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Email Marketing

10 Email Marketing Tools for Total Beginners (With Expert Reviews)

A well-implemented email marketing campaign is an inbound marketer’s strongest ally.

At Lean Labs, we heartily agree that email marketing is far from being obsolete . Why would something that you check a couple of times each day suddenly die?

In 2015, eConsultancy surveyed marketers about their thoughts on email marketing’s influence for the next five years. It turns out that more than two-thirds of marketers agreed that email will still be one of the highest channels for delivering ROI.

The Best Email Marketing Tools

Although marketers are now beginning to understand that creating and sending personalized, relevant messages to a carefully curated email list is best practice, doing it manually through countless Excel files just won't cut it. It's an impractical, time consuming process.

The worse part is how several marketers end up relying on intuition or personal assumptions rather than testing certain elements and refining campaigns based on the results of these tests.

The good news is you have technology on your side. Email marketing tools come in all shapes and sizes. Some tools are subtle in their ability to lure prospects into your email list while some email marketing software can make your customers feel royalty with their hyper personalization features.

With too many email tool options out there promising that they’re the best fit for your marketing campaigns, how do you choose?

To help you make the decision, we list down the 10 best email marketing tools for 2016! We culled the interwebs for expert reviews and pricing for basic plans to whet your curiosity in picking the perfect fit that meets your email marketing goals. This software apps and tools are arranged in alphabetical order below.

Before we jump in, we need to talk about the ultimate tool, the one we use: HubSpot. HubSpot's email markeitng system is robust, and sits in the all-in-one marketing platform quite swimmingly. We can trigger emails based on any interaction with a user, and we can track anything to build custom list segmentations and automated lists.

If you're looking for the most powerful email suite, you may want to take a look at making HubSpot your marketing platform of choice.

Now, On with the list!

The Best Email Marketing Platforms

AWeber

With more than 700 templates and over 3,000 stock photos to choose from for your newsletters, AWeber is a great tool to dabble with if you’re a less tech-savvy user.

Their Follow Up feature is the perfect way to send introductory emails to new subscribers (say you want to introduce them to your most popular posts or send in a 5-series email campaign covering your latest project) before they receive your usual newsletters. Many users prefer AWeber for its comprehensive phone support and ability to integrate seamlessly with other web apps.

Expert Review:

With a newly redesigned email editor, which makes it easy to pick back up on draft messages right where you left off or turn them into drip messages, AWeber is an email marketing app that does it all. If you need a professional email tool that’ll help you grow your lists and offer live phone support if you get stuck, it's a great email app to try. - Matthew Guay

Pricing: AWeber starts at $19 per month with unlimited emails to up to 500 subscribers.

Benchmark Email

Aside from its easy-to-send newsletters and autoresponders, Benchmark is one of the best email marketing tools out there because its entire interface can be translated to a number of languages including Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Expert Review:

You will benefit from a range of tools when you use the email marketing service from Benchmark, with features such as the ability to add links, social media, and other interactive features to your marketing materials. You can also create surveys and send them out with the Benchmark Email marketing system, and this is part of the package which is not always the case with some competitors. - Joseph Raspolich

Pricing: The basic plan is pegged at $11.95 to up to 600 contacts.

Campaign Monitor

Focus on design is what sets Campaign Monitor apart from other email marketing tools. With their tagline Your design is guaranteed to look amazing in every inbox on every device, their professionally-designed email templates will surely get your emails noticed and clicked by subscribers. Campaign Monitor also allows for conditional content in emails to customize the information for each of your contacts. Users love how it's a breeze to add contacts via bulk import, forms, and social networks through this email marketing software.

Expert Review:

For a simple way to send emails to all of your contacts, manually or automatically, and make sure your emails look great, Campaign Monitor’s a great option. Email list apps are a crowded field, and yet Campaign Monitor’s focus on design helps it stand out and makes it an email tool you’ll want to use. - Matthew Guay

Pricing: The most basic plan starts at $9 per month and can send 2500 emails to 500 contacts in your list.

Constant Contact

With Constant Contact, you can build your email lists from your company website or even from your Facebook page. More than just an email tool, Constant Contact has plenty to offer apart from sending emails including managing blog content, event management, online survey tools, and coupon creation. It also offers a comprehensive set of real-time reports.

Expert Review:

Of our survey participants, the primary reason that marketers preferred Constant Contact when they had used both systems was because they saw greater email deliverability with Constant Contact. - Katie Hollar

Pricing: Basic plan starts at $20 per month to up to 500 subscribers.

Drip

As its name implies, Drip is an email automation tool that is specifically designed for drip emails. If you’re pressed for time to create your own email content, you can use Drip’s Blueprints, or premade sets of drip campaigns with filler text that you can easily tweak to your own liking. Additionally, this tool allows you to collect email addresses for your drip campaigns via a simple widget that you can add to your website

Expert Review:

My favorite part is the amazing customization. With a combination of event “tags” and “If, Then” rules… your email marketing turns into a machine (that feels like it’s run by artificial intelligence). - John Mcintyre

Pricing:The most basic plan starts at $49 per month with unlimited emails to 2,500 subscribers.

Emma Mail

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for an email automation tool to integrate with other applications such as Salesforce or Shopify? Emma Mail does it for you! This platform also offers subject line split testing using Google analytics and real-time metrics reports. In addition, you also get to personalize emails, say when a contact just made purchase, or hasn’t opened past emails you’ve sent.

Expert Review:

Instead of needing to hire an intern to write new email copy and paying a design firm to make an email template, and then finding the perfect app to send your emails, you can use Emma to do all of that in one place. - Matthew Guay

Pricing: Basic plan starts at $89 per month up to 10,000 contacts

GetResponse

Designed with simplicity in mind, GetResponse helps you craft and send responsive emails with a live-preview feature of how your email will look on desktop, mobile, and other apps. Get Response also makes it possible to create landing pages and webinars right in their platform.

Expert Review:

The Autoresponder 2.0 is probably the most advanced feature that GetResponse launched a couple of months ago. With their new autoresponder feature we can now create message cycles that are timely and relevant — all adjusted precisely to subscriber needs and expectations and send them automatically. As a result the open and click are higher and hence lead to more conversions. - Ram Shengale

Pricing: GetResponse pricing starts at $15 per month for up to 1,000 contacts.

Mad Mimi

If you are the no-frills, down to basics type of email marketer, Mad Mimi’s simple interface will win your heart. You can simply turn on the features that you need the most yet it also integrates with a wide range of third party applications. Add-on features include social links, web forms, and drip campaigns.

Expert Review:

There are two great things about Mad Mimi. First: it's very cheap. Second, it's very easy to use. These two factors may convince users to purchase a plan. However, some users will find that there are some noticeable omissions when it come to more advanced functionality, particularly in the autoresponder and split testing department. - Chris Singleton

Pricing:The most basic plan starts at $10 per month up to 500 contacts.

MailChimp

MailChimp is perhaps one of the most popular email marketing tools today. Apart from sponsoring podcasts or their quirky monkey-themed apparel, MailChimp is loved by many because of its drag-and-drop email designer with pre-made templates, straightforward split-testing feature, and mobile-responsive templates.

Their advanced analytics feature can also provide individual open data for each subscriber. Not to mention that you get to determine the best times to send your contacts based on previous MailChimp data – whether with your email or a different company’s newsletter.

Expert Review:

Technically speaking, MailChimp is the more fully-featured tool; it comes with significantly more bells and whistles and has effectively become an industry standard solution for email marketing, offering advanced features and integration with other important online services out of the box. - Chris Singleton

Pricing: Basic plan starts at $25 per month for unlimited emails to up to 1,500 subscribers.

Vertical Response

With its user-friendly templates, anyone who's dipping their toes into email marketing waters would love Vertical Response. Each campaign that you published with this software may be hosted for free online, allowing you to share links of previous campaigns even to non-subscribers. If you want to design your own emails, you can quickly make your own through the in-app image editor with filters and special text options.

Expert Review:

I think Vertical Response is an excellent product for small businesses and nonprofits. It has a simple UI, and a helpful library of templates. It is a very useful tool in general, and a great transition product if you are not yet ready for a complete CRM solution. – We Rock Your Web

Pricing: Basic plan starts at $22 per month with 10,000 emails per month for free to non-profit organizations.

Email Marketing Doesn't Have to Be a Headache

Whether you want to send a series of emails to every new subscriber you get from your business blog or would rather send customized newsletters to existing customers, there's always a tool for you to get started with email marketing automation.

Ready to create your email marketing campaigns with the beginner-friendly tools we listed above? Hop on to this post for the best email marketing tips in 2016 for small businesses like yours.

Written by Kyjean Tomboc / April 11, 2016

Kyjean Tomboc finished nursing school but found joy in plucking and stringing words to ​create value-driven content for brands in the health, life sciences, and lean startup niches. She loves everything strategic in creating content -- from CRO to SEO to SMM to UX (the Internet sure loves acronyms!). Her current obsessions include the human gut microbiome, A/B testing, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Kyjean is also a seasoned trekker.

Articles by Kyjean Tomboc