The 6 Best Email Marketing Platforms

Can you rely on your email marketing platform to catch buyers’ attention when it matters most?

Email marketing software ofcrfers a basic way to manage your database of contacts, which makes it extremely valuable to new businesses. But in order to grow your business, you’ll eventually need more tools that help you turn those contacts and subscribers into actual paying customers.

That’s where email marketing platforms really shine. The best ones can help you create, automate, and send the right marketing messages at the right time to convert contacts into customers and keep them interested in your business and products. Today, we’ll uncover how six of the leading email marketing providers stack up so you can pick the one that fits your business needs.

What is an email marketing platform? 

An email marketing platform is software that helps companies organize, create, and track email marketing campaigns sent to their contacts. Using a platform allows businesses to streamline their email marketing efforts, manage important contact information, and better understand how their contacts react to their campaigns.

Email marketing tools generally allow users to accomplish several essential tasks, including: 

  • Designing eye-catching marketing emails 
  • Storing contact information
  • Creating segmented contact lists
  • Scheduling email campaigns based on specific events
  • Seeing how emails are performing

Why is email marketing important? 

Email is a successful way to connect with those who may be interested in your business, convert them into customers, then strengthen your relationship with them at every step of the customer journey. From first sparking interest to onboarding and upselling, email marketing puts your business in direct contact with subscribers, allowing you to make personal connections through targeted messaging.

Email marketing is also one of the most profitable marketing strategies in use today. According to one global survey of marketers, email marketing generates $36 for every dollar spent. That’s quite an impressive ROI! 

In addition, email marketing platforms offer tools like A/B testing and automation to help marketers target their fragmented audiences easily, saving time and effort for other tasks.

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What to look for in an email marketing platform

There are dozens of email marketing platforms on the market with a wide range of different features. Your business might have very specific email marketing needs that one solution meets better than another. However, there are also a few critical features every email marketing tool should provide.

Here are the top things to consider when researching which email marketing platform is best:

  • Usability: Email marketing platforms should make it as easy as possible to create and schedule campaigns. Look for a platform with easy-to-use features like premade campaign templates and a drag-and-drop email editor.
  • Automation: There are many uses for automated email campaigns, from creating templates to sending out email sequences. A platform that lets you automate tasks like segmentation and email sending will save your team huge amounts of time.
  • Audience segmentation: Personalizing emails for groups of contacts helps you reach your audience with exactly the message they need to hear. Look for a platform that simplifies audience segmentation and lets you build contact lists based on whichever criteria you choose.
  • Drip sequences: One-off emails have their place, but multi-email drip sequences are extra powerful when you want a contact to receive multiple emails throughout their journey. An email marketing platform with drip sequences lets you automatically trigger campaigns based on your chosen criteria to give contacts the right message at the right time. 
  • Reporting and analytics: How will you know what’s working without data-driven insight? Your email marketing platform should measure each email’s and campaign’s impact and track metrics like click, open, unsubscribe, and bounce rates. 
  • Customer support: Even with plenty of training, your team may still run into times when they need customer support. The right platform will have readily available support when you need it.
  • Integrations: Chances are that your team could use a few integrations to get the most out of your email marketing efforts. For example, integrating your email marketing platform and CRM allows you to sync marketing and sales data, improve reporting, and so much more. Search for a platform that integrates with the other tools in your tech stack.

The 6 best email marketing platforms

The email marketing platform your company chooses has a significant influence on whether your campaigns are successful. Ultimately, you need the ability to design and schedule beautiful branded email campaigns that actually make it to your subscribers’ inboxes and generate action. 

With those needs in mind, here are the 6 best email marketing platforms available:

1. Nutshell

Nutshell Campaigns works natively with the Nutshell CRM to keep all your marketing and sales contacts accessible in one easy-to-use platform. Nutshell Campaigns allows you to create and schedule one-off emails, broadcasts, newsletters, and drip sequences using your CRM contacts, keeping your entire team synced so you can turn more subscribers into buyers.

Whether you want to send a personal email to a potential client or reach thousands at a time with some important news, Nutshell Campaigns makes it easy. Easily use the drag-and-drop editor to customize our selection of email templates or design your own broadcasts and newsletters to send to contacts. You can also easily set up and customize automatic drip sequences.

