MailChimp is our pick for best free email marketing service. When you're looking for an email marketing service, it's important to find one that has a range of tools that make creating successful and professional email marketing campaigns simple and easy. You want a service with an easy-to-use email editor, the capability to create segmented lists as well as drip campaigns.
View all our recommendations for email marketing services on our best picks page.
Other key features to look for include contact management tools, detailed reports and analytics, A/B split testing tools, spam filters that ensure your email lands in customer inboxes, and automated workflows. The best email marketing services ensure you know what you're paying for by offering a free plan or at least a free trial so you can test out the platform first before spending valuable marketing dollars.
While several email marketing services offer free plans, MailChimp's free plan has a long list of tools that make creating email marketing campaigns a breeze. With the free plan, you can have up to 2,000 contacts and send up to 12,000 emails per month. Multiple users can access the account, and you have access to MailChimp's extensive knowledgebase if you have questions or run into a problem using the platform.
The free plan comes with automation marketing tools, segmentation and groups, basic reports, and A/B split testing tools. MailChimp is incredibly easy to use. It took us less than 10 minutes to create an interactive email with custom pictures, links and colors. Adding contacts is also easy, and our emails, for the most part, landed in the intended inboxes. Even if you don't have previous graphic design experience, anyone can create professional-looking email campaigns.
Other valuable features are MailChimp's automation capabilities and its reporting. With the free version, there is more than enough analytics to determine what is working in your email campaigns and what isn't. The reports show who is opening your emails, what links people are clicking on, who unsubscribed, and what email addresses bounced.
With its email automation tools, you can create email workflows based on different conditions (new customer, abandoned shopping carts, happy birthday). These tools ensure the right message is sent to the right person at the right time, and it's all included in MailChimp's Forever Free plan.
While live chat isn't available with free accounts, when we reached out through email, we received an email the next day. The representative answered all our questions and wasn't pushy. When you sign up with the free plan, you have access to email support for the first 30 days. If you want more features or more customer services, MailChimp's paid plans are very reasonable and still easy to use.
Competitive Pricing and Terms
MailChimp offers multiple different plans that can fit into the budget of nearly any business. Each plan includes multi-user accounts, MailChimp's extensive knowledgebase, marketing automation, target and segmented lists, along with analysis and testing features. Users can create and publish email campaigns, landing pages, pop-up forms, Google Remarketing Ads, and Facebook and Instagram ads with any plan.
Here is a breakdown of MailChimp's plans and what they offer.
- While most email marketing services offer some type of free version or free trial, MailChimp's Free Forever plan comes with an extensive list of features. Free plans accommodate up to 2,000 contacts, and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month. This plan is free until you have more than 2,000 contacts.
- The next plan, Growing Business, is based on the number of subscribers you have. Prices start at $10 per month for 500 contacts and end at $25 per month if you have between 1,501 to 2,000 contacts. The Growing Business plan includes everything in the free plan along with the ability to add custom branding, access to live chat and email support, more target and segmentation tools as well as more reporting and testing tools. To find out how much you would pay for the Growing Business package, you can use MailChimp's pricing calculator.
- MailChimp Pro can be added on to Growing Business plans and costs an additional $199 per month. This add-on includes pro support, advanced segmentation, delivery insights, multivariate testing and comparative reports. With the Pro add-on, you'll be helped by MailChimp's pro support team who is trained to help you get the most out of its add-on.
Here are some of MailChimp's best features:
A/B testing: With A/B testing, you can determine what subject lines are the most effective, what name should be in your From field, and if different times affect the click rate. MailChimp's A/B testing lets you determine the size of your sample groups, build three different variations, and will send the winning email to the remainder of your contact list.
Analytics: Once you create and send your email, you can view the analytics and watch reports in real time. You can access most of these reports, even if you have the Forever Free plan. The Reports dashboard lets you know who opened your email, what links they clicked, what emails bounced and who unsubscribed. The reports also document successful deliveries, the number of forwards, clicks per unique opens and document abuse reports. MailChimp also tracks subscribers with the most opens, the social performance of your campaigns, and where the emails were opened. The numbers and reports are outlined in graphs, which makes understanding the data simple.
