The Definitive Guide To The Top 12 Email Service Providers For Bloggers

A Review Of MailChimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Infusionsoft, iContact, Ontraport, GetResponse, Mad Mimi, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, Convertkit and SendInBlue

What is the size of your email list? I mean, how many people do you have on your email list? Is your email list:

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  • Anemic?
  • Teeny weeny?
  • Non-existent? or
  • Huge?

If you have a product to sell or an affiliate offer to promote, can you send an email to a targeted list of at least 2,500 engaged subscribers who love to read your emails?

Develop An Effective Strategy For List Building

If you’re not comfortable with any of those questions, then you need to smell the coffee and wake up to the idea that you need an effective strategy for building an email list.

As a blogger, author, copywriter, internet marketer, coach, content marketer or other online entrepreneur, your email list is your greatest asset. Implemented properly, your email list will certainly become the most important tool in your business for creating relationships and making sales. That’s why you should take your time and invest in a good email service provider.

Still not convinced you need an email list? Check out the following stats. According to Capterra:

  • The average return on $1 spent on email marketing is $44.25;
  • When marketed through email, consumers spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers.
  • 44% of consumers made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email they received
  • Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion.

What Is An Email Service Provider?

So, assuming you’ve bought into the idea of building a targeted email list. You now have a strategy for building an email list that includes a killer lead magnet, and a landing page/optin page that crazy converts.

So, what next?

There’s one huge part of the jigsaw that’s still missing. You need email automation and an email marketing platform that works. This will be provided by your email service provider. An email service provider (ESP) is a company that offers email marketing or bulk email services. It is the software used by bloggers and other content managers to manage their email marketing, such as for sending promotional email campaigns

Why is email automation so critical? By automating your email workflow, you can unlock the true potential of your email list. It will help you turn your leads into customers. It will make your subscribers more engaged. And if you set it up right, all this will happen with a minimum amount of intervention on your part.

Without an email service provider with an email platform that works:

  • You won’t be able to immediately and automatically welcome your subscriber to your list with an automated welcome email.
  • You won’t be able to send updates to your email audience telling them about new products, blog posts and sales or discounts.
  • You won’t build relationships with subscribers that’ll turn into sales or conversations at your next meetup or conference.

And you certainly won’t have your email platform send the right email to the right person for you while you chill on the couch looking at all the revenue you got from your last email.

So if you don’t have an email marketing platform or you are not satisfied with the one you currently have, or perhaps you don’t have one that provides you with powerful email automation, then this article is definitely for you.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU 🙂

Check out our cornerstone article: [Uncovered]: How to Supercharge Your Email Marketing in 8 Easy Ways

Why You Need An Email Service Provider

For the benefit of those who are new to this concept. To build your email list, you need an email service provider (ESP). It is very important to start with a good and reputable email service provider (ESP). A good email service provider will provide you with a software that does these seven things:

  • Store the email addresses of all your subscribers. These can be very easily converted into a csv file, if you need to export the list somewhere else, or if you decide to change ESP.
  • Store important data from every email campaign, including the following information:
    • Number of emails sent
    • Those who opened each email;
    • Those who clicked on any link on the email; and
    • Those who unsubscribed
  • Post their deliverability rates. For example, you can go to major email service providers to find out their deliverability rates, which will help you choose a good provider.
  • Work hard to improve those deliverability rates. For example, the major email service providers will have dedicated staff who work daily with major ISPs to get your emails delivered to their recipients.
  • Actively ban any marketers who spam or engage in other questionable practices. This improves deliverability for everyone else.
  • Provide an autoresponder service. Autoresponders are emails sent automatically to your subscribers when triggered by a series of events you determine. They can be used to greet new subscribers, alert them about new products or services, or even wish them a happy birthday. All you have to do is set up the rules, write the message, and let the autoresponder take care of the rest. Many of the best autoresponders will also have reporting tools to help you keep track of how your email campaigns are performing so you can constantly improve and retool.
  • Provide a system where your subscribers can unsubscribe at any time. This is important, as there are two basic rules of engagement that come with email marketing:
    • Always have permission to market to someone via email; and
    • If that permission changes, stop sending them email marketing

Review Of The Top 12 Email Service Providers For Bloggers [In Alphabetical Order]

When it comes to Email Service Providers (ESP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) suite for bloggers, what are the top 12? According to Capterra, there are over 251 email marketing software solutions currently on the market. How then does one choose 12? We will go into this in a just a moment.

