6 Best Email Marketing Services & Tools Compared (2018)

What are the best email marketing services and tools available? If that’s the question on your mind right now then you’re in the right place.

We’ve been wondering about that too. So to find out who actually rules the space of email marketing software, we’ve signed up for six of the best options out there and tested them thoroughly. Here’s what we found.

πŸ’‘Β The following is an in-depth comparison of the best email marketing service providers money can buy. The aim is to help you choose the perfect solution for your individual needs. This factors in things like pricing, ease of use, overall functionality, email designs and templates, and what type of user can benefit the most from using a particular tool over the other.

Let’s compare some of the best email marketing services for your business.

Even though many consider email to be an old marketing method, it is still the most effective solution for connecting with your audience and keeping them updated with your content on a regular basis.

And it’s not just me saying! There’s raw data that confirms email’s supremacy:

 
  • According to a study made by Gigaom and Extole, email is considered the best tactic for many companies to promote their products. The study was based on survey responses from 300 marketers in the U.S. The result shows that email is used regularly by 86 percent of respondents.
  • 75% of businesses agree that email gives them “excellent” to “good” ROI.
  • Need more data? ExactTarget says that 95 percent of online consumers use email. And 91 percent of them use email at least daily.
What all this translates to is simple: If you want to be able to reach your people reliably and on your terms, email will let you do that. And to be able to use email, you need some quality email marketing services or tools (or at least one of them – preferably the best one).

Without further ado, here are the top email marketing services that we’re testing today:

  • 1. SendinBlue (www.sendinblue.com)
  • 2. MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com)
  • 3. GetResponse (www.getresponse.com)
  • 4. Drip (www.drip.com)
  • 5. ConvertKit (www.convertkit.com)
  • 6. InfusionSoft (www.infusionsoft.com)
SendinBlue
mailchimp
getresponse
drip
convertkit
infusionsoft

In a hurry? Our top picks:

If you don’t have the time to read the whole comparison, here are our top picks summarized:

Best email marketing services summarized
SendinBlueMailChimpGetResponse
Functionality555
Ease of use4.554.5
Designs and templates555
Free planβœ…βœ…βŒ
Starter plan cost / mo.$25
unlimited contacts
40,000 emails
$30
2,500 contacts
unlimited emails
$15
1,000 contacts
unlimited emails
EDITOR RATING4.88
Visit
4.88
Visit
4.75
Visit

Round 1: Pricing

Right out the gate, the thing that stands out is that each of the players has a very different pricing model and it’s not that straightforward to compare them head to head.

Some services charge you “per email” sent, others charge “per number of contacts” on your lists. And, of course, the fact that something is cheaper doesn’t mean that it’s a better deal overall – considering it might be lacking some key features.

Anyway, here’s how the pricing plays out. We’ve also normalized the prices to show you the costs you can expect based on the size of your contact list:

