facebook_pixel

How To Choose The Best Email Marketing Software For You

Can I share with you two of the biggest lies in marketing?

  1. Email marketing is dead
  2. Your email marketing software doesn’t matter

Firstly, email marketing isn’t dead. No matter what that dude said on Reddit. It’s thriving, and it’s integral to making money online.

Secondly, your software – the platform you use to email from – really does matter.

The ‘just pick one and run with’ thinking of the past doesn’t work anymore. You need to find a client that works for you. One that does the things that you need. That gives you comfort and control over your list.

Because if you don’t have that, you’re setting yourself up to fail. And you’ll be wasting time and effort emailing people in a way that you shouldn’t be.

Now, who that client is for you is completely, well…down to you. But it helps to know what makes a client good, or bad, before you take the plunge and invest.

That’s what this article aims to give you….

What You Will Learn

  • Why email marketing is so important
  • How to choose the best email marketing software for you
  • The key features & benefits of each if the email marketing options
  • Who uses each email marketing platform & why

Why Is Email Marketing So Important?

As I mentioned before, there have been whispers in the Internet Marketing community that email marketing is dead.

I don’t know where they started, and I don’t know when they’ll end, but I do know this:

They’re lies.

Email marketing is as alive and well as ever. In fact, it’s still essential to making money online.

Because it gives you a lot of benefits you can’t get with any other form of marketing in the same way. It allows you to:

  • Have Unlimited Access: You can get in touch with your customers at any time of day, from anywhere in the world, in just a few clicks. And, best of all, they’ve given you the permission to do it.
  • Build Relationships: Whether you’re a solo blogger, or a big-time business, you can humanise yourself by sending personalised, valuable emails to your audience. Even from an autoresponder platform.
  • More Traffic: Having an email list means more people know about, and come to, your site. Because when you email them to let them know, they’ll come flocking in big numbers. Take a look at this traffic graph Matt posted about his own mailing list, every red arrow is when he sent an email to his list:

matt email traffic screenshot

  • Everlasting Love: No matter what happens – your site gets penalised, your wife runs off with the milkman, your husband decides to move to The Philippines to ‘find himself’, or you decide to pack in Social Media Marketing altogether – you’ll always have your mailing list to fall back on. If it’s managed well, it can serve you well for the lifespan of your business.

If your blog (or site, or forum) is where you connect with people, your email list is where you convert them to customers.

And if you’re always offering great value, relevant content and building relationships with them, they’ll always be there to buy from you in their numbers.

If you don’t have a list, you’re almost throwing money away.

Okay, that’s why it’s so important. Let’s take a look at the lists, then.

Email Marketing Software Comparison

There are a lot of different email marketing software platforms out there.

So, for the sake of my sanity and your time, I’ve only compared the best in my email marketing software comparison:

  1. Drip (powers this blog)
  2. Convertkit (highly recommended)
  3. AWeber (highly recommended)
  4. Infusionsoft
  5. ActiveCampaign
  6. GetResponse
  7. MailChimp
  8. Constant Contact

They’re popular. They’re at the forefront of the industry. And, there aren’t going to be any nasty surprises lurking inside for you.

Understanding The Research…

What makes perfect software for me, isn’t what makes a perfect one for you.

Because, well, thoughts like this are really subjective. Kind of like asking if you prefer a certain beer or food or type of person.

I’ve done everything so I limit that subjectivity from this. And while there will always be some of it (I’m a blogger, that’s life) that’s opinion, I want to keep it minimal.

I’ve based this on a few factors:

  • Price: Because who wants to spend $200 on something they can get for $20?
  • Ease Of Use: Is it more hassle than it’s worth?
  • Reviews: Positive and negative feedback and comments from users, either on the websites themselves, review sites or their respective Facebook pages
  • Comparison: How do they compare to each other for interface, efficiency, ease of use and so on

While it might not be as scientific as a university study, it’s a better than me saying, “Yeah, this one’s good” or “No, that one’s bad”.

I’d also like to make the disclaimer that I am not an affiliate to any of these products. I leave that stuff to the pro’s, like Matt. So nothing is driven by my desire to make money. Winner.

Okay, now you’ve got all of that is out of the way, let’s get stuck into the meat of it…

Drip: The Newcomer (And The Future?)

Matt recently moved the entire email marketing portion of his business over to Drip.

But that may seem an odd move for what is a relatively new tool on the scene.

drip

The truth is that Drip is one of the most advanced email marketing tools available on the market right now, and some of their tools could really shape the future of how we grow a business via email.

Let’s take a look at what makes it so different…

Pricing

I’ll be straight up with you:

Drip is not a cheap option. It’s not Infusionsoft expensive, but it’s relatively expensive in comparison to some of its similar competitors like Aweber and GetResponse.

You can start off on a free trial up to 100 subscribers to get a feel for the tool, which otherwise comes with all of the premium features except removing the branding.

But afterwards the prices begin at $41 per month for up to 2,500 subscribers:

drip pricing

However you get a serious amount of benefits for your money, as you’ll see in the next few sections.

Ease Of Use

One of the selling points for Drip is how surprisingly easy it is to use.

When you hear a lot about the features – creating workflows, adding in code for specific events – it can all sound a little overwhelming.

Especially if you’re like me and have zero experience coding outside of basic html.

However this was designed by people who know how to code, for people who have no idea what to do. Thus making it really accessible.

For example the Visual Workflows allow you to drag, drop and create processes as you’d imagine them on a whiteboard, and not have to guess what’s happening at each specific step:

visual workflows

They have an entire section on their site dedicated to this feature alone, which shows how confident they are in it’s ease of use.

But this ease of use doesn’t end at the automation workflows either. Every part of what should be a complicated process is explained in layman’s terms for you to understand.

Key Features

So let’s take a look at some of the key features of Drip and why it is now used to power this very blog.

Visual Workflows

You’ve been introduced to these in the last subsection, but they really are one the most important features of Drip.

