10 Best Email Marketing Software & Email Automation Tools of 2020

Each year, we survey 10,000’s of marketers in the process of changing their email marketing software, and spend hundreds of hours testing email marketing tools to create this guide. Some links below are affiliate links & we may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you).

You want to grow your business – and need email marketing software that’s easy to use, affordable, and has features to turn your leads into customers – right?

It sounds simple enough, but with an overwhelming 450+ email marketing tools to choose from, in a rapidly-changing market, and with every email marketing company’s website saying the same thing, it’s anything but. 

Which is why we created this guide; the only comparison of email marketing software that’s objective, regularly updated, and based on a comprehensive amount of surveys, experience and data – lots of data.

Email marketing software dataset

You can access the dataset we use to identify the top 10 email marketing software providers at the end of this guide.

The following top 10 list is the result of hundreds of hours of research, that I hope will assist you in choosing the perfect email marketing software for you

The 10 Best Email Marketing Software

  1. ActiveCampaign – best for small businesses & enterprise
  2. Moosend – best for small agencies & non-profits
  3. Hubspot – best for B2B service companies
  4. Omnisend – best for eCommerce
  5. Rejoiner – best for managed email marketing
  6. ConvertKit – best for bloggers
  7. SendinBlue – best for transactional emails
  8. Autopilot – best for marketing automation
  9. MailerLite – best for personal projects
  10. Moonmail – best for developers 

Below, we’ve outlined a candid review of each tool’s pros and cons. We then break down the factors that define great email marketing software, with a head-to-head comparison of all ten email marketing tools across all nine factors; from affordability and ease of use to integrations and deliverability.

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#1 ActiveCampaign 

Best for small businesses & enterprises

Once an underdog, ActiveCampaign is now one of the most popular email marketing tools with over 90,000 small businesses customers.

Impressively, they’ve achieved this organically by building a product that’s both easy to use and one of the most affordable in the email marketing space.

ActiveCampaign's newsletter editor

ActiveCampaign pioneered the visual automation builder which, unlike other tools that require expensive consultants and training to use, enables anyone to craft powerful email automation sequences with no prior experience needed.

ActiveCampaign's visual automation editor

And despite being so easy to use, ActiveCampaign is rich in revenue-boosting features. From predictive sending and predictive content to triggering SMS messages or site messages on your website, ActiveCampaign provides an exceptional toolkit for small businesses to grow their business.

One of my favourite features in ActiveCampaign is the ability to run A/B split tests inside of automation sequences, enabling you to sit back and let your automation sequences optimize themselves while you focus on more important things.

ActiveCampaign split automations

In 2016, we decided to move all of our ventures’ email marketing onto ActiveCampaign away from a tool called GetResponse (which was becoming outdated and failing to meet our email marketing needs). 

Since then, we’ve automated our entire sales process (meaning we haven’t needed to hire any sales staff), virtually all of our lead nurturing, customer onboarding, and even our internal processes like employee onboarding.   

ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one sales and marketing tool for small businesses, so it comes with an in-built CRM system to manage yours sales, live chat, and of course email marketing automation.

ActiveCampaign CRM

And, incredibly, they’ve done all of this with a price tag that’s literally 1/10th of many email marketing tools featured in this guide.

There aren’t many bad things to say about ActiveCampaign, particularly as they are constantly innovating and improving the product, but one area where I’ve always felt ActiveCampaign is lacking is their reporting. 

ActiveCampaign reporting

While it has improved in recent years with the introduction of goal tracking and attribution, ActiveCampaign’s reporting isn’t quite on par with the likes of Hubspot or Autopilot. It’s worth pointing out, though, that they cost significantly more. 

For the vast majority of small businesses looking for a great email marketing tool that’s easy to use and affordable, ActiveCampaign is likely the best balance of power, affordability and ease of use.

And as a little extra, we’ve negotiated on your behalf for Venture Harbour readers to get up to $5,000 in free services, including free implementation and migration, your second month free of charge, free CRM with sales automation, and more. 

Important: You’ll need to unlock this offer on this page. As this page doesn’t contain too much information about the ActiveCampaign platform itself, you can see more of that here.

#2 Moosend

Best for non-profits and small agencies

There are many email marketing tools designed for beginners, but most come at the cost of being over-simplified and lacking in features.

Not so with Moosend

While you’d be hard-pressed to find an easier-to-use tool than Moosend, their platform offers all of the essentials, from well-designed templates to a visual campaign builder, to some unexpectedly advanced features, like weather-based email triggers and AI cross-selling recommendations. 

Moosend newsletter templates

While Moosend’s feature set is less robust in comparison to ActiveCampaign, you do get access to virtually all features from $10/month. 

This makes Moosend a good option for small agencies, where having a tool that doesn’t require much internal or client training is key, yet must also be powerful enough to drive results without breaking the bank.

Moosend also enables agencies to white label the platform and set a markup for clients to earn a small profit from licensing the software to clients. 

Moosend offers one of the most generous discounts for non-profits at 25%, making it a great choice for non-profits looking for a simple tool to send newsletters.

On the downside, Moosend is fairly weak on reporting. In contrast to a tool like Hubspot, which I’ll elaborate on next, Moosend’s analytics are limited to basic email insights (like open rates and unsubscribes), whereas many of the tools in this guide focus more on showing email’s impact on sales and revenue.

#3 Hubspot

Best for B2B Service Businesses & Large Agencies

Hubspot is world-class in offering businesses an all-in-one sales and marketing platform, that includes a CRM, landing pages, email marketing, marketing automation, chat, forms, and everything in between. 

Hubspot's email builder

While some argue that ‘trying to do everything’ is Hubspot’s downfall, it does enable them to do one thing exceptionally well; Reporting.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

– John Wanamaker

Mr Wanamaker, obviously, didn’t use Hubspot. 

By using Hubspot as the backbone of your marketing and sales, you can easily attribute every dollar in revenue back to the marketing campaign, newsletter, or blog post that influenced each sale. In this sense, Hubspot is more of a CRM that offers email marketing and automation, rather than vice versa.

A word of caution about Hubspot’s price-creep. 

Hubspot position themselves as an affordable option for small businesses by offering (very limited) free versions of their products – but don’t be fooled by the Hubspot gateway-drug. Their platform becomes exponentially expensive as your list or feature requirements grow.

One business owner I spoke with started on a $50/mo plan, and within a year needed a $2,000/mo plan that had to be paid annually. The only difference was an extra 15,000 contacts and adding marketing automation, yet they jumped from seeing $50 leave the bank to $24,000. 

This is where I feel conflicted about Hubspot.

On the one hand, you could get the same functionality for one-tenth of the price using ActiveCampaign, MooSend, or half of the tools in this guide. On the other hand, if the value of knowing what influenced each sale is a problem worth paying a five-figure sum to solve, then Hubspot is a strong contender. 

