Comparison of Top 10 Email Marketing Platforms in 2021 [With Features and Pricing]
15 min read
Writer and Podcaster David Perell, says that “Email Marketing is like plumbing. It’s not sexy, but you need it to work.”
According to research, the number of email users worldwide reached 2.9 billion in 2019. That is over one-third of the planet’s population. So, we know that emails are here to stay. Therefore, why not use it to make your business grow faster and smoother.
However, there are hundreds of platforms you can choose from and that can be overwhelming. So we have handpicked the top 10 that we believe are reliable and best in the market. This post will give you a preview of each one in terms of email editor, features and pricing. Let's read on.
Quick Comparison of Top 10 Email Marketing Softwares (ESPs)
|Email Marketing Software||Trial||Starting Price||Best For||Shortcomings|
|SendX||14-day free trial||$7.49 per month||Unlimited Email Campaigns, High Email Deliverability, Sign Up forms||Limited Workflows|
|Mailchimp||Forever free upto 2k subscribers||$10.54 per month||Templates, Reporting, A/B testing||Complicated Pricing Structure|
|ConvertKit||Forever free upto 1k subscribers||$25 per month||Automation, Registration forms||Fewer Templates, Customization|
|ActiveCampaign||14-day free trial||$9 per month||Automation, Spam Testing||Limited Reporting|
|AWeber||Forever free upto 500 subscribers||$16.15 per month||Autoresponders, Customer Support||Limited Segmentation, Expensive|
|Constant Contact||60-day free trial||$20 per month||Event Management, Deliverability||CRM, Difficult to use|
|CampaignMonitor||Forever free trial||$9 per month||Transactional Emails, Analytics||Limited designing and styling options|
|Drip||14-day free trial||$19 per month||Automation, Reporting||Ecommerce Integration, Workflow|
|MailerLite||Forever free upto 1k subscribers, 12k emails||$10 per month||Automation, Subscriber Management||Deliverability, Customer Support|
|Sendinblue||Forever free with unlimited subscribers, 300 emails per day||$25 per month||List Management, Automation, FB Ads||Difficult set up, Basic plan lacks features|
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison of Top 10 Email Marketing Softwares (ESPs)
- How to Choose an Email Marketing Software for your Business?
- Top 10 Email Marketing Softwares
How to Choose an Email Marketing Software for your Business?
Here are the top 5 factors to look at when choosing an email marketing software:
Your business goal: Different ESPs are designed for different purposes. Therefore, defining your business goals would help you make a better decision. Because you don’t want to go for an ESP which is best for creators, while your motive is to boost sales for your products.
Deliverability: Choose an ESP that has a good deliverability record. Ensure that they are following all the protocols that are required to make your emails land in the inbox and not the spam folder.
Pricing: Choosing the right ESP with the right plan is necessary. Opt for a plan which matches with the number of subscribers you have. Don’t fall for extra features if you don’t need them.
Ease of use: It’s important to choose an ESP that has an easy-to-use UI. While having tons of functionalities is sexy, you don’t want to spend too much time juggling with features.
Customer Support: If you don't have any previous technical know-how of how to use an ESP, then go for the one that gives you customer support at all pricing plans. If you have a dedicated marketer to handle your operations, then the customer support might not be a big concern for you.
Top 10 Email Marketing Softwares
SendX is an easy-to-use email marketing platform at affordable costs.
SendX’s Email Editor:
SendX has a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) drag-and-drop email editor, using which you can create beautiful emails, experiment with colours and layouts, and add images from the pre-built library. You can choose the pre-designed responsive templates or design your own. You can also get an instant preview of the emails on both mobile and laptop screens, so that you know how it’s going to look to your audience.
Automation- With SendX, you can make your marketing go into auto-pilot mode. You can segment the customers on the basis of demography, subscriber behavior and more than 25+ other parameters. You can increase revenue with transactional emails and reach the target customers at the appropriate time through scheduling. You can also auto tag subscribers into segments, based on the popups they subscribe to and the data they fill.
Email Campaigns- Unlike other ESPs, with SendX you can send unlimited emails everyday to your audience. If someone has not opened your emails, you can use the Resend feature to send the emails again, therefore ensuring that nobody misses the updates. You can also embed videos in your emails, to capture more attention of your audience.
