iContact is our pick for the best email marketing software application because of its comprehensive features and plans. When you're choosing an email marketing service, it's critical to find one that has easy-to-use features that make creating successful email marketing campaigns easy. That means you'll want a platform that has an email editor, a tool that lets you create segmented contact lists and ensures your emails get to the right inboxes.
To see all of our recommendations for email marketing services, visit our best picks page.
The best email marketing services also have a free trial or free plan to ensure businesses can learn and master the platform, plus they have easy-to-use email creation tools, contact-management tools, access to email analytics, segmentation tools, A/B split testing and spam filters. iContact offers all of these benefits and more to small and medium-size businesses.
iContact is our choice for the best email marketing service. Its comprehensive features make it easy to create successful and professional-looking email marketing campaigns. It has a range of plans available and a free trial so business owners can experiment with email marketing and then choose the right plan.
iContact has great customer service. When we reached out to live chat, we talked with a sales representative who answered our questions quickly and professionally and wasn't pushy. After we created a free trial, a representative contacted us and offered to answer any questions.
What sets iContact apart from other email marketing services is its intuitive platform. iContact's email creator is perfect for marketers at all skill levels because it allows you to create emails using your own HTML code or using one of its 12 design templates. If you use a template, you can design a custom email by using the drag-and-drop editor. It's easy to include your own pictures, logos and color scheme.
iContact's other valuable tools include its preview function that lets you see how your emails will look on all browsers, a spam checker that checks your emails for potential spam problems, and its A/B split testing tools.
Competitive Pricing and Terms
iContact has multiple plans that are built for businesses of all sizes. Like most email marketing services, iContact offers packages based on the number of subscribers you have in your contacts list. However, it has two different plans: Essential and Professional.
All plans include a drag-and-drop email editor, welcome series automation, list segmentation, responsive email layouts, performance reporting, A/B split testing, subscriber list management, a pre-built design template library, spam checks, Google Analytics, and sign-up form creation.
The Professional plan comes with all of the Essential plan features plus features like triggered messages, landing pages, engagement tracking, behavioral tracking, social monitoring, funnel reports and custom objects.
- For businesses with 500 subscribers, the Essential plan starts at $14 per month; the Professional plan costs $99 per month. If you have 1,000 contacts, the Essential package is $32 per month, and the Professional plan is $99 per month.
- iContact can accommodate large businesses with massive contact lists. For businesses with more than 5 million subscribers, the Essential plan starts at $300 per month. However, you'll need to speak with iContact's sales department for a quote on the Professional package prices.
- Plans with 15,000 subscribers and less automatically include unlimited email sends. If you have more than 15,000 subscribers, you can choose between an unlimited sending capability or a discounted plan with a limit of 10 times your subscriber count a month.
- If you're a qualifying nonprofit, you receive a 20 percent discount on all plans. If you prepay for an entire year upfront, you receive a 15 percent discount.
- iContact offers plans for businesses that use Salesforce. Subscriptions start at $99 per month for up to 10,000 email sends a month. This plan includes seamless Salesforce integration, no daily sending limits, unlimited users and boasts a 97 percent delivery rate.
You also have the choice to add a service package to any plan. The Bronze plan, which costs $200 per month, includes one strategy call and one custom strategic service project per quarter. This Silver package costs $250 per month, and it includes one strategy call and one strategic service project, but these services are per month, not per quarter. The Gold Plan includes one strategy call each month, and two custom strategic services projects, also per month. This plan runs $300 per month. The Platinum Package is an extra $640 per month and includes one monthly strategy call, one quarterly account analytics call, and a custom strategic services project.
While iContact doesn't have a free plan, it is free to set up a 30-day account and create email marketing campaigns with up to 100 contacts. If you want to send more than 400 emails, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
iContact has several features and tools that make creating successful and professional looking email campaigns easy.
A/B testing: Before sending an email to customers or contacts, you want to first test it to ensure optimal appeal to your target audience. With iContact's A/B split testing feature, you can easily test different email subject lines, incentives, layouts or color schemes to ensure your emails are opened and that customers act on your information. iContact will test a small percentage of your contact list to determine what content works best. You can choose which portion of your audience is tested.
Automation: iContact's automation lets you send a series of messages to recipients based on different conditions, such as where the customer is at in the sales pipeline. iContact has a welcome series consisting of several different emails that are designed to make a positive impression on customers and build brand loyalty. iContact's automation features are especially convenient because you can create these campaigns for different types of customers and not worry about it further. You have control over when your campaign emails are sent. The platform is easy to navigate, and you can create entire campaigns in minutes. If you're new to automated marketing and not sure where to start, iContact offers a package where they help you strategize your campaign.
Email designer: iContact has multiple tools that make designing emails easy, even if you've never worked in a graphic design program. With iContact's drag-and-drop email editor, you can build professional and interactive emails in minutes. You can choose from themes, saved templates, create an HTML message or make a plain text email. For those with coding expertise, the HTML builder lets you code your own custom emails. iContact's responsive templates are designed for all devices, including both desktop and mobile. While you're editing your email, you can easily go back and forth between desktop and mobile view to ensure your email looks great on any device. iContact has helpful tools to ensure your message looks professional and that your customers will receive it. Before sending your email, you can use iContact's SpamCheck to test your message before sending out a single email. iContact's email creator also has spell check and can send test emails.
List building: List building and audience segmentation is a crucial part of email marketing campaigns. This tool allows you to send relevant and personalized emails to subscribers at the right time. You can create lists based on conditions, such as demographics, geography, social activity and website behavior. You also can create custom fields to include information like birthdays, sign-up anniversary date or other characteristics.
Subscriber management: iContact's subscriber management tools make it easy to manage your subscribers. You can easily create and embed sign-up forms on your website, identify and engage with important contacts, and ensure you're keeping a current, accurate subscriber list.
Tracking email marketing analytics: After you send your emails, iContact offers detailed information, including the open rate, bounce rate, the number of people who clicked on links in the email, how many people unsubscribed from your list, what device contacts used to view the email and social engagement. This information is compiled into helpful, easy-to-understand graphics.
Ease of use
Everything about iContact is incredibly easy to locate and use. Most of the platform's tools have drag-and-drop features that make editing and adding pictures or contacts a breeze. Its email creator provides step-by-step directions along with easy tools for spam check and inbox preview.
If you aren't sure how to do something within iContact's dashboard, don't worry. Its Help button takes you to a page with popular videos and video tutorials. Just watch the correlating video to answer your questions.
If that doesn't answer your question, iContact has an entire portal designed for answering questions, including lessons for adding subscribers, managing contacts, creating and sending messages, reporting, billing, automation, deliverability, integrations, and social media. If all fails, you can reach their support department through live chat, phone or email.
iContact has excellent customer service. When we contacted live chat representatives, we were quickly connected with a courteous, knowledgeable rep who quickly answered our questions.
While iContact has a free trial, it doesn't offer a free version. Other email marketing services we evaluated offer a free version. Another downside of iContact is that while it has strong automation journeys or workflows, they are only available in the iContactPro platform, which is considerably more expensive.
Finally, an additional concern is that when we sent our test email to a Gmail account, it appeared in the Promotions tab. And while the email was sent to the correct inbox, it could be missed if the user doesn't check the Promotions tab. However, we sent the email from a personal email address – not a business email – which is less credible than an email sent with a company or business domain.