Top Email Marketing Software for 2021
Do you feel overwhelmed by the choices you have for email marketing software? Take a break and look over the reviews of the top email marketing software for 2021. You might find the one for your business.
Email marketing software has been around for a while. For how long is the question, as using email for marketing sort of evolved. The first email sent was in 1971 by ARPANET programmer Ray Tomlinson. However, the first email service launched was Lotus Notes in 1989. Granted, it would be a stretch to count that as the first email marketing software. Nevertheless, it paved the way for its development.
The more important question is if email marketing is even still a thing. The short answer is yes, but not as much as it was in 2019. The 2020 Marketer Email Tracker reports the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing at $34.56 for $1 spent. Compared to the previous year, that is a drop of $7.44. Nevertheless, ROIs like that for marketing are hard to come by. Choosing the right email marketing software ensures you get as much of that ROI as possible for your business.
Factors for choosing email marketing software
Choosing the right software will depend on a few key factors. Some might impress you with many bells and whistles, but you might not even need most of them.
The purpose is to create well-designed emails and send them to customer or subscriber lists. That’s it. You can do this manually, but software makes it much more manageable.
The cool thing about software that you cannot do manually is to track what happens after you send your emails. It can tell you if the recipients open the email, click on the links, and other stuff. That is important because open and click-through rates are mostly how you know your email marketing strategy is working.
The three most important factors that will come into play when choosing software are price, user-friendliness, and features. For the marketing of startups and SMEs, basic email features will be enough. However, you want something that is not only affordable but expandable and scalable as well.
The email marketing platforms listed here are all that. They also come with free trials or free plans so you can try them before you buy. Let’s dive in.
Top 5 email marketing software for 2021
Recommended for business that prioritize: Balance
Founded in 2001, Mailchimp is the oldest of the email software services companies on this list. That is not to say that older necessarily means mature. However, in the case of Mailchimp as a marketing tool, that is the case.
Mailchimp is very easy to use, and it has many valuable features without overdoing the complexity. Aside from creating, customizing, and scheduling campaigns, it also offers users A/B testing functions, user reports, and automation options.
Over the years, Mailchimp has added optional features and integrations. It has also branched out into CRM territory. However, it remains a familiar and affordable tool to benefit many startups and SMEs.
- Concise and clear reports to help improve email strategies
- Free plan for up to 2,000 contacts – no time limit
- Integration with a wide variety of software platforms
- Drag-and-drop interface for creating emails and customizing campaigns; ideal for first-timers
- Costly for businesses with more than 15,000 subscribers
- Lacks phone support
- Too limited for advanced marketing professionals
- Free-forever plan – basic email tools for up to 2,000 contacts; 10,000 sends monthly
- Essentials: from $9.99/month
- Standard: from $14.99/month
- Premium: $299/month (paid annually)
Note: The cost of paid plans will depend on the number of subscribers (15% off for nonprofits)
Recommended for businesses that prioritize: Automation
Do you like the idea of set and forget? If you do, then the email marketing services of ActiveCampaign are your best bet. You can set automation to welcome new subscribers, send emails when someone makes an inquiry or a purchase. You can also segment your subscribers to send them personalized emails. ActiveCampaign has hundreds of automation features for creating customized campaigns for each subscriber. When you run into trouble, it has an excellent knowledge base and customer support.
ActiveCampaign does not have a free plan. However, it does offer a 14-day trial for all plans.
- Easy data migration/implementation
- Excellent customer support
- Integration with 850+ software, e.g., Shopify, Salesforce
- Multiple automation options
- Option to include CRM features
- Challenging learning curve
- Limited features for Lite plan; includes branding
- Costly for a high number of subscribers
Pricing (starting at 500 contacts)
- Lite: from $15/month
- Plus: from $70/month
- Professional: from $159/month
- Enterprise: from $279/month
You can increase the number of subscribers per plan, but it comes with incremental increases in the overall price. For example, the Lite Plan with 1000 subscribers will cost you $29 a month ($25 if billed yearly).
All plans come with the basic features, and paying annually can give you up to a 40% discount. Nonprofits get a 20% discount.
