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Small Businesses: You Need These Top 4 Email Marketing Software Solutions

Looking to expand your small business's email marketing efforts? Here's a list of vetted email marketing tools to try in 2023.

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By Mayple staff
Michelle Meyer editor profile picture
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Updated January 25, 2024.

top-email-marketing-software

Email marketing software needs to be versatile and reliable. That's especially true for small businesses with limited resources. You want these tools to come with features that make communicating with your list easy, while creating campaigns that stand out.

After all, people's inboxes are crowded. Both Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp, two of the most popular email services around, report an average open rate of just over 20%.

That's fierce competition to get your email in front of the eyes of your audience. When it does, it can double your ROI. So, finding the right software to help you automate, personalize, and refine your campaigns is essential. Let's take a look at 10 of the best for small businesses.

10 Top email marketing software solutions for small businesses

  • MailChimp - Best value for money
  • ActiveCampaign - Best for personalization
  • HubSpot - Best for B2B businesses
  • Brevo - Best for omnichannel campaigns
  • Convertkit - Best for brand building
  • Omnisend - Best for eCommerce entrepreneurs
  • Mailerlite - Best for small businesses on a budget
  • Drip - Best for automation
  • Klaviyo - Best for small businesses looking to scale
  • Campaign Monitor - Best for ease of use


Our methodology: How we reviewed the best email marketing software solutions

To find the best email marketing options, we compared several key factors including:

  • Range of features (templates, drag-and-drop editors, etc.)
  • Pricing (monthly vs. list size, overall cost)
  • Ease of use (beginner vs. advanced)
  • Integrations (number and variety)
  • Automation (workflow automation, autoresponders, etc.)

What is email marketing software?

Email marketing software is any tool or platform that helps you create, send, and track email campaigns.

It simplifies the process of designing emails, managing subscriber lists, analyzing campaign performance, etc. So, it's a great way for small business owners like you to promote products, services, or information to a targeted audience via email.

» Want to sell without sounding salesy? Learn to use transactional emails like a pro


Best value for money

1


Exceptional
10
Cover image for MailChimp

MailChimp

Pricing

Starts at $9.90/month


Free trial

No free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Email tracking, custom reports, marketing automation

Brief overview

MailChimp is an email and marketing automation software to help businesses grow. The platform enables customers to start and grow their businesses with world-class yet simple technology.

Why we chose MailChimp

What sets MailChimp apart is its robust automation capabilities and sophisticated list segmentation, ensuring efficient and personalized email marketing.

  • Industry experience: Multiple industries
  • Track record: For over 20 years, MailChimp's been the buddy small business owners lean on, giving them the same digital marketing tools that larger competitors enjoy
  • Services: Email Marketing | CRM Suite | Social Media Marketing

Pros and cons

Easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder

Offers a free tier with basic features

Scalable pricing options

Challenges with integrating niche B2B tools

Best for personalization

2


Outstanding
9.9
Cover image for ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

Pricing

Starts at $29/month


Free trial

14-day free trial


Standout features

Third-party integrations, reporting & analytics, campaign management

ActiveCampaign offers email marketing features like time-saving automation and seamless CRM integration for easy access to customer data. This is in addition to insightful site tracking, effective lead scoring, and even SMS messaging to add a personal touch to your outreach.

Apart from its powerful automation capabilities, ActiveCampaign also offers advanced segmentation, personalization, and split testing options to optimize your email campaigns.

  • Industry experience: SMBs
  • Track record: ActiveCampaign has been helping businesses as one of the best tools to get emails delivered
  • Services: Email Marketing | Email Automation | Website Builder

Budget-friendly plan for small businesses

Scalable pricing

Automation features

Integration with 870+ apps

May have a learning curve for beginners

Best for B2B businesses

3


Outstanding
9.8
Cover image for HubSpot

HubSpot

Pricing

Starts at $20/month


Free trial

No free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Service & support analytics, AI chatbot, A/B testing

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform that seamlessly combines essential elements—CRM, landing pages, analytics—into one easy-to-use hub. Its email marketing capabilities are user-friendly, meaning you can set up and manage email campaigns "without waiting on designers or IT."

HubSpot is particularly effective for B2B businesses, thanks to features like lead scoring and pipeline management. This helps you nurture and convert leads with precision and ease.

  • Industry experience: Multiple industries
  • Track record: HubSpot is a powerful platform that has helped businesses transform their operations across all their digital requirements
  • Services: Email Marketing | Sales & CMS Hub | Operations Hub

User-friendly dashboard

Basic CRM is free

Free customizable email templates

Powerful analytics and A/B testing

Multitude of features can be overwhelming initially

Best for omnichannel campaigns

4


Outstanding
9.7
Brevo Cover Image

Brevo

Pricing

Starts at $25/ month


Free trial

No free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Transactional email & marketing, automation, SMS marketing

Brevo is one of the leading customer relationship management (CRM) suites. It is designed to fully cultivate long-term customer relationships, empowering businesses to expand in a fast-changing digital world.