Never before have you been able to craft a campaign with such precision, so easily, with a simple interface.

workflows two

Although you need to know what processes you’d like to set up – actions you’d like them to take – once they’re in place it’s literally a drag and drop system.

Events Not Lists

Many of the softwares on this list use lists to segment your mailing list. That is, they sign up to a specific section of your mailing list and they’re kept on that list.

For example, if you had a language learning site, you might segment them into:

  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn French
  • Learn German
  • Learn Portuguese

And they would all receive content based on that list that they’re on. However, Drip have managed to take a different direction.

Using their unique Javascript programming, the interactions on your email, or the site they click to after the email, allow you to send an email in response to that action (event) that they took.

So if someone reads a certain percentage of your email, clicks a specific link, buys a specific product, abandons their cart, updates their contact info or any other from a limitless combination of actions, you can send the perfect reply.

events drip

In the screenshot above Drip is automatically sending an exclusive SEMRush free trial to anyone that reads my SEMRush review.

If after 3 days they haven’t opened that email, it sends a slightly different email. I have a few campaigns like this setup.

This means that you can completely automate your entire process and lead people on a journey that you want them to take.

While Aweber’s email campaigns changed the game, Drip have come along and proved themselves to be MVP.

Automatically Resend Emails

When your first send out an email a huge portion of your list won’t open it. That’s just life.

But to get around that you always re-send the email with a different subject line to people that didn’t open it the first time, and get more eyes on your emails and content.

To do this in Aweber is an entirely manual process that takes five to ten minutes to do and you have to remember to do it on the right day at the right time.

But in Drip you just have to tick a box:

drip tick box

This feature alone is worth the purchase price in many cases!

Lead Scoring

If you read the Mailchimp section of this article you’d have seen member scoring. But Drip have, again, taken this to a new level.

Their lead scoring is based on how active these members are in your community, or how they interact with your emails, and rank them in order of how likely they are to become a customer.

lead rating

You can then use this information to find out more details about them, or create a list of likely customers that you can interact with and sent campaigns too.

This makes your mailing list a whole lot more profitable because you can see who the members are that you need to spend time working on.

Drawbacks…

You get a lot of bang for your buck here and it’s been really hard to come up with drawbacks.

In comparison to Aweber that offers a lot of the basic models of what this software does, you’re looking at paying $20+ more per month.

However you do get so much data and insight back that it will pay for itself in the long run.

But it is a much larger investment to make.

The visual workflows, although incredible and easy to use, can be a little overwhelming if you just want a plug and play email list to keep in contact with your customers.

This isn’t designed for a mom and pop blogger who just wants a casual mailing list. You’re only going to be able to invest here, and get the benefit, if you’re serious about marketing and online business.

They also offer a 100% free fully featured account for your first 100 subscribers.

ConvertKit: The Blogger’s Choice?

ConvertKit market themselves at professional bloggers (or people who would like to be that), and say that they offer the power of Infusionsoft with the simplicity of MailChimp.

They have a real small-team, homely feel about them. It’s professional and polished but feels as though you could directly contact the CEO without a second thought.

convert kit home

And there’s a few big names in blogging such as Leo Babauta and Joel Runyon who use the tool too. But should you be the next blogger on their list? Well, let’s find out…

Pricing

ConvertKit’s pricing is competitive with Aweber and GetResponse, although their divisions in packages fall slightly differently:

convert kit pricing

All of these packages come with unlimited everything– email sends, landing pages, email courses plus and others – and you only pay extra for growing in subscribers.

Unfortunately there’s no free trial available, but you can request a free demo with one of their team members to show you around.

Ease Of Use

ConvertKit has done a great job of simplifying their software for bloggers who are wearing lots of different hats in their business.

Where Infusionsoft and Active Campaign arguably give you toomuch data to work with, here you get just enough to know what you’re doing and make informed decisions.

Convert Kit has been designed from the ground up with ease of use in mind and honestly no one makes it easier than ConvertKit.

Key Features

ConverKit includes everything you need to get started with email marketing including forms, popups, landing pages and more.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are essential to helping bloggers capture email addresses. And usually you’d have to employ a third-party plugin to help you do that.

But ConvertKit, keeping bloggers in mind, has made them a part of the software and even created templates for you to use:

convertkit landing page

They won’t win any design awards anytime soon; but they are a great addition that can save you a lot of money investing in other tools when you’re just getting started.

Resend To Unopens

When you send an email you’ll usually get an open rate of around 20%. Maybe a little higher or a little lower depending on your relationship with your audience.

And, most of the time, we’re happy to write off that 80% that didn’t open off and just chalk it up as the way it is. But with this resend to unopens tool you can send the email out again – either with the same headline or a new one – to the people who didn’t open it.

This gives you ample opportunity to increase the amount of people who see your content, interact with your courses and read those important emails they might otherwise miss.

Drawbacks

ConvertKit is one of the best starter models for bloggers on this list. But in their simplicity of use it feels as though you lose out on a lot of great features you could get for similar prices.

Their campaigns and automations aren’t quite up to scratch with that of Drip and you’re pretty restricted in terms of what you can do after the first step.

They also don’t offer any level of A/B testing which means that when you want to start narrowing down what does work for your audience, you’re going to have to migrate.

Aweber: The Professional Marketer

Aweber is one of the big players in email marketing. But, as far as branding goes, they’re pretty humble about it.

There are no big claims or false ideals. It’s all about you and your connection to the people receiving your emails. Which, makes you kind of love them straight from the off.

aweber home

But good branding doesn’t always mean a good product. So, let’s get stuck in and find out what it’s really like…

Pricing

Aweber’s pricing is competitive. And, sits at a flat rate for a big chunk of growth, unlike MailChimp.

If you’re a small to medium sized outfit, and plan to stay that way, these prices might be a little more manageable for you than any of the others.

