As a small business owner, you need to use your money wisely and there are a lot of things you have to invest.
When it comes to digital marketing, Email marketing software is one of them.
However, there is probably more than a hundred software in the market. How are you supposed to know which is good? and more importantly, how are you supposed to know which is good for your business?
The answer is pretty simple. The best way is to test them by yourself.
It sounds a lot of works, right?
But the good news is that you don’t have to do it one by one by yourself as I have already done that for you.
Below are the ones I have tested and I think that these are best email marketing software for small businesses in 2019.
I assure that, after you finish reading this article, you will find it easier to choose the one that fits your email marketing needs.
Table of Contents
- Factors I considered before recommending these email marketing software
- 8 Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses
- So which email marketing software is right for you?
- If you own an ecommerce business…
- If you are a blogger…
- If you sell emotion-driven products like food or clothing or consumer products people use in their everyday life…
- If you sell a software as a service product…
- If you need CRM that helps you manage pipelines…
- If you are just starting out and want to test how email marketing software can help you small business…
- If you are serious about email marketing and want to use software that you will not soon outgrow…
- Over to you
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Factors I considered before recommending these email marketing software
There are a lot of things small businesses have to invest already. Email marketing software should not cost you an arm and a leg.
2. Ease of use
Recommended software should have good user experience and user interface.
Deliverability is actually one of the most important things. Regardless of features, it’s useless if emails don’t reach
Nowadays, Email marketing software is not used for sending email campaigns anymore. At least, they should also have
5. Integration Ecosystem
There’s no one size fits all; each software should play well with others.
8 Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses
ActiveCampaign is one of my favorite and I’m currently using it for some of my & client sites. It’s feature-packed and starts from as low as $9 a month (if paid yearly).
ActiveCampaign is best known for its automation feature; you can automate emails (and SMS for some countries) based on users’ behaviors and demographics. Its email builder is also intuitive and easy to use.
Apart from Automation and basic email marketing, other notable features that make ActiveCampaign to be more than just an email marketing softwares are subscription forms, site tracking, lead scoring, basic CRM, Facebook audience syncing and site messaging.
ActiveCampaign also has one of the largest integration ecosystems in the market.
In my opinion, ActiveCampaign is suitable for businesses that want to leverage the power of data and need more than just a basic email marketing feature.
And if you look at its pricing page, you will see that ActiveCampaign is not just built for small businesses but also for enterprises. So it can grow as you grow and you will not outgrow it easily.
If you want to learn more about it you can request a demo or try it for free for 14 days with no credit card required.
Mailerlite, as stated in its name, is a lightweight email marketing software.
In my opinion, two best things about Mailerlite are its ease of use (as its founder is a UX/UI Designer) and its pricing (you can start using it for free for up to 1,000 subscribers and after that, if you want to upgrade, it’s still a lot less expensive compared to other competitive software).
Mailerlite’s downside is its features. As you can see from its homepage, its slogan is “Advanced Email Marketing Made Simple”.
If you just want a software that helps you deliver messages to your audiences via email, Mailerlite is one of the options you should consider. But if you want to use advance features like site tracking, complex automation system, it may not be the best option for you.
You can start using it for free for up to 1,000 subscribers. After that, its plan starts from $10 per month ($7 per month if paid annually).
SendinBlue is the only option in this article that helps you deliver both (email) marketing messages and transactional (email) messages.
Transactional (email) messages are messages sent to users after they perform some specific actions like purchasing products, resetting password or account activation.
Its business model is also unique (compared to other email marketing software) as it won’t charge you based on how much users you have in the database but it charges you based on emails you send to users.
Based on my past experience (a few years back, I used SendinBlue for almost a year), I think that SendinBlue is feature rich and not expensive. If you have a lot of contact but you don’t email with them often or if you owns an eCommerce site or SaaS (software as a service) that needs both marketing emails and transactional emails, SendinBlue is definitely worth consideration.
You can start using it for free if you send less than 300 emails per day. If you need more than that, it starts from $25 per month with 40,000 email sending limit per month.
Drip positions itself as a ECRM (ecommerce Customer Relationship Management) platform which simply implies that if you do ecommerce and you use email to sell products or services, Drip is the one for you.
Drip’s main features are site tracking, email campaign, marketing automation and personalization.
What I like the most about Drip is its workflow builder and analytics & reporting which is pretty straightforward and easy to use (we found it easier and less confusing than a comparable software like ActiveCampaign).
Workflow builder helps you see your automation workflow visually making it easier for you to set triggers and actions.
If you want an email marketing software that focuses on bringing in more customers (and more money), Drip is the one for you.
You can start using Drip for free for 14 days and after that, it starts from $49 per month.
P.S. this may sound expensive to get started but if Drip can help boost your sales, you will soon realize that it’s worth investing.
Here comes, MailChimp, the most famous email marketing software in the market.
What I like about MailChimp is its good user experience and user interface. Another good thing about MailChimp is that you can buy Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and Google Remarketing Ads directly from MailChimp (This feature is a unique one that other software in this article don’t have).
What I don’t like about MailChimp is it treats an identical contact in different segments as different people (for example, if you have 1,000 identical contacts in 2 segments, you will have to pay the price of 2,000 contacts) and its automation feature which is very basic.
