Are you ready to tap into the awesome power of email marketing?

We’re betting you already know what email marketing is and what it does for small businesses. Now you’re here to find a software product that’ll make it easy for you to do email marketing and get results. And there are a lot of options to pick from.

Choosing the wrong email marketing service might seem like an insignificant decision, too small a choice to earn your concern. But we’re also betting that you know better than that. You know the value of small actions—they’re what brought you to this point in the first place. 

Choosing the right email marketing platform can bolster your startup by setting you off on the right path and in the right direction. It could well be the difference between you generating and nurturing the leads you need to succeed each month, or not.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

A quick overview of email marketing software for small businesses

Email service providers are not all the same. Some are built with large enterprises in mind, while others are infinitely better suited to those who are just getting started—such as yourself.

Whether you’re in the market for email marketing software for your ecommerce site or are just looking for the best way to generate hype and/or sales for your new venture, we’re here to keep it simple and introduce you to the only contenders worth your attention.

What to look for in your email marketing software

Choosing the right email marketing service for your business can be a tough decision. Browsing through the numerous options can become a blur of industry-standard features that all blend together.

The last thing we want is to leave you more confused than you were to begin with.

That’s why we’ve restricted this list to eight options. It’s also why we’re giving you this cheat sheet of nine questions to help you cut through the noise and come away with the right email service provider (ESP) for you.

We recommend you ask yourself these questions before you sign up for any provider, even the most popular email marketing services around:

  • How easy is it to use? Tricky software will make your email marketing more challenging than it needs to be. Look for easy user experiences (particularly drag-and-drop email builders) and gorgeous pre-made templates—these features will save you endless hours and stress.
  • How reliable is their deliverability? Unreliable delivery means your emails are likely going straight to the spam folder. You might struggle to answer this question without trying out the service yourself, but you can start by looking at reviews from existing users—this will give you some good insight to go on.
  • Does the provider allow easy audience segmentation? You want to be able to easily categorize your subscribers into groups (called “segments”). This is how you send highly targeted emails and ensure your campaigns only reach relevant subscribers.
  • Do their reports give you usable insights? Industry standards mean you’ll always see crucial metrics like open and click-through rates, but some reports are harder to understand than others. Make sure you like the way your ESP presents your data—you’ll be using it a lot if you want to succeed.
  • Do they include automation features? You want a provider that makes it super simple to create workflows to automatically send emails in response to specific actions or events. An example would be sending a welcome email when a customer subscribes to your email list.
  • How affordable is the price tag? This is a subjective question that depends entirely on your budget. Be sure to consider if or how the cost will increase and the effect this will have on your ROI.
  • How scalable is it? The best choice is one that works as well for you now as it will when you start growing—in terms of features, benefits and affordability! Make sure your wallet won’t get stung if you suddenly need to send a lot more emails each month.
  • Does it give you mobile-responsive designs? In a world where you have no guarantee what size screen your readers are using, this is absolutely essential.
  • How do their existing users rate the customer service? Chances are that at some stage, you’ll run into a problem and need to lean on customer support. In your hour of need, you want to know you’ll be in good hands.

Best small business email marketing software

We’ve selected the following as the leading email marketing services worthy of your consideration.

Each of these platforms is more than capable of serving your every email marketing need while making sure you stay compliant with industry regulations. Often, choosing one from another will come down to your gut instinct, but we’ve highlighted what each option does best in the hopes of helping you make the best choice for you.

1. Flodesk

Best email marketing software for eye-catching email templates and a scalable flat-rate plan that helps you maximize your ROI.

As the fastest-growing email marketing service on the market, Flodesk has found rising popularity among solopreneurs, startups and small businesses much like yourself.

We’ve designed Flodesk with the goal of making it as easy as possible for you to create the most memorable, impactful and downright beautiful emails. Our platform gives you the most effective, easy-to-use tools in the industry. We also make sending your first Flodesk email as simple as sending your hundredth.