Forms- You can create sign up forms on SendX and embed it on your website so that people visiting your page can directly get added to your email list. You can also create beautiful pop up forms using the editor and trigger them at the right time to boost sales. You can even collect subscribers from Medium, by simple integration and grow your email list.
SendX has the most simple pricing system. Other than the 14-day free trial , the costs vary according to the number of subscribers.
Business Plan- For upto 1k subscribers, you can start with $7.49 per month only. You can send unlimited emails and use all the basic features, irrespective of your subscriber base.
SendX is best for marketers and business owners, but you can use the platform for all the other industries as well.
Mailchimp is a popular email marketing platform and CRM that is famous for its vast variety of features, templates and UI.
Mailchimp’s Email Editor:
Mailchimp’s drag-and-drop editor offers a wide variety of options. You can click on your selected chunk of text, image, icon, buttons, etc, and simply move it to your preferred location. You can select a theme, edit the background colour, add logos, images, links, buttons and more. You also get to preview your email before sending it out and save your customised design.
Templates- Mailchimp gives you a variety of pre-designed beautiful templates to choose from. You can customise them to convey your brand’s message. You also have the freedom to code your template from scratch and save it for future use.
Automation- Mailchimp offers a range of powerful automation tools that will help you save your time and efforts. Using these tools, you can send out emails to your customers when they engage in activities like joining the mail list, etc, which improves engagement with the audience.
Reporting- Using this feature you can get detailed reports for your email campaigns so that you can track whether or not people are opening your emails and interacting with the embedded links, etc.
A/B testing- Mailchimp lets you experiment with your emails and helps you find the best version for your brand. You can run a/b tests on the subject, images, content, etc., and send them out to your customers, to get an idea of what they like better.
Integration- Mailchimp allows you to integrate apps and web services like Calendly, Stripe, etc., to use extra features in one platform. You can also embed your designs from Canva and centralize your data from Google Analytics.
Segmentation- This feature helps you group your customers into multiple categories, in order to target them with specific campaigns. It’s only accessible with Mailchimp Premium.
Mailchimp has four main pricing plans- Free, Essentials, Standard and Premium. Alternatively, you can also opt for Pay as you go plan, which lets you purchase email credits as and when needed. Each email costs one credit, which expires after 12 months.
Mailchimp Free plan- Mailchimp’s free plan allows you to have 2k contacts and only 1 user. The free plan includes some of the features. However, the logo appears at the footer.
This plan is best for you if you’re just starting out and need to figure out your marketing strategy.
Mailchimp Essentials- With this plan, you can have 50k contacts and 3 users for $10.54 per month. The logo disappears.
This plan is best for you if you want a higher email limit.
Mailchimp Standard- With this one, you get 100k contacts and 5 users for $15.74 per month.
This plan is best for you if you need more automation and advanced tools.
Mailchimp Premium- With the premium plan, you get more than 200k contacts and unlimited users for $314.85 per month.
This plan is best for you if you need more customisation and have a well planned long term marketing strategy.
Mailchimp’s Venture Into eCommerce
One important update for all those looking at Mailchimp as an option is that Mailchimp has also recently launched its own online stores for SMEs, and a new service for booking appointments. The appointment booking service went live on 28th April 2021, and the new eCommerce features are scheduled to become available for the US and UK Mailchimp customers by May 18th 2021.
New ‘Websites and e-commerce’ plans will be introduced (and free-plan users will have to pay 2 percent transaction fee). Transaction fees will be reduced for users of different pricing grades, for example, those who go for a Plus plan at $29, only 0.5 percent transaction fee will be applicable.
Besides, for $10 extra, Mailchimp’s branding will be removed and you will get email and chat support, and you will only have to pay 1.5 percent transaction fees.
All their plans will also include SEO tools and Google Analytics integration. Plus, you can build websites with unlimited pages and without bandwidth restrictions.
And when it comes to the online stores by Mailchimp, you can build your product catalogues, manage your orders, and taxes and shipping configurations.
But if you don’t need all of these additional features and services, you should still proceed with comparing Mailchimp with other email service providers.
Mailchimp is used by small-medium, as well as large businesses, mostly preferred by e-commerce and retail industries, followed by web apps and marketing agencies.
