How important is email to digital marketers in 2022? Maybe more than you think. While social media, SMS messaging, and video conferencing have replaced email as the chief means of connecting with friends and family for many of us, email remains an essential path for companies and brands to reach customers.
Marketing mavens will tell you that multichannel campaigns are today’s best practice, and that’s true. Savvy marketers will use every combination of social media, direct mail, chat, display ads, SMS, web landing pages, and even the metaverse to get their messages in front of consumers. But it may surprise you to learn just how central email is to many successful digital campaigns.
According to recent research, one of our Editors’ Choice winners for email marketing tools, fully 64% of small businesses use email to reach customers—a higher rate than for any other digital channels save social media and websites. And whether it was due to isolation during the global pandemic or for some other reason, 77% of marketers saw increased customer engagement with email in 2021 versus 2020. Little surprise, then, that four out of five survey respondents said they’d rather give up on social media than on email.
To succeed at email marketing, however, takes more than a spreadsheet full of email addresses. You’ll need tools to help you compose, send, and track your emails, and even to integrate data from your email campaigns with your other backend systems. Fortunately, plenty of help is available. In this roundup, we take a look at 11 of the top email marketing platforms and rank the best ones. But what makes them the best? Here are some topics to consider.
What is Email Marketing?
As the name suggests, email marketing uses emails to promote products, services or enable customer relations. There are tons of marketing tactics, but none of them provides a return on investment as high as $38 for every $1 spent.
Email marketing has helped businesses to create long-lasting relationships with their customers, and using this channel, businesses often convert leads into customers. There are many email marketing software in the market, developed by the best software development agency and this makes it hard to choose a single product.
Who uses email marketing software?
As the name suggests, email marketing is a key function of the marketing department. Depending on a company’s size, this software may be primarily used by email marketing specialists. It may also be used by account managers, content creators and managers, and business development executives to build and manage customer relationships, generate leads, and improve conversions.
Why Email Marketing for Small Businesses
The numbers above should be enough conviction that email marketing really works. And if you have not already gotten started you are missing out. Better still, it is not too late. After this guide, you will be in a better position to make better decisions for your business in terms of digital marketing and especially email marketing.
Here are some reasons why your small business should be reaching out with emails;
Build Trust and Credibility
When you are just getting started, just like every other business started, nobody knows about you or your business. This is where all the money and time goes. If you are not careful, most businesses also don’t rise above this level.
By providing content and keeping in touch with your audience via email, you slowly start to build trust and credibility. And remember, in any form of content marketing, consistency is key. You build authority in your industry and when people gain confidence in your products and services, you start enjoying the fruits of your hard work.
Stay in Touch
Your customers and clients are human too. They operate as human beings do. And even if it is business, feelings, and emotions will always be involved.
Before they make a decision on whether or not to buy your product they have to think about it; are there other better and cost-effective alternatives than yours?
Sending emails consistently to your subscribers keeps you in their minds. You not only build trust and credibility but when they need a service or products like yours, you will always be the first in their minds.
Make sure whatever you send your audience is value-packed and useful. People don’t like spam. Be careful with that too otherwise your emails will be landing in the spam folder.
Increased Conversion Rate and Higher ROI
The very first reason you are investing in email marketing after all is to sell your products and services. Yes, your current goal could be to spread the word about your services and get leads, but the end and primary goal will always be to actually convert those leads to profit.
The stats above reveal that email marketing done right is not a waste of time. As a matter of fact, it is cost-effective and provides great value for your investments.
It is also okay that email marketing is not everyone’s cup of coffee. If you are running your business, there are many sides involved, all of which are contributing factors to your success. And you can’t be an expert in all areas of your business.
If you have the time and resources to learn, well and good. However, you can also always invest in an expert email marketer for guaranteed results.
Reach your Targeted Customers
Target is the key to any digital marketing campaign. And one of the advantages of email marketing is that you have multiple features at your disposal to help you reach your particular potential customers and prospective clients.
One of these features is Segmentation. This feature gives you the ability to tailor your emails and newsletters to your very specific audience. Your products may be made for different audiences in terms of gender, demographics, and age.
When you are running email marketing campaigns, you can use segmentation to ensure that the emails you are sending are for the audience you want to reach. See the example below;
“Segment an email for the male audience between the ages of 24-30 living in the US”
Even if your products and services are made for different age groups and people from different parts of the world, you can tailor some emails for your particular target. Through segmentation, email marketing allows you to tailor your emails to your specific target.
