21 min read
Starting an email list is an exciting and daunting time for many creators.
You might ask yourself, “does my audience really want to hear from me?” (the answer is yes!) and “will email marketing even help my business?” (of course it will!)
Take Khe Hy for example. When Khe began sending his weekly newsletter to 36 of his colleagues, he had no intention of growing it into a business.
But that’s exactly what happened.
Eventually, his list grew to over 20,000 eager subscribers, and he used his email list to generate over $50,000 from product launches.
Khe’s story reminds us of how our businesses can change and evolve, sometimes unintentionally! Which is why it’s important to choose a newsletter tool capable of riding out every unexpected wave your business may face.
Email marketing provides a hefty average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, making it a profitable investment for businesses.
Not to mention, you own every single contact on your email list, making your list your most valuable asset.
Growing an email list is essential if you want direct contact with your audience, increased sales, and a way to build your brand. But with many different email marketing tools to choose from, finding the right one for your business can feel confusing.
Today, we’re going to dive into the best newsletter tools so you’ll be confident in your email marketing decisions.
With so many great tools to choose from, how do you choose the best newsletter software for your business?
Your budget is ultimately the first place to help guide your decision. Switching email tools down the road can be difficult—if you have a smaller budget, start with an email software with a free plan to grow into.
If you already have a newsletter set up and are thinking of switching tools, you should try to forecast your growth and see if the rates you’d pay in the future also align with your budget.
There are likely non-negotiable feature items you require from your newsletter tool. Perhaps you sell different products and you need a newsletter tool with tagging and segmentation. When you’re searching for the best newsletter software for your business, you should identify what features will help your business run smoothly. You don’t want to sacrifice any of the tools you require.
For example, if you have a digital ebook ready to sell, but you don’t have the capability to set up your own ecommerce shop, you will want to find a newsletter tool with landing pages and ecommerce functionality.
Where do you see your business in six months? Where do you see yourself in one year?
It’s essential to understand how your business might grow and shift within the foreseeable future.
The best newsletter tools are ones that will grow with your business and won’t stop you from moving forward.
These are our choices for the top newsletter tools. We’re going to break down each one so you can understand which will fit your needs, budget, and business.
We made ConvertKit for creators who want to share their ideas and products, build a lasting connection with their audience, and increase sales.
At ConvertKit, we want to make email marketing as effortless as possible for our creators. Our intuitive email marketing software simplifies email marketing so you can get started right away.
Take automation, for example. Welcome emails generate up to 320% more revenue than other promotional emails and our visual automation builder allows you to see precisely how your welcome sequence flows from start to finish. You can easily see if anything is missing from your welcome sequence to ensure the highest conversions possible.
ConvertKit’s newsletter tool makes it simple for you to segment your audience based on their behavior, such as automatically tagging subscribers who perform an action.
With tags and segmentation, you can provide highly personalized and relevant content to every subscriber on your email list, leading to higher open rates and sales.
Our visual analytic dashboard presents all the information you need in a digestible format, so you can understand and use your analytics to increase clicks and conversion rates.
In the past, creators relied on multiple tools to manage their newsletters and sell products. However, ConvertKit is working on an ecommerce integration! You can join the waitlist for ConvertKit Commerce to get first access.
ConvertKit has a free plan for those with lists up to 1,000 subscribers. Our paid plan starts at $29 a month for up to 1,000 subscribers.
Mailchimp is well-known by creators and is often one of the first newsletter tools small businesses dip their toes into after discovering the power of email marketing.
Mailchimp offers a library of templates and a drag-and-drop builder to help you easily customize your email newsletter design.
As a popular newsletter tool, Mailchimp has built an extensive list of app integrations (over 300) to make it easy for you to connect your Mailchimp account with any pre-existing software you may already use.
You’ll also benefit from pre-built segments that Mailchimp has created, which include segments for:
Segments can help you send personalized newsletter content that your audience is more likely to open. As a beginner, you might find the pre-built segments useful until you can handle building your own email segments.
