As a small business, it’s crucial to maximize email marketing in reaching out your target audience and building relationship with current and potential customers. Your limited budget shouldn’t stop you from exploring email marketing products as various companies offer their services for free which you can use to leverage your small business marketing.
It isn’t enough that you know which vendors offer a free app. This article will tell you what freebies, in fact, you’re getting from each of these offers, so you can compare the best options.
By the end of 2017, there will be more than 3.7 billion email users around the world. That’s almost half of the entire world’s population—48.6% to be exact. How is this relevant to your business?
According to Mapp Consumer Views 2016, 60% of consumers reveal email marketing influences their purchasing decisions. This means leveraging the use of email marketing can grow your sales and increase your ROIs when done effectively. (You may read what is email marketing software to know more about its features and benefits.)
SMBs allocate the largest share of their marketing budget on email marketing. (Source: Marketing Land)
Hence, it’s not a surprise that email leads the marketing tools used by small businesses with 54%. It’s followed by tools such as the website and social media with 51% and 48%, respectively, as per Blue Corona. Furthermore, not only is 26% of SMBs are investing on email marketing due to proven effectiveness of this marketing strategy, but it also receives the biggest percentage of SMB’s marketing budget by up to 15%.
As an owner of a startup or small business, you may have a mail-merge spreadsheet as your version of an email marketing system. Since growth is crucial, your marketing demands grow as well. You will soon find yourself drowned in chaotic emails and overwhelmed with unsubscribe lists.
If budget is one of your main concerns, there are actually plenty of email marketing software programs you can use for free. They go beyond offering a free trial as they actually have plans that you can use without time limit at no cost. Meanwhile, you may also check out this article on how much does email marketing automation software cost to understand its pricing tiers.
Pros and Cons of a Free Email Marketing Software
Countless of email marketing tools are available to choose from. Each of them also offers a variety of plans and payment options. Getting a free email marketing software comes with some pros and cons. Here are the things you have to consider beforehand:
- Free. The most obvious and valuable benefit of free plans is, of course, being able to use a product’s offerings at no cost. Your credit card information is not collected and you can use the system as long as you want without commitments.
- No upfront investment. Signing up for a free plan is a good way for you to test the waters. You can test drive the system and its capabilities to see if it matches your workflows without making any upfront investment.
- Access to essential features. A free email marketing tool provides you with the essential features you need to start your email marketing campaigns. They are also scalable so once your business and marketing demands grow, you can easily upgrade to premium plans in the same platform.
- Limitations. Even though you can use free plans as long as you want, there are still limitations to its features. For instance, free email marketing tools commonly have a limited number of subscribers or emails you send per month or day.
- No/limited advanced features. The features offered by different products vary—some include advanced features while others reserve it for their premium plans. You may need some features that are not in the plan such as A/B testing, autoresponders, spam filter diagnostics, and social media monitoring, among others. If so, it is more cost-effective to upgrade to affordable premium plans that contain the features you actually need.
- Subpar customer support level. Most free plans offer limited or no customer support. Vendors prioritize users who are using their premium plans, and understandably so. Hence, it’s important to consider that it may be hard to reach support when you have inquiries or issues with the platform.
With that, let’s proceed to reveal the best free email marketing software tools. We compiled products that pack robust features and scalable solutions in their free plans.
15 Best Free Email Marketing Software Solutions for a Small Business
1. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot CRM is a completely free tool that streamlines organizing, tracking, and nurturing your leads. As a product of HubSpot, one of marketing industry’s most trusted marketing platforms, you can ensure HubSpot CRM doesn’t scrimp on features. Since this product doesn’t have paid plans, you get all its inclusions at no cost. If you want to start using the features you can easily do so when you sign up for a HubSpot CRM free app here.
HubSpot won our Expert's Choice Award for 2017
It lands on the first spot of this list as it has offerings that are only available on other product’s paid versions. For instance, you can schedule and queue the delivery of emails to a prospect for a personalized sequence. Reduce the time it takes to send repetitive emails by saving templates and tracking its performance to know which ones are effective or not. It also integrates with Gmail, G Suite, and Outlook versions.
Additionally, its real-time notifications inform you when the receiver opens the email and downloads the attachment. This lets you follow-up immediately while the email campaign is still fresh on your lead’s mind. Timeliness is crucial in today’s marketing campaigns with the numerous competitions brands face today, especially online.
In addition to all the features mentioned, HubSpot CRM’s forever free plan also stores up to 1 million contacts and companies and an unlimited number of users.
None. HubSpot CRM is completely free. Meanwhile, you can maximize its features by connecting it with HubSpot’s other main products—Marketing Hub and Sales Hub—for an all-in-one marketing solution.
2. Wix ShoutOut
Wix ShoutOut is a simple email marketing software built for small businesses. It simplifies how you build and share email newsletters using its email marketing tools, designer-made templates, and intuitive builder. This allows you to customize the email’s design by changing the color, text fonts, and backgrounds, among others. It also ensures your email campaigns will look good when viewed on any device as they are mobile-ready. You can also evaluate its paid features at no cost when you sign up for a Wix ShoutOut free trial here.
It also has features such as contact integration, social media tools, and stats tracker based on your campaign’s open, view, and click rates. Since it’s a product by Wix, a robust website builder, Wix ShoutOut works best with your website made on the platform. At the same time, you can also subscribe to the product on its own.
It includes a course of 3 ShoutOuts per month where you can send up to 5,000 emails. This resets every first day of the month.
Start at $4.90/month. The Basic Plan gives you 4 ShoutOuts/month, 10,000 contacts, and 9,500 emails/month. To unlock more advanced features, it also has Business Essential and Pro Unlimited plans.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing products of today, especially for small businesses. Its campaign builder lets you easily craft emails that suit your message—whether it’s for a product launch or news announcement, for a start. Some of its features include email templates, in-suite apps, integration to e-commerce platforms, and targeted analytics, among others. You can also target your customers based on previous sales, preferences, and behavior.
MailChimp’s free plan, “New Business,” enables you to send 12,000 emails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers. This includes automation, built-in signup forms, report and data insight, and campaign creation without coding required.
Start at $10/month. This unlocks unlimited sending, email delivery by timezone, predicted demographics, and email and chat support.
4. Zoho Campaigns
Zoho Campaigns, Zoho’s email marketing platform, is built to create, send, and track email campaigns for small- to medium-sized businesses. It connects with other applications of the Zoho ecosystem. hence, it’s wise to also include this product for your email marketing needs if you’re already using Zoho apps, especially Zoho CRM. It automates email marketing with permission-based access and personalized campaigns.
The forever free plan gives you 12,000 emails/month for up to 2,000 subscribers.
Start at $5/month. It has a monthly subscription based on your number of subscribers and a pay-as-you-go plan that’s priced based on email credits.
5. Elastic Email
Email Elastic is a platform that specializes in bulk email marketing for any business size. While others may prefer an easy-to-use service with no coding required, you may appreciate Elastic Email’s HTTP API and SMTP API services that give you more freedom to customize and automate your email campaigns. It also has pre-designed templates, Email Designer, email personalization, and autoresponder or drip campaigns, among others.
The Basic plan provides you with 150,000 emails per month. This is split for up to 5,000 emails per day. If you exceed this allocation, you’ll only pay $0.09 for every additional 1,000 emails sent. All accounts get the same inclusions and they only vary based on the threshold of emails sent monthly.
Start at $150/month. Upgrading to the paid plan, Advanced, unlocks 2 million emails per month. It also has Premium with 10 million emails per month.
MailJet is a Paris-based email marketing software that sends, tracks, and delivers emails for both marketing and transactional purposes. Passport, its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, lets you create email campaigns easily with free, responsive email and newsletter templates. You can personalize the email and see how it looks like from the receiver’s end to ensure it’s well-crafted. Other features include contact management for targeted marketing, send API and statistics.
Send 6,000 emails per month or up to 200 emails per day. The free plan already includes full API access, unlimited contacts, advanced email editor, and advanced statistics.
Start at 8.04/month. The Basic plan containing essential features eliminates the limit on daily sending, removes MailJet branding, and provides 24/7 support. Premium and Enterprise plans are also available.
Benchmark shines in its intuitive email designer that heavily functions using with a drag-and-drop editor. This makes it a good platform for beginners with an eye for design to create responsive emails. You can even edit photos right on its editor and add effects, stickers, and texts. Creating auto-responses, surveys, and polls is also streamlined which you can preview on a mobile or desktop mode.
Send 14,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers per month. It has the drag-and-drop editor, responsive templates, signup forms, Google Analytics tracking, and basic drip campaigns, among others.
Start at $13.99/month. Plans range from Medium, Large, and Extra Large to Massive based on the number of subscribers and email sent. Aside from unlocking advanced features, only premium plans have access to Benchmark’s Automation Pro feature.
SendinBlue is a platform that lets you easily manage transactional emails and marketing campaigns. It offers several options for transactional and autoresponder emails as well as responsive design templates. Design skills are not a requirement since it has a template gallery and drag-and-drop designer that lets you create attractive, mobile-friendly emails. It consists of features like email sending, contact management, campaign creation, and campaign tracking.
You get unlimited contacts and send out up to 300 emails per day (that’s up to 9,000 emails per month). The mobile-friendly email designer, email template library, and email and SMS personalization are also included.
Start at $25/month. From the Micro plan, you’ll get 40,000 emails per month with no daily sending limit. Other plans—Essential, Premium and Enterprise—also unlocks more advanced features.
MailerLite is an email marketing solution built for bloggers and small businesses. Beginners will find it easy to create and send out their first email as there are a lot of tutorials, hints, and notes provided in each step. It has a drag-and-drop editor, custom HTML editor, Rich Text editor, built-in photo editing feature, newsletter design templates, and file manager, among others.
Get access to the product’s full features. You can send an unlimited number of email campaigns per month to 1,000 subscribers.
Start at $10/month. Since MailerLite’s plans are priced according to the number of your subscribers, you’ll only pay more as your subscriber list grows.
NetHunt is a CRM tool that has full integration with Gmail making it a reliable tool for elevating your emails into customer-centered campaigns. It’s an effective tool that segments your leads and lets you target the right audience. You can personalize messages, build a mailing list, and reach out to your customers through a single email using its mass mailing option.
It’s available for 2 users with unlimited folders, record fields, saved views, and follow-ups. You also get 200 email campaigns per month, as well as email and link tracking. This already includes reporting, mobile apps, API and Zapier integration, and permissions management.
Start at $24/user/month. This unlocks unlimited users, email, and link tracking. Email campaigns limit also increase up to 2,000 emails per day.
VerticalResponse is an email marketing system that offers a full-featured free plan. Its main features include customizable email templates, HTML editor, contact management, automated follow-up emails, autoresponders, advanced reporting, and A/B testing. It’s built for SMBs and users will like it’s easy-to-use interface that allows you to send emails immediately upon using the tool.
Using the free plan gives you access to all its core features plus sending 4,000 emails per month for up to 300 contacts.
Start at $11/month. Pricing is based on the size of your email list, hence, upgrading unlocks unlimited emails, removing VerticalResponse logos from your email, adding live chat and phone support, and providing automated follow-up emails, among others.
Reachmail is a tool for creating, scheduling, and sending mass email marketing campaigns online. It offers hundreds of templates to choose from and advanced tools such as social media sharing, message testing, autoresponders, surveys, transactional emails, and API for free. Other features include A/B testing, SMTP, and spam checker tool, among others.
You can send 15,000 emails per month to your 5,000 subscribers. This already includes a wide array of features mentioned above.
Start at $10/month. Unlock more subscribers (from 7,500 subscribers), remove Reachmail branding, and access Google Analytics, inbox email previews, and priority sending.
Sendpulse is designed to send bulk emails to your mailing list. Its email service has personalization of emails to address your customers by their names, build unique subscription forms, and create email templates using the drag-and-drop editor. Through subscriber rating, you can also segment your mailing list through analyzing your subscriber’s activity.
Sending 15,000 emails per month is free if you have less than 2,500 subscribers.
Start at $9.85/month. Three types of plans are available: pay as you go, monthly subscription, and VIP plans for accessing a higher threshold and advanced features.
14. Mad Mimi
Mad Mimi is also a simple email marketing platform to use for creating and sharing email newsletters. It has an uncluttered interface to ensure you only get the features you need when creating your layouts. Once you’re satisfied, you can clone the template and save the custom style for future use. It also has list management, reports, and tracking, among others.
You can start with the free plan for 100 contacts.
Start at $10/month. The Basic plan unlocks more contacts, faster speed, and unlimited emails and storage.
Wrapping up our list of free email marketing software is Campayn. This tool is built for creating and sharing email marketing campaigns for SMBs. It has free, responsive email templates that can be viewed on any device. You can also build contact lists, extract insights from reporting, and save time by automating sending of emails. It’s a simple tool that delivers its features well.
The Basic plan is offered for sending 12,500 emails to 500 contacts. Email support, 1 autoresponder, and all core features are also included.