It is an Affordable form of Marketing
When you are just getting started, you probably don’t have a million dollars to run multiple campaigns on multiple platforms. We have seen multiple options such as social media marketing, influencer marketing PPC, and more. These are also great, but they could be expensive.
Luckily, email marketing is one of the most affordable options you can go by.
Why Choosing The Best Email Marketing Service is Important?
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategy for small businesses. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the United States.
This is because email marketing is easy to manage, gives you full control, and allows you to establish a direct contact with your customers.
It’s important to understand that a lot of your success with email marketing depends entirely on the email marketing software you choose because they are responsible for making sure that your emails actually get delivered.
If you aren’t careful, then you will end up paying a lot more money for fewer marketing features and terrible email deliverability rates (which causes you to lose even more money).
Best Email Marketing Software for Small Business
The following are the best email marketing tools that will help you build a targeted email list and design newsletters to send to your subscribers, automate your email marketing campaigns, and analyze reports and analytics.
Constant Contact is one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing service in the world. It is also the most easy to use and beginner friendly email marketing service.
You can easily manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, marketing calendar, and more.
Each account gives you access to unlimited emails, easy tracking and reporting, built-in social media sharing tools, free image library, list segmentation, Facebook ads integration, and a powerful eCommerce integration for Shopify stores.
Their Email Plus accounts also come with powerful features like email automation, drip campaigns, surveys & polls, coupons, online donations, and subject line A/B testing which helps you send targeted emails to maximize your open rate.
Constant Contact offers unmatched customer support with live chat, phone calls, email, community support, and a vast library of helpful resources.
Aside from online training, they also offer in-person live seminars across the United States. This allow small business owners to quickly learn the basics of email marketing and start using it to grow their business like a pro.
For all the reasons above, we rate Constant Contact the best email marketing service for small businesses and startups.
Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial (no credit-card required). After that their pricing starts as low as $20/month.
WPBeginner users can use our Constant Contact coupon code to get an additional 20% off.
SendinBlue is a complete SMS and email marketing software for businesses. They are one of the fastest growing email marketing platforms in Europe.
It is an extremely easy to use platform with excellent tools to create beautiful and highly engaging emails. Their simple drag and drop email editor is perfect for beginners with no experience in email marketing.
SendinBlue includes beginner-friendly marketing automation tools that allow you to send transactional emails, create workflows for automatic follow-up emails, and segment users. It can also select the best time to send bulk emails using their AI algorithms to ensure the best email deliverability.
SendinBlue offer a completely free email marketing plan unlimited contacts. Their free plan lets you send up to 300 emails per day, but all your emails will have their branding.
Their paid plans start from $25 per month for Lite. You can also include SMS to your account, but the pricing will vary based on your sending requirements.
They have improved their premium plan recently to include more advanced features like landing page builder, live chat, sales CRM, and Facebook ads integration. This means users now get more value for the same price.
SendinBlue also offers a separate SMTP bulk email marketing service which you can use to power automated or transactional emails from your WordPress site. You do not need this for email marketing campaigns, but it’s a nice functionality to have if you have a large website, and you want automatic real-time content based emails.
Drip is a powerful enterprise email marketing platform for eCommerce, bloggers, and digital marketers. They offer a wide range of tools to make marketing automation, sales funnels, and personalization easy.
Their email software offer seamless integration for all popular website builders including WordPress and WooCommerce. This allows you to easily add pop-ups / opt-in sign up forms to your website and capture more leads.
What sets Drip apart from the competition like Campaign Monitor is their intelligent marketing automation tools, smarter email segmenting, split testing features, list groups, and a visual automation workflow builder. These features allow you to reach targeted customers in your email list to get more sales.
Support options at Drip include live chat support, webinars, automation training, detailed courses, free guides and excellent documentation.
We use Drip for several of our businesses because it allows us to send bulk emails while connecting and engaging with every customer on a personal level using their smart eCommerce marketing automation.
Their eCommerce revenue attribution feature shows us exactly how much revenue we generate from each email marketing campaign.
Even though it’s a bit pricey, we believe Drip is the best email marketing software for eCommerce websites and business owners who want more advanced features to maximize their marketing efforts.