Although it’s convenient to have pre-built segments, the most powerful segmentation strategy is unique to your business. You can build your own segments through tagging.
While tagging is available in Mailchimp, it’s not as comprehensive as most creators need. You can’t automatically add tags to subscribers who perform specific actions within your newsletters—instead, you will need to add tags manually.
Mailchimp will also charge you based on the number of signups you have, instead of the number of emails your list contains. If you have a subscriber who signs up for two of your lead magnets, they will appear as two sign-ups, inflating the price of your plan.
Mailchimp has a basic free plan up to 2,000 subscribers. To upgrade your plan to the essential plan, you’ll pay $9.99/month starting at 500 subscribers.
Mailerlite provides beginners with the tools they need to quickly design newsletters, grow, and segment their list.
Mailerlite’s drag-and-drop editor is easy for non-designers to create beautiful emails. With hundreds of templates at your fingertips (including survey templates), it's easy to find something suitable for your newsletters.
Mailerlite connects to many ecommerce platforms. You can view exactly what your subscribers have purchased within your Mailerlite dashboard, which helps you develop segmented email campaigns.
More advanced features include abandoned cart emails, built-in photo editing, a visual website builder where you can build an entire website (with your own domain) right within Mailerlite, and A/B testing available for subject lines, from-names, and email content.
Mailerlite doesn’t integrate with as many platforms as some other newsletter tools. It might be harder to use if you already have an established business with tools you use.
Mailerlite’s free plan is available up to 1,000 subscribers with a limit of 12,000 emails sent per month. The premium plan starts at $10 per month for 1,000 subscribers.
Flodesk helps users “design emails people love to get.” They focus on a flat monthly rate for their subscription model which will provide you with all their features and unlimited subscribers.
Flodesk is a basic email marketing tool that offers list segmentation, tagging, and the ability to design highly attractive email newsletters without needing any design experience or coding.
Flodesk’s pricing model allows users to lock in at $38 per month, for life, regardless of their list size. You can keep your costs in check no matter how large your list grows.
While Flodesk’s email templates may look beautiful, email templates heavy in media, HTML, and CSS don’t tend to work well across a variety of different devices and can result in low deliverability.
You also can’t A/B test within Flodesk—a feature crucial to creators.
Flodesk also lacks information on their website and doesn’t go into detail about their services. You can find various reviews from other bloggers, however, it’s challenging to identify whether or not the information provided is outdated and accurate as of today.
Flodesk does not offer a free plan but does have a free trial. After your free trial has ended, you will pay $38 per month, no matter how big your email list grows.
Aweber was built with the busy entrepreneur in mind.
Aweber has a strong focus on automation, which is ideal for those struggling to find the time to give their email lists the attention it deserves.
With their mobile app, you can manage your email marketing on-the-go and access pre-built reports that are easy to understand and display your data in a meaningful way.
A/B testing extends to both your newsletter subject lines and the content within your newsletter, so you can be sure you are always sending out the highest-performing content to your audience.
Through Aweber’s visual builder, you can create attractive emails in seconds and send traffic to a custom landing page built right within Aweber.
If you already have tools you use and love, Aweber has hundreds of integrations to connect with.
Aweber’s pricing structure is relatively higher than other email newsletter tools that provide the same (if not more) features and functionality.
Aweber’s landing page builder, while great for someone who doesn’t have a website, lacks the ability to add GDPR compliance when adding a Facebook pixel or other cookie tracker.
Aweber’s free plan works up to 500 subscribers with a limit of 3,000 emails per month. After upgrading, the pro plan starts at $19 per month for 500 subscribers.
ActiveCampaign is a highly robust software for businesses who want total control over their email marketing.
With ActiveCampaign, you can dig deep into your email marketing through tools to help your customer relationship management.
ActiveCampaign gives you the ability to send highly personalized emails through segmentation and dynamic content.
With ActiveCampaign’s visual automations, you can create email funnels swiftly and easily, and advanced A/B testing will help you understand what content performs the best with your audience.