ConvertKit is an email marketing software for creators.
ConvertKit’s Email Editor
ConvertKit’s visual editor is easy to use, with a simple UI. However, there is no drag-and-drop editor. The templates are text-based and offer limited editing options like changing font color, style, adding images, and so on. You can also add custom CSS to the editor.
Automation- ConvertKit has plenty of tools for automation. You can customize the path for your subscribers on the basis of their actions. You can segment your audience, based on their customer journey. Basically, you can just set the rules and the automation system will do the work for you.
List Management- ConvertKit makes it simpler to manage the contacts by assigning tags to them. You can create segments of contacts with similar characteristics to make better content.
Registration forms- ConvertKit’s visual editor makes it very easy to add registration forms as pop-up, slide-in forms in emails. You can design the form as per your requirement and link it with the list management system for better dropdown options and so on.
ConvertKit has three plans- Free, Creator, Creator Pro and charges you on the basis of the number of subscribers you have.
ConvertKit Free- With this plan, you can have upto 1k subscribers and unlimited emails. This plan is best for you if you’re just starting out.
ConvertKit Creator- For 5k subscribers, you’ve to pay $66 per month and for 10k subscribers, it’s $100 per month, when billed annually. This plan is best for you if you need the premium features
ConvertKit Creator Pro- For 5k subscribers, you’ve to pay $93 per month and for 10k subscribers it’s $140 per month, when billed annually. This plan is best for you if you need a newsletter referral system.
ConvertKit boasts itself as the “content creators’ email marketing software”.
ActiveCampaign is an email marketing platform with integrated CRM.
ActiveCampaign’s Email Editor:
The drag-and-drop editor makes composing emails easier. You can use the pre-built templates or customise it. You can also preview your designs before sending it out.
Automation- ActiveCampaign’s automation tools allows you to send emails/sms to your contacts based on triggers, effortlessly. You can also use automation maps to see how automations connect to each other and then update your strategy whenever required. You can add/remove contacts through automation.
Integration- ActiveCampaign provides integration with more than 250 apps and web services, so that you can simply connect your email with other services for more functionalities.
CRM- ActiveCampaign has a purposeful CRM which builds a pipeline to track customers using different features. Customers' deals are updated automatically based on their activity. You can assign scores to everyone to check the probability of them making a particular deal.
Spam Testing- SpamAssasin automatically tests emails for spam before sending them out to customers.
There are 4 plans- Lite, Plus, Professional, Enterprise which varies according to the number of contacts.
Lite- For 1k contacts, you have to pay $25 per month, when billed annually. It includes all the basic features. This plan is best for you if you are new to the game.
Plus- For 1k contacts, you have to pay $49 per month, when billed annually. Once you get the hang of the platform, you can upgrade to this pla.
Professional- For 1k contacts, you have to pay $129 per month, when billed annually. If you have a proper marketing strategy laid out, this plan is for you.
Enterprise- For 1k contacts, you have to pay $229 per month, when billed annually. This plan is best for established businesses.
Industry: Suitable for businesses with extensive sales processes.
AWeber is a simple email marketing platform for small businesses.
AWeber’s Email Editor:
With AWeber’s drag-and-drop editor you can choose elements from the toolbox, drag them into your email and further customise if need be. You can preview your email and send test copies before the campaign sets off.
Autoresponders- AWeber has a simple-yet-effective autoresponder that sends well-timed emails to your audience. You can create tags for people and assign triggers and flows to your emails which saves you a lot of time. You can customise the content, audience, time and so on.
Templates- AWeber has a collection of visually appealing email templates which are responsive too. You can modify, customise or design your own template with the drag-and-drop tools.
Customer Support- AWeber’s customer support goes beyond calls and emails. They offer webinars, podcasts, live chat sessions, etc., to help you use the platform effectively.
AWeber has two plans- Free and Pro.
AWeber Free- With the free plan, you can have upto 500 subscribers. This plan is best for you if you are new in the game.
Aweber Pro- The Pro plan is based on the number of subscribers. For 5k subscribers, you have to pay $46.15 per month and $66.15 for 10k subscribers, when billed annually. However, once you have 25k and more subscribers, you have to call them for a quotation.