Because, while you will save $4 a month (give or take) with GetResponse, there are some features you don’t get elsewhere (more on that in a bit).

aweber pricing

For a bigger list, you’re going to need to get a quote. And I can’t say I’ve found sufficient reliable information on those prices to tell you whether they’re good or bad.

Ease Of Use

Aweber isn’t hard to use; but it can take a little getting used to.

If you’ve been around email marketing for a while, you probably won’t even notice any of the hard parts. But if you’re brand new, you might feel a little out of your depth at first.

However the templates for emails, input and output are all really simple to use. And, after a little practice, become much easier to use.

When Matt used Aweber to run the entire email marketing portion of this site (he’s now with Drip) he used it to create all of his:

  • Opt-In Forms
  • Autoresponders
  • In Content Sign Up Buttons
  • Pop Ups

And, he does it with ease. All of these can be set up in a couple of minutes and customised pretty easily, even if you’re like me and you’re not design inclined.

So, for ease of use, I’d say Aweber is the easiest to use once you are familiar with the interface.

Key Features

Aweber is definitely for the more data driven marketer. But, as a marketer, that’s what you need to get results. Because if you’re not data driven, you’re just guessing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, all of the platforms provide data on your campaigns. It’s just Aweber does it on a whole other level compared to, say, MailChimp. That being said, here’s the key features for you:

#1: Campaigns

After releasing campaigns in 2016, Aweber have used them to really change the game in Email Automation. The only real competitor to this feature right now is Drip.

Think of campaigns as an email autoresponder on steroids. When someone signs up you can guide them on the journey youwant them to take. And you can segment your list for even further optimisation.

Just some of the features include:

  • Send different autoresponders to segments of your list to boost conversions
  • Decide how long you want to wait between emails
  • Build email courses more simply than ever before

And it’s quite an exciting feature. Because, it’s just saved you a lot of time on what would normally take you hours.

Recently I setup an autoresponder for my German Expat Blog that helps expats learn German. Once they download a specific eBook on my site, they’re treated to the following email series:

deutschified learn german

It still needs a lot of refining, but it allows me to keep my audience engaged whilst I’m not there posting content.

You can create a campaign based on how someone found your site. And tailor emails specifically to them, without actually having to go through and do it manually.

So when someone comes to your site and signs up through a Pay Per Click ad, they’ll get a different email to someone who comes from Facebook.

Equally if someone signs up from a post about SEO, then you can send them specific emails only about SEO to be more relevant.

This, in itself, is worth that $4 more than GetResponse.

The campaigns aren’t time-consuming to set up, either.

Once you’re logged in and signed up, you can started on them in a matter of minutes, and have them going in no time at all, as they’ve shown in this tutorial right here.

#2: Mobile Apps

You can check in on how your emails are performing on the go now, with their new mobile phone apps. Letting you view and track your results on the move.

Which, if you’re like me and live with your phone in your hand, is a sexy new feature that isn’t offered by anyone else.

Perfect if you’re on the go, or only have limited availability to your computer (like you know, those pesky families that get in the way).

#3: Support

It has to be said that Aweber’s support is second-to-none. In fact, it’s probably one of the best support systems I’ve come across on the internet, ever.

And it’s often a deciding factor for people choosing Aweber over another provider.

aweber support

The Drawbacks…

For new marketers I’m struggling to come up with any real drawbacks for Aweber at the moment. They’re at the forefront of email marketing, and their pricing is incredibly reasonable.

Now that campaigns are in full flow and have worked out all of the kinks, you’re getting a lot of value for money.

The only major problem I can see is that they’re $4 a month more than Get Response. But with the engagement and traffic you can get – and eventually customers – that will pay for itself in the long run.

You’re also a little more pushed to using the Aweber templates for forms and emails. But, unless you’re design inclined, that’s not really going to be an issue either.

They have a fully featured 30 day free trial available if you want to try them out.

Infusionsoft: The King Of Integration

InfusionSoft is a little curveball here. It’s a name that mostly associated with corporate mailing lists, at least more so than any other email marketing software on this list.

But, they’re targeted at small businesses and boast a big ROI on using their mailing list. And, if you look at your blog, affiliate site or product, it’s really a small business.

infusionsoft home

So, if you’re making a solid living from it, it could be worth the upgrade.

Pricing

Infusionsoft have recently done away with a free trial and now they offer you a free demo that shows you the software. This can be delivered to you in one of three ways:

infusionsoft demo

Their prices are much higher than any of the competition on this list but they are so much more than just an email marketing platform and those prices are negotiable so bear that in mind!

If you’re a beginner, or not on huge bucks, you might want to look away now…

infusionsoft pricing

But, as one of my mentors once told me, “It’s not the price of the product. It’s if you can justify it”. And, with the prices that you do pay, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Let’s look a little deeper at that…

Ease of Use

Matt uses Infusionsoft for his product launch and SEO agency.

Not only is it relatively easy for him to use, it also came with a great many perks that other software just can’t compete with.

Things such as sending out physical postcards, letters, certificates, t shirts and chocolates.

matt old campaign

It’s half personal assistant, half email marketing software. But there’s still a few hurdles between you and getting your emails out there.

Which is a little more than you’d expect from your standard marketing software, right? Let’s look a little deeper at what makes it special, then.

Key Features

Here’s the two most important features of Infusionsoft:

Campaign Builder

The campaign builder is probably the best on this list, hands down. It’s not only one of the simplest I’ve seen, but it’s also incredibly comprehensive:

campaign builder

You can basically automate, segregate and manipulate any aspect of your emails for best results. Or, you can just set yourself reminders and plan your day.

For example, if someone completes an exam in the course – they get a congratulations email:

example #2

That is done automatically thanks to the awesome integration with LearnDash.

Equally if someone hasn’t logged in or completed a module for a while, it will automatically send an email to remind them-

reminder email

And to really add to the overall customer experience you can set it up so that when someone buys a product, it automatically sends a custom thank you postcard like this one:

business card

Matthew even uses it to dispatch physical certificates when customers complete the course and pass the final exam.