The learning curve is steep for ActiveCampaign and the interface can be challenging for new email marketers to grasp.
And even though ActiveCampaign offers a suite of handy features, you’ll need to invest time to learn the software to benefit from all the features.
ActiveCampaign isn’t the best newsletter software for those who want something they can begin using right away with minimal training. However, ActiveCampaign will offer free one-on-one training if you have the time and need assistance getting started.
You also can’t build landing pages with ActiveCampaign and must have a website of your own to sell products or services.
ActiveCampaign currently has four plans you can choose from. The lite plan starts at $15 per month for 500 subscribers.
GetResponse is an all-in-one marketing software geared towards creators who frequently use sales funnels and want software with webinar capability.
For creators who want the ability to quickly create sales funnels with webinars and landing pages, GetResponse is a newsletter tool with the capability to do just that.
Everything you need to build out quick funnels is available to you. GetResponse’s landing page builder comes with a library of over 5,000 licensed images so you don’t need to worry about buying or finding stock photos.
Course creators, in particular, will benefit from the ability to create webinars and sales funnels.
GetResponse doesn’t offer a free plan and is not suitable for beginners who want to try email marketing.
If you are a course creator who wants to take advantage of GetResponse’s webinar functionality, you will need to upgrade your plan to the second tier plan (the “plus plan”) since the basic plan doesn’t offer webinars.
Webinars are also capped at 100 attendees on the plus plan and have a strict limit of 500 attendees on their max plan.
You can try GetResponse free for 30 days. Their basic plan (which does not include webinars and only allows one sales funnel) starts at $15 per month for 1,000 subscribers.
Constant Contact is another reliable newsletter tool developed with ecommerce creators in mind. It’s a one-stop-shop for those who want complete control over their ecommerce stores.
With your Constant Contact account, you can create an ecommerce store to sell your products without a separate website. Each ecommerce store is mobile-friendly and includes a secure checkout.
Through Constant Contact, you can create ads for Facebook and Instagram, manage lookalike audiences, and track your ad campaigns. You can also schedule social media content on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.
Many people appreciate the ability to manage their email list, ecommerce store, social media marketing, and ad campaigns in one centralized location.
If you already use a social media scheduler, run Facebook ads, or have an ecommerce store, you may not find full value with the features Constant Contact offers.
Constant Contact offers a 60-day free trial. Basic email plans start at $20 per month for 500 subscribers. However, it’s worth noting that the basic plan expires once you surpass 10,000 subscribers and they will automatically upgrade you to the plus plan at $195 per month.
Benchmark is an email marketing tool created with small business owners in mind who want to dive deep into their analytics to make data-driven decisions.
For information-driven creators, Benchmark offers a variety of tools to gather and interpret data. You can use polls and surveys to collect information about your audience, test various variables through A/B testing and create emails that will look great in a variety of different inboxes with Benchmark’s Litmus inbox checker.
Benchmark works with over 1,500 different apps so there is a good chance you can integrate the tools you currently use with Benchmark.
While Benchmark offers a free trial, you’re limited to 250 sent emails per month, which is not many. If you currently have an email list of 100 subscribers, you can only send two email newsletters per month before you near your limit.
Because of the limited monthly emails, it’s a challenge for new customers to test and try the software before committing to a plan.
The free plan also lacks some of Benchmark’s more sought-after features such as the Litmus’ inbox checker, advanced segmentation, and list verification.
Benchmark’s free plan is limited and suitable for 250 sent emails per month. The pro plan starts at $15 per month for 500 contacts.
Sendinblue is an all-in-one newsletter tool where you can manage emails, SMS text messages, and chat directly with your customers right on your website.
Sendinblue gives users the ability to connect with customers across various platforms, including email, SMS, and website chats. For creators who need one place to manage different communication platforms, Sendinblue offers that ability.
You can also use Sendinblue’s “send at the best time” feature to find the optimal time to send your newsletters for the highest open rate.
