featured image: the 9 best email marketing services for small businesses (2023)

The 9 Best Email Marketing Services for Small Businesses (2024)

Whatever the size of your business, email is a simple and effective way to reach big audiences. Email marketing software gives you the tools to do it right.

Growing your subscriber list. Creating attractive, engaging emails. Automating campaigns with sequences of emails. Using analytics to decide what you send and when. The best email marketing services let you do all this and more.

But what are the best email marketing services for small businesses? I’ll introduce you to 9 options. And explain what they offer and who they are best for. 

9 Best Email Marketing Services for Small Businesses Overview

Small businesses have different needs than enterprises. If you run a small business, you’re probably pressed for time. You don’t want anything that eats up your precious time or takes weeks to learn. You want tools that are simple, quick and convenient. That lets you get started right away and deliver results fast.

At the same time, value matters. The smaller your operating budget, the more cost-conscious you have to be. But no small business owner wants to trade quality for cost. They still demand products that deliver. And give them room to grow.

The 9 email marketing services I have picked out all meet these criteria. But they all have their particular strengths that make them stand out. Here’s a summary. But make sure you read on to get the details to help you decide which is the best option for you. 

Email Marketing ToolBest ForFree Plan/TrialStarting Price
MailerLiteFirst-time Email MarketersYes$9/month
GetResponseGrowing BusinessesYes$16/month
ActiveCampaignEmail Marketing AutomationYes, 30 days$29/month
MailchimpEmail Marketing with AdsYes$13/month
HubspotAll-in-one CRM with EmailYes$18/month
BrevoFree Email MarketingYes$25/month
MoosendSmall Business EcommerceYes, 30 days$9/month
Constant ContactEasy Email DesignYes, 60 days$12/month
BenchmarkBudget Email MarketingYes$8/month

MailerLite – Best for First-Time Email Marketing

MailerLite email marketing service home page

MailerLite ticks every box as a small business email marketing service. It’s cheap. It’s easy to use. It has all the features you need if you’re not looking for advanced automation. 

It’s particularly good if you’re new to email marketing. Simplicity is the thing. Everything is very clear and straightforward. Look at the main dashboard below. Four simple options. Clear navigation. The whole tool is like that.

MailerLite email marketing service dashboard

There’s a drag-and-drop editor for creating HTML emails. MailerLite has stacks different of pre-formatted content blocks. You can import product listings direct from an ecommerce store. You can embed RSS and social media feeds into newsletters. You can build quizzes and surveys.

MailerLite email marketing service drag and drop editor

Building sign-up forms and landing pages is just as easy. You can also create ‘drip’ campaigns, or simple automated email sequences.

Beyond email marketing, you can build websites and blogs, too. And you can sell digital products and subscriptions directly.

MailerLite Pros

  • Super easy to use even for email marketing novices
  • Flexible email building options
  • Ecommerce support
  • Transactional emails
  • Very competitive pricing and generous free plan

MailerLite Cons

  • No email templates in the free plan

MailerLite pricing starts at $9 per month for 1,000 contacts and unlimited emails. There is a 30-day free trial that unlocks all paid-for features. There is also a generous free plan with 12,000 emails a month and up to 1,000 contacts. 

or read more about MailerLite

GetResponse – Best for Growing Businesses

GetResponse email marketing service home page

You could say there are two sides to GetResponse. It’s a pretty straightforward email marketing service with all the features you’d expect. You can grow your subscriber list with sign-up forms. You can build campaigns with attractive HTML emails. You can segment contacts to target the right people. 

It has the typical drag-and-drop editor for designing emails. It’s very easy to use. And there are 120+ professional quality design templates to get you started. A brand new feature is an AI-powered email creator built on the same technology as ChatGTP. GetResponse claims it cuts the time it takes to build emails by 85%.

GetResponse AI email generator for email marketing

The email marketing tools come with GetResponse’s cheapest plan. Then there’s the other side. The next tier-up unlocks a broader suite of marketing automation tools. Things like automated list segmentation and sales funnels. You can also create and promote webinars. The top tier is all about ecommerce marketing. 

This step-by-step progression is ideal for growing businesses. You might want to start small with email marketing. But long term you see yourself running a busy and successful ecommerce operation. GetResponse grows with you.