InfusionSoft is the combination of all the best bits of Aweber and GetResponse, with a lot more extras you didn’t know you needed.

Integration

Keeping with their commitment to small business, they’ve made themselves easy to integrate with almost any software you’ll be using.

That includes everything from eCommerce apps through to payment options and anything else your business might need.

Now, this is easy to overlook as just another feature.

But it actually makes a huge different when the stakes are high, because you’re not passing potential – or existing – customers through lots of different pages and payment options, risking them dropping off before they convert.

integration

You aren’t limited by a package or a certain selection of apps, either.

You’re able to swap, mix and match anything that works for your business, giving you a range of options that work for your customers, and give you a tonne of customisation and testing options.

That’s the pros, so let’s see the cons.

Drawbacks

The only drawback here is the cost. Because, if you are on a smaller scale, you’ve probably been priced out straight from the off.

Other than that, it’s hard to fault InfusionSoft. Much like Aweber you get what, if not more, than what you’re paying for.

And as Matt’s seen with his product launch, it’s battle tested and proven.

Active Campaign

Active Campaign is a well-established company in the email marketing world.

Since 2003 they’ve proven themselves to have a premier software that targets medium to larger email marketing needs.

active campaign homepage

But bigger doesn’t always equal better, so let’s put Active Campaign under the microscope and see how they perform.

Pricing

Active Campaigns pricing starts at $9 for less than 500 subscribers on their Lite package. And then increase to $17 for 1000, $29 for 2500 and continues to increase from there on out.

active campaigns pricing

This feels like a big ask for their lite package because it offers less than what Aweber and GetResponse, and they’re charging more for it.

If you’re working as a big team, or in the marketing department of a company, then you start to get a real return on investment from the Plus package onwards.

But you’ll be looking to invest $49 for under 500 subscribers for that.

So it really doesn’t feel like they’re offering much on the price front. But can that be outweighed by the ease of use?

Ease Of Use

The first impression of Active Campaign is a little overwhelming. The initial dashboard contains all of the data that you can collect and it’s hard to know where to start or what to look for:

ease of use 2

And once you get beyond the dashboard and into the individual features, it’s much easier to use.

Each tool comes with access to a back-end knowledge base that does a really good job of explaining what each tool does, and how you can get the results that you want from it.

There are lots of customisable templates on offer, including for your sign up forms and emails, that really plug and play.

You don’t need to know much about design to make them look professional.

And many of the marketing automation tools are behind plain-English written buttons so you know exactly what process you’re about to set up.

automation buttons

It can be a little confusing accessing your data and knowing what you’re looking at though.

While they pride themselves on being able to collect a lot of data, being able to present it in an easily digestible way feels like it’s a long way off.

Key Features

So let’s take a look at some of the key features of Active Campaign and what makes them different.

Drag And Drop Workflows

Much like drip, you’ll find drag and drop workflows where you can create visual email automations:

active campaign process flow

They don’t feel like they’ve just copied an idea from another tool, either. They’re comprehensive and really competitive as a standalone part of their own tool.

Although the Drip interface is much smoother, they work in a similar way.

However Active Campaign doesnt support the wide range of triggers that Drip does, eg when a person visits a specific web page.

Dynamic Content

Another standout feature is being able to create dynamic content. This is content that adapts and changes to the individual user that you’re sending it to.

This doesn’t just mean having names and personalisations in your content. Instead you can have your email content adjust itself depending on that user’s behaviour.

If they’re a hot lead, segmented into a specific category or have taken a certain action on your site, the email content they’ll see can be updated and changed.

Brilliant if you’ve got a wide range of topics and want to make sure the right people are getting the right messages.

However it should be noted that this is not a unique feature and can be done in Drip as well.

Drawbacks

It feels to me as though Active Campaign has too much. Every feature within the tool is well designed, well thought out and well planned, but I can’t help but feel there is too much going on to distract you from the main focus of the tool.

This is great if you’re a big company that needs to obsess about every minutia of data.

However if you’re a one person operation, or even a small team, it feels that you’re going to pay more for a lot of services that you’re never going to use.

You could save money going elsewhere, get similar (if not better) workflows, and be able to focus on the essential data.

In the past Active Campaign was a clear winner, but innovators like Drip have left them in the dust.

Get Response: The Best All Rounder?

Get Response is considered to be the easiest software to use for email marketing. After playing around with it for a couple of hours, I can see why, too:

get response home

It’s the essence of ‘no-fluff’ and just gives you everything essential that you need, and nothing extra. Which is probably what makes it the favourite of people like Neil Patel:

neil patel testimonial

However, sometimes the prettiest designs are hiding the darkest secrets. So let’s get in a little closer and find out what makes it so head and shoulders above the rest, eh?

Pricing:

Get Response offers the most competitive pricing options out of anyone for the features you get:

get response pricing

Or, in dollars, that breaks down to:

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $15 per month
  • 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers: $25 per month
  • 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $45 per month
  • 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $65 per month
  • 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $145 per month
  • 25,001 to 50,000 subscribers: $250 per month
  • 50,001 to 100,000 subscribers: $450 per month

Now I’m assuming most of you will be the region that I’ve bolded (forgive me if you’re higher than that) so I’ve focused mainly on that region for this information.

You can also have a 30 day free trial without credit card information with them too, so you can really have a play around before you immerse yourself.

Ease Of Use

Okay, I’m not going to lie…

This is really easy to use.

It’s kind of like one of those cell-phones with the really big buttons for old people to dial. Everything is where it needs to be, and there’s no awkward phrasing or confusing menus.

getresponse example

From logging in, to creating that email in the image above was less than 120 seconds. And, even as a rush job, it’s beautiful looking.

There are little icons that could be a bit better explained, or maybe a pop-up tutorial for your first email. But on the grand scale of things, that’s neither here nor there.

