The 12 Best Free Email Marketing Apps

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay / February 13, 2015

You have a message to share with your friends and followers, and 140 characters won't cut it. You could start a blog—and maybe you already have—but you'd like a more personal way to contact everyone.

It's time to get a real email marketing tool—beyond Gmail's BCC field—and start sending out your messages professionally. You won't even need a budget to begin.

There are dozens of great email marketing software options, and many of them let you send emails to thousands of people. Here are the very best apps to start utilizing email marketing—for free.

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App Best for Free features
TinyLetter simple, free newsletters Unlimited emails to 5k people
Mad Mimi just the features you need 5 emails/month to 2.5k people
Campayn upgrading from basic email apps 10 emails/month to 2k people
Benchmark Email international support 7 emails/month to 2k people
MailChimp a suite of mobile apps 6 emails/month to 2k people
Sendloop automated email marketing 5 emails/month to 2k people
SendinBlue SMS and transactional email marketing ~4 emails/month to 2k people
Mailjet data-driven newsletters and transactional emails ~3 emails/month to 2k people
SendWithUs code-driven email marketing Unlimited emails to 1k people
VerticalResponse social media and email marketing 4 emails/month to 1k people
FreshMail advanced email templates 4 emails/month to 500 people
Sendicate simple, elegant emails 2 emails/month to 500 people
Django Drip self-hosted email marketing Unlimited emails

TinyLetter for simple, free newsletters

TinyLetter screenshot

TinyLetter's simplicity makes sending bulk emails effortless. It's an email service designed specifically for sending simple newsletters for free. You can make a form to let people sign up for your email, with a custom background for a bit of branding, but there are no templates or other advanced settings to tweak.

All that's left is a email editor that's on-par with Gmail's accessibility. Save a draft to edit later, or go ahead and send your thoughts out to your readers. TinyLetter is 100% free as long as you aren't emailing more than 5,000 people. And if your list grows too long, you can transfer your contacts directly to MailChimp—the company behind TinyLetter—and use a more robust set of features.

Free for: Sending unlimited emails to 5,000 people

Mad Mimi for only the features you need

Mad Mimi screenshot

For something with a more customization options—but without an overwhelming number of features—Mad Mimi has the next most generous free email newsletter plan. You'll find simple email templates with customizable color schemes, a straightforward interface, and an editor that lets you add a variety of content blocks to your emails.

There's a lot more, but you don't need to use it all. Instead of putting everything in your email app at once, Mad Mimi offers basic email by default, and then puts the extra features in an "Add Things" page. There, you can turn on web forms, RSS marketing, and more, so you'll get exactly the features you want in an email tool.

Free for: Sending up to 5 emails a month to 2,500 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Mad Mimi review.

Campayn to upgrade from your standard email app

Campayn screenshot

Perhaps you've already been sending out email updates, but have sent them from your standard email app by including everyone's email addresses in the BCC field. It's time to switch to an email marketing app, and Campayn makes the move painless by letting you import your contacts directly from Gmail or Yahoo! Mail.

Campayn is also quite easy to use, with a dashboard that shows your most recent emails, and an email designer that's simplified to help you make great looking emails with minimal work. You'll have to learn a bit, but you'll end up with beautiful emails.

Free for: Sending up to 10 emails a month to 2,000 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Campayn review.

Benchmark Email for international support

Benchmark Email screenshot

The world gets smaller every day, and even if you're just starting out your email newsletter you may have readers around the globe. Benchmark Email is an email marketing app that'll make sure your emails get read everywhere. You can pick from over a half-dozen languages for the app, and it'll translate your email footers and unsubscribe pages to the correct languages. It's even registered in China, so your emails will make their way through the Great Firewall.

Benchmark also offers the email features you'd expect, with easy-to-edit, color-driven templates and drag-and-drop sections for your messages. You can then confirm that your email will look great in everyone's inbox, with an Inbox Checker that'll show you exactly how your email will look in popular apps.

Free for: Sending up to 7 emails a month to 2,000 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Benchmark Email review.

MailChimp for a suite of mobile apps

MailChimp screenshot

You'll find mobile apps for many business web apps, but often they're limited. Many only show your email stats, or let you add people to your lists on the go. MailChimp, on the other hand, has an entire suite of mobile apps that make email marketing easier.