Better yet, we’re the only email provider that does it all for a flat fee forever. That means your successes put more money in your pocket, not ours.

Key features

  • Intuitive, easy-to-use drag-and-drop email builder.
  • Landing page builder.
  • A wide selection of the most beautiful templates on the market for everything from emails to landing pages and sign-up forms.
  • Fully responsive emails that adapt to any device.
  • User-friendly email workflow creator that allows you to build powerful marketing automation in minutes
  • Pre-made workflows for key marketing automation like welcome emails and sales sequences.
  • Simple and precise audience segmentation to enable highly targeted emails.
  • In-built image designer that cuts out any need for third-party apps like Canva or Illustrator.
  • List building tools like landing pages, pop-ups and sign-up form builders.
  • Transparent data analytics and audience insights that are easy to understand.
  • Integration with Shopify, Facebook, Slack, Typeform, WordPress and over 3,000 total apps through Zapier.
  • Comprehensive resources to help you create successful campaigns via Flodesk University, the Flodesk Insiders Facebook community, and the Fodesk blog.

Pricing

Flodesk is the only email service provider that gives you unrestricted access to every feature for a flat monthly fee forever.

Our software costs $38 USD per month no matter how many emails you need to send or how big your subscriber list grows.

Opt for an annual plan and you’ll pay $418, effectively giving you one month for free.

We offer unlimited access 30-day free trial so you can try out Flodesk for a month; you’re under no obligation to sign up after your trial ends (but we’re confident you’ll be a lifelong fan by then).

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

2. AWeber

Best email marketing platform for shoppable ecommerce emails.

One of the original email service providers, dating back to 1998, AWeber is actually credited with creating email marketing automation workflows. What’s more, they typically have some of the strongest deliverability rates compared to competing providers. 

You’ll need a pro plan to access the full range of their features, but when you do, you’ll find this software is packed with all the essentials you need to grow your email marketing efforts. Be wary, however, as AWeber isn’t known for being especially excellent at any one thing (except their customer service). It’s also worth noting that you’ll have to regularly prune your email lists as you will be charged for storing the details of anyone who has unsubscribed.

This software is also on the pricier side of the available options, and you’ll absolutely need to pay for their services if you want to create the most successful email marketing campaign possible.

Key features

  • Simple drag-and-drop email builder.
  • Customizable templates with mobile responsive email designs.
  • Basic ecommerce abilities that allow you to sell products and services, accept donations and enable subscriptions via your emails and landing pages.
  • Highly effective list management functions and audience segmentation options.
  • Simple automated workflows.
  • Landing page builder.
  • Custom domain setup.
  • Advanced analytics and audience insights.
  • AMP for email
  • RSS “blog broadcasts” for bloggers to share their posts.
  • Seamless connection to WordPress.
  • Plenty of ecommerce integrations with third-party applications such as PayPal, Shopify, Etsy and WooCommerce.
  • A/B testing and conversion tracking for campaign optimization.
  • Mobile app for designing and sending emails at your convenience.
  • Generous learning resources including written content, video content and a podcast.
  • Top-notch customer service

Pricing

If you have fewer than 500 subscribers, AWeber’s free plan might suit your needs; it offers up to 3,000 emails per month and lets you use all the basic features.

For advanced features like A/B testing, advanced analytics and custom segmentation, or for larger email lists and more monthly emails, you’ll need their pro plan. Pricing for this is based on your total subscribers:

  • Up to 500 subscribers: $19.99 per month
  • 501 to 2,500 subscribers: $29.99 per month
  • 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $49.99 per month
  • 5001 to 10,000 subscribers: $69.99 per month
  • 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $149.99 per month

3. Hubspot

Best email marketing service for businesses looking for a combination of email marketing, customer relationship management (CRM) and website solutions all in one place.

One of the most reputable bits of software in the world of email marketing and CRM, Hubspot is packed with features that any sized business can benefit from.

