Review


6. Mailchimp – The Most Popular Email Marketing Service

mailchimp video review

Mailchimp is now one of the world-leading solutions in email marketing. They also offer a free plan with a strong selection of basic email marketing features.

However, since their pricing update, the subscriber and email send allowances are very limited. Features on the free plan include a landing page builder, single-step automations, ecommerce builder and a CRM. The premium plans, on the other hand, come with advanced marketing features such as multi-step automations, social post scheduling and time zone delivery. Mailchimp has also introduced its Content Optimizer powered by ChatGPT. Their AI marketing tool gives users suggestions for ways to optimize their campaigns in terms of design, copy and layout.

What we like about Mailchimp:

  • Regularly adds new features to the platform, such as selling products and booking meetings.
  • Excellent social media features.
  • Quality of support is high (reserved only for paid subscriptions).
  • Can set up Facebook ads, schedule social media posts, and organize everything in a marketing calendar.
  • Good deliverability scores on average

> Our ecommerce email marketing statistics study found that 5.4% of big retail brands use Mailchimp as their email marketing service.

Where Mailchimp can improve:

  • The interface can be confusing due to frequent design layout changes.
  • The allowances within the free version are now very limited, pushing users to upgrade quickly.
  • Premium plans are pricey compared to the competition.
  • Support within the freemium plan is only available for the first month, which can be frustrating.
  • The fact that you get charged per contact, as opposed to just subscribed contacts, means you have to really stay on top of list hygiene.
  • The free templates are very limited and not very modern at all.

Find out more in our Mailchimp alternatives post, and see why ActiveCampaign beats Mailchimp in our detailed comparison.

Who Mailchimp is for:

Users who want to opt for the market leading brand and don't mind paying a premium for features that are mostly average.

Full Mailchimp Review


7. Moosend – Very Affordable Email Marketing Software

moosend video review

Moosend isn’t perhaps the most well-known email marketing platform out there, but, in light of its affordable prices and feature-rich service, we feel the tool deserves a place on this list.

What we like about Moosend:

  • The Pro plan starts at just $9/mo for 500 subscribers and unlimited ad-free emails, which is a good deal.
  • Provides a selection of around 70 email templates, spam testing, A/B testing, and marketing automation.
  • Offers a pay-as-you-go plan.
  • Suitable for automating emails such as abandoned cart and upselling emails, anniversary emails, and more – the automated workflow options are extensive.

Where Moosend can improve:

  • Recently removed the freemium plan, which was a significant part of its appeal (although a free 30-day trial is available to test all their features before committing to a paid plan).
  • The signup form templates could use an update

Who Moosend is for:

Those looking for a feature-rich yet affordable email marketing solution (without all the latest shebang).

Try Moosend for free

Full Moosend review


8. Drip – Best Email Marketing Platform for Ecommerce CRM Features

Drip

Drip was launched in 2013 and has since become a popular email marketing service for ecommerce. Top features include ecommerce CRM features and intuitive sales and email automation. You will have access to all features on all paid plans, though you'll need to spend $99 or more for chat support to be included. Their lowest plan starts at $39/month for 2,500 contacts.

What we like about Drip:

  • Automation workflow editor is easy to use, well-designed, flexible, and visually engaging.
  • Offers a range of automation triggers including links clicked, page views, tags assigned, a sale in your online shop, etc.
  • Enables automatic tagging of users if they carry out a certain action, such as visiting a particular page.

Where Drip can improve:

  • The email editor is not the most efficient or intuitive.
  • Drip doesn’t offer any spam or design testing.
  • Scored low in the latest deliverability tests.
  • Only provides a very limited number of email templates (though you can upload your own HTML templates).

> See why ActiveCampaign beats Drip in our detailed comparison.

Who Drip is for:

Drip is a great all-in-one solution for ecommerce businesses. Their sophisticated automations and CRM features will help you save time and better organize your leads. Note that you'll need to connect your ecommerce store in order to be able to use Drip.

Try Drip for free


9. Mailjet – Emailing Service for Transactional Emails

MailJet email marketing services

Like the aforementioned Brevo, Mailjet is based in Paris, France, and also used to focus on transactional emails (via SMTP or API). Their recent foray into the world of email marketing seems logical enough, and the editor works great for such a relatively new product. SMS, plus features such as autoresponders, A/B testing, sub-accounts (e.g. for agencies) and team collaboration are all included.

What we like about Mailjet:

What Mailjet should improve:

  • Automation features aren't the most advanced and don't offer much more than what a simple autoresponder would
  • Segmentation conditions are limited
  • Access to features like automations or A/B testing requires upgrading to one of their higher-level plans (Premium or Custom)

Who is Mailjet for:

For beginners looking for something simple and affordable, it’s a great tool. Being able to manage multiple sub-accounts also makes it an interesting email marketing software for agencies too.

