If you've got a mailing list, these cloud-based tools make it much easier than using your own email account to keep in touch. You use them through a website and there's no software to download. Pricing varies. It can be a flat rate per month, by number of contacts, or by the number of emails sent per month.
Most offer the following key features:
If you need help figuring out how to best use email for marketing purposes, read our guide.
MailChimp: Priced competitively for loads of features, including landing pages, and advanced split testing and geotargeting. Plus, MailChimp easily integrates with most major ecommerce platforms, including Shopify. You can get started for free with up to 2,000 contacts.
MadMimi: Don't let the name or the lighthearted design fool you. This email tool is loaded with features that are actually easy to use. It's the simplest interface I've seen so far. The price isn't bad either, starting at $10/month for 500 contacts.
Active Campaign: Some say this is the best tool for online marketing next to Hubspot, which is pretty spendy. It includes an email marketing tool with many of the same features as MailChimp (except for landing pages and Facebook ad integration) for more than what you would pay for MailChimp. However, Active Campaign offers a sales CRM (store contacts and sales pipeline) as an add-on starting at around $15 more per month, depending on how many contacts you have. There's a free trial, but no free plans. If you need a CRM, MailChimp integrates with many popular CRM tools, but you'll need to pay for them separately.
AWeber: An autoresponder that allows you to get back to customers, even when you don't have the time to answer every email. Could be very useful for predominantly ecommerce sites when you get a lot of tire-kickers.
Campaign Monitor: Claims to be the email marketing tool for designers. It has a pretty sweet interface and templates. Pricing is $5 + 1 cent for each mailing.
Constant Contact: Most of the functionality you'll need for a pretty low price. But you can get marketing automation from MailChimp for less.
Emma: Have all the basics, but their claim to fame is they'll create a custom newsletter template for your business for about $200. Not a bad branding option if graphic design isn't your strength.
Ennect: Tools for managing email, as well as surveys and events, and it's the only one we've seen with a sweepstakes manager.
Vertical Response: What makes these guys different is that they'll create coordinated postcards for you too. Good for when you want to combine email and snail mail. Has an events manager too.
StreamSend: Have some advanced tools which are pretty cool, like one that lets you set up A-B tests to measure the results of different emails. Also offers international language support.
GotMarketing Campaigner: Offers many of the same bells and whistles as Constant Contact. Sign up for the free trials to see which one is better for you.
iContact: Here's a new one not added to the downloadable list yet. They claim to be less expensive than Constant Contact, and it looks like they offer about the same features. However, their reporting is somewhat rudimentary.
If you know of others we haven't mentioned or have feedback about our list, please let us know.