They have a free plan available, but it’s likely that you’ll need at least their Starter plan. This is the tier where they remove their branding and grant you access to email automation, both of which are essential for any startup hoping to succeed.

Many businesses use Hubspot precisely for its all-in-one nature, but it’s worth noting that there is a lot going on here and the learning curve can be quite steep. It’s not uncommon for smaller businesses to feel overwhelmed by this Swiss Army knife approach (and, as a result, never use half the functions they’re paying for).

Proceed with caution; if all you want is an email marketing platform, Hubspot might not be the best choice for you.

Key features

  • Easy and intuitive drag-and-drop email builder.
  • Plenty of eye-catching and fully customizable email templates designed to produce conversions.
  • List building tools including forms and a landing page builder.
  • Fully responsive mobile-friendly designs that look great on any device.
  • Contact timeline that records subscriber interactions and gives deeper insights into audience behavior and preferences.
  • “Smart rules” that power highly targeted email segmentation and email marketing automation.
  • A/B testing to optimize every angle of your emails.
  • Intelligible analytics and reporting dashboards that offer detailed subscriber engagement insights.
  • Send-time optimization including sending based on specific time zones.
  • Third-party integrations.
  • Global and multilingual customer support.
  • The Hubspot Academy, which provides a wide range of resources to improve your campaigns.

Pricing

If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers and you’re happy to send Hubspot-branded emails, there is a Free Forever plan that gives you use of all basic email marketing features.

Beyond that, Hubspot is divided into three tiers that each unlock additional features, with prices based on your total subscribers and the tier you’ve chosen.

Prices for their Starter tier are:

  • Up to 1,000 contacts: $50 per month
  • Up to 2,000 contacts: $100 per month
  • Up to 4,000 contacts: $195 per month

Prices for their Professional tier are:

  • Up to 2,000 contacts: $890 per month
  • Up to 7,000 contacts: $1,140 per month
  • Up to 12,000 contacts: $1,390 per month

As a small business, it’s unlikely you’ll be interested in Hubspot’s Enterprise tier just yet, so we won’t go into detail on that in this post.

4. Klaviyo

Best email marketing software for comprehensive ecommerce email marketing services.

Regularly relied on by a number of B2C brands, small businesses and those in the retail industry, Klaviyo’s defining feature for many is its exceptional integration with Shopify.

While this provider offers all the expected industry standard features for email marketing, it’s firmly targeted at those operating within the ecommerce sphere. As such, Klaviyo is likely not the right choice for you if you’re only in the market for a general email marketing platform.

While Klayvio is not particularly complex, their tutorials are not the easiest to follow—you may find yourself trawling YouTube for the instructions you need. Some users also report a certain “clunkiness” to the platform.

Key features

  • Easy drag-and-drop email creation.
  • A large library of email templates.
  • Mobile optimization so your emails look great on any device.
  • Rich audience segmentation that’s customizable based on any number of rules and can auto-update when triggered by customer interactions.
  • Sign-up form creator with detailed customization to create highly brand-specific designs.
  • Pre-built behavior-driven automation like welcome emails and cross-selling opportunities. 
  • Dynamic content triggered by ecommerce events such as products viewed, items ordered and abandoned carts.
  • A/B testing for every key optimization angle.
  • Industry-leading direct Shopify integration, plus over 200 additional integrations including Salesforce, Magento and WooCommerce.
  • Open APIs for custom integration with your existing platforms and tools.
  • Real-time data synchronization so your reports are always timely and relevant.
  • Ready-made and customizable reports.
  • Predictive customer data.
  • Peer benchmarks to measure your performance against similar brands within your industry.
  • Additional SMS marketing features.

Pricing

If you have under 250 subscribers and don’t need to send more than 500 emails per month, Klaviyo’s free plan could tick all your boxes.

Beyond their free plan, Klaviyo prices its service based on whether you want just emails or both emails and SMS. If you choose the latter, then you’ll also be faced with the additional price variable of how many monthly SMS credits you require.

