You’re building your excellent business (your dream business!), and you’ve gotten to that point where you need to bring in some software…and there are tons of choices. In fact, there are far too many choices when it comes down to email marketing, building websites, sharing your content, and managing all of the docs that’ll keep your business running.
Some are good, some are great. Many cost you something by subscription, and so require a pricey subscription ($300 per month – what?!). Many one-person businesses can’t handle that price range.
Email marketing was, admittedly, my first love in digital marketing. I started with email marketing in 2007, and have used so many systems since then that I could talk for hours about the ins and outs of each of them. (I’ll save that for another post, though. You’re welcome.)
Here’s the best of the free and low-cost email marketing tools that I’ve recommended to clients. Check out the key features and complexities of each before jumping in to build your list with one. You’ll be able to switch systems, but it often isn’t a quick process to rebuild your campaigns in a new system.
For a long time, I wasn’t a fan of MailChimp. The features were simple, and you’d often get boxed into a plain looking email template. Who wants that?
Well, it has evolved over the last few years into a great starter system for email marketing, with much-improved customer support. They’ve even added a robust list segmenting capabilities. I wouldn’t suggest any email marketing which didn’t allow for segmenting. MailChimp offers an iPhone and Android app for list management and email creation.
MailChimp’s been known for years for having inconsistent delivery rates, something that I’ve heard from many others who have used the free system.
Price: Free for limited features, no list size limit.
Constant Contact offers immense list segmentation, and they pride themselves on this feature over others in the low-cost email marketing market. The system syncs with many others that are useful to entrepreneurs, like Quickbooks, Outlook, and Shopify.
I’ve personally had less than favorable results with the depth of their list segmentation options as well as some unusual issues with using HTML to format emails. If you’re planning to do simple list segmentation (with just a few factors necessary like when and how the subscribers opted-in, first name, et cetera), and plan to use a drag and drop interface, this system may fit your needs.
Price: $20 for 0-500 subscribers on their lowest-price offering.
Great name, and system to match. Your options are many here, although there are few bells and whistles to the free plan with up to 100 subscribers so if you are starting out, I’ll suggest that you consider Mad Mimi. It has cool features like grabbing colors from your website and a straightforward interface to building emails.
I found a downside of Mad Mimi in how it organizes a lot of the features that make it so robust. You’ll need to add them to your account to be able to use drip campaigns, web forms for capture new subscribers, links for your social channels, triggers, and personalization. Mad Mimi also lacks an app for easy access to lists and emails. I loved this feature of AWeber!
Price: $10 per month for up to 100 subscribers
AWeber is a great fit for someone who wants to create a simple email to a list, without a fancy template structure. I found it easy to write to my list for short emails, and it has impressive personalization options included in the basic plan. AWeber supports a basic app for iPhone and Android phones, so managing your list from this was a big plus for on-the-go entrepreneurs.
After using AWeber for a few months, I found that after my email reached around 500 words in length and the bottom of the screen wouldn’t load well. I’d be stuck without a view of the words that I had to type to close-out my email. Not good.
Price: $19 for 500 subscribers
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use starter system that includes landing pages, MailerLite may be the choice of this list. With drag and drop styling, quick loading pages, and a straight-forward dashboard for all of your subscriber management
Their app is only available in the iPhone App Store for Israel which seems odd when their software is available outside of Israel.
Price: Free up to 1,000 subscribers.
Do An Email Marketing Comparison
There are many other email marketing systems available, and this list is my take on a few of them. Here’s a quick set of tips to consider when you’re comparing email marketing systems:
- How complex is it to create an email, newsletter, or campaign?
- Look at deliverable rates for each system: you don’t want your emails to end up in the Junk folder.
- Do you need (or want) an app to manage your emails or list?
- Is your business ready to pay $20 or more per month for an email marketing system?
- Do you need landing pages? If so, what do I need to have on my landing page?
- Do you need web forms that only use your branding? Some allow registration free forms but charge more to have their logo removed from the page.
List any other features that are make-or-break for you in an email marketing system. If you’re starting your business, you may not be too picky now but consider your long-term needs before you commit to building your sales funnel, campaigns, or other marketing in one system.
Stuck on which ones suit your needs best and considering one on this list? Send me an email; I’d be happy to share more of my experiences to help you make your choice! I always personally respond when emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.