If you’re newer and not in need of rich feature sets:

  • MailerLite
  • Drip
  • ConvertKit
  • Constant Contact
  • MailChimp
  • Aweber

When you’re serious about email marketing:

  • Klaviyo
  • ActiveCampaign

Now let’s get into WHY!

You’ve heard about the impact email marketing can have on your marketing strategy, but:

You haven’t quite figured out where to start.

You know you need a good email service, but with so many email marketing software options on the market, you have no idea which is right for your small business.

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If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place. By the end of this article, not only will you get some specific recommendations, but you’ll discover which features to focus on and how to get the most out of whichever platform you choose.

What features should you look for in an email software?

There are lots of options available on the market for small businesses looking to up their email marketing game. And in the midst of all that noise, it can be difficult to choose.

To help make that decision easier, here are some core features that you should look out for when trying to decide which solution is right for your brand.

If the solution you’re considering doesn’t have these important features, you have our permission to strike them off your list.

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1. Templates

Know what’s the best thing about templates? They mean you never have to start from a blank slate.

Choosing an email service provider that has a robust template library means you never have to go searching for inspiration for your email design.

Just be sure to tweak the design and add your brand personality so it stands out in the sea of sameness.

Which brings me to another big thing.

2. Drag and drop editor

While coding emails is absolutely a thing, as a small business owner, it won’t likely be your thing. And that’s okay.

You want to find an email solution with a drag and drop editor, so you don’t have to worry about coding html. That’s a different headache for a different day growth stage. For now, we’ll take drag and drop. Please and thank you.

3. Segmentation

We’ve talked about email segmentation on the Copyhackers blog, and that’s because it’s such a critical part of an effective email marketing strategy.

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The right email software will make it easy for you to segment your users based on the data they share with you, the actions they take, or information you have about their buying choices.

4. Automation

Automation is a critical feature of any effective email marketing software. This is what makes it possible to send out delivery emails instantly when leads sign up for your offer.

Automation also allows you to set up email sequences to go out on autopilot based on different triggers (actions your subscribers or customers take).

5. Integrations

You don’t need to be a developer to appreciate the importance of software integrations. Integrations allow the email software to play nicely with the other tools in your tech stack, which enables data sharing and automated workflows.

That may mean payment integration with PayPal or Stripe, or website integration that allows you to use popups on your website on Shopify or WordPress.

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, here are some email software options.

7 Email marketing software options to consider for your small business

1. MailerLite

MailerLite is an all-in-one email marketing platform that allows you to create and host websites, landing pages, and pop ups, as well as paid newsletters.

The software also includes features common to most email services like segmentation, automation, an extensive template library and support for a wealth of integrations.

Mailerlite email marketing software

MailerLite pricing:

The free plan allows up to 500 subscribers (email and SMS). Paid plans start at $20/month for email (up to 500 subscribers) or $35/month for email and SMS (up to 500 subscribers).

Mailerlite pricing page

What we like about it:

MailerLite is the only software on this list that allows you to create and send automated email sequences on the free plan.

It also allows you to experience all the main features before committing to a paid plan — which can be great if you want to test-drive the product before committing.

2. Drip

Drip is an email marketing platform that caters to e-commerce clients. According to the website, Drip is “100% built for ecommerce…”

Their data-driven approach and focus on powerful features like segmentation make them a great option for ecommerce businesses. Not to mention the ability to build out unique customer journeys based on segmentation using available data.

The platform also provides templates for use and a drag and drop editor.

Drip email marketing software

Drip pricing:

Drip has very simple pricing — a single plan that starts at $39/month for your first 2,500 contacts, and changes as your number of contacts increases.

Drip pricing page

What we like about it:

Drip isn’t for everyone, and they aren’t afraid to differentiate themselves. The solution is built with ecommerce brands in mind, so if your business is ecommerce, they may be a good fit.

If not, you may want to consider one of the other options on this list.

3. Convertkit

Convertkit is email marketing software built for creators. The website says it’s “the go-to marketing hub for creators.”

The platform has evolved over the years to address the growing and changing needs of their customer base. In addition to email marketing, features include landing pages, signup forms, segmentation and automations.

But beyond those features, founder Nathan Barry and the team have added other features like paid newsletters as well as the option to sell digital products without needing a separate ecommerce website.

Convertkit email marketing software

Convertkit pricing:

The free plan allows up to 300 subscribers (audience tagging, selling digital products, landing pages, forms, and unlimited broadcasts).

Creator plan starts at $15/month for most features (up to 300 subscribers). Creator Pro plan starts at $29/month for all features (up to 300 subscribers).

Convertkit pricing page

What we like about it:

Convertkit is built around its customers — most of whom are creators. The features are designed specifically for creators and there’s a strong sense of community among users.

4. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a “digital marketing suite” that prides itself on providing more than just email marketing.

In addition to the standard features of most email service providers — landing pages, templates, automations, pop up forms and segmentation — the platform also provides social media marketing and SMS marketing.

Constant Contact email marketing software

Constant Contact pricing:

No free plan. Core plan starts at $9.99/month for basic email marketing and social media posting (up to 500 subscribers — no automations, segmentation, or robust reporting).

Plus plan starts at $45/month for email marketing and social media posting (up to 500 subscribers – all features included).

Constant Contact pricing page

What we like about it:

Constant Contact is more than just email marketing. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that reduces how many tools you need to use to manage your digital marketing needs, it may be worth exploring.

5. Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the earliest email providers on this list that most people are familiar with. The software includes a website and landing page builder, pop ups, segmentation, automation, templates and much more.

While the copy on the Mailchimp website suggests that the platform is now focusing on ecommerce business owners, the service may still be worth considering, even if your business isn’t ecommerce.

Mailchimp email marketing software

Mailchimp pricing:

The free plan allows up to 500 subscribers (includes forms and landing pages with some sending abilities).

Paid plans start at $11/month for Essentials (more features – up to 500 subscribers) or $17/month for Standard (includes advanced features – up to 500 subscribers).

Mailchimp pricing page

What we like about it:

Mailchimp has been around for a long time, and over the years they’ve improved the product to meet the needs of users. It’s also a great starter solution if you’re on a budget.

6. Aweber

The team at Aweber positions the software as “email marketing and more for small businesses.”

Email marketing is their core offering, but that’s supplemented by other features like their landing page builder, e-commerce pages, and web push notifications.

Like all the other email services on this list, Aweber also includes segmentation, automation, popups, and integrations.

Aweber email marketing software

Aweber Pricing:

The free plan allows up to 500 subscribers with limited features. Paid plan starts at $19.99/month for all features (up to 500 subscribers).

Aweber pricing page

What we like about it:

Like Mailchimp, Aweber is one of the OGs on this list. The ease-of-use makes setup easy and they have exceptional customer service.

7. Klaviyo

Klaviyo is made for ecommerce business owners. And the features reflect this understanding of their target audience.

Kaviyo also has the added benefit of SMS alongside email marketing. The usual suspects like automation, segmentation, landing pages, popups, and integrations are all included.

Klaviyyo email marketing software

Klaviyo pricing:

The free plan allows up to 250 subscribers (email and SMS). Paid plans start at $20/month for email (up to 500 subscribers) or $35/month for email and SMS (up to 500 subscribers).

Klaviyo pricing page

What we like about it:

A tool made specially for a specific customer segment will always win points with us.

The team at Klaviyo understand email and SMS marketing for ecommerce, and this is evident in their software features, like dynamic product recommendations and robust automation triggers based on buying behaviors.

8. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is all about automation. The software makes it easy to automate messaging to improve your overall customer experience.

It was built for a variety of use cases — from ecommerce and B2B, to agencies and small business owners.

ActiveCampaign combines email marketing, automated messaging, and CRM tools into a single powerful platform that delivers in all aspects.

Use it to manage and track leads, send an onboarding series or abandoned cart emails, collect leads on your website, communicate with customers via chat, and so much more.

ActiveCampaign home page

ActiveCampaign pricing:

ActiveCampaign’s paid plans start at $20/month for up to 500 contacts on the Lite plan that includes the essentials like automations, segmentation, forms, and their drag and drop builder.

The mid-tier Plus plan costs $91/month for up to 500 subscribers and includes everything in Lite plus landing pages, custom branding, conditional content, ecommerce integrations, Facebook custom audiences, advanced reporting, and more.

The Professional plan for $259/month for up to 500 subscribers includes more advanced features like Salesforce integrations, website personalization, marketing attribution, predictive sending, and more.

ActiveCampaign pricing

What we like about it:

ActiveCampaign has a lot of advanced features that some other email software don’t offer. It’s a platform you can stay with for a long time, since they have all the features you’ll need as your business grows. In fact, Copyhackers uses and often recommends ActiveCampaign to our friends. 😀

Which email marketing software is best for small businesses?

There is no single perfect email marketing software for small businesses.

The software that’s right for you will depend on several factors like the nature of your business (your industry/niche), your budget, and your marketing goals and objectives.

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Writing engaging emails

Whichever email marketing software you choose, the quality of your emails is going to be critical to your success. Your tool will only be as effective as your strategy and the quality of your email content. Which is easy when you’re a regular on the Copyhackers blog.

This collection of blog posts will help you write better emails. Then there’s the definitive guide to email copywriting – a 4-part guide that’s chock full of beginner’s tips, advanced techniques, practical examples, and notes on optimization.