Especially if you’re starting out with email marketing, it’s hard to justify paying a bunch of money for something that you are unsure will pay off. After all, there are a lot of competing email marketing products out there, and each of them has different features. What works for one company or content creator might not work for another. In addition, small companies and beginner content creators don’t have a lot of money. In this article, I’ll look at some free email marketing services that can help deliver results without a significant financial investment.
Why Use a Free Email Marketing Service?
Before we dive into the best free email marketing services that are available, let’s talk about why you should try using one. While I generally advise against overusing free services due to their limited features, they have an important role in building your overall tech stack. Here are the reasons to use a free service.
- It’s free! (duh!) That means no outlay of money besides email creation and staff time.
- Helps you test out an email marketing service. For this reason, you’ll be sure that the service is your best choice when it’s time to buy.
- Can use to test out new email marketing ideas. Some email marketing services work on different principles than others, even though they all send out email. If you want to try a new approach before you commit to it, then free is the way to go.
- Always helpful in doing an audit of your email marketing solution as costs can add up. Over time, many brands need to shift email marketing strategies. Or, they might find that their original email marketing service doesn’t work well for them anymore. Using a free version of paid services helps find out if a change is in order.
What to Look for in Free Email Marketing Services?
Of course, even the best free email marketing services have different features and give you different things at the introductory “price.” For that reason, it’s important to know the differences between each email service, paid or not. Here are the things to consider.
- At what point does it become paid? The main “triggers” for needing a paid plan include extra features, a certain number of email subscribers or emails per week, and time-based free trials.
- Once it is paid, how inexpensive or expensive is it? Most of these email services charge each month, with pricing based on the number of subscribers/emails per month, or on features.
- What features do free users get compared to paid users? This varies widely between free email marketing services. Make sure that your freebies are worth your time, and that they’re minimally adequate.
- Does their paid plan give you all of the features you will need from them in the future, such as CRM integration? While we often can’t predict “long term” needs, we generally know what’s adequate in the short and medium term. In addition, if there are changes that you plan to make soon, make sure the new email service would be able to support it.
The 15 Best Free Email Marketing Services
Now, let’s look at the best free email marketing services. Some of these are “always free,” while others have various “free versions” or trials. Not all email marketing tools have a free option, so I have a more comprehensive listing of these services on my blog. However, the discussion of each of these tools will include what you get for free. I’ll also give the least expensive price you can pay when it quits being free.
ConvertKit is the email marketing service I use, so it deserves to be first to be mentioned. With the rich functionality I was actually surprised to learn that they have a free tier.
With ConvertKit, you can only get it free for up to 300 subscribers, and there are also limited features. These include landing pages and forms, unlimited email blasts to those subscribers, community support, and the ability to sell digital products and services. You get a landing pages, link pages, and sales pages. You can incentivize opt-ins, sell products and subscriptions, and access the creator community. Paid starts at $9 per month, including more features.
SendInBlue is more than just an email marketing service, because they include some limited text messaging and chat features, too. Free users get 300 emails a day with unlimited contacts, the ability to chat with one person at the same time, segmentation, signup forms, CRM, basic reporting, basic integrations, and compliance. Paid plans start at $25 per month.
MailerLite has free and paid plans, with the option to try paid free for 14 days. Free features include all the email marketing basics, such as segmentations, signup forms, and compliance. Built-in text and graphics editors are included, mobile-friendly newsletter support, landing pages, segmentation, automation, campaign analytics, and surveys are all free. Finally, you get some website tools in the free version. Premium accounts have extra features, and are paid based on subscriber level with a $25/month minimum.
Mailchimp is one of the free email marketing services that can stay free, so long as you stay under 2,000 subscribers. However, it’s an item that easily Free members get basic email automations without segmentation, basic signup forms and CRM, landing pages and social media posting, and simple branding tools like email templates and a content studio. Paid plans start at $11 per month, assuming 500 users.
With Moosend, you get a very thorough email marketing service without the non-email items, which means you’d need other items in your tech stack. However, with Moosend’s free 30 day trial, you get almost all the features of the “pro” plan. The main exceptions to this are that you get little support, and you won’t get many of the backend features that Moosend has to set up individually for clients. In addition, you won’t get transactional emails and only get one user seat. Paid plans start at $9 per month.
