To grow your business, nothing beats email marketing. It will help you drive leads, nurture relationships, and build powerful automations.
But for that to happen, you need email services that are simple to use, with advanced features you can tap into as you grow.
After trying and testing most top-named email service providers, these are the ones I recommend for start-ups and SMBs:
Keep reading for a quick dive into the pros and cons of each.
MailerLite is one of your best email services if you’ve got a tight budget. There are some advanced features you won’t find here (like adding someone to a list when they click on a link), but you can easily create beautiful emails, automated campaigns, and forms that get the job done.
- Free for 1-1,000 subscribers (12,000 mailings)
- $10 for 1-1,000 subscribers (unlimited mailings)
- $15 for 1,001-2,500 subscribers
- $30 for 2,501-5,000 subscribers
- $50 for 5,001-10,000 subscribers
To add subscribers to lists, you’ll create forms that you add to your website. There are two types of forms: embedded and pop-ups. It’s easy to add, filter, and organize your subscribers. If you need to modify a subscriber’s settings on their profile page. MailerLite also provides GDPR functionality to keep you compliant.
Your emails, with MailerLite, can look incredibly professional. Using their drag-and-drop interface, you can create blocks of content that rival your favorite big brands.
It’s easy to changes fonts and colors to ensure your emails have the same look and feel as your website. You can also set up smart email automations, based on the user’s behavior and your campaign strategy.
With MailerLite, you get a lot of advanced features at a reasonable price:
- Newsletter templates
- Built-in photo editing
- Website builder
- Custom landing page design
- Auto resend
Constant Contact has been a leader among email services for more than a decade, and they’re still one of your best options. They give you a one-stop-shop for email marketing, ecommerce, websites, and social marketing.
- $20 for 0-500 email addresses
- $45 for 501-2,500 addresses
- $95 for 2,501-10,000 addresses
You can upload contact lists from Excel, Outlook, Salesforce — or wherever you store your contacts. You can also add new contacts in-person, on your website, from Facebook, and more. So list building is easy.
You can segment contacts based on engagement — sent, opened, clicked — with your previous email marketing campaigns. That lets you follow up with contacts who show interest, and reach out to those who haven’t.
Select contacts from any of your account’s existing lists — and even from multiple lists — to build a new segment. Then create email marketing campaigns tailored specifically for them.
You have lots of automation options with Constant Contact.
- Greet new subscribers with a timely welcome email
- Trigger email series based on where contacts click
- Segment contacts to send the right message every time
- Automatically resend emails to non-openers
- Expand your reach with powerful list-building tools
They also support:
- Surveys and polls
- Dynamic sign-up forms
ConvertKit is the affordable alternative to Keep (previously InfusionSoft). Packed with advanced email marketing features but priced for just about any business, this is a smart option for growing your business — especially if you’re a blogger or run an affiliate website.
What I like about ConvertKit is that you don’t work with lists. Instead, you organize your subscribers with tags that you create, based on their interests, activity, and more. That makes it easy to segment your emails and send the right message to the right person at the right time.
- $29 for 1,000 subscribers
- $49 for 1,000 to 3,000 subscribers
- $79 for 3,000 to 5,000 subscribers
- $119 for 10,000 subscribers
As mentioned above, with ConvertKit, you have one list of subscribers that you manage with tags. You can easily add and remove tags, so your list stays clean.
When you set up an email campaign, you simply choose the tag or tags you want to include and list any tags you want to exclude.
Forms are very simple to create, and you can make as many as you want. With this email service provider, you’ll create a unique form for each campaign or product, making it easy to create highly customized email marketing campaigns.
When you create a form, you can customize it as much as you like:
- Require a double optin or not
- Send users to a landing page
- Give them direct access to a free download
- Tag them and put them into a unique follow-up campaign
You get the idea.
Create one-off email blasts, or set up automations and sequences with if-then rules that give you a lot of granular control over your campaigns.
You can also integrate your RSS feed to send weekly blog posts directly to your subscribers’ inbox.
And the emails look good. No chunky layouts that look like they came from the early days of computing. Everything you send out will look sleek and modern.
If you want advanced features at an affordable price, ConvertKit is your top choice. And if you’re trying to make money as a blogger, there’s no other email service that was designed specifically for you. Try ConvertKit today. I know you’ll like it.
You can get your first month for only a dollar, then pay monthly, quarterly or yearly. Paying quarterly can save you $32 a year. Paying yearly, you’d only save $2 more. In my opinion, paying quarterly is the best option. But that’s just me.
The pricing below assumes you’re paying monthly, and there’s no limit to the number of emails you send.
- $19 for up to 500 email subscribers
- $29 for 501-2,500 subscribers
- $49 for 2,501-5,000 subscribers
- $69 for 5,001-10,000 subscribers
- $149 for 10,001-25,000 subscribers
- Need more? Contact them for pricing.
With AWeber, you’ll create a list first, then import your list and/or create a form to collect new subscribers.
AWeber also uses tags and customer fields to help you segment your emails, so you can get the right message to the right people.
Tags can be applied manually or automatically, based on opens, clicks, purchases, visits, location, or the form they fill out.
Very impressive. You have 400+ options, so you can find the style, size and color that matches your website. You can customize the layout, wording, and fields, and you have an option to split test your forms.
Want to add forms easily to your website? Use AWeber’s WordPress add-on. You can also connect your Unbounce and AWeber accounts to create, publish and A/B test landing pages for your lead gen and email marketing campaigns.
Again, very impressive. You have more than 150 email templates, and you can adapt the colors and layout to match your website. Or you could have your emails match your sign-up form. If you prefer text-only emails, you have that option as well. You have total control over the layout of the text version.
It wasn’t hard to customize a template so it had my branded look. Also, once you’ve created one newsletter, for instance, you can turn it into a template and save time on formatting future issues.
You can create as many auto-responder campaigns as you want, and each one could have a different look and feel, since you have so much control over the sign-up forms and emails.
AWeber integrates well with social media. You can automatically create emails from your blog posts, or send weekly digests. When you send out a newsletter, you can have it automatically sent to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Your emails can also be published online.
Email Marketing Features You Need
All of these services do a good job of scheduling emails, SPAM checking, and testing your deliverability. All of them offer great reporting features and technical support.
- MailerLite is so intuitive, I haven’t needed support.
- Constant Contact assigns a support person to you, so you can actually talk to a person when you have questions.
- When I emailed AWeber with a question, I got a prompt, detailed answer.
- ConvertKit will give you personalized support if you need it.
When choosing your best email service provider, try not to look at pricing alone. Think long-term about how you’ll use email to grow your business. And think in terms of your tech stack. Double-check that the email service you like best integrates with your other essential business tools.
After that, it’s a matter of what you like best…
If you’re cash-strapped and need to get an affordable solution, MailerLite and AWeber good options.
If you want person-to-person assistance, I recommend Constant Contact.
When it comes to advanced email marketing features that you won’t outgrow, ConvertKit wins my vote.