Your content dropped in the search rankings thanks to a new Google update. Your paid ad costs are skyrocketing, your Facebook ads aren't generating leads like they used to, and you're worried Twitter might implode any day now.
No matter what, one thing is clear: when you don't own the channels where you reach customers, the ground can always shift beneath you. That's where email marketing shines.
The good news: there's an entire ecosystem of free email marketing tools available, and they have all the features you'll need to build out your email marketing (and then some).
We researched and tested dozens of free email marketing apps to find the best ones for a variety of use cases and business types. Here are the seven best free email newsletter services.
The best free email marketing apps
Mailchimp for a growing email marketing program
HubSpot for segmentation
MailerLite for advanced email marketers
Omnisend for eCommerce businesses
Sendinblue (now Brevo) for building automated workflows
Zoho Campaigns for the most affordable upgrade
Benchmark for free AI features
What makes the best free email marketing service?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
Full-featured email marketing apps and free ones are far from mutually exclusive. There are tons of options that offer flexible subscriber and send thresholds along with the robust features small businesses need—for free. If you're just getting started with free marketing tools or want to try out a few options before committing to a paid plan, you have plenty of choices.
Here's what I looked for when testing free email marketing services:
The number of subscribers and sends included for free. Some free email marketing platforms are generous in this regard, offering thousands of free sends per month, while others include low caps that mean your "free" platform isn't free for very long. I kept this in mind while testing.
Email templates and customization. You shouldn't have to start your email marketing operation from scratch. The best options come with at least a few fully-designed and professional templates to get your free email campaign started.
Audience segmentation. Success with email relies on being able to deliver the right emails to the right people at the right time. For growing businesses, that means you need capable audience segmentation features with any free email campaign software you choose.
Automation. From transactional emails to triggered campaigns and more, a growing business needs to be able to automate email marketing as your efforts scale.
Scalability. Speaking of, just because you're starting by doing your email marketing for free, it doesn't mean you won't grow out of it. The best free email marketing software can grow with your business—from free to paid when necessary, adding more features and higher limits as you go.
Full email marketing features. There are plenty of capable apps designed for one particular type of email (like newsletters, for example), but for our purposes here, I focused on full-featured apps you can use across your email marketing operation.
After narrowing down the list based on those criteria, I ran each of the remaining contenders through an extensive testing workflow that included:
Creating an account and completing any onboarding offered by the app.
Looking at core features like the drag-and-drop editor, template library, and overall campaign creation flow.
Testing out additional features like automation, customer segmentation, and alternative editors (like HTML or plain text), along with determining any applicable limits for these features on the free plan.
Where available, I tested out niche features for eCommerce, universal branding, broader marketing automation, and AI, among others.
Lastly, I looked into how costs for each app scale as you outgrow the free plan and move to paid.
Along with each step, I considered the ease of use for core and ancillary features—because with all the options available today, "free" shouldn't have to mean hard to use.
With those criteria in mind, here's the best free software for email marketing.
Best free email marketing service for growing email marketing programs
User-friendly UI with helpful tips and best practices
Includes customer journey mapping, list segmenting, A/B testing, and more
Less intuitive email templates
No email automation on the free plan
One of the most popular email marketing apps thanks to its friendly branding, Mailchimp is a great place to start your email marketing program if you're planning to scale it quickly. The app includes a landing page builder, customer journey mapping, list segmentation, retargeting ads, and even A/B testing—all in its free plan.
An approachable editor that includes helpful tips and best practices along the way makes Mailchimp an accessible option for both new and experienced email marketers. For example, when setting up a subject line, a sidebar reminds you about recommended character length, emoji use in subject lines, and more.
Once you're ready to move beyond what the free plan offers, Mailchimp makes scaling accessible with three different paid tiers. Plus, Mailchimp can handle email programs of any size: if you can afford to let it grow with you, you'll never have to switch to another app.
Mailchimp integrates with Zapier, allowing you to do things like automatically subscribe new form responders, leads, or spreadsheet entries to a Mailchimp list.
Create Mailchimp subscribers from new Typeform responses
Add subscribers to Mailchimp for new Google Sheets rows
Subscribe new Facebook Lead Ad leads to a Mailchimp list
Mailchimp pricing: Free for up to 500 contacts and 2,500 sends per month
If you choose Mailchimp, here are 6 ways to automate your email marketing with Mailchimp. And if you love Mailchimp but just need a super simple, bare-bones option for email newsletters, the brand also offers TinyLetter.
Best free email marketing software for segmentation
Generous free plan
Great for segmentation with HubSpot CRM features
Sub-par email templates
Expensive upgrade and the full suite can be overwhelming
HubSpot has everything you need under one roof. The email marketing features are well-rounded and offer a lot for free: up to 2,000 emails per month, over 100 lists, and reporting. When you're ready to scale, you can add additional HubSpot tools for CRM, full marketing automation, customer service, sales, and more.
The email tool throws you into the editor as soon as signup is finished, so you can get moving quickly. For those new to HubSpot or email marketing more broadly, the next stop is the user guide, detailing everything you need to know to build beautiful, effective campaigns in HubSpot.
Included in your 105 lists are 100 static and 5 "active" lists, which include super quick options to segment, say, hard-bouncers or recipients who open but don't click.
Plus, HubSpot integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like automatically create and update HubSpot contacts from your contact management tool and copy new leads from your ads into HubSpot.
Copy new lead responses from Facebook Lead Ads to a HubSpot form
HubSpot pricing: Free for up to 2,000 emails per month, 100 static contact lists, and 5 "active" contact lists
Take a look at 5 ways to automate business operations in HubSpot to make the most of your email marketing. And if you're deciding between Mailchimp and HubSpot, read our showdown: HubSpot vs. Mailchimp.
Best free email marketing software for advanced email marketers
Pre-built content blocks make building emails super quick
Generous allotments for segmentation and automation
Affordable upgrade for unlimited users
No pre-made email templates
MailerLite doesn't offer pre-made templates for its free newsletter service, but the dynamic, pre-designed content blocks more than make up for the lack of templates. With blocks for highlighting multiple articles, videos, RSS lists, products, apps, events, and more, MailerLite helps experienced email marketers make quick work of building new campaigns and custom templates.
Your emails can include more than just text and images, too. There's a countdown timer that dynamically shows the time remaining until you launch a product or before a sale is over. You can add product details, embed a video, pull in your most recent blog posts with a dynamically updating RSS block, and more. It's a great way to send interactive emails instead of just digital letters.
Beyond email content, MailerLite also includes robust automation and audience segmentation features in the free plan. An intuitive builder makes quick work of mapping out automation workflows. You can create both persistent and one-time segments and view aggregate statistics by segment, too.
Plus, MailerLite integrates with Zapier—meaning you can automate things like adding new MailerLite subscribers from Google Sheets and sending Mailchimp subscribers to MailerLite.
Add subscribers to MailerLite from newly-updated rows on Google Sheets
MailerLite pricing: Free for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month
Best free email marketing tool for eCommerce businesses
Designed specifically for eCommerce
Features for building SMS and push campaigns
Strict limits for subscribers and sends
Prices scale quickly beyond the free plan
Omnisend is the best free email marketing tool I found for eCommerce email marketing. The free plan is fairly limited on subscribers and monthly sends, but it includes access to nearly every feature the platform offers—all of which are thoroughly built for eCommerce. Once you connect your online store to Omnisend, the (email marketing) world is your oyster.
The app offers a number of behavioral segmentation dimensions based on store activity and shopping behavior, as well as pre-defined customer segments like high-potential buyers, visitors to a particular product, and more.
Navigate to the automation section to browse a number of pre-built automation workflows organized by type (e.g., welcome series, cart abandonment) or goal (e.g., convert subscribers, cross-sell, build loyalty).
When you're ready to design emails, head to the drag-and-drop editor, where you can start from a number of eCommerce-focused templates or quickly build your own templates with quick-add blocks for product listing, discounts, product recommendations, and more. Omnisend also supports SMS and push campaigns, in addition to email, with A/B testing features for all of the above.
Plus, you can connect Omnisend with Zapier to automate list management, connect your paid advertising platforms, and more.
Create Omnisend contacts from new Mailchimp subscribers
Create or update Omnisend subscribers from new Leadpages submissions
Omnisend pricing: Free plan includes 250 contacts and 500 emails per month
Best email marketing tool for free email automation
Sendinblue (now Brevo)
Pre-built, goal-oriented email automation
Generous automation limits on the free plan
Transactional emails, SMS, and WhatsApp campaigns
Strict 300 email/day send limit
Editor's note: When we tested this tool, it was called Sendinblue—it's since been rebranded to Brevo. The next time we update this article, we'll use the updated branding and test any new features that were released with the rebrand.
The more you use your email marketing tool, the more you'll need to rely on automation. It's hard to come across truly free marketing automation software, but Sendinblue offers a variety of templated automation flows, based on your goals. You can choose your workflow to improve engagement, increase traffic, grow revenue, or build relationships.
Even with this kind of advanced automation, you can get from account setup to actually editing emails in just a few clicks. Once you're there, you can build your emails with dozens of pre-made templates and a drag-and-drop editor. Then, either send them as email newsletters or use Sendinblue's automation workflows to send them on a schedule.
You can't send as many emails at once as you can from other free email marketing tools, but you can manage more contacts and split them into focused lists. Sendinblue also lets you buy pre-paid credits to send more than your daily email limit.
Expand Sendinblue's capabilities by integrating it with Zapier to automatically create new Sendinblue subscribers from new Google Contacts, Mailchimp subscribers, Facebook Lead Ads leads, and more. Plus, discover more popular ways to automate Sendinblue with Zapier.
Create Brevo subscribers from new or updated Google Contacts
Add new Mailchimp subscribers as Brevo subscribers
Sendinblue pricing: Free for up 300 emails per day and unlimited contacts
Best free email marketing software with an affordable upgrade
Zoho Campaigns pros:
Generous contact, user, and send limits
Affordable upgrade once you outgrow the free plan
Features for SMS and social campaigns
Zoho Campaigns cons:
Strict limits on templates, automation, and segmentation for free users
Zoho Campaigns' free plan isn't as hyper-generous as it once was, but it's still a great starting point you can scale from. You get 2,000 contacts, 6,000 sends per month, and 5 users. The free plan also offers robust audience segmentation and features for social and SMS campaigns.
The drag-and-drop editor works how you expect and includes support for dynamic content blocks. You can even personalize dynamic blocks based on your customer segments.
When it comes to automation, you'll choose from autoresponders (one-email triggered sequences) or fully automated workflows. Both are available to build and map out on the free plan and include several workflow templates to help you build out automations faster. When you create a workflow, you can choose from templates for welcome and onboarding, nurture series, re-engagement, customer retention, eCommerce, and conditional workflows.
When you're ready to activate automated flows, segment your audience, or grow beyond the subscriber and send limits on the free plan, Zoho offers the most affordable upgrade to a paid plan for as little as $3 per month.
And when you're ready to scale, you can connect with any of Zoho's other apps, so you have a whole suite of tools at your fingertips. You can also connect Zoho Campaigns with thousands of other tools via Zapier, allowing you to automate workflows like adding new form responses to your email lists or verifying subscriber email addresses.
Add/update contacts in Zoho Campaigns for new form submissions in Squarespace
Verify and unsubscribe invalid email addresses in Zoho Campaigns with Clearout
Zoho Campaigns pricing: Free for up to 2,000 contacts, 6,000 emails per month, and 5 users
If you're deciding between HubSpot and Zoho for your email marketing needs, take a look at our showdown: HubSpot vs. Zoho.
Best free AI email marketing software
AI features to automate and streamline
Tons of well-designed free templates
Goal-driven automation sequences
Free plan limited to 500 subscribers
Key features require a substantial upgrade to the Enterprise plan
Cutting-edge features like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are usually reserved for high-priced software, but with Benchmark, you can add an AI helping hand to your email marketing operation without paying a dime.
The free plan includes 25 credits for the app's "Smart Content" feature that uses AI to write your email copy for you. To use it, open the email editor and click Smart Content in the top-right. Then simply enter basic details for your email, and hit Generate My Content.
Free plans also include access to Smart Sending, a feature that uses AI for email marketing to increase engagement and improve your deliverability by optimizing your list with every send. This feature is automatically enabled on every account, so you don't have to lift a finger.
Beyond AI features, Benchmark is a well-rounded app with a robust free plan that includes tons of quality email templates, user-friendly email automation, basic segmentation, and your choice of drag-and-drop, code, or plain-text editors.
You can automate even more of your email marketing operation by connecting Benchmark with Zapier, so you can get subscribers into Benchmark from your forms and anywhere else you collect lead info.
Add new Facebook Lead Ads leads as contacts to Benchmark Email
Benchmark pricing: Free for up to 500 subscribers and 3,500 emails per month
Email marketing services FAQ
Still have questions about choosing an email marketing service? Here are some common questions people have about how to pick the right app.
What makes a good free email marketing software?
While different platforms will suit different people best, you'll want to keep an eye out for features like email templates and customization, audience segmentation, automation, scalability, and how many subscribers and sends are included in a free plan.
Why use an email marketing software?
Email is one of the most effective ways to market your business. Why? Email is universal, as almost everyone has an email address. Plus, email is widely recognized as having a high return on investment (ROI) compared to other mediums. Email marketing software streamlines the entire process, ensuring you're getting the most out of the time you put into it.
Can I start email marketing for free?
Absolutely. Each platform listed in this article is free to get started with, and as long as you don't exceed contact limits for the free plan, you can send emails to your email list for free.
Automate your email marketing tool
Once you've picked your free newsletter software, here are a few ideas for how to automate your email marketing tool. Then take a look at 4 ways to use marketing automation to grow your business.
Read more: The best digital marketing tools
Want to learn more about managing leads through their entire lifecycle? Check out this free lead management course featuring Zapier.
This piece was originally published in February 2015 by Matthew Guay and has also had contributions from Jessica Greene. The most recent update was in November 2022.