Some of the additional features Sendinblue offers aren’t necessarily useful. The email heatmap, for example, is something you can easily create on your own by viewing which links your audience clicks.
Sendinblue’s free plan includes unlimited subscribers however, you can only send a maximum of only 300 emails per day. Larger list sizes will need to upgrade to a paid plan to send out email newsletters.
Unlike other newsletter tools, Sendinblue charges based on the number of emails you send per month.
The free trial for Sendinblue will allow you to send up to 300 emails per day and keep an unlimited number of subscribers.
Sendinblue’s lite plan will let you send 40,000 emails per month and starts at $25 a month.
Mailjet is a collaborative newsletter tool that makes it simple for teams to create highly engaging content.
If you have a team, Mailjet makes newsletter marketing a breeze. With collaborative tools, your team can work together on your email campaigns and remain on the same page at all times.
If you are a beginner, you will also like the predefined automated workflows that Mailjet has which will allow you to create email sequences in a snap: think welcome or purchase sequences.
Unfortunately, Mailjet does not offer landing pages, so you are responsible for creating and designing landing and sales pages.
Another feature many users miss with Mailjet is an automated tagging system. Tagging is incredibly powerful for list segmentation, and without the ability to tag, your segmentation is limited to the segments Mailjet provides.
Mailjet offers a free plan up to 200 emails sent per day with a maximum of 6,000 emails per month. The basic plan starts at $9.65 per month with a limit of 30,000 emails per month.
Substack is a subscription-based newsletter that allows you to charge a fee to your subscribers.
Substack is ideal for writers who want to share exclusive and high-value content to their newsletters. Integration is incredibly simple and requires no tech skills to get started. Simply connect your bank account, set your price and you’ll be ready to roll.
Another feature worth noting is Substack is a mix of free and premium content; you can easily put up a paywall to specific content while making other pieces free to read.
Importing prior content and contacts is also very simple. Past blog posts, from platforms like WordPress, can be imported through an RSS feed. If you already have an email list, you can upload it from a .csv file straight to Substack.
This newsletter tool is suitable for writers but isn’t ideal if you want tools such as list segmentation, analytics or A/B testing. While Substack is free to use for any list size, 10% of your sales will go to Substack; the more you earn the more you pay.
The price of your Substack plan is 10% of what you earn and is otherwise free to use.
Sendloop has been in the email marketing game for over 21 years and wants to make email marketing as easy as possible for small businesses and large agencies.
Sendloop is known for incredible customer service. They offer one-on-one training and pride themselves as being customer-centric and easy to use.
If you’re a Photoshop user, you can use Sendloop’s Email Slicer software to turn your Photoshop designs into HTML email templates.
Sendloop does not currently offer landing page development and is limited for creators who want to eventually offer products but lack the resources to build an ecommerce store.
Sendloop offers a free trial for 30 days. Small business plans start at $9 per month for a maximum of 500 subscribers.
With ConvertKit, you can have your email newsletter ready to send within minutes.
First, sign up for your free ConvertKit account. Once you have made your account, you will need to log into your dashboard and head to “Broadcast”.
Click on broadcasts to send your first email newsletter.
Next, click “New Broadcast” located along the right side of your browser.
In the next screen, you can segment your newsletter. If you are just starting your newsletter, you might not have any segments yet. In that case, click on “Next” located in the bottom right.
You’re now ready to write your first newsletter with ConvertKit! After your content is written, you can click “Next Step” where you’ll be just about ready to send.
In the last step, you can choose whether to schedule your newsletter for a future date and time or send it immediately.
It’s that easy! Your first newsletter is ready to send.
ConvertKit’s free plan is excellent software for creators who want to test drive email marketing without committing their wallet to a paid plan.
With ConvertKit, we have tools your business can take advantage of regardless of what stage your business is in.
It’s never too late (or early) to start your own email list!
Sign up for free with ConvertKit and see just how easy and enjoyable email marketing is.