Mailjet provides limited feature, free email marketing services. You get unlimited email contacts, 200 emails per day, and 6,000 emails per month. In addition, they’ll give you an email editor, basic analytics, and some basic back-end features like an API and STMP relay. Paid plans start at $15 per month.
With Benchmark Email, you get their basic email marketing features, in a stripped-down version, for free. You’ll get 250 monthly emails, all their email composition and design features, basic drip campaigns, signup forms and surveys, all reporting features, all integrations, and limited image storage. When you need to send more emails, you can get more features and unlimited emails for a price based on your number of subscribers ($13 per month minimum.)
If you need free email marketing services, like, free forever, check out HubSpot. This is a marketing company that sells groups of services in “hubs,” but they’ve made their email marketing tool completely free. It includes all the basics that you’d expect, plus complete reporting, CRM support, advertising and Facebook bot support, list segmentation, retargeting, mobile app, and much more. You can use it with their paid hubs, with your existing email addresses, and even some third-party apps.
This one’s an email marketing service, and not much else. Their free plan lets you have 500 subscribers and send 15,000 emails per month. It includes all the basics you’d expect in an email client, but you can’t save segmentation settings and have very limited data storage capabilities. You’ll also get fewer sender addresses and no A/B testing. Paid plans start at $6.40 per month.
Check this on out if you want to send SMS or push notifications. For free, you get 500 emails per month, SMS, push notifications, automations, ecommerce workflows, their complete list of campaign features, segmentation, cookie tracking for a month, web forms and a content editor that are identical to paid, and basic reporting. Paid from $16 per month.
Here’s another one of the free email marketing services that you may never need to pay for. If you never have more than 2500 subscribers, you get all the features except for reduced support, the inclusion of their branding, and the ability to get long term reports. Then, you can buy a pro plan that includes the remaining items I’ve mentioned and is priced based on the number of subscribers. A true opportunity to test drive the whole tool. Paid from $24 per month.
Zoho provides free marketing emails, but their transactional email service is separate, and you must pay for it. As for the marketing (campaigns) service, you get a limited number of emails and contacts, basic design features, calendar and reporting, signup forms, compliance, email authentication, e-commerce features, full customer support, developer API, and all integrations. Paid pricing isn’t listed, but it has a lot more features.
Sender lets you have a free forever limited-feature plan. You’re also limited to 2500 subscribers and 15,000 emails monthly. Features are limited, but include the basics like full analytics, Spam prevention, automation that includes segmentation, most email content features, all web forms features, chat support, and integrations. Paid from $15 per month.
Aweber also offers a limited, free-forever plan with a 500 subscriber and 3,000 monthly email limit. You’ll get most of the standard email composition tools, plus an image library. You’ll get all the landing page features, except that there’s branding on the free version. Build your subscribers through a WordPress integration and web form. Basic reporting and limited segmentation are also included. As for account management, you’ll get unlimited users, full analytics, and all ecommerce tools. Paid plan pricing is unavailable.
With GetResponse, you get very limited free email marketing services. Your list is limited to 500 contacts, and you only get the most basic email design tools. In addition, you’ll get basic security and compliance features, along with some SEO features. Landing pages are limited to 1000 visitors, and you don’t get any autoresponders or segmentation. Support is limited, but you do get automatic import and export of contacts. Finally, free users get popups and signup forms to grow their email list. By contrast, paid plans have significantly more features, depending on the level of service you select. Paid starts at $12.30 per month.
As you can see, there are plenty of free email marketing services out there. However, they vary widely in terms of what features you get for free, the number of subscribers or emails you’re allowed, and the time you’re allowed a free account. Fortunately, in most cases, the freebies are enough to decide if you like the email service or not. Alternately, the free email lets you try out a larger suite of marketing tools, where you’ll have (paid) room for growth.
Looking for more help with your email marketing? Check out these resources of mine:
- The 19 Best Email Marketing Software Tools to Consider Investing in Today
- 15 Amazing Benefits of Email Marketing No One Ever Taught You
- How Much Does Email Marketing REALLY Cost? The 7 Components of Email Marketing Cost
- The Top 38 Compelling Email Marketing Statistics for 2022
- How to Grow Your Email List: 10 Best Practices to Follow
Hero photo by Christina on Unsplash