This plan is best for you once you have an online presence.
AWeber is best for small businesses and online bloggers who are just starting out.
6. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is an email marketing platform for event organisers and nonprofits.
Constant Contact’s Email Editor:
The intuitive drag-and-drop editor is extremely easy to use. The editor’s smooth drag and drop experience makes creating an email faster and easier. And the Smart Columns feature allows you the flexibility to fine tune column sizes. With the undo and redo options, you can switch back and forth while editing.
Event Management- With this feature, you can promote all kinds of events, like webinars, fundraisers, surveys and so on. You can also manage event registrations, tickets, invitations, etc, from the same platform, a feature which only a few marketing platforms provide.
Deliverability- As per EmailToolTester, Constant Contact has a deliverability rate of around 89% which is pretty impressive in comparison with other platforms.
There are 2 plans- Email and Email Plus, which varies according to the number of contacts. However, you can opt for a 60 day free trial.
Email- The starting price is $20 per month for 500 contacts. Other than a few advanced tools, this plan covers all the features.
Email Plus- The starting price is $45 per month for 500 contacts.
This platform is best for event management companies, small businesses and nonprofits.
7. Campaign Monitor
Campaign Monitor is an email marketing and automation platform
Campaign Monitor’s Email Editor
The platform’s drag-and-drop editor makes it super easy to design emails for your audience. You can either use the professionally designed templates or design it yourself. It comes with a built-in link review tool which helps you find links that are broken or inaccessible.
Transactional emails- This is a type of automated email which is triggered by events, interactions, within a company’s services, and not the traditional marketing campaign emails. You create, edit, optimize these emails in the same platform.
Analytics- You get a bunch of analytics tools which help you track the overall marketing program for each campaign. You also get insights to build a better strategy.
Segmentation- With this tool you can create targeted segments, and only send relevant emails that match their individual interests. It can help increase sales and result in longer term customers.
There are 3 plans: Basic, Unlimited, Premier on a monthly basis, which depends on the number of contacts. You can also opt for the Pay Per Campaign option. It costs $0.01 per recipient and $4 per campaign.
There is no free plan but you can take a free trial which literally never expires. However, you can only send an email campaign to five people.
Basic- Starts at $29 per month for 500 contacts and includes the core email marketing features.
Unlimited- Starts at $59 per month for 500 contacts. Price increases as and when your contacts increase.
Premier- Starts at $149 per month for 500 contacts. You can use all the features with this plan.
It is best for agencies, retail, and non-profit businesses.
Drip is an email marketing and CRM platform for ecommerce.
Drip’s Email Editor:
Drip’s email builder offers multiple options like Visual Builder, HTML Builder, Text Builder and you can even personalize your builder as per your requirements. With the visual builder, you can insert heavy elements in your emails to make it visually appealing. With the HTML builder, you can control every aspect of layout and formatting. And if you solely want to focus on the write-up, text builder is best for you.
Email Campaigns: Drip has two options, campaigns and broadcasts. Campaigns are a collection of emails that set off when a trigger is fired, as per the automation rules. Broadcasts, on the other hand, are single emails that go out in the form of announcements or newsletters. Drip also lets you send highly targeted emails based on your customer’s behaviour.
Automation- Drip comes with an advanced visual automation workflow builder, using which you can set multiple triggers for a particular automation workflow. You can add triggers from other apps like Zapier, etc, as well. Similarly, you can set rules which support multiple triggers and actions across different apps.
Reporting- Drip offers a wide selection of options for reporting. Along with standard reports, you get event-specific reports and more. You can also integrate Drip with your online store to access the Ecommerce dashboard, which shows the customer activity on your website.
Drip charges on the basis of number of subscribers and offers the same features irrespective of any other factor. You can also go for the Pay As You Go model, which lets you add SMS to your emails. There’s no free plan, but you can go for a 14-day free trial.
You have to pay $29 per month for upto 2k contacts and $89 per month for upto 5k contacts. The lowest plan is $19 for upto 500 contacts.
Drip is best for the ecommerce businesses market.
MailerLite is an email marketing platform for personal projects.
MailerLite’s Email Editor:
The drag-and-drop editor is simple to use with a clean design. Users can create, edit, modify content without any hassle. They also provide a collection of decent templates to choose from.
