The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Platforms for E-commerce

email marketing
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Darkness falls across the land. Bare trees quiver as a gust of wind rips across the countryside. You look down at your dying fire. You only had time to gather some kindling, but nowhere near enough to last the night. How did you get here?

You remember back to the days before when you owned a bustling e-commerce store. Your branding was great, you were managing to get some conversions, and things were looking promising. How could things have gone so wrong?

You remember a piece of advice you got from your friends at Engine. “Take advantage of emails,” they said.  “They’re a privilege that you absolutely must use to your advantage.” You didn’t heed that advice though. You didn’t set up customized flows. You didn’t implement abandoned cart messages. You didn’t curate your subscription lists. And now you’re huddled around a fire that’s soon to go out because a truly apocalyptic scenario came to pass: your store went out of business.

Obviously, this is a dramatic way of illustrating the importance of emails and e-commerce, but the message is true beyond a shadow of a doubt: if you do not implement email strategy, you will go out of business. Assuming you’re an intelligent person, you’ll know that going out of business is not the optimal strategy for an e-commerce brand. The importance of email cannot be stressed enough.

Using curated emails, you can increase your CPM by 1000 percent. Abandoned cart flows can increase your revenue on lost shoppers by four times. By augmenting your great brand with email strategies that are curated directly to your customers, you can build a brand worth $100 million or more.

This is unarguable data backing up the need for strategic email implementation. Time and time again, these methods have been tested and proven to be successful. It cannot be overstated: if you’re not using email strategies, you’re leaving millions of potential dollars on the table. If you’re letting that much revenue go to waste, it’s probably time to pack it up, because you will be eaten alive by another brand who can get that revenue.

So what do you do now? Maybe you don’t know about different email services. Maybe you don’t have time to research the nuances of different platforms. How can you be expected to conduct thorough enough research to choose which service is right for you? What can you do to prevent apocalypse? Fear not, digital traveler. Your salvation is here.

We’ve curated a list of several important email services, with the goal of helping you differentiate between them and decide which one is best for your store. Some are for stores at different stages of life than yours, but now you’ll know what to aim for, and where to go from here. These are all fine services that offer their own strengths and weaknesses, but even the weakest link will provide a great help to you if you aren’t currently using an email strategy. Remember: anything is better than nothing where emails are concerned, and you don’t want to be in that apocalyptic scenario.

MailChimp

Who is MailChimp for?

If you’re a marketing beginner on a tight budget, MailChimp is excellent for you. If you’re simply looking to send 12,000 emails or less to 2,000 subscribers or less per month, MailChimp will facilitate your campaign free of charge. You get all of MailChimp’s design, list building, and automation tools with the free service. And it’s not free for 90 days or free for half of a one-year agreement. It’s. Free. Forever.

It also equally suits small businesses, rapidly growing companies, and content producers. It has a mostly straightforward setup with easy-to-use email templates. There’s also a drag-and-drop option that isn’t all that uncommon but is very popular among MailChimp users. It’s for these reasons, along with the free offer, MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms for those just getting started.

It’s not just a useful free tool, though. MailChimp’s more advanced paid options are also easy to use and provide exceptional reports and analysis that are easily accessible.

If there’s one area it’s lacking, though, it’s with automation. That’s one thing users have stated isn’t all that easy to set up and can get confusing. If you’re looking for a platform with a great automation process above all else, MailChimp may not be for you.

What’s different about MailChimp?

The number of available app integrations on MailChimp is impressive. To be exact, the website states there are 177. Basically, if you have an app you want to integrate with MailChimp, you shouldn’t have any worries.

The pricing is very reasonable compared to the competitors. In fact, no one can match the free opportunity MailChimp offers. It equips users with more capabilities than any other free service you’ll find, and you probably won’t have much luck finding any others that are also free forever.

Pricing breakdown

As we’ve stated, MailChimp offers a popular free service for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Additionally, there are two paid options: grow and pro. Neither option has a limit on the number of subscribers or emails per month. Grow starts at $10 and pro starts at $199.

