A 30-Point Comparison of 35 Email Marketing Tools

Social media promised so much for marketers, but the number of people we can reach on social media is rapidly shrinking. This is the result of three things:

  1. The increasing number of social media channels.
  2. The increasing amount of content flowing through these channels.
  3. The increasingly requirement to pay in order to reach your audience on these channels — even those who have opted to hear from you.

As James Del said back in 2014:

“Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their fans and likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the fans they just bought.”

In this context, email continues to be a very valuable and effective marketing channel. Most people still have an email address, and most people spend hours each day in their inbox.

As Paul Jarvis wrote:

“We spend about 28 percent of our workday in our inbox — and those emails don’t whiz by in an ever-updating stream of content.”

Email marketing isn’t easy. With every email you send you are always just one click away from losing a subscriber (this morning I unsubscribed to five newsletters). But the opportunity is there if you can steward it well.

Tools for Email Marketing

When I first started sending email newsletters 10 years ago, MailChimp was the only provider I had heard of. In my research this week, I’ve discovered 35 different tools for email marketing — and this is only including the tools that can be used to (at a minimum) send email newsletters.

With so much choice, how do you choose the right tool for your email marketing? I’d like to help!

Using Airtable I’ve compiled a detailed comparison of 35 email marketing tools — from AWeber to Zoho Campaigns. The table can be sorted and filtered as required.

7 Important Questions

Lots of features now come standard regardless of which email marketing tool you choose. Things like campaign reports, segmentation and responsive designs are common to most providers and haven’t been listed in the table.

But in order to provide as useful a comparison as possible, I wanted to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the key point of difference? Many different tools appear very similar — what makes this each particular tool different? Some of them have a particular focus (e.g. ConvertKit is focussed on bloggers — thanks for the tip Pat Flynn!) while others (e.g. CakeMail and SendinBlue) pride themselves on their support.
  2. What are the key features? Apart from the features common to all providers, what else can this tool do? Does it have an API? Can it be used to send SMS or push notifications? Zapier integration is a big one for me — if it connects with Zapier this opens up 100s of possibilities.
  3. What is the support like? Without using each tool it’s not possible to provide a comprehensive support rating. But I was able to report on which providers failed to respond to my emails (1-star) and which (e.g. EmailOctopus)responded so helpfully and enthusiastically they left me wanting to sign-up so I could contact support again (5-stars)!
  4. What is available for free? Most providers have a ‘free’ option and some are very generous with what is included (e.g. MailChimp allows 2,000 contacts and 12,000 emails per month for free).
  5. What does it cost? I’ve provided a benchmark price for 2,500 subscribers, to give a *rough* comparison between solutions.
  6. Is there a discount for not-for-profits? I have worked with lots of non-profits and they are always up for a discount! The best discounts are offered by GetResponse and FreshMail.com, with a whopping 50% saving for non-profits.
  7. Do you pay for duplicates? Some providers (e.g. ActiveTrail) charge you once per contact (i.e. email address), regardless of how many lists an email is in. Others (e.g. Campaign Monitor) charge you for duplicates — e.g. an email address is counted against your plan for every time they appear on a list. Depending on your set-up, this can add up.

The Comparison Table

Are you ready? Check out the comparison here.

Notes

  1. The prices are in US$ unless stated otherwise.
  2. The price comparisons are a guide — some providers also offer discounts for pre-paying for 6 or 12 months, and others might charge more to use some premium features.
  3. Every effort has been made to provide accurate details (including contacting each provider). If something is missing or incorrect, let me know and I’ll fix it up.
  4. Thanks to Clearbit for saving me a lot of time with their free logo API.