Email marketing is a quintessential and powerful weapon for small businesses. There is no shortage of choice in email marketing software. Some are free but many require monthly or annual subscription. Manual email marketing becomes unfeasible with a growing list so it makes sense to consider using software to simplify and automate the process.

Some of the most widely used email marketing software systems right now are MailChimp, Aweber, Active Campaign, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor, ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign. Let’s take a closer look…

MailChimp

I’m a fan of MailChimp – it’s easy to use with great looking templates, easy drag and drop builder and far more. MailChimp offers a free starting point with a list of 2000 names or less. After the 2000th subscriber pricing is based on a monthly fee dependant on the size of your list.

MailChimp integrates with Social Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more allowing your readers share your newsletter with one click.

One of the key features of any email marketing platform is reporting and MailChimp offer easy to use reporting with stats like.
• How many emails were opened in your last campaign?
• What links were clicked?
• List growth and more

MailChimp, uses relatively clean CSS for it’s embed codes and they provide a handy MailChimp WordPress Plugin to make it easy to add a subscription form to your website
With a One Click Unsubscribe MailChimp automatically cleans up your subscriber list. This means it is just as easy to unsubscribe as it is to mark the email as spam thereby reducing the chances of jeopardising your lists reputation.

Whether you are putting together an event on EventBrite, a survey on SurveyGizmo or want to see Google Analytics reports from your email surveys MailChimp will integrate with all of these services and more.

Game Changer! MailChimp goes beyond email marketing and launches support for Facebook ad campaigns

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a highly intuitive solution. It has a professionally designed interface that is easy to use. The software doesn’t charge for email addresses that have unsubscribed from your mailing lists. You can easily opt for segmentation of your database or emailing list for targeted marketing. This truly simplifies marketing automation, at least with emails. ConvertKit has quite a few disadvantages. The pricing doesn’t suit for most small businesses. There are more affordable solutions out there. There are no branching or conditional abilities right now with the automations. The software doesn’t have any free trial which is really a shortcoming given its high price tag.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign has a very simple interface. It truly makes email automation easy with the workflows, tagging and other very utilitarian segmentation features. You can conveniently conduct split testing to perfect your email campaigns. You don’t get charged for the same subscriber if it is on different mailing lists on your existing account. The problem with ActiveCampaign lies in the web form builder. It is limited. The affiliate links are also under substantial restriction.

Aweber

Aweber is a popular email marketing software. It is reliable, there are easy stepwise guides, the wizards are helpful and there are many third party tools available within the interface or you can integrate them. Aweber doesn’t have an advanced auto responder, the split testing features are very basic and there is no built-in automation you can use.

GetResponse

GetResponse is powerful, reliable and has flexible auto responder options. It is good for split testing and there are many message builders including customizable forms. It is one of the more affordable email marketing software around right now. But it doesn’t have any automation feature.

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is a feature rich email marketing tool. Autopilot is another great option if you wish to automate emails.

As with any decision which affects your business long term consider your needs, budget and options. You can make an informed choice.