To keep pricing simple for this post, we’ll explore the email-only prices:

  • Up to 500 contacts and 5,000 monthly emails: $20 per month
  • Up to 1,000 contacts and 10,000 monthly emails: $30 per month
  • Up to 1,500 contacts and 15,000 monthly emails: $45 per month
  • Up to 2,500 contacts and 25,000 monthly emails: $60 per month

5. Mailchimp

Best email marketing tool for a free plan that offers a lot of functionality.

One of the world’s top email marketing services, Mailchimp has become something of a household name even among those who aren’t in the marketing world. 

Favored among small businesses and startups for offering an attractive free plan, Mailchimp is ideal for any business or solopreneur looking for free tools. Just keep in mind that their free plan doesn’t give you access to success essentials like A/B testing or custom branding.

Like many other email marketing service providers, Mailchimp charges you more as you grow your list of subscribers, though it’s typically considered pretty budget-friendly. Like AWeber, you’ll need to be vigilant about pruning your unsubscribed contacts if you want to avoid unnecessary fees.

The platform can also become something of a product suite, transcending email marketing to become your all-in-one online marketing hub—offering everything from website building to domains, social ads, appointment scheduling and more. These, as you might expect, come with their paid plans.

Keep in mind though, that Mailchimp is not without its learning curve. And the more features you’re playing with, the bigger that curve will become.

Key features

  • A free and impressively comprehensive email marketing platform for getting started.
  • Easy drag-and-drop email creation.
  • Loads of pre-designed and fully customizable email templates to appeal to modern audiences.
  • Impressive audience segmentation and email workflow automation, including automatic list segmentation and pre-built automations.
  • A website builder capable of creating powerfully effective ecommerce stores.
  • In-built sign-up form and landing page creator.
  • Easy connectivity features to link up with your existing ecommerce store.
  • Custom domain creation.
  • Excellent reporting offering birds-eye overviews and advanced metrics.
  • Over 300 integrations available with famously simple setups.
  • Smart recommendations and real-time feedback for campaign optimization.
  • A/B testing.
  • Fully responsive mobile-optimized emails for every device.
  • Send-time optimization.
  • Mobile app version for on-the-go creation.

Pricing

If you have under 2,000 subscribers and can make do with no more than 10,000 emails per month, Mailchimp’s free plan could be for you. 

Their paid plans are split into three tiers, with variable pricing based on how many contacts you have. The following prices are based on their Essentials tier:

  • Up to 2,500 contacts and 25,000 monthly emails: $34 per month
  • Up to 5,000 contacts and 50,000 monthly emails: $59 per month
  • Up to 10,000 contacts and 100,000 monthly emails: $87 per month

Mailchimp’s Standard tier opens up additional features that the more affluent among you might consider a necessity. Prices for this tier are:

  • Up to 2,500 contacts and 30,000 monthly emails: $59 per month
  • Up to 5,000 contacts and 60,000 monthly emails: $90 per month
  • Up to 10,000 contacts and 120,000 monthly emails: $115 per month

6. SendX

Best email marketing service for businesses who need a strong email platform on a very restricted budget.

Perhaps one of the better-kept secrets in the email marketing world, SendX has gathered a solid fanbase among startups and solopreneurs for a few reasons (not least of which being it’s an easily affordable email marketing service).

Like many other providers, SendX charges you more based on how many contacts your email list contains. However, one of the most attractive traits is that they don’t restrict access to any of their features for any paying customer—whether you have 1,000 subscribers or 10,000, you’ll still get all the bells and whistles.

SendX is also renowned for being very welcoming to newcomers, who can quickly get a grip on the software. It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. You’ll find this email service provider sorely lacking when it comes to versatile A/B testing capabilities and email automation, both of which are integral to long-term email marketing success.