Pricing per list sizeFULL PRICING
# of contactsSendinBlueMailChimpDripConvertKitInfusionsoftGetResponse
up to 100 contacts$0$0$0$24$99$15
500$0$0$41$24$99$15
1,000$0$0$41$24$129$15
1,500$0$0$41$41$129$25
2,000$25$0$41$41$179$25
2,500$25$30$41$41$179$25
5,000$25$50$83$64$229$45
10,000$39$75$99$299$65
50,000$173$240$316$379$250
PLUS one-time $299-$1999 fee for new user training
PRICE RATING5/54.5/54/54/52/54.5/5
SendinBlueMailChimpDripConvertKitInfusionsoftGetResponse
$0 for 300 emails / day (9,000 / mo)$0 for 2,000 contacts and 12,000 emails / mo$0 for 100 contacts. Unlimited emailsFREE TRIAL: 14 daysFREE TRIAL: 14 daysFREE TRIAL: 30 days
$25 for 40,000 emails / mo.
 ($6.25 for 10k emails) 
$30 for 2,500 contacts and unlimited emails
 ($12 for 1,000 contacts) 
$41 for 2,500 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($16.40 for 1,000 contacts) 
$24 for 1,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($24 for 1,000 contacts) 
$99 for 500 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($198 for 1,000 contacts) 
$15 for 1,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($15 for 1,000 contacts) 
$39 for 60,000 emails / mo.
 ($6.50 for 10k emails) 
$50 for 5,000 contacts and unlimited emails
 ($10 for 1,000 contacts) 
$83 for 5,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($16.60 for 1,000 contacts) 
$41 for 3,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($13.67 for 1,000 contacts) 
$129 for 1,500 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($86 for 1,000 contacts) 
$25 for 2,500 contacts. Unlimtied emails
 ($10 for 1,000 contacts) 
$66 for 120,000 emails / mo.
 ($5.50 for 10k emails) 
$75 for 10,000 contacts and unlimited emails
 ($7.50 for 1,000 contacts) 
$64 for 5,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($12.80 for 1,000 contacts) 
$179 for 2,500 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($71.60 for 1,000 contacts) 
$49 for 5,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($9.80 for 1,000 contacts) 
$173 for 350,000 emails / mo.
 ($4.94 for 10k emails) 
$240 for 50,000 contacts and unlimited emails
 ($4.80 for 1,000 contacts) 
$99 for 10,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($9.90 for 1,000 contacts) 
$229 for 5,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($45.80 for 1,000 contacts) 
$75 for 10,000 contacts. Unlimtied emails
 ($7.50 for 1,000 contacts) 
PLUS there’s the $199 MailChimp Pro Add-on that gives you advanced segmentation, comparative reports, and more$316 for 50,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($6.32 for 1,000 contacts) 
$299 for 10,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($29.90 for 1,000 contacts) 
$165 for 25,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($6.60 for 1,000 contacts) 
$349 for 25,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($13.96 for 1,000 contacts) 
$280 for 50,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($5.60 for 1,000 contacts) 
$379 for 50,000 contacts. Unlimited emails
 ($7.58 for 1,000 contacts) 
PLUS $59 for their advanced sales pipeline automation
PLUS $59 for e-commerce integration
PLUS one-time $299-$1999 fee for new user training
Note. SendinBlue‘s pricing is an estimate. SendinBlue is the only company on this list that charges “per email sent” and not depending on the size of your list. So in the table above, I assumed you’re going to be sending 1.5 emails per week to each of your subscribers (a reasonable estimate, I think, for businesses getting started with email marketing).

To see SendinBlue’s actual pricing and also the full list of pricing tiers of each of the email marketing services featured here, switch to the “FULL PRICING” tab of the above table.

I leave this pricing comparison for you to interpret, but some details become apparent really quickly.

For once, Infusionsoft is by far the most expensive solution on this list. Plus, their per-month prices are not the end of the story. Once you sign up, you’ll also be charged with their one-time onboarding fee of $299-$1,999.

The pricing of MailChimp, Drip, ConvertKit, and GetResponse is in the same range, roughly. With some differences at specific tier levels. For example, MailChimp is cheaper than GetResponse for up to 2,000 contacts, then GetResponse is cheaper for up to 10,000 contacts, and then MailChimp becomes cheaper again for lists of 50,000.

SendinBlue is the wild card here. Since they don’t charge you per contact, your expenses may vary depending on how often you want to message your list. If you’re just getting started with roughly 1.5 emails per contact each week, you’re going to pay what you see in the table above. If you’re sending only 1 email per week, it’s going to be even less than that. However, if you’re a high-volume sender (5x per week or more), then email marketing services like MailChimp can turn out cheaper for you in the long run (depending on how big your list is).

