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The Best Email Marketing Services and Survey Software of 2021

By
Sean Peek
,
business.com Contributing Writer
| Updated
Oct 12, 2021

Here are our picks for the best email marketing services in 2021, including for small business, large business, free, low-cost, overall and survey software.
Best for Small Businesses
Visit Site
Affordable monthly plans
Robust campaign features
60-day free trial
Best Low-Cost Service
Benchmark Email Marketing
Affordable plan options
Easy-to-use interface
Helpful automations
Best for Planning Campaigns
monday.com Email Marketing
Internal project management
Useful automations and workflows
User-friendly templates
Best Marketing Integrations
FreshWorks Email Marketing
Integrated CRM and marketing cloud
Flexible add-on packages
21-day free trial
Best for Larger Businesses
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Marketing
Comprehensive marketing suite
Advanced email features
Seamless CRM tools
Here are our picks for the best email marketing services in 2021, including for small business, large business, free, low-cost, overall and survey software.

The Best Email Marketing Software


Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment of any digital marketing channel, with the potential to earn around $44 for every dollar spent. For small businesses, the question isn't whether they should invest in email marketing; it's what software solution they should use to manage it. The best email marketing services are easy to use and affordable, and they provide list-building tools and the ability to create eye-catching messages. To help you choose the right software for your business, we evaluated the top options on their usability, affordability and features.

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How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
25
Considered
10
Researched
10
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

Email marketing software Use case Starting price Free trial period Free version available Max number of contacts in standard plans Monthly billing option Live chat support A/B testing Automation features Campaign analytics
Constant Contact Small businesses $20 per month 60 days No 50,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Larger businesses $400 per month No No 500,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Freshworks Marketing integrations $19 per month 21 days No 5,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Monday.com Planning campaigns Free N/A Yes N/A Yes No No Yes No
Benchmark Low-cost Free N/A Yes 175,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ActiveCampaign E-commerce $9 per month 14 days No 100,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sendinblue Growing businesses Free N/A Yes Unlimited Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Mailchimp Beginners Free N/A Yes 100,000 Yes No Yes Yes Yes
iContact Scalable option Free N/A Yes 50,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HubSpot Bundled solution Free N/A Yes 15 million Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Reviews

Constant Contact Email Marketing: Best Email Marketing Service for Small Businesses

Constant Contact's affordable monthly plans and robust feature set should meet the needs of most small businesses.
You'll have plenty of time to test out all of Constant Contact's features with its 60-day free trial.
Unlike other popular email marketing options, Constant Contact does not offer a free version.
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Constant Contact is our choice as the best email marketing service for small businesses. This software comes with everything you need to easily create effective email campaigns at an affordable price. Constant Contact's plans, which are priced based on the number of subscribers you have, allow you to send an unlimited number of emails, whereas many of its competitors impose send limits.

Editor's score: 9.5/10

Constant Contact offers two email marketing plans starting at $20 per month, which should fit into most small businesses' budgets. Both the Email and Email Plus plans include customizable email templates with an image library, contact management and list-building tools, detailed tracking and reporting features, a mobile app, and comprehensive self-service and direct customer support resources. We were impressed with its easy-to-use email editor, which automatically pulls your logo, brand colors and social profile links from your business's website to help you customize the available templates.

We like how Constant Contact offers a 60-day free trial, the longest trial period of all the providers we researched. The trial is limited to 100 contacts but gives you access to all of Constant Contact's features.

Read Constant Contact Email Marketing Review

Benchmark Email Marketing: Best Low Cost Email Marketing Service

Benchmark's free, convenient drag-and-drop email editor is a great way to get started with email marketing.
The lowest paid Benchmark plan starts at just $13 a month, which is affordable for most small businesses.
You will need to invest in a paid plan to access all of Benchmark's features.

Small businesses that want an affordable email marketing service with excellent features should consider Benchmark. Paid plans start at $13 per month, with unlimited sends to 500 contacts. This provider also has a free plan that maxes out at 250 emails per month.

Editor's score: 9.2/10

All Benchmark plans include automation, lead generation and reporting features. We found these functions to be somewhat limited and simplistic in the free version, though, which is missing some key features that businesses may find useful. Fortunately, the lowest-priced Pro plan ($13 per month) is still very affordable for businesses on a budget and gives you access to more advanced automation features like behavior-based email follow-up, list management and website engagement automation, automated customer journey templates, and A/B testing.

Benchmark's drag-and-drop email editor is exceptionally easy to use, and it offers an HTML code editor for more complex customizations. This company also provides numerous customer support options, including phone, email, live chat, blogs, newsletters and videos.