There's an app that turns a picture into an email newsletter, and an app that sends push notifications when your most important subscribers open your emails. Want to design emails, sign people up to lists, or add mobile-ready coupons to your emails and scan them at your store? There are apps for that, too. Oh, and of course there's also MailChimp itself, which is a pretty good app for sending emails on its own.

Free for: Sending up to 6 emails a month to 2,000 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our MailChimp review.

Sendloop for automated email marketing

Sendloop screenshot

Email newsletters can take a lot of time to write, and they'll only go out to the people who've already signed up for your list. Drip emails—automated messages that go out when people sign up to your lists, buy a product, or anything else—can solve that problem, but most email newsletter apps put drip emails in their paid plans. Not Sendloop: it lets you send drip emails right alongside newsletters for free.

You can create the emails you want, then send them out to your subscribers right away. Then, you can automate those messages, and have them sent to new people whenever they sign up to your list. Or, you can create scheduled messages for your most engaged readers, the people who never open your messages, or anyone else. And you'll know exactly how your efforts are going, with detailed stats on your dashboard.

Free for: Sending up to 5 emails a month to 2,000 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Sendloop review.

SendinBlue for newsletters, transactional emails, and SMS

Sendinblue screenshot

You take your communications seriously, and want to send all of your messages from one app. SendinBlue has what you need. It'll let you send email newsletters from its online editor, or from your own site and apps via the SendinBlue API. You can manage your contacts and sort them into specialized lists, then email everyone at once.

If you want to take your marketing mobile, SendinBlue also lets you send SMS messages once you purchase credits. You'll be able to send individual messages, or can schedule SMS campaigns to market to your customers automatically.

Free for: Sending up to 9,000 emails a month (or around 4 emails a month to 2,000 people)

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our SendinBlue review.

Mailjet for data-driven newsletters and transactional emails

Mailjet screenshot

Mailjet is another popular transactional email service that includes an online app for building your own email newsletters. You can manage your email lists, segment them into groups so everyone gets the emails they're most interested in, and send messages using pre-made templates, so you never need to touch a line of code.

Or, if you'd rather code your own emails, you can use Mailjet's API to send emails from your apps, and use its online tools to analyze each campaign's performance. It can even parse incoming emails, so you can have your app automatically notify you whenever anyone replies to your messages and more.

Free for: Sending up to 6,000 emails a month (or 3 emails a month to 2,000 people)

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Mailjet review.

Sendwithus for code-driven email marketing screenshot

The average email newsletter apps only offers so much flexibility. But building your own email tool with a transactional email service can be a headache. Sendwithus offers a happy medium: it's a code-driven email tool designed to integrate with your own app, but it also uses the transactional email service of your choice to send your messages.

You'll build your email templates and store them in Sendwithus. Then, you can organize your contact lists, integrate it with Amazon SES or other transactional services, and send emails directly with an API call from your own app. It's more technical to setup, but will give you the most flexibility short of building your own email tool.

Free for: Sending unlimited emails to 1,000 people, with the free tier on your transactional email service

Zapier support coming soon

VerticalResponse for social media and email

VerticalResponse screenshot

Email isn't the only place to share your stories and market your products. There's also the wide world of social networks where your readers may be paying more attention to than their inbox. VerticalResponse makes sure you're marketing to both places at the same time with its social network integration.

With the free plan, you can share your latest emails via Twitter and Facebook at the same time the messages are arriving in your readers' inboxes. Or, you can schedule your emails and social network messages to go out whenever you want, so you can plan in advance and not spend your entire day writing emails when you'd rather be doing something else.

Free for: Sending up to 4 emails a month to 1,000 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our VerticalResponse review.

FreshMail for advanced email templates

FreshMail screenshot

Almost every email newsletter tool lets you choose and customize an email template for your messages, but few offer the advanced options you'll find in FreshMail. Log in, and you'll see an email editor that looks more like Photoshop than any email app, with tools to customize every part of your message's design.

You can pick from a number of Google Fonts typefaces, then drag in content sections, buttons, media blocks and more. Then, you use FreshMail's email inspector to make sure your message will look great everywhere, and send off your beautiful emails—complete with personalized info for each person on your list.