Here’s the pricing breakdown for the grow option:

  • 5K: $50 per month
  • 10K: $75 per month
  • 25K: $150 per month
  • 50K: $250 per month
  • 100K: $475 per month
  • 250K: $1,100 per month
  • 500K: $2,100 per month
  • 1M: $4,200 per month

The pro option simply adds $199 to each grow price.

Klaviyo

Who is Klaviyo for?

If you’re looking for exceptional segmentation and automation features, Klaviyo is among the best options you’ll find.

Depending on what’s best for you, customers can be easily segmented in a variety of ways based on their behaviors. This allows for an easy and precise email marketing campaign. Your segments will also update automatically so you can avoid manually updating any of your lists.

The automated flows they provide — such as an abandoned cart, thank you, and welcome emails — are all easy to set up and work without a hitch. This is the sort of feature that makes Klaviyo worth the price you’ll have to pay.

It also has easy integration with a number of e-commerce platforms (Magento, Shopify, Volusion, BigCommerce, WooCommerce). If that’s where your site is hosted, Klaviyo is certainly worth looking into.

What’s different about Klaviyo?

As mentioned above, Klaviyo’s segmentation and automation features stand out. Those are the two most common tools users cite when explaining why they believe Klaviyo helped them increase revenue.

Klaviyo is also continually evolving to remain a very much up-to-date service. For example, in 2018 alone Klaviyo has listed 40 new updates to its service.

Klaviyo features flows that you can curate in great detail.

Pricing breakdown

Klaviyo offers a free service for up to 250 subscribers and 500 emails per month. While that’s nice in theory, it isn’t all that generous compared to the free options provided by some top competitors. Overall, Klaviyo isn’t going to beat many competitors if your top priority is a simple service for a bargain.

That being said, Klaviyo is very much tailored towards quality and results. Most user reviews you’ll find indicated Klaviyo helped increase revenue for their e-commerce store. So, the price you pay may be worth the results you receive.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown

  • 5K: $200 per month
  • 10K: $350 per month
  • 25K: $450 per month
  • 50K: $700 per month
  • 100K: $1,200 per month
  • 150K: Contact Klaviyo

iContact

iContact provides loads of resources to learn techniques to optimize your marketing techniques.

Who is iContact for?

Do you enjoy customer service that goes above and beyond? If yes, iContact is worth checking out. It is praised for its hands-on customer service above all else. Whatever questions or concerns you may have, the support staff is likely to have an answer that makes you feel like a valued customer. They’ll do everything from solving minor day-to-day issues to an in-depth monthly call about the plan and direction of your campaign.

It’s also lauded for its ease of use, selection of designs and mailing features, and interface.

What’s different about iContact?

It’s the customer service that sets iContact apart. That is easily the most often aspect cited by users as to why they love iContact. There just aren’t many other competing options that are offering the same attention to detail in customer support.

Pricing breakdown

They give you the option of two core plans — essential and professional — which differ greatly in price. The essential package starts at $14 per month and professional package at $99 per month. You can also pay monthly or yearly with 15 percent off for a 12-month prepay.

Here are the features the professional package gets you in addition to everything provided in the essential plan:

  • Workflows
  • Triggered messages
  • Landing pages
  • Engagement tracking
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Social monitoring
  • Funnel reports
  • Custom objects
  • Zapier integration
  • Multiple folders

Some of the customer service features, such as once a month strategy calls, are only included at a higher cost through iContact’s premier service. This includes a bronze, silver, gold, and platinum plan. You do get some level of customer support even with the most basic subscription.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown:

  • 5K-10K: $79 essential/$189 professional per month
  • 10K-15K: $117/$249 per month
  • 15K-25K: $149/369 per month
  • 25K-35K: $239/request a quote per month
  • 35K+: $299/request a quote per month.

Bronto

Who is Bronto for?

Bronto should be viewed as a top option for mid-sized businesses and large enterprises. It’s pretty clearly not an ideal choice for small businesses and probably isn’t the best option for non-commerce marketers. If you have some experience with email marketing and you want to take your campaign to another level, Bronto is worth checking out.

What’s different about Bronto?

