What’s the best email tool out there? This is a question we get asked all the time. The answer is (drumroll): It depends!
Our recommendation would depend on your business requirements & budget. How often does your organization send emails? What tools do you need (i.e. responsive or drip campaigns, A/B testing, drag & drop design, etc.)? What integrations do you require? Are you B2B or B2C? Do you need full marketing automation, simple email delivery or are you somewhere in between?
Here are our top picks for email providers & why:
If your organization is already using SalesForce, you’ll want to seriously consider Pardot for ease of integration. Pardot can also be purchased as a standalone product within the SalesForce suite of services.
It’s built for B2B marketing and makes the integration super easy. Larger organizations will opt for more advanced marketing automation – but this takes a lot of time and resources. Drip campaigns, advanced segmentation, A/B testing, image library and email templates all included. Although much pricier than the other options here, the breadth of features and ease of use can make it an attractive option depending on your business needs.
If you want to think of SalesForce’s Pardot as the B2B email tool, Marketing Cloud would be their B2C offering. Although not black and white, Marketing Cloud is better suited for the B2C market as it offers greater capabilities when it comes to social media marketing and advertising, plus SMS campaigns, which are typically more frequently used for the B2C market. It allows you to easily engage with customers across multiple channels and assist in their customer journey with specific modules for various digital marketing functions. This is best suited for those who have shorter sales cycles and want lots of control over the customer journey.
Marketo is another popular solution for email providers. Their product offering is more costly than some of the others, however, similar to the SalesForce products, Marketo is a great tool to have integrated as your company scales. Their offering includes segmentation capabilities, dynamic content controls, journey automation, social integration and more. Most everything you would need. Although they have a solid offering in terms of the more advanced marketing tactics you may be interested in using, it should be noted that some people find the usability to be a little more difficult.
Another all-in-one solution, HubSpot starts at $50/mo USD and can also get very pricey, very fast. Of all our recommendations, this one is probably the most advanced and difficult to use – so beginners beware! On top of CRM & marketing automation, HubSpot is also your content management system (CMS), landing page builder & SEO optimizer. Their reporting is excellent and includes website analytics & ROI tracking. Also includes SMS through the CRM and an ad manager.
Campaign Monitor has one of the lowest cost basic plans, starting at just $9/mo. They have extensive integrations including WordPress, Salesforce, Shopify, Google analytics, Magento and so much more. Now they have good templates! Great quality and super customizable. Their “white label” option even allows you to re-brand the platform to your own e-marketing product to use or resell (i.e. agencies).
We’d like to see an image library and better A/B testing. Right now their A/B testing is very basic. If you think you might do a lot of A/B testing or want to benefit from that data, you may want to consider another provider.
ActiveCampaign starts at $19/month but can get very pricey, very fast. It can be your full CRM & marketing automation tool, but it is not for beginners. They have advanced segmentation including actions, behaviour, social data and allows you to score leads & contacts.
This is arguably one of the most popular email tools out there & we totally get why. It’s super easy to use and very affordable, starting at $9/mo USD. If you’re a small business with few subscribers, you could benefit from their “forever free plan” which lets you send up to 10,000 emails per month to upwards of 2,000 subscribers.
The tools and usability are wonderful & great value for what you pay. It includes a landing page tool, A/B testing, simple drip campaigns, a survey tool, marketing calendar, image library and advanced social media integration. Segmentation is based on actions, location, behavior and social data. You can even send SMS messages with the Text Marketer plugin.
Another tool that is super easy to use, starting at $20/mo. What stands out about Constant Contact is their event management & social media tools. You can create trackable and scannable coupons or discount codes to use and share online with the Third Generation Editor. Also includes a landing page tool, A/B testing, social media integration, image library and customer surveys. They’ve also recently added several integrations, partnering with Facebook, Eventbrite, WordPress, Salesforce, Shopify, etc.
We’d like to see improvements to their email templates however. Although they recently expanded their template library, they don’t offer as much flexibility as the competitors. This is a good option if you’re just starting out with email marketing.
Drip is definitely more pricey and is completely dependent on the number of email contacts you have in your account. Starting at $19/mo for 500 email contacts, pricing increases from there. With Drip you are really paying for their quality marketing automation, so although it’s pricier, it’s really a great value considering how high other marketing automation provider plans start at. This tool is perfect for eCommerce websites and internet marketers because of it’s intelligent software and advanced segmentation. You can reach very specific audiences like people who’ve abandoned their cart, first time visitors, returning visitors, links clicked and so much more.
SMS, A/B testing and social integration are included. The templates are great and easy to use with the visual design tool. As an all-in-one solution, we would have liked to see landing page templates also included.
What we love most about ConvertKit is their visual automation builder. Lets face it, sometimes setting up automation can be a little confusing – and no one wants to send the wrong message to their customers. This makes it easier & more accurate. Starting at $29/mo (with a free, more limited version option as well) this tool has a reputation among bloggers, podcasters, youtubers and insta stars. You get marketing automation without the complicated system or huge cost. Be aware, templates are included but only standard WYSIWYG.
Starting at $19/mo, AWeber is perfect for new email marketers. It’s easy to use, has a decent amount of integration including WordPress, Salesforce, landing page & opt-in form builders. The templates are drag & drop, which is always nice for the newbie. They offer a landing page tool, A/B testing, surveys and mobile responsive forms and other tools to help grow subscribers. The segmentation isn’t great compared to other platforms around this price range – but if you can get past that, this is a great option, especially if you’ll be using a lot of landing pages.
If you’re into webinar marketing, GetResponse is for you. Starting at $15/mo, their webinar marketing solution is integrated with their email program. They also offer responsive forms, conversion funnels, landing pages, A/B testing and a drag & drop template builder. They integrate with lead generation software such as SalesForce, OptinMonster, ZenDesk and Google Docs. And it’s very easy to use – perfect for beginners.
Starting at $79/month, Keap is also an all-in-one solution with CRM. Unique to Keap is their Storefront & Shopping Cart, letting you sell your products online. Everything is centralized, making it easier and more affordable for small businesses who don’t want to worry about syncing data across multiple systems. It syncs with tons of other apps like Xero, Quickbooks and your payment gateway. The software also helps businesses from a marketing strategy perspective including lifecycle marketing, creating and managing campaigns and more.
Last but not least, Campaigner is our final recommended email provider. Started at $40.95/mo for up to 5K contacts, it’s pricing is competitive considering their offerings. Their basic plan includes a drag and drop editor, hundreds of templates, social integration, basic segmentation capabilities and a geolocator. Although it’s a little more advanced than MailChimp (which is very easy for a beginner to use), Campaigner has an intuitive user interface so is also a great option.
Sensible Marketer Inc is a marketing agency specialized in helping services-based businesses. If you need help with your email strategy, program, deployment, or simply want a second opinion, contact us today for a coffee chat to discuss how we can work together.