Round 2: Features

Here’s a summary of the sort of features you can expect from each of these best email marketing services:

SendinBlueMailChimpDripConvertKitInfusionsoftGetResponse
Visual email design toolYYYN *3YY
Sending one-off campaignsYYYYYY
SMTP and transactional emailYY *1NN *3NY
Contact managementYYYYYY
ReportsYYYYYY
Integrations with 3rd party platformsYYYYYY
APIYYYYYY
Email templatesYYYY *5YY
Facebook Lead Ads integrationY/N *2Y *6YY/N *2Y/N *2Y/N *2
Landing page toolYYNYYY
Email marketing automationYY *4YYYY
*1 – separately via Mandrill
*2 – only via Zapier
*3 – just standard WYSIWYG
*4 – only simplified
*5 – only HTML, manual templates, no visual builder
*6 – advanced integration with Facebook and Instagram ads
Now in a bit more detail:

SendinBlue features

To say it simply, SendinBlue has everything you might need from an email marketing service, making it a great choice for small businesses. Some key features:

  • visually design your email with drag-and-drop
  • email templates
  • manage your contacts, tag, and move them between the lists
  • in-depth reports
  • integrations with third-party tools
  • API

sendinblue builder

Apart from that, there’s also a handful of unique features as compared to the other solutions on this list:

  • email marketing automation
  • transactional email and SMTP
  • SMS sending
  • landing page builder

This makes SendinBlue quite an attractive option, and especially if you want to “do more in less time,” so to speak. With tools like automation, transactional email, and SMS, you can get to your contacts from multiple different angles, which is great.

sendinblue workflow

SendinBlue is also reasonably easy to use. Learning where everything is and how to use it effectively shouldn’t take you more than an hour.

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for features and 4.5/5 for ease of use.

MailChimp features

MailChimp is probably the most well-known email marketing service of the ones on the list. And there’s a very good reason for this. Feature-wise, it’s the only player with all “yeses” in the table above, and it really does offer you nearly everything you could need for your email marketing efforts. The downside is that it can be pricey. For non-profits, they do offer however a 15% discount, which makes MailChimp the best email marketing software for non-profits.

Here’s what you get:

  • visual email builder with drag and drop
  • email templates and layouts
  • contact management tools
  • detailed reports
  • integrations with third-party tools
  • API
  • e-commerce integrations

As for the more unique features of MailChimp:

  • email marketing automation (but rather basic compared to SendinBlue’s, for instance)
  • SMTP and transactional email via Mandrill
  • integrated with Facebook, Instagram, and Google remarketing ads
  • landing page builder

The user interface of MailChimp’s is something I enjoy a lot. It’s very nicely designed and makes getting to every option easy. The dashboard points you to all the most common areas of the panel and makes the “create campaign” button the main element on the page, which makes sense.

mailchimp dashboard

Speaking of creating a new campaign, MailChimp takes you by the hand and suggests a couple of things you might want to do.

mailchimp new campaign

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for features and 5/5 for ease of use.

Drip features

The focus of Drip among these best email marketing services is undoubtedly ease of use. The platform is impressively comfortable to get around, and the UI highlights what the user most likely wants to do.

Feature-wise, you will find everything you would expect:

  • visual email design tool
  • contact management
  • email templates
  • good reporting
  • integrations with third-party tools
  • API

As for the unique features, you also get:

  • email marketing automation – send emails to subscribers based on pre-set triggers
  • Facebook Lead Ads integration
  • plain text emails
  • campaign templates – Drip helps you build whole sequences of emails that are part of a single campaign; for example, a 4-part onboarding series

drip campaign templates

The main screen presents your current stats and important pieces of data about your lists.

drip main

The rest of the Drip dashboard is organized inside a handful of key sections: campaigns, broadcasts, subscribers, forms, automation, and analytics.

Each one offers the user a similar level of ease of use and clarity. In campaigns, for instance, Drip first asks you if you want to build a campaign from scratch vs using one of the many campaign templates.

drip build campaign

In another area of the dashboard, Automation, you can set not only complete workflows based on specific actions that your contacts take, but also simple “if this then that” rules for one-off automations. Really cool!

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 4.5/5 for features and 5/5 for ease of use.

ConvertKit features

ConvertKit started life as an email marketing tool for bloggers, but that doesn’t stop it from offering a quite extensive set of features:

  • contact management
  • reporting
  • sending one-off campaigns as well as sequences
  • integrations with third-party tools
  • API

As for the more unique features:

  • email marketing automation
  • plain text emails – similar to Drip; a nice feature to have in the visual-heavy world of the other top email marketing services
  • concierge migration – in case you want to move your list over to ConvertKit from another service
  • A/B testing – you split test two variants of the subject line, and have ConvertKit determine which one is more effective (gets more opens, clicks, etc.)