Free for: Sending up to 4 emails a month to 500 people

Zapier support coming soon

Sendicate for simple, elegant emails

Sendicate screenshot

Plain text emails can be too plain, but so many standard email templates can also be too much. You want something that compliments your content, and is flexible enough to let you send the pictures and text you want to share. And perhaps you want something that's a very simple to use. Sendicate hits all of those buttons, and more.

It's a simple email newsletter app that's just slightly more complicated to use than TinyLetter. You'll add content sections to your emails, add in your own text and images, and pick from a handful of simple-yet-elegant themes to compliment your content. And if you can't finish your message right now, you can come back and wrap it up later, since all of your draft messages are shown with a snapshot preview on your email dashboard.

Free for: Sending up to 2 emails a month to 500 people

For a deeper look at features and pricing, see our Sendicate review.

Django Drip for self-hosted email marketing

Django Drip screenshot

There's a free, self-hosted app for sending emails, too: Django Drip. Built by our own development team at Zapier, Django Drip is designed to help you send drip emails, but it also works for sending out email newsletters, updates, and more.

You can host it on your own server for free, and then use other Django tools to send your messages via Amazon SES, Mandrill, Mailgun and other transactional services—if you're sending only a few thousand messages, you should be able to stay in the free tier. Sending emails to more readers is just a matter of paying for extra credits on your transactional email service.

Learn More About Email Marketing

email articles

Choosing a great app to send your emails is only a small part of the challenge. You still need to craft your messages, build your email lists, automate your email sending, and integrate your new email tool with the rest of your apps. It's a lot to do, especially if you're new to email marketing and would rather focus on the rest of your business.

That's why we used the Zapier blog to construct a crash-course on email marketing. Over the past few months, we gathered the best apps for each type of email marketing—newsletters, drip emails, and transactional messages. Plus, we pulled together tips on building email lists, segmenting those lists, testing your email copy, and saving your emails from the spam filter.

If you haven't read them already, these are the posts are your master class in email marketing:

Automate Your Email App

Or, if you'd rather jump right into using your new free email newsletter app, here are some quick Zapier integrations to help you automate your email marketing right from the start. You can use these to get started, then go to your Zapier dashboard to make more integrations—when you've got some free time, you can dig into these email marketing posts to improve your efforts.

Add Contacts to Your Email Lists

Odds are, you already have ways you're collecting email addresses today. Whether you have a landing page for your upcoming products, a contact form on your site, or a survey to find out your customers' preferences, you can gather email addresses from each of these places, and have Zapier automatically add them to your email newsletter lists.

Forms and survey apps are among the most popular ways to add contacts to your email lists automatically, but don't stop there. You can use business card scanning apps like FullContact to add contacts from their business cards, or make a spreadsheet that's automatically mirrored to your email list. All you need is an app that collects emails, your new email marketing app, and Zapier.

Parse Emails & Add Them to Your Lists

But then, all contacts don't come in so easily. Sometimes you'll have a new contact's email address embedded in an email's text, where it's not nearly as easy to extract.

Don't despair: Using Zapier's Email Parser—or other tools like Mailparser—you can teach an app how to recognize the email addresses and other important content in your emails. Then, just let Zapier automatically add them to your email lists. You'll never need to copy and paste an email address again.

Send Emails to Your Customers

Your customers are the best people to add to your email lists. You're certain they're interested in your company, since they bought your products, plus their contact info from the purchase—all that's left is to have them added to your email lists automatically.

Then, you can share your latest news with them, offer them special discounts to turn them into repeat customers, and perhaps send them tips on using your products. Or, you could even use Zapier to build an email referral system to reward your customers for sharing your messages.

Do More With Your Contacts

Email marketing is great, but it's not enough. You'll also want to invite your readers to events, add them to your CRM or spreadsheet to track your sales efforts, and more. You might even want a notification when someone new signs up, or a way to let your group know when a VIP joins your email lists. And, you might want to automatically send that VIP a LinkedIn invitation.

All that and more is possible with Zapier. Just connect the other apps you use to your email list, and you can create projects, send invoices, schedule events automatically whenever people join your lists.

Are you using another great email newsletter app for free, or do you have any tips and tricks for integrating these email apps into your workflow? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Mail picture courtesy Bogdan Suditu

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