Drip offers a free trial, and their plans starts from $49 / month which includes all their features.
Recently, they’ve added SMS notification as a feature to all plans which allows you to connect with your users on both email and SMS marketing channel. This makes them a true all-in-one email marketing platform for store owners.
HubSpot is one of the most well-known softwares in the CRM and email marketing space.
Their email marketing service is free to start, and it comes with a lot of powerful automation features designed to grow your business.
You can use their easy drag-and-drop email builder and a selection of templates to create a completely custom newsletter that matches your brand’s personality and colors.
Because of the native integration with the HubSpot CRM, you can personalize your emails for each subscriber based on things like device type, country, list membership, or any other custom information you might have on the individual subscriber.
HubSpot comes with all the powerful feature you’d expect from an enterprise level email marketing software such as send time optimization, high email deliverability, A/B testing, detailed performance analytics, marketing automation, drip campaigns, and more.
One of the main reasons why small, medium, and enterprise customers choose HubSpot is because they offer an all-in-one marketing platform that includes email marketing, CRM, automation workflows, sales tools, website builder, operation hub, and more.
Hubspot Email Marketing has a free plan, which includes the CRM and all of HubSpot’s free marketing, sales, service, and operations tools.
The free version allows you to send 2,000 emails and store an unlimited number of subscribers. You can create custom signup and popup forms, build landing pages, manage and track your online ads, and more. It has all the tools you need to get started.
If you need more advanced capabilities, then their paid plans starts at $45/month.
ConvertKit is a robust email marketing platform for professional bloggers, authors, and marketers. It is extremely easy to use and incredibly powerful.
ConvertKit’s unique feature is that allows you to easily offer content upgrades and incentives with email signup forms. It also comes with easy to manage auto-responders allowing you to send drip emails from their emailing service.
With ConvertKit, you can easily segment subscribers into those who are interested and those who have already purchased. This helps you increase conversions with automated emails that feel more personal. In marketing terms, this is called targeted email marketing.
They have all the powerful features you’d expect from a top-notch email marketing service such as a/b testing, beautiful email templates, landing page builder, smart workflows, and more.
ConvertKit offers email based support and have extensive knowledge base with great learning material.
A lot of ConvertKit features such as paid newsletters are specifically designed for creators and professional bloggers that’s why we rate them the best email marketing service for professional bloggers.
They even added the ability for you to sell digital products & subscriptions from the same platform.
ConvertKit offers a 14-day free trial, and their pricing starts from $29/month. They also offer a 30-day refund policy.
Their Creator Pro plan also includes advanced functionality like newsletter referral system, subscriber scoring, advanced reporting, and Facebook custom audiences.
Moosend is an affordable email marketing service for small businesses. It comes with a suite of powerful marketing automation features, email list building tools, landing pages, and more.
You can quickly create an email newsletter and customize the email design to match your brand within minutes by either choosing from their dozens of pre-made email templates or by creating a completely custom template.
The nice part about Moosend is that they offer marketing automation features to all plans including the free plan. You can use their automation workflow designer to offer a personalized subscriber journey for your newsletter subscribers.
Moosend offer detailed email analytics that shows you important metrics such as email opens, clicks, bounces, product views, purchases, custom event tracking, and even predicted demographics data.
All plans come with powerful conversion optimization features such as A/B testing, email heatmap analytics, countdown timers, conditional content, AI-engine for product recommendations, popup forms, floating bars, newsletter signup subscription forms, and more.
Moosend offers a forever free plan for up to 1,000 email subscribers and unlimited number of emails (no credit card required). After that their pricing starts at $8 per month for their Pro plan which includes landing page builder, transactional emails for eCommerce websites, team management, and more.
AWeber is one of oldest and most popular email marketing service providers in the world. They offer a wide-range of tools for small and medium sized businesses to manage their email marketing.
Getting started with AWeber is easy. It connects seamlessly to most platforms including WordPress.
You get access to ready to use html email templates, list management, autoresponders, a/b testing, and email tracking with detailed insights.
AWeber also has other powerful email marketing features such as AMP emails, automatic RSS-to-email for bloggers, and tag based subscriber segmentation.
Support options include live chat, phone support, email support, live webinars, and a vast library of how-tos and tutorials.
