The Top 5 Best Email Marketing Services, Software & Platforms For Small Business in 2021

Updated On: November 20th, 2020    By: 

Let's talk about email for a moment.

You will agree with me that there are tons of email marketing services you can choose from for any specific type of business.

Email marketing software happens to be one of those marketing channels that give you the highest return of investment (aka ROI) among other marketing channels, to the ton of $38 for every $1 spent - according to HostPapa.

In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message.

And Radical Group in a recent report states that, with over 6.32 billion email accounts already in existence, this figure is predicted to reach up to 7.71 billion by the end of 2021 which is a cumulative growth of more than 22%.

In fact, Gmail alone, a dominant online email service boasts of over 1.5 billion global active users, and all these could be potential customers for your business or services.

Another interesting fact is that 72% of consumers say that email is their favored channel of communication with companies they do business with, while 61% of these people state that they like to receive promotional emails weekly and 28% opting in for more frequent email.

This is a clear indication that email marketing is very much alive and kicking today than ever before. The numbers don’t lie. Email is STILL the best when it comes to getting customers in 2021.

Think about it…

What does Amazon & Facebook ask you for the first time you try to sign up or log-in?

Now, think Netflix, eBay, Twitter, PayPal…

What do they ask for when you log-in or sign up?

If you guessed email, you are correct! :)

That’s why every Fortune 500 brand you know relies on email marketing...

BECAUSE IT WORKS!

If email marketing is that effective, how then do you get started?

In this article, we are going to share our take on the best email marketing services, software, and platforms for small businesses in 2021.

These are our top pick for the best email marketing services for any small businesses. And today, you'll find out which email software and platform delivers the best tool for your marketing solutions today


Most of these email marketing services have uniquely key features, striking similarities, notable price points, and various different elements that set them apart from each other.

While they all seem somewhat similar in what they can do, in reality, most of these tools are great, you only need to find the best match for you.

For example, if you are sales-driven and need an email service that takes care of your email deliverability and has potent marketing automation with a built-in CRM, plus an endless list customization capability, ActiveCampaign is a great choice.

But if you are a blogger, ConvertKit will work best for you as it can allow you to send a text-based welcome email to your blog audience, plus a well-polished user interface for your appreciation.

On the other hand, if you are looking for an email marketing service provider with a wide range of template, some (basic) marketing automation functionality, and a landing page builder, you can try out AWeber.

In this guide, we've done all the hard work for you.

We've researched and ranked the best email marketing service providers for small businesses to help you pick the best one for you, and save the most money.

You'll learn how each of these top email marketing platforms works, the pros and cons, and how to get the best of your marketing campaigns.

Lets get started

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links that we receive a small commission for at no cost to you. This means that if you click on a link in a post, and subsequently buy a product, we may receive a commission.

However, these are merely the tools I fully recommend when it comes to the best email marketing services, software, and platforms for small businesses. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy in the footer.

Having said that, can we take a look at the best email marketing services, software & platforms for small business in 2021?

What Is The Best Email Marketing Software?

There are a few notable points you need to put into consideration before awarding any platform as the best email marketing software.

You put into consideration the price point, its reliability, technical support, availability of templates, ease of use, automation, integration, and most important of all, deliverability - the ability to go straight into the inbox.

Plus any additional feature you need for your special type of business.

As stated above, in the things I look for when choosing an email service, the best email marketing software should give you the ability to segment your list, personalize your messaging, and be able to view the analytics and performances of your email campaigns.

As if this is not enough, your best email marketing software should be able to boast of significant deliverability rate i.e. the ability to reach your audience primary inboxes.

In my own view, the deliverability rate of an email is one of the single most important metric a true email marketing company can pride itself on.

Because, it is only when an email reaches your audience inboxes, that is when such email can be read, avoiding the spam folder.

At the end of the day, email marketing is all about sending the right message to the right user at the right time using the right platform.

In light of this, here is our top pick for the best email marketing services, software and platforms to try for your small business this year.