This is why we suggest that Hubspot is an ideal choice for B2B service companies, where the value of winning an extra one or two clients a year would easily cover the cost of Hubspot. This extends to larger, or more sophisticated, agencies that must provide clients with in-depth reports on their marketing funnel.

If you just need email marketing software, Hubspot is probably overkill. But if your search for email marketing software is part of a wider plan to raise to your marketing game and improve performance across your entire sales and marketing funnel, Hubspot is a strong contender – but don’t expect it to be cheap.

#4 Omnisend

Best for eCommerce

They may be the new kid on the block, but Omnisend is quickly becoming the leading marketing platform for eCommerce. 

Designed to help eCommerce brands control their marketing across multiple channels, Omnisend offers automated email, SMS, push notifications, and most impressively, integrations with Google Ads, Instagram, Facebook Ads, Messenger, and Whatsapp – which they claim have 10X higher click-through rates than email. 

Omnisend automation

By focusing purely on eCommerce, Omnisend has built innovative email templates designed to reduce cart abandonment and drive repeat buyers. From ‘wheel of fortune’ offers to virtual scratch cards and birthday discounts, it’s evident that Omnisend’s built by a team intimately aware of what works in eCommerce. 

Omnisend campaign templates

As you’d expect of an eCommerce email marketing tool, Omnisend hooks into most eCommerce platforms, including Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Where Omnisend goes one step further is in integrating with review, loyalty and help desk platforms, such as Yotpo, Smile.io, and ReCharge. 

This not only enables Omnisend to report on how your campaigns impact sales, but enables you to trigger email, SMS and social campaigns based around your customer behaviour to reduce cart abandonment, increase return buyers, drive more product reviews, and more.

Omnisend reporting

If you want the features that make Omnisend stand out, you’ll need a PRO account which starts at $199/month for up to 10,000 contacts. While not the cheapest, nor the easiest to use, Omnisend is a good option for eCommerce brands that want one multi-channel platform to rule them all. 

Another consideration with a tool like Omnisend is the time required to get it up and running as. For larger eCommerce brands, this is no small task and is where our next email marketing software company offers an interesting proposition.

#5 Rejoiner

Best for managed email marketing

When I saw Rejoiner appear so high in our ranking, I thought there was a mistake. 

For starters, I hadn’t heard of them. Their pricing was off the charts, and yet they had countless glowing reviews from customers. Something wasn’t adding up.

Rejoiner cart abandonment

After doing some research and speaking with their CEO, Mike Arsenault, I realized this was, in fact, a very different kind of email marketing company. 

Unlike the other self-service email marketing platforms in this guide, Rejoiner offers a managed email marketing platform.

They effectively become your outsourced email marketing department, offering à la carte services on everything from email marketing strategy to the copywriting, design and deliverability testing of email campaigns. 

As you’d expect, this comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, Mike told me that a typical client pays $4,000 – $6,000/month for their platform and services, and most clients tend to be eCommerce brands in the $5M – $50M revenue range.

Rejoiner's reporting

For 99% of our readers, this is definitely not the right tool, but for those where email marketing represents a huge revenue opportunity but don’t want it to use up precious internal resources, it’s a dream come true.

What I most like about Rejoiner is the shared accountability over results. Many brands spend large sums of money on email marketing software, only for the accountability of results to be on their internal team. With Rejoiner, this is flipped on its head, where the company providing the software shares the responsibility for driving incremental revenue. 

#6 ConvertKit

Best for bloggers

ConvertKit is a relatively simple email marketing tool used almost exclusively by bloggers and online course instructors to develop their personal brands. 

Their platform has no bells or whistles. It doesn’t even have email templates, as ConvertKit encourages its users to send plain-text emails to increase engagement. As most of its users are individuals trying to build a personal brand this makes sense, but it does make ConvertKit a poor-fit for other use cases. 

If you’re a creator that just needs a simple tool to serve your audience with regular content, there’s no better tool.  

ConvertKit's editor

If you’re just starting out, ConvertKit has kindly offered our readers the ability to open a free account with the ability to send emails to up to 100 contacts (their free plan doesn’t normally offer email sending). 

#7 SendinBlue

Best for transactional email

SendinBlue is best-known as one of the leading transactional email services. Building on this reputation they built an email marketing automation product.

We use SendinBlue to send transactional emails for two of our ventures (Leadformly and Serene), as they’re one of the few email marketing providers with servers in the European Union (which helps with our GDPR compliance) and they have good deliverability rates (we’re currently at 98%).

While I can’t comment on their marketing automation features from first-hand experience, it’s evident from our customer surveys that it’s good, but perhaps not as powerful as some of the other tools we’ve featured here. 

SendinBlue marketing automation

If you need an email marketing tool with a solid API to get your emails into the inboxes with a good deliverability rate, SendinBlue is an excellent choice. 

#8 Autopilot

Best for marketing automation

Gone are the days where email marketing is about sending bulk newsletters. 

In today’s digital landscape, it’s essential for email marketing to be smart; sending the right messages to the right leads at the right time, automatically. 

That’s why all of our top ten email marketing providers provide marketing automation. As the name would suggest, this is Autopilot’s forte. To boot, they have one of the best-designed canvases for building email automation sequences.

Autopilot's marketing automation annotations

Anyone who has ever built an email automation sequence knows how quickly they can become confusing. Autopilot solves this in a rather quirky way, allowing you to annotate your automation sequences with emojis, stickers and explanations, making it easy for teams to collaborate on building sequences. 

Yes, it can get messy – but I’d rather that and be able to understand what’s going on, than having beautiful automation sequences that take half an hour to interpret. 

Another feature I love about Autopilot is its ability to trigger actions in your other tools inside Autopilot. This saves having to configure integrations using a tool like Zapier and makes your sequences much easier to understand. 

Autopilot third party integrations

Autopilot’s reporting is also excellent, though, I’ll go into this in more detail in our section on reporting and analytics below.

Starting at $49/month for 2,000 contacts, Autopilot is far from the cheapest option, particularly considering that Autopilot does not offer an in-built CRM. However, Autopilot is extremely intuitive and great for teams that need to collaborate on powerful email automation sequences. If we had to move from ActiveCampaign, this is likely where we’d go. 

#9 MailerLite

Best for personal projects

At the opposite end of the price spectrum, we have MailerLite, which is among the best email marketing tools for value for money (it’s free for sending up to 12,000 emails/month to less than 1,000 contacts).

Unlike the other beginner email marketing tools out there, MailerLite is a universally good tool irrespective of industry. Whether you’re growing a small charity, a side-hustle, or are a freelancer starting out, MailerLite offers everything you need to send bulk email marketing campaigns.

Mailerlite newsletter campaign builder

If you’re a small business, I’d suggest that a tool like ActiveCampaign may be a better fit, as they offer an in-built CRM and more advanced marketing features for roughly the same price.  

For beginners and personal projects, where you just need to send beautiful email campaigns to engage your audience, MailerLite is ideal.