Subscriber Management- You can set up your subscriber list pretty easily with MailerLite. Duplicate records will be removed automatically. You can use the filter tool to find the subscribers. You can add as many custom fields as you want, to create an extensive database. You can also create groups and segments based on various conditions, which can be customised too.
Automation- You can send personalised messages to subscribers on occasions. You can boost sales by reminding customers of the items in their cart and show them updates and offers based on their interests. The segments and groups can be individually targeted to send relevant content. You can also create your own workflow to make the process more productive.
MailerLite has just 2 pricing plans- Free and Premium based on the number of subscribers.
Free- With the free plan, you can have a maximum of 1k subscribers and 12k emails.
Premium- For 1k subscribers, you have to pay $10 per month with unlimited emails.
MailerLite is best for freelancers, bloggers, and small businesses.
Sendinblue is an email marketing platform to send and automate email marketing campaigns.
Sendinblue’s email editor
The drag-and-drop editor is fairly fast and makes it very easy to create and edit email campaigns. You can also go back to the previous versions which is super helpful at times.
List Management- The process of managing contacts is very simple in sendinblue. Based on their behaviour, the contacts can be segmented into lists and can be used for campaigns later. It can also be automated, so that new subscribers get added to respective lists on the basis of some conditions.
Automation- Sendinblue supports advanced automation triggers which are based on email engagement, web activity, etc. You can automate sending emails and SMS messages, updating information in your database and more. You can use the Best Time feature to find the perfect to send campaigns based on previous performance.
Facebook Ads- You can upload your image, add your text and set the CTA for your ad, for example, highlight an upcoming event, sell more, etc. You can also find new leads that are similar to your customers. You can also track the progress of the ad with previous ads to devise the best strategy for your brand.
There are 4 plans- Free, Lite, Premium and Enterprise on a monthly basis, depending on the number of emails you send. There is no limit in the number of contacts.
Free- With the free plan, you can have unlimited contacts but can send only 300 emails per day.
Lite- Starts at a minimum of 10k emails, costing you $25 per month.
Premium- Starts at a minimum of 20k emails, costing you $65 per month.
Enterprise- You can set a custom volume of emails and require a quotation from the company.
Sendinblue is best for small and medium-sized businesses with a limited budget.
Whether you are a B2C company, B2B company or a solo creator looking to leverage the best features of email marketing platforms (A/B Testing, Integrations, Popup banners and so much more…), but without burning a hole in your pocket I would suggest trying SendX.
SendX offers a 14-day free trial before you commit and signing up doesn’t require any credit card.
You get access to everything from day one & can also test their customer support before signing up for an affordable paid plan. Check it out.
1) How does SendX compare with the market leader Mailchimp?
SendX is meant for email marketers unlike Mailchimp which is an all-in-one marketing platform. Since SendX is an email marketing software it charges you based on your email subscriber size and not audience size. So, rather than paying for all contacts that are part of your audience (in case of Mailchimp), you only pay for the contacts you can send emails to. Also, a subscriber is counted only once in SendX irrespective of any number of lists he is part of.
2) How does SendX compare with AWeber?
Unlike AWeber, which provides very basic forms and landing pages, SendX has a huge selection of them. Ability to use tags and advanced segmentation makes subscriber management easier in SendX. Also our intuitive UI, better email deliverability and 24x7 support is something which sets SendX apart.
3) Why should I go for a paid plan of SendX when I already have free plans from Mailchimp and others?
Free plans are there from Mailchimp and others, no doubt. But features that you get from it matter. In the free plans, for example, you get only a limited number of email sends, but with SendX plan, it is unlimited.
4) We have almost a million subscribers. Can SendX handle this?
Yes, very much. We at SendX, send millions of email marketing campaigns every month on behalf of customers. With powerful features for reputation, email clients like Gmail and Yahoo are less likely to flag your emails or stop from getting delivered. That’s why our delivery rates are the best in the industry.
5) What are the top differentiators of SendX that set it apart from others?
There are many top features in SendX that set it apart from others. But the fact that it is intuitive, extremely affordable, and that you can send unlimited emails using SendX, truly set it apart from others.