Full Mailjet review 


10. HubSpot – All-in-one Sales and Marketing Platform

hubspot email marketing

HubSpot offers a versatile platform with a strong focus on customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing. While their free plan is generous in terms of contacts, HubSpot's value truly shines in its paid plans. The platform provides an intuitive interface, comprehensive CRM capabilities, advanced sales and marketing automations, and resources like free courses and guides.

What we like about HubSpot:

  • Versatile CRM and marketing platform with strong capabilities, especially in automation.
  • Intuitive user interface that's easy to navigate.
  • Wealth of educational resources, including free courses and guides.

Where HubSpot can improve:

  • Limitations in the free plan, such as email sending limits (2000 emails per month), Hubspot branding, and few template options.
  • HubSpot’s pricing is not the easiest to understand, and prices quickly increase when you need additional features such as sales automations. There are also hidden costs, such as onboarding fees, in higher-tier plans.
  • If you only want to carry out simple email marketing tasks, Hubspot can feel like drinking water from a fire hose due to their enormous feature bandwidth.

Who HubSpot is for:

HubSpot is best suited for businesses seeking a comprehensive CRM and marketing solution. It's valuable for small to medium-sized businesses looking for a versatile platform to manage customer relationships and marketing efforts. However, be prepared for rapidly rising costs once you move up to higher-tier plans.

Try HubSpot for Free


Tip #4: We often hear from people who are worried about not having many contacts to write to. If that’s the case for you, consider setting up a welcome email series as an autoresponder. This way, everyone who signs up starts receiving emails from you right away, without the need for you to publish on a regular schedule (just yet).

A great way to encourage sign-ups is a free checklist, ebook or other exclusive content. Check out our complete guide to how to build an email list for more strategies like these.
Tip #5: Most newsletter services allow you to A/B test your subject lines. If you have a significant number of email subscribers (2000+) you should start doing regular tests to get a feel for your subscribers’ preferences.

The Best Email Marketing Services for Your Purpose or Industry

Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all piece of advice, as the best newsletter software for you may be completely different to the one I’d recommend for the next person browsing this page. That’s why I created a few categories to help you navigate.

The best email marketing service for small businesses

Email Marketing Services

Our focus is small business email marketing, which means that this review of email apps was created with you in mind. So, basically, if you just want a decent and affordable email solution that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, I’d recommend MailerLite or Brevo.

If, on the other hand, you want a CRM for your small business, and are also keen on getting your marketing automation close to perfection, check out ActiveCampaign or Drip. Of course, that means spending a little more, but hey, with all that automation you’ll either increase your sales or save time which you can invest elsewhere.

The best email marketing platforms for ecommerce (e.g. Shopify and WooCommerce)

Email Marketing Services

Are you an online store owner? Learn more about the best email marketing for ecommerce in our complete guide.

As an online merchant, you have very specific needs: Sales data should find its way into the newsletter software so you can use it to create segments and launch triggered campaigns (like abandoned cart emails). We’ve compiled a list of the top Shopify newsletter tools here.

Omnisend is fully focused on ecommerce and offers deep integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce. Using their product picker, you can drag and drop your items very easily into your email campaigns.

If marketing automation features are important for you, check out ActiveCampaign or Drip. Use their free Deep Data Integrations for Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and Square to pull in revenue, order numbers, order status, etc.

Best free email marketing services

Email Marketing Services

There are a number of free email marketing services to choose from. The most infamous is Mailchimp, which immediately grants users free access to a selection of handy email marketing tools. The only issue is that since their update, the subscriber and send limits on the free plan have decreased; therefore you may need to upgrade sooner than expected.  

The best free email marketing service is MailerLite. The free plan includes 12,000 emails and up to 1,000 subscribers, automations and an excellent landing page editor. What’s more, you won’t get a shock once you move onto the paid plan, as prices start from just $15/month, and you’ll pay $39/month for up to 5000 subscribers.

Brevo also offers a free version, which comes with unlimited subscribers and 9,000 emails a month, just be aware of the daily cap of 300 emails. In terms of paid plans, even if you’ve got a bit of email volume, they are very affordable. 40,000 emails per month go for only $35/mo.

Can't find a free service that suits you? Check out our list of the top cheap email marketing services.

The best email marketing platforms for affiliate marketers

Email Marketing Services for Affiliate Marketers

Let me start by telling you which email mailing service you should avoid: Mailchimp doesn’t like their tool being used for affiliate marketing. Countless accounts have been closed because of this violation of their terms of service.