If you want to give MailerLite a spin, the folks there have kindly offered Venture Harbour readers an extended 30-day trial (instead of 14 days) via this link

#10 MoonMail

Best for developers

I’ll warn you now, it’s about to get technical. 

If you’re not a developer, jump ahead to this next section on how to pick the best email marketing software for your business, as MoonMail is definitely not going to be the right tool. 

But if you know what a GraphQL API is, then you’re going to love this one.

The benefits of Amazon SES, without the drawbacks

Amazon’s Simple Email Service (SES) is unbeatable from a cost perspective, and the deliverability is world-class. But it creates a huge bottleneck if used to send your marketing campaigns. 

Every campaign, typo fix, and email sequence must be briefed as a development task, diverting scarce design and development resources to something that, frankly, is a flagrant waste of developer time. 

MoonMail closes this gap. Built on the back of Amazon SES and Lambda, MoonMail gives you the infrastructure benefits of AWS, while enabling you to build your email campaigns in a friendly UI. 

And yes, it’s an open-source project. Yes, you can upload the software into your AWS instance. Yes, the API is good. 

MoonMail's API

Another upside of using MoonMail is that they do accept clients working in some of the more contentious industries, such as those in the crypto & ICO industry (most email marketing services blacklist these companies). 

The main downside of MoonMail is its simplicity. Good luck updating your CRM, running A/B tests, or triggering emails when someone visits your pricing page. While these things are technically possible, it’ll take 10X as long achieving them in MoonMail compared to doing the same thing in any of the tools above. 

MoonMail would be perfect for a small technical startup, where everyone on the team is fluent in AWS and needs the flexibility and power of SES without the creation of the emails themselves needing to be coded. 

Having covered the pros and cons of our top ten email marketing tools, we’ll now compare them head-to-head in nine areas that define a great email marketing tool.

What is Great Email Marketing Software?

Your email marketing software must grow your business by saving you time and converting your leads into customers, and those customers into repeat customers, automagically, while you sleep. 

From surveying over 10,000 marketers in the process of changing their email marketing software about why they’re moving and what’s important to them, we discovered nine factors that separate the good from the great:  

  1. 👶 Compare Ease of use
  2. 💰 Compare Cost
  3. 📮 Compare Deliverability
  4. 📧 Compare Features
  5. 🤝 Compare CRM
  6. 📊 Compare Reporting
  7. 🔌 Compare Integrations
  8. 🙋 Compare Support & Training
  9. 🔒Compare Security

Of course, every email marketing tool will tell you that they nail all nine, yet by analyzing data and observing why marketers leave different email platforms, we’re able to capture a far more honest picture.

Email marketing survey

You can access the dataset we use to determine the top 10 email marketing software providers at the end of this guide.

In this next section, we’ll outline the top three email marketing software providers for each of the nine factors, so that you can compare between three solid choices, based on the factors that are most important to you.

1. Best for ease of use

With some email marketing tools, it’s taken me three hours to make an email marketing template look acceptable on a mobile device. While all the email marketing tools featured offer visual email builders & easy-to-use interfaces, some are better than others. 

While some are easy to use because they offer few bells and whistles, others strike a balance of being powerful while easy to use. The following three tools do the latter:

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. Moosend
  3. Mailerlite

Rather than explain how easy to use these three tools are, I’ll let screenshots of their email editors do the talking.

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign visual editor
ActiveCampaign lists
ActiveCampaign split automations

2. Moosend

Moosend newsletter editorMoosend automation

3. MailerLite

Mailerlite newsletter campaign builder
Mailerlite marketing automation

2. Best for affordability

What differentiates a $100/month tool from a $20/month tool?

Sometimes very little, sometimes a lot. Hubspot, for example, may charge 10X more than most email marketing tools but they offer an all-in-one marketing & sales platform that includes everything from landing pages and live chat, to a social media management tool and CRM. On the other hand, ActiveCampaign offers an enormous amount of value while remaining one of the most affordable email marketing tools on the market.

Comparing email marketing software based on cost alone is a dangerous game. That’s why it’s important to look at all nine factors in this article to ensure that you’re buying the right tool for the job, rather than the cheapest.

“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”

– John Ruskin

Caveats aside, here’s a detailed comparison of the monthly cost of all ten email marketing tools at three account sizes ordered from most affordable to least.

ToolMonthly price for 2,500 contactsMonthly price for 10,000 contactsMonthly price for 100,000 contacts
MailerLite$15$50$360
ActiveCampaign$39$111$299
Moosend$20$125$585
Omnisend$36$102$570
SendinBlue$39$66$173
ConvertKit$49$119$679
Autopilot$149$249Not Public
MoonMail$149$149$949
Rejoiner$120$320$1,195
Hubspot$150$420$3,100

It would be remiss not to point out that cost and value are not the same thing. Hubspot, ActiveCampaign and, to some extent, Omnisend all offer all-in-one marketing & sales platforms with many features beyond email marketing, while the rest are primarily just for managing and automating email marketing.

Don’t let the tail wag the dog

Your email marketing tool is something that you ideally don’t want to change often, therefore it pays to choose a tool that offers not only what you need today, but what you’ll need for the next few years.

Above all, choose the tool that gives you the best opportunity to grow your business.

3. Best for deliverability 

An email marketing tool is worthless if your emails end up in the spam folder. That’s why, as dull as it may be, deliverability is a crucial factor. 

In order to get the best deliverability rates, there are a few things email marketing services need to do:

  • Flag clients for review if they receive too many complaints or bounced emails
  • Remove problematic clients
  • Monitor blacklists
  • Manage the reputation of their IP addresses.

All of the email marketing tools in our top ten do all of these. Regardless of which tool you choose, you can expect deliverability rates in the 98-99.9% range.  

But if it’s particularly important to you to have the highest deliverability rates imaginable, there are three tools in particular that go above and beyond; ActiveCampaign, MoonMail, and Rejoiner.

ActiveCampaign’s impressive deliverability is the result of 17 years of optimization and helping customers write better emails. They offer a very handy ‘spam check’ tool for predicting how likely an email is to land in the inbox, and if a score is too low it suggests what changes you should make.

ActiveCampaign's spam checker

MoonMail’s high deliverability is a result of it being based on Amazon’s SES. The team at Rejoiner have also built numerous tools around deliverability optimization and also provides services to their clients specifically on improving deliverability. 

If you want to take deliverability into your own hands, you may wish to buy a dedicated IP for sending emails. This is a feature offered by all three companies.

4. Best for email marketing features

If you try any of the email marketing tools in this article, you’ll find that they all offer the standard features that you’d expect from an email marketing tool, such as visual email campaign builders, pre-designed email templates, and autoresponders.

ActiveCampaign's templates

Only a handful go above and beyond with additional email marketing features designed to save you time and get better results. Here are our top three email marketing tools that go above and beyond with features.

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. Hubspot
  3. Omnisend

ActiveCampaign

Automation A/B Testing – While most email marketing tools allow you to split-test subject lines, send times, and content, ActiveCampaign is one of the only services that allow you to split-test automation sequences.

