The best email marketing platforms help you achieve your business goals by providing reliable deliverability to the inbox, being easy to use and incorporating great customer support and community.
In this Email Marketing Ranking guide, I rank and review the 5 best email marketing platforms, so that you can make the best choice for your business.
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My Experience with Email Marketing Platforms
I got started with email marketing back in 2012, shortly after launching a wine blog I still run to this day.
Using email marketing software was much more clunky and lacking in options back then. These days it’s gotten much easier with drag and drop editors for building your landing pages, audience segmentation and even more advanced features.
Plus now, many of the services offer free plans to help you get started. With these plans you can build landing pages and signup forms to collect email addresses. Then you can send broadcast emails to your subscribers.
I’ve used multiple email marketing services over the years. I got started with Aweber, tried others, and eventually landed on ConvertKit as my current platform.
Email Marketing Terms
It’s important to understand the terms around email marketing, however they are often used inter-changeably:
- Email Marketing Service – This is a service offered by a company that helps you with email marketing for your business. The service includes the platform and software.
- Email Marketing Platform – The email marketing service companies each have their own platform for providing their service. The platform includes their software and ways to use the services they provide.
- Email Marketing Software – This is the software that you use to perform your email marketing tasks and is provided by the email marketing service company you choose. It’s web based and includes all the email marketing tools you need for your business.
As you research the different companies, you’ll find that each one uses different terms. So, for the sake of simplicity, you can think of each term as one in the same.
What are the Best Email Marketing Platforms?
Here are my choices for the best email marketing platforms, ranked in order of preference.
- Best For – Bloggers, creators and influencers.
- Pricing – ConvertKit offers a free plan with forms, landing pages and unlimited emails for up to 300 subscribers. Paid plans with campaigns and advanced features start at $9/month.
ConvertKit was one of the first email marketing services to embrace the notion of the modern digital creator. And ever since then, they’ve focused on building their tools and services around the creator community.
They’re a great fit for bloggers, YouTubers, influencers, small business owners and just about anyone who creates content and wants to market their business through email.
I especially appreciate ConvertKit’s ease of use and visual automations that give you the picture of your subscriber’s path (and their current status) inside your email funnel.
I also like that they have a constant focus on deliverability, giving your emails the best chance at landing in the inbox and not in the spam folder.
With over 560,000 users, including many well-known and famous creators, they are my top pick for this list and the email marketing service I currently use.
- Many pre-built forms and landing pages that look great.
- Visual automations that are easy to understand.
- Large and active community around the product.
- Built-in eCommerce platform for selling your own digital products.
- Advanced automation features and marketing tools to power your email marketing funnel.
- Best For – Businesses that are primarily focused on achieving customer sales through marketing automation.
- Pricing – Pricing starts at $29/month paid yearly for one user.
ActiveCampaign is a great fit for those who want email marketing software that combines email marketing, customer relationship marketing (CRM) tools and advanced marketing automation all in one place.
Also, one area that they consistently excel at is email deliverability. They have a great reputation for having the highest deliverability rates, year after year and survey after survey. If your top must-have for an email marketing service is deliverability, then ActiveCampaign will likely be your best choice.
One thing this company has never done is try to appeal to the simplest of use cases. Instead, they’ve built their email marketing software to be more robust and focused on your company’s sales process.
As an example of this, here’s what they say about their CRM functionality:
Automate contact management, score leads, monitor deals and pipeline, track tasks and keep your entire sales process moving smoothly.ActiveCampaign
Recently, when I was making a decision on which email marketing service to settle on, it came down to ActiveCampaign vs. ConvertKit. I came to the realization that my needs were not advanced enough for what ActiveCampaign provides.
With that said, as my business grows and my sales process matures, I fully expect to grow into ActiveCampaign in the future.
If you are at a more advanced point in your business and selling a product to your customers is important to you, you may want to consider ActiveCampaign as your top choice. Or, if you believe you’ll be growing into that need soon.
- Full email marketing suite.
- Over 850 automation recipes.
- Over 150 email templates.
- Advanced tracking and reporting (even with their Lite plan).
- SMS marketing add-on with advanced plans.
- Site tracking and lead scoring.
- Best For – Someone just getting started with email marketing and may need a bit of extra help and technical support.
- Pricing – Aweber offers a free plan for up to 500 subscribers and 3,000 emails per month. Paid plans with campaigns and advanced features start at $12.50/month.
What really sets Aweber apart from other email marketing services is their customer support. The support team is US based (not outsourced) and is staffed 24/7 to take your phone calls. When you need help and want to talk to a human, they’re ready for you.
Aside from handling questions on how to use their software, they’ll also do a good job diagnosing problems with your setup. If need be, they’ll get into the back end of things and work with the developers to solve your unique situation. It may take a bit, but this is something you won’t find with many other email marketing services.
Aweber offers all the normal email marketing features you’d expect to find, including signup forms, landing pages, email templates, email marketing campaigns, an autoresponder and segmenting.
If you are looking for a simple solution or are just getting started with email marketing and could use a little extra hand holding from support, Aweber is probably a good choice for you.
