As in any business, your list of prospects and customers is a valuable asset. You protect that asset by regularly communicating with the people on your list. But what’s the best email marketing tool to use?
In today’s cloud software world there are many different options to choose from, so let’s look at the ones that make email marketing easy and effective.
Why Do I Need an Email Marketing Service?
Sending emails to individual recipients is easy with your email client (either straight from your computer or a web portal like Gmail). But they aren’t intended to be used to send out email blasts to larger lists. In fact, if you do bulk emailing from your account, you’re likely to get shut down as a spammer sooner or later.
Instead, an email marketing service is the tool you use to send out bulk emails to share your news, announce new promotions, or even send out an annual email update to your extended family (if you really want to optimize your personal life!).
All the services in this article let you organize your contacts into lists, add new ones via a signup form or integrations with other online apps, send beautifully formatted messages with a few clicks, and then analyze how your emails are performing.
Categories of service
Many email services offer a variety of options, from the no-frills email newsletter to drip emails and marketing automation.
Quite a few on this list are comprehensive tools; however, I tried to limit them to the ones that offer simple to intermediate level email options.
Email Marketing Services for B2B Writers
To make your emails look good on mobile and desktop, use Benchmark Email’s well-designed email editor to pick from a variety of layouts for text and multimedia components and change color schemes in a few clicks.
One key feature of Benchmark is its international flavor. Change the language of the interface from English to Spanish, Chinese, and more, plus take advantage of their dedicated email servers and email delivery management to ensure your emails comply with all privacy laws around the world.
Pricing for Benchmark: Free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 14,000 emails per month.
One of the few on this list that gives you a real data-driven look at your subscriber list, Campaigner (aka EmailDirect) lets you interact with your entire contact list as a relational database. You can store as much data about your subscribers as you want, and then divvy them all up as you like.
Pricing for Campaigner: Starts at $19.95 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers.
Billed as “email marketing for small business,” Campayn has a number of features aimed at the small business owner like you. You can import contacts from a variety of apps including Gmail and other email clients, and it helps you maintain an updated contact list very easily (including social media info).
Choose from a variety of free or paid email templates to customize your emails, as well as customizable signup forms. They even have full screen signup forms you can use on your tablet or computer while at an in-person meeting or live event.
Pricing for Campayn: Free for up to 500 subscribers and 20,000 emails per month.
Possibly the only email service created just for writers, podcasters, service-based business owners, course creators, and YouTubers, ConvertKit is designed to help any content-driven business owner get their content out to subscribers easily and elegantly.
Design landing pages to capture subscribers, set up a series of emails to go out to your list to keep them updated on your business with the drag-and-drop scheduler, and see simplified stats about your email campaigns on your dashboard.
Pricing for ConvertKit: $29 per month for unlimited emails to 1,000 subscribers.
Drip is targeted mainly at business owners looking to power up their marketing funnel. It includes powerful tools to help automate your emails, identify the best leads, target the right information to the right subscriber based on their interest and actions, and track your performance.
Drip includes a visual workflow builder so you can schedule each email message at the right time and powerful automation so you can set up triggers and actions based on a wide variety of subscriber information or actions (such as sending a follow-up email two days after they click a link in one of your emails).
Pricing for Drip: $1 per month to send unlimited emails to 100 subscribers.
Emma customers benefit from advanced automation options, creative email templates, and a new twist: dynamic content.
Because Emma stores as much data about your list as you want, you can send unique content to each subscriber and only have to design one email.
Pricing for Emma: $49 for 2,500 subscribers and 15,000 emails per month.
This is another email service that has great email templates, including industry-specific ones that are easily customizable. Just take a look at their samples here.
Alongside privacy options that conform to laws around the world, FreshMail also lets you create different versions of your emails with and without images, so you’ll know exactly how it looks if subscribers don’t want the images.
Pricing for FreshMail: Free for 500 subscribers and 2,000 emails per month.
Since we spend almost 90% of our time using apps on our mobile devices, with the most popular apps being social media and email, it’s important that our email newsletters are responsive to mobile.
GetResponse understands this and lets you preview how your message will look on different devices as you’re creating it.
It has a very friendly user interface that lets you import images from online sources such as Flickr and iStock, copy and paste text from previous emails with the snippet feature, and even schedule your emails by dragging them to the appropriate date on a calendar.
Pricing for GetResponse: $15 for unlimited emails to 1,000 subscribers per month.
Many freelance writers shy away from using an email newsletter service because they think it’ll be too complicated to set up and use.
Mad Mimi understands this and created a service that’s just focused on emails. It’s up to you to turn on the rest of the email marketing features the service has (or not). It’s your choice.
When you log in, Mad Mimi shows you simple stats from your previous email on the front page, with an image of the email to remind you of how it looks.
When you create a new email, you’ll see a simplified editing page with themes based on color schemes and content blocks you click and drag into the editor.
When you’re ready for more advanced options like drip emails or social media integration, you can turn them on with a single click on the Add-Ons page.
Pricing for Mad Mimi: Free for unlimited emails to 100 subscribers, $10 per month for unlimited emails to 500 subscribers.
Perhaps the granddaddy of them all, MailChimp is a robust service that’s serious about helping you send awesome emails.
It has a drag-and-drop email editor that makes it simple to create your emails, and detailed subscriber profiles that track everything from your contacts’ information to the way they interact with your emails. (Did they open and click a link, or just open it?)
MailChimp has a smart “brain” that helps you find the best time to send your emails based on the data it’s stored from everyone else’s email campaigns, and creates smart lists from your contacts based on other email newsletters they’re subscribed to.
Pricing for MailChimp: Free to send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers per month.
If you’ve been sending your newsletter for a while now, you may want to migrate to a service that better meets your needs and offers you more options.
Sendloop has an easy-to-use migration assistant to import your subscribers from any number of email services.
Add the Sendloop code to your website, and you’ll find out which pages your subscribers visit and more, so you can dial in your email marketing even more.
Pricing for Sendloop: $9 for unlimited emails to 500 subscribers.
Looking for the simplest way to compose and send emails to your subscribers? If you have less than 5,000 of them, TinyLetter may be for you.
It’s a no-frills way to compose and send plain text emails. Create a landing page for people to sign up on and then use the WYSIWYG editor to create your message.
If you’ve ever written an email in webmail, then you can use this. Plus, since it’s owned by MailChimp, you can export your information easily and grow from there.
Pricing for TinyLetter: Free.
Over to you
An email list can be an important part of your marketing funnel, but it’s often one of the more daunting things to set up. I hope this list of service providers helps demystify the idea of email marketing to your audience, and is a good starting point for you.
For those of you already using an email marketing service, how is it working for your business? Share your experience in the comments.