Key features

  • Easy drag-and-drop editor.
  • A wide library of pre-made and customizable email templates.
  • Fully responsive mobile-friendly emails.
  • Location-based optimization.
  • List segmentation.
  • Audience insights to help optimize your campaigns and increase open and conversion rates.
  • Basic workflow automation including drip campaigns and auto-responders.
  • Customizable landing page creator.
  • List-building tools like pop-ups or embedded forms.
  • A/B testing for optimizing subject lines and name fields.
  • Direct integrations with Shopify and WordPress, plus loads more through Zapier.
  • Highly rated customer support team.

Pricing

SendX does not offer a free plan, but you can get started with a 14-day free trial to get a feeling for whether this email marketing provider is right for you. You’ll be able to send up to 100 emails with this trial.

After that, their prices are based solely on how many subscribers your email list has. You’ll get unlimited emails within each tier.

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $9.99
  • Up to 2,500 subscribers: $19.99
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers: $39.99
  • Up to 10,000 subscribers: $59.99
  • Up to 15,000 subscribers: $79.99

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

7. GetResponse

Best email marketing tool for a one-stop marketing product.

GetResponse has an impressive selection of features which makes it an appealing choice to anyone who wants access to everything you can possibly do with an email marketing campaign.

They also place no restrictions on how many monthly emails you can send, whether you’re on their free plan or their most expensive tier. What you’ll need to watch out for, however, is the heavily gated approach to their features. For example, you’ll need to be on GetResponse’s second most expensive tier to access their automation features, which are essential for any successful long-term campaign.

If price isn’t a concern for you, and if you’d be happier with an email provider that has plans for huge enterprises (it’s always good to dream of massive growth, right?), then GetResponse could be just what you’re looking for.

Key features

  • Super simple drag-and-drop email editor.
  • Code-free landing page creator and form builder.
  • A rich library of pre-designed email templates.
  • Ready-made list-building campaigns.
  • Mobile-responsive emails.
  • Email spam tests.
  • Web push notifications.
  • Build and host a website with your own connected domain or a free-to-use domain.
  • Sign-up and contact forms to build your lists, along with tools to score and nurture your contacts.
  • Intelligent audience segmentation and highly targeted messaging.
  • Varied A/B testing for full campaign optimization.
  • Plenty of third-party integrations, including Google Analytics, Shopify, PayPal, Magento and more through Zapier.
  • Webinar creation.
  • Over 5,000+ Shutterstock images licensed for your use.
  • SMS marketing.
  • Create and manage your Google and social media ads within GetResponse.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Pricing

If you have under 500 subscribers, GetResponse’s free plan might suit you well, especially as it doesn’t place any restrictions on how many emails you can send each month.

Like most other email marketing platforms, their prices are based on two variables: how many contacts are in your subscriber list, and which tier you select.

Here’s a sample of GetResponse’s prices based on their Email Marketing tier:

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $19 per month
  • Up to 2,500 subscribers: $29 per month
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers: $54 per month

Upgrade to their Marketing Automation tier to access additional features and the prices change to the following:

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $59 per month
  • Up to 2,500 subscribers: $69 per month
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers: $95 per month

8. Mailerlite

Best email marketing service for absolute beginners to email marketing.

Mailerlite may be relatively new, but like the other newer providers on this list, their freshness actually works in their favor.

What you get here is email software that is steadily rising in popularity. A platform that’s idyllically suited to solopreneurs, startups and small businesses. A provider making a rapid name for itself as a strong tool that’s easy to use and great value for money.

This novice-friendly software is an excellent entry point that offers a generous array of features to help you get off to the best start with your email marketing. Strong deliverability rates and sleek, modern designs reinforce the suitability of this email service provider—however, we’re sorry to say it’s far from perfect.

Mailerlite offers only the most basic of automation workflows and a rather limited library of pre-made templates. It’s also lacking testing features for both spam and overall email design—not ideal! Simply put, while Mailerlite is a fantastic early-days starting point, you’ll likely outgrow its limited capabilities before too long, particularly as your lists and goals grow.