Instead, you should probably look at GetResponse. They recently introduced a sales funnel feature, which is particularly useful if you run lead generation campaigns via paid ads or webinars. We also have a much more detailed article on the best sales funnel builders here.

You can find more platforms that are suitable for affiliate email marketing here.

Why Email Marketing is Important

It is indeed old, but it doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. In fact, its maturity can be a strong indication that it’s here to stay, especially when you consider its excellent ROI of 36%. Look at the following pros:

  • Lifespan: Consider Friendster, MySpace or Google+. Social media platforms can come and go. An email address? People tend to hang on to the same one for an average of 10 years.
  • Data insights: Facebook and other social media tools are primarily advertising platforms. The data on their users is a goldmine they aren’t willing to share. In contrast, email marketing allows you complete control over what you learn about your users. This enables full personalization through the use of merge tags.
  • Flexibility: once you’ve got your address list, it’s easy to switch providers. All you need is to export/ import the list via CSV.
  • Ease of use: 10 years ago, email marketing platforms were complex beasts. Today, it takes 10 minutes to integrate a sign-up form, create a template and email everyone. It will certainly be faster to send your first newsletter than to create an ad campaign on Facebook or Twitter.

As you can see, email marketing is still a robust and reliable workhorse. And as we mentioned in the last point above, the platforms are increasingly easy to use for complete beginners. Best of all, many of them come with free plans, so you can test the waters before spending money on the solution.

Quick List of Email Marketing Services Features and Terminology

Now, one more thing before we finish up – let’s just recap the basic email marketing terms

Autoresponder: A series of automated emails sent in sequence. Usually start as soon as a user subscribes to one of your forms. They can range from tips and tricks to sales funnels designed to convert clicks into sales. Learn more about autoresponders.

Bounced email: Undelivered email, because the address is invalid or deleted. Email marketing providers usually deactivate these users for you.

Deliverability: Not all emails reach users’ inboxes, for a number of reasons. The success rate is called email deliverability, and it’s worth considering when settling on a provider. We have put together a complete guide on email deliverability best practices, where you can find more detailed information on how to improve your email deliverability.

Email automations: Slightly more complex and flexible than autoresponders, as they don’t need to be on a time schedule. You can tag a user depending on the page they visit on your site and send them customized automated emails. Or you can trigger an email based on behavior (for example when they click a link). Some of these automations can go really far with site-tracking and complex logic trees. Find out more about email marketing automation.

GIF: It's a graphic file that can be animated. Why is this important? It's essentially impossible to embed a video in a newsletter that works across all email clients – most of the time it would be blocked. That's why animated GIFs are a popular way to add moving images. Services like Mailerlite and Mailchimp even automatically create a GIF animation by simply adding a video link (e.g. YouTube) to the template.

Pay-as-you-go and subscription models: Pretty self-explanatory. It’s like a mobile phone plan. You can credit a certain amount of emails to your account. Or you can pay monthly, which seems to be the most popular solution, especially for businesses. This usually means unlimited campaigns, with price variations based on your amount of subscribers. Check out our newsletter cost calculator to see the pricing offered by each provider.

Responsive email: Like with a website, the email adapts to the screen size. It means your newsletter should look good on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Template: A predefined style for your newsletter. The design styles might be basic or very fancy, with different fonts, colors and buttons. Using the drag-and-drop email builders, you can easily create nice-looking emails that contain images and rich formatting. We have a list of free responsive email templates that you can download, and that will work with any newsletter tool. You might also like to take a look at these newsletter examples for inspiration.

Transactional emails: Some providers also offer the ability to send triggered, business-related emails on mass – e.g. order confirmations, password resets, and renewal reminders.

Tip #6: If you are still new to all of this, you should check out our Email Marketing Crash Course. It's a compact (and free!) ebook for beginners that will get you up to speed in very little time: Download it here

Which Email Marketing System is Best? Final Thoughts

Prices vary a lot between different email marketing services. And more expensive doesn’t always mean better. For instance, Brevo and MailerLite have very good affordable plans. AWeber is on the pricier end, and you don’t even get better automation than with GetResponse or ActiveCampaign (nobody does better marketing automation than ActiveCampaign).

Choosing a free email marketing service to start with seems relatively risk-free. Do keep in mind that your emails will show a small ad, and you'll only have limited support.

Though ActiveCampaign is our number one email marketing service, some might be put off by the higher price tag. In this case, you should check out these alternatives to ActiveCampaign.

In any case, we hope this guide gives you a good idea of the pros and cons of each tool, so you can find the right email marketing service for you.

 

Questions? Feedback? We answer all comments below.