Recommended for businesses that prioritize: Ease of Use
Started in 2010, MailerLite makes email marketing a breeze. It has an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface for creating email designs. It also has a streamlined look that will appeal to users that want a simple esthetic.
MailerLite is primarily an email marketing platform, so all subscriptions come with basic email features. Since it is so easy to use, anyone can start using it without too much trouble.
- Intuitive user interface
- Free to use with 1,000 subscribers or less (12,000 sends monthly)
- 24/7 customer support via live chat and email
- Wide range of email templates
- No CRM features
- Integrations with128 software
- Account setup requires a lot of information
The free plan comes with branding and just email support, so that can be a drawback. Therefore, to get rid of branding and get more support, you will need to subscribe to a Premium plan. It also has advanced features such as A/B split testing and click maps, so that’s good.
The monthly fee will depend on the subscriber size, and it can get pricey. However, you can get a 30% discount if you pay annually. Nonprofits get 30% off.
- >1,000: $10/month
- 1,001-2,500: $15/month
- 2,501-5,000: $30/month
- 5,001-10,000: $50/month
- 10,001-15,000: $75/month
- 15,001-20,000: $100/month
Recommended for business that prioritize: Price
If you have a tight budget, Moosend might be a godsend for you. Founded in 2011, the cost of software platform paid plans are less than its closest competitors. You can choose to pay on a subscriber or send basis. It is also easy to use for making and sending attractive emails.
- Free plan up to 1,000 subscribers
- Includes ready-to-use as well as customizable templates
- Low-cost and flexible plans. including the option to pay per send
- Phone support available
- Tiered pricing
- Inability to send emails from Hotmail or Gmail addresses
- Integration with limited software
- Less than sophisticated user interface
Pro Plan costs depend on the number of subscribers, but you do get unlimited sends. If you want an Enterprise subscription, then you will have to contact Moosend. You will receive 20% off if you pay annually. Nonprofits get 25% off.
- > 2,000: $10/month
- 2,001-2,500 subscribers: $20/month
- 2,501-5,000 subscribers: $30/month
- 5,001-8,000: $40/month
You can opt to pay per send. If you do, then you need to purchase Moosend credits. You can buy 1,000 credits for $1, and each credit equals one send. Additionally, you get all the features as the Pro Plan with this option.
Recommended for business that prioritize: Lead generation
Founded in 2013, Drip is relatively young. It is also innovative because it is an email marketing service that focuses on generating leads for e-commerce businesses. The workflows and subscriber segmentation allow for high personalization of emails. This is because it uses subscriber behavior on an eCommerce site as the basis for sends. As a result, subscribers get timely follow-ups and prolonged exposure to the eCommerce business to increase engagement.
- Effective use of the drip marketing strategy
- Easy to use
- Advanced subscriber segmentation
- Lacks drag-and-drop features for template customization
- Responsive customer support, but only on weekdays
- Some integrations, but missing key ones
- No free plan
Drip does not offer a free plan, but it does have a 14-day free trial. After that, you will have to subscribe to paid plans, the cost of which depends on the number of subscribers. For example:
- > 500: $19/month
- 501-2,000: $29/month
- 2,001-2,500: $39/month
- 2,501-3,000: $49/month
The tiers go up to 140,000 subscribers at a cost of $1,599 a month. Any more than that and you will have to contact Drip for custom pricing. While Drip is not the most affordable option, it can be worth it for the leads it generates.
Choosing the best email marketing software for your business is not hard if you know what you need. However, the problem is usually deciding what to prioritize. Before you decide, try each one in turn since they all have free versions. To assess each one properly, you will need to do A/B testing. That is the best way to find out which one is a good fit for you and your business.
Full Scale can help you integrate email marketing software for your business. We specialize in deploying subject matter experts to help run a business. We also provide developers, software engineers, and other professionals to benefit startups and SMEs to achieve tech maturity. Our founders Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson have years of experience as entrepreneurs. They know what they are doing. They have also been known to mentor and guide other entrepreneurs.
Contact us today and find out how we can help!