Have we convinced you yet to make email marketing a part of your overall marketing strategy? Great!
To begin, you need to understand that choosing the right email service provider (or ESP) can make or break your email marketing results. After all, this technology is responsible for getting your emails delivered, so it is an important decision.
This post will review some of the most popular small business email service providers our clients use and love.
Let’s take a look!
What to look for in an email service provider
You should consider a few different things when choosing an email service provider to send your emails. Overall, you want an ESP that:
- Can create engaging emails in an easy-to-use interface.
- Easily sends bulk emails that are personalized and targeted without a lot of extra work.
- Has an easy-to-manage contact list, segments users into groups, and tracks your email marketing campaigns’ performance.
- Most importantly, it ensures that your email campaigns do not end up in the spam folder.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular email marketing service providers and how they compare to each other.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing providers for small businesses. And for a good reason…they’ve been around for a long time and offer a great, free plan to get you started in the email marketing game.
- If you have 2000 or fewer subscribers, you can use their platform for free. And what’s better than free?
- Easy and customizable interface – It’s essential for new users to have something easy to use, such as the drag and drop templates Mailchimp provides.
- Detailed analytics to know what’s working and what’s not. Using Mailchimp, even the free version, will tell you how many opens, how many clicked links, and how many people unsubscribed from your list.
- Mailchimp’s pricing plan can go from free to pricey overnight. Once you start adding subscribers and want more advanced features, the price tag can increase fast.
- The free plan does not offer support. You’re on your own!
- Email services like Outlook and Gmail are on the lookout for an email from Mailchimp and can often send these emails to the spam folder.
BEST FOR: Mailchimp is best for marketers or small businesses with smaller budgets who do not need overly complicated audience segmentation abilities.
PRICING: Free Plan? Yes (up to 2000 contacts) / Paid: $9.99/month+
One of our favorites is Klaviyo. This email marketing software is a powerhouse, especially for e-commerce businesses! Klaviyo is more than an email platform because it acts as a CRM as well. This means that using Klaviyo can help you identify and engage with your best customers. In fact, customers who have switched from Mailchimp to Klaviyo have seen a 46% increase in their store revenue.
- No code install or set-up, and whether you’re collecting emails or phone numbers, Klaviyo helps you stay GDPR and TCPA compliant.
- Easy automation means you can personalize emails to send messages based on what customers do, like making a purchase or engaging with an email campaign. Pre-built marketing flows are available for use.
- Simple drag and drop design to create beautiful emails. Various looks can be applied to templates and workflows, and you can also upload your own designs.
- Klaviyo is a great marketing tool for e-commerce. If selling isn’t part of your business model, it may be too robust for you.
- Klaviyo has a free plan to start, but only up to 250 contacts. If you’re looking to grow your business, the bill for this software can grow just as quickly.
- Lacks in customer support. If you need quick tips or basic help, the help pages are fantastic. However, if you need more personalized assistance, it is more complicated.
BEST FOR: E-commerce and/or Shopify users with small teams
PRICING: Free Plan? Yes (up to 250 contacts) / Paid: $20/month+
Zoho Campaigns is an email marketing solution designed to build, deliver and monitor email campaigns for boosting your sales and customer base. Zoho is a very robust system, so while Zoho Campaigns is a great email marketing application, it works best for businesses already invested in the Zoho platform, especially the CRM application.
- Easy to use interface with pre-designed templates and a drag-and-drop editor, allowing for easy customization.
- If you don’t know how your campaigns are performing, ultimately, you will not drive sales and increase revenue. Zoho offers real-time analytics and extensive reports to allow for this decision-making.
- Zoho has excellent support – not only do they listen to feedback and implement suggested changes, but they also answer questions personally and quickly.
- Although Zoho offers robust workflow functionality, this complicated setup will limit first-time email marketers.
- There are various reports of buggy software, from the email options to the reporting section.
- You are unable to schedule an email campaign on the fly. Currently, you need 24 hours in advance to push a campaign live. This can be a drawback for marketing teams or business owners who schedule things last minute due to all of the other work they have to do!
BEST FOR: B2B businesses that are scaling quickly
PRICING: Free Plan? No, 14-day trial / $3/mo+ (email and subscriber-based options)
Flodesk is a new ESP built for creators by creators. Known for its modern and clean look, FloDesk’s claim to fame is the ability to create beautiful emails that people want to open. Users can use it to design and send on-brand marketing emails, create opt-in forms to grow your list, and build email automation.
- Easy to set up and use. Even if you have zero tech skills, you can use the intuitive email builder within the software.
- Workflows are easy to create in FloDesk, offering many layout options, customized opt-in forms, and automation.
- Email templates look great across all devices and are very brand-focused.
- FloDesk has reported the worst sending scores in our experience, meaning emails often end up in spam folders. You can also not see where your sign-ups came from or view basic subscriber details like how many emails a subscriber has opened.
- It lacks the basics of true email software, such as engagement ratings and segmentation, workflow, and A/B testing.
- FloDesk does not integrate with any other marketing tools; you must use Zapier.
BEST FOR: Creatives, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and small business owners.
PRICING: Free Plan? No, 30 day trial period / $38/mo unlimited
ConvertKit is an excellent email marketing service for content creators. It allows you to build an extensive email list, send mass emails, and set up advanced automation. ConvertKit can also tag and segment your email list to ensure the right emails are delivered to the right subscribers. This ESP is very popular among bloggers and other types of content creators.
- Easy to use with a straightforward interface. Although there are not many pretty bells and whistles, this style will work great for direct email campaigns.
- Tag-based subscriber system – Unlike most other email service providers, their subscriber system is a tag-based system rather than a list-based system. This adds a lot of flexibility when it comes to segmenting your audience. You can send super-targeted emails with tags, which in turn will improve your open rates and deliverability.
- There is a lack of template customization. It does not offer drag and drop functionality. When making some design changes, you will have to dig into the CSS and/or HTML of the email template to make it “pretty.”
- There are limited options for A/B testing. You will be able to do split testing for only the subject lines, but not for the sender name or time. Also, there are only two variations within split testing.
- It does not offer lead scoring, which is important when pursuing qualified leads.
BEST FOR: Professional Content Creators – bloggers, writers, course creators.
PRICING: Free Plan? Yes / Paid: $29/mo+
Find the Right Email Service Provider For You
Choosing the right email service provider doesn’t have to be complicated. With dozens of ESPs out there, review each one’s pros and cons to find one that suits your business best. Once you have settled on an email marketing platform, it’s time to start collecting email addresses!
If you need help choosing an ESP for your business, reach out! We are happy to help you navigate this process, along with the various email marketing services GreenCup Digital offers. Contact us to find out more.