ActiveCampaign split automations

This means you can split test radical changes like sending ten emails to new leads versus only four, to see which sequence has the highest conversion rate.

Conditional content – ActiveCampaign is one of the only email marketing services that allow you to include conditional ‘IF X is true, show Y’ content blocks inside email campaigns.

We use this for localising pricing (i.e. show $ in the United States, £ in the UK, and € in Europe), and displaying different recommended articles to different customers based on their plan or engagement level.

ActiveCampaign conditional content

Global variables – We have over 200 automated emails setup in our ActiveCampaign account. What happens if, for example, I want to change something in my email signature? Or update the pricing of one of our plans?

With other email marketing tools, you’d have to go into each email and manually update the changes one-by-one. This is where global variables are a big time saver. Instead of inserting the actual price in an email campaign you can enter %price% and it will replace all variables with the actual price when the email is sent out.

Downloadable automation recipes – ActiveCampaign is one of the only email marketing tools to offer a range of automation ‘recipes’. Instead of spending days building an elaborate sequence of upsell emails, you can just use one they’ve already made, and then adjust the content so that fits your brand.

ActiveCampaign automation recipes

In addition to saving a lot of time, these recipes are a great source of inspiration.

Hubspot

Smart Content – Similar to the conditional content feature offered by ActiveCampaign, Smart Content allows you to hide and display blocks of content in your email campaigns based on where a contact is in your buying cycle, or which lists they are in.

Hubspot smart content

Subject line emojis – Using emojis in subject lines have been found to increase open rates by as much as 45%. While you can technically put emojis in the subject line using almost any email marketing tool, Hubspot makes it a little bit easier by having an emoji button next to the subject line box.

Hubspot subject line emojis

Progressive Profiling – Let’s say a lead visits your website on day one and exchanges her name and email address to download a whitepaper. The next day, they come back to your website to learn more.

Instead of showing the same form asking for their name and email address, Hubspot allows you to identify this lead and show a different offer, or ask a different set of questions to learn more about them over time. This is called Progressive profiling – and it allows you to send more personalized email campaigns as you gather more information on your leads.

Hubspot progressive profiling

3. Omnisend

Omnisend offers an impressive range of eCommerce email marketing features.

Campaign Booster – Omnisend has a ‘campaign booster’ feature that automatically resends campaigns to subscribers who haven’t opened an email campaign (a quick-win that Omnisend state boosts email sales by up to 30%).

Omnisend campaign booster

Product Picker – In addition to being able to drag and drop products from your store directly into email campaigns (a huge time saver), Omnisend also has a handful of CTR boosting email templates, such as scratch cards and gift boxes.

Omnisend product picker

Discount codes – One final feature that’s a nice touch for eCommerce users is Omnisend’s discount code generator, which connects to your eCommerce store and automatically generates unique discount codes to incentivize customers to buy again from you.

Omnisend discount codes

5. Best for CRM & marketing automation features

Unless you’re a large enterprise it probably makes sense to use an email marketing tool that also has an in-built CRM (customer relationship management) and marketing automation functionality.

The reason for this is that email marketing works best when emails are triggered to the right people at the right time – and the data required to enable this is often stored in a CRM system. While you can make this work with a separate CRM, integrating the two is an extra step that could be avoided.

This requirement technically rules out all but two of our top ten, with Hubspot and ActiveCampaign remaining. We have also included Autopilot here, which despite not having a CRM has exceptional native integrations with the most popular CRMs and has the best marketing automation features we’ve seen.

#1 Hubspot

Hubspot is the undisputed leader in this category. As an all-in-one sales & marketing platform, they offer a full CRM system, as well as in-built tools for blogging, social media management, landing page creation, and… well, you name it they probably offer it.

Hubspot CRM tiles

Their CRM system is extremely powerful, yet straightforward to use. You can view deals in a pipeline format (as shown above) or as one long list in a table.

Because Hubspot contains so much data on each of your leads, you can use their marketing automation platform to build email sequences that use CRM data to trigger emails to contacts based on their behaviour.

Frankly, Hubspot’s email marketing automation builder is not the best I’ve seen – but in tandem with their CRM, it’s a powerful feature.

Hubspot automation

#2 ActiveCampaign

As you can see below, ActiveCampaign’s CRM is very similar to Hubspot’s in design and functionality.

Similarly to Hubspot, ActiveCampaign tracks your lead’s activity on your website (or app) and can automatically move leads into different stages of your pipeline based on which pages they’ve visited, whether they’ve bought a product, clicked on an email etc.

ActiveCampaign CRM

You can also deep-dive into any lead or customer’s profile to see a full history of every interaction that person has had with your company since they first gave you their email address.

ActiveCampaign CRM profile page

Where ActiveCampaign shines is with its marketing automation builder. We’ve already touched on this in previous sections of this article, so I won’t go into much more detail here.

ActiveCampaign's visual automation editor

3. Autopilot

While Autopilot doesn’t have an in-built CRM, its marketing automation platform is second to none, and it integrates natively with a handful of the most popular CRMs (including Hubspot CRM, PipeDrive, and Salesforce). 

If you use a CRM that’s not listed above, Autopilot also offers a Zapier integration, as well as a native integration with Segment, allowing you to keep your CRM in sync, and trigger your automation sequences from updates in your CRM.

Autopilot's CRM integration

6. Best for reporting & analytics

Most email marketing tools offer very little when it comes to reporting functionality, to the point that understanding what emails are generating a positive return on investment can be a surprisingly difficult question to answer.

In our review of the top ten email marketing tools, we were most impressed by the email analytics and reporting offered by these three companies.

#1 Hubspot

Hubspot has an unfair advantage.

As an all-in-one marketing platform, it should come as no surprise that they offer a huge variety of reports, answering every marketing question imaginable. To give credit where it’s due, these aren’t vanity metrics either; Hubspot does a very good job at answering the difficult questions that actually provide actionable insights.

Hubspot reporting

Of course, this kind of reporting comes at a cost (Hubspot’s not cheap, as we’ve already covered) but you do get a lot more insight compared to just knowing how many people opened or unsubscribed from your email campaigns.

Their campaign reports are easy to digest and surprisingly insightful. Interestingly, Hubspot is one of the only email marketing tools to report on the time people spend reading an email.

Hubspot sales report

2. Autopilot

What I particularly like about Autopilot is that you can set the goal of each automation journey and view reports around whether that automation journey is hitting its goal.

For example, I can set a goal that my lead nurturing journey should convert 20% of contacts that enter it to buy my product and then produce a report like this. 

Autopilot reporting

Beyond this, Autopilot’s reporting is fairly basic, with the usual reporting on campaign performance and contact list insights. 

3. ActiveCampaign

In some ways, I’m reluctant to feature ActiveCampaign in this section, as their reporting is definitely not their strong point. But, credit where it’s due, it’s come along way in the last year and it’s still much better than many other tools for the same reason as Autopilot above – it focuses on goal tracking. 

