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Need to grow your business profile, but don't have the budget? Two of the most well-rounded free email marketing services are offered by Sendinblue and Moosend. Sendinblue offers users the ability to send 300 emails to unlimited contacts for free, while inversely, Moosend offers unlimited emails to up to 1,000 contacts. Both providers offer solid selections of features and tools that you can use to enhance and optimize your email campaigns, too.
Email marketing is a borderline essential way to both get your name out there, and keep a touch point with your existing customers. However, a small business might be wary of investing in something like email marketing, due to unfamiliarity with the concept or software. That's where free plans come in.
Multiple email marketing software platforms offer free plans that suit very small businesses or people looking to experiment with each platform. You can then upgrade to a paid plan when the time is right.
Best Free Email Marketing Services for Small Businesses
There are four major email marketing software platforms that offer free plans worthy of in-depth discussion: Sendinblue, Mailchimp, MailerLite and Moosend.
The Sendinblue free plan is pretty well stocked. You can send up to 300 emails per day, and while this might be a smaller amount than your average email audience, it's especially good considering you're given unlimited contacts. It's just about enough to maintain a frequent, consistent relationship with all your loyal customers, over time.
When creating your emails (and text messages), you'll be able to use their mobile and PC-friendly builder, as well as get full access to their template library. You'll also be able to personalize emails and texts, based on the recipient.
Finally, you'll have access to email support, real-time reporting, a workflow editor, and transactional emails – which are sent to individuals when they perform specific actions, such as after buying a product or signing up to your mailing list.
Should You Pay for Sendinblue?
The next tier up, the Lite tier, costs $25 per month. This removes the daily send limit, but beyond that, doesn't offer you any new features or tools. The free plan daily limit of 300 is quite restrictive, but if you can work your way around that then it's worth sticking to the free plan – it offers everything the paid tier does, and $25/month is a steep step up.
However, if your business is planning on growing, the free plan simply won't work, as this sending limit is just too restrictive. This does, however, make the free plan a great trial for a paid plan.
- A lot of great features as standard
- Well-stocked free plan
- Brilliant CRM and automation
- No mobile app
- Low to no social media integration
Mailchimp offers 10,000 monthly emails and up to 2,000 contacts for free. The selection of features within the plan isn't the biggest, but let's have a closer look.
You'll be able to use an email builder, as well as some useful marketing CRM tools. You get a handful of selected templates from the Mailchimp library, as well as ‘abandoned cart' emails, a one-click automated welcome email, and some basic reporting tools.
It's not too deep, but we think those limits are fair for a free plan, and it might be just enough to keep a small business on its feet for a few months.
Should You Pay for Mailchimp?
The next tier up starts at $9.99 per month, which is pretty affordable. There are still some limits imposed on contacts (a maximum of 50,000) and emails (500,000 per month) but we think these are generous enough for the cost, and will easily cater for what a small business needs to begin with.
Some noteworthy features added when you upgrade include email scheduling, A/B testing, and live chat support lines, so you can improve your efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism. Since the price point isn't too high, it might be worth considering investing a few dollars in Mailchimp if you're serious about expanding your reach as a business.
- Great integration with ecommerce apps
- Quite cheap
- Great analytics, social media, and transactional emails
- No A/B testing
- Low CRM functionality
MailerLite's free plan offers 12,000 monthly emails, and up to 5,000 subscribers. This plan also comes with a drag-and-drop email editor, as well as a photo editor and file manager.
You'll also be able to implement a variety of forms within your emails, including embedded or pop-up forms. Plus, you can create both landing pages and unsubscribe pages. And with segmentation, A/B testing, and interest groups, you'll be able to sort your subscribers into well-defined roles.
Should You Pay for MailerLite?
MailerLite's premium pricing is dictated by the amount of subscribers you enroll in your plan. Going from 1 subscriber to 10,000, this ranges from $10 to $50 per month. As far as what you get for your money, you'll be offered live chat support, a custom HTML editor, and newsletter templates.
You'll also get custom domains, auto-resend, and delivery by time zone, which can help optimize when customers open your emails. Click maps, A/B testing, and the ability to create templates are also all unlocked through paid tiers.
While these extra features are useful to have, none of them are absolutely pivotal when it comes to setting up your email marketing as a small business. We'd recommend starting with the free plan and seeing how it goes. With the fairly generous limits included in the free tier, it's entirely possible that it might last you a good length of time before you need to look at upgrading.
- Good range of automation features
- 3 variable A/B testing
- Directly integrates with Facebook
- No A/B testing in automation workflow
- Limited CRM and Social integrations
Straight off the bat, Moosend offers unlimited emails through its free plan, which is revolutionary! However, this is slightly offset by the subscriber limit, capping out at just 1,000 subscribers.
Even so, the list of features is extremely robust, including templates, embeddable and pop-up forms, and a workflow automation designer. Plus, the tracking and analytics features are both very deep, allowing you to get a better view of your audience's behavior and activity.
Should You Pay for Moosend?
Moosend's lowest paid tier is only $8 per month, which is very affordable for what it offers. This price does scale with the amount of subscribers you add, however, potentially reaching $608 per month if you reach 200,000 customers. So if you're looking to scale quickly, another email marketing service will offer better value.
As with the free plan, the emails are still unlimited, and you get all of the same features included. However, on top of all this, you'll also get transactional emails, landing pages, phone support, and an SMTP server. These features arguably aren't crucial (except maybe transactional emails), but the increase in subscribers is likely going to be a necessary step for any growing business. On the whole, Moosend's free plan is more competitive than its paid service, and perfect for sending regular emails to a small, loyal audience.
- A good platform purely for emails
- Lower price point
- Not much beyond emails
- No mobile app
Paid vs Free Email Marketing Services
A common theme that arises when comparing free email marketing services and paid services, is that the free tiers are only suitable for business up to a certain point. Any growing business might find themselves feeling cramped fairly quickly, within the limits for send volume and number of contacts/subscribers.
Really, the two methods, free and paid, shouldn't be viewed as opposites, but steps along the same journey, with paid options being the natural progression, after using a free plan.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for a small business, with the potential return on investment (ROI) up to 4,400%. This means that once you've dabbled in a free plan for a couple of months, and tested the water, you can be confident that whatever initial results you see will increase hugely when you sign up to a paid plan.
If you're already straining the shackles of free email marketing services' limits, it might be time to spread your wings into the infinite sky of professional email marketing.
Email Marketing Free Trials
Some email marketing software providers don't offer free plans, but instead offer free trials. Unlike the plans, these are not indefinite, so you'll need to either opt for a paid tier after your allotted trial time (usually around a month), or drop the software entirely.
The good news with these free trials is that you'll often be given a lot more than you're given in a free plan. Since a free trial is a business's way of pitching its product to you, they'll typically give you loads more to work with, in order to tempt you into fully investing.
Some notable free trials include:
GetResponse: Offers unlimited emails for up to 1,000 contacts. You'll have access to a website builder, as well as web forms and surveys, as well as automation tools. This trial lasts for 30 days.
Constant Contact: Offers unlimited emails for up to 100 contacts. You'll be able to use their templates and builder to make appealing emails. This trial lasts for 60 days.
ActiveCampaign: Offers 100 emails for up to 100 contacts. This includes every feature within the Professional tier (their second highest tier). This trial lasts for 14 days.
Which Free Plan Is for You?
Unfortunately, no free tier offers both unlimited emails and subscribers, but these are still very generous plans, and well worth considering if you're starting a business's email campaign.
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