ConvertKit a/b testing

The interface is divided into five main areas: subscribers, automations, forms, sequences, and broadcasts. From there, each section presents an easy to use interface, highlighting the main action that’s available.

ConvertKit automations

Aside from that, ConvertKit offers many interesting features in the realm of organizing your subscribers based on the actions they take and how they interact with your emails. Then, you get to filter through those subscribers and send them personalized messages.

ConvertKit filters

One downside I can see with ConvertKit is that it offers only simplified HTML-based templates, and there’s no visual builder for your email messages.

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 4/5 for features and 5/5 for ease of use.

Infusionsoft features

Infusionsoft is very impressive when it comes to its range of features. In fact, “email marketing” is just one of the elements that it offers. Infusionsoft is an entire sales and marketing automation tool. Meaning, there’s a lot more reasons why you might want to try it out apart from just email. And it also explains the high price (kind of).

Regarding email, you can expect the usual:

  • visual email design with drag-and-drop
  • nice email templates
  • contact management (advanced – there’s a whole CRM)
  • reports
  • integrations with third-party tools
  • API

When it comes to the features of a more unique variety, well, Infusionsoft has a lot of those:

  • set marketing to-dos and track them via Infusionsoft
  • put leads into pipelines and create sales cycles
  • manage your invoices and how much you earn with each lead
  • accept payments directly
  • landing pages
  • email marketing automation
  • A/B testing
  • integration with Facebook Ads
  • and more

Infusionsoft surely is impressive, and it can help you streamline your whole marketing quite a lot. Though, it’s a bit pricey if all you need is just an email tool.

The main interface is good-looking, and it points you nicely to where you want to be (emails, contacts, etc.).

Infusionsoft dashboard

However, once you get into creating a campaign, the main builder tool looks a bit yesteryear.

Infusionsoft builder

Still, it gets the job done. And you do get a lot of helpers along the way. Like their template campaigns, for example, which are a great source of inspiration, not to mention that you can use them with a couple of clicks.

Infusionsoft campaigns

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for features and 4/5 for ease of use.

GetResponse features

GetResponse is another one of the best email marketing services that offer you the full package of features you might need:

  • visual email builder with drag-and-drop
  • nice-looking email templates
  • contact management (a whole CRM to categorize your contacts and take care of them appropriately)
  • reports
  • integrations with third-party tools
  • API

Here’s what else is there in GetResponse:

  • email marketing automation
  • landing page builder
  • webinars (create a webinar, invite attendees, use interactive tools during the webinar)
  • forms and surveys for your users to interact with

GetResponse really stands out in how they aim to be a complete online marketing suite of tools and not only an email platform.

The dashboard is nicely structured and attempts to point you to all the sections of GetResponse.

getresponse dashboard

On the left-hand side, you also get links to some quick actions that can be really helpful, and especially if you’re just setting yourself up with the tool.

Email-wise, building your campaigns is what you’d expect – you get to use a nice drag-and-drop tool and can work on your emails visually.

One more thing worth mentioning is the email marketing automation module. You can design some really advanced workflows there, and cover a lot of alternative scenarios – this isn’t something possible with MailChimp, for example.

getresponse automation

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for features and 4.5/5 for ease of use.

Round 3: Email design and templates

I’m sure you want your emails to look good. We all do!

Here’s what each of these top email marketing services gives you regarding great (or not-so-great) -looking email designs and templates:

SendinBlue email designs and templates

SendinBlue lets you do a lot regarding how you want to approach building your emails. For once, there are three separate design tools: drag and drop builder, rich text editor, raw code editor.

sendinblue design tools

Apart from that, you can also save any of your previous emails as templates, and, most importantly, you get to choose from a wide library of ready-made email templates.

sendinblue templates

The templates are optimized for different types of emails, such as newsletters, holiday greetings, sales, contests, and more.

Once you select any of the designs, you can tweak it until it fits your needs perfectly.

sendinblue builder

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for email designs and templates.