GetResponse Pros

  • Quality email templates
  • User-friendly email builder and campaign tools
  • AI email content writer
  • Advanced automations, webinars and ecommerce tools on higher tiers
  • Live chat widget for your website

GetResponse Cons

  • Limited automation on the cheapest tier

GetResponse pricing starts at $11.2 per month if you pay for 2 years upfront. You get 1000 contacts and unlimited emails. There’s the free plan which gives you 500 contacts and 2,500 emails a month.

or find out more about GetResponse

ActiveCampaign – Best for Email Marketing Automation

ActiveCampaign email marketing service home page

ActiveCampaign is another platform that offers marketing services well beyond email. It has a full set of sales and CRM tools. But what makes ActiveCampaign stand out is its marketing automation.

ActiveCampaign’s automation features hit a sweet spot between sophistication and ease of use. Perfect for small businesses trying to run advanced automation. It has hundreds of automation templates or ‘recipes’ to choose from. These are great starting points. They can be fully customised in a user-friendly workflow editor.

ActiveCampaign email marketing automation templates

ActiveCampaign also has site tracking to trigger the next steps based on user behaviour. You can set different emails to send when someone visits a product page x number of times. Steps are also conditional, so you can send different messages based on the recipients’ actions.

Similarly, ActiveCampaign’s email builder supports conditional formatting. This means you can personalise emails so different content appears to different people.

ActiveCampaign is great for ecommerce. It links directly to major web store platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. It will also handle all your transactional emails, like receipts and shipping confirmations. It has high bulk-sending limits and excellent deliverability rates.

ActiveCampaign Pros

  • Advanced automation with 800+ workflow templates
  • Flexible personalisation
  • 900+ integrations, including ecommerce platforms
  • Transactional emails
  • High deliverability rates

ActiveCampaign Cons

  • Pricey for simple newsletters

ActiveCampaign’s pricing starts at $29 a month for 500 contacts and unlimited emails. Get the 14-day free trial to test the platform.

or find out more about ActiveCampaign

Mailchimp – Best for Email Marketing with Ads

Mailchimp email marketing service home page

For small businesses, Mailchimp offers decent email marketing. You can build a website, run a small online store, send email campaigns, and create ads. 

It comes with 100+ email templates and a straightforward drag-and-drop editor. But the some of the email templates are pretty basic or outdated. Its automation tools leave some to be desired.

The auto-segmentation tool is a nice touch. it picks out the best contacts for each campaign. The send time optimiser sends when your contacts are most active in their email accounts.

A Content Optimiser tool rates your emails for impact in the inbox.

Mailchimp email marketing integrations

Mailchimp has 300+ third-party integrations with tools like Canva, Zendesk, Shopify, Typeform, and EZ Texting.

Mailchimp Pros

  • Automation tools
  • Auto-segmentation
  • AI Creative Assistant for making branded templates
  • Content Optimiser
  • 300+ integrations

Mailchimp Cons

  • Contacts count towards your limits more than once if they appear in more than one list.

Mailchimp plans start at $13 a month for 500 contacts and 5,000 emails. There are sending and contact limits on all tiers, and limits on how many lists you can have on lower tiers. 

Read our guide about what is Mailchimp to learn more

HubSpot – Best all-in-one CRM with email

HubSpot email marketing service home page

HubSpot is a good all-in-one CRM with marketing, sales, and service tools. It also has a CMS and a data syncing tool.

It aims to cater to businesses of all sizes but its products are better for enterprises. Hubspot has a good set of free tools covering its whole product suite. Find out more about the whole platform in this full Hubspot review.

This includes a free email marketing service. You can send 2,000 emails a month for free. Other tools like sign-up forms and automations are limited.

Other free features include:

  • SEO and advertising
  • Facebook Messenger integration
  • Blogging
  • Team collaboration
  • Prospect tracking deal pipelines
  • Web page building
  • Live chat
HubSpot getting started with email marketing

You can scale all of these services up on paid plans, but it gets expensive for advanced features. This leaves many people looking for Hubspot alternatives. There’s a lot to navigate your way around. But when you sign up, HubSpot asks you what your aims are and suggests tools to get started with. It’s designed to be user-friendly. But it’s just such a big platform. There always seem to be lots of steps before you can do anything. 