The big difference is that, while Autopilot has managed to make this look beautiful, ActiveCampaign’s visualisation of these reports is a bit convoluted.

ActiveCampaign goal report

ActiveCampaign’s reporting can answer almost any question you throw at it – but you need to be quite mindful of knowing what that question is.

Where Hubspot and Autopilot serve up high-quality answers on a platter, ActiveCampaign’s approach is more akin to vomiting data across 20 or so pages, making it difficult to decipher value from vanity metrics.

7. Best for integrations

These days, most email marketing tools integrate with Zapier (a third-party tool that allows you to then send data to over 1,000+ third-party apps & tools) rather than building their own smorgasbord of integrations. There are some exceptions, such as Autopilot, which has an enormous variety of native integrations. 

Autopilot integrations

The best email marketing tools for integrating with third-party tools are:

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. Autopilot
  3. Hubspot

When it comes to Zapier integrations, not all of them are created equal. Every ‘zap’ (integration) has two parts: A trigger and an action. For example, let’s say you want to build an integration so that every time someone subscribes to your mailing list (the trigger), they’re automatically added to a Google Spreadsheet (the action), this can be built in minutes using Zapier.

Broadly speaking, the more triggers and actions an email marketing tool provides, the easier it is to automate tasks. Below is a list of the top ten email marketing tools, ranked from highest number of triggers, actions and searches to lowest.

TypeZapier TriggersZapier Actions & Searches
HubspotFree1317
ActiveCampaignFree1311
ConvertKitFree75
AutopilotFree44
MoosendFree35
MailerLiteFree22
SendinBlueFree21
RejoinerFree (beta)21
OmnisendFree02
MoonMailFree01

8. Best for customer support & training

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is the only email marketing tool to offer a Customer Success Commitment, which outlines a set of standards around education, support and trust that you can expect from ActiveCampaign. 

Needless to say, it’s world-class. From implementation and migration support, to access to ActiveCampaign’s community, in-person events and pre-built automation recipes, you can be confident you’re in safe hands. 

ActiveCampaign study halls

It’s also worth pointing out that, while ActiveCampaign offers an extensive range of videos, guides and documentation, we’ve had numerous team members join Venture Harbour and be able to build automation sequences with no training, thanks to how easy the platform is to use. 

As a customer, I’ve only had to contact ActiveCampaign’s support a handful of times over the last four years, and each time I’ve had a response within a couple of hours with a solution.

2. Hubspot

Hubspot has arguably built its entire business around education.

Hubspot invented the phrase ‘inbound marketing’ and went on to acquire tens of thousands of customers by eating their own dog food, so to speak. By blogging, running events, and becoming a thought leader in inbound marketing, leads came to them – rather than them having to rely on traditional outbound marketing.

As such, you can expect world-class training when you sign up to Hubspot. From courses and certifications to eBooks, and their annual INBOUND conference, Hubspot provides its customers with plenty of opportunities to level-up. 

Hubspot courses and certifications

One cautionary note is that Hubspot charges additional fees for onboarding services. While this isn’t too unreasonable (as you’re effectively paying for several hours of a Hubspotter’s time), it does highlight to me just how generous ActiveCampaign is by offering onboarding free of charge. 

On the support side, Hubspot is also exceptional. With phone, email and live chat support, you can be confident that if any issues arise, they’ll be resolved quickly.

3. Moosend

As it stands, Moosend offers all customers access to its customer success team, who offer agency-level support around deliverability optimization, strategy and technical support – free of charge.

I’ve been warned that this may not always be the case, but if this does ever change – I’ll see if I can twist their arm to keep this in place for Venture Harbour readers.

In addition to this, Moosend offers an abundant range of webinars, presentations, and tools aimed at turning beginner email marketers into pros. 

9. Best for security & compliance

If you capture sensitive personal data or, due to your industry or size, require an email marketing provider that has particular security and privacy compliance certifications, we’d suggest either:

  1. ActiveCampaign
  2. Hubspot
  3. MailerLite

As you’d expect, these larger and older email marketing providers tend to be the best option when it comes to security and compliance. All three of the services above provide extensive documentation on their websites about their security and compliance measures.

For a more detailed comparison of which security/compliance certifications and features these three email marketing tools offer, we’ve created the table below.

ActiveCampaignHubspotMailerLite
ISO 27018 (cloud privacy)YesNoNo
ISO 27001 (information security)YesYesYes
ISO 27017 (cloud security)YesNoNo
EU-US Privacy ShieldYesYesYes
GDPR CompliantYesYesYes
CAN-SPAM CompliantYesYesYes
HIPAA CompliantYes (enterprise account only)NoNo
TLS encryptionYesYesYes
Segmented accountsYesYesNo

Here are some useful links to learn more:

Wrapping up: Which will you try?

My business coach often reminds me “progress over perfection”.

His point is that it’s more important to take action and make progress, rather than waste an indefinite amount of time trying to find the perfect result. Computer scientists call this ‘optimal stopping’.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve already absorbed hundreds of hours of research, which means you’ve done more research than 99.99% of marketers choosing an email marketing tool. In short, you’re probably ready to make a decision and choose your email marketing tool.

If for whatever reason you’re still not sure which email marketing tool is right for you, you can try the tool below, which will recommend the best email marketing software for you based on your specific requirements. 

You’ll also get a copy of our raw dataset sent to your email address so that you can make your own comparisons. 

    • A simple platform for sending bulk newsletters.
    • A powerful platform for building automated email automation sequences.
    • A platform that includes your email marketing, CRM, automation, and more.
    • Step 1

    • Step 2

    • Step 3

    • Step 4

    • Final Step

    I truly hope this guide has helped you find the right email marketing tool for you. We spend hundreds of hours each year keeping this guide up to date, so if you did find it valuable, I’d be grateful if you could share it on your LinkedIn or Twitter. 

    And if it didn’t help you, I’d love to know how we can make it better

    90 thoughts on “10 Best Email Marketing Software & Email Automation Tools of 2020

    1. Great and informative post. Where is the download / raw data “at the bottom” – I must have missed the link

    2. I recently switched from MailChimp to Mailerlite and have been pleased with the results. I ran into a small problem and the customer service was excellent and responded very quickly (I’m using the free plan).

    3. Hey,

      thanks a lot for creating such a detailed and objective overview of the email marketing providers!

      I would really like to have a look at your dataset, I already filled out the survey twice, but it does not seem to work – still no email with dataset received. Could you please send it to me? Thanks a lot!

      Kind regards,
      Maria

    4. Great article.
      Just wanted to point out that there is an error in SendX’s pricing in the Pricing Comparison table.
      SendX’s pricing is close to $100/mo for 10,000 users.

      On the SendX website, the pricing is mentioned in slabs – so the final bill will be the addition of all slabs that are applicable to your number of contacts.

    5. Thanks for this informative review Marcus. What are your thoughts on ConvertKit? It was recommended to me, I am a blogger who does it for passion for the last 5 years, but I am thinking of starting to monetize my work.

    6. Please forgive me if I missed this in some of the comments and replies, but I saw nothing on Infusionsoft or Marketo. I was expecting to see both in your analysis, but nothing was mentioned, save for the remark early on that Active Campaign has rocketed past Infusionsoft in the marketplace. Is it because you consider them outside the “Email Marketing” space which was the subject of your analysis?
      Thanks

      1. Hi Paul, back in 2015/2016 both Marketo and Infusionsoft made our top 10, but they’ve gradually been slipping each year.

        Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is now in #37th place and Marketo is at #78th. There’s nothing wrong with these platforms, but they just don’t score as highly in the nine areas that we believe (from interviewing email marketing users) are most important.

        We also observe from migration data that a large number of Infusionsoft users end up moving to other email marketing services, citing ‘difficult to use’ as a common reason, so I’m somewhat reluctant to recommend their platform these days.

    7. SENDLANE IS A HORRIBLE TOOL. Used this for a month then switched to Klaviyo and it is light years better. Sendlane had a million bugs and almost ruined my business.

      1. Hi Jason,

        Ouch! We’ve added this feedback to our dataset. Incidentally, we’ve seen some similar signs on our end. They’ve fallen to #14 on our list this year so won’t be making the 2020 top 10.

        Thanks for sharing 🙏

    8. Thanks for this article. It is super helpful. I have used quite a few different ESPs (Bronto, MailChimp, Constant Contact, dotmailer, Listrak and now Informz) and have my opinions about all of them. But I have always worked for e-commerce companies. I now work for a non-profit association and we need an ESP that integrates with our database, which is run on Aptify. The only ESP I have found that claims to integrate with Aptify is Informz (Higher Logic) and lets just say, the integration doesn’t actually work and the platform itself leaves a lot to be desired. So I was wondering if you knew of any other platform that might integrate with Aptify or be able to build an integration?

      1. Wow, you’ve tried them all!

        It seems it may be a bit of an issue on the Aptify end, as they don’t seem to offer much in the way of an API from what I can see, so it’s probably a challenge for ESPs to integrate with them.

        The only two options I can see from a quick browse is Higher Logic (as you mentioned) and a company called HighRoad, though I’m not familiar with either.

    9. Fantastic article, thank you! I was wondering if I could ask some advice — we are only a small company that doesn’t need automation or a CRM, we just want to be able to send out monthly emails to 6000+ subscribers that can be categorised into industries or groups. We don’t need bells & whistles. Due to our industry, the chunky CRM doesn’t integrate into a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. so it’s all very labour intensive but lucky for them I do love a spreadsheet. Thanks in advance for the advice.

      1. Hi Bec,

        I would probably look at something like MailerLite or Moosend. They’re both very affordable and do the basics very well (while taking care of the dull, but important stuff like security & deliverability).

        While they do both offer automation, you can obviously just use them for basic mass email sending – and both should be affordable at 6,000 contacts.

    10. Marcus, thank you very much for detailed yet to the point review! I am looking for the email program for our small activity which we are planning to grow fast. You saved me tones of time and money on trials and errors. Mailchimp is a bit outdated. So I am looking forward to our new adventure and hope to continue with the program for many years.

    11. Why are some of the comments from 2014? Is this an old article or is it updated with the latest and greatest options?

    12. This was the most helpful article ever. After all the tests, I think that I’ll go for ActiveCampaign. Thank’s!

    13. HI Marcus

      Found your article very informative especially as I am a novice in all this. We are about to launch a research centre in the UK and wondered which email marketing tool you would recommend. Having read quite a bit now online, I see a lot of the literature seems to concentrate on business users rather than non-profits. Any suggestions would be most welcome.
      Many Thanks

    14. Hi Marcus,
      Thank you for this detailed report. One of the options I am considering is Drip, it seems to be popular. Did you consider it?
      Any thoughts on Drip vs ActiveCampaign?
      All the best,
      Jim

      1. Hi Jim, yes – we did consider Drip.

        This year Drip came out in 31st place in our ranking of the top 100 email marketing services. One factor pulling down their ranking was a high number of Drip users moving away from their platform reporting four issues in particular as the reason: Integrations, low-quality support, bugs, and difficult-to-use UX.

        Hope that’s useful.

    15. A very thorough and well-written blog on Email Marketing software tools. These are some very decent tools which will prove helpful for novices like us. Thanks for the blog Marcus.

    16. Hi Marcus,
      Thanks for the review.
      It looks like it’s been a while since the review has been written 4 years ago (according to the most of the comments above).
      Please advice on how it’s relevant up to date?
      We are looking for a mail marketing tool for b2b software services company.
      Would appreciate your feedback.
      Thanks!
      Oleg

      1. Hey Oleg,

        We’ve just posted our 2018 update! A few new tools have made the cut, and a couple of old ones removed. All of the data has been updated as of October 2018, so that should be useful.

        For B2B software, I’d probably look at either Hubspot/ActiveCampaign? We use ActiveCampaign as our email marketing tool for Leadformly, which is a B2B SaaS service.

        Marcus

    17. A very useful post, thanks Marcus!

      I’ve had used email services from different service providers in the past for my own online business although now I have moved to Benchmark Email and using there services.

      I found almost every service providers relatively easy to use but almost everyone lacks in providing support to there client and now-day’s support is like backbone of any service.
      Benchmark Email provide chat & call support apart from email support and that to 24*7 and because of limitless support from Benchmark Email I am sticking with them.

    18. I’ve often seen Mailchimp is lacking in showing Popups (I really don’t care about those who don’t prefer Pop Ups).
      One more thing I want to add that Mailchimp’s Workflow is not as effective as Getresponse have.
      I have reviewed both of the services for myself and found Getresponse much better than Mailchimp and even from others too (Cost effective).

    19. Hi Marcus..

      Thanks so much for these summary articles. I’m teetering on the edge of a blog and was sooo confused until I found this and your other articles on the topics needed to establish my site.

      Your info is presented in clear and informative manner.. When I launch I’d like to refer readers to your articles.. Is that okay?

      1. I hear lots of good things, but (and I may be going crazy) I recall Drip offering a $1 signup offer when they were acquired by Leadpages and so a lot of people were commenting on how good it was for a dollar. It seems to have gone back to the old pricing and repositioned slightly to eCommerce email marketing. I’m sure it’s an excellent product.

    20. Thanks for the article Marcus. We have about 25000 subscribers and currently use Mail Chimp. We’re looking to change though, for three reasons – we’d like to integrate with a CRM, want to send smarter, automated emails and gather customer activity data, would like a service with actual customer support.

      Mailchimp advertises that they do automation etc, but I can’t seem to find where to set up anything very smart. Also their customer support is non-existent. Seems impossible to contact a human.

      Do you know if mailchimp actually does offer what we’re looking for, or we’re better to move to something like active campaign? Appreciate your comments ;)

      1. Hey Karlie,

        I haven’t used Mailchimp for many years as they just don’t seem to have kept up (particularly around marketing automation), but technically I think the answer is yes – they can do what you’re after.

        However, I guess the real question is whether they’re the optimal solution to do what you’re after, in which case the answer is likely no. We’ve just updated this guide with some more up-to-date comparisons, which hopefully should answer your question!

    21. Excellent article. The best and non-bias review I’ve read about email marketing software thus far.

      I’ve been shopping around and will probably go with Get Response. Initially I was looking at Mail Chimp since they had the 2000 free subscribers but it appears, in the longer run, it’ll be better with GetResponse.

      Haven’t used email marketing as much as I should. Previously, we tried using ImnicaMail because of their pricing but it was as good as not having an email marketing campaign; all our mail was sent to spam (since they did not manage their customers’ list for spam). Thought email marketing wasn’t effective until I found out our emails were being sent to the spam box. Learnt my lesson there.

      Thanks again for the useful article.

    22. Wow such a detailed review! I have tried MailChimp before and I found it too expensive. After that i’ve signed up to Mailerlite and got hooked. It’s either free or cheapish depending on your subscribers’ lists. With other email software providers, you’d need to make an investment even if you’re running a small shop or a blog. And let’s be honest, not everyone of us can afford it :)

    23. I’m shopping to upgrade my email marketing software. Just got off the phone with Constant Contact. Can’t believe they don’t offer A/B testing!

    24. I have a database of 2000 emails that I have marketed to for some time now from a pop 3 email without using a service.

      I imported it to mail chimp and it wants a double opt in. How can I bypass that.

      Once I start using mailchimp then people can easily unsubscribe if they don’t want the email.

    25. If you want cheap, easy and something you can grow with, I recommend MailChimp. You can even start out free with them. Later, if you decide to change platforms, it’s relatively easy to transfer your list.

    26. Great review Marcus! Have you looked into contactpigeon.com? They are a new e-mail marketing platform that offers data driven campaigns with thorough segmentation and automation features.

    27. Hi I am new to direct email marketing. Sendy looks like a good pick based on this post. Thanks, Marcus for this article.

      Just a question, is it possible to export back only the delivered emails back to our database or via a .csv file.

    28. Hi Marcus,

      Thanks for the article, it was also interesting and inspiring to see your other ventures in diverse fields. Would like to connect 1:1 in the near future. Meanwhile, even I had done a similar comparison as I myself handle email marketing for my organization. Do check it out as well as for the readers of the blog since it covers 2 additional players.

      Cheers,
      Karan

      1. Hi Karenpreet, you’re welcome.

        I took a look at your comparison – good work. More than happy to connect anytime if you want to drop me an email.

        Marcus

    29. @Frank – I’ve never heard of them, and a quick Google search for your name + MPZ Mail reveals you promoting them on Quora. I’m not sure why you’d ask for more information on them if you’re already a user recommending them to others? Are you affiliated with them by any chance?

    30. I really enjoyed this article but could anyone tell me a little bit more about MPZMail? It’s not on this list, however I know a fair few people who are moving from MailChimp. I’ve had a look around and it seems to be pretty good.

    31. Great post Marcus,

      I’ve always been a mailchimp user myself, and I have to say I really like their UI but I’m always open to new options. I’ve dabbled in a couple of the other email marketing providers like Pure360 – but find them so clunky and annoying to use (despite them looking really pretty and having great templates) that I always end up going back to good old mailchimp. I haven’t used GetResponse yet, I’ll give their free trial a shot :)

      1. Thanks Kelly, Mailchimp have definitely come a long way with their UI over the years, it’s just their service that hasn’t caught up ;) I haven’t had the chance to play around with Pure360 as much as I’d like, but I’ve heard the same things echoed by several friends who use their service. Looking at their client list, I think they’re more aimed at large companies though.

    32. I’m currently looking for a hosted email marketing service that offers SMS services and integrates with Salesforce. We have a customer database of over 250,000 users and need to be able to send them SMS messages as well as emails at roughly the same time as appointment reminders.

      I’ve spent a long time looking at the different options, and there doesn’t seem to be anything exactly what we’re looking for (without requesting customisation), but before I give up hope I wondered whether you knew of anything?

      1. Hi David,

        Check out Pure360 – from their website it seems like they have both SMS services and integration with Salesforce. I can’t vouch for their service as I’ve never used it, although I did used to live about two minutes from their offices in Brighton! The other option would be something like Infusionsoft. I’m pretty certain that they have SMS functionality, and would be very surprised if they didn’t integrate with Salesforce.

        Hope that helps.
        Marcus

    33. This is so helpful! We’ve been using an old school bespoke email program at our company for years and have finally come to the realisation that we need to enter the 21st century!

      One question – do you know how easy it would be to connect a tool like Aweber or GetResponse to a customer database? We would hate to lose our list of customer data during the move, so that’s a big concern for us.

      1. Thanks Nina, sounds like a much needed upgrade ;)

        Do you know whether your current email service allows you to export subscribers? If so you should be fine. All of the email marketing tools reviewed in this post allow you to import subscribers from a CSV file, so providing you can get all of your existing subscribers into a spreadsheet you’ll be absolutely fine.

        Marcus

    34. Great review Marcus!

      I’m currently looking for an email marketing service for a mailing list of about 80,000 subscribers. I run an information product business in the fitness industry with a large number of customers buying our ebooks and online courses every day. I’m particularly interested in GetResponse, although I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on the flexibility of their service for creating autoresponders, and integrating with a checkout service (we use WooCommerce).

      I see that you’ve recommended Infusionsoft, which I was also looking at. Do you have any strong opinions on which one would be better for our kind of business?

      1. Hi Peter,

        It really depends on your budget and how much automation you need.

        GetResponse would be a great pick, although their automation is quite limited at the moment. For example, you can setup standard autoresponders, and autoresponders based on behaviour such as “opened previous email”, but it’s very hard to separate customers from non-customers etc.

        With Infusionsoft (or other marketing automation alternatives like Ontraport, Marketo, Pardot), you’d have a lot more flexibility with automation, but that may be overkill depending on what you’re looking to do.

        The main thing to consider is that Infusionsoft starts at $199/month + a one-off $2,000 fee for a kickstarter package. Realistically, you’ll likely end up paying $300-$400 per month for one of their more advanced packages. GetResponse is $450/month for 100,000 subscribers.

        In terms of integration with Woocommerce, i’m pretty sure you’d have more luck with Infusionsoft. It looks like they have a plugin called ‘InfusedWoo’ in their app marketplace here: http://marketplace.infusionsoft.com/app/infusedwoo

        Hope that helps,
        Marcus

        1. It sounds like Infusionsoft is probably the direction we need to head in. If it’s more affordable than GetResponse and has better automation, then it’s a bit of a no brainer.

          While we don’t need full blown automation, it’s important for us to be able to send different campaigns to customers based on whether they have/haven’t bought certain other products. Based on what you’ve said, and what I gather from their website, this seems out of GetResponse’s depth.