Automation: With MailChimp's marketing automation tools, your emails get to the right people at the right time. You can target your campaigns to contacts based on behaviors and preferences. When you create automated campaigns, you can pick from pre-designed workflows or build your own with custom rules. MailChimp's automations include a welcome series, a happy birthday email and notifications for new blog updates. Others are available based on subscriber activity, e-commerce workflows and more.
Build ads and landing pages: With MailChimp, you can create Google, Facebook or Instagram ads. You can also create mobile-friendly landing pages to encourage people to buy your product or join your contact list. MailChimp has two versatile landing page templates that allow you to quickly create and publish landing pages.
Email editor: MailChimp's email editor is simple, and anyone can create successful email marketing campaigns with it. To start, you can begin with a basic layout, themed template or code your own. Its responsive templates and designs are created for all devices, including desktop and mobile. With the email editor, you can personalize the To field with each contact's first name, last name, or both. You can also determine who is sending the campaign, the subject line, and design the content. Drag-and-drop tools make it simple to customize every aspect of the template. You can drag blocks of text, boxed text, dividers, images, videos, social shares and social follows to design a personalized email. You can also add frequently used pictures, such as logos, to your image gallery so it's easy to quickly add pictures. Before sending your email, MailChimp scans it for any errors that could cause it to land in a spam folder. You also have the option to share your campaign on both Facebook and Twitter.
Integrations: MailChimp integrates with several applications, including hundreds of e-commerce apps like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, PrestaShop and BigCommerce. By integrating MailChimp with your e-commerce store, you can capture order information, create targeted campaigns, automate follow-ups and send personalized notifications.
List segmentation and groups: With segmentation and group tools, you can send personalized content. There is a long list of options you can use to segment contacts and send targeted information to each group.
MailChimp Pro: MailChimp Pro is an add-on with advanced features. You have more list segmentation options available to you, additional list fields and TimeWarp for automations. With the regular MailChimp, you are allowed 30 list fields per list; Pro users, however, have access to 50 more fields. These extra fields let you personalize and target your campaign content to contacts. TimeWarp schedules email campaigns based on subscribers' time zone. MailChimp Pro offers comprehensive A/B split testing to help you test the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns, so you can better understand what works with your contacts. With it, you get Inbox Previews so you see exactly how your email will look in different browsers and devices. While regular MailChimp plans come with A/B testing, the Pro add-on includes a more robust version that lets you test multiple variables to see how various changes can increase the success of your campaigns. Finally, MailChimp Pro provides better analytics, including comparative reports, compliance insights, delivery insights and stop delivery.
Ease of Use
Even if you've never used an email marketing platform before, rest assured, MailChimp is extremely easy to learn and use. The dashboard is easy to understand, and it's simple to find all features and tools. Its email creator offers step-by-step directions, so it's hard to miss a step. MailChimp also offers drag-and-drop tools that make creating emails, adding pictures, and customizing emails simple.
If you have a question, you can browse through MailChimp's knowledgebase and blog that offer answers on a variety of frequently asked questions. It has guides for building your email list and how to create a marketing automation journey.
MailChimp has a mobile app, so you can create and send campaigns from your phone or tablet. You can also manage lists, add new subscribers and analyze reports on the go. The app can also send you sales notifications and daily summaries of your campaigns' performance.
There are a couple of items to be aware about with MailChimp. First, its Forever Free plan doesn't provide ongoing customer service. You only have access to email support for 30 days, and live chat isn't offered at all. However, there is an extensive knowledgebase and blog that can answer most of your questions.
A second concern is that when we tested the platform and sent emails to Gmail accounts, the emails landed in the Promotions tab. While the Promotions tab is better than having your email go to the Spam folder, users are less likely to check that tab as often as the Primary tab in Gmail.
Editor's Note: Looking for an email marketing solution for your business? Click the Compare Quotes button below to have our sister site BuyerZone connect you with vendors that can help.