HubSpot Pros

  • Huge range of free tools
  • All-in-one CRM suite
  • Lots of on-platform support
  • Scalable right up to enterprise level

HubSpot Cons

  • Emails are not mobile responsive on the Free and Starter tiers

Price-wise, the Marketing Starter plan starts at $18 a month for 1000 contacts and 5000 emails. This unlocks extra features you don’t get with the free tools, such as pre-designed email templates. CRM and other products are paid for separately. You can build custom bundles to mix and match.

or learn more about HubSpot

Brevo – Best for Free Email Marketing

Brevo email marketing home page

Brevo is a quality email marketing platform for small businesses. Like HubSpot, its biggest strength is how much it lets you do for free. And not just email marketing. CRM and sales pipelines are included. As are transactional emails and an AI chat widget for your website. 

Its free email marketing service is perfect for start-ups. For one, it’s very generous with its limitations. You can have as many contacts as you want. So with Brevo, you can scale your list from zero to any size you like, without paying.

There is an email-sending limit of 300 per day in the free plan. That works out at more than 9000 a month. This compares well to free plans from rival email marketing services.

As an email marketing tool, Brevo is excellent. Its slick, up-to-date drag-and-drop email builder is both easy to use and flexible. It’s especially good for customising layouts. You can also import your own branding to apply to every email.

Brevo’s automation options are solid. It comes with a good choice of pre-made workflow templates. And its automation builder is user-friendly. Brevo also supports SMS and WhatsApp. So you can automate multi-channel campaigns to contact people in different ways.

Brevo email marketing campaign options

Brevo Pros

  • Generous Free plan with unlimited contacts
  • Flexible drag-and-drop builder and custom campaign branding
  • Multi-channel campaigns including SMS and WhatsApp
  • Transactional emails
  • CRM and sales pipelines

Brevo Cons

  • Fewer email templates than some other services

Brevo pricing starts at $25 a month. Again, you get unlimited contacts. And you can send 20k emails.

Moosend – Best for Small Business Ecommerce

Moosend email marketing service home page

Lots of email marketing software makes a point of catering to ecommerce businesses. But most target bigger online retailers. 

Moosend is very much aimed at the smaller digital store. It’s great value, with just a single low-cost price plan. It’s built for simplicity, with one of the most user-friendly interfaces around. Perfect for email marketing newcomers.

And no, Moosend doesn’t come with the option to build advanced sales pipelines. But for its price point, it has an impressive set of features. 

You can connect your web store and drop product listings into emails. So you can sell direct through email marketing campaigns. Better still, Moosend comes with advanced tracking tools. These collect data on how contacts behave in your store. It uses this data to make AI-powered product recommendations.

Campaign tracking also powers its excellent automation options. It means you can trigger emails based on contact behaviour, like clicking on a link. And ‘yes/no’ conditional logic means you can send a message even if they don’t click. That doubles your opportunities to reach out to people. 

You can also add conditional content blocks to emails. Which means you can personalise messages with different content for different people.

Moosend marketing automation workflow editor

If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry. Moosend even manages to make advanced automation simple. It has a great choice of automation templates or ‘recipes’ to get you started. And its workflow editor is just as user-friendly as its email builder.

Moosend Pros

  • Sell directly from emails
  • AI-powered product recommendations
  • Campaign tracking and data-driven automations
  • Simple, consistent user interface
  • Great value

Moosend Cons

  • No ‘free forever’ plan

Moosend pricing starts at $9 a month for 500 contacts. There is no limit on email sending. There is no free plan, but you get a 30-day free trial.

or read our full Moosend review

Constant Contact – Best for Easy Email Design

Constant Contact email marketing service home page

Constant Contact is big on creativity. You can use it to create quality HTML emails. Automated campaign sequences. a landing page builder. Sign-up forms. Social media posts and adverts. Polls and surveys. You can even create and plan for social and event marketing.

For a start, it has more than 200 email templates to choose from. Some of them are outdated, but you can find one that works for your business. The drag-and-drop editor is very easy to use. It has a good choice of content blocks and layout options.

Constant Contact also helps you write your emails. Type a few keywords into its AI content creator, and it will generate suggested text.

Constant Contact marketing campaigns

You can reach out to contacts via SMS and social media, too. And you can automate campaigns including all three communication channels. Automation in Constant Contact is built around straightforward scheduling and drip campaigns. But there’s a good selection of workflow templates.

You can connect your ecommerce store to promote products. And Constant Contact has a standalone CRM platform with more advanced sales tools. Although it’s expensive for small business budgets.

Constant Contact Pros

  • 200+ professional quality email templates
  • AI-powered content creator
  • Flexible and user-friendly editor
  • Multichannel campaign automation
  • Social and event marketing

Constant Contact Cons

  • Limited free trial

Pricing starts at $12 a month for 500 contacts and 6000 emails. There is no free plan, but you can try it out for 60 days. Although you can only send a maximum of 100 emails.

