Small businesses need to focus on many things without the budget and resources of a mid-size company or business. The decisions they make about technology tools and software packages are often more important than those of a large company, because they need tools that inherently make it easier to run a quality business with less.

There’s no shortage of email marketing tools for small businesses, which makes perfect sense – email marketing is still a very powerful tool for small businesses, in part because they have more flexibility with their image, branding, and image. . And that’s very valuable because while it may be great to have a great Instagram page right now, IG is still algorithmically based; Emails go directly to a prospect’s inbox, which means a formula doesn’t decide who sees your best content.

What characteristics should I look for in an email marketing tool?

Today’s email marketing platforms do more than just email your list. There are many features and capabilities that you will want to consider and evaluate before choosing the best email marketing tool for your small business.

Drag and drop generator

Creating attractive HTML emails is essential for small businesses to read newsletters and promotions in their inbox. These emails include things outside of the plain text, including images, colors, different font styles, and more. The tricky part is that email clients (inboxes like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, iPhone mobile, and many others) don’t follow the same rules when it comes to viewing HTML emails.

A drag-and-drop email creator is essential for small businesses who want to send well-crafted emails that look great in any email client. Drag-and-drop email creators serve a dual purpose for small businesses. They make it easy to create email layouts, add text, and extract images, without the need for HTML. And they are designed to make your HTML email easier in most email clients.

Administration tools

Even small businesses can organize in complex ways, and your email marketing tool should help you work efficiently.

You may need to create subaccounts if you want to treat communication channels differently for different departments. Small businesses that have clients, such as business advisors, consultants, and marketing agencies, may need a way to share email templates between customer accounts.

As your email marketing efforts grow, so do your contact lists. As everyone knows, there is money on your lists and you don’t want a dishonest customer or employee to take over your proprietary data. If security is a challenge for your small business, you’ll want to weigh your options to protect your lists.

Deliverability tools

The harsh truth of email marketing today is that not all emails will make it to your inbox. However, there are steps you can take to protect your sender’s reputation and ensure that you send as many emails as possible.

When comparing platforms, consider the deliverability help they provide. Email verification, spam checkers, white label IP address, and DKIM authentication can propel your business into the inbox battle.

List creation

Small businesses can have enormous reach as they grow their mailing list. List building tools like online forms, surveys, and polls can help you reach a wider audience. As you test out the new email marketing platforms, take a look at their list building tools. do they have shapes? Will they integrate seamlessly with your website? Understand whether or not you will need a technical resource to take advantage of the list building tools that an email marketing platform offers.

List Segmentation

As an email marketing best practice, you want to send the most relevant message to everyone on your list. This is where targeting comes in. Your customer’s inbox is a competitive place to go, and sending a generic message to your entire list is rarely a recipe for attention.

Getting a list of contacts who opened a certain email or clicked on a specific link can help small businesses refine their message and improve engagement with their contacts. When comparing messaging tools, make sure you have an easy way to divide and divide your contact details and get the right message in the right hands every time you send it.


Speaking of sending the right message at the right time, automation is helping small businesses step up their email marketing efforts. Email automation can help you send individual emails to a large contact list.

An email automation is a series of triggers and actions that fire automatically. Triggers can be signals like adding a contact to a list, opening an email, or clicking a link. During this time, actions can be steps like sending a specific email or removing a contact from a list. Even a few triggers and actions together can create powerful workflows for small businesses.

A / B testing

Digital shopping behavior is changing all the time. A subject line that might have been noticed a year ago may seem out of date today. Testing email subject lines and copy can set your email marketing efforts apart from others.

A / B testing functions can be simple or complex. It’s definitely a feature that can help you improve engagement, as long as it’s easy for your business to use.


Measuring email marketing success is easy with good reporting tools. If you want to track metrics that go beyond the basics of open and click rates, make sure you can get the data you need with your email marketing tool.

The 10 Best Email Marketing Software

  1. ActiveCampaign – best for small businesses & enterprise
  2. Benchmark – best for agencies
  3. Sendinblue – best for transactional emails
  4. Drip – best for small-medium e-commerce businesses
  5. Omnisend – best for medium-large e-commerce businesses
  6. Autopilot – best for marketing automation
  7. HubSpot – best for B2B service companies
  8. MailerLite – best for personal projects
  9. ConvertKit – best for bloggers
  10. EmailOctopus – best for developers 

1. Active Campaign

Small businesses and startups can opt for ActiveCampaign, an affordable and easy-to-use email marketing platform with several features specific to SMBs.

This platform has its CRM system to manage leads and therefore automatically organize sales and marketing. Process automation is an asset to Active Campaign, which presents innovative and informative reports that tell users what is working in their email marketing efforts and what is not.

What makes ActiveCampaign a great email marketing service to analyze is the way it filters the customer experience acquisition process. The platform’s official website filters potential users by industry, product, and function. This allows the platform to fully customize your email marketing service needs based on who you are and what you are looking for.