#1. ActiveCampaign - The Best Email Marketing Automation Champ

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With the main goal to help you send fewer emails with a much better result, ActiveCampaign clearly focuses on automation, and with respect to that, no other email marketing system comes closer to ActiveCampaign automation capabilities.

ActiveCampaign is the Rolls Royce of email marketing and has a lot of smart features and functionality, and will definitely satisfy even the most demanding users.

ActiveCampaign is one of the best email marketing platforms out there and my top recommendation for individuals and small businesses looking to get into the email marketing game.

This is one of the best email marketing platforms for small businesses largely because of its high deliverability rate which ensures that your emails hit right to the inboxes of your audience whenever you hit the send button.

Emails sent with ActiveCampaign are the least likely to be marked as spam and has the highest chance of hitting straight into the primary inbox of your email subscribers.

It also qualifies as the best email marketing software for smart marketers largely because of its automation capabilities with are unmatched among its rivals, giving you total flexibility to automate virtually everything based on your website visitor's behavior.

As the best email automation software out there, ActiveCampaign started out in 2003 as a simple email marketing service that allows its users to simply stay in touch with their audience.

But today, this simple email marketing tool has grown over the years to be a strong figure in the field of business email marketing software, and one of the best email platforms you can bank on.

Having the best combination of features and values an email platform can offer its users.

As a sales CRM with potent automation capabilities, with ActiveCampaign, you’ll also be able to run split tests, send dynamic content, and segment your subscribers for enhanced personalization with endless customization.

This best email marketing software also has two interesting features otherwise known as the Split-testing and the Attribution feature.

The Split-testing feature of ActiveCampaign allows you to test your campaign against dozens of notable variables that will enable you to pinpoint the winners in your marketing efforts.

And the Attribution feature allows you to easily find those marketing channels that are bringing in the highest number of conversion thus, generating more revenue while streamlining your overall marketing efforts.

ActiveCampaign is an email marketing solution for the power users who need absolute control over their automation and small businesses have a whole lot to gain by turning their email communication into flexible sales channels by using ActiveCampaign.

It will also interest you to know that ActiveCampaign integrates with more than 250 apps like Shopify, WooCommerce, Facebook, Zapier, Unbounce, Stripe, and PayPal. With reasonable pricing and an excellent support system.

Email workflows are powerful and very easy to manage as all of your data synchronizes with their built-in CRM giving your sales teams an advanced lead scoring functionality.

Its lead scoring system is totally flexible, robust, and as a way to award points to individual email subscribers based on certain actions of your choice.

When these subscribers hit a point threshold, you can then move them into a new automation sequence or have them directed contacted by your sales team, fully aware they are the right audience for the right action.

It's a good way for larger companies and businesses to use in nurturing their leads in a more personalized way possible and this feature can be activated with the ActiveCampaign’s Plus Plan at JUST $49/month, which is their most popular option.

You can also set up campaigns and improve your customer database with geo-tracking, site behavior tracking, custom data, and link actions.

And ActiveCampaign also sends you reports showing which content is generating the most conversions and revenue.

In fact, when it comes to reporting, this email marketing software can generate as many reports as you could ever want to help you make an informed decision whenever you need.

With all these features and possibilities packed inside of ActiveCampaign, you might expect this best email marketing service to cost an arm and a leg. But it will surprise that ActiveCampaign pricing is actually very friendly and reasonable.

Their paid plans starts at only $9/month, and this comes with a 14-days free trial to able you test these software and you can cancel free of charge your trial ends if you ever need to.

For $9/month, this plan also gives you the ability to add up to 3 users, up to 500 subscribers, and the ability to send unlimited emails.

They also have advanced reporting tools, with geo-tracking, click maps, website visitors, sign-up forms, and more valuable data. Plus a 20% discount for non-profits.

As your business grows, ActiveCampaign can move you up to the Plus plan and above which adds features like its CRM, sales pipeline, predictive sending, e-commerce deep data integration, etc.