Advanced segmentation and integrations with multiple platforms, including Whatsapp and SMS, set Brevo apart from other email tools for omnichannel campaigns.

  • Industry experience: Multiple industries
  • Track record: Brevo has been helping brands build strong customer relationships across various marketing channels
  • Services: Email Marketing | SMS Marketing | WhatsApp Campaigns | Facebook Ads

Omnichannel campaigns, including WhatsApp and SMS

Built-in CRM tool

Advanced segmentation and personalization

Limited analytics in lower-tiered plans

Best for brand building

5


Outstanding
9.6
a laptop with the text email marketing for creators

ConvertKit

Pricing

Starts at $15/month


Free trial

14-day free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Contact management, A/B testing, auto-responders

ConvertKit is an email marketing platform for creators that helps them earn a living online through various tools.

These include customizable opt-in forms and landing pages that help them grow their audience, a visual automation builder that connects with their true fans by sending targeted content, and a commerce tool to sell digital products and services.

Practical and rich automation templates, coupled with monetization strategies through the platform, make Convertkit a one-stop solution for creators and entrepreneurs with smaller ranges.

  • Industry experience: Online creators
  • Track record: ConvertKit has helped various creators make a living doing work that matters to them
  • Services: Email Marketing | Landing Page Builder | eCommerce Store

Visual workflow builder with 28 automation templates

Sell products directly through the platform

If/then rule system for email sequences

Some issues with importing contacts

Best for eCommerce entrepreneurs

6


Outstanding
9.5
Omnisend Website

Omnisend

Pricing

Starts at $16/month


Free trial

No free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Landing pages, 250+ email templates, A/B testing

Omnisend is an all-in-one email marketing & SMS tool. It helps to automate your marketing across the entire customer journey—reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time.

With extra features relevant to eCommerce marketing campaigns, advanced automation, and marketing workflows, Omnisend is an all-around eCommerce and email tool.

  • Industry experience: eCommerce
  • Track record: Omnisend has been helping eCommerce stores grow and drive sales through email & SMS marketing
  • Services: Email Marketing | SMS Marketing | Web Push Notifications

A campaign booster to improve open rates

Gathers post-sale feedback

Pre-built marketing automation workflows

Email customization could be improved

Best for small businesses on a budget

7


Outstanding
9.4
Mailerlite cover image

MailerLite

Pricing

Starts at $10/month


Free trial

30-day free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Mobile optimization, A/B testing, AI drag & drop editor

MailerLite is a fast and scalable email marketing platform. You can create professional newsletters, landing pages & websites using their drag & drop editor or with pre-designed templates.

For beginners and small businesses just starting out, MailerLite offers affordable pricing plans, high-converting email templates, and an easy-to-use editor.

  • Industry experience: Multiple industries
  • Track record: MailerLite has been helping customers who need affordable and great-value email marketing service
  • Services: Email Marketing | Website Builder | eCommerce Store

Smooth and clean drag-and-drop editor

A variety of modern, customizable email templates

Affordable email marketing option

Basic automation features

Best for automation

8


Outstanding
9.3
Drip cover image

Drip

Pricing

Starts at $39/month


Free trial

14-day free trial


Standout features

Third-party integrations, free migration, automation

Drip is an email marketing platform that gathers and organizes customer data. This enables eCommerce retailers to use that data to make personalized omnichannel customer journeys at scale.

With rich integrations and extensive, customizable automation, as well as advanced A/B testing, Drip is one of the more scalable solutions.

  • Industry experience: eCommerce SMBs
  • Track record: Drip has helped small and medium-sized businesses that want a simple, code-free solution for turning onsite visitors into email subscribers
  • Services: Email Marketing | Segmentation

Event-based and custom-field-based automation

A/B testing integrated with workflows

Behavioral triggers incorporated into sign-up forms

Premium pricing

Best for small businesses looking to scale

9


Outstanding
9.2
a computer screen with a bottle of liquid on it

Klaviyo

Pricing

Starts at $20/month


Free trial

14-day free trial; free plan available


Standout features

Segmentation, open API, custom reporting

Klaviyo is one of the best marketing automation platforms. They help power smarter digital relationships for over 100,000 businesses that earn more revenue by easily integrating and centralizing data from across the tech stack and utilizing it for personalized emails, texts, and mobile push messages.

Klaviyo has multiple email template categories, an intuitive interface, and top-of-the-line personalization systems. All this makes Klaviyo a great partner for the intelligent scaling of businesses.