          Thanks Marcus, I appreciate the advice.

    35. Great timing, Marcus. I signed up for free trials with Mailchimp, GetResponse and Aweber about a week ago and was just doing some research to confirm my thoughts.

      I agree with you that overall GetResponse are the best of the bunch. However, I did find that Mailchimp’s UI was way better and easier to use. It’s just a shame that they force you to jump through hoops with double opt-ins, and their payment structure was a little bit off putting.

      What I’d like to know is whether any email marketing software provider allows you send emails that look identical to if they were sent from Gmail. I find that the best newsletters are those that look like it came from a friend. If only Mailchimp or Aweber didn’t force their logos and HTML style in every campaign I imagine they’d get way better open and click through rates. Do you know of any services that do this?

      1. Hi Kevin,

        It sounds like you’re after plain-text email campaigns, which all of the services reviewed above offer as standard. Instead of creating a HTML campaign, you should be able to select plain-text from a drop down menu and go from there. That should disable all of the logos, and formatting that give emails the ‘newsletter template’ look.

        Marcus

    36. Marcus,

      Thank you for this article, it’s been a great help for our company while we’re in the process of moving to a different ESP.

      I wondered, what are your thoughts on solutions like Mailigen, Vertical Response, Mad Mimi, and Campaign Monitor? I know there’s a never ending list of possible email software companies that you could compare, but these ones in particular interested me as they seem to offer many similar services to those that you mentioned. Have you come across them before, and if so would you advise using them over GetResponse?

      Another question I had was to do with email delivery rates. Do you know of any way to gauge the quality of an email marketing software company’s delivery rates before becoming a customer and running your own test? I’d love to see a comparison like this post focusing on quantitative metrics like that. Perhaps an idea for a future post?

      James

      1. Hi James,

        I’ve heard of several of the providers you mentioned, but I haven’t used them on any projects so I can’t really comment. From a quick browse of their websites they all look fine, but nothing jumps out at me in terms of a unique proposition.

        In terms of delivery rates, I know there are websites like SenderScore, which provide some information on delivery rates, but it’s good to remember that those numbers are never static. If a company like Infusionsoft upgraded their servers, or changed the IP address that they send mail from, the stats would immediately become outdated.

        Similarly, it’s probably worth taking any numbers provided by the email services with a pinch of salt, as they’re more than likely to be a little bit on the generous end of the spectrum.

        In my experience, it’s not something you really need to worry about unless you’re sending 100,000’s of emails per month, as the difference it makes is very minimal.

        Hope that helps,
        Marcus

    37. Let’s keep in mind that these are all different cases:

      – Desktop-based email marketing software (installed on your personal computer).
      – Serviced model or Saas (like MailChimp and others presented here).
      – Self-hosted (installed on your own server like Email Marketer and nuevoMailer).
      – Hybrid: self-hosted using 3rd party SMTP relay services (quite trendy lately).

      There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each model has pros and cons.
      Low-mid volume, occasional senders and not so technically literate users will probably do better with the serviced model (or a desktop based solution).
      Medium to heavy users are more likely to go for a self-hosted solution and usually the hybrid approach.

      1. Hi Panos,

        That’s a good breakdown of the different types of email services. I aimed this post at the large majority of people who would just be looking for a Saas service like Aweber or GetResponse, but you’re right that there are many alternatives.

    38. I have very few mail customers but would like to get started on this. If I use mail chimp to get my first 2000 email addresses over the next year or so ( obviously for free! ) can I then migrate them into Get Response when I am ready to start paying a monthly fee? I am a musician so it is more for my fans than for selling.

      1. Of course – I did a similar thing when I was building the newsletter for TheMusiciansGuide.co.uk. It’s relatively easy to export and import between the various email marketing services, so you should be fine.

        Have you looked into Radio Airplay or FanDistro? They’re both really good tools for collecting the email addresses of fans that like your music. I remember reading a case study that Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion / Color Theory wrote where he got thousands of fan email addresses using Radio Airplay.

    39. I dug Aweber and getresponse when I used them. Smart post Marcus! Now I use my gifting club’s email service, and have moved a bit away from email marketing. But overall helpful read here and a must for most marketers.

      1. Being Sendy users ourselves, we were also little bit disappointed with the limited reporting options offered by the app. So we built an extension which will help you to build dashboards, per-list reports, calculate conversions, etc.

    40. Really well written post Marcus!

      It’d be great to hear what some of the email marketing software providers have to say in response to this review and what *they* consider to be their strengths over the competition.

      Out of interest have you come across SendBlaster or Vertical Response? My company trialed SendBlaster a while back and I remember being quite impressed with the overall ease of use. Vertical Response was the other one we looked at which we’d heard good things about but ended up not going with for some reason or another.

      Would love to hear your thoughts on them if you’ve come across them before.

      1. Thanks Jason

        I agree, it’d be great to hear from some of the guys in the space to know what differentiates them in their view.

        As for SendBlaster and Vertical Response, I’ve definitely come across VR in the past but not sure about SendBlaster. The name rings a bell but I can’t think where from, and from their website it doesn’t look like one that i’ve used.

        Vertical Response looks interesting – although again I can’t quite figure out what really separates them from the other more popular services.

    41. A very useful summary, thanks Marcus.

      I’ve had some success using Mailchimp in the past although eager now to try others services.

      I found MC relatively easy to use and navigate once I understood some of the terms
      relating to (all) mailing lists such as auto-responders, lists, groups, A/B testing.

      One positive for mailchimp is I found their guides/tutorials very good.

      I’m in the process of expanding and evaluating services such as Aweber on another site and interested in other providers too.

      Two questions:

      1. With any of these services are you able to manage multiple sites/lists of subscribers under one account, even if those lists/subscribers/topics are unrelated?

      2. Any thoughts on Feedblitz as I see people starting to use that service now too?

      Thanks for the very insightful evaluation.

      1. Thanks Rob!

        Mailchimp are pretty good – probably one of the most intuitive services to use. The main disadvantage is their double opt-in, which results in losing ~20-30% of people who go to sign up to your mailing list but don’t confirm in the email.

        I’m pretty sure that all of the services reviewed let you manage multiple sites under one account. Aweber, Mailchimp, Sendy, and Get Response definitely.

        I haven’t heard of Feedblitz – just looking at their website now. Appears that they’re a Feedburner replacement specialising in RSS-to-email (sending your blog subscribers an email about latest posts). Their pricing looks a bit steep (considering Feedburner was free) – so I’d probably choose Mailchimp or Aweber over them? That way you can message up to a few thousand people free of charge.

        Hope that helps!

        1. Hey Marcus,

          George from Sendicate here. We’re an email newsletter web app that aims to fix the current complex on boarding and newsletter sending process. We also allow single-opt in on lists if ya want :) Got RSS to email and all the bells and whistles too, we just try and make the user flows simple. Check us out.

          Cheers,
          George

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