Overall, ActiveCampaign is the best email marketing system for both small and large businesses especially if you’re looking for advanced CRM, lead scoring, and high deliverability rates.

If you’re currently using another CRM or email software, ActiveCampaign will also give you a free migration from any platform.

I highly suggest that you get started for free to check out their dashboard and features. Then whenever you’re ready to unleash its full potential, you unlock either their Lite Plan ($9/mo) or Plus Plan ($49/mo) based on the size of your email list. Make sure to save between 30-40% when you pay yearly.


#2. Convertkit - Best Email Marketing Platform FOR Bloggers

ConvertKit is gradually becoming one of the fastest-growing email marketing services out there for both bloggers and content creator, and this for good reason.

This email marketing platform is built by creator and specifically for creators as they fully understand their client's needs and knows exactly what it takes for a creator of any kind to create and grow an online following.

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This best email marketing software has tons of options for creating automation workflows for any email campaign.

They pride themselves in providing their users with attractive form design templates that can help you increase your conversion rates on automated emails and also help organize your subscribers to maximum engagement using their platforms.

ConvertKit, as an email marketing platform, was built to be a tag-based email software and this has allowed it to offer a ton of easy ways to segment your leads, both in sending out emails and in it automation flows.

It also includes some interesting features like its conditional email content and auto resend broadcast to unopens, both of which are aimed at helping you increase your email marketing ROIs.

Instead of having multiple lists of contacts, ConvertKit groups all of your subscribers into one list. But you’ll still be able to tag them manually, or with auto tags based on their behavior to improve the personalization of your campaigns.

One of ConvertKit’s unique features is that it allows you to easily offer content upgrades to your readers and offer incentives with email signup forms.

It also comes with easy to manage auto-responders allowing you to send drip emails from their emailing service.

With ConvertKit, you can also segment your subscribers into people who are STILL interested in what you offer or promote and those who have ALREADY made a purchased.

This helps you increase conversions with automated emails that feel more personal.

In marketing terms, this is called targeted email marketing.

Additionally, they offer advanced email sequences based on both site actions and actions within emails and these advanced triggers make for some excellent list segmentation options:

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Image: Source

ConvertKit is also one of my favorite and best email marketing services because it's perfectly suited for creators selling physical products as the platform focuses more on building flexible integrations with landing pages, eCommerce platforms, and membership sites.

If you ever want to build automated email funnels at an affordable price, ConvertKit will surely do a good job for you.

In order to set up an automated email, you’ll be guided through a very simple visual flow chart. It visual automation tool makes email marketing extremely simple for creators of all kind.

Because with your email flows mapped on the screen, you'll be able to pinpoint where your subscribers are in your funnel, and can fully understand how they act.

best-email-marketing-services-for-bloggers-ConvertKit

With over 70+ integration possibilities, customizable form builder, custom reporting, 12hrs email, and live chat availability per day, plus other benefits, this is definitely a top option to consider.

If you are switching over to ConvertKit with a list of more than 5,000 subscribers, you’ll benefit from their free concierge migration service. You can save some money and get two months for free if you sign up for an annual plan.

In the bulk email service space, Convertkit is definitely the creator's toolkit and these comprised of eCommerce owners, Vloggers, YouTubers, Bloggers, Authors, among others.

And ConvertKit is best suited for Individuals or small-teams of digital marketers with a budget who are only looking to send plain text emails and newsletters.

Good enough for small companies that don't need complex email marketing workflows like ActiveCampaign.

Lots of features offered by ConvertKit are specifically designed for creators and professional bloggers in mind, that’s why it's rated as the best email marketing service for creators of all kinds.

ConvertKit is extremely easy to use, very powerful, and one of the best email marketing tools you can rely on. - my top choice for bloggers.

Unlike most email marketing services, ConvertKit now comes with a free plan which focuses more on the landing page of things.

It might sound confusing but the free plan of the ConvertKit email marketing software allows for Unlimited landing pages & form creation, Unlimited traffic, Customizable domain, ability to send email broadcasts, subscriber tagging, and managing up to 1,000 subscribers.