Read Benchmark Email Marketing Review

monday.com Email Marketing: Best Email Marketing Service for Planning Campaigns

monday.com's workflow management capabilities can help you plan and create email marketing campaigns.
You can configure automations and workflows in monday.com to track email campaigns in progress.
You can't send campaigns or directly manage your email contacts through monday.com, as it is not a dedicated email marketing platform.

One of a marketing department's most difficult tasks is gathering, tracking and executing every campaign idea that its members present. Monday.com's workflow management capabilities can help your team track email marketing campaigns through their entire lifecycle, from brainstorming to execution.

Editor's score: 7.5/10

Monday.com users can leverage the platform's many template options, workflow automations and views to process incoming requests and monitor progress. You can track and filter email marketing campaigns by account, priority, goal, audience, send date, reviewer, and request status. The automation functions, such as notification and update triggers, can reduce the manual work of handling requests and updating campaign progress.

Businesses should be aware that Monday.com is project management software, not dedicated email marketing software, so you won't be able to send out or track the performance of your email campaigns from within the platform. However, it's a great tool for planning campaigns and analyzing internal workflow data around email marketing.

Read monday.com Email Marketing Review

FreshWorks Email Marketing: Best Email Marketing Service for Marketing Integrations

Freshworks CRM has numerous marketing integrations, including a robust email marketing platform.
Freshworks offers a 21-day free trial, as well as add-on packages to boost lower-tier plans.
If your marketing team is large or growing, Freshworks' monthly per-user payment models may become too expensive.

If you want to automate and integrate your sales and marketing processes at a small business-friendly price, Freshworks CRM may be the right choice for you. We like how this provider offers an all-in-one marketing solution with an email marketing function that integrates seamlessly with Freshworks' CRM platform. This enables your business to easily and effectively communicate with prospects using custom email marketing campaigns.

Editor's score: 9.2/10

The email marketing tool has helpful features and engagement options that benefit both your marketing team and your customers. From promotional emails and product updates to monthly newsletters and event invitations, Freshworks' email marketing capabilities are suitable for any type of email campaign.

The Freshworks Growth, Pro and Enterprise plans are priced on a monthly per-user basis, starting at $19 per month. You can purchase individual add-on services that will boost the capabilities of your current subscription without increasing your tier. A nice option we like is the free trial. You can take advantage of the platform's 21-day free trial before committing to a plan.

The Freshworks pricing model can quickly become expensive if you need a seat for every member of a large or growing marketing team, but if you only need one or two user accounts, it's an affordable, user-friendly integrated marketing and CRM option for a business of any size.

Read FreshWorks Email Marketing Review

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Marketing: Best Email Marketing Service for Larger Businesses

Salesforce Marketing Cloud's data-first marketing tools are excellent for large businesses that want to improve their customer relationships.
You'll get top-tier marketing features and excellent customer support with Salesforce.
With its plans starting at $400 per month, small and midsize businesses may not have the budget for Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Larger companies that want to improve their overall marketing strategy with effective email campaigns should consider Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a suite of marketing tools designed to streamline and enhance data-driven email marketing campaigns.

Editor's score: 9/10

The feature-rich Marketing Cloud is built on Salesforce's core CRM offering, which seamlessly integrates with your sales, marketing and customer service data. The included Email Studio tool is excellent at personalizing messages using customer data, which strengthens relationships between your business and its customers. It offers a variety of useful features with countless options for customizing your campaigns and workflow. With all its capabilities, Email Studio lets you easily create and scale campaigns for audiences of any size.

With a starting price of $400 a month, Salesforce Marketing Cloud may be out of reach for a small business with a limited budget. However, we think larger businesses that can afford Salesforce will find its features incredibly useful.

Read Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Marketing Review

ActiveCampaign: Best Email Marketing Service for E-Commerce Businesses

ActiveCampaign includes sales automation and advanced segmentation tools that are perfect for growing online retailers.
Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and other popular e-commerce software can integrate seamlessly with ActiveCampaign.
To access ActiveCampaign's best e-commerce integrations and features, you'll have to invest in the Plus tier (starting at $49 per month).

ActiveCampaign is an excellent choice for e-commerce businesses that need to send frequent customer communications such as transactional notifications, product updates and sale announcements. It has a multitude of marketing features and tools for online sellers, like custom order management, revenue reporting, customer service management, product landing pages and contact scoring.

