It seems like just yesterday when the process of selecting an email marketing platform was relatively straightforward. With just a few key players, making a decision was something that could be accomplished at a leisurely afternoon pace.
Articles like this one have been surfacing for years, questioning whether the death of email is right around the corner. It appears email has other plans or at least has yet to burn through all nine lives.
For every email naysayer that comes along, we’re presented with statistics like this from McKinsey & Company that state email is 40 times more successful at acquiring new clients that popular social platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Email Marketing Roundup: 7 Popular Platforms Worth Considering
Love it or hate it, for the time being, email looks like it’s here to stay. This brings us back to selecting the ideal email marketing platform. We’re going to cover 7 possible solutions for you today – from simple and user-friendly MailChimp to the robust and complicated Infusionsoft.
I won’t be performing a thorough review of any platforms today. But if you’re looking for a jumping-off point before you start some more in-depth research, this post might be just what you need.
Setting The Stage
One of the challenging aspects of sorting through the different email marketing platforms is trying to figure out all the different price points. When you’re just getting started with building your list, it’s tough to project where you’ll be in a year. You want to minimize your costs today but allow for growth tomorrow.
If you already have an established and growing list then features and customer service start to take on greater importance. In the end, list portability should be considered highly important, and all the platforms covered here make that process relatively simple. Building a list is not something you want to do more than once.
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to consider pricing at three breakpoints under the assumption that you’re able to send an unlimited number of email with a fully-featured plan. I’ve included pricing for list of 3 different sizes:
- 500 subscribers
- 2000 subscribers
- 5000 subscribers
Free Trial: Yes
40,000 emails: $25/mo (you can add unlimited subscribers but can only send up to 40k emails)
60,000 emails/mo: #39/mo
Sendinblue is a little different from our other picks in that it lets you have an unlimited number of subscribers for free. Its plans are based around a monthly email limit and features instead, which we’ll get to in a minute.
You can add as many details for each subscriber that you like, and you can then use those details to build dynamic lists for targeting your emails. For instance, you can target by gender, geography, and so on.
It’s easy to use, and comes with pre-made templates and a drag and drop editor so you can design your own. You can send emails either as a newsletter or use its automated system to schedule emails.
Depending on the plan you choose, it has lots of features, such as A/B testing, SMS marketing, landing pages, signup forms, and retargeting tools. You can also track the results of your campaign in real time.
The free version has a daily email limit, rather than monthly. You can send 300 per day, and you still get the unlimited contacts feature. That said, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want to benefit from other features, such as A/B testing.
There are 4 paid plans. The Lite plan costs $25 per month and is basically the same as the free version, but you can send 40,000 emails per month. The Essential plan costs $35 per month and comes with a few features, such as A/B testing, as well as a 60,000 monthly email limit.
Its Premium plan is the most popular and will set you back $66 for 120,000 emails, or $173 for 350,000 emails per month. You get a ton more features for your money, though, including being able to create a landing page. Enterprise is the last plan, but it’s more advanced so you’ll need to contact Sendinblue for a quote.
There’s also an option to purchase email credits outside of your normal plan. The minimum number you can buy is 5,000 for $40, all the way up to 1 million for $1,995. There’s no expiration on those, either.
Free Trial: Yes
500 Subscribers: $10
2000 Subscribers: $25
5000 Subscribers: $50
MailChimp has been around the block a few times. Founded in 1991, MailChimp claims to send out more than 600 million emails every day on behalf of customers. That’s an impressive number despite the fact that many of those are probably free accounts.
With one of the best-looking user interfaces out there, MailChimp does a great job of making email marketing look easy for everybody. Of course, you probably already know that there’s some art & science involved when creating an effective email campaign. It’s much more than just clicking send.
MailChimp has plenty of pre-made drag and drop templates to pick from or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can design you own. You’ll also have access to all the expected features including A/B testing, list-segmentation, full reporting, third-party integrations, and more.
MailChimp makes it easy and free to get started with email marketing which explains their popularity with many small business owners. Emails for up to 2000 subscribers, six times per month are completely free, albeit with reduced functionality. Automation, timezone delivery, and social profiles are all paid features. When you’re starting out, you’ll be able to get by without automation but it won’t be long before you’re willing to pay for the added functionality.
One item worthy of note regarding MailChimp is that their customer service does not provide the flexibility of Aweber or GetResponse. Email and limited chat support are your only options.
Free Trial: Yes
500 Subscribers: $15
2000 Subscribers: $15
5000 Subscribers: $45
GetResponse is an easy-to-use platform that provides email marketing, autoresponder and landing page creation. Launched in 1998 by Simon Grabowski, Get Response has grown from it’s pretty humble beginnings into a market leader serving over 350,000 customers.
Not only is GetResponse easy to use, they also offer all the features you would expect from a top email marketing platform. A drag and drop email builder, advanced segmentation, analytics, A/B testing, and custom forms are all included.
One feature that sets GetResponse apart from their competitors (other than ConvertKit) is their landing page creator. Although you only have access to the basic version, full-access is just $15 per/month. With relative ease, the landing page creator will allow you to create simple, customizable landing pages using premade templates. Of course, you could accomplish the same thing with any of the other platforms as well but it will require creating your own landing page, custom CSS and inserting the appropriate form.