But first, when deciding on which email service provider or customer relationship management suite to use, think of the following:

  1. Understand that there is no perfect email service provider (ESP) or customer relationship management (CRM) suite. They all have pros and cons. Select the one that best fits the way you and your business works.
  2. Review your current situation. [If you don’t yet have one, then skip this step.] Who is your current email service provider? What are they brilliant with? What are they not so good at? What are you dissatisfied with taking into consideration the following:
    • Integration
    • Functionality
    • Usability
    • Your budget and resources
    • Customer support
  3. Know your requirements for a new provider
  4. Research the market
  5. Make a shortlist of at least 3 prospective providers
  6. Test/ request demos from your shortlisted vendors
  7. Make a decision and start the migration process

Back to our list of the top 12 email service providers for bloggers. Please note that I am arranging this in alphabetical order. This list is based on my understanding of what most bloggers use, based on market share and reviews. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you think I have missed out an ESP software that should be in the top 12.

Active Campaign

ActiveCampaign is one of the most affordable providers for small businesses and their software is exceptionally well-designed. It is a great option for any business size.

ActiveCampaign is an integrated marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) suite with a foundation in email marketing. Targeted towards small-to-midsize businesses, the software is designed to help organizations build their contact lists, create professional emails, manage campaigns, track customer behavior and measure their marketing campaign performance.

For a long time, the only email service providers that provided automation capabilities were hugely expensive products like InfusionSoft and Ontraport. This put the power that automation out of the reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs.

ActiveCampaign is an affordable email service provider that also includes some impressive email marketing automation features. This makes it one of the best choices for power email marketers.

ActiveCampaign’s email marketing and marketing automation applications include drag-and-drop email design, lead capture forms, social integration and tracking, lead segmentation, website tracking and email campaign reporting. While ActiveCampaign integrates with several leading third-party CRM solutions, it also offers its own sales force automation (SFA) features, including contact management, drag-and-drop deal tracking, pipeline management and lead scoring.

They offer an extremely flexible pricing plan for any business, from small to enterprise. Prices start at just $9/mo for 500 contacts. Despite this, not many people have even heard of them.

All plans include unlimited emails, unlike Campaign Monitor, which offers both basic plans with limited emails, and more expensive unlimited plans. You can save 15 percent off the monthly cost by paying annually; however, ActiveCampaign does not offer pay-as-you go plans, like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp do.

Pros:

  • Great customer support – Their customer support is amazing, they really go all-out to make sure you comfortable using their product. While I don’t have any first-hand experience with ActiveCampagins’s customer support, it’s evident from the hundreds of positive reviews
  • Great user interface – The first thing that you notice when you start using ActiveCampaign is how well-designed and intuitive the user interface is. It’s one of the only marketing automation tools that I’ve come across that needs practically no training to understand.
  • Zapier Integration – ActiveCampaign integrates with over 150 different tools via their Zapier integration. While this enables you to connect ActiveCampaign with a huge variety of tools, you will need a paid Zapier subscription to access certain integrations.
  • Fantastic pricing – For the majority of small business who don’t want to commit to paying thousands of dollars per year to try marketing automation, ActiveCampaign is a great option. Their pricing starts at just $9/month with no upfront setup fees.
  • ActiveCampaign’s email management abilities are all-around solid, from the split testing to the functionality to create special date-based campaigns. (You can send customer birthday emails, for instance.)
  • And as another plus, ActiveCampaign makes it seriously simple to upload contacts. In fact, they are the only solution I’ve found that allows you to sync your contact info from a third-party program, like such as your company’s CRM.
  • They also have an awesome drag-and-drop interface.
  • The main power of ActiveCampaign are its automations. It gives you almost unlimited flexibility with creating different workflows.
  • You can create simple two step workflows, or more complicated ones for cart abandonment or list pruning. It also has way more triggers and actions than ConvertKit supports.

Cons:

  • ActiveCampaign’s list-building tool is not very sophisticated. It does not allow you to split or merge lists easily.
  • CRM & email builder design – While Active Campaign’s automation sequences are beautifully designed, their CRM and email builder is still lacking.
  • No landing page builder. Having landing pages in the tool would be ideal, but solutions such as LeadPages can be easily integrated.
  • Finding personal information on a lead in the CRM requires scrolling down a tiny window, while the email campaign builder feels like a relic of the 90’s.
  • No native integrations – Active Campaign doesn’t have any native integrations with third-party tools. While they do have a marketplace with over 300 apps and extensions, many of these require an additional ongoing cost.

AWeber

AWeber is considered by many as the industry standard for email marketers. It is an email solution for small business marketers who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their email marketing campaigns. Their pricing plans start at $19/mo for up to 500 contacts. A 14% discount is available if you pay quarterly; a 14.9% discount is available if you pay annually. There are also some discounts available for students and not-for-profit organisations.

All AWeber’s email templates are ‘responsive’ – they automatically resize themselves to suit the device they’re being viewed on.

AWeber offers a free video course “Email List Growth Blueprint”. In the course you will learn how to grow your email list in less than 4 hours with step-by-step, expert guidance in six short and simple lessons. You can access the course by clicking here.

Segmenting data in AWeber is pretty straightforward. You can create segments not only based on the contents of any field in your database, but also on user activity too – emails opened, web pages visited, links clicked, products bought and so on. It’s all very flexible and easy to use.

Pros:

  • 30-day free trial which you start by clicking here.
  • The ability to import / host an email database.
  • A wide range of templates. By comparison to its competitors, AWeber provides one of the largest sets of e-newsletters templates available: there are over 700 available. To provide a bit of context, GetResponse has 500+ templates, Mailchimp 80 and Campaign Monitor has round about 50.
  • Autoresponders
  • Responsive email designs
  • A/B split testing
  • Segmentation options
  • Tagging ability [new]
  • Phone, email and live chat support

Cons:

  • There are cheaper options out there which offer considerably more features – GetResponse being a great example.
  • Some of the templates look a bit dated.
  • The autoresponder functionality is a bit on the basic side – although that said, it looks as though the new ‘Campaigns’ functionality is soon set to change that.
  • The RSS to email templates are poor and they can’t be edited using Aweber’s standard drag and drop email builder.
  • You can’t email multiple subscribers at once.
  • AWeber does not count a subscriber who is on multiple courses as a single distinct subscriber. So you will get double or triple billed for the same subscriber on multiple lists.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a great email marketing platform for small businesses. Constant Contact introduced the first email marketing tool for small businesses, nonprofits, and associations in 1998.

Constant Contact has a free trial which gives you access to all paid features for 60 days but with very strict limitations. For example, you can upload contacts to your account but there is a 10-subscriber cap. The trial is a great way to get used to the platform with a smaller list. Once you are sure about the platform, upgrade to the paid version and then upload your entire contact database. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Constant Contact offers a number of plans depending on the size of your subscriber base. Pricing starts at $20/month for up to 500 contacts and goes up from there. It’s discounted to $17 for when you prepay for a whole year.

Pros:

  • Constant Contact has a really good set of metrics to maintain your analytics and give you a view of how to improve open rates. It handles contact lists very well too.
  • Free trial for your first 60 days. No risk. No credit card required.
  • They provide full access to all email marketing tools, as well as live expert help and online resources during free trial
  • They offer many, many ways for small businesses to learn about email marketing and how to use Constant Contact. Their educational resources include live and on-demand webinars, as well as live classes– day-long courses on how to use the software, held in multiple locations across North America. In addition, they work hard to make putting together emails really intuitive. One of the most interesting things they do is break their 400+ templates into industry and function.
  • Constant Contact have an app that allows them to integrate specially with Hootsuite, so you can do all your posting from one place.
  • They also allow you to send out special emails that link your customers to Facebook. These emails are designed to encourage your customers to share your emails on Facebook. You can then track your success on social media right in Constant Contact.

Cons:

  • The email creator is very limited as far as design goes and it’s a little unwieldy.
  • You can’t schedule more than one campaign at a time.
  • Usability often comes at the expense of features, and Constant Contact is no exception.
  • There’s no split testing
  • The campaign features themselves are a little rough, particularly in the area of auto-responses.
  • Constant Contact is also one of the more expensive plans on this list. They charge $20/month for up to 500 users, which is the free level for many of the other options I’ve listed.

Convertkit

ConvertKit is a robust email marketing platform for professional bloggers, podcasters, authors, content marketers and other businesses who are building audiences. It is extremely easy to use and incredibly powerful. ConvertKit is one of the newest email marketing platforms on the market. They are self labeled as “The power of Infusionsoft, but easier to use than MailChimp.”

ConvertKit includes all the features you would be used to if you’ve ever used any email service provider. So if you are making the switch over to ConvertKit, the learning curve should be very small. The only terminology you might not be used to is that autoresponder series in ConvertKit are called Sequences.

It allows you to easily offer content upgrades and incentives with email signup forms. It also comes with easy to manage auto-responders allowing you to send drip emails.

ConvertKit works a little differently than say Aweber, where all your subscribers are grouped into separate lists. Instead, your subscribers are all in one big account list.

But what’s nice about ConvertKit is the flexibility it gives you in segmenting (filtering) your subscribers. You can segment leads subscribed to specific Sequences, Forms, or Tags. Or you can segment based on Date. There’s even a pre-made filter to solely target your cold subscribers.

Pricing for ConvertKit plans start from $29/month with a 30-day refund policy.

Pros:

  • The first thing that stands out though when you first login to your ConvertKit account is how nice and polished everything looks.
  • ConvertKit has a distraction-free interface that makes it easy for you.
  • Tagging and segmenting are a breeze
  • With ConvertKit, you can easily segment contacts into those who are interested and those who have already purchased. This is great for marketing automation.
  • ConvertKit offers email based support and have extensive knowledge base with great learning material.
  • ConvertKit counts a subscriber who is on multiple courses as a single distinct subscriber. So you won’t get double or triple billed for the same subscriber on multiple lists like you would with Aweber or Mailchimp.

Cons:

  • ConvertKit doesn’t have a sophisticated drag and drop editor like Mailchimp. So creating fancy email newsletters is not its strong suit.
  • ConvertKit does not offer a free trial. However they do give you a full 30 day money back guarantee so if it doesn’t work out for your business, you can always get a full refund.
  • Price-wise, ConvertKit comes out to be a little higher than its most direct competitors. With a list of 1,000 subscribers, both Aweber and ConvertKit have the same price point at $29 a month. However, as your number of subscribers increases, ConvertKit does seem to get more and more expensive.
  • No A/B split testing features

GetResponse

GetResponse is a feature-rich solution. GetResponse has three main types of pricing plan – ‘Email’, ‘Pro’ and ‘Max’ – and within each of these, several additional types of plan to choose from (all based on list size). For instance, for up to 1,000 subscribers the pricing plans are: $15 (‘Email’) / $49 (‘Pro’) / $165 (‘Max’). Discounts are available if you pay upfront for 12 or 24 months of service (18% and 30% respectively). It’s best suited for small to mid-sized companies, but it’s scalable!

The feature set of GetResponse has evolved, and it is now becoming more of an ‘all-in-one’ marketing solution. In addition to email marketing, it now also provides webinar hosting, landing pages, and basic customer relationship management (CRM) functionality.

The 30-day free trial that GetResponse offers is fully functional – i.e., you can make use of a big list with it – and the offer does not come with a requirement to provide credit card details.

Pros:

  • GetResponse really does have a TON of features, many of which other vendors don’t even offer. The highlights:
  • You can try out all its features free for 30 days without the need to enter credit card details.
  • The Marketing Automation functionality sets it apart from many similar products.
  • Support is comprehensive and includes phone support.
  • A landing page creator.
  • A specialized tool to create marketing tracks for webinars.
  • A drag-and-drop editor.

Cons:

  • The templates can do with a bit of freshening up.
  • You can only use ‘web-safe’ fonts, which can make the templates look less slick than those provided by competing products.
  • The pricing structure is a bit confusing.
  • The user interface would benefit from being refreshed
  • The free trial limits the number of subscribers you can send messages to 1000.
  • The landing page add-on doesn’t allow you to perform A/B tests. Therefore in order to gain this functionality you’re forced to use a more expensive plan than you might like.

iContact

iContact is arguably one of the best email marketing services. Not only does it offer a multitude of features to help you create dynamic and attractive email campaigns, it includes tools to help you make those emails more effective. Its intuitive interface that makes it easy to learn, regardless of your level of technical expertise.

Whether you’re new to email marketing or a seasoned veteran, you’re sure to appreciate iContact’s straightforward account dashboard and intuitive campaign design tools. Navigating around the iContact system is as easy as can be. iContact is geared toward businesses with a smaller email database size, as evidenced by the fact that their most expensive plan is for up to 15,000 contacts. Plans start at $14/mo for 500 contacts. If you prepay annually, you will save 15%.

iContact’s excellent social media marketing tools are integrated right into the campaign design process so you can automatically post your content to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, enabling your customers to easily share your campaigns with their friends.

iContact offers three pricing plans: Basic and Pro are list-based, meaning that the cost of the plan is based on the user’s number of subscribers. This is reckoned as the total sum of the number of email addresses in each of the user’s lists. (If one address is included in two different lists, it counts as two subscribers.) For high volume businesses, both Basic and Pro can be upgraded to Premier. You can save 15 percent if you pay for a full year in advance.

iContact offers users a 30-day free trial of the basic version of its email marketing software. However, this trial is limited to 100 contacts and 400 messages. Should you wish to exceed those limits, you must pay for a subscription. There is a 15 percent discount for prepaid annual subscriptions and a 20% discount for verified 501(c)(3) non-profits located outside of North Carolina (in-state non-profits get the service for free). Non-profit users can email billing@icontact.com to confirm their status.

Pros:

  • Powerful social media integration and survey tools.
  • 700 responsive email templates to choose from.
  • In built data tracking and reporting tools.
  • Email spam checker.
  • Competitive pricing across all plans.
  • Split testing is available on all plans.
  • Ability to import contacts via CSV or XLS files.

Cons:

  • The 30-day free trial is limited to to only 100 contacts and 400 messages.
  • Free image hosting comes with very little storage capacity. Additional fees will be incurred to acquire larger image hosting.
  • Google Analytics costs $10 extra on a normal account (although it’s included with a Premier or Pro subscription.)
  • PicMonkey image editor is only integrated on the Pro plan.
  • Doesn’t offer free removal of logo from emails

Infusionsoft [Or Confusion-soft?]

Infusionsoft is an incredibly powerful business automation tool. It is the Rolls Royce of email marketing and customer relationship management for bloggers. It takes automation to a whole new level. It’s as close as you can get to an all-in-one solution because it includes extras such as a shopping cart.

Infusionsoft offers an online sales and marketing solution built exclusively for small businesses. It features lead generation tools and marketing automation, email and social media tools to engage and convert leads. Customer relationship management (CRM) functionality aids users in attracting leads, streamlining sales and closing deals.

E-commerce tools help with online sales, automate fulfillment and get repeat business. In addition to the software, Infusionsoft provides personalized, one-on-one coaching services to help users get up and running.

It starts at $199/month for up to 2,500 subscribers, although that’s for their basic version with a CRM system and marketing automation. As soon as you want to add in eCommerce functionality and sales automation, you’ll be look at either their $299/month or $379/month packages. For those who can afford it, it’s totally worth it.

Pros:

  • As close as you can get to an all-in-one solution.
  • Awesome campaign builder – I’m a huge fan of Infusionsoft’s flowchart-style campaign builder. It makes building email campaigns funner than you might imagine, and it’s incredibly satisfying to know that on any given day thousands of customers are all being interacted with in a personalised way, while you focus on more important matters.
  • A great community – From their private Facebook groups to their annual ‘ICON’ conference in Phoenix, Infusionsoft put a lot of effort into getting Infusionsoft users to share ideas and help one another.
  • Good deliverability rates – Compared to other marketing automation providers, Infusionsoft have good email deliverability.
  • Fantastic integrations – Awesome infrastructure for third-party apps with over 348 apps and integrations in their marketplace.
  • Infusionsoft really has the best application where you get it all under one hood. From Landing pages, web forms, CRM, and even e-commerce are all here.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve. Nicknamed confusion-soft because of this.
  • No A/B testing – This is unreal. For a service that is so heavily focused around optimising online marketing through emails and landing pages, it’s surprising that Infusionsoft has no formal ability to run split tests.
  • Set up fee of $1,999. There is a mandatory kickstarter coaching package, which is a one-off cost of $1,999

Mad Mimi

Mad Mimi is one of the easiest ways to create, send, share and track email newsletters online. Mad Mimi is for people who want email marketing to be simple. Every day, over 40 million emails are sent, shared and tracked using our delightful and powerful service.

Mad Mimi has different price plans: basic, pro, silver and gold. With Mad Mimi’s cheaper plans, your emails will be sent out more slowly than if you are on a more expensive one. In addition to creating email marketing campaigns from scratch, you can copy your campaigns with the clone tool, which allows you to adjust the original document without losing any previous versions of your work. If you accidentally delete an email campaign, Mad Mimi now allows you to undo the deletion.

Mad Mimi’s interface is simple to use, if rather brightly coloured! Mad Mimi is one of the most affordable email marketing solution available today. Their plans start at $10/month for 500 contacts. They also have a free plan that gives you storage for up to 100 subscribers.

It seems that Mad Mimi is best for those users who want a manual review of their email campaigns before they’re sent.

Pros:

  • From the reviews, they have a fantastic customer service.
  • Emails you send with Mad Mimi are 100% customizable, and it’s really easy to modify them. No HTML knowledge necessary; just design away.
  • This solution is super simple, which makes it ideal for beginning email marketers.
  • Key features are easy to find (thanks to large text links and big buttons) and users new to the world of e-marketing will find sending e-newsletters and creating autoresponder campaigns with Mad Mimi pretty straightforward.

Cons:

  • Does not have a spam checking tool
  • Does not have telephone customer support. However, their live chat support is exceptionally helpful with short wait times and is offered from Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. They also have 24/7 email support.
  • Fewer than 100 templates are offered
  • No feature to do A/B split test.

Mail Chimp

MailChimp is the world’s largest marketing automation platform and one of the most popular email service providers. Millions of customers, from small e-commerce shops to big online retailers, use MailChimp to reach their customers and grow their business.

Most bloggers start off with MailChimp because of its Forever Free Plan. The Forever Free Plan offered is a great asset for small business owners, nonprofits, or other groups that are just getting started and have a limited marketing budget. Under the Forever Free Plan, you’re able to send up to 12,000 emails per month if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers.

MailChimp integrates beautifully with WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and many other platforms.

MailChimp also comes with an easy email creator, merge tags, autoresponders, segmenting contacts into groups, and simple tracking and analytics. It also allows you to set up delivery times based on user’s timezones and setup segmenting based on geolocation.

Support is offered by email, live chat, and a huge knowledge base with how-tos, videos, and tutorials. MailChimp provides a useful mobile application for both the iPhone and Android-based mobile devices. The application acts as a shortcut to your email marketing account, enabling you to add subscribers to any of your lists, get updates about campaigns, stay apprised of social media activity, and several other helpful features.

MailChimp’s paid plans start from $10/month.

Pros:

  • Ease of use. It is easy to design a campaign template. It’s not hard to make Mailchimp emails look impressive and professional with drag & drop features, video preview rendering etc.
  • The forever free plan allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers
  • Sophisticated drag and drop editor fantastic for newsletters
  • You can schedule emails to deliver at a specific time during each time zone.

Cons:

  • MailChimp does not count a subscriber who is on multiple courses as a single distinct subscriber. So you will get double or triple billed for the same subscriber on multiple lists.
  • Autoresponder is only available on the paid plans.
  • MailChimp does not offer professional design services.
  • Your account can be deactivated for affiliate links, or for having content MailChimp finds inappropriate. The standards are sometimes not clear, giving an arbitrary and temperamental feel to their regulations.

MailerLite

MailerLite is an email marketing service provider with focus on simplicity, excellent customer support and beautiful email designs. MailerLite’s free plan is one of the most generous on the market, at unlimited emails to 1,000 subscribers with full access to all the features that are available for paying customers. With MailerLite, you have click maps, which enable you to track what your audience is interested in. Do they tend to click on pictures more than buttons? Click maps allows you to gain insight on how your audience is interacting.

With their email automation, you can introduce new customers to your products or surprise existing ones with an exclusive offer triggered by their behavior. The automation feature allows you to engage with your customers at scale with little effort.

Pros:

  • MailerLite is perfect for first time email marketers because of ease of use and its free plan
  • The free plan gives access to all the features available to paying customers.
  • Amazing features
  • MailerLite has A/B testing, basic autoresponse capabilities and the ability to embed sign-up forms on your website.
  • NO training needed
  • Completely intuitive to use. Just the best, it gives you room to test and very generous.
  • The plans are super economical and competitive.
  • MailerLite is one of the most affordable email service providers.

Cons:

  • Not enough third party integration
  • Inability to customize subscribers by alphabetical order
  • Some features for emails are only available in certain design templates.
  • Page load is sometimes very slow

Ontraport

Ontraport (formerly Office AutoPilot) is an all-in-one integrated platform that delivers essential business features, including a powerful CRM system, membership sites, one-click WordPress hosting, outstanding email delivery, payment processing, direct-mail printing, affiliate management, and their innovative business automation suite.

Ontraport is very similar to Infusionsoft in terms of price and functionality. One unique feature of Ontraport is that it owns SenPepper, a system which is similar to Ontraport, but is less robust and offered at a lower price. It’s easy to migrate from SendPepper to Ontraport which makes it a gteat choice for businesses not yet ready for either Ontraport or Infusionsoft.

Pros:

  • Powerful shopping cart features – From automated credit card payment collections to upsells and pre-made sequences designed to reduce money lost from abandoned cart payments, the Ontraport shopping cart has a lot of powerful features to reduce friction and boost conversion rates.
  • Visual campaign builder – In 2017, Ontraport announced Ontraport 5, which was one of the biggest upgrades to their platform since the original launch. At the centre of this upgrade was Ontraport’s new visual campaign builder. While the new dashboard does look great, it’d be remiss not to point out that some of Ontraport’s competitors had built similar visual dashboards several years earlier.
  • Highly scalable & less price creep than competitors – One of the most common criticisms of marketing automation tools is their price creep. Going from 1,000 contacts to 10,000 contacts on Hubspot, for example, will increase your monthly fee from $800/month to $2,400/month.
  • Great email delivery rates – Ontraport have their own dedicated IP addresses for sending emails, which have very high sender reputations, enabling you to avoid the spam box and get great email delivery rates.
  • Highly-segmented reporting – With Ontraport, everything is tracked using UTM variables, making it easy for you to know your CPA, customer lifetime value, and which lead sources or content campaigns are generating the best ROI.
  • Great customer support – While I don’t have any first-hand experience with Ontraport’s customer support, it’s evident from the hundreds of positive reviews that their support team are both technically knowledgeable and helpful in educating customers.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve – It can take weeks and months to fully understand what you can do in Ontraport. While their software does have a steep learning curve, it’s good to remember that this is the case with all marketing automation tools.
  • Duplicate records – Ontraport doesn’t make it easy to clean up your records and remove duplicate contacts. If one user downloads an eBook from your site, attends a webinar, and buys a product, they can end up being added to your database three times.
  • Not many integrations – While Ontraport do have an API and 24 partner integrations, their infrastructure for third-party apps is nowhere near as extensive as Infusionsoft.

SendInBlue

Founded by Armand Thiberge, SendInBlue was created to “democratize email marketing” and especially make the facilities available to small businesses. The goal was to formulate an efficient, simple yet powerful alternative of MailChimp.

SendinBlue is a remarkable software that provides you an intuitive interface with a gamut of services and functionality. SendinBlue offers cloud-based digital marketing tools to over 50,000 growing companies around the world. SendInBlue has a super flexible pricing plan, as well.

Their price plans are as follows:

  • Free plan for sending up to 9,000 emails per month with core features
  • $7.37/month Micro plan for up to 40k emails/month with core features
  • $39/month Bronze plan for up to 60k emails/month and unlimited features
  • $66/month Silver plan for up to 120k emails/month and unlimited features

Pros:

  • Low cost plans
  • SMS marketing tool (US only)
  • Email automation.
  • Also, if you’re looking for an easy uploader, SendInBlue is your go-to solution. SendInBlue makes uploading contact lists super easy. Drag-and-drop email editor to create beautiful, responsive emails
  • Create, send, and track transactional emails and text messages
  • Easily import, export, and manage email lists and individual contacts
  • Use marketing automation workflows to send drip emails
  • Track subscriber engagement with built-in analytics
  • Segment contacts to send the right email to the right customers

Cons:

  • Editor and templates need updating
  • Although SendInBlue allows you to embed social media sharing buttons in your emails, you have to put all the social media buttons they have in the template, regardless of whether or not you use that platform. This can be irritating.
  • Some of the reviews complain about poor customer service
  • Account set-up can be confusing. Can’t upload contacts from third parties. So-so templates.

Have I Left Out Any That Should Be in The Top 12?

As stated earlier,  I arranged the list in alphabetical order based on my understanding of what most bloggers use, on market share and reviews. Have I missed out your favorite ESP or an ESP software that should be in the top 12? Click here to leave your comments. Let’s have a conversation.

Pedro is a professional blogger, coach, copywriter and list grow strategist. He is the founder and CEO of Astute Copy Blogging. He helps entrepreneurs build large email lists that they can mobilize and monetize so that they can live the life of their dreams. He is also a pastor, an award-winning author, and a recovering attorney! He makes his home in England with his wife and their two delightful daughters.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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44 thoughts on “The Definitive Guide To The Top 12 Email Service Providers For Bloggers

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I’m currently using Mail Chimp’s Free program, as I haven’t even begun to build a list yet, but I am thoroughly confused on how to integrate it with my site and set up automated emails for new subscribers.

    I’m thinking I really need to focus on figuring this out and developing a strong plan to build my list. Thanks again!

    • Hi Jaimie,

      Thanks for stopping by. Mail Chimp is a great email service software. However they don’t offer autoresponders on their forever free program. If you are serious about building your email list and want to integrate it with your website and have autoresponder emails, then I suggest you go with MailerLite. Their free program is available for the first 1000 email subscribers and you will have access to all their features including automation.

      Check them out by clicking here

      Let us know if you have any help 🙂

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  2. This is very thorough. Most folks just name one or two, three at the most and it’s usually the same ones. This shows you how much choice there is around actually when it comes to email listings.

    • Hey Vladimir,

      Great to see here on Astute Copy Blogging. Delighted you like it. And thank you for your kind words. They are music to our ears 🙂

      Best regards,

      Pedro

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by. Delighted you found it useful. Good luck with your email list building.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

    • Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for stopping by. Super delighted that you found it useful 🙂
      Get started on your list building. Right away. Don’t delay any second longer. It will stand you and your business in good stead.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  3. Wow… This is a very detailed article, didnt know there this many email service providers out there. My favorites still remains mailchimp and constant contact..

    • Hey Mariam,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you found our post very detailed and helpful 🙂 MailChimp is great when you’re starting out. And Constant Contact is fantastic.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

    • Hi Caroline,

      Glad you liked it 🙂 And thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  4. This post came at a perfect time for me as I’ve just signed up for MailChimp and was trying to figure it out. I’m building my business from scratch and was told this was the way to go. Thank you for so much in-depth information on the options!

    • Hi Emily,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Delighted you found the article helpful 🙂 MailChimp is great for those just starting out. Good luck with your list building. If you need any help with growing your list, let us know.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  5. Thanks so much for this, as I am currently w/Mailchimp but nobody opens up my emails (and I have to get better at sending them) thanks for this! I’m going to check out a couple that you shared.

  6. Didn’t realize there were so many email options. I used the free version of Mailchimp in the past but the limitation were just stifling my ability to grow my email list. So I switched to Mailerlite and I’m so thankful I did.

  7. This is a post that I will be keeping in my back pocket because I am thinking about changing my email subscription provider. It is great to have all of these details to make a more informed decision.

    • Hi Lian,

      I love the way you say you will be keeping the post in your back pocket 🙂 You’ve made my day 🙂 🙂
      But seriously, thanks fir stopping by and doing our conversation.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

    • Hey Tina,

      Thanks for stopping by. Delighted you found the post informative and useful. Let us know if you need any help.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

    • Hey Jennifer,

      Thanks for stopping by. And delighted you found it informative. Goof luck with your email marketing.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  8. I use MailerLite and I LOVE it! 🙂 Especially the customer service. If I’m having an issue, I’ll email them and start going about my day, thinking I won’t hear from them until the next day, or at least a few hours. NOPE! Never! They reply within the first 10 minutes, every time so far. They’re awesome. In my opinion, the best 3 (not necessarily in order, since MailerLite is the only one I’ve tried) are MailerLite, ConvertKit and Mail Chimp.

    • Hey Victori

      Thanks for stopping by. Delighted you found the post interesting. And thank you for adding value to the conversation with your meaningful comment. MailerLite is great, although I have recently had to move from MailerLite to ActiveCampaign. I will explain why in a future blog post.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  9. Hello Pedro,

    Mail Chimp is my favorite email marketing tool among the listed ones. Since its free I had been using it since a long time and getting good results.

    Thanks for sharing all the email providers in a single post.

    • Hey Ajay,

      Delighted you liked our post. MailChimp is great, especially when you’re just stating out. Unfortunately, automation is only available on their paid plans.

      Best regards,

      Pedro

    • Hi Martin,

      Thanks for stopping by and joining our conversation. I can see you’re in safe hands because AWeber is an awesome ESP!

      Best regards,

      Pedro

  10. Great advice! I really need to get my email list started. I’ll keep your advice in mind when setting up my accounts and schedule. Thank you very much!

  11. This is so useful. I was thinking of using MailChimp, but wasn’t sure if it was right for me or if I needed to use a mail server outside my blog. You’ve gave me things to consider

    • Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for stopping by. Super excited you found the article helpful 🙂 Feel free to contact us if you require any help.

      Best regards,

      Pedro