MailChimp email designs and templates

MailChimp lets you begin working on your emails in a couple of ways. You can either start with a basic layout, any of your own templates, code an email from scratch, or use any of MailChimp’s email themes.

mailchimp pick structure

Those themes are really good-looking!

mailchimp templates

After picking any of them, you can customize it via MailChimp’s drag-and-drop builder tool.

mailchimp builder

MailChimp also offers you the same kind of builder when working on your landing pages. Though, there don’t seem to be any templates for those landing pages.

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for email designs and templates.

Drip email designs and templates

Drip offers a handful of email templates, which you get to customize however you see fit.

drip email templates

There’s no catalog of pre-designed emails, however, like the other email marketing services and tools offer. Drip’s bet is on simplicity, which tends to work well when it comes to email communications.

drip visual

Apart from that, you can also create HTML and plain text emails.

drip plain text

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 3.5/5 for email designs and templates.

ConvertKit email designs and templates

ConvertKit isn’t the strongest player among these top email marketing services in terms of email design.

What you get is basically just a basic WYSIWYG email builder.

ConvertKit wysiwyg

There’s nothing wrong with it, but you could expect more for the price you need to pay to use ConvertKit.

There really is no choice and no templates that would make your email look beautiful.

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 2.5/5 for email designs and templates.

Infusionsoft email designs and templates

When creating a new email in Infusionsoft, you get to choose from a handful of great-looking email templates.

Infusionsoft templates

The best approach here is to pick the one that’s the closest to what you want to send out, and then customize it to make it fit your requirements 100%. You can then save the template as your own and reuse it for your future campaigns.

The email builder itself is also quite nice – with drag-and-drop features and friendly interface. You can add new elements to your email (such as images, buttons) as well as remove the ones you don’t need.

Infusionsoft ui

The preview is also a nice touch since it presents both the desktop and mobile view of your campaign.

Infusionsoft preview

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 4.5/5 for email designs and templates.

GetResponse email designs and templates

GetResponse, much like a couple of the other top email marketing services featured here, lets you begin by either going with a drag-and-drop builder or coding your email from scratch.

Once you go with the builder, you’re immediately taken to a template selection screen. And there really are a lot of templates to choose from! All of them categorized based on the niche/market and purpose of the campaign.

getresponse templates

Once you select to use any of the templates, you can customize it freely.

getresponse ui

But GetResponse doesn’t stop there. They give you a set of templates for the landing page builder as well – something that MailChimp doesn’t have, for instance.

getresponse landing page templates

πŸ‘‰ Overall, I give it 5/5 for email designs and templates.

Which one to pick

The decision surely isn’t a simple one. Honestly, each of these email marketing tools is a quality product, and there’s no loser or winner here. Based on your needs, you might be attracted to some tools more than others, which is understandable.

Here are some tips:

  • If you run a large operation and really need to integrate your own and your team’s online marketing efforts through one tool, then Infusionsoft might be the one for you.
  • If you’re just getting started with email marketing then SendinBlue might be a better idea (or MailChimp) since they have free plans with reasonable limits.
  • If you run an e-commerce store and want to send emails automatically, including transactional emails, you might want to turn to SendinBlue or GetResponse.

The scenarios can be endless. However, since we did do all this testing throughout this comparison and ranked these top email marketing services based on their ease of use, functionality, designs, and pricing, let’s now calculate the overall average rank:

Best email marketing services rated side by side
SendinBlueMailChimpDripConvertKitInfusionsoftGetResponse
Overall ease of use4.555544.5
Overall functionality554.5455
Email designs and templates553.52.54.55
Price rating54.54424.5
EDITOR RATING4.88
Visit
4.88
Visit
4.25
Visit
3.88
Visit
3.88
Visit
4.75
Visit
What’s your experience with any of the tools featured here? Feel free to share in the comments.

In case you’re wondering, here at CodeinWP, we use SendinBlue. With its various modules enabling integration with our theme sales, automations, SMTP, autoresponders, and of course standard newsletter sending, it just has everything we could ask for.

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

 


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