Bronto stands out for its ability to gather extensive customer insights, provide a plethora of options for A/B testing, and generate highly-targeted emails. It has very advanced automation to help get the correct type of emails sent to the right audiences.

If you’re in the process of shopping around for the right fit for your email marketing campaign, you might be turned off by Bronto because the platform doesn’t list prices publicly. You have to first inquire with them before receiving a quote. There are very few similar options that do not provide easy access to at least some of the pricing options provided.

Pricing breakdown

Does not list pricing. You must fill out a form to get a quote.

Bronto uses world-class automation to make emails easier for you and your business.

Constant Contact

Who is Constant Contact for?

Constant Contact is easily one of the fastest growing email marketing services within this list. It’s especially easy to use for beginners, making Constant Contact best for businesses in the early stages of launching an email marketing campaign.

It’s also ideal for small businesses looking to push an effective campaign without spending too much. Constant Contact isn’t shy about that, either. The content on its website is worded almost exclusively toward small businesses and nonprofits. The success stories are composed of businesses that all fall into one of those categories.

What’s different about Constant Contact?

Constant Contact offers customers high-level support via live chat, email, training, and more. These tools can help the small businesses subscribed to Constant Contact quickly learn the basics of starting an email marketing campaign.

From a pricing standpoint, Constant Contact offers a reasonable opportunity to try out the service before making a financial commitment. There’s a free trial offered for up to 60 days. If you do decide on the paid option, you can cancel within 30 days to receive a full refund.

There are also special plans for franchises and associations.

Pricing breakdown

Obviously, the free trial and ability to cancel with a full refund are key points in the pricing model. Additionally, prepaid plans of six or 12 months can earn a discount of up to 15 percent.

There are two service options — email and email plus. The basic plan starts at $20 and the plus at $45. Here are a few of the key features you’ll get with the plus version:

  • Automation
  • Subject line A/B testing
  • Surveys and polls
  • Coupons

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown:

  • 2.5K-5K: $65 Email/95 Email Plus per month
  • 5K-10K: $95/125 per month
  • 10K-15K: Both $195 per month
  • 25K-30K: Both $295 per month
  • 50K: Contact 855-797-4708 for information

Drip

Who is Drip for?

Drip is a fairly new, up-and-coming email marketing service. It’s most appealing to e-commerce businesses with experienced marketers that are looking to take their email campaigns to another level. While it’s easy to use, it may not be the best service for beginners because it’s vast array of features can make set up a little confusing.

Drip is also great for those who value a close integration with Facebook. It isn’t just Facebook, though. There’s also the ability to integrate with nearly 100 other tools you may be using. So if you need integration, Drip can likely get it done for you.

What’s different about Drip?

Drip stands out because of its automation ability. While it’s not unique in that it has automation, the tools it uses will provide you with a more in-depth and intelligent approach to reach your different target audiences.

The customer support in place also provides advantages over some alternatives. Drip has live chat support, various training, webinars, free guides, and more.

Pricing breakdown

Drip has a free two-week option for up 100 subscribers that allows you to use all the tools available in the paid service. The paid options start at $49 per month for up to 2,500 subscribers.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown:

  • 5K: $99 per month
  • 10K: $149 per month
  • 25K: $299 per month
  • 50K: $549 per month
  • 100K: $1,049 per month
  • 150K+: Contact Drip

GetResponse

Who is GetResponse for?

GetResponse has been around for a long time and has more than 350,00 users in 182 countries. Marketing beginners and small businesses are the groups that will find GetResponse’s email marketing tools most appealing. For a basic email marketing plan, it’s extremely affordable in comparison with the competitors. But you aren’t necessarily getting all the bells and whistles some of the other services can provide, so keep that in mind.

It’s also useful if you’re looking for a good landing page editor and webinar capabilities.

What’s different about GetResponse?

The landing page editor and the ability to create and host webinars are strong selling points for GetResponse. There’s also automation most users describe as easy and effective.

There’s plenty of customer support options via phone, online chat, or email. Additionally, GetResponse provides plenty of information to users on how the best practices for maximizing an email marketing campaign.

Above all else, though, this service uses price to set itself apart. GetResponse may not be providing anything that is over-the-top impressive, but it can give a lot of businesses the tools for success at a price that is rarely matched.

Pricing breakdown

GetResponse allows for a 30-day free trial to test the service. There are four different paid options — email, pro, max, and enterprise — depending on the size of your subscriber list. These start at $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers.

You can receive and 18 percent discount if you sign up for a year and a 30 percent discount if you commit for two years. That level of discount for such commitments is another area GetResponse has a leg up on most of the competition.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown:

  • 5K: $45 email/$49 pro per month
  • 10K: $65/$75/$165 max per month
  • 25K: $145/$165/$255 per month
  • 50K: $250/$280/$370 per month
  • 100K: $450/$490/$580 per month
  • 100K+: $1,199 enterprise per month

Other Email Marketing Services

Zoho Campaigns

Who is Zoho Campaigns for?

If you’re looking for a variety with your email marketing service, Zoho Campaigns is a perfect match. They offer the flexibility to fit with just about any plan and budget you may have in mind.

What’s different about Zoho Campaigns?

The wide range of unique payment options is certainly different. You have the option of an email-based plan, a subscriber-based plan, or a plan centered around email credits. There are also yearly, monthly, and pay-as-you-go options.

Zoho Campaigns is also different for some not-so-great reasons. The interface for setting up your email marketing campaign is quite often criticized for not being very user-friendly.

Pricing breakdown

As we’ve gone over, the pricing breakdown is flexible with many different options. Here’s a screenshot of the options based on a month-to-month subscription:

email marketing

Infusionsoft

Who is Infusionsoft for?

Infusionsoft is useful if you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing solution to go along with your email campaign. From strictly an email perspective, Infusionsoft has automation tools that are highly regarded by users.

What’s different about Infusionsoft?

Infusionsoft stands out with its quality email campaign builder and customer service.

Compared to other email marketing systems, Infusionsoft is rather expensive. There is also no A/B testing, which is another drawback.

Pricing breakdown

There is no sort of free trial offered by Infusionsoft. There are ways to get a considerable discount in the early stages of using the system, though. If you agree to a one-year contract at $99, the first six months are currently $60. But keep in mind there is also a one-time $299 fee for new user training.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown:

  • 5K: $138 first 6 months/$229 after per month
  • 10K: $180/$299 per month
  • 25K: $210/$349 per month
  • 50K: $228/$379 per month

Campaign Monitor

Who is Campaign Monitor for?

If you’re in the market for something very basic, Campaign Monitor is definitely worth a look. If you’re looking to run a more advanced email marketing campaign, there are probably better options out there. 

What’s different about Campaign Monitor?

They have a basic plan at a lower price than you’ll find from most of the competition. That basic plan is very much what the name suggests. There are limits on the number of emails per month and not many flashy features included.

There is an unlimited and a premier plan as well. Those plans, though, get a little costly for a product that doesn’t stand out above the rest for any clear reason. That’s why if you’re going for simple, the basic option is probably worth looking into. Otherwise, you’re likely to find a better option elsewhere.

Pricing breakdown

The three subscription options start at $9, $29, and $149. Other than the basic plan, there are no limits to the number of emails per month.

Here’s a glance at other details of the price breakdown:

  • 2.5-5K: $49/$99/$149 per month
  • 5-10K: $89/$149/$249 per month
  • 15-25K: $199/$399/$499 per month
  • 25-50K: $299/$699/$989 per month
  • 50K+: Contact Campaign Monitor

AWeber

Who is AWeber for?

AWeber is a widely-used service that has been involved in email marketing for 20 years. The system can be an especially useful tool for beginners and small businesses launching an email marketing campaign. But it’s really a system just about anyone can use.

The customer support options have recently been updated to provide users with more options and accessibility when help is needed. So if that’s something you value, there’s no reason to avoid AWeber.

What’s different about AWeber

Compared to other options, AWeber gives users a ton of templates to choose from with more than 700 available. The cost for what you get is also very reasonable.

Pricing breakdown

AWeber provides the chance to try its system free for 30 days. You can set up an account starting at $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers and unlimited emails.

Here’s a glance at other details of the price breakdown:

  • 2.5K-5K: $49 per month
  • 5K-10K: $69 per month
  • 10K-25K: $149 per month
  • 25K+: Get a quote

ActiveCampaign

Who is ActiveCampaign for?

ActiveCampaign is ideal for users who want an email marketing system that can also serve as an all-in-one marketing tool and provide complex automation abilities.

This is also another option users largely say has exceptional customer support.

What’s different about ActiveCampaign?

There are few options providing better automation functions than ActiveCampaign. But with that comes some complexities that certainly not everyone needs. It’s not your quick, easy, and simple email marketing solution.

Pricing breakdown

ActiveCampaign’s breadth of abilities and focus on larger campaigns is reflected in its pricing options. There are four plans to choose from with the option for a monthly or yearly subscription. For 500 contacts or less, the monthly prices start at $15 (lite), $70 (plus), $159 (professional), and $279 (enterprise). The yearly prices start at $9, $49, $129, and $229.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown (yearly only):

SendinBlue

Who is SendinBlue for?

SendinBlue is useful for new marketers looking to ramp up an email campaign quickly and easily. However, there are certainly better options out there if you aren’t extremely limited by budget and want something with more than just the basic capabilities.

What’s different about SendinBlue?

The four subscription options — lite, essential, premium, and enterprise — are tiered by only emails sent per month and not total subscribers. This can provide a significant discount compared to the competition for low-volume email marketing campaigns.

It does not have an overly expansive list of features, which is not a surprise considering who the system is built to best serve. For example, the list of possible integrations is lacking and there is no A/B testing.

Pricing breakdown

SendinBlue also has a free option of up to 300 emails per day.

Here are SendinBlue’s per-month email options and price:

  • Lite: 40K for $25
  • Essential: 60K for $39
  • Premium: 120K for $66 or 350K for $173
  • Enterprise: 350K+ (contact for price)

MailerLite

Who is MailerLite for?

MailerLite’s features are most useful for small business. It’s an easy-to-use platform that provides plenty of quality for most any email marketing campaign a small business may be looking to deploy.

What’s different about MailerLite?

The prices are easily among the best you will find, which is what makes MailerLite appealing to small businesses on a tight budget. That being said, you aren’t going to get anything overly exclusive or impressive with this service.

Pricing breakdown

MailerLite has an appealing free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers. There are no email limits and all plans give you access to the full list of features. You can also choose been monthly and yearly plans with the yearly plans offering a considerable discount.

Here’s a glance at the price breakdown for the monthly plans:

  • 5-10K: $35 per month
  • 10-15K: $50 per month
  • 25-30K: $95 per month
  • 50-60K: $175 per month
  • 90-100K: $240 per month
  • 240-260K: $590 per month
  • 500-520K: $1,140 per month
  • 1M: Contact MailerLite

Benchmark

Who is Benchmark for?

Benchmark provides a useful email marketing software for small business. It’s easy to use, set up does not have to be too time-consuming, and the cost is fair. All these are features that have appeal for small businesses.

What’s different about Benchmark?

Benchmark has an impressive 200 predesigned templates to choose from, and also gives the option of creating your own layout. There aren’t really a lot of features that stand out above what the competitors offer, though.

Pricing breakdown

There’s a free program offered for up to 2,000 subscribers and 14,000 emails per month. The free plan is very limited in the number of features made available. For any of the paid options, Benchmark will be far from the cheapest option.

Benchmark does offer up-front quotes for up to 7 million subscribers. So no matter the size of your subscriber list, you can almost certainly get an idea of the cost by visiting the website.

Here’s a breakdown of the paid plans:

  • 5K: $52 per month
  • 10K: $82 per month
  • 25K: $165 per month
  • 50K: $255 per month
  • 100K: $495 per month
  • 250K: $1,265 per month
  • 500K: $2,255 per month
  • 1M: $4,274 per month
  • 2M: $8,200 per month