2. Benchmark

Not only is Benchmark’s email marketing suite incredibly powerful, it’s also free. While most tools offer free trials or very limited features in their freemium plans, Benchmark gives you (almost) all the conveniences of their paid plans. Along with their ridiculously simple drag-and-drop generator, lightweight automations, and reporting tools, they also offer more advanced features like Google Analytics tracking, heat maps, and social media integration – all for free! For SMEs, Benchmark Email Tool is the ideal starting point and the ideal tool to grow with your business.

3. Sendinblue

Sendinblue offers a good compromise between the expense it requires and the service that is easy to use and complete with the functions it offers (such as the most famous ActiveCampaign).

Sendinblue also has a well-developed CRM section and offers great possibilities for automation, integration and segmentation, representing the real competitive advantage over other platforms. The interface, however, can be more complicated than that of other services like Mailchimp).

It is also a great SMS marketing tool. There are a variety of templates to create your emails.

Sendinblue allows you to create personalized workflows that send emails automatically. You can even use your contact’s behavior on your website to trigger emails. For example, you can send an automated email if a customer adds an item to their cart but doesn’t review it.

Sendinblue offers a completely free account up to 300 emails per day and receives unlimited contacts. If you want to send more emails, the paid plans start at $ 25 / month.

4. Drip

I think it’s fair to say that Drip is targeting small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses, while our upcoming email marketing tool (Omnisend) seems more suited to large ecommerce stores.

Unsurprisingly, Drip integrates deeply with all mainstream eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce, as well as the more obscure and custom ones.

With built-in revenue analytics and tools for engaging customers across multiple channels (from social channels to SMS), Drip is said to have a powerful tool for ecommerce store growth.

Its price is also acceptable, starting at $ 19 / month for small listings.

5. Omnisend

Omnisend is fast becoming one of the leading marketing platforms for eCommerce stores.

Designed to help ecommerce brands control their cross-channel marketing, Omnisend offers email, text messages, push notifications, and the most incredible integrations with Google Ads, Instagram, Facebook Ads, Messenger, and WhatsApp. , which claim to have a 10 times higher click-through rate. -for rates by email only.

Focusing exclusively on e-commerce, Omnisend has created innovative email templates designed to reduce cart abandonment and attract repeat shoppers. From “wheel of fortune” deals to scratch cards and birthday discounts, it’s clear that Omnisend was created by a team that is keenly aware of what works in e-commerce.

As you would expect from an email marketing tool, Omnisend connects to most ecommerce platforms, including Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Where Omnisend goes even further is in integration with review, loyalty, and support platforms like Yotpo,, and ReCharge.

This not only enables Omnisend to report on the impact of its campaigns on sales, but also enables you to trigger behavior-based email, SMS, and social media campaigns to reduce churn. Shopping cart, increase buyer returns, generate more products. reviews and more. .

If you want the features that set Omnisend apart, you’ll need a PRO account starting at $ 199 / mo for up to 10,000 contacts. While not the cheapest or the easiest to use, Omnisend is a good choice for ecommerce brands that want a multi-channel platform to dominate them all.

6. Autopilot

Gone are the days when email marketing was all about sending out mass newsletters.

In today’s digital landscape, smart email marketing is essential; Send the right messages to the right prospects at the right time, automatically.

That’s why all of our top ten email marketing providers offer marketing automation. As the name suggests, this is the strong point of the autopilot. For starters, they have one of the best-designed schemes for creating email automation sequences.

Anyone who has created an email automation sequence knows how quickly they can get confused. Autopilot solves this problem in a very original way, allowing you to annotate your automation sequences with emojis, stickers and explanations, making it easier for teams to collaborate in creating sequences.

Yes, it can be complicated, but I prefer that and to be able to understand what is happening, than to have beautiful sequences of automatisms that take half an hour to interpret.

Another feature that I like about Autopilot is its ability to trigger actions in its other tools within Autopilot. This avoids having to set up integrations with a tool like Zapier and makes your footage much easier to understand.

The autopilot reports are great too, but I’ll cover that in more detail in our reporting and analysis section below.

Starting at $ 49 / month for 2,000 contacts, Autopilot is far from the cheapest option, especially since Autopilot doesn’t offer a built-in CRM. However, Autopilot is extremely intuitive and ideal for teams that need to collaborate on powerful email automation sequences. If we were to switch from ActiveCampaign, we would probably go here.

7. HubSpot

HubSpot is world-class in providing businesses with an all-in-one sales and marketing platform that includes CRM, Landing Pages, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Chat, Forms and all the rest.

While some claim that “trying to do it all” is the downfall of HubSpot, it allows them to do one thing exceptionally well; Reports.

By using HubSpot as the backbone of your marketing and sales, you can more easily attribute revenue to the marketing campaign, newsletter, or blog post that influenced each sale. In that sense, HubSpot is more of a CRM offering automation and email marketing, rather than the other way around.

A warning about HubSpot’s price hike.
While highly rated, HubSpot is the second most likely response (behind Mailchimp) to “What email marketing software are you looking for?” In our survey of over 1,700 email marketers. The reason is almost always the same; Price.

