Best Email Marketing Service – 10 Platforms That Will Boost Your ROI

If you're looking for the best Email marketing service, I'm guessing you already know that email marketing is the most powerful way of converting visitors into customers.

So I'll skip the statistics showing that email marketing has a higher ROI than any other marketing medium.

Instead, I'll cut right to the chase – a review of the strengths and weaknesses of ten different email marketing platforms.

But before I start, a quick word about what to look for in an email marketing service (EMS).

best email marketing service

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and if you purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission. However, these affiliate links have not in any way affected my assessment of these products.

What To Look For in an Email Marketing Service

It depends, of course, what sort of online business you run:

Blogger / Course Creator / Solopreneur

If you’re in the knowledge industry (as most bloggers are) you probably need a certain amount of automation and list management. But not nearly as much as some of the EMS platforms offer.

As a course creator or a solopreneur you almost certainly need to segment your audience using tags.

Here are some examples of where you might need to do this:

  • tag your contacts based on which category of blog post they were reading when they joined your list – you could then send them content that matches their interest
  • tag people who have already purchased your course – (a) because you don’t want to send them sales pitches for a course they already purchased and (b) because they’re potential customers for your other courses.

Here’s a list of features you would probably want in an email marketing service:

  • Automated email sequences
  • Tagging and/or segmenting
  • resend emails to non-openers
  • Rules or automations based on subscriber actions within email broadcasts
  • Trigger links (links within emails that automatically add someone to a tag, an email sequence, or a list)
  • Opt-in forms (both embedded and popups)
  • Create and save email templates
  • Personalization
  • Analytics/reporting
  • A/B testing
  • Survey readers

Small to Medium Business / e-Commerce website

SMBs and e-Commerce websites need more complex contact management and email automation.

For example, they may need lead scoring, where visitors are given a score according to their actions on your website and in your emails. Once that score reaches a certain threshold, the prospect is qualified as sales-ready.

Or, they may need to create complex customer journeys based on triggers. When a customer takes a specific action, the marketing automation tool sends that customer a relevant email designed to lead them through a particular funnel or journey. These email journeys are usually based on complex if/when/then logic.

Here’s a list of features that a medium business and/or e-commerce website might need (in addition to the items listed above):

  • Marketing and business process maps
  • Landing page templates and builder
  • Real-time contact activity dashboards
  • Real-time contact journey maps
  • Automated and manual tagging
  • Nurture drips
  • Real-time call alerts
  • Advanced segmentation
  • CRM integration
  • Support 24/7

With that out of the way, let’s dive in!

1. Constant Contact

email marketing service - constant contact

Constant Contact was founded in 1995 and is one of the early email marketing platforms.

Walkthrough

Constant Contact provides basic level email automation. For example, you can segment your list based on various subscriber actions such as clicking a link, opening an email, or engagement:

email marketing service - constant contact

You can create email sequences that are triggered by certain actions or events:

email marketing service constant contact

And you can set the delay between each email in the sequence:

constant contact

But these are not the advanced, conditional automations that you see in some other providers. And although you can segment your subscribers according to various user actions, you can’t create tags and apply them to your subscribers.

Constant Contact offers a large library of smart, industry-specific email templates:

email marketing service

Email Deliverability

Constant Contact has an outstanding email deliverability rate of 89.4%.

Summary of Features

  • Easy-to-use, beginner-friendly
  • Email automation
  • Audience segmenting
  • Email sequences
  • Niche-specific templates
  • Personalization, using merge fields
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • A/B testing of subject lines
  • Landing page builder
  • Support via live chat
  • Popups
  • Unlimited emails
  • Unlimited contacts

Standout Feature

The standout features in Constant Contact are no limits on number of emails sent or number of contacts and the 60-day free trial.