Editor's score: 8.8/10

We were impressed with ActiveCampaign's integration options. ActiveCampaign integrates with hundreds of customer engagement solutions, including popular options like Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce. Sales and customer data from your integrated platform automatically go to your ActiveCampaign e-commerce dashboard so you can create targeted, personalized email campaigns from the tool's 125-plus templates. This email software also includes unlimited sends, so it's easy to scale and send numerous email campaigns to your customer base.

The best e-commerce marketing features ActiveCampaign has to offer are only available at the Plus tier or higher, starting at $49 per month for up to 1,000 contacts. This may not be enough for e-commerce businesses that want to scale quickly on a limited budget, but if you only have basic email needs right now, ActiveCampaign still provides many useful tools for you to build relationships with your customers as an online seller.

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Sendinblue: Best Email Marketing Service for Growing Businesses

The flexible, no-commitment pricing of Sendinblue is ideal for growing businesses that want a volume-based email marketing plan.
Sendinblue offers a free plan with unlimited contacts, as well as prepaid email credits to increase your send limit.
Sendinblue's free version limits you to 300 email sends per day, so you may not be able to send out a large campaign.

Most email marketing software providers charge a monthly subscription fee for a limited number of sends. While Sendinblue does offer email service pricing tiers like these, it also offers the option to purchase email credits. These non-expiring credits allow you to pay only for what you send, which makes Sendinblue a great email marketing solution for growing businesses that don't send out hundreds or thousands of marketing emails.

Editor's score: 9/10

Each of Sendinblue's email marketing tiers, including the free version, allow unlimited contacts. Notable features include a drag-and-drop email creation tool, a template library, email personalization, SMS marketing, advanced contact segmentation, customizable signup forms, transactional emails, and real-time reports.

The flexible plans and pricing offered by Sendinblue and its unlimited contact list (even on the free plan) make it a standout provider among the ones we researched.

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Mailchimp: Best Email Marketing Service for Beginners

Mailchimp's interface is easy to learn and ideal for new users.
The free version of Mailchimp has numerous useful features.
You can only create one audience on the free plan, limiting your segmentation options.

For businesses just starting to explore the world of email marketing, Mailchimp is a solid option. Even if you've never used an email marketing platform before, this platform is very easy to learn and use. It's simple to find all the features you need to start creating and running email campaigns from the dashboard.

Editor's score: 9.4/10

You can start risk-free with Mailchimp's free plan, which allows 10,000 monthly sends and up to 2,000 contacts. We were impressed that it has everything you need to run an effective email marketing campaign, including a drag-and-drop email editor, customizable templates, detailed tag-based audience segmentation, and some automation tools.

In case your business outgrows the free plan, Mailchimp offers multiple paid plans to fit nearly any company's budget. Paid plans offer multiuser accounts, an extensive knowledge base, marketing automation features, A/B testing and analytics tools. You can also create and publish email campaigns, landing pages, popup forms, Google remarketing ads, and Facebook and Instagram ads on any Mailchimp plan.

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iContact: Best Email Marketing Service for Scalability

iContact is a scalable solution that allows you to increase your contact limits easily as your subscriber list grows.
You get 500 contacts and 2,000 sends per month with iContact's free plan.
iContact's free and standard plans have relatively few automation features.

If you want to start with a free email marketing plan and scale up as your audience grows, iContact is an ideal solution. The free version of this software allows 500 contacts and up to 2,000 sends per month. We like that it includes all the features you need to get started with email campaigns as you build up your subscriber base.

Editor's score: 8.8/10

iContact includes a drag-and-drop email designer and a comprehensive, professionally designed template library. You can access iContact's template and stock image library, landing page creation and hosting option, A/B testing capabilities, real-time campaign reporting, API integrations, and automation features on any plan.

One potential downside is that there aren't many automations in the free and standard plans. You can upgrade to the Pro plan (starting at $30 per month for 1,500 contacts) for full access to features like automatically optimized send times ("smart sending"), audience segmentation, engagement follow-ups and multiple event series campaigns. 

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HubSpot: Best Bundled Email Marketing Service

HubSpot's bundled Starter CRM Suite includes email marketing to kickstart your inbound marketing efforts.
You can access "lite" versions of HubSpot's other marketing tools.
HubSpot may be too advanced for a small business's basic marketing needs, and the pricing options can be confusing.

HubSpot offers a robust marketing product suite that includes its Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and Operations Hub. Each of these tools is built upon HubSpot's popular CRM platform and included in its Starter CRM Suite. This bundled option is the same price as the Starter Marketing Hub ($45 per month when you pay for a year upfront), making it an excellent and affordable solution for a growing business's marketing needs.  