Key features

  • Drag-and-drop email designer that’s easy to use.
  • Additional editors including rich-text editor and custom HTML editor.
  • Ecommerce integrations including Shopify, Stripe and WooCommerce
  • Workflow automation features with newly-added multiple triggers, auto-resend campaigns and RSS emails.
  • API access for bespoke integrations.
  • User-friendly subscriber management and automatic cleansing of duplicate contacts.
  • Audience segmentation based on demographic and psychographic insights.
  • List building tools like sign-up forms, pop-ups, landing pages and surveys.
  • Detailed reports including click maps to fully optimize your campaigns based on engagement and interaction insights.
  • A/B testing.
  • Inbuilt newsletter editor and photo editing functions.
  • Retargeting to re-engage recipients and warm up your leads.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Pricing

If you have under 1,000 subscribers and can make do with 12,000 monthly emails or less, you’ll get on well with Mailerlite’s free plan.

When your needs soar past those limits, Mailerlite prices its services based on three tiers and how many subscribers you have. Regardless of which tier you select, you unlock access to unlimited monthly emails.

Here’s how the pricing looks for their Growing Business tier:

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $10 per month
  • Up to 2,500 subscribers: $17 per month
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers: $32 per month

If you want the additional features of the Advanced tier, prices are:

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $21 per month
  • Up to 2,500 subscribers: $30 per month
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers: $39 per month

Choosing the best email marketing software

Want to hear the secret most people out there won’t tell you? When it comes to choosing the best email marketing service for you, there’s not a lot of difference between the available options.

Well… except for one.

Being the only provider to offer a consistent, reliable flat rate, we genuinely believe Flodesk is the best choice for any small business or startup—especially for those planning to thrive as the years go by.

Flodesk is the only email marketing platform that doesn’t charge you for growing. Your success lines your own pockets, not ours.

Of course, if $38 per month is too steep an investment for you amongst the chaos of startup life, there are plenty of free options that will adequately suit your early needs. But as your email lists grow and you’re suddenly facing down the idea of a more expensive plan, we urge you to take action to save your future self both stress and money.

Our best advice? Go with your gut, hop on a free trial and see how you get on.

FAQs on email marketing software for small businesses

1. What is the best email marketing strategy for small businesses?

First, choose your email service provider. Then, work on building your email list through things like gated content, giveaways, landing pages, popup forms and exit-intent popups. Carefully plan what emails you’ll send to your subscribers, and aim to send highly targeted emails that they’ll find valuable instead of irritating.

When you’re confident you’ve mastered the basics, create audience segments to help further improve the relevance of your emails to your subscribers. And finally, stay creative with your emails. If you keep showing up and bringing value, you’ll keep your subscribers engaged—if you don’t, you’ll lose them.

Want to learn more? Check out our 5-step guide to acing your email marketing.

2. What is the best email marketing software for beginners?

The most beginner-friendly email marketing platforms are the ones with the shortest learning curve. Mailerlite and Flodesk are by far the simplest, most intuitive and easy-to-master ESPs on this list.

While we can’t speak for others, we can guarantee that with Flodesk, you’ll be reaping the rewards of email marketing in record time.

3. What is the ROI of email marketing?

Litmus studies show that email marketing generates an average of 3,600% ROI—that’s a $36 return for every dollar you spend. And yes, that’s a higher ROI than any other marketing channel.

4. What is one type of email automation campaign every small business should consider building?

Welcome emails are an absolutely essential automation for any business, whether you’re a startup or a global enterprise. Subscribers expect to receive these when they sign up for anything, and not receiving one is an instant, potentially irreversible warning of a poor-quality company.

With an average open rate of over 86%, these emails are your perfect opportunity to get subscribers excited for the next email you send. Plus, you can effortlessly automate your welcome emails so they don’t take up your time and attention.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing