The best email newsletter software: 9 email marketing services for your business in 2020

By Jessica Greene - Last updated September 24, 2020 -

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People still live on email. So whether you're having a sale, hosting an exclusive event, or you've simply published a new blog post, email remains one of the most effective ways of reaching out to your customers and leads. And it's easy—provided you have the right email marketing software.

There are dozens of ways to send emails to lists of people, from the BCC field in Gmail to mail merge tools in Word. But your best option is email newsletter software: services designed specifically to send professional-looking emails to hundreds or thousands of subscribers at once.

We tested dozens of tools, and here we'll present our picks for the 9 best email newsletter services. If you're looking for an easy way to send emails to all of your contacts, one of these tools should work for you.

The 9 best email newsletter services

What to look for in email newsletter software

Email newsletter apps are the tools that power the bulk emails you receive from businesses every day. They're a great way to share news, announce new promotions, show off new product features, promote your new blog posts, and curate content for your subscribers.

We focused our testing on apps primarily used to send email newsletters. There are plenty of options out there that provide a full suite of marketing automation features, but these may be intimidating for those solely looking for a way to send out emails en masse. We've mostly avoided anything too complex and focused on the core aim: being able to get the word out to your customers or clients in a simple and concise manner.

While some of the apps in this list offer additional advanced features like transactional emails, drip marketing campaigns, and A/B testing, each featured app makes it easy to send email newsletters.

All of the apps we've selected include the following key features:

  • Strong template choices. You don't want to waste time creating email newsletter templates from scratch every time. Each app on this list includes great template options so you can focus on the content of your message.
  • Segmentation options. If you have a large mailing list, it's useful to be able to divide up how you email people according to their demographic details and their behaviors. All the apps included here have appropriate segmentation options for doing exactly that.
  • Affordability. It's possible to spend a lot of money on email newsletter solutions. We've focused on apps and tools that are affordable, even for smaller businesses with tight budgets.
  • Usability. Creating and sending an email newsletter should be a simple process, so we excluded any tools that were so complex that we spent more time searching Google than actually testing and using the tool.
  • Performance reports. It's important to know how your email campaigns are performing, so we've focused on services that provide statistics and insight into how each email campaign has gone for you.

Best email newsletter software for deliverability and scalability

MailerLite (Web)

MailerLite email newsletter editor

MailerLite is an email marketing tool that can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Creating an email newsletter in the editor is simple: choose from dozens of pre-designed content blocks for things like buttons, navigation menus, logos, images, videos, and text. When you're finished, choose a list, hit send, and you're done. Alternatively, pick out a template that suits your needs if you're in a rush, but keep in mind that templates are only available via the paid plan.

While MailerLite makes it easy to build and send email newsletters, it also offers more advanced features like A/B split testing; built-in photo editing; email automation; contact list segmentation by demographics, interests, and/or behaviors; and click-map reports. You can even schedule your emails to be delivered at a specific time to subscribers in every timezone.

If you run an eCommerce site, you can import your product catalog to add products to your emails easily, and if you're using your newsletter to promote your blog content, you can use its RSS-to-email feature to build and send emails automatically. Plus, you can create both embeddable subscribe forms and pop-up forms that display after a certain amount of time, after a certain scroll depth, or on exit intent.

These more advanced features are available in MailerLite, but they don't get in the way if you don't need them, so it's an ideal solution for a smaller business that simply wants to send out email and not get overwhelmed by the finer details.

Performance reports are particularly useful whatever the size of your company, with stats available on the average open rate, click rate, subscriber growth, and general engagement, so you can learn a lot about how your customers interact with your emails. All these features combined mean that MailerLite is a great one-size-fits-all style solution that easily grows with your business.

If you connect MailerLite to Zapier, you can do things like add new subscribers to the service via a Google Sheets spreadsheet or automatically subscribe new Facebook Lead Ads leads to your account.

MailerLite Price: The Free Plan includes up to 1,000 subscribers, 12,000 emails per month, and limited features; from $10/month for up to 1,000 subscribers, unlimited emails, and all features including email templates.

Best email newsletter software for automatically creating a newsletter template

Constant Contact (Web, iOS, Android)

Constant Contact automated template builder

If you're not a designer, creating a template for your newsletter can be a time-consuming process. Constant Contact makes it easier by auto-generating a template for you via its Brand Templates feature. You plug in your website's address, it scans your site for colors and images, and then it plugs those things into various templates. Choose the template you like, and use it for all of your newsletters. All in all, it took us about two minutes to set up.

Alternatively, you can choose from a huge number of different templates, including timely options like COVID-19 response email templates, before using the service's drag-and-drop editor to add content blocks to your email. In addition to the typical content blocks for things like headings, text, buttons, and images, Constant Contact's Email Plus plan lets you import products from Shopify, include a coupon, and add blocks that let people RSVP for an event, make a donation, or answer a poll.

There are extensive Shopify-related segmentation options if you upgrade your package to Email Plus. We appreciated the ability to entice inactive users with relevant offers, as well as choose to target users based on more general behaviors such as how often they've clicked on emails.

Simple to use yet also powerful, Constant Contact is a great service if you're far from creatively minded. The only downside here is that there's no free trial, so you'll have to commit to $20 per month to use the service.

Use Constant Contact with Zapier, and you can connect it to the other apps you use most. For example, you could automatically add your Google Contacts directly to Constant Contact or add all Eventbrite attendees to your Constant Contact mailing list.

Constant Contact Price: From $20/month for the Email plan for unlimited emails to 500 subscribers; from $45/month for the Email Plus plan that includes content blocks for RSVP, Shopify, polls, and more.

Best email newsletter software for collaborating on newsletters

Mailjet (Web)

Mailjet newsletter builder

If you need to collaborate with other people to create your email newsletters, Mailjet's Premium plan is a great option. Invite your team members, set roles or assign specific permissions, and then collaborate in real time (similar to collaborating in Google Docs) to build your newsletters. Leave comments, respond to comments, and create approval workflows so you can work together without overriding each other's changes.

Then, use Mailjet's email designer to customize your newsletter and build custom templates. Segment your lists and run A/B tests. And, if needed, you can also use Mailjet to create and send transactional emails for things like purchases and free plan sign-ups, and you can even purchase credits and send SMS messages using the tool.

It's a handy way to handle all of your company's emails from one service, letting your developers send messages from your app the way that's easiest for them, while also letting designers and writers update emails without having to dive into any code.

Use Mailjet with Zapier, and you can easily create Mailjet subscribers from Facebook Lead Ads or receive Slack notifications every time you get a new subscriber.

Mailjet Price: From $20.95/month for the Premium plan that includes 30,000 emails per month and team collaboration features.

Best email newsletter software for agencies who handle email marketing for multiple clients

Campaign Monitor (Web, iOS)

Campaign Monitor newsletter builder

If you manage email marketing for multiple clients, Campaign Monitor makes that process simple. You can add as many clients as you want; create custom templates, emails, and automations for each client; allow clients to access their campaigns through a white-label version of the tool; and lock specific sections of emails and templates so they can't be edited.

Then, either have clients pay for their usage themselves by reselling the product to them, or you can pay for all of your clients yourself as part of a single package. You can even pay individually for a specific campaign if you have a client who only wants to send emails occasionally to a large list of contacts. Such flexibility is great if you're on a tight budget and need to plan accordingly.

Campaign Monitor's email editor initially encourages you to create a branded template based on the color scheme of your website. The whole interface isn't quite as user-friendly as some options here, but it's still a fast way to customize your messages with drag-and-drop functionality included. On the Unlimited plan, you can even preview what your email will look like in 20 different inboxes, helping you ensure that your emails look great for everyone.

Campaign Monitor offers Zapier integrations, so you can automatically add new Campaign Monitor subscribers whenever email addresses are added to a Google Sheets spreadsheet or receive a message on Slack every time a new subscriber is added, among other possibilities.

Campaign Monitor Price: From $9/month for the Basic plan to send up to 2,500 emails per month to 500 contacts; from $29/month for the Unlimited plan that includes inbox previews for 20 inboxes.

Best free email newsletter software

EmailOctopus (Web)

EmailOctopus newsletter builder

EmailOctopus has consistently evolved over the years. Now, we'd argue it's the best free email newsletter software out there. On the free plan, you can have up to 2,500 subscribers on your virtual books and send up to 10,000 emails per month. Each email contains EmailOctopus branding, but it's fairly unobtrusive and a small price to pay for paying nothing.

Paid packages increase subscriber and email limits, but the main difference is that the EmailOctopus branding goes away and you have access to your campaign statistics for life, rather than the 30 days that the starter plan provides.

EmailOctopus lends itself best to businesses dipping their toes into email marketing. That's partly down to the pricing and partly because it guides you each step of the way, ensuring you won't miss any important steps. While its segmentation options are a little basic, it covers all the other bases you could need. And its simple drag-and-drop editor means you can easily tweak templates to suit your business needs in no time at all.

Connect EmailOctopus to Zapier, and you can connect it to the other apps you use most. For example, you can add new subscribers whenever you get a new lead or make a new sale.

EmailOctopus Price: Free for up to 2,500 subscribers and up to 10,000 emails per month, with EmailOctopus branding. From $20/month for the Pro plan for up to 5,000 subscribers and up to 50,000 emails per month.

Best email newsletter software for sending emails that include videos

BombBomb (Web, iOS, Android)

BombBomb screenshot

The vast majority of emails are essentially digital letters. They may have professionally designed templates, but they're focused on text and images. BombBomb breaks the mold with video-powered emails. You can shoot videos in BombBomb's app, upload pre-created videos, or pull in YouTube or Animoto videos, then send them out as email newsletters with text and any other details you want.

To help you send professional-looking video email newsletters, BombBomb offers more than 100 pre-designed templates—all of which prominently feature videos. Plus, it provides in-app video tutorials that walk you through how to use just about every feature in the tool.

For recipients, videos appear in your newsletter as a GIF that BombBomb generates for you, including a play icon and video duration overlay. You can include video GIFs with these overlays in other tools, but BombBomb stands out because it automates this process for you. When recipients click the GIF, it takes them to the online version of your email where they can watch the video.

With BombBomb's Zapier integrations, you can do even more, like automatically add new contacts to BombBomb whenever you get a lead or email matching specific criteria.

BombBomb Price: From $29 per month for the Individual plan that includes unlimited emails to up to 2,500 contacts.

Best email newsletter software for segmentation options

CleverReach (Web)

CleverReach's segmentation options

Email segmentation is key in reaching the right people with the right content, and CleverReach excels with its extensive segmentation options. You can divide your mailing lists according to the products connected to a user, how often they've read your past mailings or clicked on links, and even their last place of residence. It's also possible to send emails based on when the user first registered with you, meaning, for example, you could send offers or special emails to your first handful of subscribers.

CleverReach's interface isn't the simplest. Right from the start, it adds an extra step to logging in by requiring you to also enter an assigned customer ID alongside your regular login details. Once in, you need to dig around slightly more than on other services to track down a Create Email button. It's a similar story when editing templates, with many of the features taking an extra step here or there as you go along—although the results are still solid.

In CleverReach's favor, it offers comprehensive statistics along with colorful graphs so you can see precisely how well your targeted campaigns are performing. Just don't expect it to be the easiest—there's a learning curve and not everything seems as intuitive as it does elsewhere.

Connect CleverReach with Zapier, and you can automatically create subscribers in CleverReach whenever trigger events happen in the other apps you use most. Here are just a couple of examples.

CleverReach Price: From $16/month for a prepaid account with a monthly email quota. $30/month for an account with no restrictions on emails sent.

Best email newsletter software for scheduling emails

Sendinblue (Web)

Scheduling an email in Sendinblue

Timing is everything when it comes to email marketing, and Sendinblue handles this with razor-sharp focus. Most services allow you to schedule your emails, but few make it quite as simple as Sendinblue, thanks to an easy-to-use interface that allows you to plan even months in advance. It also updates to your time zone, whereas other email newsletter apps stick with a time that might not make much sense to you.

Upgrade to a premium plan, and Sendinblue will figure out the best time of day for reaching out to your specific audience. It's based on each individual recipient's past behaviors, looking back on when they were most likely to open your previous emails. That takes out a lot of the potential guesswork and testing involved in timing your campaigns.

Sendinblue offers a standard selection of templates that are easily tweaked via a drag-and-drop interface. The rest of Sendinblue's interface is a little more clinical than others on this list, but once you get used to its more text-heavy ways, it offers what you need.

Connect Sendinblue with Zapier, and you can automatically create Sendinblue subscribers from your other apps.

SendinBlue Price: Free with a daily sending limit of 300 emails; $25/month for unlimited emails and contacts.

Best email newsletter software for upscaling your email campaigns

Mailchimp (Web)

Mailchimp's intuitive interface

Mailchimp prides itself on being an all-in-one marketing platform for small businesses. That can sound intimidating if you simply want a good way of formulating email newsletters. But because it started out as an email newsletter service, it offers a lot of simple functionality for when you're starting out—along with the opportunity to upscale your campaigns as your business develops.

Its templates are more blank canvas than some other apps' polished choices, but that gives you a lot of flexibility. The drag-and-drop interface is reminiscent of website builder Wix, so if your website is built on Wix, this might be a good fit. Segmentation options are easy to manage, but expect to upgrade to a premium plan if you want in-depth statistical analysis and performance reports.

Overall, Mailchimp is intuitive and welcoming. Being able to sign up for free means it's easy to dive in without missing out, and you'll appreciate how it grows alongside your business. And Mailchimp's Zapier integration allow you to extend its value even further, automatically adding your leads to Mailchimp and sharing contacts across contact databases.

Mailchimp Price: Free for up to 2,000 contacts with limited features; $10/ month for an Essentials package that includes more email templates along with A/B testing functionality.

How to choose the right email marketing software

If you send similar emails to groups of people regularly, you need an email newsletter app. You might not need all the features of an advanced email marketing app, with automated sending schedules and landing page builders and personalization tools. Not yet, anyhow. But as your lists and marketing ambitions grow, you might.

That's the great thing about the wide variety of email newsletter apps available. Whether you want to send a curated set of articles weekly to build a following around a topic or need to send thousands of personalized messages for your multinational corporation daily, there are email apps to fit your needs.

You can start simple—even with a free email marketing app—then grow into the advanced email marketing features the top newsletter apps offer.

Start with the apps that feel most like they fit your needs today. Don't worry: when you need more features, you can always switch to another app—or keep your original, simple newsletter tool alongside a more advanced marketing automation app if you need.

In the next chapter, we'll look at tips to help you grow your email lists, along with ways to automate your email lists and ensure your messages don't get marked as spam.

Go to Chapter 3!

This article was originally published in June 2018. It was updated in June 2019 by Jessica Greene and again in September 2020 with contributions from Jennifer Allen.


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