Email Marketing Services Reviews 2018: GetResponse vs AWeber vs MailChimp vs Constant Contact vs iContact Etc

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If email marketing isn’t a part of your business, the number one question we ask you is: what are you waiting for?! Email marketing is a must to keep your customers engaged and your business booming. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2016 study, the ROI is $44 for every $1 spent on email marketing (up from $38 the previous year), despite the proliferation of promising new digital channels. As with most things tech-related, email marketing is growing exponentially, not just with the number of service providers out there but with the increasingly advanced tech features that are becoming the norm. There are SO many good ones to choose from (in fact, we review over 20 here!). But how do you even begin to weed them out? That’s where we come in. We’ve broken down the most popular email marketing service providers out there and given you recommendations on our Top three winners for Best Email Marketing Service provider. You’ll also find our “Best of” reviews helpful to choose the best email marketing software specific to the type of business you have and your needs.

Top Email Marketing Companies

Below you’ll find more details on features, pros, cons, and pricing plans for each provider. Or continue reading to learn more about email marketing service providers (EMSPs) in general, common features you should expect, industry terminology and more.

What Should Most Email Marketing Services Have in Common?

It’s important to know what email marketing companies have in common, so we can leave these criteria out of our pro and con lists below. In order to even stay in business, an EMSP needs to have relationships with the major ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, Verizon, Juno, etc. If they didn’t, emails would get blacklisted and clients, unable to reach their customers, would not be happy. They all advertise as having the best “whitelisting” relationships with ISP’s, but the truth is – the arrangements are more or less the same. The important thing is that the email marketing provider have the support and staff necessary to maintain the relationships, analyze the SMTP send logs, etc.

Anti-Spam Policies

Along the same lines, an email marketing brand must have an anti-spam policy in place to keep many users from being blacklisted in the event that one user misbehaves. Constant Contact, Vertical Response, StreamSend, and iContact and the rest of the lot typically take the same anti-spam measures. Common anti-spam measures, in accordance with CAN-SPAM (an official anti-spam policy), are the requirements to include a postal address, unsubscribe option, information on how the recipient joined the list in each email newsletter, and not using false or misleading headers and subject lines.

A Note on Newsletter Archiving and SEO

Many service providers, such as Constant Contact, offer a free or paid service that will archive your organization’s old email newsletters on their website. This is not always ideal for you, from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) point of view. Your email newsletter contains valuable content relevant to your business that could be indexed by search engines. If the content is archived/hosted on the EMSP’s servers, however, you won’t get credit for it, and may miss out on valuable website traffic. Look to either archive your old newsletters on your own website, or find a way to copy/paste the archive from their service over to yours.

Best Entry Level EMSP’s

From our research, Benchmark, Get Response, Campaigner, Mail Chimp, Stream Send, Vertical Response, Constant Contact, iContact and Active Campaign provide the best entry-level opportunities for small businesses. These services offer a good balance of pricing (low-cost per month per subscriber and email send count), reliability, flexibility (email template design and management) and reporting (bounce, unsubscribe, spam reports, etc.). In addition, they all provide online support communities where users can interact with other users, share their opinions on the service, as well as get support from administrators and extensive knowledge bases.

GetResponse Review


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GetResponse is our winner for best email marketing service. Their user-friendly interface and email intelligence makes GetResponse one of the easiest programs to jump into and get emailing in no time, and they have more than 350,000 customers to prove it. GetResponse actively helps you improve your campaigns to better reach and connect with your audience every step of the way. Other no cost perks include: online surveys, inbox preview, autoresponder and social networking integration. And, they get high marks for customer service, which goes a long way in our book. Monthly pricing starts at $15/month for 1,000 subscribers (our readers have access to a 10% discount if they use the links above). You get a lot of bang for your buck with their monthly accounts – more than most other email marketing service providers. What are their limitations? Advanced list segmentation and html-based email customization.

Get Response offers a 30-Day Free Trial.



  • Time Travel sends your email at the optimal local time to maximize open rate
  • Creating a newsletter is incredibly intuitive with Email Creator; advanced users have access to a full HTML editor
  • List Booster allows you to import email addresses 16 ways
  • Social sharing with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest
  • Interconnect with 100+ apps/software, including PayPal, Google & more
  • Customer support is available via email, phone and 24/7 live chat
  • Built-in statistics tracking service
  • 1,000+ free iStock photos
  • Free survey feature
  • QR code generator
  • Multimedia Center: create audio and video files
  • Email Intelligence & enhanced reporting features
  • Spam Assassin is integrated into message editor
  • RSS to email
  • Inbox preview
  • iPhone and Android app
  • Landing Page Creator
  • Webinars
  • No free plan
  • Once you have uploaded images to their database, it might prove difficult to find the imported images to actually use them
  • Email customization is limited compared to other services
  • No phone support on weekends
  • Must pay extra for dedicated IP address
  • List segmentation is limited

Read our full review of GetResponse

Coupon Code

Our readers have exclusive access to 10% off of GetResponse (you must use the link to the left to get this offer)! You can discuss this discount and others on our dedicated GetResponse coupon page.

Campaigner Review


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Campaigner is our #2 choice for best email marketing service. Campaigner has an entry price at $19.95 for up to 1,000 subscribers. This paired with a 30-day free trial will likely be just what most small businesses need to get rolling. They also have one of the best reputations for customer service, offering around the clock, 24/7 support. Boasting more than 800 email templates, they have one of the largest libraries of creatives to help you make a unique impact on your customers. Lastly, they include 50mb CDN media/image hosting, A/B testing, social media integration and autoresponder at no additional cost. The only real negatives would be if you plan to do any online surveys, this will cost you more with Campaigner than some which include it in the monthly email cost but the tradeoffs may still make it worth your while. A unique feature offered by Campaigner is the Template Builder, which is easy to use. If you don’t like the editor you can upload your own design.

Try a 30-day free trial of Campaigner.



  • Excellent customer service reputation with little to no wait times
  • Large number of customizable email newsletter templates
  • A solid and flexible newsletter template editor
  • Fast sending of email newsletters (a couple of minutes)
  • Contact manager that lets you import your contacts from popular email providers
  • Automatically removes unsubscribes and bounces
  • Reports best performing links, click trends, heat maps, workflows & more
  • API integration into existing data systems
  • Trigger campaigns based on specific dates, times, events, form submissions, etc.
  • SMTP Relay ensures transactional emails get delivered to customers’ inboxes
  • Automated opt in/opt out
  • Provides high volume contact options for larger businesses
  • Excellent resource center with video tutorials, webinars and email marketing how-to brochures
  • RSS feed integration
  • No internal support for surveys or event marketing features
  • Spam checking is very limited; no spam score tool
  • Advanced features can get costly
  • Doesn’t offer nearly as many app/software integration choices as other top services
  • Must pay extra for dynamic content in emails
  • Google Analytics isn’t fully integrated
  • No Android app
  • Credit card required for free trial
  • Must have a plan that allows more than 15,000 contacts to remove Campaigner logo from emails

Read our full review of Campaigner

Coupon Codes

Campaigner occassionally has seasonal coupon codes, visit our dedicated Campaigner coupon page.

iContact Review



iContact remains our third choice for best email marketing service provider this year. iContact offers very competitive pricing plans for their basic services (starting at $14/month for 500 subscribers) with a wide array of features. Their premier services, however, seem to be their best-selling point. With i Contact premier you get a dedicated account manager to focus on your email design, campaign and analytics, but it’s unclear how much this will cost you — you have to contact them for pricing. How reliable are they? Read the pros and cons to find out how iContact compares to others.

iContact also offers a free trial account.



  • Competitive pricing
  • Good advising support with premier level
  • Offers flexible options for subscriber sign-up forms
  • HTML editor for email newsletter templates
  • Seamless integration with Salesforce for stronger CRM programs
  • List segmentation by demographics, interests, and subscriber behaviors
  • Supports 5mb for online image storage
  • iPhone and Android mobile apps
  • Developer portal and API
  • Comprehensive contact manager with bounceback handling & history reports
  • 97% delivery success rate
  • Spam checking
  • Data tracking, see who opens, clicks, and unsubscribes from your emails
  • Autoresponders
  • Social media management tools
  • Split A/B testing
  • No credit card required for free trial
  • No weekend customer support
  • Responsive landing pages not available with basic level
  • No internal survey support
  • RSS to email is limited and hard to use
  • Integration of software/apps is fairly limited
  • We’ve heard reports that their support system is not nearly as good as the competition (i.e. inexperienced support staff, long wait times, etc.)
  • Support community appears to be more of a “content blog” where people can post content on various topics completely unrelated to email marketing

Read our full review of iContact

Coupon Code

iContact occassionally has seasonal coupon codes, visit our dedicated iContact coupon page.

Our “Best of” Email Marketing Reviews

Now that you have an idea of what EMSP’s can offer you and our picks for the overall best three EMSPs, we’re going to dig a little more deeply into this industry so you can find the email marketing provider that fits the unique needs of your business or organization. Click on one of the links below to go to a “Best of” review you’re interested in.

Email Marketing Service Comparison Table

Email Marketing Service Comparison TableTo help you sort through the email marketing madness, we’ve created an email marketing comparison table that highlights the main features of each EMSP (Email Marketing Service Provider), along with their pros and cons.

Due to the large size of our EMSP comparison table, we are putting it on a separate page so you can reference it more easily. Please visit our Email Marketing Services Comparison Table (or click on the image at left) for pricing and feature details of the EMSP’s we review in this article. We’ll continue adding EMSP’s to the table as we gather data, and update existing ones as they add and support new features.

Best for Small Businesses & Nonprofits: Benchmark Review

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A solid and progressive email marketing provider, Benchmark has stepped up its competitive edge with their Free Plan for Life, which gives you up to 2,000 contacts per month with many standard and advanced features that other service providers don’t offer for free. On top of that, Benchmark offers free surveys, polls and event marketing, as well as the option of having a private IP address ($28.95 per month) and a dedicated server ($199 one-time set up fee) for large volume senders. The majority of providers don’t even offer these extended features. What we really like is that they genuinely care about their customers’ concerns, and this is showcased by their in-dash feedback forum where you can voice your concerns without ever navigating away from the page. Benchmark pricing starts at $11.95 per month for 600 emails, and they give nonprofit 501(3)(c) organizations a 25% discount on all services. Click here to get started with their Free Plan for Life.



  • One of few providers that offers a free forever plan
  • Interactive video and links make email campaigns look great and stand out from other template designs
  • Fantastic systematic approach and drag and drop features make designing and producing templates easy to understand and easy to do
  • 10mb image hosting, 50mb for high-volume accounts
  • Social sharing with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Html template archive
  • Split A/B testing, inbox preview
  • API access, RSS to email
  • Event marketing, polling and survey features with easy to use templates
  • Dozens of app integrations, including Google Analytics, Zapier, PayPal, Salesforce and more
  • Solid tracking and reporting features and list management
  • Mobile apps for iPhone and Android
  • Intuitive marketing team will assume all responsibility and create marketing campaigns for you with only an email list, pictures, and an idea of what you want to say
  • Fantastic customer service
  • Private IP address costs an extra $28.95 per month, regardless of your subscriber plan
  • Does not allow for the use of attachments in marketing campaigns but they do give you up to 10mb per file to store and link to them on their server
  • Built-in import features for third-party address books are very limited
  • Limited phone support (hours are unlisted), but they do offer live chat 24/7
  • No social media or sales tracking

Read our full review of Benchmark

Best For Large Companies: Pinpointe Review

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Pinpointe touts itself as “Email Marketing for Power Users,” a cloud-based, advanced service geared toward B2B (business to business) email marketers and larger volume senders. They deliver all the features advanced email marketers want and their automation is one of the best we’ve seen. Including sub-accounts for universities and larger companies (in the Enterprise version), surveys, advanced reports including click heat maps, easy to use campaign builders and trigger and drip campaigns with flexible and dynamic segmentation. While some of the more sophisticated services can get overwhelming, Pinpointe offers a surprisingly easy, intuitive interface, and users rave about their knowledgeable and responsive customer service. Pinpointe’s pricing scale is clearly geared toward power users. Their lowest monthly plan listed online starts at $49 per month for 5,000 contacts, but you do get a 10% discount if you pre-pay for 6 months or more. They also offer pay as you go pricing and a 15-day free trial period (no credit card required).

Try Pinpointe’s 15-day free trial.



  • Unlimited image hosting and more than 1,000 templates
  • They offer unbranded emails with any paid account
  • User friendly interface and wizard make the process easy
  • Unused email credits roll over each month up to one year
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Inbox preview with 50+ email clients
  • Excellent autoresponders, A/B split testing, behavioral targeting and triggered campaigns
  • Real-time tracking and analytics
  • Google Analytics and Salesforce integration
  • XML API connector for developers
  • Social sharing with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, including tracking and reporting
  • RSS archiving
  • Robust survey feature with drag and drop, customizable editor and analytics
  • Cheapest monthly plan listed starts at $49 for 5,000 contacts
  • Could use more customer support hours considering they’re a higher end service – no weekend phone or live chat hours
  • Apps/integrations don’t appear to be nearly as numerous as competitors

Best For Ecommerce: SendinBlue Review

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Originally designed for online merchants, SendinBlue is a relative newcomer to the email marketing software world. But they’ve made great strides (20,000 global customers), considering they’ve only been in business since September of 2012. Their approach combines email marketing campaigns, transactional emails and SMS (text) mobile messaging to best meet their users’ needs, and many of their best features are geared to the customer sales process. There are some substantial missing features, but there’s been a lot of buzz about SendinBlue recently, so we think they’re worth trying out. And you can do so for free! One of their most attractive features is their free forever plan that includes 600 emails per day. Pricing starts at an amazing $7.37 for 40,000 emails per month, and they also offer a pay as you go plan, which starts at $27 for 5,000 email credits. Learn more in our interview with CMO, Amalia Bercot.



  • Monthly pricing is very competitive, and SendinBlue offers a pay as you go plan
  • Drag and drop editor, emails ready for mobile and tablet screens
  • A major focus on transactional emails (product ordering, confirmations, etc.)
  • SMS (text) messaging, including transactional SMS feature
  • Solid tracking and reporting – order tracking, real-time tracking, SMTP module specifically designed for transactional emails
  • Autoresponders
  • Google Analytics integration
  • You can import sales orders
  • Behavioral segmentation and personalization based on customer purchase habits
  • Heat mapping tells you which areas of your email are being clicked through
  • Dedicated IP address (added cost)
  • API available
  • Social media sharing with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Full feature plug-ins with Magento, Prestashop, WordPress and Drupal, WooCommerece, Jimdo and Wix
  • Fully featured, free forever plan gives you 9,000 emails per month with unlimited contacts
  • Optional SMS plan, which starts at $1.34 for 100 credits
  • No internal survey feature (and no integration with third-party survey app that we could find)
  • No RSS to email or split A/B testing, which are fairly standard features these days
  • You can only import contacts using CSV or TXT files
  • Your only customer support option is via their email ticketing process and by phone, but they don’t list their hours (they’re based in the US and in Paris)
  • Limited integrations than many of their competitors, but you can connect with Salesforce, Shopify and Highrise via Zapier
  • Email template selection is very limited, but they have been adding more templates, are working on adding more in the future and do offer transactional email templates as well

Best Overall Value: Mailigen Review

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Mailigen is a great option for beginners and experts alike due to its effortless customizations and wide array of features that make crafting a unique marketing strategy fun and effective. There are a few shortcomings, however, like limited stock images and template selections. All things considered, Mailigen is a fantastic option loaded with features that make for a solid product. Pricing starts at $10/month for up to 500 subscribers and $20 for 1,000 email credits (used like postage stamps). They offer discounts for 6 and 12 month pre-pay accounts and 25% off for nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.

Try Mailigen’s 30-day free trial.



  • Their custom template design services are a reasonable $200 with a 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Employ deliverability specialists and strategic account representatives which provide top of the line help and support
  • You can request your own IP address which will further protect you against spam and malware
  • Best SMS (text) integration we’ve seen includes SMS list segmentation, tracking and reporting, plus you get 200 free SMS credits with every monthly account
  • Solid integration with Google Analytics, WordPress, Magento, Zapier, Facebook,Shopify and more
  • Social media sharing options are impressive – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, and more
  • Dynamic Content and Behavioral Segmentation Features allow you to target very specific interest groups which makes for creating custom emails cost-effective
  • Email Setup Wizard walks you through email content creation so novice users can showcase professional-looking products
  • Drag and drop editor is one of the best we’ve seen, letting you incorporate, video, images, social media buttons and more into mobile-ready templates
  • One of the most affordable services we’ve found for the number of features you get
  • Email support 24/7
  • Mailigen’s branding appears on every email for free trial users
  • Contact importing is limited, only allowing Excel, cvs and txt files
  • Their resource section could be more helpful
  • After your 200 free SMS credits you must pay for additional credits
  • No weekend customer support for phone and live chat on weekends

Best Free Plan: MailChimp Review

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MailChimp is one of the more popular choices for email marketing software, largely because they offer the best free plan compared to all other services. And it’s an impressive plan – you get 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month, free forever. They offer a simple and fun interface and have a lot of features for beginners and budget conscious users. MailChimp has a mid-sized business plan for $10 per month and an enterprise-level Pro plan that has some sophisticated advanced features, but you’ll pay for these features (starting at $199 per month).



  • Free for up to 2,000 subscribers
  • MailChimp’s HTML templates are easy to use, and you can use their WYSIWYG editor to customize your own designs
  • An Inbox Inspector add-on that lets you generate over 25 screenshots of your email in all major email applications, as well as live tests from all the major ISPs to see if spam filters are triggered
  • Track where your sign-ups originated from, which will help you optimize your opt-out prevention methods
  • Hundreds of integrations, including Google Analytics
  • Sign-up forms can be customized and embedded anywhere
  • Straightforward contact list management and easy import of contacts via cvs file
  • Live chat
  • Internal surveys
  • Automation feature makes autoresponding, segmentation and triggering easy
  • Automatically removes old/incorrect email addresses that bounce to keep lists healthy
  • Importing of contact lists could be easier
  • Importing templates from existing website graphics would be a great add-on. It takes some work to get your email template looking like you want it to
  • Many advanced features only available with Pro plan (starting at $199 per month)
  • Slow to refresh and can be slow when the site is busy
  • Segmentation is very limited with free plan
  • No internal survey support
  • No phone support and live chat often has long wait times
  • We’ve found a number of negative customer reviews about their customer service reliability
  • Fewer templates than other email marketing services
  • Customer complaints about their Acceptable Use Policy

Read our full review of MailChimp

Other Email Marketing Services Reviews

To jump straight to an in-depth review of an email marketing provider you’re interested in, click on one below:

Active Campaign | AWeber | BigHip | Boomerang | Campaign Monitor | Constant Contact | Contactology | ConvertKit | Emma | ExactTarget by Salesforce | FireDrum | FreshMail | Google Groups | GraphicMail | INinbox | JangoMail | Mad Mimi | Omnistar Mailer | SharpSpring Email+ | SharperEmail | Streamsend | Vertical Response

ActiveCampaign Review

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Although not widely considered one of the big players in the email marketing service provider world (yet!), ActiveCampaign is certainly giving them a run for their money. They have one of the slickest and most intuitive interfaces out there, and all the features you’ll need, whether you’re a novice or a pro. In addition they have fully built-in CRM sales and automation, a ton of apps and integrations and full API. But there are a few drawbacks that keep them from rising to the top — if you need to do affiliate marketing, for example, look elsewhere. It’s strictly not allowed with ActiveCampaign. Still, this service brings a wow factor with its ease of use and affordable pricing, which starts at just $9 per month for 500 contacts and unlimited sends. They do offer 15% off all annual pre-pay accounts and 20% off for nonprofit organizations 501(c)(3).

ActiveCampaign has a 14-day free trial.



  • Incredibly streamlined, user-friendly interface
  • Solid automated importing of contacts — txt, cvs, Excel, Gmail, Salesforce and more
  • Provides more than 10 different types of email marketing campaigns you can run
  • Excellent personalization and customization features
  • 150+ apps and integrations, including Google Analytics, Salesforce, Zapier, PayPal, WordPress and more
  • SMS (text) marketing capability
  • All the advanced features – RSS email, autoresponders, A/B split testing, inbox preview, geotracking, reporting
  • Free email design customization with your logo, colors, branding
  • Allows attachments, one per campaign up to 1 mb
  • Multiple users, even with Basic plan
  • Dedicated IP address for added fee
  • Mobile apps, iPhone and Android
  • 50,000+ global clients, including Canon, Audi and Gannett
  • No internal surveys, only integration with Survey Monkey
  • No affiliate marketing allowed in email campaigns, including no links in emails to affiliates
  • No phone support included with Basic and Plus plans (only with Enterprise plan, which starts at $149 per month)
  • No customer support hours listed, although they do offer free live chat and email for all plans
  • Social sharing is limited to Facebook and Twitter
  • SMS (text) marketing is an added fee

AWeber Review

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What began as an autoresponder service is now a full-fledged email marketing provider – one of the more popular ones out there. And they recently acquired Omnistar, another popular email marketing provider, so AWeber continues its growth as one of the major players in this space. AWeber prices themselves competitively, and is a strong contender in the email marketing battle. Their basic plan starts at $19 per month or $194 annually for up to 500 subscribers and an unlimited number of emails – and you get a lot of standard features with that price. What’s missing? AWeber isn’t as up to date on social media integrations and tracking as other top services, and their lack of assimilation with Google Analytics and other standard complimentary products could turn some away. One cool feature is its broadcast archive, which optimizes the newsletter archiving process by turning newsletters into easy to use web pages for your visitors.

Check out AWeber’s 30-day free trial.



  • Good WYSIWYG editor – AWeber has one of the better WYSIWYG drag-and-drop editors we’ve seen. It’s easy to format text, add images, hyperlink text, etc.
  • 700+ email templates
  • API access – you can use their services to build your own app
  • Clean, polished, easy to use interface
  • Easily managed subscriber lists
  • You can add attachments to newsletters (up to 1 mb), and for larger files, they offer integration with Digioh, a digital download app
  • Extensive reporting and tracking — number of emails sent, open rate, click-through, undelivered emails, and more.
  • Good list management
  • They are can-spam compliant and take spam seriously
  • Split A/B testing
  • Unlimited image hosting and 6,000+ stock images
  • Social Sharing with Facebook
  • Mobile apps for iPhone and Android
  • HTML editor
  • Broadcast archive archive your newsletters by publishing them as an easy to navigate web page
  • They are well-known for solid and easy to reach customer support via phone or email. They also offer an extensive knowledge base, video tutorials, great webinars, etc. on their website
  • Shopping cart integrations: PayPal, Shopify, and Magento
  • App Showcase with 50+ apps you can integrate with your account: Zapier, Salesforce, WordPress, Facebook, etc.
  • No Google Analytics integration
  • Social sharing is limited vs.competitors (only Facebook)
  • No social media tracking or reporting
  • You can’t custom build your own email template
  • Subscriber importing isn’t the best. You can only import xls, xlsx, tsv, csv, txt files. Can’t directly import from Gmail contacts, LinkedIn, Outlook, Quickbooks, etc.

Read our full review of AWeber

Coupon Code

AWeber offers three months free to non-profits and 25% off after that. Students get 20% off. Click here to take advantage of AWeber coupons!

BigHip Review

BigHip email marketing is no longer in business. We couldn’t find any information online about what happened to them.

Boomerang Review

Boomerang is no longer an email marketing service. Since our review in 2015, the company has morphed into a paid service to enhance Gmail capabilities through adding email sending and receiving settings.

Campaign Monitor Review

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Campaign Monitor is an email marketing software built specifically with graphic designers in mind, but their drag and drop editor is easy to use for beginners. This interface is very pleasing to the eye and allows for multiple account management. Campaign Monitor has most of the basics you’ll need to run successful email marketing campaigns, but if you’re looking for seriously advanced features, you may need to look elsewhere. Prices start at $9 for 2,500 emails or $29 for unlimited emails — both rates are for up to 500 subscribers. They also offer a 15% discount for nonprofits.

Campaign Monitor has a free trial if you’re sending to five people or less.



  • Design emails with your favorite design tools
  • Screenshot gallery of their 100 best email client designs with expert commentary
  • No Campaign Monitor branding, logos, watermarks or links in emails
  • 250+ integrations, including Google Analytics
  • API integration with your CMS, blog, or other third-party software
  • 10% discount for creative agencies to partner with their services
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Personalized email content beyond subscriber’s name
  • No live chat customer support
  • Extra cost for unlimited email sends per month
  • Limited training resources, tutorials
  • Additional cost for spam testing with Basic and per-campaign payment options
  • No internal survey or event marketing support

Read our full review of Campaign Monitor

Constant Contact Review

Visit WebsiteConstant Contact logo

Constant Contact is one of the oldest email marketing companies around – they’ve been in business since 1996. Although perhaps the most well-known EMSP, ConstantContact has some pretty substantial limitations compared to many other services, depending on what you’re looking for. Constant Contact covers the basics, but more advanced features like split A/B testing and trigger-based messaging are absent. Pricing starts at $20 per month for 500 subscribers and unlimited sends. But, they charge for additional services that many other EMSPs include in their monthly pricing.

Follow this link to receive 60 days free.



  • Have been in business since 1996
  • Event and survey features
  • Hundreds of apps/integrations, including Google Analytics
  • Discounts for nonprofits and pre-pay accounts
  • Track your campaigns in real time to see what works and what doesn’t
  • 400+ email newsletter templates
  • Interface is easy to learn and use
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Create your own designs with the HTML editor
  • No credit card needed for free trial
  • Phone support available late at night during the week
  • Hard to cancel your subscription
  • No trigger messaging
  • Only one sign-up form per account
  • Stores only 5 images for free, then you have to upgrade, but they do offer thousands of free stock images
  • Template design is limited and the typical “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editor is not available with your own HTML designs
  • No phone support on weekends
  • Charges extra for additional features that competitors include at no extra cost
  • Can’t live chat unless you have an account

Read our full review of Constant Contact

Contactology Review

j2 Global, Inc., a global provider of Internet services which owns Campaigner email marketing service provider, acquired Contactology in July 2014. Contactology’s website is still functional but leads you to Campaigner’s services. For more details, read our full review of Campaigner, our #2 pick for best email marketing software.

ConvertKit Review

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It’s difficult for us to review ConvertKit because unlike other companies, this one doesn’t display all of its features. What do we know? ConvertKit was built for bloggers, podcasters, service-based business owners, and YouTubers. We’re unsure if ConvertKit offers surveys, autoresponders, image hosting, and other common features customers have come to want. If you’ve had experience with ConvertKit, please share with us what you liked and disliked in the comments below.

Emma Review

Emma logoVisit Website

Emma boasts over 45,000 customers and they’re growing fast, having made Inc 500/5000 four times. Emma emphasizes the service end of email marketing and it shows in rave reviews of their customer service. Their drag and drop email editor is easy to use and they offer full image integration from Facebook and Flickr, which could mean the world to a small business looking for free image hosting. With prices starting at $89 per month for 10,000 subscribers, Emma is significantly more expensive than some other services, but as you work up the pricing scale the prices become much more competitive.

Emma has a 14-day free trial.



  • Easy to use drag and drop interface
  • Social media marketing with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Fully integrated with Facebook and Flickr for image hosting, as well as other social media for automatic content sharing
  • Solid integration offerings, including Salesforce, Shopify, a number of Formbuilder and CMS services (WordPress, Drupal)
  • Many of the standards: A/B testing, automation, list segmentation, contact management, tracking and reporting
  • Top notch customer service and professional services available
  • Among the most expensive options we’ve reviewed, but they do offer 20% off for nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and prepay annual accounts
  • No weekend customer service hours
  • No RSS to email
  • No Google Analytics integration
  • No inbox preview
  • No dedicated IP address feature

ExactTarget by Salesforce Marketing Cloud Review

Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud logoVisit Website

ExactTarget has been around since 2000 and tags themselves as the future of marketing. While claiming to be from “humble” beginnings, this company now operates one of the more dominant email marketing and comprehensive marketing solutions on the market today. Unfortunately, this growth into big business has created somewhat of an intimidating appearance for many smaller businesses seeking these services. But, if you are looking for a comprehensive marketing integration tool to put everything in one place and makes it easy to analyze all of your online marketing efforts, Exact Target may be perfect for you.



  • RSS feeds can easily and quickly be integrated in to email sending
  • Email attachments can be activated for ExactTarget accounts if needed
  • WYSIWYG email editor as well as an HTML email editor
  • Individually based pricing – Pricing for the ExactTarget email marketing solution is based on an individual basis which is catered to each company’s unique needs
  • Comprehensive marketing integration across email, mobile, social media, web, data and analytics make cross-platform marketing simpler
  • Live chat customer service allows for access to customer service without long phone wait times
  • Integration with third-party apps like SalesForce and Google Analytics
  • 100% secure cloud-based data
  • Online database of step-by-step tutorials, videos, webinars and more
  • A/B testing, inbox preview
  • Coupon and barcode management
  • Automation, triggered messaging, drip campaigns
  • No image hosting service
  • No listed customer service hours
  • You must have knowledge of AMPScript to use email attachments with ExactTarget
  • No immediately available pricing information
  • Difficult learning curve – you need to be pretty tech savvy to best utilize their services

Read our full review of ExactTarget

FireDrum Review

FireDrum logoVisit Website

FireDrum offers a multitude of email marketing and automation services, from DIY (best for freelance to small businesses) to plans for marketing agencies and large companies. When you search their website, it can be overwhelming, because they have a wide variety of plans and services they offer for each plan. The DIY plan starts at a free forever level, but it’s limited (only 100 subscribers and 500 emails per month), but their paid pricing levels are very competitive and include all the basic features you’ll need to get your email marketing up and running. What’s great about FireDrum is the a la carte services they offer if you don’t have time to take on the details, i.e. list assistance, HTML programming, campaign management, etc. All charge a fee, of course, but it’s a great option to have.



  • Competitive pricing
  • Extremely intuitive interface
  • Multiple programs for DIY, agencies, private label, enterprise and many more
  • All of the standards: A/B testing, automation, list segmentation, contact management, tracking and reporting
  • Social media marketing with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Customer support via email, phone and live chat
  • Standard Fire Drum footer appears on all email templates – you must pay added fee to customize footer
  • No SMS (text) feature
  • Very limited online resources to help you DIY
  • Hours unlisted for tech support (they claim it’s unlimited)

FreshMail Review

FreshMail logoVisit Website

FreshMail, based in the UK, is a new addition to our annual reviews, and we’re highly impressed with what we’ve seen. They have a good free plan, but there are some limitations (can’t rebrand your emails, limited inbox testing). But what’s really impressive is FreshMail’s paid plan that is extremely affordable compared to similar EMSPs. You get a number of advanced features with an intuitive interface that makes the process simple and fun. The downside of Fresh Mail? Since they’re based in the UK, their phone support hours are extremely limited. But we’ve seen some excellent reviews about the high quality of their customer service. FreshMail offers a 10% discount on their monthly paid plan if you pre-pay for 6 months and 15% for 12 months. Pay-as-you-go rates start at $30 for 5,000 emails.



  • Very competitive pricing and free plan
  • Interface is extremely intuitive
  • All templates are responsive and beautifully designed
  • Good contact importing, including from Google, Basecamp, etc.
  • Inbox preview lets you see your email in 20+ email clients without sending test mails
  • 40+ integrations, including Google Analytics, Salesforce, Zapier and more
  • Many advanced features included in affordable paid plan, including A/B testing, trigger messaging, social media reporting and more
  • Pay-as-you-go credits don’t expire
  • Email support 7 days a week
  • Free Forever Plan doesn’t include phone support, limits your inbox testing and their logo appears on your emails
  • Phone support is only available M-F 2am-10am (they’re based in UK)
  • No RSS to email
  • No option to purchase dedicated IP address
  • Some consumer complaints about slow moderation process

Google Groups Review

In 2013, Google rolled out a new Google Groups for Business platform but the focus is no longer email marketing. Today, this is a tool for improving online collaboration between team members, groups and communities who frequently interact in digital discussions. This product been removed from this article to make room for true competitors in this space.

GraphicMail Review

After more than a decade of providing email marketing services, GraphicMail has rebranded as SharpSpring Mail. See our review of SharpSpring Mail below.

INinbox Review

INinbox logoVisit Website

INinbox is another email marketing provider that offers a generous free forever plan — one that even rivals MailChimp (in the numbers of contacts and emails you can send each month). Their paid plans are among the lowest prices we’ve seen. But once you dig deeper into what INinbox has to offer, what you get for that free plan (and even their paid plans) isn’t quite as enticing — unless you only need basic email marketing. There are a lot of features lacking with INinbox that other providers have offered for years, i.e. social media marketing and RSS feed integration being the most notable. And since IN-inbox is based in the Netherlands, customer support hours are limited for those of us in the U.S. (although we couldn’t find anything other than an email form online for customer support). But if you don’t need much support and are only looking for basic email marketing service, INinbox’s free plan and prices are unbeatable.



  • Generous free plan and among the lowest paid plans
  • Great free template selections (although not clear if all are responsive design)
  • Robust Developer API
  • Easy to use interface
  • Google Analytics integration via Zapier
  • A/B split testing, trigger based emails, decent automation
  • Allows attachments to emails (many don’t)
  • Lack of some advanced features that are becoming the norm
  • Very limited customer support outside of online articles and email
  • Limits on number of emails sent per month until you get into the Enterprise solution (over 250,000 contacts)
  • No social media marketing capabilities (huge negative)
  • Integrations are limited – no Salesforce, for example
  • No ability to purchase a dedicated IP address

JangoMail Review

JangoMail logoVisit Website

JangoMail began in 1998 as an elegant solution to a complicated problem. How to pull data from multiple servers (some local, some halfway around the world) and assemble it into a single mass email? That feature is JangoMail’s unique claim to fame, although it incorporates many other features, including foreign language support, in-depth personalization options and fully customizable RSS to email conversion. For all of Jango Mail’s incredible feature options, it comes with a price. They are one of the more pricey services out there and probably better for larger businesses or marketing agencies (they offer pretty extensive agency features, including multiple-users). And they base their pricing on number of emails sent per month, rather than the standard number of contacts per month, so depending on your business needs you can end up spending a lot more than you would with their competitors. Pricing starts at $90 per month for up to 18,000 emails.

JangoMail has a 30-day free trial.



  • Social sharing with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
  • We can’t stress “fully customizable” enough. If you don’t see a feature, just ask. They’ll make it happen
  • Offers dedicated IP address and dedicated server (for additional fee)
  • No JangoMail logo (“powered by JangoMail”) in your email sends
  • App/software integration with Google Analytics, Salesforce, Magento and more
  • Allows email attachments (maximum message size 100 Kb; $1 per each 10 mb per month)
  • SMS (text) messaging capability
  • Connect to desktop and Internet databases in real-time
  • Many innovative features, including their customizable RSS and foreign language support in both plain text and html
  • Among the best contact importer we’ve seen
  • Excellent spam checker
  • Easy-to-use HTML editor
  • Tutorials aren’t as sophisticated and numerous as many of their competitors
  • Dashboard not as user-friendly as competitors
  • Could use a wizard as you move through their multiple processes and features
  • It’s a powerful system, but often reads like a tech manual. If you’re not a pro, you might feel like you’ve gotten over your head
  • Among the more costly services we’ve seen

Mad Mimi Review

Mad Mimi logoVisit Website

Mad Mimi doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the top guns when it comes to email marketing providers. But in Mad Mimi’s case, that’s okay. Sometimes less is more if you don’t want to wade through features you won’t use. Geared toward a simpler approach, Mad Mimi offers what most small businesses need with a very affordable price tag. Their standard features are solid, with the exception of split A/B testing and template selection variety. Yet they also provide a decent selection of apps/integrations, social sharing and a robust API, so they aren’t falling behind the technology times. MadMimi offers a modest free plan of 100 subscribers and unlimited emails sent, and their pricing starts at $10 for 500 subscribers.



  • Easy drag and drop email building tools
  • Unlimited image hosting
  • Customizable web forms
  • Ability to have multiple users on your account
  • Solid tracking and reporting tools
  • Social sharing with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more
  • Autoresponders, RSS to email, drip/targeted campaigns
  • 40+ apps/integrations, including Google Analytics, Salesforce, Zapier, and WordPress
  • Robust API for developers
  • Friendly, responsive customer service
  • A great value if you have larger mailing lists but don’t need a ton of advanced features
  • Live chat
  • Email design tools could be too simple for some
  • Very limited template selection
  • No split A/B testing, inbox preview or mobile-ready templates
  • Their autoresponder is fairly basic compared to other providers
  • Automated contact importing is limited to cvs files
  • User resources are pretty thin — no webinars, video tutorials, or online community
  • No phone support unless you set up an appointment time

Omnistar Mailer Review

Omnistar Mailer had been acquired by AWeber, a competing email marketing service provider that’s growing in popularity and becoming a contender as one of the top services. Omnistar got its start in 1999 in the real estate industry and became popular for its excellent autoresponder features. You can still access Omnistar Mailer through its original website for the time being, but all the links on that site drive you directly to AWeber. Check out AWeber to see how they compare to other services.

SharperEmail Review

SharperEmail logoVisit Website

SharperEmail offers a clean and streamlined product with a number of pros and cons. Their lack of social media integration and several other features that are pretty standard these days shows that they are behind the times, but they offer a good product that is affordable on most budgets. Their pay-as-you-go pricing starts at $9.50 for 1,000 emails, so they are among the most affordable services. And they offer nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations 5,000 free emails per month and 15% off additional services.

SharperEmail offers a 30-day free trial.



  • Users are given a choice of an HTML and a WYSIWYG editor as well as the ability to send emails in both HTML and text
  • HTML form wizard is a great tool for those not into coding
  • Provides a detailed set of reporting and analytics tools to measure marketing progress
  • Users are offered the choice of utilizing a dedicated IP address
  • Many basic features offered by other email marketing software are offered including: trigger based messaging, spam score checking, list segmentation, auto-responder services and RSS feed integration
  • API and XML channels
  • They offer SMS (text) capability
  • 24/7 customer support: US, Europe and Asia
  • Very affordable service. Aside from companies that offer free sending, Sharper Email offers the most affordable basic plan price
  • To date, SharperEmail gives no indication of integrating social media management in to their email marketing services
  • No Developer API or integrations, including Google Analytics
  • Next to no user resources such as webinars, video tutorials, blogs and online community
  • You’re limited to 20 mailing lists, which could hinder your ability to target certain audiences
  • They charge a one-time $250 fee to brand your emails
  • No SMS tracking or reporting
  • Once users exceed 5,000 subscribers their pay as you go pricing is not as appealing as it was for lower level service
  • Email templates aren’t responsive
  • No split A/B testing

SharpSpring Review

SharpSpring logoVisit Website

GraphicMail has morphed into SharpSpring Mail+, a new EMSP enterprise that falls under parent company SharpSpring, a young but popular marketing automation software solution that has received excellent reviews from its users so far. SharpSpring Mail+ is a major step forward from GraphicMail in the way they approach email marketing. What’s exciting is their behavior-driven features, which bring together personalized emails, autoresponders, analytics and more so you can drill down to each customer’s specific activities (translation: you can target them in the areas in which they engage the most). Other EMSPs offer this feature as well, but customer behavior seems to be SharpSpring’s main area of focus. Still, they are so new that we haven’t been able to find much consumer feedback online, so check back with us for future updates!

SharpSpring Mail+ offers a 15-day free trial



  • Among the most competitive pricing we’ve seen for small businesses
  • Extremely intuitive interface
  • A/B testing, RSS to email, autoresponders, triggered campaigns
  • You get a dedicated account manager with their Enterprise edition
  • Hundreds of integrations through SharpSpring and Zapier, including Google Analytics and Salesforce
  • Excellent in-App resources, including videos, articles, how-tos
  • Social media campaigns with tracking and reporting tools
  • New software solution, so it’s working through some kinks (according to consumer feedback)
  • Pricing is much higher than the competition
  • Far fewer email templates than most EMSPs we review here
  • No option to purchase dedicated IP address
  • Limited customer support hours via phone and email compared to other services (no live chat)

StreamSend Review

StreamSend logoVisit Website

A power player for several years in the email marketing world, StreamSend offers a number of features and professional services. And they include many of these features in their standard pricing, where their competitors charge an added fee. This is a huge plus for smaller and budget-conscious businesses. But there are a few areas where StreamSend is falling a bit behind their peers – no unlimited email pricing options, no mobile apps, and very limited software integration capability. If your organization doesn’t need these features, then StreamSend remains one of the best out there.

Try StreamSend out for free for 30 days.



  • Fast and easy to use interface
  • Unlimited image hosting
  • Advanced automation, trigger-based messaging and list segmentation
  • RSS to email
  • Private IP address and A/B testing
  • No extra fee for API access
  • In-depth campaign reporting and analysis
  • Integration with Google Analytics.
  • Extensive spam filter
  • Easy drag and drop video emails
  • Every email you send can be repurposed to a landing page
  • Customizable sign up forms
  • Professionally designed templates
  • HTML editor
  • On the pricier side vs peers
  • No mobile apps
  • No online chat and no phone/email support on weekends
  • Very limited integration capability with online software/apps compared to peer services
  • Importing contacts is limited to Excel or CSV format

Read our full review of StreamSend

Vertical Response Review

Vertical Response logoVisit Website

Vertical Response has been in business since 2001, and they’ve come a long way – especially with some excellent new features launched in the last couple of years: a free plan that has a surprising bang (for no bucks!), the addition of an autoresponder (free for a limited time), and a new API and developer program that gives small businesses even more marketing tools to expand their reach. And, if you are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), you can apply for a free credit program.



  • Great free plan
  • 70 responsive email templates and HTML templates
  • More than 1 million users – so they’ve got to be good
  • VerticalResponse Social includes a Social Media Dashboard with which you can schedule a full month of social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Also provides relevant content based on your industry and interests
  • Offers a free credit program to allow not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organizations to use this program free of charge
  • Real-time reporting and statistics, accessible from any web browser
  • Google Analytics and Salesforce integrations
  • Free webinars and support seminars, along with video tutorials, on how to make the most of your email newsletter campaigns
  • You can segment your mailing list, and send out newsletters to sub-groups of your mailing list
  • Pay as You Go option gives you flexibility each month
  • Offers a whopping 25MB of online image storage for your newsletters
  • Excellent support community. It appears that the support community has relatively fast response times, is well-organized, and has avid user interaction
  • Free email archiving
  • Surveys are an additional hefty fee per month
  • It’s important that you don’t provide a “from” address in opt-in forms as this may result in confirmation notices not reaching recipients. If you leave the “from” field blank, Vertical Response will auto fill it with one of its own. This should be more obvious
  • When a recipient unsubscribes from a Vertical Response email they unsubscribe from all VerticalResponse user emails, so they might unsubscribe from yours unknowingly
  • Their spam checking tools are very limited. For instance, you can’t get a spam score indicating the likelihood that your email newsletter will make it to your subscriber’s inbox
  • No image hosting or event marketing features
  • Poor contact management features

Read our full review of Vertical Response

How to Change Email Marketing Service Providers?

So let’s say you’ve decided you want to switch to another provider, such as from iContact to Constant Contact, or the other way around. How painful will the transition process be? Fortunately, any good email marketing provider should allow you to export your subscriber list. You can then import the subscriber list into your new email marketing provider. That’s the easy part. You should also consider how you will move your newsletter archives so you do not lose this valuable content you have created over the years. The more difficult part, depending on how your website is set up, will be replacing all the sign-up boxes you have scattered over the Web to gather sign-ups for your newsletter.

Content Management Systems (CMS) Make Transitioning Easier

If you’re using a back-end driven, dynamically generated site such as a CMS (Content Management System – i.e. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) and you have a “block” or “snippet” for your newsletter sign-up box, you should be able to make one update and have it update across your website instantaneously. If you have more than one website, you’ll need to make this update for each website.

The last thing you’ll want to copy over is the design templates you use for your newsletters. Typically you’ll have access to the HTML for these, so copying these over shouldn’t be all too difficult in most services, as most email marketing service providers provide flexible template editing options.

Which Will You Select?

So now that you are informed about many popular email marketing companies and all they have to offer, you can select one that will meet your business’ needs. Email marketing is a great way to drive sales and stay top of mind with your consumers, so it’s a worthwhile service to invest the time and resources (learn more in our Introduction to Email Marketing article). We reviewed quite a few companies, but if for some reason the email marketing brand you’re looking for wasn’t reviewed, check the comments below where you’ll find that many of our visitors are posting their own reviews and opinions. We also do regular audits to ensure all info provided is as up to date as possible. Lastly, you can also subscribe to this article’s feed to stay up to date on the latest.

Who do you use for your email marketing needs? What do you like/dislike about them?

Sally has coupled her passion for writing with her (slight) obsession for the latest high tech gadgets. While she’s not daydreaming about the beach, she’s taking advantage of all the activities her hometown has to offer in the Blue Ridge foothills.

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386 Comments on "Email Marketing Services Reviews 2018: GetResponse vs AWeber vs MailChimp vs Constant Contact vs iContact Etc"

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On Fire
I have used the free Mailchimp service for ages because I had less than 2,000 subscribers and only send out one email a month. Luckily, my efforts are paying off so I have just passed that free threshold and now they want me to pay. Does anyone whether I am better off staying with Mailchimp or converting over to a different email marketing service if my subscribers are growing at a rate of about 30-40 new signups per month?
Hattie L
SendinBlue has a free plan for up to 9,000 emails a month. But, it limits you to 300 emails per day. So, this could be a good free option for you but only if your subscriber list is segmented into smaller groups that are 300 or less.
Hey Hattie, I’m on the Sendinblue Customer Care team and I wanted to share an update that I hope will be good news for you! Based on feedback from our clients, we recently increased the daily sending limit from 300 to 600 free emails a day. If you decide to give it a try, we’d welcome your feedback about your experience on our platform. It’s always appreciated and our team is here for you at!
Jack P
I’m thinking about changing my company’s email because Constant Contact has gotten too expensive! Signing up for free trials with all three of your top recos today and I will try to remember to report back on which we choose, if we decide to make the switch. If anyone has any tips, let me know.
As someone who used iContact, let me warn you to stay away! Their customer support is nonexistent. We had hoped that if we paid for the premier service we would get better service, but it’s the opposite. The pricing is always changing, it’s impossible to reach anyone, and my “personal service rep” made it very clear that it is only for 30min once a month. Any time I have tried to contact someone, it has taken at least two days for a response. We’re shopping for other alternatives, which is how I ended up on this site. The Social Media side is a joke. You have to schedule every post seperate from each other, so if you want to post to three (they only offer Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — personal, not a professional page) you have to do each one. Scheduled posts are impossible to find; you have to scroll through them, click more, scroll through, click more. It’s absurd. They have a strict Twitter character limit, more so than Twitter does. If you want to post a picture, it has to be small (400 pixels horizontally) and can still cause issues, such as blocking the ability to schedule it at all. While you can add a link to the Facebook posts, you cannot for Twitter, using up precious characters. While there are a couple of nice features, they are NOT worth it. We hate to start over with a new company, but this is absurd.
I’d like to chime in on Convert Kit. I recently opened an account and am moving away from Constant Contact because of their total lack of customer service. Convert Kit actually has live people who answer your questions within 12 hours, they have been so helpful. Their website is super easy to navigate, yes they have autoresponders and all kinds of other awesome tools, their newsletter is quite plain, but I’m ok with that because the rest of their service is Excellent……..I would TOTALLY recommend Convert Kit
Burke Franklin
Great reviews! I can only imagine how much work you did! I’ve been in business for 27+ years and have 68,000 active emails + 156,000 bounces (ideas on a good email update service?!?) Currently, we use Interspire email marketer (software downloaded and installed on our own server), it hasn’t been upgraded in some time, we get a 3% open rate and there are some other issues. I’ve been looking / testing EMSPs… The problem is uploading my email addresses only to get kicked out of them for exceeding .1% spam thresholds. With SendGrid, for example we got a much better delivery, plus a 9% open rate… However, they write “we have seen many companies with similar business models as yours and the end result is many complaints along with very high bounce/block rates…” We were at .4% (4 in 1,000 spam complaints) GetResponse got a 27% open rate, but we busted their spam limit as well. To avoid getting kicked out of an EMSP, I’m thinking of finding an Interspire-like system, and revamping our lists and maintaining our own email in-house. Who would you recommend we look at for that? Thank you very much!!
Helen Gu
I actually signed up 24 months deal with GetResponse in June 2016 after reading this article as it is listed as #1 and my experience with them were so unhappy and disappointed. I closed my account with them yesterday. Though I paid until June 2018, they would not refund what I paid in advance (for my case is 10 months), in addition, even you ask before closing your account, they will tell you that they will issue a refund ticket for the remaining months after close the account. It’s like money through black hole. Duplicated contacts in the database count towards your list limit, if you have already had contacts in your database, you take your contact loaded again, they would not take the new ones and added towards to your existing ones, you will get rejected, and being instructed to load the whole thing as another list, and count the duplicated ones as new contacts and charge you more. The service is bad too. If you want to try them, start with monthly pay, do not engage long-term contract. Good Luck and I hope your experience with GetResponse is a pleasure one if you go with them.
Chas Wortman
Invaluable post! I learned a lot from the information! Does someone know if I could possibly get a sample a form example to type on?
Viktor B
Anyone know any good services that allows gaming content? It’s really really hard to find and I’m in desperate need of a good reliable email marketing service.
Hi there! Great review. I was wondering if there is any email marketing service that allows you to turn on and off your account? For instance, I have a big email list (~7500 contacts) that I need to send out emails to, but I only need to send them twice a year. For this reason, it seems financially inefficient to subscribe to one of these monthly pay services when I won’t be using it for 10/12 months. Is there a service that has an ability to bill per email? Or one that I can ‘freeze’ for several months?
Kimberly Alt
Hi Kelsey, Mailchimp has a “Pay as You Go” plan that would work great for you!
Any suggestions for very user-friendly SalesForce integrated email marketing program? Also do any help you test email rendering with different email clients ie Yahoo vs Gmail vs Outlook?
What an amazing post! My favorite is GetResponse. 🙂
We use SendingMail economical little slow but effective.
Friends, l have a newly established nonprofit organization. I am looking for lead and a mentor who knows a good email marketing company to contract with that would help us generate emails and send bulk emails that will not be regarded as spam. Please can anyone link to an email company you may have used and found to be good.
Kimberly Alt
Hi Israel, have you read the article above? Take a look at our #1 pick, GetResponse.
Thank you Kimberly.
Ben Leigh
Yes, GetResponse is the best one for easy use & as well as they provide a 30 days free trail with all features enable. It helps in lot of way to get reach the targeted traffic.


Alex Fletcher
I agree- GetResponse is the best!
Thanks for a great article!
May I ask – the 10 % discount we get by using your link… Does that allow us for a 1 month free trial period first? How long is the discount? For the first month? A full year? Or as long as we are customers at GetResponse. If I sign up for a 500-plan and then move to a 2500-plan, will the 10% discount follow along?
Would appreciate your answer ASAP, Thank you!
Great article by the way! Very helpful.
Lisa Smith
Your Constant Contact review and data is woefully out of date. Most of the things you say are missing are actually part of the software. When did you do your research–2013?
Kimberly Alt
Hi Lisa, can you be more specific about what you say is incorrect? We’d love to correct our article so it is 100% accurate. It’s great when readers like you bring this to our attention!
Lisa Smith
Hi Kimberly, sorry for the delay in responding–I have been out of town. I also apologize for being a little snarky! It was the 3rd review in a row I had read that was outdated.
Constant Contact has changed their program and pricing structure as of about 1 year ago. The email service, including an unlimited library storage and stock images, is $20/month. It includes inbox preview (and always has). Instead of charging separately for every added software, they now have a package that includes online surveys, Facebook promotions and events management beginning at $45/month. The autoresponder feature has improved dramatically in more ways than I can outline here.
There are several more things inaccurate in your article. I recommend you do the research yourself. Since every review I have read recently is outdated, I wonder if some people’s research is just reading others’ reviews.
Kimberly Alt
Thank you Lisa! We will be sure to take a look at this article again soon and make the appropriate updates! Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention!
Johnson Kirsten
Great article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank Schedule A Form to fill out?
Thank you for sharing this long and complete guideline for email autoresponder. I’ve decided that I will probably choose GetResponse.
We use Constant Contact in my office. There is a Google Analytics feature.
Kimberly Alt
Thank you Mary! We will update the article!
I’m not sure about MailChimp, I prefer Constant Contact and GetResponse. But with Constant Contact you can’t have multiple users on your account. If you’re not sure visit their websites and get more information.
I was considering Mailgen and SendinBlue for their free autoresponder feature. I am having second guesses after reading your great reviews. I am considering ReachMail now. You have a large list of reviews, would there be chance of you reviewing them anytime soon?
Kimberly Alt
Looks like ReachMail is a completely free email marketing service. So if you’re interested in them I’d say give them a shot. You won’t be hurt financially by testing them out. We still stand by our #1 pick of GetResponse at the moment but perhaps in an upcoming audit we will look more in-depth at ReachMail and consider adding them to our comparison.
S. Renee
Awesome list! Thanks for putting this together. We’re in the process of switching EMSPs due to our need to reach customers via SMS. Surprised that very few of these companies offer this option.
Thank you for the great comparison above! I am confused, however, regarding how these different email marketing providers determine their prices. Based on experience (and in looking at the pricing structure on their websites) it seems to me that most of the services above charge per subscriber – meaning if you have several lists, and the same person (contact) is subscribed to ‘X’ number of lists, that one person or contact is counted ‘X’ number of times – which gets your total number of subscribers and the price you pay up quite a bit. I believe that Constant Contact is the only one I’ve come across that counts contacts instead of subscribers – so even if one person is subscribed to multiple lists, they are only counted once, which keeps the price down compared to the other services (should you be in that situation). I have used about 5 different email marketing services over the years, and Constant Contact is the only one that I’ve found is structured this way. Are you aware of this difference, and if so, are there any other companies that offer their payment structure based on total contacts rather than total subscribers?
As a side note, I’m very aware of the use segments, however, have found that for most email marketing platforms, people cannot choose (or subscribe to) a specific segment, which is a function I need. For this reason I like to have multiple lists with the same contact subscribed to several of those lists.
Ionut Neagu
This is one of the best email marketing reviews, Alex/Kimberly congrats for the job.
If you are looking to expand it there are some nice solutions you have missed like:, and
Kimberly Alt
Thanks for the suggestions! We’ll consider adding them in our next update of the article. And thank you for reading. Glad this article could be helpful for you!
Kimberly Kurimski, so basically the top rated pay you the most affiliate commission?
Kimberly Alt
No, that’s not how we choose our rankings at all. We conduct unbiased reviews. Our writers have nothing to do with our affiliates. I personally know nothing about them when I conduct my research. We test products/services, make anonymous phone calls, talk with customers and many other things to determine who our top rated companies are for our reviews. How much we make via our affiliate advertising has nothing to do with who our top rated is.
This is an excellent article! I appreciate the table comparison chart. I have been beta testing several of the apps and liked MailChimp best so far. It was easy to use, free, and allowed more emails per subscription campaign. Most of all it was easy to use. There is another robust tool, Send Pepper, I have not tried this one yet, but will be shortly. One of my partners uses it and has the autoresponder code, which I don’t see or know how to use yet with MailChimp that I need for webinar automation/WP tools.
Kimberly Alt
Glad you found this article useful! Thank you for telling us about your experience with MailChimp and being a part of our community.
Campaigner DOES require a credit card for a free trial. No thanks.
Kimberly Alt
Thanks for the update Kathy! We have corrected it in the article.
I’ve been using e-blasting dot com services for a while now. They give me excellent phone support. I’ve recently started using some of their automated features. Fair price for the level of support I get.
It’s good having so much information in one place. When you update the reviews, can you date them and also add whether or not the company offers responsive customizable templates?
Something I’ve noticed when signing up with certain company newsletters is that they start you off with the first newsletter. For example, let’s say it’s a series of newsletters about decorating your home and it starts out with a newsletter about painting. I think this would be very useful for many businesses. It would give them a chance to offer something that customers would want to sign up for, but wouldn’t require them to constantly be in front of the computer sending out separate newsletters.

When you’re approaching customers for their email address, there needs to be an incentive to get customers to sign up. Otherwise, why would they? After all, we all get tons of spam. Why would someone willingly sign up for spam? Whether it’s a discount code, informative series of emails, or other special perks, you will attract more flies with honey.

This is one reason ebooks came about. Businesses were looking for ways to attract new customers through email marketing and began offering ebooks that the target audience would find useful. For example, a company that revolved around cleaning products might have offered a free ebook on keeping your home organized and tidy. Not only did it give them a chance to promote their products within the book, but also attract more customers to their email list.

After reading this over, I think I have settled on GetResponse as my email marketing provider. The interesting thing is that they actually offer options I did not even consider before I was reading this article. I have been looking for an email marketing provider to take care of my newsletter and other email marketing needs and I was not totally sure of what I wanted until I read this article.

My goal was to get people more involved in the newsletter and email campaign in general. I have found that surveys are a great way to get the audience involved. While I do already have limited surveys on some of my sites, the idea that an email marketing service provider would provide that with the email service makes a lot more sense to me. The surveys on the sites do great, but using surveys in emails seems like it would a lot more effective since it goes directly to the audience rather than trying to get them to do it on the site. I also like some of the other services GetResponse provides, but the surveys tend to stand out the most for me at this moment.

Did you end up choosing Get Response? If so, are you happy with your choice? I am trying to decide and I’m leaning towards GR. Thanks!

It is not easy ton find an email marketing service that does everything you need it to. You only know if it is the want you want by trying it out or reading about it on sites like this. I know that I personally would never go with any kind of service provider based on their own ad campaign. I mean, I will listen to what they have to say about the services they provide, but I would never base my decision just on that. I prefer to go with a company that puts its money in the service or product rather than on marketing. That’s because once I pay for it, their marketing does not do anything for me.

To me, it says a lot about a company if they offer the first month for free. You get to try the service and play around with your email marketing campaign a bit before you make any decisions that are going to cost you any money. That tells me the company has faith in their product. They think you will like it enough to stick around and keep using it once the free service period is over. I realize this is a marketing tactic too, but at least the company is letting the product speak for itself.

First of all, I had no idea that these companies offered so many different services. I knew that you could use these companies to create and send out newsletters, but hadn’t considered surveys or any of the other services. As someone who is trying to grow her business, I know that this is a service that could greatly boost my success. My only problem is whether or not these companies offer more services than I need. I really don’t want to pay for services that I never use.

I have to say that I was overwhelmed by all the information. There was just so much I didn’t know about, such as being able to view how a newsletter will look across different email clients. There was just so much I hadn’t considered. However, I do feel that I have a better idea of what I do and do not need from such a service.

I look forward to viewing the email marketing comparison table to get a better idea of which company will work best for me. The information I share on my website is extremely time-sensitive so I will need a company that can handle a quick turnaround and get my newsletter to readers before the information is no longer useful.

As someone just starting to look into email marketing as one of the methods of reaching my audience, I found these reviews really helpful. The only problem is that there are so many companies to choose from. I also noticed that some of the comments show differing opinions involving ease of using the templates. I think this is probably a matter of ability as well as the program.

What I mean is, we tend to forget that not everyone is tech savvy and I think that many email marketing services tend to forget that as well. I personally am not all that tech savvy, so what is going to be easy for you to use is not going to be easy for me to use. I offer a great service, but I may not always know how to use the tools that I need to in order to market it.

For me, ease of use is the big deal. I want to be able to get my information out there without having an IT degree. I also need to have the option to use surveys. My service is very interactive and I value the opinions of my customers (as any business should). Other than that, I want to pay for what I am using, not what I might use.

I’ve been researching email providers for a while now. I am seeking ways to expand my online network in order to better serve my business needs. That includes keeping my customers informed and my readers interested. As such, I feel a great deal of frustration when I have to deal with poor service providers that are constantly losing information or not able to access it. I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to trying to track down documents and emails. Up until recently I have been content to use free email services, but I have gotten what I paid for.

Over the course of my research, Constant Contact has been a name that has appeared over and over with good reviews and somewhat decent pricing. I haven’t quite settled on a choice yet, but I have to give them some consideration in light of their popularity. But then, I also have to make sure that they have earned a solid reputation, so my opinion can’t be based just on the frequency of mention. I don’t want to get caught up in a successful promotional campaign that promotes a company that my not be worthy of the mentions they get.

The company where I work has been using Constant Contact for a couple of years and the design interface is frustrating and very difficult to manage.

If you are creating a completely new document every single time, it isn’t so bad. But if you have regular, recurring messages that you send to your customers, expect trouble and hair-pulling, curse-laden tirades. For instance, you can’t copy last year’s notice of your annual Labor Day party and update the date to use again this year. I mean, you can try, but the type and graphics will jump all over the place and the fonts will change color, size and alignment without warning or explanation. With the huge amount of time it takes to update an old notice with new information, you might as well start from scratch.

So I’m here shopping for another email service, but this website says that the Constant Contact templates and interface are easy to use, I’m here to say that from my personal experience, the templates and interface for Constant Contact are not easy to use.

I’m hoping someone here can tell me if the interface and graphic controls are better with any of the other services. And I’m secretly hoping that I’m not the only one having this problem with Constant Contact.

I’m looking for a provider that allows as much integrations as possible. I find that I am constantly jumping around through various email providers and social networking sites. I probably spend more time doing the jumping around than I actually get to spend doing the work I’m trying to promote. Working online is a great deal, but you really need to have the right tools to do it effectively. Otherwise, you’re essentially working for pennies.

I use around 6 social networking sites. For my social networking to be as effective as I need it be, I need to use those sites every day. That means I have to visit 6 sites a day and that’s before I ever even do any work. I’m not even social enough to appreciate the interaction. So, for me, being able to integrate my social networking with my email provider is something that is a must. If I’m going to pay for an email service rather than use a free one I don’t want to have to do everything manually. I want as much integration as possible and I don’t want to have to have a degree in technology to be able to use the service.

I’m a bit confused. I’ve thought about using email services to build my business. But when I think about it, I get this visual of all the junk mail I get in my snail mail. To me, those emails I get rank along the same lines. So maybe I’m just misunderstanding how these kind of marketing platforms work. They must be effective in some way or people wouldn’t keep using them. Or is this a whole different concept? I don’t want to spam anyone and to me that’s what this is all about.

When we talk about these kinds of providers, are we talking about a service that just regularly sends emails like newsletters to people who already subscribe? Or is this service supposed to build you a library of subscribers? If it does, how does it do that without spamming people? I can’t imagine that anyone just puts their name on a list to be sent tons of random emails.

I’m sure I’m missing something here. Maybe I just don’t get it. I’m totally willing to put money into my business, but I’m not willing to risk my reputation to take a slim chance that this kind of service will actually benefit my business in some way.

So many different companies to consider when choosing the right email marketing service to go with for my business. I just cannot decide but this article helps me narrow it down. I might try a few out with the free trials and see which one I like best. Thinking either iContact or GetResponse…but NOT Google… I tried that one before. It is seems too good to be true, it likely is and in this case, it definitely is. Don’t do it!

Alex Schenker
These email marketing services are designed to enhance existing marketing programs – not add to junk mail. So, these services allow you to set the time interval and contents of each and every newsletter you send. And the newsletters only go out to the people who have opted-in as subscribers to receive news from you, the marketer/company. In fact, many of these companies have very strict no-spam policies and actually help you create the most targeted newsletters possible for your audience to further optimize your marketing spend. We believe that one-to-one direct email marketing is one of the most cost effective tools any marketer could use to grow their business. Hope this helps!

Tcat Houser
I’m swinging back to looking at email marketing after being out of the loop since MS Outlook was in beta (not kidding).

It looks like I have the analysis tools I want without the hell my buddy went through with ConfusionSoft.

If anyone has good/bad experiences, I’m all ears.

TIA – Tcat

PS thanks for the great overview here on so many email service provider options.

best garden
Hi to all, The email newsletter content existing on this web page is truly awesome. StreamSend is my favorite. Keep up the good work fellows.

Conflicting Info – Please check:

1) Vertical Response (Table) – Newsletter Archiving = No

2) Vertical Response (Review) – Newsletter Archiving = Yes

Alex Schenker
Hi Andy,

Sorry for the confusion. Our bad. The table has been updated to reflect the correct information which is that yes, Vertical Response does offer an email newsletter service.

Thanks for your help and keep on rockin!

My company, Signal, offers a painless solution for email, mobile and social marketing. It’s free to try, so there’s nothing to lose!

Hello, I’m a co-founder of MailChimp, and your review popped up in my Google Alerts. Some things you reported about MailChimp aren’t correct. I know you probably just couldn’t find this info on our website. So I thought I’d provide some links to what you were looking for…


MailChimp – Con’s

* It’s not quite as feature packed as some of its competitors.

Actually, we have more features than most in our segment:

not to mention more integrations than most:

and an extremely thorough, well-documented and well-supported API:

* For one, it doesn’t have the comprehensive reporting options some other email newsletter providers do.

We have a *lot* more reporting options than most.

our A/B testing reports ( are patent-pending-yet-often-copied, we were the first to launch the one-click-inbox-inspector, we offer click heatmaps, worldmaps for opens, domain/ISP performance charts, and we even track tweets and re-tweets about your campaigns (

We were given beta access to the Google Analytics API, and are the only ESP listed at –

what reporting feature were you looking for?

* Importing of contact lists could be easier – the columns have to match up perfectly for the import to work.

Database columns really do need to match in order for data to be correct. I’m not aware of any email marketing service that would allow you to *not* perfectly match columns. If you’re importing columns that you don’t plan to use in MailChimp, you can skip them in our importing tool.

Additionally, you can just use other dB systems and import to MailChimp: Salesforce, Highrise, Batchbook, WuFoo, Formspring, Pearl CRM, and on and on.

* Importing templates based on existing website layouts would be a great add-on.

Actually, import-email-by-URL (and a ton of other email import options) are covered in this post:

Grandma can even use Outlook to send a message to MailChimp, and we’ll convert it into a proper HTML email with inlined CSS and host her images (free) on our CDN.

* It takes some work to get your email template looking like you want it to.

If you’re not a coder, then yes, it’s going to take a little work. Unless you want to just use our template gallery, and plop in your content.

You can also try our automagic email designer, where we import design and content from your website:

or, if you’re a web developer, just code your own template then import it to MailChimp.

* Lack of campaign segmentation –

We have unbelievable segmentation options!

Because we integrate with so many e-commerce carts, you can segment by purchase activity:

Segment by ZIP code proximity:

You can even segment by subscriber activity and engagement level:

* …each time you mail a different campaign to the same list you need to start over. At the time of this writing campaign segmentations were not saved.

Mailing a different campaign to the same list is actually easy. Just replicate your last campaign. It’s true that we don’t store your list segments under the “Lists” tab like others might, but when you replicate campaigns, the segments are replicated too.

A comprehensive, unbiased ESP review is sorely needed, and if you guys can post a review that’s accurate and thorough, it would be extremely useful. You’re off to a great start here, but I think you should go back and revise some of the information on MailChimp.

Ben C.

I’ve been looking at MailChimp, iContact, Vertical Response and Benchmark. There are a lot of comparison charts out there and sometimes MailChimp is near the top and sometimes near the bottom. This is very confusing. One reviewer says your templates are easy to use, the next says they are not.

One of the reasons you seem to end up near the bottom is no phone support and chat and email are only available during certain hours. Maybe you should consider a pay per phone call service for emergencies. It seems to be hurting your rankings. I also have a question. We want to get moving quickly. and don’t have time to testdrive every single service we are considering.

If we have an outside agency — perhaps one of your experts — design a custom html template using your service, and say we decide MailChimp isn’t for us later, can we reuse that template in another service or is it sunk work/cost? I know you wouldn’t want us to switch, but being able to easily switch is one of our business requirements. Hopefully MailChimp would be so great we wouldn’t want to.

I have to disagree with many of the comments on CTCT. I’ve gotten great customer service.

My first experience with CTCT was a year ago when I had to step in during an emergency. It was a weekend morning. I used their online chat, explained the situation, that I had 10+ years computer design experience but no bulk email experience. They talked me through the whole process.

Today I had a problem with one client’s account, it’s the holidays, I sent an email HELP and they called me back in less than 30 minutes. We talked, they researched, and called back again 30 minutes later with a work around. Three hours later they called back to double check to make sure the work around was successful.

About six months ago they assigned a “personal” customer support person and I get an email once a month checking to see if things are going well.

I really like their new Hootsuite CTCT integrated app. They offered a free webinar to demonstrate.

I use email, surveys, and event marketing for 4 clients, each with 500-2000 members in their hub.

The analytics are great with both CTCT and the Hootsuite app to see them real time. We track ROI for events and I’m satisfied. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I haven’t got any real beefs.

I do stay on top of my lists. If I encounter contacts that aren’t opening email newsletters, after 3-4 months I send a survey that asks, among other things, if they wish to continue the frequency, or if they’d prefer fewer emails.

I also like being able to send posts to Facebook, Twitter, etc at same time I send emails.

I have exported my database clients (that I have had for years!!) to iContact and sent one email to my clients. Result: all of the Yahoo emails do not receive my emails, and I need to resubmit them. The status is pending confirmation to be more exact, and this applies to half of my client list (many thousands …).