Pricing

  • Email: $20 p/month
  • Email Plus: $45 p/month

'Email' includes the following:

  • Unlimited Emails
  • Customizable Templates
  • Branded or Industry Templates
  • Ecommerce Marketing Basic
  • Contact List Import
  • List-Building Tools & Welcome Email
  • Pop-Up Forms
  • List Segmentation
  • Facebook & Instagram Ads & Insights
  • Social Posting, InBox, and Monitoring
  • Google Ads
  • Landing Pages
  • Marketing Calendar

'Email Plus' comes with the following features (not included in the basic plan):

  • Automated email welcome series
  • Automated email behavioral series (trigger emails based on user behavior)
  • Subject line A/B testing
  • Dynamic content (personalize content based on city, state, job title, etc)
  • Event marketing through Eventbrite
  • Surveys
  • Polls
  • Coupons
email marketing service constant contact - pricing

Who’s It For

Small businesses who want to use branding in their emails and want a basic level of email automation.

2. Sendinblue

email marketing service - sendinblue

Sendinblue was founded in 2012, is based in France, and has a focus on SMS marketing.

The platform was originally designed for sending transactional emails but now handles advanced, condition-based, email sequences.

Walkthrough

Sendinblue offers advanced automation and the ability to segment your audience based on their actions:

sendinblue

You have access to a solid workflow builder that allows you to set the conditions that determine when automated emails will be sent:

email marketing service - sendinblue

The conditions available are quite detailed and allow you to customize your automations to a very granular level of user activity.

sendinblue

For example, you can trigger an email to be sent when a contact visits a specific page on your website:

sendinblue

You can use the workflow builder to create email sequences, such as a 7-day email course.

Sendinblue has a simple drag-and-drop email editor:

sendinblue

Email Deliverability

Sendinblue has outstanding email deliverability of 95.4%.

Summary of Features

  • Beginner-friendly automation tools that allow you to create workflows and segment users
  • Drag-and-drop email editorbest time to send bulk
  • AI algorithms help you send emails at best time of day for maximum email deliverability
  • Free email marketing plan that lets you send up to 300 emails per day (with Sendinblue branding)
  • Landing page builder, live chat, CRM, and Facebook ads integration (premium plan)
  • Pricing is based on the number of emails you send (not the number of contacts)

Note that the automation features described above only come with the Premium Plan ($71 p/month). This is quite expensive considering you can get these kinds of automation features on other platforms for much less.

Standout Feature

One of the strong points of Sendinblue is value, since pricing is based on email volume, and not contact list size. Another standout feature is the focus on SMS marketing.

Pricing

  • Free: up to 300 emails per day, unlimited contacts
  • Lite ($28 p/month): up to 40,000 emails p/month
  • Essential ($42 p/month): remove Sendinblue branding, advanced stats
  • Premium ($71 p/month): marketing automation, landing pages
email marketing service - sendinblue - pricing

Who’s It For

Good for SMBs who want a transactional email platform with good email deliverability. If those are the features you're after, Sendinblue is probably the best deal around. But if you want advanced automation, you probably need to keep looking.

3. Get Response

email marketing service - get response

Launched in Poland in 1998, Get Response is another of the first-on-the-scene email marketing platforms.

Walkthrough

This platform has masses of beautifully organized automations, including autoresponders, segmentation, workflows, and funnels.

get response

It’s hard to think of an automation that isn’t covered by Get Response:

Get Response

The autoresponders are fairly straightforward and what you would expect. For each autoresponder you create, you can see the open rate and the click rate for each cycle (i.e. each day) in the sequence.

email marketing service - Get Response

The workflows in Get Response are truly impressive. The list of conditions and actions that’s available seems to cover every possible scenario:

email marketing service - Get Response automation builder

You can either build your workflows from scratch or start with a template:

email marketing service - get response

Each of these templates has a specific marketing purpose, for example:

  • Scoring affiliate contacts template - lets you identify your leads based on the level of their engagement. It automatically adds or subtracts score for your contacts’ activity, such as email opens, clicks, or list signups. It continues to adjust their score based on how often they do the action you’re scoring them on.
  • Affiliate cross-selling template - automatically send a message to leads 7 days after they purchase to encourage them to take part in a new offer. It’s useful when you have a group of leads whose interests and behavior (spending habits, participation in your specials or events) show they might be interested in your premium offer – for example, upgrades or add-ons.
  • Upselling template - automatically send a message to customers 7 days after they purchase to encourage them to take part in a new offer. It’s useful when you have a group of customers whose interests and behavior (spending habits, participation in your specials or events) show they might be interested in your premium offer – for example, upgrades or add-ons. The template lets you:

You can segment your contacts on the basis of ‘lists’, ‘autoresponder settings’, and ‘time subscribed’:

get response

When it comes to designing your emails, Get Response offers a wide range of pre-designed templates, but you can also choose to ‘start from scratch’:

email marketing service - Get Response email templates

If you decide to ‘start from scratch’, you first choose a layout:

Get Response

And then customize it with images and text:

email marketing service - Get Response

If you don’t have a website, no stress because Get Response has a landing page builder. You can choose from a range of pre-designed templates or you can ‘build from scratch’:

Get Response

Email Deliverability

According to a February 2020 survey, Get Response’s email deliverability is towards the bottom of the class at 75.6%.

Summary of Features

  • Advanced workflows with pre-designed templates
  • Automatic list segmentation
  • Autoresponders
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • List scoring
  • A/B testing
  • Autofunnels
  • Landing pages
  • Webinars
  • Perfect Timing (predicts the best time of day to send out emails for better open rates)
  • Support by phone, live chat, and email

Standout Feature

Autofunnel – a tool with 30+ ready-made landing pages, email templates and sequences to generate sales.

Pricing

  • Basic ($15 p/month) - up to 1000 contacts
  • Plus ($49 p/month) - up to 1000 contacts
  • Professional ($99 p/month) - up to 1000 contacts

Note that Get Response’s pricing is tied to the number of contacts in your list:

Basic

  • 1000 contacts = $15 p/month
  • 2500 contacts = $25 p/month
  • 5000 contacts = $45 p/month
  • 10,000 contacts = $65 p/month

Plus

  • 1000 contacts = $49 p/month
  • 2500 contacts = $59 p/month
  • 5000 contacts = $79 p/month
  • 10,000 contacts = $95 p/month

Professional

  • 1000 contacts = $99 p/month
  • 2500 contacts = $119 p/month
  • 5000 contacts = $139 p/month
  • 10,000 contacts = $165 p/month

The Basic plan gives you:

  • Email marketing
  • Autoresponders
  • Unlimited landing pages
  • Unlimited automation templates
  • Sales funnels (1 funnel)
  • Unlimited lead funnels

The Plus plan is everything in Basic plus:

  • Automation builder (5 workflows)
  • Webinars (max 100 attendees)
  • Contact scoring & tagging
  • Sales funnels (5 funnels)
  • Work together (3 users)
  • Webinar funnels (5 funnels)

The Professional Plan is everything in Plus with the addition of:

  • Unlimited automation builder
  • Paid webinars
  • Webinars (max 300 attendees)
  • Unlimited sales funnels
  • Unlimited webinar funnels
  • Work together (5 users)
  • On-demand Webinars
email marketing service - Get Response pricing

Who’s It For

Get Response is ideal for medium-sized businesses that need the full array of marketing tools. Acts as an all-in-one marketing platform.

4. Mailchimp

email marketing service - mailchimp

Mailchimp was founded by the Rocket Science Group in 2001 and is based in Atlanta. This is an email marketing service and content marketing service aimed at bloggers and small businesses.

Walkthrough

Mailchimp has automation tools, but they are not on the same level as those of Get Response, Drip, or ConvertKit.

Mailchimp’s user interface is crisp and clean – nothing amateur about it at all. You can create your emails by starting with a template or a basic layout:

mailchimp email marketing service

The drag-and-drop email builder works in much the same way as any other email builder, with elements or widgets that you drag from the right panel and drop into the body of your email:

mailchimp email builder

Mailchimp offers some automation templates under the heading ‘Subscriber Activity’ and ‘E-Commerce’:

mailchimp automations
mailchimp automations

You can segment your list on the basis of a range of different variables:

mailchimp segmenting

In Mailchimp, you create an email sequence as a ‘workflow’, but this feature is only available in the paid plans:

mailchimp email sequences

Under the ‘Audience’ tab you can create tags and apply them to people on your list:

mailchimp - tagging

The Audience tab allows you to organize your list according to the tags you have created and applied:

mailchimp tags

Under the Audience tab, you can also create surveys for your list:

mailchimp surveys

Another cool feature in Mailchimp is the ability to create landing pages (so you don’t even need a website):

mailchimp - landing pages

You can even create an entire website:

mailchimp - build a website

In the ‘Reports’ area you can track the performance of the various marketing assets that you’ve created:

mailchimp - reports

Email Deliverability

Mailchimp’s email deliverability is middle-of-the-pack, at 81.6%.

Summary of Features

  • Tags
  • Segmenting based on geolocation
  • A/B testing
  • Email sequences
  • Landing pages
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • Email templates
  • Surveys
  • Email automations
  • Facebook/instagram ads
  • Google remarketing ads
  • Create a website
  • Social posts
  • Signup forms (embedded and popups)
  • Timewarp (time-zone based sending)

Standout Feature

Mailchimp is a robust email marketing platform that ticks all the boxes in terms of standard features. Its standout feature is the forever free plan: up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, with a daily send limit of 2,000.

Pricing

  • Free (up to 2000 subscribers)
  • Essentials ($9.99 p/month) 
  • Standard ($14.99 p/month)
  • Premium ($299 p/month)

Free:

  • 7 marketing channels (Email, Landing pages, Digital ads, Social media, Postcards, Automations, Signup forms)
  • 1-click automations
  • Basic templates
  • Marketing CRM
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Custom domains New
  • Websites Beta

Essentials (everything in Free plus):

  • All email templates
  • A/B testing
  • Custom branding
  • 24/7 support

Standard - everything in Essentials, plus:

  • Advanced audience insights
  • Retargeting ads
  • Custom templates
  • Event-based automation series

Premium - everything in Standard, plus:

  • Advanced segmentation
  • Multivariate testing
  • Unlimited seats and role-based access
  • Phone support
mailchimp - pricing

Who’s It For

Mailchimp is a great option for bloggers and smaller businesses, as it comes with a free plan. Or for anyone with less than 2000 subscribers who wants a free email marketing platform.

5. ConvertKit

email marketing service - convertkit

ConvertKit was founded by Nathan Barry in 2013 and is based in Boise, Idaho.

This is an email marketing service designed for writers, creators, and bloggers. It boasts some of the advanced automation features of other platforms but with a much more friendly and intuitive user interface.

Walkthrough

ConvertKit is the service I use, so I have more insight into this tool than some of the others in this article.

ConvertKit has a visual automation builder that allows you to create powerful automations that guide your subscribers through a buyer journey. The automations consist of a chain of events, actions, and conditions.

convertkit - automation builder

Events include when a tag is added or removed, a product is purchased, or a date is reached:

convertkit - automation event

Actions include adding a contact to an email sequence, adding a delay, or moving a subscriber:

convertkit automation - action

Conditions are either tags or custom fields:

convertkit - conditions

As you can see, this tool allows you to build quite complex automations based on certain conditions being met.

To get you started, ConvertKit comes with some pre-designed automation templates:

convertkit - automation templates

Email sequences are very easy to create and organize.

In the left panel, you see a list of the emails in your sequence and you re-order them by dragging them up and down. In the main panel, you see the text of the currently selected email in the sequence. And at the top, you set the time interval between each email.

convertkit email sequences

This has to be one of the standout features in ConvertKit – I haven’t seen any other email marketing platform that has such an easy-to-use sequence builder.

Another key feature in ConvertKit is ‘Rules’. Each time you add an optin form to your website, you need to create a new rule that links the optin form to one of seven possible actions:

convertkit rules

ConvertKit handles segmentation through tags.

In the ‘Subscribers’ area, you can create tags that can then be applied automatically to contacts who meet certain conditions in one of your automations. You can see a list of all your tags with the number of contacts in each tag:

convertkit tags

Unlike most of the other email marketing platforms reviewed in this article, ConvertKit offers only a plain text email builder. So if you want to send image-heavy emails full of branding etc, this wouldn’t be the right choice for you.

convertkit email builder

The reason for ConvertKit’s focus on plain text is that this tool is aimed at solopreneurs, course creators, writers, etc, and not at businesses or e-commerce websites. To put it another way, ConvertKit is aimed at people who are building a brand rather than companies that already have a brand.

There’s one feature in ConvertKit that bloggers and content marketers will love. If you’ve been blogging or content marketing for a while, you’ll know that content upgrades are a key tactic for quickly growing your list.

ConvertKit makes it super-easy to deliver content upgrades. When you create a signup form, there are two options for what happens after the visitor clicks submit:

  • redirect them to a URL
  • redirect them to the content upgrade that you’re offering

To do this, you simply (1) select the download option and then (2) upload the file to ConvertKit by clicking on 'Choose a file'. Your subscriber will then get the content upgrade immediately after they hit the submit button.

convertkit - email marketing service

Email Deliverability

While I’m a great fan of ConvertKit, I have to disclose (sadly) that their email deliverability (according to a Feb 2020 survey) is near the bottom of the class, at 60%.

Summary of Features

  • Drag-and-drop email builder (plain text)
  • Segmenting through tags
  • Visual automation builder
  • Rules that connect optin forms with sequences etc
  • Email sequences
  • Easy delivery of content upgrades
  • Re-send to non-openers
  • Landing page builder
  • Sign-up forms
  • 70+ direct integrations
  • Email support

Standout Feature

ConvertKit’s email sequence builder is the best I’ve seen – it makes it super-easy to organize your sequence, visualize it, and set the time intervals between emails.

The segmenting, tagging, and automation are also very easy to understand and use.

Another standout feature in ConvertKit is delivering content upgrades – I haven’t seen another platform that makes content upgrades so easy to deliver. It’s another example of how ConvertKit is designed for bloggers.

Pricing

ConvertKit’s pricing structure is slightly different from other email marketing platforms - the price rises according to number of subscribers, but everyone gets the same features:

  • 0 - 1K subscribers: $29 p/month
  • 1K - 3K subscribers: $49 p/month
  • 3K - 5K subscribers: $79 p/month
convertkit - pricing

Who’s It For

ConvertKit's philosophy is to provide the automation and list management features that you need without overwhelming you with technology.

ConvertKit makes these tools easy to use so that you can spend your time doing what's important to you - writing, creating, and so on. In other words, it's an email marketing service for people who want advanced marketing features but don't want to get bogged down in details.

This makes it a great fit for bloggers, writers, course creators, etc.

6. ActiveCampaign

email marketing service - active campaign

ActiveCampaign was founded by Jason VandeBoom in 2003 and is based in Chicago.

Walkthrough

This is a tool that excels at building logic-based funnels.

As you can see from the screenshots below, ActiveCampaign lets you build detailed and granular automations using complex if/when/then logic that corresponds to subscriber behavior.

activecampaign - automation builder
activecampaign - automation builder
activecampaign - automation builder

It’s not hard to see that this level of detail is way beyond what most bloggers would either need or have the time to understand and implement.

But for SMBs who have full-time staff assigned to email marketing, this platform clearly provides all the automation features you could possibly want.

The Contacts area allows you to do ‘lead scoring’ and apply tags:

activecampaign

In Active Campaign, you can tag a user according to the page they visit on your site You could then send them content that’s relevant to the page they visited.

One of the truly impressive aspects of this platform is the number of automations that come as ready-made templates. This automation template, for example, will tag a contact based on how many times they visit a particular product page on your website:

activecampaign - tagging

The platform will then send the contact follow-up emails related to that specific product. Powerful stuff!

To create an email in ActiveCampaign, you first need to choose between six different types of email campaign:

email marketing service activecampaign - campaign types

You create an email sequence using the automation builder referred to above:

activecampaign - email sequence

You can build your email sequence from scratch, or you can use one of the many automation templates:

email marketing service activecampaign - tagging

Email Deliverability

ActiveCampaign has very good email deliverability, at 90.2%.

Summary of Features

  • Subscription Forms
  • Dynamic Content
  • Email Segmentation
  • Split Testing
  • SMS
  • Site Messages
  • Facebook Custom Audiences
  • Conversations
  • Win Probability
  • A/B Testing
  • Predictive Sending
  • Predictive Content
  • Site Tracking
  • Event Tracking
  • Automation Goals
  • Automation Map
  • Attribution
  • Split Action
  • Gmail Extension for Chrome
  • Contact & Lead Scoring
  • Mobile App
  •  Support via live chat or email

Standout Feature

ActiveCampaign has possibly the best visual automation builder in the industry. The level of detail in the automations allows you to automate your entire email marketing based on your website visitors’ behavior.

Pricing

ActiveCampaign’s pricing is based on number of subscribers. The price points outlined below are for a list size of 500.

  • Lite: $15 p/month
  • Plus: $95 p/month
  • Professional: $199 p/month
  • Enterprise: $340 p/month
email marketing service activecampaign - pricing

The Lite plan includes:

  • Unlimited sending
  • Email Marketing
  • Send Newsletters
  • Subscription Forms
  • Marketing Automation
  • Chat & Email Support

The Plus plan is everything in Lite plus:

  • Facebook Custom Audiences
  • Lead & Contact Scoring
  • Integrations
  • SMS Marketing
  • Dynamic Content

The Professional plan gives you these additional features:

  • Predictive Sending (machine learning)
  • Predictive Content (machine learning)
  • Customer Attribution & Path to Purchase
  • Win Probability (machine learning)
  • Conversion Attribution Reporting
  • Split Automations
  • Site Messaging

Who’s It For

ActiveCampaign is best suited for small to medium businesses (SMBs) who want to get maximum leverage from visitor behavior so as to create highly granular marketing funnels.

The complexity that the automations allow for would only be useful or relevant on large websites with multiple product pages. For your average blogger or course creator, this platform would be overkill.

7. MailerLite

email marketing service - mailerlite

MailerLite was founded in 2010 and is based in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Walkthrough

This is the email marketing service I used before moving to ConvertKit.

MailerLite has a visual automation builder similar to those found in Get Response and ActiveCampaign:

email marketing service mailerlite - automation builder

After each ‘event’ on the automation, you can add another event, consisting of:

  • an email
  • a delay
  • a condition
  • an action
mailerlite - automation builder

In MailerLite, you build an email sequence using the visual automation builder:

mailerlite - email sequence

You can also view your email sequence as a list of items:

mailerlite - email sequence

When create an email (or ‘campaign’), you can use a template, create a new email, use a template from the template gallery, or base your new email on a previous email:

email marketing service mailerlite - create an email

If you create a new email, you can use one of the templates and customize it to your needs:

mailerlite email templates

(Note, however, that these templates are not available on the free plan)

The MailerLite drag-and-drop email builder is crisp and clean and one of the best I’ve seen. The content blocks are on the left side of the screen and the settings for adjusting those blocks are on the right side:

mailerlite - email builder

In MailerLite you can segment your audience based on a range of different factors:

mailerlite - segmenting

You can tag your subscribers using ‘Groups’ (aka tags):

mailerlite - tagging

When you create a signup form in MailerLite, you have a choice between popups and embedded forms:

mailerlite - optin forms

MailerLite now also offers landing pages. The platform gives you a range of templates to choose from, organized by category:

mailerlite - landing pages

The landing page builder, like the email builder, is clean, well-organized, and has all the content blocks you would expect.

Email Deliverability

According to a February 2020 test, MailerLite’s email deliverability is lower than average, at 78.4%.

Summary of Features

  • Visual automation builder
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • Tagging (through ‘interest groups’)
  • Segmentation of audience
  • Email sequences
  • Signup forms (embedded and popups)
  • Landing page builder
  • Personalization
  • Auto resend
  • Deliver by time zone
  • Click maps
  • Opens by location
  • RSS campaigns

Standout Feature

MailerLite’s standout feature is simplicity. It has a clean, intuitive design and you can start using all its features with a minimum learning curve or time investment.

Pricing

  • 0 - 1000 subscribers (up to 12K email p/month): Free
  • 0 - 1000 subscribers (unlimited emails): $10 p/month
  • 1,001 - 2,500 subscribers (unlimited emails): $15 p/month
  • 2,501 - 5,000 subscribers (unlimited emails): $30 p/month
  • 5,001 - 10,000 subscribers (unlimited emails): $50 p/month
mailerlite - pricing

Who’s It For

MailerLite is a powerful email marketing service with e-commerce integrations. It’s ideal for freelancers, bloggers, and small businesses who want an affordable email marketing solution that’s easy to use.

This platform doesn’t offer any super-advanced features. But that may be a plus for people who don’t want to get bogged down in details and just want to get on with creating content and running their business.

8. Keap (InfusionSoft)

email marketing service - keap

Infusionsoft was founded in 2001 by Scott and Eric Martineau and is based in Mesa, Arizona. As of January 2019, the company is known as Keap.

Walkthrough

Keap is primarily a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that also has email marketing features:

keap - email marketing service

Most of the email marketing features can be found in ‘Contacts’, ‘Broadcasts’, ‘Pipeline’, and ‘Campaigns’:

keap - email marketing tools

You can tag your subscribers in the ‘Contacts’ area, using a dropdown menu:

email marketing service keap - tagging

Keap has a powerful (but complex) automation builder that allows you to create workflows that are triggered when certain conditions are met.

keap - automation builder

You can either start from scratch or use a pre-designed automation template:

keap automation

The drag-and-drop email builder offers a range of email templates:

email marketing service keap - email templates

The content blocks in the email builder seem fairly limited compared to some other email builders:

keap - email builder

Email Deliverability

I haven’t seen any figures for Infusionsoft or Keap’s email deliverability.

Summary of Features

  • Dynamic content
  • Mobile appointments
  • Email templates
  • Landing Pages and Forms
  • Dynamic Content
  • A/B Testing
  • Lead Management
  • Campaign Management
  • Sign up forms
  • Success rate reports
  • AB testing
  • Auto-responders
  • Marketing ROI Analytics
  • Segmentation
  • Lead Scoring and Grading
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Online Behavior Tracking
  • Event / Webinar Marketing
  • Social Network Integration

Standout Feature

No single feature stands out in particular, but Keap is a powerful lead management tool with an impressive array of tools to help you keep track of your marketing leads.

Pricing

  • Keap Grow: $79 p/month
  • Keap Pro: $149 p/month
  • Infusionsoft: $199 p/month

The Basic plan (Keap Grow) includes:

  • Client management (CRM)
  • Email marketing
  • Business phone line and text messaging
  • Appointments
  • Quotes, invoices, and payments

The Pro plan has everything in basic, plus:

  • Marketing and sales automation
  • Recurring payments
  • Landing page builder
  • Smart forms and reports
keap - email marketing service - pricing

Who’s It For

Keap is an advanced CRM and email marketing service. The automation builder is quite advanced and offers much more detail than the average small business, blogger or freelancer would require. Suited for SMBs with a focus on e-commerce.

9. Aweber

email marketing service - aweber

Aweber was founded in 1998 by CEO Tom Kulzer and is based in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

Walkthrough

Aweber allows you to create automations but it doesn’t have a visual automation builder.

In fact, the automation in Aweber is quite rudimentary compared with some of the other services reviewed in this article:

aweber - automation builder

In the ‘Subscribers’ area, you can tag your contacts:

aweber - tagging

In the ‘Add tags’ box just type in the name you want to give to your tag:

create tags in aweber

In the ‘Campaigns’ area, you can create email sequences using delays to separate emails:

create email sequences in aweber

As a general comment, the user interface in Aweber looks rather dated (compared with a platform such as MailerLite). Aweber was one of the very first email marketing platforms and this may explain why it has a slightly 1990s look-and-feel.

Email Deliverability

At 85.4%, Aweber's email deliverability is above average.

Summary of Features

  • Subscriber segmenting
  • Autoresponders
  • Integrations
  • Sign up forms
  • Form builder
  • A/B testing for forms
  • Split testing for email subject lines
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • Email templates
  • Email analytics
  • Open and click rates
  • Conversion tracking

Standout Feature

Aweber doesn't stand out from its competitors in terms of its email marketing tools. Its standout features are (1) the number of email templates it provides (over 700) and (2) the level of support: phone, email. and live chat (and no requirement to wade through a knowledge base before you can ask for help).

Pricing

Aweber’s pricing is based solely on number of subscribers – everyone gets the same features.

  • 0 - 500: $19 p/month
  • 501 - 2,500​: $29 p/month
  • 2,501 - 5,000: $49 p/month
  • 5,001 - 10,000: $69 p/month
  • 10,001 - 25,000: $149 p/month
aweber - pricing

Who’s It For

Aweber is a basic but robust email marketing platform, ideal for bloggers, affiliate marketers, solopreneurs and small businesses who don’t want complex automations.

10. Drip

drip - email marketing service

Drip was founded in 2013 by Rob Walling and was acquired by Leadpages in July 2016. Drip (and Leadpages) is based in Minneapolis.

Walkthrough

I have to say at the outset that Drip is the most beautifully designed, user-friendly, and intuitive email marketing service of all the platforms reviewed in this article.

It’s so well designed, it’s actually fun to use!

Creating an email course is a breeze – just use the pre-designed template:

drip - email marketing service

The way Drip presents email sequences is second only to ConvertKit. You can see your entire sequence at a glance (the only aspect where ConvertKit has the upper hand is that in ConvertKit there’s a reading pane that lets you see the content of any given email in the sequence).

You can also see stats for each step in the sequence – that helps you identify drop-off points or emails that are not hitting the mark with your audience:

drip - stats for email sequence

In the ‘People’ section you can apply tags to your contacts:

tagging in drip

Use filters to create segments:

create segments in drip

When it comes to creating an email, you have a choice between a visual builder and plain text builder:

create an email in drip

In the Visual Builder, you can either start from scratch or use a pre-designed template:

drip email builder

In the Visual Builder, content blocks are on the left side and the settings for those blocks are on the right-side:

drip email builder

Drip comes with an opt-in form builder that lets you choose between ‘widget-based’ opt-ins, embedded opt-ins, or opt-ins hosted on Drip. The builder also allows you to choose the type of trigger for the opt-in:

drip opt-in builder

All of this is quite impressive.

But the most stunning part of the Drip platform is the automation builder. Of all the automation builders reviewed in this article, Drip’s is the easiest to understand and use. It’s also visually stunning:

drip automation builder

Email Deliverability

In a February 2020 survey, Drip didn’t perform too well, with email deliverability of just 78.8%.

Summary of Features

  • Customer insights
  • Behavior and event tracking
  • segmentation
  • Visual automation builder
  • Drag-and-drop email builder
  • Tagging
  • Revenue attribution
  • Multichannel automations
  • Flexible API
  • Email analytics
  • Unlimited users
  • Chat and email support
  • Opt-in form builder
  • Third-party integrations
  • MyDrip learning hub

Standout Feature

Every feature in Drip is beautifully designed but the standout feature is the automation builder. It’s intuitive, easy to understand and use, and beautiful to work with.

Pricing

Drip’s pricing is based on number of subscribers – at every price point, you get access to the full range of features.

  • 0 – 2500: $49 p/month
  • 2500 – 5,000: $122 p/month
  • 5,500 – 12,500: $246 p/month

Who’s It For

It’s hard to categorize Drip because it’s both advanced and beginner-friendly. Drip would be an excellent choice for anyone wanting to create complex marketing sequences. Ideal for advanced bloggers, marketers, and owners of e-commerce sites.

So What’s The Best Email Marketing Service?

Now that I’ve finished reviewing the different platforms, you’re no doubt asking yourself: so which is the best email marketing service?

Well, it’s not as simple as that. Because it depends who you are and what sort of online business you’re running.

To make the task easier, I’ve divided my audience into three categories:

  • Beginning bloggers
  • Experienced bloggers
  • Small to Medium Businesses / e-Commerce websites

Beginning Bloggers

For beginning bloggers, the best choices are:

  • MailerLite
  • Mailchimp
  • Sendinblue

Mailchimp's free plan will be particularly attractive to beginning bloggers who haven't yet monetized their blog.

Experienced Bloggers

For experienced bloggers, the best choices are:

  • ConvertKit
  • Aweber
  • Drip

ConvertKit is an obvious choice for experienced bloggers who want some serious email marketing tools but don't want to be overwhelmed with technology.

Small to Medium Business / e-Commerce website

For SMBs and e-Commerce websites, the best choices are:

  • ActiveCampaign
  • Keap (Infusionsoft)
  • Constant Contact
  • Get Response

These platforms all combine email marketing with CRM. Of these four, the two platforms that stood out for me were ActiveCampaign and Get Response, because of their automation builders.

Conclusion

If you began this article wanting to know which the best email marketing service is out there, I may not have answered your question.

But at least I have narrowed down the options for you, based on what kind of online presence you have:

  • Beginning blogger
  • Experienced blogger
  • SMB / e-Commerce

I hope this article will help you zero-in on the email marketing service that’s right for you.

This post was most recently updated on June 24th, 2020

Rob Powell
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