Furthermore, as MailChimp is widely used, its deliverability could be an issue (the more people use MailChimp, the more difficult for them to manage their ip reputation). Based on my experience, emails sent from MailChimp are likely to be categorized as promotion in gmail.
Despite these pitfalls, I still think that MailChimp is a good email marketing software for people who just starting out.
You can start using it for free for up to 2,000 subscribers with 12,000 email sending limits per month.
ConvertKit is probably one of the newest email marketing software in the market but it’s being used by a lot of content creators (because ConvertKit was specifically built for them).
What makes ConvertKit different than others are that, firstly, it focuses on creators; their software will only be built to serve only creators, not ecommerce, SMEs, publishers or others. Secondly, it believes in authenticity. It means that you can’t send fancy emails with big images, colorful buttons and other attractive visuals. You will be allowed to send only emails in plain texts with limited design.
This doesn’t sound good but, in my opinion, ConvertKit will be really powerful in the hand of the right one (creators) as this shows how focused it is.
If you are a professional content creator, ConvertKit’s ease of use and focuses will help you make the best out of email marketing.
You can start using ConvertKit for free for 14 days and after that, it starts from $29 per month.
GetResponse is one of the oldest email marketing software in the market.
Apart from its basic email marketing feature, it also has advanced features like automation, site tracking, lead scoring, basic CRM, landing pages and, a unique feature that other email marketing software doesn’t offer, Webinar.
In my opinion, GetResponse is good for small businesses as even in max plan (one of its higher plans), you can add only up to 5 users and businesses that use webinar as part of their sales processes (i.e. coaches or software-as-a-service businesses).
It’s also worth mentioning that Getresponse has offices in 6 countries (Poland, USA, Canada, Russia, Brazil and Malaysia) so regardless of your timezone, you will definitely get fast support.
You can start using GetResponse for free for 30 days and after that, it starts from $12.30 per month for its annual plan.
HubSpot is not just an email marketing software but it positions itself as a complete Inbound Marketing Software for small businesses and enterprises. Nevertheless, if you just need a good email marketing software that will grow with you, HubSpot Marketing Hub (starter plan) could be a good option for you.
Apart from its email marketing feature, it also provides features like form creation, ad management (for Facebook Ads & Instagram Ads), conversational bot (which helps you do lead qualification, meeting booking and others).
HubSpot also provides one of the best free CRM software in the market so, after you convert of qualify your leads, you can use its CRM to develop and maintain relationships with your customers.
One of its major drawbacks is that it can be very expensive for small businesses once your contact list gets larger and you need more advance features from HubSpot.
HubSpot Marketing Hub (with email marketing feature) starts from $50 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers. If you need more advance features like marketing automation, landing page, video hosting & management and others, its professional plan starts from $800 per month.
So which email marketing software is right for you?
If you own an ecommerce business…
Your main goal is to sell your product so you need an email marketing software that helps you sell the right product to the right person at the right time; in other words, software you are going to use must be good at personalization and automation.
If you are a blogger…
You build authority by providing values to your audiences through content so you need an email marketing software that helps you convert them to be your subscribers and communicate with them in an authentic way.
If you sell emotion-driven products like food or clothing or consumer products people use in their everyday life…
Social media plays an important role in your business because your products are related to visual and interaction.
Your email marketing software should be seamlessly integrated with social media like Facebook or Instagram i.e. if your potential customers abandon their shopping cart, software you use should be able to sync custom audience to social network so that you can do remarketing ads to them.
The best email marketing software for emotion-driven and consumer products are MailChimp as you can buy ads (Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and Google Ads directly from the platform). Alternatively, you can use ActiveCampaign or Drip as they offer a feature that integrates the software with Facebook custom audience.
If you sell a software as a service product…
You will definitely need a transactional email service that sends emails to greet your new users or reset user password. Plus, It’s likely that you will also need to have email onboarding sequences.
Sendinblue, which provides both marketing and transactional email services, could be a good option for you. Alternatively, you can use MailChimp for marketing emails and Mandrill (owned by MailChimp) for Transactional emails.
If you need CRM that helps you manage pipelines…
CRM & Pipelines make your sales process more efficient as they help you track stages of your clients and keep past records of your interactions.
And it’s even more powerful if your CRM & Pipelines are synced with email marketing system (like you use marketing emails and automated emails to qualified your leads and once they are ready to be sold to, they will be added to CRM & pipelines).
If you are just starting out and want to test how email marketing software can help you small business…
Once you surpass its free tier (300 emails sent per day for Sendinblue, 1,000 subscribers for Mailerlite and 2,000 subscribers for MailChimp), you can later evaluate whether you outgrow them or not. If it still works well for your business, then don’t switch but if it’s not, you can then look for alternatives.
If you are serious about email marketing and want to use software that you will not soon outgrow…
Of course, you need to make an initial investment but it’s not always a bad thing. When you invest in something, it’s likely that you will commit yourself to it so the chance of you being succeeded in email marketing will also be higher.
In regards to the last two options, there is no right or wrong. I think it’s a matter of choice. We all have different preferences & conditions. It’s best if you choose what you think works best for you.
If you are unsure how to pick software for your business, this article that discusses 7 Factors to consider when choosing software for business could be of help.
Over to you
Have you already decided which email marketing software you will go for? or are there any other options that are good for small businesses but are not included in the list? Do let me and other SoftwareWise’s readers know in the comment!