Editor's score: 9.2/10

When purchased as part of HubSpot's Marketing Hub, the company's email marketing software  allows you to plan campaigns in tandem with your blog efforts, landing pages, lead management, social media, ads, marketing automation and more. Email marketing is also available as a stand-alone free tool, which includes limited versions of the paid features in Marketing Hub.

HubSpot's professionally designed, drag-and-drop email templates allow you to create effective email campaigns easily. You can automatically personalize your emails based on a subscriber's stage in the customer journey, their list membership, or any information in their contact records. HubSpot's powerful reporting tools also give you deep insights into your campaign performance and subscriber data, helping you craft campaigns that convert.

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How Much Will You Spend on an Email Marketing Service?

Most email marketing service providers charge a monthly subscription fee based on the number of contacts you want to engage with and the number of emails you plan to send. Plans then vary further based on specific features. Some providers offer free versions of their software with limited features, subscribers, and sends, which can be a great risk-free way for businesses to try out email marketing for the first time.

On average, monthly plans range in price from $10 per month for 500 contacts to $4,000 per month for 1 million contacts. For businesses that only occasionally need an email marketing service, some providers offer per-email or pay-as-you-go pricing. This is a flexible option ‒ you only pay for what you use rather than paying the same amount each month for a subscription that may largely go to waste.

Email marketing services that do not offer a free version often allow you to sign up for a free trial so you can test out the software and see how it works for you. The services we examined offer trials ranging from 14 to 60 days.

TipTip: We recommend trying as many free trials as you can during your search so you truly get a feel for which email marketing service is right for your business. Pay attention to how easy it is to design emails and build your audience with each platform.

Buying Guide

Email Marketing Services Features

As you compare email marketing services, here are some core features you want to look for:

A/B Testing

Many services offer A/B testing, which is the ability to test out various components of an email message to see what will resonate more with your audience. Before you do, it is important to understand how A/B testing works. A specific example is to try out two different subject lines. You can send a portion of your email list one subject and another section of your list a different subject line. Whichever gets more engagement can be used for the majority of your audience. Drag-and-Drop Email Design Tools

Most services provide a user-friendly drag-and-drop tool that allows you to customize your emails, or customizable premade templates. Some providers have templates that show you how your email will look on multiple devices (laptops, tablets and mobile phones), which can help you design a flexible and responsive email.

Analytics and Reporting

The ability to measure your campaigns' performance is critical to understanding your ROI. Email marketing services typically include a detailed analytics platform that provides information such as your open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, audience geolocation, conversions and customer behavior trends. Some integrate with Google Analytics, while others provide their own analytics platforms that present the info in easy-to-read charts and graphs.

Marketing Automation

With marketing automation features, you can configure your email marketing software to automatically send targeted emails to certain customers when they take a specific action. For example, if a visitor to your website signs up to receive emails from you, a marketing automation workflow triggers a welcome email to go to that customer's inbox.

FYIFYI: Marketing automation can be an effective timesaver, and many email marketing services offer ways to make automated emails more personal, which leads to higher engagement and ROI.

Segmentation

Segmentation is another helpful way to improve email deliverability to your audience by grouping or tagging them by factors like age, location, gender, industry or interests. Email segmentation allows you to target different groups, rather than sending one mass email that may not be relevant to your entire customer base.

Contact Management

A contact management tool helps you acquire, sort and manage email contacts. It also provides features like automatic deletion of dead or duplicate contacts, importing, exporting, grouping, and integrating with other management tools, like a CRM or CMS. 

Social Media Integration

Integrating your social media with email marketing helps make the most of multichannel marketing by providing more information about your customers as well as more opportunities for them to see messages from you. You'll be able to grow your contact list, schedule posts, and track your followers' engagement to determine what's popular.

How Will My Business Benefit From Email Marketing?

Email marketing is an effective, low-cost method of communicating with your customers and building loyalty to your company. Here are just a few of the benefits of investing in a software solution for email marketing:

1. Easily manage your campaigns and contacts.

An email marketing service provides a centralized place to create, manage and analyze your email campaigns. The software manages the entire process of creating and sending your email campaigns. It also gives you feedback on how your campaigns are performing.

2. Improve click-throughs and engagements on your website.

A professional-looking email campaign will entice customers to click on the links you include in the email, which means higher click-through rates, increasing traffic to your website.

3. Provide personalized, one-to-one communications with your customers.

Today's customers expect content that is personally tailored to them, rather than a rote email going out to a company's entire customer base. Email marketing services allow you to segment your customers by qualifiers such as age, gender, location and interests to help you customize your messages.