Benchmark – Best for Budget Email Marketing

Benchmark email marketing service home page

Benchmark is a great introduction to email marketing services. Email marketing is its sole focus. You don’t have to try to find your way through long lists of other tools and features. It’s also one of the cheapest email marketing platforms out there.

Benchmark email templates

There are more than 200 templates to choose from. The email templates are easy to customise in the standard drag-and-drop editor. You don’t get too much flexibility to play around with layouts. Don’t expect an editing experience like in the best drag-and-drop email template builders. But there are lots of prompts to explain what all the tools do. 

There’s also a Smart Content tool which uses AI to automatically generate text. And one of Benchmark’s best features is an Inbox Checker. This tests how your emails will look in people’s inboxes.

Benchmark lets you create sign-up forms and landing pages to grow your lists. You can also make surveys and polls to generate a little more interest among your audience. Segmentation is simple and it comes with strong list cleaning tools to stop you from sending to unused or fake email addresses.

Automation options include behaviour-based triggers and conditional rules. The workflow editor is extremely straightforward. And there is a choice of workflow templates to get you started.

Benchmark marketing automation template

Benchmark Pros

  • Cheap to get started with
  • Very user-friendly
  • 200+ email templates
  • AI text generation
  • Strong list cleaning and anti-spam measures

Benchmark Cons

  • Some features are basic

One of Benchmark’s stand-out attractions is how cheap it is. Paid plans start at just $8 a month for 500 contacts and 3,500 emails. The Pro plan starts at $13 with full access to all features, including Automation Pro. There is a Free plan that also lets you have 500 contacts and send 3,500 emails a month.

Which email marketing service to pick for your small business?

Every small business is different. So it’s a great thing that there are so many email marketing platforms out there. There’s something for everyone.

Sure, small businesses often share common needs and concerns. But when it comes to choosing the best email marketing software, focus on what makes you unique.

Are you a brand new start-up or microbusiness operating on a tight budget? Try Mailerlite, Brevo, Moosend, and Benchmark. Email marketing is effective even when you keep things simple. Are you a growing business with increasing subscriber and customer numbers? Go for GetResponse or ActiveCampaign.

Whatever you’re looking for, one final tip. Make the most of free plans and free trials to test out different options. It will help find the best email marketing service for your business. And it doesn’t cost anything.

If you’re looking for a service to only send emails, check out our review of the best free SMTP servers.

Email Marketing Services for Small Businesses FAQ

The best email marketing services for small businesses are Mailerlite, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, Brevo, Moosend, and Benchmark. They share certain things in common. They are affordable and user-friendly. They all come with a drag-and-drop email editor and pre-made templates. Sign-up forms to grow your audience. Segmentation and automation.

If you’re on a tight budget, go for  Mailerlite, Brevo, Moosend, and Benchmark. And if you’re looking for a platform with advanced automation, try GetResponse or ActiveCampaign.

Yes, email marketing is good for small businesses. Email is a cheap, easy and accessible marketing channel. With simple tools like sign-up forms and no-code HTML builders, you can quickly build an audience. And create great-looking email campaigns that raise your profile and have people visiting your website.

The stats back up how effective email marketing is. For every $1 spent, the ROI is $36. If you’d like to start email marketing you need an easy-to-use email tool. The best are Mailerlite, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, Brevo, Moosend, and Benchmark.

The best way to do email marketing for a small business is to sign up with an email marketing platform. The best email marketing software for small businesses provides all the tools you need. It covers the entire email marketing process, from finding subscribers to analysing campaigns. Above all, email marketing tools are designed to make tasks easy. Like drag-and-drop builders that let you HTML emails without code. And automation workflows so you don’t have to hit send on every email.

The best email marketing software for small businesses are Mailerlite, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, Brevo, Moosend, and Benchmark.

Email marketing costs between $7 and $25 a month for a small business with 500-1000 contacts. This is for standard features that will suit most small businesses. You pay more as you want to send more emails and/or grow your subscriber lists.

You can find an email marketing platform that is free to use. Free plans tend to come with limited features. And have tighter restrictions on email sending and subscriber numbers. The best free email marketing software are MailerLite, Brevo, and GetResponse.

Mor Mester

Mor Mester is the Head of Content Marketing at EmailVendorSelection. He lives and breathes email marketing and marketing automation. After work, you can find him riding his bike or playing basketball.