But the meat of this email campaign software starts at $29/month with the bulk of features and possibilities in its paid plans and comes with a 14-day free trial.

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All of these packages come with unlimited everything– email sends, landing pages, email courses plus and others – and you only pay extra for growing in subscribers.


#3. AWeber - Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses

Being the oldest in the list of email marketing service providers, AWeber has been around for more than 20 years.

And during these periods, they’ve been efficient in providing email marketing software to more than one million entrepreneurs and small businesses alike.

Aweber-email marketing

AWeber is a traditional email marketing service that’s reliable and very affordable. A list-based email service provider that offers a wide range of tools for small and medium-sized businesses to help with managing their email marketing.

I love AWeber because it's simple and straightforward.

They don't overwhelm you with tons of features with price points, rather, their pricing is based solely on the number of subscribers you have on your list.

So whether you have 50 contacts or 50,000 contacts on your list, you are gaining access to the same features at any price level. All price plan offers the same features.

AWeber-email marketing services

Unlike other email marketing websites on the market, AWeber offers all of its features with every plan—even the advanced tools.

This means you don’t need to worry about missing out on features you want to explore.

Not only is it limited to that, but AWeber also offers a limited free plan for up to 500 subscribers with no time restriction. After that, their pricing starts from $19/month. 

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You can also save more by signing up for their quarterly or annual plans.

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Another reason to love AWeber is that they offer outstanding customer support. With high-quality email and phone support, helpful support articles, and videos, AWeber is best suited for small businesses, the best email platform for small businesses.

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Image: Source

The email marketing service can be reached 24/7 via email and live chat support. And they also have phone support available during business hours on weekdays.

Overall, Aweber is a perfect choice for a small business owner and an excellent email marketing provider for affiliate marketing.


#4. GetResponse – The "all-in-one" Solution for Automated Lead Generation

GetResponse is an all-in-one online marketing platform that you can easily use to grow your new or existing business. They offer varieties of tools that can help anyone grow their business online.

Their email marketing tool, high-converting landing pages, and webinar software are a few of the tools you get access to in order to help in your overall marketing efforts.

How does the idea of having a landing page editor and the ability to create webinars right inside your email marketing tool sounds?

That's the power of the GetResponse Autofunnels.

The GetResponse Autofunnel is a tool with over 30+ ready-made landing pages, email templates, and sequences to help you generate more sales. And the beauty of it is that you can choose your end goals.

Whether your goal is to drive more lead through effective lead generation techniques, generate more product sales, or gain more webinar registrations, the GetResponse Autofunnel will help you achieve your intended goal.

They’re well optimized to nurture your email list and help maximize your funnel’s conversion rates with their "predefined scenarios".

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With these predefined scenarios, GetResponse has what is known as the Conversion Funnel Feature. With conversion funnels, you can create a working sales strategy in a couple of minutes.

First, create an awesome looking landing page optimized to target new audiences.

Next, use web forms, landing pages, and exit pop-ups to get people to sign up for your emails and watch your list grow, convert these visitors to subscribers and leads, nurture them and turn them into raving fans.

And finally, build outstanding relationships and get them ready to buy from you with sales pages, payments and abandonment order automation.

Conversion funnels is a very unique and interesting feature of GetResponse, and this will do most of the heavy lifting for you. You Just fill in the blank.

We particularly love the Conversion Funnel, predefined scenarios, Autofunnel, ability to easily create landing pages, automation tools, responsive templates and the webinar feature that you find with GetResponse email marketing tool.

This makes it a solid option for marketers looking for a solid, versatile and an all-round tool with the latest features.

Overall, GetResponse is one of the best email marketing tools to create automated sales funnels and landing pages.

With its ready made campaign scenarios, templates, and an unbeatable price, GetResponse is the perfect marketing machine for your business.

You can get started with a 30-day risk-free trial and upgrade to their $15/month Basic Plan. And you also save between 18 and 30% with their annual options.


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