  • Industry experience: Multiple industries
  • Track record: Klaviyo has helped enterprises with a DTC presence through seamless third-party integrations
  • Services: Email Marketing | SMS Marketing | Customer Data Platform

Over 100 email templates across diverse categories

Personalized recommendations based on browser history

Easy-to-use, clean, and intuitive reporting interface

Steep learning curve

Best for ease of use

10


Outstanding
9.1
Campaign Monitor cover image

Campaign Monitor

Pricing

Starts at $11/month


Free trial

Free trial up to 5 subscribers


Standout features

Template builder, AI writer, transactional email

Campaign Monitor is a straightforward email marketing tool that enables marketers to send beautiful and personalized emails. This creates a reliable channel to grow engagement with subscribers and promote loyal readership and conversions.

Campaign Monitor has been a popular choice among first-time email marketers because of its simple yet rich interface, great selection of templates, and overall easy management.

  • Industry experience: Multiple industries
  • Track record: Many companies and marketers around the world have trusted Campaign Monitor for simple and effective email marketing that delivers results
  • Services: Email Marketing

Clean, easy email builder

Loads of professional and responsive, mobile-friendly email templates, easy to adjust

Easy management of lists and subscribers

Lacks social media integrations



What to look for in email marketing software

Choosing the right email marketing software for your small business will depend on your needs, the size of your email list, your budget, and the campaign features you need for your email marketing campaigns. Here are the core criteria you can look at when evaluating email marketing tools:

  • Ease of use: Your email marketing software should be user-friendly with an intuitive interface. Time spent struggling with a tool is time taken away from core business activities.
  • Cost: Consider both the immediate costs and potential long-term costs as your subscriber list or feature needs grow.
  • Scalability: Make sure the software can cater to your needs as your business grows. Frequent platform switches can be disruptive and costly.
  • Integrations: Check for compatibility with other tools you use, like CRM systems, eCommerce platforms, and social media integrations. This can help to streamline workflows, maintain data consistency, and lead to more upsells and faster deals.
  • Segmentation features: Robust segmentation capabilities are essential for targeting different industries, company sizes, or stages in the buying cycle.
  • Personalization and automation: Personalized content can significantly enhance engagement. Look for tools that allow automated email workflows based on user behaviors or specified triggers.
  • Analytics and reporting: Comprehensive insights into open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and more can guide strategy and improve campaigns over time.
  • Deliverability: Make sure the tool has a good reputation for getting emails into recipients' inboxes and not spam folders.
  • Templates and design: Access to well-designed, mobile-responsive templates can save time and ensure your emails look professional.
  • Customer support and community: A responsive support team and a vibrant user community can be invaluable, especially when you run into challenges or need tips.

Possible considerations and limitations

While these tools are good at some things, they also have limitations. Here's a brief overview of how each tool stacks up on functionality.

a table with two rows of different colors


Let's take a more in depth look at the top three tools.

Templates

Mailchimp only comes with generic templates, and brands often have to create and save their own. HubSpot and Active Campaign offer a wider range of templates, allowing you to skip the hassle of writing a brand-new email every single time.

Learning curves

ActiveCampaign's powerful features can be overwhelming for some, yet its CRM capabilities aren't as exhaustive as specialized CRMs. Meanwhile, the various options HubSpot offers can be downright daunting for beginners to navigate. The easiest to learn, by far, is MailChimp.

The cost factor

HubSpot's premium pricing may not make sense for some small B2Bs, and there's potential for platform lock-in, as migrating away from the platform after deep integration can be challenging. On the other hand, Mailchimp offers a cost-effective option with free tiers and scalability, while ActiveCampaign's prices can escalate as contacts increase.

Integrations

As briefly mentioned, seamless integration with other business tools, such as CRM systems, is vital for B2B email marketing success. ActiveCampaign and HubSpot excel in integrations, while Zapier can bridge gaps for Mailchimp.

Personalization and segmentation

In B2B email marketing, personalization and segmentation are of utmost importance. All of the email marketing software tools offer great options for personalization, including merge gaps, custom fields, and dynamic content. Out of the three, however, MailChimp has the fewest personalization features.

Analytics and reporting

For actionable insights, you want to focus on analytics such as the open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, behavioral insights, segment-specific reports, revenue attribution, and list growth rate. All of the recommended tools stand out in providing comprehensive analytics.

User experience and training

User-friendliness and ease of adoption are crucial for small businesses. That's why you want to look for platforms that offer intuitive interfaces and comprehensive training resources. Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign do this well with a helpful and simple task roadmap and a getting started hub, respectively. HubSpot offers a lot of helpful training information in its knowledge base, but it can be a bit tricky—and downright overwhelming—to find your way around.

Choose right the first time

Selecting the right email marketing software for your small business is a significant step that can completely transform the trajectory of your company. When making your decision, be sure to consider your unique needs and goals and prioritize features, ease of use, and scalability.

And don't forget to leverage the power of personalization and analytics. With the right tool—and an experienced email marketer to help you wield it—you too can unlock the full potential of email marketing and drive growth for your business in 2023 and beyond.




Meet the expert

Sandra Stepan, a seasoned digital marketing and eCommerce expert, is the founder of SnapAdvantage. Her diverse portfolio includes collaborations with startups and companies with $20 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).