Consider this speed dating for email marketing platforms – minus the awkwardness. If you’re starting to dabble in email marketing (smart move!) but feel overwhelmed with where to begin, I’m about to take you on a whistlestop tour of the available platforms and give you a brutally honest guide to your options, with pros and cons for each one.
There are obviously countless platforms out there, but we’ll spotlight the handful that you’re most likely to come across. There truly is no right or wrong answer, though– each has its own strengths that might be a perfect fit for what you need, or it might be lacking in exactly what you’re looking for.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
In their words: “ActiveCampaign gives you the email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM tools you need to create incredible customer experiences.”
The good stuff: ActiveCampaign’s integrations and automations are second to none. It’s super seamless, clean and responsive. You can get real up close and personal with your audience with highly targeted emails, monitoring customer behaviour, and targeting different kinds of leads.
The not-so-good stuff: Such robust features naturally means the platform might feel a bit… complex. If you’re a total newbie, this can be off-putting– especially as they don’t offer a free option like other platforms. But if you’re serious about levelling up, ActiveCampaign is the perfect platform to support your growth.
In their words: “Engage your customers and boost your business with Mailchimp’s advanced, yet easy‑to‑use marketing platform.”
The good stuff: There’s obvs a reason Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms. If you’re just getting started dipping your toes in the ocean of emails, their free plan is handy– it comes with a nice variety of features and a generous allowance of free subscribers. Emails are simple to build with their drag and drop editor, too.
The not-so-good stuff: Remember when I said it was simple? That’s also Mailchimp’s downfall. Emails aren’t very customisable (unless you’re a pro-coder), the drag and drop building blocks can feel frustratingly clunky, and the templates just don’t feel super modern. Mailchimp also charges per contact rather than per subscriber, so you’ve got to remember to regularly ditch inactive contacts.
Being totally transparent, Mailchimp is our least favourite option of the bunch and unless you are on the tightest of tight budgets, we would recommend avoiding it with a ten-foot pole.
In their words: “Design emails people love to open. Beginners and experts use Flodesk to grow their business.”
The good stuff: Beautiful. Stunning. Gorgeous. If creating visually eye-catching and cohesively branded emails, minus the tech headache, is your bag, Flodesk has got you covered. Their range of templates and movable blocks means you can easily craft professional, high quality emails without any experience at all. They’re perfect for service-based entrepreneurs.
The not-so-good stuff: It’s a newer platform than the other big-hitters, and their features aren’t super-advanced, yet. It’s much more simple, which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on what you’re looking for and what stage of the game you’re at. But if you’re an e-commerce brand or you want super robust features, powerful automations, and in-depth analytics, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
In their words: “Sendinblue is the smartest and most intuitive platform for growing businesses. Thrive digitally as we guide your business with the right marketing & sales tools.”
The good stuff: Sendinblue originally started by offering solely transactional emails, but they’ve branched out and now provide general mass email services. If you want to dabble in SMS marketing too, this is the one for you. Their pricing is really decent– and you get a solid range of features for the cost, too. (Plus unlimited contacts!)
The not-so-good stuff: Their free plan has some limitations that could be a stumbling block if you’re working with other people or looking to grow: for example, you can’t set up logins for multiple users, or send more than 300 emails in a day. The email templates and designs aren’t as visually slick and modern as platforms like Flodesk, either.
In their words: “Run sophisticated multi-channel marketing campaigns that are proven to drive more sales – all with zero coding skills required.”
The good stuff: Running an eCommerce biz? Drip is amazing for shop management and renowned for its eCom CRM features. You also get to access all features on every single plan, which is a bonus. Drip is easy and fun to use, with great automation triggers so you can pounce on your customer’s every move.
The not-so-good stuff: If you’re an entrepreneur or small business just setting up and getting started, you probably won’t be able to really make the most of Drip. Their automation features and workflows are incredible, but the price tag isn’t cheap– so if you’ve only got a few subscribers, it won’t be worth the expense.
In their words: “Turn one–time visitors into customers for life. How? With Klaviyo’s data‑proven marketing platform. Send relevant, well-timed emails and SMS that increase lifetime values. (Plus, it’s easy.)”
The good stuff: When it comes to integrations, Klaviyo scores big. You can truly create a seamless user experience with their countless integration options (no seriously, there are hundreds). Their automations are also great, with pre-built flow options to save you time.
The not-so-good stuff: Klaviyo’s free plan includes 250 contacts and 500 email sends– which, when compared to other options like Mailchimp, is nothing. As soon as you’re serious about growth and taking your email marketing to the next level, you’ve got to fork out the cash (and it ain’t cheap).
There are plenty more options out there, so feel free to shop around if none of the above quite tick all your unique boxes.
Here’s the tea…
Flodesk is the perfect entry-level email marketing platform, it has the best mix of ease of use, features, and a budget-friendly price tag. If you’re on the hunt for something more robust and with more sophisticated automations, Active Campaign is our favourite. We’ve tried a few over the years but those are the ones we use and love.
If you’re crippled with indecision, just pick one, start with their free option (if they offer it!), and dive right in. Play around with their templates, customisability, segmenting options, and other features. It’ll be obvious pretty quickly if it’s the right fit for you.
And most of all, have fun with it! Create beautiful stuff, get to know your audience on a new level and explore the complex new world of email marketing. Email marketing truly is one of the best ways to grow, nurture and build trust your community.
Oh, and if you’re tempted to let perfectionism creep in and ruin the show when it comes to emailing your community, check out this post here.
Speaking of email lists… Want to join our two thousand strong email community and receive regular emails straight to your inbox with all of our best brand-building tips and tricks? Just click here and we’ll see you in your inbox soon!
Just a heads up – If you sign up for ActiveCampaign or Flodesk using our affiliate links we get a small commission that helps to support us as a small business BUT I hope it goes without saying that we wouldn’t promote anything that we don’t use and love ourselves.