Related Reading: GetResponse vs MailChimp: A Detailed Comparison Review
Free Trial: Yes
500 Subscribers: $19
2000 Subscribers: $29
5000 Subscribers: $49
AWeber was launched in 1998 and is now one of the more well-known email marketing platforms on the market. With a customer base of 120k, they are a little smaller than some of the other providers. Part of the reason for this might be that there was a time when AWeber was slightly behind the curve – things like mobile responsive forms and email templates were slow to be rolled out to customers. Those issues have since been addressed.
AWeber takes a somewhat minimalist approach to its platform. Where MailChimp has a beautiful, dare I say flashy, user-interface, AWeber focuses on simplicity and effectiveness. It works, and it works well. Perhaps it’s not by chance that AWeber is reported to have one of, if not the best email deliverability rate in the business at over 99%
All of the other expected features are available at AWeber including custom sign up forms, over 700 email templates, drag and drop editor, custom segmentation, and full analytics. In case you looking for the ability to integrate your email marketing platform with another app, there is a good chance that AWeber has you covered there as well.
Free Trial: No
500 Subscribers: $29
2000 Subscribers: $29
5000 Subscribers: $79
ConvertKit was founded by Nathan Barry which explains the attractive, well designed and easy to use interface. A small company that’s growing quickly, ConvertKit is built by a team that understands and relies on email marketing.
One specific advantage worth noting is the way in which they calculate subscribers. If you have the same subscriber on multiple lists, ConvertKit treats them as only one individual. Many other services would treat the same subscriber as 3 different people if they were on 3 different lists. It doesn’t take long for this feature to even out some of the small pricing differences between ConvertKit and the other platforms.
ConvertKit offers all the convenient feature’s you’d expect and more. Easy to embed and customizable forms or a WordPress plugin are available. Subscriber tags and segmentation are also available as well as a rule based and automated system that lets you respond to your subscribers actions. ConvertKit also offers a landing page feature that is ideal for opt-in pages, coming soon pages and more.
Free Trial: No
500 Subscribers: $49
2000 Subscribers: $49
5000 Subscribers: $99
Drip is a relative newcomer to the business of email marketing and they appear to have found their ideal niche market. Are you currently using one of the platforms previously mentioned and feel like you outgrown their capabilities? Have you considered the more robust marketing automation platforms like Infusionsoft of Ontraport? Do you find yourself turned off by the complexity, high-cost, and sign-up fees? If you answered yes to those questions, Drip might be just what you’re looking for.
Drip’s team describes their software as “marketing automation that doesn’t suck”. In just a few minutes, Drip will allow you to add a sign-up form to your site and begin collecting emails. But that’s just the beginning.
Although the base price is slightly higher than some of the other platforms, Drip also offers some pretty cool advantages. You’ll have the ability to manage the lifecycle of your customers – from visitor to trial member to customer. Using Drips marketing automation engine, you can tag subscribers based upon their actions. It’s pretty customizable as well. For example, you might want to apply a specific tag and start an email sequence if a trial member visits your pricing page 3 or more times.
I have spoken to a few business owners who are pretty impressed with what Drip has to offer. It might be worth checking out if you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated. Drip also offer their unique guarantee:
We guarantee that Drip will grow your list and increase conversions.
If not, we will happily refund your most recent monthly payment.
Free Trial: No
500 Subscribers: $199 (plus on-boarding)
2000 Subscribers: $199
5000 Subscribers: $299
Infusionsoft provides a complete marketing and sales automation platform. Serving more than 30,000 small business customers, Infusionsoft is the leader in its category. Like the other platforms discussed, Infusionsoft also focuses on email marketing, but they don’t stop there.
Customer relationship management, lead scoring, sales automation, detailed reporting and deep integration with dozens of apps make this software a complete solution. Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, it’s downright amazing what you can accomplish with this software.
But with all that functionality comes a few drawbacks as well. Infusionsoft has been called a beast – a description that’s not too far off. While you’ll be able to create complex marketing campaigns, don’t expect to jump into using Infusionsoft over the weekend. The learning curve is steep and it’s not uncommon for business owners to seek outside help from Infusionsoft consultants.
We’ve briefly discussed seven popular email marketing platforms in this post, all of which deserve your consideration. If you’re left wondering which one is right for you, unfortunately, I can’t offer an answer.
While the more comprehensive solutions like Drip and Infusionsoft don’t offer free trials, you are much more likely to know in advance whether you’re in need of their increased functionality. If you already find yourself wishing you could do more with your current platform, it might be worth experimenting with Drip at only $49/month.
The best solution is to take 2 or 3 platforms for a test drive. MailChimp, GetResponse, and AWeber all offer free trials ($1 for AWeber) which you should take advantage of. At the very least, test out their campaign builders, look through their email templates and try integrating a few forms on your website. You’re unlikely to be dissatisfied with any of the options we’ve covered in this post.
Do you have a preferred email marketing platform that you’d like to recommend? If so please share in the comments below.