4. Integrate email with your other digital marketing channels.

Many email marketing services allow you to embed or link to your social media platforms in your emails, which creates the opportunity for your business to advertise through multiple channels. This helps to increase brand awareness and the likelihood of return customers.

Bottom LineBottom Line: Choosing the right email software for your business can be a tough task. So, it is important to prioritize your needs and the benefits you are looking for to make sure the software you ultimately select hits all of those notes.

How to Choose an Email Marketing Solution

If you're looking for a new email marketing solution, here is a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right one.

1. Set goals and a budget.

Before you look for an email marketing solution, define your goals for your campaigns and determine how much you want to spend. Consider the campaign frequency and overall types of campaigns you want to run, such as special sales, general brand awareness, or customer engagement.

2. Research the top email marketing providers.

Search for the best email marketing software providers online or ask fellow business owners which solutions they use. The top services will often appear high up in your search results and be featured on numerous "best picks" lists.

3. Explore product reviews.

Online customer reviews and reviews on sites like business.com can give you a better idea of an email marketing company's pricing, features, benefits, limitations and disadvantages, and customer support. This research will help you determine which solutions fit in your budget and deliver the features you want.

4. Try out a few different solutions.

Whether you sign up for a free trial of a paid plan or use a free "starter" plan, make an account with each of your top email marketing providers and get to know each one. Try using their templates, email builders, contact management tools and other features. As you use the software, note how easy (or difficult) it is to use, which software integrations it supports, and what the limitations of your plan would be. It also helps to contact customer service to ask any questions you have and to gauge how well each provider supports its customers.

5. Decide on your email marketing software and begin running campaigns.

When you find a software provider you love, sign up for a plan and start building your first official campaign.

FAQs

What is email marketing, and what are its benefits?

Email marketing is a cost-effective digital marketing strategy that allows you to build a direct relationship with your customers through their email inboxes. There are many benefits of email marketing, including building trust with your audience, encouraging website click-throughs, and promoting sales.

What are the best email marketing services?

The best email marketing services offer the right combination of value and features at an affordable price. Look for services that offer adequate subscriber and send limits for your needs, extensive templates, automation features, contact management, and analytics. Based on our analysis, the best email marketing services are Constant Contact, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Freshworks, Monday.com, Benchmark, ActiveCampaign, Sendinblue, Mailchimp, iContact and HubSpot. 

What is the role of email marketing?

Email marketing is just one component of a company's overall marketing strategy. It can be used for a number of internal and external business communications, including company updates, product and sale announcements, and customer surveys.

Who should use email marketing?

Any business that wants to build strong customer relationships and improve their website traffic and revenue for a relatively low cost should consider email marketing.

What are the types of email marketing?

There are several types of email marketing. The most common are informational newsletters that provide general company news and updates, transactional emails that are part of the sales or billing process (order and shipping confirmations, receipts, invoices, etc.), and behavioral emails that are sent after a subscriber takes a certain action on your website (signs up for a mailing list, abandons their cart, sends an inquiry, etc.).

What to Expect in 2021

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Market Research Future's report on email marketing predicted the industry would have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.2% by 2027. Throughout 2020, stay-at-home orders and widespread remote work influenced a spike in both email sends across industries and click-throughs by recipients.

While text message marketing has also grown during the pandemic, consumers still use email daily, which means there are daily opportunities for businesses to connect with their customers. 

Email marketing will continue to become more technologically advanced through the rest of 2021, adopting and integrating more use of artificial intelligence. AI's primary function in email marketing will be to gather and analyze data that helps businesses deliver better and more targeted experiences to customers, like specific subject lines or personalized body text. AI will also make emails more interactive by allowing customers to purchase products directly from an email, streamlining the buying journey. 

We anticipate email marketing becoming more personal as companies compete with an increasing deluge of marketing communications. Using the vast swaths of personal data at their fingertips, marketers will be able to pinpoint their customers' locations from wearable and mobile devices more accurately. They will then use that data to send targeted emails and personalized automatic emails based on behavior, location, and other demographic information, and automatically reformat emails for the device the recipient is reading the email on, such as a smartwatch or tablet. 

We also expect integration with smart devices like Alexa, Google Home, Cortana and Siri. Consumers are getting more comfortable talking to smart devices and having them talk back, so they should soon be able to have their emails read to them in addition to things like hearing the news or setting reminders.

Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.
Image Credit: Dekdoyjaidee / Getty Images
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