This seems to be a common theme with reviewers and commenters, too:

get response testimonial

Stand Out Features

There are three features that really stand out for me with GetResponse:

#1: Mobile Previews

Get Response was one of the first platforms to have responsive emails that change to fit a phone screen when they’re opened there.

And it’s still the only platform of the that lets you preview how it’s going to look:

get response mobile preview

In the depths of Mobilegeddon, and mobile accounting for anywhere between 15 and 70% of your email opens, this is a great feature.

Because you can see beforehand if there are going to be any roadblocks to people opening your mail.

#2: Design & Stock Images

It comes with a full iStock gallery from Getty Images, giving you the opportunity to create attractive emails without having to worry about sourcing images:

get response stock images

#3: Split Testing

GetResponse offers the most options for split testing. You can test up to five different versions of your email.

The more information you can get from your emails, the better. And while you may never use all five, you at least have the option.

The Bad Stuff…

This is a pretty solid platform for any email marketer, at any size of company. And there aren’t really many drawbacks to using it.

The only downside, really, is that while it is integrate-able with lots of third party software – like WordPress and PayPal – it doesn’t work quite as well as some of the other platforms available.

They have their own App Centre which is great and simple to use. And, the integration is still good, but it’s just not as good as other available platforms.

There’s also the issue that they may not cater to your preferred service, either. So that’s one to bear in mind.

Okay, that’s it for GetResponse for now, let’s look at MailChimp…

MailChimp: Basic But Beautiful

This is usually your first experience with email software. I know for most of the bloggers and clients I’ve worked with, they tend to start with MailChimp.

They’re simple and easy to use. And they have a free version that even your partially sighted 90-year-old aunt could get her head around.

mailchimp home

But I know few people who actually stay with MailChimp in the long run.

I’m sure they’re out there, but I don’t know any of them. And I’ve always wanted to know why, so I guess we’ll find out together right now…

Pricing

For small time projects and lists, MailChimp offers a free forever package that allows you up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month for nothing.

But if you’re looking for a bigger, paid option, they have that too.

What MailChimp offers in the pricing department – either positively, or negatively, depending on where you stand – is pricing bands.

Instead of working on a large range of 1,000’s or 10,000’s of people, it works in smaller increments of 500 to increase the price:

mailchimp price

That can be a positive, because it means if you suddenly exceed a threshold of people, you don’t see a huge spike in price.

It’s small and only costs $5 every time you grow until you reach the pro-marketer level.

But, that can also be a negative, because you’re being charged for growing your email list. And if you see a sudden influx in people your bill is going to jump up too.

That’s one to discuss with your accounts department.

Ease Of Use

MailChimp is really straightforward to use.

Like Get Response, it’s about making everything as easy as possible to use and find your way around. There are a few more hurdles to get from start to finish, but the end product is still as beautiful:

mailchimp ease of us

It can be a little confusing at times, especially if you’re new to email marketing. But, after an hour of playing around, you’ll no doubt be savvy enough to make it run seamlessly.

Key Features

The stand out features for MailChimp are:

#1: Templates And Flexibility

MailChimp has a great level of flexibility for your designs and templates. Instead of being steered towards one of their templates – which there are hundreds of, and you can use as often as you want – there is also the option to create your own, too.

For example, their design editor is beautiful and easy to use, if you’re into creating your own branding from scratch for each email:

flexibility mailchimp

#2: Member Rating System

List segmentation is rapidly becoming more important for marketers. That is, separating your lists based on different information such as interests or demographics.

This Member Rating system is really helpful in helping you identify leads, people of interest and the best ways to convert.

While it may not provide a breakdown of the exact emails you should send, it’ll let you focus your efforts for different subsections of people.

#3: Social Media Adverts

MailChimp also now offers integration with your Facebook and Instagram accounts to help you run ads and monitor your success through a third party dashboards.

mailchimp social media adverts

This is a really cool addition that I didn’t see coming from an email marketing software company.

And if you’re a new marketer it can help you simplified what would otherwise be a complex and tricky process.

The Drawbacks…

Okay, there are a few drawbacks to MailChimp that you need to be aware of:

  • Support: You can wait up to 24 hours for a response. And, while that might not sound much on paper, when things are going wrong can be an eternity. This has been known to extend up to 48 hours too.
  • Forms: You can only have one sign up form per mailing list, so you can’t test what works and what doesn’t easily.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Mailchimp frowns on affiliate marketing in their terms of service. So, if that’s any part of your income, I’d steer clear.

If you can deal with all of those – and there will be some of you who won’t even notice it – MailChimp isn’t a bad choice.

Constant Contact: Old But Gold?

These guys are one of those companies that you’ve probably never heard of, but have been around forever.

They’ve been around the game for over 16 years and they’re more focused on sending better email and providing constantly updated resources than ever before.

constant contact home

They have a bit more of a small time, homely feel about them. One that would fit well with small local businesses, parenting blogs and the like.

But, let’s see if they actually have the software to back it up…

Pricing

Constant Contact comes with the longest free trial out of everybody (aside from MailChimp’s free forever package) that goes on for 60 days.

They also only offer two plans: Email and Email Plus. Each coming with its own list of benefits.

constant contact pricing

Although you can’t see it on that image, Email plus comes with five extra benefits:

  1. Email Automation
  2. Event Marketing
  3. Online Donations
  4. Surveys & Polls
  5. Coupons

For which they charge you an extra $25 to $30 a month depending on the size of your email list. Which I’m honestly not sure if worth the extra money when automation comes as standard, for much cheaper, on Aweber.

pricing two

Ease Of Use

The site itself is really pretty to look at. And, finding what you want to do within the software couldn’t actually be easier.

It’s simple to find your way around, and quick to get from login to completed campaign.

constant contact campaign

The templates feature itself, though, is pretty hard to navigate. Which is a theme that carries on into the site, too. While you can find where you want to go, once you get there, everything takes a little longer than it needs to.

For example, it comes with a stock image database, but it’s just laid out in such a way that it takes much longer to deal with than the one in Get Response. But, it actually has one, which gives it an edge on some of the others here.

However actually creating an email is easy enough to do. And, whether you’re into design or using the stock templates, you’re pretty well catered to.

Key Features

There’s a couple of good features to Constant Contact, too:

#1: Quickest Delivery

This is based on reviews from other people, like this one, but it seems that they have the quickest delivery – both in tests and actual – out of every email campaign.

So, if you’re particular on time and delivery (which you should be with emails) this is a really big benefit for you.

#2: Simple Share Tool

Their simple share tool lets you get forms across any social media platform at the push of a button:

These can be personalised to each platform, and makes it easy to boost promotion of your list across social too.

The Drawbacks…

Constant Contact fans seem to be tubthumping, shout it at the top of their lungs fans…but they’re also few and far between.

It doesn’t feel like they really offer anything – other than a 60 day trial – that you can’t get on a different platform at a better price, or more in-depth. And after coming back to update this article a year later, nothing much has really changed either.

I’d suggest using the trial yourself (no credit card needed) to play around with it. But, if I’m honest, the real drawback here is that you’re not getting anything special, or that can’t be done better elsewhere.

And, The Winner Is…

It’s not winning or losing, it’s the taking part that counts, right?

Wrong.

But there’s no real winner or loser here because it’s impossible to say which is the best email marketing software, there are just different benefits to each email marketing software platform.

So, instead of giving you a one-size-fits-all verdict, here’s a breakdown for you:

The Best Email Marketing Software For Beginners

Aweber is the email marketing software that I used to build this blog so you know it performs.

It offers the right blend of ease of use, features and pricing for anyone that is just getting started.

They have a 30 day $1 trial available so feel free to take it for a spin!

HoweverConvertKit comes in a close second place and honestly choosing between them is just a matter of your personal preferences/needs.

The Best Email Marketing Software For Affiliate Marketers

Drip, all day. The marketing automation, level of customisation and the ability to control your customer’s journey is essential to affiliate success going forward.

Not only that but the level of data here is much better, for the right amount of money, than you’ll find anywhere else.

The Best Email Marketing Software For Bloggers

I’m going to have to go with Drip again here. It’s worth paying the extra money over Aweber for the tools and level of automation you get.

Drip will make life easier as a blogger because you can capture emails from literally anywhere on your blog, and use the workflows to help you plug any leaky holes you might have.

Plus I recently migrated this from Aweber to Drip so the proof is in the pudding.

The Best Business Platform

The best platform for business use by far is Infusionsoft.

It’s a no brainer. If you’ve got a decent budget, this is the email marketing software you want to be spending your money on.

Which email marketing software do you use? And why?

86 Responses

  1. Munir
    3.8.2016

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for that very informative post! It breaks everything down making it very simple to decide which email marketing software to go for. Was with Aweber when I started with online but realised it wasn’t doing me or my bank account any good. As beginners, saving up on those precious little pennies in every way is very important! Thanks again!

  2. Sheikh Ovais
    3.8.2016

    Hey James,

    This is real nice stuff. I read it till the end and it will certainly help me make a good decision. I must say, Thanks!

    – Sheikh

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 8th, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      No problem Sheikh!

    • mp3z
      February 18th, 2017 at 12:52 am

      I believe MailChimp actually does have a mobile preview autoresponder, which is super helpful as about 80% of our subscribers view campaigns over their phone. We currently use their Free Forever plan and love it! I can see us moving to a different company once we grow larger. Thank you for such a great, comprehensive post on this! Long live email marketing :)

  3. lusekelo
    3.8.2016

    Great detailed post Mathew.
    Fromo my point of view i think getresponse is the one of the best autoresponder in the market and it is best suited to begginers for its easy features to use and it is a bit lower(4 usd can make a huge difference for many people).I have been using getresponse for more than a year and i will recommend to anyone who is just starting out.
    When it come to high delivebility i think aweber is better than getresponse and i think that is why most pro marketers i follow online including you Matthew use it.The bounce rate is always lower and it has great features too.In my humble opinion i think it is slight better than getresponse and that is why i started using it too.
    I tried mailchimp i really never liked it and other autoresponder i really never tried them.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 8th, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Honestly I think deliver-ability most of the time is down to the content you put in the emails themselves and your record for been marked as spam more than anything else

  4. Theodore Nwangene
    3.8.2016

    Thats a very great and comprehensive comparison James,
    Whoever said that email marketing is dead really need his head to be examined because maybe he’s nut.

    The truth is that email marketing is alive and kicking now even more than ever and anyone who’s still playing with it is not serious at all.

    All services you mentioned here are indeed superb and like you said, i hate Mailchimp for the fact that they don’t allow affiliate marketing even though i still uses them from time to time. Their support is also very poor as you also pointed out.

    Finally, I’ve not used Aweber, Constant Contact and Infusion Soft before but so far…… I’ll got for Getresponse. I just love everything about them.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 8th, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      How long have you used GetResponse for?

      • Theodore Nwangene
        March 12th, 2016 at 2:36 am

        I’ve used them for a couple of months now. I think roughly 4 months.

  5. ISeenLab
    3.8.2016

    Hi Mattew,
    Awesome and brief article about Email Marketing software. I guess I have to go through GetResponse. 60 Days trial will help the new blogger to test and apply strategy.
    Thanks.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 8th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it :)

  6. Alex McGee
    3.8.2016

    Thank you James for the list. Just to let you know, we used mandrill but switched over to sendgrid not too long ago and we like it :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 8th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      They are entirely different services and are not email marketing platforms

  7. David Nixon
    3.8.2016

    We have tried Aweber in the past and it was ok. We are looking at Infusionsoft but just as you said James, the drawback is the price in comparison to the other services. Will check out get response. Thanks for the suggestions

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 8th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Well I can certainly confirm the price is worth it, plus if you get on the phone with them they have some HEAVY discounts if you ask :)

      • David Nixon
        March 8th, 2016 at 1:38 pm

        Didn’t know about the calling for discounts thing. Thanks for the insider info :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          March 11th, 2016 at 12:19 pm

          No problem :)

  8. Krsnendu
    3.8.2016

    Notable omission: ActiveCampaign.

    Many of the features for Infusionsoft for Getresponse prices.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Yes but after setting it up for a friend of mine, it lacks in an awful lot of areas at the moment.

    • Enrique
      August 7th, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      They don’t allow Affiliate Marketing. Maybe you don’t do affiliate marketing, but for me, Active Campaign and many other services weren’t an option.

  9. Claudio Shigueo Watanabe
    3.8.2016

    You should include Active Campaign. It is an InfusionSoft competitor ;)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Yes but it lacks an awful lot of integration features

  10. J***
    3.8.2016

    Great email marketing software here Matt!!

    This is one of the reason why I subscribed to your list :D
    Thanks for the effort of putting great info like this one :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it J*** :)

  11. Matthew Warren
    3.8.2016

    I don’t know that anyone necessarily thinks email marketing is completely dead; it’s just that there are a lot of alternative options nowadays that seem shinier and new.

    This is a great, comprehensive post, though, making email marketing easy and doable for just about anyone. Thanks for the tips and ideas.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Yes there are lots of options outside of email, but for me – it is still king and we are far from crowning a prince!

  12. Sasmita
    3.9.2016

    I was using MailChimp till now, & right now, I am seriously considering to switch over. I think I just got the much needed push. Thanks.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      What problems are you having?

      • Sasmita
        March 11th, 2016 at 9:59 pm

        When I started out email marketing, Aweber was the first service that I used. Everything was fine until a major gmail development (introduction of Primary, Social & Promotions Tab). All my mail went to Promotions tab. It was then I decided to change my service.
        Then I tried MailChimp. And, it was a headache. It took me so much time to do a simple things let alone about customization. I am not an expert email marketer but I can tell one thing, Mailchimp eats away a lot of your precious time.
        Most people start with Mailchimp because of the free offer, but they don’t realize how expensive it is costing them in the long haul. And, those who promote Mailchimp (some of the big guys out there), I would suggest them to give a try to other service providers before patronizing Mailchimp.

        • Matthew Woodward
          March 12th, 2016 at 8:56 pm

          How did you solve your promotion tab problem?

  13. Husnain Haider Abbas
    3.9.2016

    Good comparison Matthew, thanks for it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      No problem :)

  14. Kim N
    3.9.2016

    I feel some of these companies may sell my subscriber’s lists to other marketers. I’ve noticed the minutes I unsubscribed something i got more and more mails in my mail box and I know for sure I did not subscribe to some of them so now I just move them to spam – and yahoo sorted for me – this is the only way I can see to combat spam emails. my inbox is now only having emails i want to read.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      I don’t think thats the case with any of the providers here, however if a marketer was self hosting his email platform its possible that happens.

  15. Jesper
    3.10.2016

    Great post. But I want to add a service that is worth mention.
    I have mainly used GetResponse for the past 10 years and it has worked fine. Have also worked a lot with Aweber, Mailchimp and a couple more in my role as a email marketing consultant.
    But now I’m changing everything to ActiveCampaign.
    I do it because email marketing is much more than just sending newslettesr, and ActiveCampaign is in my opinion the best service, in relation to price, then i comes to marketing and automation features.
    Just a recommendation from my side. :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Yes ActiveCampaign is a good option but when I set it up for a friend it lacked a lot of the integration options I would like to see for a ‘fully featured’ automation suite

    • Enrique
      August 7th, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Jesper, when did you move to ActiveCampaign? GetResponse now has some impressive Automation Workflows. I think they added this feature this year or the last.

  16. Rich
    3.10.2016

    The main problem I see with these email marketing softwares is that if or when you decide to switch to another email management company, you could wind up losing half your subscribers due to the fact that most email companies do not allow importing pre-existing subscribers, so they make you have your subscribers opt-in again, and when that happens many people have been known to lose a bulk of their subscribers. So how do you handle that?

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Yes that is a huge risk, however if you jump on the phone with whichever company you are moving to it’s not always a problem.

      For example, importing people into Infusionsoft is super easy! But if you were to import them into Aweber, well by default they will force everyone to reconfirm via email!

  17. John Finkelde
    3.11.2016

    Matthew have you checked out Active Campaign? It’s powerful, affordable and support is excellent

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 11th, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Yes I set it up for my friends site but for me it lacked a lot of the integration options I would like to see in a fully featured marketing automation system

  18. Anna D'Andrea
    3.11.2016

    I believe MailChimp actually does have a mobile preview autoresponder, which is super helpful as about 80% of our subscribers view campaigns over their phone. We currently use their Free Forever plan and love it! I can see us moving to a different company once we grow larger. Thank you for such a great, comprehensive post on this! Long live email marketing :)

  19. Onehalf AU
    3.14.2016

    Great post James! This post is really helpful to people people who are planning to implement email marketing to their online campaign as well as those who are considering to change the email marketing they are using.

  20. John D.
    3.16.2016

    MailChimp is my personal favorite. I just can’t get enough of that little monkey!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 18th, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Monkey see, monkey do :)

  21. Swadhin Agrawal
    3.16.2016

    Hi Matt,
    I have recently thought about email marketing seriously. I was with mailchimp but honestly it is nothing better if you want to use email marketing for sales or anything.
    I think switching to get response would be a good decision.

    Thanks for the post. :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 18th, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      No problem Swadhin :)

  22. Mart Shark
    4.2.2016

    For techies in your audience, who are capable of hosting their own solution, Sendy.co is the best thing since sliced bread.