- WordPress plugin for website integration.
- Canva integration for creating images without leaving Aweber.
- Built in eCommerce solution with low transaction fees.
- Includes integrations with Facebook, Shopify, WooCommerce, Zapier and more.
- Web push notifications for directing your audience back to your website.
- Best For – Businesses (large and small) looking for an affordable solution that goes far beyond basic email marketing tools.
- Pricing – Moosend offers a free trial for 30 days. Paid plans start at $7.00/month paid yearly or $9.00/monthly.
Moosend is a “newer to the scene” email marketing service that has been quickly adopted by some large brands. Their client roster includes Gucci, Dominos, TEDx and other businesses with an online store.
What sets Moosend apart is they offer more advanced email marketing services and automation tools at a lower price than many of their competitors.
Since they are one of the newest email marketing services, they were able to immediately start with a modern software solution. Plus, they pride themselves on a more simple approach which appeals to newer email marketing software users. This approach has done well for them as they’re able to attract both large and small businesses to their service.
If you’re looking to make a switch from a less-robust email marketing software provider or want to start right off with more advanced tools, Moosend would be a good fit for your business.
Moosend would also be a good fit for those who demand a rich feature set but also require a lower price.
- Visual workflow designer.
- Pre-built automation templates.
- Drag and drop builder for emails.
- Landing page builder (drag and drop).
- Thorough email marketing education and tutorial videos.
- Spam filter testing.
5. Constant Contact
- Best For – Small established businesses that require email marketing tools and have a digital marketing and social media strategy for their business.
- Pricing – Constant Contact offers their Core plan starting at $9.99/month for email marketing. A 60-day free trial (no credit card required) is offered as well.
Constant contact is one of the longest running email marketing services, having started in 1995. Because of this, they’ve grown a deep understand of what small businesses require. They are able to offer both simple tools for email marketing and also advanced digital marketing tools.
Something to be aware of is that Constant Contact offers two different products, with significant difference in pricing between the two:
- Email and Digital Marketing (Starting at $9.99/month)
- Lead Gen and CRM (Starting at $199/month)
The Lead Gen and CRM plan includes email marketing. So if you’re looking for a robust, all in one solution then this plan is for you.
If you’re only looking for a plan with the usual email marketing tools plus a few other features such as social media posts, integrated Facebook and Instagram ads, landing pages and A/B testing then the Email and Digital Marketing plan will be a better choice.
- Built-in tool to post directly to social media accounts.
- Integrated Gift Card incentives.
- Built-in subject line recommendations.
- Automated resend to unopens based on time.
- Email click heatmaps.
- Advanced segmentation.
What is Email Marketing?
Email Marketing is a method of creating relationships and staying in contact with your audience, visitors and customers through automated email tools.
It involves using an email marketing service to obtain and store email addresses that people give you and to keep in contact with your audience in a one-to-many format.
By using email marketing software, you can automate the sending of emails to your audience at the time and frequency you choose.
Why is Email Marketing Important?
Imagine someone comes to visit your website. But then after reading your content, they leave, never to come back again.
That is a missed opportunity to establish a relationship with that visitor and possibly converting them into a customer of your product or service.
Now instead imagine that on your website, you offer someone a small gift for giving you their email address. That gift could be a coupon, discount code or informational PDF that helps them solve a problem.
By getting that person’s email address (with their permission, of course) while they are on your website, you now have a way to communicate with that person again, after they’ve left.
And, to their benefit, they’ve exchanged their email address for that small gift mentioned above. A win-win!
Now that you have their email address, you can then use an email marketing service to send them emails. This is the core of a good email marketing strategy.
With your service’s email marketing software you can now do the following by sending them emails:
- Invite them back to your website to read your latest content.
- Let them know about a special or discount you’re offering on your product or service.
- Send them a newsletter letting them know about the latest thing your business is up to.
- Invite them to attend a special event.
With email marketing you now have a way to communicate with and sell to your audience and not just let visitors pass by. And as a result, email marketing remains as one of the most important ways to grow your business.
Is Email Marketing Worth It?
Yes, email marketing is worth it because it allows you to communicate with your audience in an automated, one-to-many way using email marketing software.
What is the Best Platform for Email Marketing?
The best overall platform depends on the needs of your business and its budget. A business that is just starting out can pick a lower cost platform that covers basic email marketing needs. A well-established business can look for platforms with marketing automation features, a CRM and more advanced features.
Is Email Marketing Expensive?
No, not any more. These days there are email marketing services that have free plans to get you started with the tools you need.
Best Email Marketing Platforms – Summary
No matter which email marketing platform you choose, you’ll get all the tools you need to start collecting leads and sending emails out to your customers with their entry-level plans.
What is really comes down to is price versus features and whether you just need the basics or an advanced email marketing solution.
If you’re just getting started, go with an email marketing service that is low in price. You can learn a lot from there and then, as your business gets more advanced, so can your email marketing tools.
If you’re part of an established business with increased marketing automation needs and budget, then choose one of the companies that offers more robust services.
Finally, as you’re looking at the best email marketing platforms, also keep in mind some are more modern than others. Especially the newer ones.