AWeber offers a limited free plan for up to 500 subscribers. After that, their pricing starts from $19/month. You can also signup for quarterly or annual plans to save even more.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world primarily because they offer a forever free email marketing service plan.
Although we don’t recommend it anymore since there are better solutions available in the market, the sad reality is that we cannot create a best email marketing software list without including Mailchimp due to their shear popularity.
Mailchimp comes with an easy drag-and-drop email builder, autoresponders, segmenting contacts into groups, and simple tracking for analytics. It also allows you to setup delivery times based on user’s timezones, and you can setup segmenting based on geolocation.
You can easily integrate MailChimp with WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and many other platforms.
When it comes to marketing automation features, Mailchimp platform is quite limited when compared to other providers in our list such as HubSpot, Drip or ConvertKit.
In the recent years, Mailchimp has attempted to add many of the “advanced” features, but having tested many of these, they’re not truly advanced.
Mailchimp support is offered by email, live chat, and a large tutorials knowledge-base. However their support is often slow and no match to the quality of service that you get from Constant Contact.
Mailchimp offers a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers. This plan is fairly limited because you don’t get features like send-time optimization, advanced segmentation, multi-variate testing, etc. You are also required to display their branding in your email. Last but not least, support is restricted to email only which is fine if you’re a hobbyist but as a serious business, you need reliable support that you can count on.
Their paid plans start from $10/month for up to 500 subscribers, and the pricing increases in the increment of 500 subscribers.
However if you want unlimited audiences, advanced audience segmentation, multivariate testing, and comparative reporting, then you’d have to move to their $299 per month plan.
What to consider when buying email marketing software
Time and resources
It’s important to think about how much time you want to dedicate to your email marketing campaigns. Some email marketing software has a lot of advanced features that are useful for companies that place a high importance on email marketing and have the resources to create highly targeted campaigns that deliver results.
If you only want to spend a couple of hours a month creating email campaigns, then a simpler, more straightforward solution without all the bells and whistles is much more suitable for your business. And if you are new to email marketing — or email marketing software — then you need a product that is intuitive and easy to use so you can get up and running quickly and get results, even if you can’t spend a lot of time creating campaigns.
Pricing structures: Number of contacts and emails you send per month
Pricing for most email marketing software varies according to how many contacts you have, so be sure to check how cost-effective each pricing plan would be for your business’s situation.
Some plans allow you to send unlimited emails a month, while some cap the number of emails (this is especially common in free plans). Some email marketing products offer the same features no matter which pricing plan you choose — the only difference comes in the number of contacts you have — while others include more features in higher-tier pricing plans.
Free trials vs. free plans
Some email marketing products offer a free trial for a limited period (normally 30 days), and some solutions provide free plans with a limited feature set. While free plans are great for businesses on a limited budget, make sure the software you choose ticks all the boxes for your must-have features, otherwise you’ll need to invest in a paid plan.
Marketing automation or email marketing
If you want to create successful email marketing campaigns, you need to make sure you’ve integrated all of your different marketing functions, such as social media marketing and mobile marketing. For this reason, email marketing functionality is sometimes included in marketing automation software, while some software vendors offer stand-alone email marketing solutions.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022
Over the last two years, remote work and increased e-commerce transactions have caused a sharp increase in the number of online messages sent, including emails. It’s estimated that the daily number of emails sent and received in 2021 was roughly 319 billion, and that number is only projected to grow in 2022 as people continue to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, because of the increase in opened emails, companies will have to stay competitive with their marketing strategies to be heard through all the noise. Email marketing will become filled with user-generated content, including testimonials, reviews, and photos to try and reach like-minded customers. The more prospective customers see positivity from loyal customers, the more likely they’ll be to try your product or service.
With what’s being called “the death of the third-party cookie,” email marketers will also be trying harder to create personal connections with customers through email. When they’re no longer able to collect data, it’s important they have a loyal customer base to work with referrals. We can look forward to seeing more specialized deals, recommendations and language in targeted emails.
More of these emails, though personalized, will be automated, which means customers may receive more emails than ever before. Companies will be trying to deliver their messages in the most concise ways possible to get their point across quickly and make that connection over other brands. To do this, email marketing experts predict companies will ditch templates in 2022 in favor of plain text and pared-down descriptions. Bite-sized content, including short videos, will be on the rise as companies try to compete for customers in the age of content overload.