I have sent email to my Yahoo clients, like iContact asked me to and I verified what happened: few answered and some emails I have tested went straight to spam (iContact said this was because my newsletters contained limited text).

After that – anything I have asked iContact about I receive no support for! But the money I’ve paid them has been entered in their accounts for many months and still there’s no answer to my request to let me use my Yahoo emails.

I have sent an email to iContact asking them to send me at least my database saved in their platform and they haven’t yet answered! This is no way to treat a client who puts thousands of USD ($) in your pocket!

I will post this non-stop until iContact understands that this is not a way to treat a client who is trying to resolve his needs calmly when they simply don’t care!

ESP masta
This is a great in-depth review with tons of information and details, but for those of us that don’t have the time to read through all this – could you please just tell us what you consider to be, say, the top 3 email marketing service providers? That would be fantastic and would save me a ton of research time. I think highly of you guys so will most likely trust whatever your opinion is.

Just something to think about – would sure make some of our lives easier. Thanks web rockers!

Alex Schenker
Great idea! Our researchers are working away to put together their recommendation of top three email service providers to better serve the needs of you, our readers. Hope to have it up by the end of May so check back soon.

Here’s my situation. I have many different websites where my customers are usually members of at least a few of them, as they are related. Currently, I send out bulk mailings through the website’s interface…which means that the customers that are members of several of the websites are receiving it more than once. Often times, my server times out on me before all the messages are sent so I have to complete the process again. So my subscribers are receiving duplicate messages and from each site they are a member of.

I liked the way Constant Contact had the option for the subscriber to choose the groups they wished to subscribe to, all in one form. I have also tried Vertical Response. While I did enjoy the option to do a pay as you go plan by email instead of a monthly fee, I didn’t see a way for my subscribers to choose multiple lists. If they wanted to subscribe to 3 of my lists, for example, they would have to sign up with the same email address 3 separate times from the various opt-in forms. (This is to my own knowledge, I could be wrong…and hope I am) I found this to be way too tedious. I would like my subscribers to be able to select all of the lists they are interested in joining all in one sign up…and with the ability to change these groups later on, if possible.

Is there an email marketing program out there that charges by emails sent (pay as you need them type of thing) and allows subscribers to pick from a list of interest groups during a single sign up?

I hope you will post this! This is about iContact’s outrageous behavior.

They did not answer my emails with bugs for a long period. I canceled my subscription and requested that they send me my email list. They didn’t. Now, 4 months after canceling my subscription, they bill me, for nothing! My account is closed and canceled after all. This is outrageous!

Stay away from this site! You will lose a lot of money with them as I did, and unfortunately until my bank solves this problem, I am still loosing money (doing nothing!)!!!

Apparently they don’t think it is necessary to reply either….

Alex Schenker
Hi eArt,

We are a tech community who reviews Email Service Providers (ESPs) but we do not represent iContact directly so we cannot reply to this complaint. If you or any of our readers have feedback that can help us form better reviews and opinions for the community, please submit them. In fact, we welcome them! But, if you wish for a response from the service provider company, you should contact them directly for resolution. We wish you well and keep us posted on your tech software ventures.
This was a good review but I think the answer is different for everyone based on your company/subscribers/marketing strategy.

I have 7,000 subscribers and use Constant Contact. They are a little expensive but compare very well when you start getting bigger numbers of subscribers.

That said, I think the entire email marketing landscape will change once UserFox comes out. They are going to use smart triggers to send out emails.

Email Marketer
Here are some recommendations of which vendors to use: (1 = bad; 10 = best)

Cheetahmail = 9

Responys = 10

Exacttarget = 7

Vertical Response = 3

Mail Chimp = 5

Silverpop = 8

E-dialog = 6

It isn’t good idea to compare Responsys or Exacttarget with MailChimp. It’s totally different products.
Coach Maria
Thank you for the review.

As someone who has been using ezines, as a subscriber and then created my own back in 1998, of course, there is no such thing as a perfect service. Especially for the price that most small business owners are seeking.

I remember using one-group and egroup, the predecessors to YahooGroups as well as Topica. You had very few options — discussion group or broadcast, and everyone marveled about their abilities. 🙂

There are also hosting companies that offer an ecommerce solution that some of my clients have used. And if your hosting company offers either Fantastico or QuickInstall (they’d be in your online control pannel), you can quickly add very basic programs (a good way to start) like DADA, PHPList, and a few others.

The problem with ESPs (email service providers) is that as soon as you start using them, you realize that you’d like to do “x” or “y”. You can suggest those changes to the company of course, but some are quicker to add features than others.

And as one of your commentors mentioned, getting your list from the company may be a difficult thing. However, you need to research and make sure that YOU can download your list, and all the information you’re compiling weekly so that you don’t lose such valuable real estate. Why weekly? In some cases (read the fine print) if someone complains that you are a spammer, even though you are of course not, they will close your account and YOU WILL LOSE EVERYTHING you spent your time building.

Customer service is a big key to using the program you use. There is nothing worse than having a problem and NOT getting an answer on time, or getting an answer at all.

For most, ease of use is very important, too.

Besides the online systems mentioned, there are many other oldies and goodies out there that people may want to try — simpler programs. And there are program you may want to purchase (own) if your hosting company allows you to do that. (Some do, some don’t, and some have very specific rules on how many emails can go out an hour, or at all in one time)

We’ve come very far with the options offered, and I’m sure things will look different 5 years from now. I look forward to watching the changes.

a web rocker
Please review Imnica. A relatively new service, with a “too good to be true” looking price range.

Alex Schenker
Thanks for the tip. We will look into Imnica and add it when the research is complete if they distribute wide enough for consideration by the masses.

Am familiar with MailChimp and used it with another company. This small business I work for now is a manufacturer sales rep company for several manufacturers and the business revolves around using ACT. Does anyone know EXPERIENTIALLY how well ACT works with MailChimp? What about using the e-mail marketing service associated with ACT? Is that more limited?

I’ve also been looking at VistaPrint, as the company uses them for business cards and VistaPrint has an e-mail marketing resource. I am looking for working with what I know/very simple integration of brand image across website, e-mail campaigns and working with ACT.

Anyone help on this?

I used to be the marketing director of a relatively small furniture retailer some years ago and I actually used Constant Contact quite extensively as a marketing tool. It was something the owner of the business had invested in prior to my joining the company and had utilized to stay in touch with their customers. They had been collecting email addresses from everyone who visited their store or their website and done some small prize giveaways and done some campaigns to advertise seasonal sales.

One thing they had done a really good job of was collecting email addresses. Small businesses often overlook the possibilities that having direct contact with their customers present. It is understandable, often small business owners are focused on a million other things at once and this seemingly small task is backburnered pretty easily. These people did a much better job and it was simply by making it easy for people to sign up. They had paper slips in the lobby of their store and a computer at the front desk where people could enter their information to win prizes and so forth.

The emails they had been sending were a little rough looking though. I took over the design and list organization duties of making the system go. I found Constant Contact to be a pretty capable program, with its strengths and weaknesses of course, and we had some great success in putting together very professional looking and productive email campaigns.

On the positive side for Constant Contact, I found the overall interface pretty simple and easy to understand. Moving from function to function and preparing the layout of the resulting email was not terribly difficult and the simplistic design of the Constant Contact website meant that you were not waiting for the pages to load too long in between refreshes.

Subscribing to the Constant Contact web service was also relatively inexpensive considering the volume of exposure you can achieve. We would set certain goals for all of the marketing investments we made in terms of return on investment and overall traffic generated. Constant Contact was one of the only things we did that never, ever did not return its cost and then some in revenue.

It also provided some great data in the form of feedback about individual campaigns. You could track how many emails were sent, how many were sent to spam folders, how many were actually opened, and even where people clicked on the email indicating interest in certain products and services. It was extremely valuable data to have so that we could tweak future emails to work more efficiently. One thing we found was that the timing of campaigns and when people get the email was crucial to getting the email opened. We never would have known that without the feedback.

All in all, I had a positive experience with it and I would recommend it to somebody else for their business.

Mark Taree
Has anyone tried SendSmith? I just registered a free account and have managed to send out a test EDM… the reporting seems pretty good but has anyone used it for a long time? Any comments?
I am the guy who was writing about using Constant Contact before, and I forgot to go into what the weaknesses were. As I said before, I felt the program overall worked very well for what we needed to do. However, there were definitely things that were not great about working with it and could have handled some serious improvements. Nothing is perfect as the saying goes, and I am sure some of these issues were addressed in past updates. It has been a couple of years since I had to delve into the nuts and bolts of it, but in general I am sure the user experience is relatively the same.

So, first things first, Constant Contact had some pretty limited style options. You had the option of starting from scratch or building off of a pre fabricated template. The templates had some nice design elements to them and were very serviceable, but there just were not very many of them. I feared that other Constant Contact users would have similar looking emails and our brand’s value would be lessened. I would have liked to see more variety to the templates, they really were time savers and they did look quite professional for the most part.

The other issue I had was with the interface itself. It was simplistic and relatively intuitive to work with, but in working with other programs, such as Photoshop and other types of applications, it would have a hard time communicating with them and made relatively simple tasks take longer than they really should have. I frequently would use the most basic program, MS Paint, to do simple image editing tasks, and moving images from Paint to the clipboard and then to the browser where I had Constant Contact open was a total nightmare sometimes.

Those two things were tough to deal with at times, but they were also largely workable. The thing that bothered me the most though, was trying to make changes to an almost finalized email design and having very minor adjustments result in large-scale disaster to the entire lay out. I have had this problem with my resume’ on Microsoft Word as well, but you make things so finely tuned, that even the slightest adjustment can send things completely out of whack and it can take hours if not days to figure out what really went wrong. With the timing of emails so important, it could lead to some pretty tight deadlines coming up and having a finicky program messing you up.

So, like I said, it is completely possible that these things have improved dramatically since I last worked with Constant Contact, but I think that a significant part of their target market are people who are looking for the lowest price they can find for that type of service, their budgets dictate it. So they purposely offer a stripped down email service program that can do what it needs to and work respectably.

Glad to see that Constant Contact is not in your top 3 – they suck! I have tried to use them in the past but they always screw everything up. I think I will try GetResponse and see how it goes… I’ll be back with a review of this email company soon.

rachel clarke
This article just popped up when I asked for a comparison. Helped me greatly in making a decision. Great work 🙂

a web rocker
Please review Graphic Mail. They seem to be more robust than any of the email marketing providers you have reviewed to date.

Andy Greenhalgh
Would very much like to see your upcoming review of MyEmma to see how it stacks up in this category of email marketing.

CC review
Constant Contact is a complete joke. They are by far the most expensive email service out there. What exactly are we paying so much money for? More advertising for them? We had been with CC for 5 years and finally decided to switch to a new mail provider because we couldn’t justify the monthly charges.

a web rocker
I like EmailDirect… they offer more hands on support and advanced features but don’t cost too much like Exact Target, Silver Pop and those companies…

I love the update you’ve done to your email comparison article! And the comparison table makes it so much easier to view the pricing at a glance. The only problem I face now is that there’s so many darn ESP’s to choose from.

It seems like there hasn’t been much chatter about Vertical Response recently, but from what I’ve read elsewhere they’re still a pretty solid choice overall.

I have had nothing but problems with every aspect of that company, and today, the e-newsletter bounced for every one of my AT&T and BellSouth email contacts. I’m told the company is “having a problem” with those providers.

I have had trouble with their slow servers, their poor interface [which goes so far as to insert exclamation points in the middle of a word for no discernible reason] and their support service. One tech kept referring to me in the chat as Booby, when my name is Bobby.

I am going to try out Vertical Response. I have had it with iContact and would absolutely, positively NOT recommend them to anyone.