HubSpot is positioning itself as an affordable option for small businesses by offering free (very limited) versions of its products, but don’t be fooled by HubSpot’s gateway drug. Your platform becomes exponentially expensive as your roster or feature needs grow.

The business owner I spoke to started with a $ 50 / month plan, and within a year he needed a $ 2,000 / month plan that had to be paid annually. The only difference was 15,000 more contacts and the addition of marketing automation, but they went from $ 50 out of the bank to $ 24,000.

This is where I feel in conflict with HubSpot.

On the one hand, you can get the same features for a tenth the price by using ActiveCampaign, Benchmark, or half the tools in this guide. On the other hand, if the value of knowing what influenced each sale is an issue worth paying a five-figure sum, then HubSpot is a serious contender.

This is why we suggest that HubSpot is an ideal choice for B2B service companies, where the value of gaining an additional customer or two per year would easily cover the cost of HubSpot. This extends to larger or more sophisticated agencies that need to provide clients with detailed reports on their marketing funnel.

If you just need email marketing software, HubSpot is probably overkill. But if your search for email marketing software is part of a larger plan to improve your marketing game and the performance of your entire sales and marketing funnel, HubSpot is a serious contender, but it doesn’t. don’t expect it to be cheap.

8. ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a robust and easy-to-use email marketing platform. It has great features for creators and bloggers, but it’s also a popular choice for small businesses.

ConvertKit makes it easy to segment contacts into existing contacts and customers to send different emails to each.

It has a simple email generator to create emails that will look great on any device. You can even generate clickable CTA buttons and track conversions when users click on them.

9. MailerLite

At the opposite end of the price spectrum, we have MailerLite, which is one of the best value for money email marketing tools (up to 12,000 emails / month is free to send less than 1000 contacts).

Unlike other beginner email marketing tools, MailerLite is a universally good tool regardless of industry. Whether you’re starting a small charity, side business, or just starting out as a freelance writer, MailerLite has everything you need to send out mass email marketing campaigns.

If you have a small business, I suggest a tool like ActiveCampaign is more suitable, as they offer built-in CRM and more advanced marketing features for about the same price.

For beginners and personal projects, where all you need to do is send out beautiful email campaigns to engage your audience, MailerLite is ideal.

If you’d like to try MailerLite, the folks there have kindly offered Venture Harbor readers an extended 30-day (instead of 14-day) trial through this link.

10. Email Octopus

There has long been a notion in email marketing that the cheapest way to send emails is through Amazon’s Simple Messaging Service (SES). However, the user interface is simply not designed for marketing teams to create campaigns.

Many email marketing services have tried to bridge this gap, from Sendy to Moonmail, but they often ended up lacking features or turning to development. EmailOctopus has achieved this balance.

The advantages of Amazon SES, without the disadvantages

Amazon’s Simple Messaging Service (SES) is unbeatable from a cost standpoint and the deliverability is world-class. But it creates a huge bottleneck if you use it to deliver your marketing campaigns.

Every campaign, typo fix, and email sequence should be framed as a development endeavor, diverting limited design and development resources into something that, quite frankly, is a blatant waste of development time.

EmailOctopus fills this gap. Built on the foundation of Amazon SES, EmailOctopus brings you the infrastructure benefits of AWS, while allowing you to create your email campaigns in a friendly user interface.

The main drawback of EmailOctopus is its simplicity. If you’re just emailing campaigns to a list, that’s fine, but don’t expect the multi-touch attribution or visual automation builder you’ll find in a tool like ActiveCampaign.

EmailOctopus would be perfect for a small technology start-up, where one team member masters AWS and needs the flexibility and power of SES without the need to code the creation of the emails.

After covering the pros and cons of our top ten email marketing tools, we will now directly compare them in nine areas that define a great email marketing tool.


Most of these small business email marketing tools will give you the same basic (and advanced) feature set, including list building, A / B testing, smart automation, targeting, and broad range of models. Some will be better than others in terms of the feature set of the offering; What really sets most of these email marketing tools apart is their level of support. Ask your former colleagues what they think of the different platforms; post on LinkedIn and other platforms to determine. Your email marketing tool won’t be perfect; Things will emerge that need to be corrected. Support is crucial! But don’t be afraid of the possible option overload of all these email marketing tools. You need email marketing to build relationships, sell, and grow. Do your research and you will find the best option for you.

What is the email marketing tool?

Email marketing tools are tools marketers use to create, send, test, optimize, and report on their email campaigns. One of the most common email marketing tools is an email service provider, or ESP, like Campaign Monitor.

Is mass emailing illegal?

So to reiterate: It is legal in the U.S. to send an unsolicited commercial email. You do, however, have to comply with certain rules when sending those unsolicited emails, and if you don’t, the penalties can be very serious. Follow these five simple guidelines, and stay on the right side of the CAN-SPAM Act.

What is the cheap and best solution for bulk email marketing?

 is a good option.

As one of the cheapest email marketing software options, Sendinblue’s key selling point is its scalability. If you’re looking to try out an email campaign or two without investing a ton of resources, you can start out on the free plan and work your way up as needed.

Categorized in: