5 Best Email Marketing Platforms for Small Business
A review of the top 5 email marketing services to launch your business's first email newsletter. Find & compare the best email marketing platforms of 2021.
A simple email is still considered the most effective way to get in front of your audience. Email marketing allows you to directly connect with hundreds, if not thousands, of new prospects as well as keeping in touch with your existing customers. And with complete email marketing solutions available for businesses of all sizes, anyone can now create, optimize and deploy a great-looking email newsletter. To get started on your first email newsletter, you'll first need to decide on which service to use. In this article, we'll list the best email marketing platforms available for small business owners with the pros and cons of each one.
Why is Email Marketing Important?
As more and more companies are turning to email marketing as a means of expanding their sales and customer base, it is vital you understand how email can benefit your operations.
Email has been an indispensable tool for businesses for decades. It builds brand awareness, fosters relationships, generates leads and even propels growth, all without much cost to the company. In fact, the return on investment is really high for email marketing (4400%!). However, you have to choose a service that’s going to deliver for you and your business.
The Best Email Marketing Services at a Glance
To help you narrow the field to a reasonable number of candidates, we’ve pitted our top five in a bit of an email marketing cage match. Let’s see who comes out on top:
|Platform:||Starts at:||Free trial:||Learn more:|
|Constant Contact||$20/mo for 500 contacts||30 day free trial with credit card||View plans|
|iContact||$15/mo for 1500 contacts||Free plan until upgrade||View plans|
|Benchmark||$15.99/mo for 500 contacts||Free plan until upgrade||View plans|
|AWeber||$19.99/mo for 500 contacts||Free plan until upgrade||View plans|
|Mail Chimp||$10/mo for 500 contacts||Free plan until upgrade||View plans|
Easy-to-Use Email Marketing for Small Businesses
www.constantcontact.com is our favorite email marketing platform and first on our list. After all, this is the one that we use for our own HTGO newsletter. Constant Contact provides hundreds of customizable templates that look good and are mobile friendly. Your leads and contacts can be imported using Excel, CSV, or TXT file formats – or even directly from Salesforce. Their templates support multi-media functionality with the ability to integrate video, survey, and payment processing links into the body of your message. More advanced functions are included in their Plus packages, offering more online storage, trackable coupons, automation and event registration. Most importantly, their platform is one of the easiest to use and is perfect for beginners. One drawback is that you must contact support (even with a paid plan) to manually remove their logo advertised in each email newsletter footer.
- Straight forward & easy
- Powerful features
- Email automation
- Free 30-day trial available
- Mobile responsive templates
- $100 custom template design
- Stock image library
- Mobile app available
- 1GB storage included
- A+ customer support
Simple & Affordable Email Marketing That's Quick to Get Started
www.icontact.com is easily one of the most popular email marketing apps currently available, notably for its ease of use on the design end, but also for its social media integration. Social buttons are already integrated into their templates, all you have to do is fill out your social account information when you set up your profile and they will automatically be included in your campaigns. Another great feature is the ability to create custom surveys, which help engagement and drive traffic to your sites. Templates are fully customizable, allowing you to use your own branding for a streamlined and cohesive look.
- Fully scalable
- Easy to use
- Built-in analytics
- Free trial available
- Salesforce integration
Affordable Email Marketing Software
www.benchmark.com is affordable and easy to use for anybody. Even those with limited knowledge of email marketing can quickly and effectively launch a great campaign in minutes. The basic package includes some powerful design tools as well as over four hundred customizable templates to help you craft the perfect message. Social media integration includes Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Yelp, and Pinterest. Easily create compelling sign up forms to help you collect customer data directly from your Facebook page.
- Easy to use
- Follow-up surveys
- Integration with Google Analytics
- Flexible tech support
Easy to use, automated email marketing for SMBs
www.aweber.com is another great choice for email marketing and offers exceptional email marketing services for small business owners. Signing up and getting started is very easy, there is even a free plan available. There is a very helpful intro video that will help guide users who are new to AWeber on how to use their services. Creating your first email campaign and newsletter is very easy and they also have very powerful automated rules that you can utilize. The automation rules are one of their most powerful features. Their email templates can be easily modified to fit your brand's color and style. All in all, AWeber is a great choice for email marketing.
- Easy to use
- Powerful automation rules
- Mobile responsive templates
- 700+ premade templates
- $229 custom template design
- Integrate 3rd party apps
- Subscriber management
- Basic mobile app
Popular Alternative for Small Businesses
www.mailchimp.com has been leading in the field of B2C email marketing, helping all kinds of businesses to connect with their audience on a flexible, web-based platform that is so easy to use that a monkey could do it (or so they say!). One of its most compelling features is that it is free to use for up to 2000 subscribers, and even at this level, the most popular and useful features come standard. Premium packages allow you to target and segment your audience into multiple lists. Campaigns can be scheduled and tracked with automated processes, and can even be linked to your Google Analytics account if you require more in-depth reports. Integration is provided with hundreds of other apps including Salesforce, Eventbrite, Survey Monkey and all of the popular social media sites.
- Free basic plan
- High volume plans available
- eCommerce integration
- Fully scalable to your needs
Choosing the Right Email Marketing Software for Your needs
Though the list of email marketing apps and services continues to grow on a daily basis, chances are there is one specific app that suits your business needs to a tee. With a solid email marketing strategy in place, you are already poised for success – why not make it easier with an app and plan that meets all of your budgetary and functional needs? Chances are, you are running a tight ship and there will always be a need to stay lean. Every business owner or manager has asked themselves the same question: what value will this solution bring to my workflow, and how can I measure its worth? Identify the features than best resonate with you. Do choose a plan that you can take for a test drive – but even if it’s free, don’t waste time customizing an app that doesn’t do what you need it to do. Make a list of the most important features, and try to land on something that ticks all your boxes.
Best Email Marketing Software: Final Thoughts
Making your life easier is the name of the game. You’ve probably got better things to do than waste time on complex processes or finding workarounds when something doesn’t function the way you want it to. And always look to the future before deciding on your perfect email marketing app. Ask yourself: is this a service that can scale with me, or will I have to seek out other options if my company grows? Is it easy to use, or will we need to implement a training program? How will I know it is working? What kind of data will it deliver to prove its ROI? The email marketing program you go with should be as easy to use as it is to understand. Choose one with a robust set of tools, and preferably one with excellent customer support through multiple channels, like chat, email and direct telephone contact. Above all, keep it simple, and let your awesome campaign speak for itself.
26 May 2021 – General update