Nutshell Campaigns offers robust reporting on metrics like delivery, open rate, click rate, and bounce rate. Track overall email performance and audience engagement as well as clicks on any links you included in your campaigns. And while your email content has a big influence on delivery, Nutshell takes several steps to keep emails out of your subscribers’ junk folders. 

Nutshell Campaigns pricing

All Nutshell CRM customers can send up to 150 emails per month using Nutshell Campaigns for free. If you want to send more than that, pricing for Nutshell Campaigns is based on the number of marketing contacts you have.

Nutshell CRM plans begin at $16 per month for Foundation and go up to $67 per month for Enterprise. Higher-paid CRM subscriptions provide access to more webforms and pipelines, more organization features, and more advanced reporting and automation. You can compare all the plans here.

Pricing for the Nutshell Campaigns add-on starts at $5 per month for 100 contacts, and listed pricing ends at $460 per month for up to 60,000 contacts. 

2. Mailchimp

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Mailchimp has been one of the most popular email marketing providers for years thanks to its freemium model. Known for its usability and friendly branding, Mailchimp’s platform provides a user experience perfect for small business owners with a clear navigation and a clean interface.

Mailchimp leverages machine learning technology to create segments automatically based on the likelihood a customer will shop with a company and their potential spending. Their segments are also dynamic, which means that Mailchimp adds—or removes—subscribers whenever they meet the segment’s criteria.

While powerful, Mailchimp’s automations aren’t intuitive to use or easy to set up. Lacking a workflow editor, new users will face a steep learning curve until they figure out how to set each automation properly. Some users have complained that their interface isn’t intuitive, despite its modern design.

Mailchimp’s segmentation is limited depending on the plan used. Even though the company offers advanced segmentation in their highest “Premium” plan, their standard segmentation capabilities are limited.

Live customer support from Mailchimp can also be hit-or-miss, although they offer support articles, email support, and live chat.

Mailchimp Pricing

Mailchimp continues to offer a free plan up to 500 contacts that includes a limited number of forms, email support for the first 30 days, limited reporting, and up to 1,000 monthly sent emails.Its lowest-priced plan starts at $13 for 500 contacts, but lacks its advanced reporting and segmentation features. The Standard and Premium plans, which include the customer journey builder, behavioral targeting, and advanced segmentation features, start at $20 and $350 per month for 500 contacts.

3. Constant Contact

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Founded in 1995, Constant Contact is one of the most popular email marketing software providers in the market, with more than 600,000 customers. Constant Contact includes basic list segmentation capabilities which allow you to create segments of contacts using demographic or behavioral data like opens rates and CTR.

Some customers have indicated they appreciate the ability to create and send targeted email marketing campaigns directly from their contact list. Additionally, users have praised the UI design, which makes their product easy to navigate, learn, and use, compared to other competitors like Mailchimp.

However, Constant Contact’s features are unfit for companies with robust sales teams that require more advanced sales and marketing capabilities that help teams close sales. Its segmentation is confined to basic field values—e.g., name, company—and behavioral data—e.g., opens, clicks. You can export or email the segments, and little else.

Constant Contact pricing

Constant Contact’s plans start at $12 per month for up to 500 subscribers and include their standard email marketing product, landing pages, marketing calendar, website creation, and more.

The company offers a second plan that starts at $35 per month and includes automated email campaigns, surveys, and polls. A third plan goes up to $80 per month and includes custom automations, custom segmentation, and search engine optimization.

4. ActiveCampaign

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Founded by Jason VandeBoom in 2003, ActiveCampaign helps 120,000 customers with its “customer experience automation platform.” The platform acts like an all-in-one marketing platform that includes email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, and account management features for companies of all sizes and industries.

ActiveCampaign allows you to add dynamic content to your email campaigns, personalizing your messages based on your contacts. The platform offers hundreds of integrations and highly-rated customer support.

However, ActiveCampaign is a complex platform with multiple features that can even overwhelm experienced marketers. Mastering ActiveCampaign’s large array of features will require extensive training and patience. 

