Email marketing can be an expensive game for businesses to play, and many of the companies that operate in this space charge subscriptions that can run to more than $1,000 per month. That doesn’t mean that companies need to pay a huge amount of money to start sending emails. Check out the following.
To avoid wasting time and money on an email marketing service that isn’t fit for purpose, it’s generally crucial that companies spend a bit of time evaluating their email marketing needs before they select a service. All of the email marketing solutions offered on this page work well for certain companies, but there is no such thing as a one size fits all for email marketing solutions. Companies that spend some time thinking about exactly what they will be using their email marketing system for are likely to have better results.
A few of the key things to consider are.
Most free email marketing services put a limit on the number of contacts that it is possible to upload into the system. Once companies hit this limit, they generally have to move onto a paid-for version of the platform. Companies can avoid these limits by either keeping the focus of their email marketing efforts relatively narrow and ensuring that the people they will contact are relevant. It’s also worth ensuring that the free email service that is selected has as high a limit as possible if this is likely to be an issue.
Some free email marketing services limit the number of emails that can be sent using the tool in any given month. For most small companies that only plan to send infrequent communications, this is unlikely to be a problem, but it may slip up some businesses that have grander email marketing ambitions. Again, it’s essential to be aware of any limits that are attached to a particular email marketing service before signing up and ensure that the plan being selected matches with any specific business’ growth plans.
Generally, most email platforms use automation and other features that save their users from having to manually plan and send every email for their more advanced and costly tiers. For anyone who is only looking to send out an email newsletter using their chosen service, this won’t be a problem. The automation tools will be available on a paid-for tier as a growth opportunity when the user is ready to look into them.
The majority of free email services will put some sort of small advertisement of acknowledgment that an email was sent using their service on any emails that are sent by users of their free tier. This won’t be a problem for most small businesses where the use of these types of services is expected and priced-in by customers. However, growing companies that want to present a more professional image to the world may have an issue with this type of thing. It’s worth sending a sample email or two using the service to see exactly how this type of thing looks in practice before committing to the platform to ensure that any advertising or acknowledgment mark does not overwhelm the content of the email.
This is a good choice of email marketing service for beginners since it offers one of the most intuitive interfaces around. The contact limit is set at 1,000, but it is possible to send at least 12 emails a month to each of them, depending on exactly how many contacts are included in the system.
The major drawback of MailerLite compared to other free email marketing options is that access to templates is not available in the free version. This means that anyone who wants to use a graphically rich email will either have to design their own using HTML or pay someone to do this for them. This is slightly unfortunate given that MailerLite is otherwise such a good option for beginners.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month
This is a slightly more advanced system that will only appeal to businesses who want to run their email marketing in a particular way. However, some companies will enjoy having access to some of the advanced features that are available in the basic plan. As well as up to 12,000 email sends a month, SendPulse gives its users access to push notifications that can be sent via the website and individual transactional emails (for example, an email that is sent when a user takes a particular action) that can be sent via an SMTP account.
The one major drawback of SendPulse compared to some of the other options on this page is that the email editor that is included in the system is not as intuitive as some others. It can take longer to put together a typical email send, such as a newsletter.
While somewhat more cow-based than some of the competition, the design of MooSend is very attractive. The contact limit is lower than some of the alternative providers at only 1,000, but the other restrictions on the free version of this email marketing platform are fairly generous. Slightly astonishingly, this service does not add branding to emails that are sent using the free version of its tool, meaning that emails created and sent using MooSend tend to look far more professional than those produced with other free email services.
The only other drawbacks apart from the lower contact limit are the odd deliverability issue and some problems with the email editing interface. If the developers behind the product are able to fix these, MooSend could quickly turn into one of the most competitive email marketing services on the market.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 1,000 subscribers and unlimited emails per month
This is another email marketing tool with an animal-based name that uses this starting point to create an attractive interface for its users. The contact limit is relatively high at 2,500, and users have 10,000 emails a month to split between them. It’s also possible to use Zapier to add contacts to a list, which saves users from having to manually upload contacts every time that they want to add new subscribers. This is very useful for any companies that have a newsletter sign-up form on their website.
The only major downside is the lack of additional features such as automation. The email editor is good and easy to use. For companies that only want to send a regular email newsletter and don’t expect their email sending needs to change significantly in the coming years, EmailOctopus is well worth a look.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 2,500 subscribers and 10,000 emails per month
Sender uses a simple name to describe a simple product and users who want the process of setting up, creating, and sending their regular email newsletter to be as straightforward as possible are likely to be pleased with what they find here. Sender offers its free users access to advanced features such as automation but manages to do this without dropping them into the type of complex interface that can often make using these types of very useful features very intimidating for the new user.