    You host it yourself and send mail through Amazon SES, so running costs are $0.10 per 1,000.

    Yes, you’re reading that correctly!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 3rd, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      The problem with solutions like that is they rarely integrate with things like LeadPages, Thrive Leads, OptimizePress etc etc etc

      • Mart Shark
        April 3rd, 2016 at 2:31 pm

        That’s why I said techies – most of the time we wouldn’t use those tools. We’d code those solutions ourselves.

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 5th, 2016 at 11:05 am

          Which then eradicates any cost savings by using a service like that, not to mention on going updates/development/bugs/testing

          • Mart Shark
            April 5th, 2016 at 1:01 pm

            It’s more than worth it for more control of the data and customisation of the process.

      • Mike
        August 8th, 2017 at 5:22 pm

        It integrates with Thrive Leads. The major drawback with Sendy (besides what a headache it is to install) is that you don’t get a whole lot of analytics and no split testing.

  23. Ellie
    4.18.2016

    Hi! Thanks for posting this! You’ve got my two biggest questions answered right away. I’ll start with GetResponse and see how it works for me. It seems that email marketing is underestimated.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 18th, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Thanks Ellie, glad the tutorial met your needs :)

  24. mp3 Womans
    4.19.2016

    Thank you James for the list. Just to let you know, we used mandrill but switched over to sendgrid not too long ago

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 20th, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Why did you make the switch? Also mandrill/sendgrid are not email marketing software clients, they are just for sending emails like WordPress logins etc

  25. jose jaramillo
    4.28.2016

    hi Mr. Woodward

    have a question about autoresponder

    have suggested this software

    rapid mailer

    who thinks the use of this software

    Thank you

  26. Palashtd
    5.30.2016

    Well, currently I’m using MailChimp. But I think Constnt contact will be very excelent.
    Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 1st, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      No problem Palashtd!

  27. Thomas Bass
    9.4.2016

    I’m loving Mailerlite! You need to check it out!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 5th, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Thanks for the extra suggestion!

  28. Antonio Matos
    8.7.2017

    Hi Matt,

    First what a amazing article so much to read but well organized I myself been using Aweber and is going well with them their customer support is amazing.

    This article I after to go over it again. So Matt until next time. Thanks again.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Are you using the campaigns feature?

  29. Steve Collins
    8.7.2017

    Why did you not mention Traffic Wave?

    It’s only $17.95 per month for unlimited emails, so you never pay more than $17.95 no matter how large your lists becomes.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:21 am

      I’ve never heard of it and it looks like a one man show versus an actual company. Looks like the kind of product you would launch on JVZoo, not the type of product/service to trust a central component of my business with.

      The fact that the price stays at $17.95 no matter how large my list becomes is an alarm bell in itself and tells me that company lacks proper planning and foresight for growth. Trust me, if I drop a list of 1,000,000 people on their and start dropping 100 million emails a month – the price wont stay at $17.95 for long until they are out of business.

      • Steve Collins
        August 8th, 2017 at 10:31 am

        The company has been going 17 years.

        • Matthew Woodward
          August 8th, 2017 at 1:16 pm

          Then it shouldnt look like a JVZoo startup

  30. Dan J
    8.7.2017

    Hi Matt, I’ve been using Get Response for about a year and it has a few more features that are nice to have to have and this includes marketing/email automation based on rules or triggers your create, a webinar system that actually works pretty good (I have used it), landing pages hosted by them that include templates as well as building your own from scratch via drag and drop that are mobile friendly with split testing and conversion tracking, and surveys with analytics. They also keep improving the features so it has been a nice experience thus far.

    Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Glad to hear you are having a great experience with them

  31. Steve Collins
    8.7.2017

    I currently use aweber but it’s getting expensive because my list is getting larger.

    Traffic Wave seems really good value at only $17.95 per month for unlimited subscribers.

    I just wondered what the catch was?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:16 am

      I’ve never heard of it but you get what you pay for

  32. Alex
    8.7.2017

    If you want to send out 100K or more emails I take it this is different tools as the price become restrictive, any chance you could do something on that type of scenario.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:16 am

      I sent out nearly half a million with Drip one month no problem

  33. Bill Lim
    8.7.2017

    There is a Free Open Source option – Mautic.org

    They offer a hosted option but you can also host it yourself and integrate it with something like SparkPost. Mautic has very nice features and the project is actively developed. Documentation can be improved but community support is decent. For those starting out and looking to minimize their expenses I suggest you take a look at Mautic.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Sounds like a lot of time expense which is counter intuitive to growing a business imo

  34. Mohammad Umair Ansari
    8.7.2017

    This was very detailed and insightful review. I think Aweber makes a lot of sense for starters because Mailchimp is too basic.

    My suggestion for email marketing tool migration is: If someone is using Mailchimp their next step should be Aweber and if someone is using Aweber then they should move on to Drip.

    BTW Matt, just add a comparative table or image or even a downloadable PDF for this article (more lead generation I guess. Just kidding. Do it before someone designs one for you for a juicy back link).

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Or just skip all the problems/stresses/costs/time of moving to Drip and do it right the first time :)

      Hahah if you want to build a comparison table, be my guest :)

  35. Rob Taylor
    8.8.2017

    Excellent article as always.

    Have you looked at “Mailit” by Brett Rutecky?
    Very reasonable on cost for someone new

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:13 am

      I haven’t seen it sorry but it looks like a junky JV product rather than an actual business with serious backers

  36. Steve Collins
    8.8.2017

    I notice your using double optin.

    When you used aweber did you also use double optin and why?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Yes and because I want people to actually engage with me and not be passive

  37. Marcin
    8.8.2017

    Good list. Never heard of half og them, so definetely have to test few of them

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 8th, 2017 at 10:12 am

      No problem Marcin, but Drip for the win :)

What are your thoughts?

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
542 Shares
Share385
Tweet138
Share6
+1
Buffer13