ActiveCampaign pricing

ActiveCampaign’s pricing starts at $29 per month for 1,000 contacts and goes up to $809 per month for 50,000 contacts in its Professional plan. (ActiveCampaign offers custom pricing for accounts with more than 50,000 contacts.)

All of ActiveCampaign’s plans include its marketing automation capabilities, email marketing, and some integrations. Its higher-tier plans also include landing pages, SMS marketing, and lead scoring.

5. Hubspot

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As one of the foremost players in the digital marketing industry, HubSpot has been a prominent CRM software provider for many years. The company offers email marketing as a part of a more extensive suite of tools that includes a CMS, marketing automation, and sales software.

HubSpot’s email marketing platform has extensive automation capabilities, a selection of completely customizable email templates, and personalization options for your audiences. You can also take advantage of other features like A/B testing, performance analytics, and more.

If you are a HubSpot user, its email marketing platform integrates with its other products seamlessly. Some users have also indicated the HubSpot mobile app is useful, especially for sales reps who regularly travel. Note that users have also complained about HubSpot’s reporting feature, which makes it hard to understand their opportunity deal flow.

HubSpot pricing

HubSpot’s offerings can seem quite inflated for companies that want  simple capabilities without unnecessary features. The Starter marketing plan starts at $18 per month for 1,000 contacts. To get email campaign reporting and marketing automation, you’ll have to pay for the Professional plan, which is significantly more expensive at $800 per month for 2,000 contacts.

The Starter CRM Suite, which includes their marketing and customer service features, starts at $50 per month for up to two users. But if you’re a growing company with a lot of sales and marketing contacts, HubSpot can get very, very expensive.

6. Brevo

Brevo email marketing tool dashboard
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Brevo, formerly Sendinblue, is an email marketing platform aimed at small, medium-sized, and enterprise-level companies. The company offers email, SMS, and chat marketing tools as well as a CRM, landing pages, and retargeting features to over 175,000 customers worldwide.

You can segment your contact list using basic filters—e.g., opens, purchase history—from which you can create an email campaign. Also, you can set up automated workflows that create new segments dynamically based on demographics, behavioral, and lead-scoring data.

As with most of the email marketing platforms mentioned here, Brevo offers decent reporting, automation, and segmentation capabilities.

Brevo pricing

The company has a free plan that includes limited email marketing capabilities—e.g., it allows up to 300 emails per day—but unlimited contacts, advanced segmentation, and a workflow editor. The other plans offered remove the sending limits and allow marketing automation for a greater number of contacts. These plans start at $25 per month, and also include A/B testing, custom branding, and more.

Why your email marketing platform can’t satisfy your CRM needs

All of the platforms analyzed offer robust email marketing features to communicate with your leads, but there’s one thing you should still consider—they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to their CRM capabilities. In particular, most of them lack features that actually help you close the sale after you’ve created a relationship with a contact through email marketing.

It’s important that your email marketing software works hand in hand with your CRM, just as your sellers and marketers should work collaboratively to grow your business. That way, everyone on your team can see the impact of your email marketing efforts to maximize each interaction with a lead. So instead of buying an email marketing tool and a CRM and trying to wire them together, we recommend using a growth software suite that unites sales and marketing features into one platform.

Such software combines the traditional features of an email marketing platform (i.e., newsletters and broadcasts, campaign automation, segmentation) with one of a sales tool (i.e., pipeline automation, sales reporting, lead scoring). Using a growth platform leads to better alignment between your sales and marketing teams, which, in turn, will drive greater business growth.

Supercharge your sales and marketing with Nutshell

When you’re shopping around for a new email marketing software tool, you need to think about how it will integrate with the rest of your marketing and sales tools, like your CRM.

Nutshell Campaigns seamlessly connects with Nutshell’s CRM platform, which means your team can manage all their sales and marketing outreach out of the same tool, easily create custom audience segments based on their customers and leads, and instantly see who’s engaging with their messages. With your CRM and email marketing software under the same roof, you won’t have to worry about data getting out of sync or important customer context getting lost.

As we’ve written before, an integrated growth software platform encourages sales and marketing alignment, which is one of the largest opportunities for improving business performance.

If that sounds interesting, start a free trial of Nutshell today!

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