The only significant drawback with Sender is the limited number of email templates that are included in the free plan. Users who are not able to find one that they like will have to go to the trouble of creating their own.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 2500 subscribers and 15,000 emails per month
HubSpot is one of the biggest players in the world of marketing automation, and email sending is just a small part of what it does. However, the company has always prided itself on offering a free email marketing solution that makes it easy for users to get started. Choosing HubSpot is a great choice for companies that have serious growth ambitions and spending some time learning the platform will be very valuable for any users that have serious goals for their digital marketing.
The major drawback of the free version is that it is limited to one basic email template. It is not possible for users to handmake emails in HTML without upgrading to a Marketing ng Hub subscription (HubSpot subscriptions can get pretty expensive pretty quickly). This means that companies that are particularly concerned about the look and feel of the emails that they are sending out are probably best advised to look elsewhere.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 2,000 emails per month
At first glance, Sendinblue looks like a great option as it does not run the types of contact limits that other email marketing services do. Even on the free plan, users are allowed to upload an unlimited number of contacts into the service. The catch is that the email sending limit is measured by day, rather than by month, this means that sending out a blast email to even a relatively modest audience using the free tier of the service is more or less impossible.
On the other hand, Sendinblue is an excellent choice for companies that want to segment their email database and send more personalized messages to particular people in their email marketing database. Getting this type of marketing operation set up can be very time-consuming. Still, the results are often far more effective than a simple email newsletter.
In short, the free version of Sendinblue works very well for the type of people who need this service. Still, it’s important for users to understand exactly how it works before committing.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 300 emails per day and unlimited contacts
Benchmark is a great choice for businesses that want to take a great looking email template, customize it, and just get on with the job of sending out their email newsletter. Users of the free service are allowed to send only up to 250 emails a month, which is somewhat limiting. Still, small businesses may decide that the richness of the email templates that are available is enough for them to ignore this limitation.
The integrations on the service are also top-notch. Unfortunately, the severe limits on image storage and email sending rates mean that the free service is not really suited for long-term use. Most users will find that they are pushed to upgrade after only a few weeks.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 250 emails per month and unlimited contacts
This is another service with a relatively low limit in terms of emails and contacts. Users of the free service are allowed to store up to 250 contacts in the service and send up to 1,000 emails a month to those contacts. It’s a good looking service though but is very limited in terms of automations and forms, at least at the free tier. The firm’s European base may, however, appeal to users in that region who are required to follow the EU’s GDPR regulation.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 250 subscribers and 1,000 emails per month
In theory, MoonMail offers a free tier, but it is so restrictive that it is really only suitable for companies that are evaluating the service and it will not be possible to run an ongoing marketing campaign using this service. Users are limited to a total of 10 email sends per day and a maximum of 300 emails in total per month. This is a powerful system and a great choice for companies that are looking to grow the scope of their email marketing. Still, as the free version is basically unusable for any serious email marketing work, it is difficult to stay on the free tier for very long.
Free email marketing plan: 14 days free trial (Up to 2000 active subscribers and 10,000 emails)
7 or 8 years ago, it would probably have been possible to recommend this email marketing service. Still, the tools it offers are now so outdated that even the relatively good limit of 1,000 contacts isn’t enough to save it. To put it bluntly, there are better email marketing tools out there that can be accessed without payment and it’s hard to see why anyone would choose to sign-up for this service afresh at the moment.
All of these email marketing services have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s essential to fully evaluate them before making a choice. As they are free, it may even be worth trying out a few before deciding which one to stick with.
Free email marketing plan: Up to 1000 subscribers
Truly free email marketing services will not ask for credit card information before users can sign-up for and use their services. Email marketing solutions that demand this type of information tend to operate on a free trial basis and will start to charge new users after a certain amount of time has elapsed. It is vital that anyone signing up for a service that asks for this type of information makes sure that they fully understand what their credit card information will be used for before they hand the details over and start using the service.
Companies that hit one of the ceilings imposed by their free email service provider will be prompted to pay to remove that limit and upgrade. Users should be careful to check whether the upgrade involves entering into a long-term contract and whether they will have to pay for several months of service in advance. Alternatively, users can just wait for their daily, weekly, or monthly limit to reset and start using the service again.
Anti-spam filters are so strong these days that they sometimes even stop legitimate emails from getting through. Email marketing services can take steps to get around these issues by improving what is known as deliverability. An email marketing service that offers good deliverability is more likely to help your emails land in the right inbox and not the spam folder.