Pay As You Go Email Marketing - Pros and Cons

Want to use an ESP? But the monthly subscription fee is a deal-breaker? Well, not anymore!! If you are an infrequent or seasonal business, there is a payment model that is exactly a match made for you in nope, not heaven but made here by some of the ESP. Let's explore it. 


Start Free Trial Now

Things To Do Before Choosing Pay As You Go Plan

Before you opt for the Pay As You Go plan, make sure you do this:

Take a paper and note the responses to the questions below.

  • How many emails are you planning to send?
  • How frequently (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and so on)?

Now get your hands dirty with some math. A rough cost estimate will work here. In the following sections, we will discuss the pricing structure using a real ESP.

  • Calculate how much buying email credits will cost you.
  • Calculate how much monthly subscription will cost you.


Which one’s cheaper? If it’s email credits then hey, you found your match!!

In either case, keep reading!

What are Pay As You Go Plans

Unlike the other models, Pay As You Go subscription model doesn’t charge you on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc) for a product or a service. Instead, you make a one-time payment to buy the product or the service. And if you need it again, you make another purchase and so on.

In case of ESPs, either you can opt for the regular subscription and pay monthly, or you can buy email credits and pay as per the number of emails you send to your customers.

Let’s take Mailchimp as an example to better understand this.

First, consider the regular monthly plan. Suppose you opt for Mailchimp Essentials (with the Pay As You Go plan, you get the same features as in the Essentials plan). Then you need to pay $52.18 per month and you can have a maximum of 5k contacts. Your email limit will be 10 times of your maximum contacts. However, you will have to pay every month for uninterrupted services.

Source: Mailchimp


Now coming to the Pay As You Go plan. You can buy as many credits as you want. Each credit is equal to one email sent. Suppose you buy the plan with 5,000 credits for $150. With it you can send a maximum of 5,000 emails. However, look out for the credits expiry date.

Source: Mailchimp


Let’s do some math here. 

For the monthly plan, you spend $52 and get to send 50k emails with a maximum of 5k contacts within one month.

For the Pay As You Go plan, you spend $150 and get to send 5k emails with a maximum of 5k contacts (as 1 credit=1 email) within a year.


Looking at the numbers, the monthly subscription might entice you. But don’t overlook the expiry date of your chosen plan. In the next section, we’ll help you decide which one is best for you. For now, let’s discuss a couple of pros and cons of the Pay As You Go model.


  • No commitment issues as you don’t have to keep paying for continuous services.
  • Better for your pocket as you only buy credits as and when required.
  • More control over things because you decide when you want to start the campaign without having to worry about the subscription ending every month.
  • Have a clearer picture of what works for your business and what doesn’t as you don’t have to go all in with a product range. Best of the lot will definitely stand out.



  • Can get overwhelming at times because you will have to keep buying the credits again and again if you change your campaign plans. 
  • Difficult to budget if your campaign plans are subjected to change. If you buy a lot of credits but decide to cut down on the number of emails, the credits are not refundable and you lose that amount. 
  • Difficulty in managing contacts if you run out of credits and can't hold any more subscribers.
  • Some ESPs don’t offer all the advanced features with this plan. 
  • Credits might expire without actually using those. 


While every service has their own pros and cons, the purpose of your business will decide the best one for you.

When to go for Pay As You Go plans

Say, you want to just chill with your friends and catch a good movie. You have two options to go about it. Either you can buy a subscription for Netflix, Prime, etc, or you can rent the movie. In the former scenario, you pay a certain amount of money to buy the monthly subscription and watch as many movies as you want. But in the latter case, you get access to that one movie only and a few days’ time to finish it. Now if you are a movie buff, you’d probably want to binge-watch all day and get zero work done. kidding. In that case, a subscription is a better option for you. But if you are not that crazy about movies, you’d definitely want to rent it, only to avoid the peer pressure, phew! 

In the similar fashion, if your business requires you to send daily or frequent emails (sales, blogging, etc) to your customers, then going for a subscription service would be more beneficial and easier for you. But if you have a seasonal business like a travel industry, agency, quarterly newsletters, event management, etc, then you would want to avoid the heavy monthly fees and go for the Pay As You Go service and only pay for the occasional emails you send out. 

Anyway, If you suck at making decisions, I’m here to help you with your crisis like an angel in disguise. Back to biz!

Let’s revisit the questions I mentioned above:

  • How many emails are you planning to send?
  • How frequently (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and so on)?

Do the math again, like we did for Mailchimp earlier. Using Mailchimp here will help you know the real-life cost of both the plans. Taking calculated decisions as adults,

  • Calculate how much buying email credits will cost you.
  • Calculate how much monthly subscription will cost you.

And compare. Choose the one which is cheaper, duh! 


Wait, it’s not over yet. First things first, I hope I didn’t bore you to death. God, I hope not! But since you’ve made it this far, here comes a little surprise for you. Tell me, how would you feel if you could choose the number of subscribers and send UNLIMITED EMAILS every month? Not just that, you also get the amazing customer support with no extra charges. All of it, starting at $7.49 per month only. Whaaat? Yep, unlimited emails at super affordable prices. Plus you get the advanced features such as drip campaigns, landing page, ready-to-use email signup forms etc.



If you are smart and don’t wanna miss on this amazing offer, I suggest giving SendX a shot. With Sendx, you can send unlimited emails, irrespective of the plan you opt for, and get access to the advanced features, which could be a bit tougher with other ESPs. Sceptical? Don’t worry! You can take a 14-day trial, without any credit card requirements and decide for yourself. You get access to everything from day one and can also test their customer support before signing up for an affordable paid plan. However, if you feel that the Pay As You Go plan is what you’re looking for, then you can reach out to us via chat and we can create a good deal for you.