FAQ

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a framework established by the European Union to safeguard the personal data of its citizens.

GDPR-compliant email marketing services include Brevo, MailerLite, Moosend, Mailjet, CleverReach, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and Omnisend.

Where they differ is in the location of their data storage. ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and Omnisend store user data on U.S. servers, in accordance with the “EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework.”

Brevo, MailerLite, Moosend, Mailjet, and CleverReach, on the other hand, specifically store data on servers within the European Union. This may be preferable for full compliance, as there is a possibility that the Data Privacy Framework might be repealed, just like its predecessors.

It’s also essential to use these tools responsibly, ensuring not to violate EU rights, such as tracking visitors’ activities without their consent. If GDPR compliance is a priority, especially concerning data storage within the EU, you should opt for a newsletter service like Brevo, MailerLite, Moosend, Mailjet, or CleverReach.

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:

  • A maximum allowance for subscribers or email sends (you can move to higher plans to increase these limits)
  • Email templates + editor
  • Autoresponders/marketing automation
  • Drip campaigns
  • Registration forms
  • Reporting
  • Storage for emails and files (e.g. images)
  • Mail delivery and technical maintenance
  • Some support

At EmailTooltester, we only review cloud-based email marketing software. They have a couple of advantages over packaged software that is installed locally on your computer:

  • You can access the tool from any computer.
  • Software updates occur automatically in the background, you don’t need to update manually.
  • The newsletter editor, email server, and all the required webspace are offered and maintained by a single provider.
  • The email server is geared towards mass distribution – as a result, it’s been whitelisted and certified, which increases your delivery rate.
  • You have access to customer support services rather than dealing with open-source software.

However, there are some disadvantages too:

  • Your list of recipients is stored on a server outside your own company.
  • A cloud-based tool is usually more expensive than packaged software, which can be purchased once and used for an extended period of time at no extra cost.

In general, we’ve noticed that the best email marketing software is cloud-based. 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 companies 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.


Fair subscriber count explained:

We believe it’s not fair to charge for inactive contacts, such as unsubscribed or bounced email addresses. While this practice is uncommon today, there are still a few major email service providers that require payment for such contacts.

 

The authors

Learn more about us

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.

Inka Wibowo

Senior Content Manager

Hi, I'm Inka! I spent the earlier part of my career in agency land, helping businesses of all sizes get their email marketing campaigns up and running. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm using my experience to help businesses like yours find the best email marketing services for your needs.

Learn more about us

We keep our content up to date

22 Feb 2024 - Changed display options
17 Jan 2024 - Added mistakes to avoid
05 Jan 2024 - Smaller updates and improvements
03 Nov 2023 - Added HubSpot and Zoho Campaigns
04 Oct 2023 - Small updates for Brevo and GetResponse
25 Aug 2023 - Information about GDPR added
24 Jul 2023 - New overview video published
19 Jul 2023 - Updated Brevo video review
17 Jul 2023 - Mailify removed
24 May 2023 - General Update
23 Mar 2023 - Fair subscriber count rating added
21 Feb 2023 - Updated ActiveCampaigns pricing
18 Jan 2023 - Update of rankings based on new deliverability results
15 Dec 2022 - Added badges
14 Dec 2022 - Added Moosend video
01 Dec 2022 - New Omnisend video added
29 Nov 2022 - New ActiveCampaign video added
16 Nov 2022 - Added new MailerLite video 
20 Sept 2022 - Mailchimp plans and pricing changes
01 Aug 2022 - Moosend removed free plan
11 May 2022 - New GetResponse video added
28 Apr 2022 - Updated Drip profile
26 Apr 2022 - Moved CleverReach up and updated profiles based on new deliverability results
13 Apr 2022 - Updated Mailchimp video review
17 Jan 2022 - Structural change
07 Oct 2021 - ConvertKit moved up in light of improved deliverability rates
20 Sept 2021 - Omnisend and Mailjet prices updated
20 Jul 2021 - General update
09 Jun 2021 - Infographic added
08 Jun 2021 - New video added
20 May 2021 - Updated Mailchimp section
26 Apr 2021 - General update
10 Feb 2021 - Added Moosend
22 Dec 2020 - Added Omnisend and Drip
05 Oct 2020 - Added 'What is an Email Marketing Service?' section
21 Sept 2020 - Added 'Quick Breakdown' table
28 Apr 2020 - Added updated MailerLite video
22 Apr 2020 - ConvertKit added a free plan
22 Apr 2020 - Benchmark made changes to their free plan and pricing
3 Feb 2020 - Ranking changed based on new deliverability scores

Our Methodology

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

Our Methodology