I don’t even know where to begin. Bombarded with Constant Contact junk mail daily (approx 5 per day), clunky convoluted hard-to-use software, the website will kick you out with no notice and won’t let you log back in, and the worst thing about Constant Contact is their LACK OF SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT!!! When you’re on a tight deadline, and their website fails, when you have moments to make that critical change for your client, Constant Contact sends you to voice mail and tells you to leave a message and they’ll call you back later.


AAAGGGHHHH! This has happened to me far too many times. I am currently waiting as I write this review for them to call me, so I can get back into my account that I was kicked out of for no reason!!!

My client is waiting, and I’m stuck writing this review because I chose to use Constant Contact. Thanks a lot CC! You could qualify for government work!!!!


They DO suck. Their customer support is horrible, long wait times, no one knows what they are doing, expect customers to be able to work with HTML (so what do we need them for?), program is filled with errors and weird things that make it user unfriendly, have no sense of urgency (after all, these are time sensitive email blasts, no?) and worst of all, Constant Contact is blocked by many companies. Can’t wait to get rid of them, just trying to find the right replacement.

I have tried Constant Contact and MailChimp for my restaurants. Constant Contact was too complicated and cluttered. MailChimp was fun and cool, but it was like rocket science and way too many features. I have very limited time and just want to quickly create and send my emails.

For all of you needing an easy & uncomplicated email marketing software, I suggest you try RedCappi. I started using RedCappi about 2 months ago and it’s very easy to use. Interface is as simple as you can get, and the email creator is Drag & Drop and always in preview mode, so you see exactly what you are creating while doing it.

I have been reading many sources. First time to hear of this service. After using it for two months, any more information on them compared to Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse, and Benchmark. Did you decide about the pros and cons on this service. What did you find? I would love to hear more about this one from someone using it. Thanks.

Your facts about Constant Contact are incorrect. They still offer a trial sign up for free — 60 days for up to 100 subscribers. I wasn’t sure so I called their offices today (January 17, 2012) to confirm. Also, I have been using Constant Contact for many years. I haven’t experienced a price increase for many years. And, you didn’t mention that Constant Contact fully exploits social media opportunities more than any other ESP. There is no question in my mind that Constant Contact provides the most value for the money.

I know that there are plenty of other options to consider, and there are a lot of people on here who have given both of these companies bad reviews. But for a non-profit organization looking to just get a start, which would you consider the better deal? We have social media accounts in Twitter and Facebook, and are expanding our e-mail list.

I have been using Constant Contact for years and was just dropped, my account closed without warning, due to ‘illicit pornographic content.’ As I use my account for my business, this does not actually apply to me and although I called customer service they just shrugged and said there was nothing they could do for me, the ‘system’ had closed my account based on a violation of company policy.

I have been super patient with the terrible templates and once a day email spam from CC for several years, but this is just crappy customer service taken to a whole new level.

Just tried to call to ask a few questions before trying them out. Office are closed on a Saturday. Deal breaker.

Amy Brannan
Agreed. I find that if I can’t contact someone from any software or resource company during “off hours” or over the weekend or even holidays that I am more reluctant to utilize their services. As a small business owner I don’t often get “breaks” or days off and emergency situations do not know the bounds of a working day. For this reason I always try to go with a company that has the same type of availability that I offer to my clients, if I’m not here to answer a question, someone else is and that is how it should be in the service industry.

When you wonder which ESP to use, I’d use this formula:

* Don’t use iContact or Constant Contact.
* Use Mailchimp if you need free and have less than 2,000 active subscribers.
* Use Aweber or GetResponse if you want really minimalist, text-only emails, in a cheap and unremarkable but usable interface.
* Use Bronto or Contactology if you want specific integrations with CRM or your own software.
* Contactology or CakeMail if you are white-labeling email service.
* Use MailChimp or Contactology for API integrations, MailChimp on the Free <2000 subscriber end, Contactology on the Paying for Enterprise Edition (lots of email).
* MyEmma if you are a cat or require a picture of a woman’s face on your interface. Actually, just get a free CakeMail account, and upload the myemma graphic or your own woman’s face.

I completely agree with most of the comments here: Constant Contact sucks. Yet, there they are, taking over the world with their money and their marketing. I work with nonprofit organizations and most of them are using Constant Contact. Hate it. I’ve got at least five different opt-ins running right now. Couldn’t do that w/ CC.

I’ve been using iContact for almost three years now with nary a complaint. Oh there have been rare instances of delayed sending. But I have never once contacted their customer service department and not gotten immediate and satisfactory help. Takes some time to navigate – don’t they all?

Thanks for putting all the pros and cons out there in detail.

Amy Brannan
I have experience with using iContact as well and I have to say that overall I was very pleased with their service…that is until I ran across aweber. That isn’t to say that there is anything wong with the iContact service, I never had an issue with them at all, I just found aweber much easier to control and maintain than iContact.

Any update on the pricing table you guys were going to add that includes an “at a glance” comparison of all these email marketing service providers and their pricing, main features, usability issues, etc.?

Alex Schenker
We’re proud to announce that our email marketing service provider comparison table is now ready, and we’ve updated the article above with the latest improvements and features ESP’s have recently released. You can see the table on our email marketing service providers comparison table page.

Do not use Vertical Response. They are a rip off and will not send out emails to addresses on your list. Once you upload the list, they will find a reason to make it invalid and tell you your list is bad. You ask for a refund and will not see one for over a month if any at all.

So please do not use Vertical Response unless you want to get ripped off. Also a sales person named Christopher Li is not helpful and has no idea what customer service is about.

I have used Vertical Response for many years and on several different companies. I have been happy with the service and never experience the issues that ‘web rocker’ mentions. Just thought I’d let everyone know there is another side to the coin.

I’ve been with Constant Contact for four years and tried to upload an email list from one of our other storefront websites and provided with a complete list showing that these people have received and reviewed other emails from our website and had to sign into the website in order to have an email sent to them. They said that they would not send the email blast to these people and have put them on a Do Not Mail List – so we can’t even add them in the future even though we have started a relationship with them – they told me the only way they can get future email blasts from us is by going into the Constant Contact Website and specifically opting in.

So in essence we are losing about 25% of our customer base if we continue to use them. If you don’t want to have the same problems. DON’T use Constant Contact – I have learned my lesson – also there templates are not very user friendly. Thanks to this website I will be looking at iContact or one of the other services. Hopefully, all of their marketing efforts will be for naught as people begin moving away from them to other better options.

A respectful organization had a very similar experience with Constant Contact and also left them to not lose a portion of their mailing list. The move took hours upon hours of time. Constant Contact is a poor quality company to many.

a web rocker
I’ve heard good things about everyone that uses Infusionsoft to send email. It looks like there’s a lot more to it too.

…Infusionsoft is the whole car.

Amazing post. That is exactly what we had been trying to find. My partner and I liked your time and effort. Your own write-up is incredibly a good choice for me personally. I’ll absolutely revisit your internet site for much more.

I’m contemplating using a service called Jibbio ( It has not only an ESP, but also online scheduling (with Paypal connection), Form generation, and 3 or 4 other services all for a flat $20/month with unlimited email subscribers. Sounds too good to be true. Is it?

I enjoyed reading this article since I am currently looking for an email service provider for my business. There is certainly a lot of information given here. I especially like the fact that there is a rather in depth review of each individual company, rather than just a 10 word blurb about why each company is so great.

Many people who are looking for a good email marketing service provider could certainly use some help in answering this question. There seems to be an ever expanding number of potential choices. Combine this together with the fact that not all of these companies actually even offer the same services and it can quickly result in either confusion, information overload or both!

The article actually provides both rankings and fairly detailed profiles on each individual provider. This makes it real easy to determine which are the most important factors and features for your situation and then simply choose the best options.

Of course, there are a number of other sites that give some good information and a few details. One of the things which really separate this from the pack is the fact that they actually give some solid pros and cons for each of the companies. In some cases, knowing the limitations of a provider are even more important, and that is definitely something you will get here.

This would be an excellent review to recommend for anyone looking. If you are truly serious about finding an email marketing service provider, than this is the place to look.

john blue
I found the info helpful but was disappointed to see that affiliate links are being used on recommendations. Yes, I finally found your compensation policy but that is below the fold and not fully disclosed at the beginning of the post.

This was awesome information as I was tasked to research these tools in addition to event management software. What I found is that only about three of the products listed have an event management component: Constant Contact, Vertical Response and Boomerang. Emma claims to integrate with Eventbrite, but not much detail is offered. May be worth an additional 2 lines on the matrix for others with similar needs…

Thanks again for the info – really cut down my leg word…errr key strokes? 😉

My small business went the email marketing and newsletter route through our web provider, who put us on MailChimp. Because our business was still relatively small and our network was not incredibly well-developed yet, we had few enough members for MailChimp to be free.

Embedding the email archives on our website is one of the best features of the plan, since it allows our users to look up information that was sent out in earlier mailers, and we have a file of all the campaigns we sent out. Unlimited image hosting is another perk for our business, since we can upload everything we need right through the service.

The winning part of the service that helped us the most was the Google Analytics integration. Using this tool, we were able to see which campaigns were the most helpful and most popular as far as bringing in web traffic (and thus, ultimately, new customers). Through the work that we put into it, we now have a much larger network and business is growing. And although we now have to pay for email service because we have too many contacts, we still opted to stay with MailChimp.

Just to share my experience:

I used to use mailchimp but I’ve found Market Mailer to be much much cheaper. Personally I prefer their email marketing system as well – their editor just seems more intuitive.

I agree market mailer has the edge at the moment. But they are new on the scene and pretty small as a business. So they can afford to have efficient customer service, etc. At the moment they are offering ridiculous undercuts, and they’ve obviously put in a lot of cash and work for their editor which is as good as any I’ve seen. Judging by their prices I would guess they are looking to undercut the market. Whether it will stay that way is anybodies guess. But for now I’m sticking to MM while they’re in that sweet spot of development. bang tidy.

I first used Constant Contact about three or four years ago when I started collecting emails from my customers at my small business that specialized in catering to parents. It seems like this generation of parents are the first real full generation of individuals that are fully engrossed in the email technology and they use it for so many different applications you literally cannot put a number on the possible uses for it.

When I amassed about three or four hundred emails, I decided to get more organized with my email marketing efforts. Constant Contact was one of the first service providers that I came across for doing what I wanted to do. I obtained a free trial and simply took off from there.

Almost overnight, my emails went from looking hokey and amateurish to very professional and it seemed to get better and better every week. It provided me all the tools I needed to develop a list of customers and see what they responded to in order to streamline my efforts and get more efficient with each email.

My business has a number of different niche market estores. We’ve been amazingly lax in not getting this done but we’re starting to get it. I’d like to be able to keep a masterlist of all customers who have bought from one of the stores in our group (we have over 100,000 names) and I’d also be able to get at the names on a “per store” basis. Our largest individual store has over 35,000 names; our newest store just went live in April and is just getting started and only has a handful so far. Average is probably about 10,000 names. Do any of the providers reviewed have this capability? (I know Constant Contact does not because they, in a profound example of customer service, suggested I open 11 separate accounts – at a substantial cost differential compared to a single list.) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Alex Schenker
Hi Tim,

Excellent question. I believe some of the providers we’ve reviewed do offer multiple list management within one account, the question is can you search all of them as well as each list individually. We’re currently researching this to get you details on who offers this and to what extent.

Brian DeLue
Off the top of my head I’m not sure the answer to your question. I’m working on updating this article this week and will keep an eye out for that sort of information. It’s also possible that Alex, the article’s original author, might have info for you in the short term. I’ll make sure he sees your question.

Many people are into social media for marketing, but this really isn’t the only way to keep in contact with your audience, and it’s also not the only way to gain new customers. I actually think of the woman behind the whole “Hungry Girl,” franchise when I discuss these things.

I mean she has literally built an empire on designing low calorie recipe swaps for the types of foods you enjoy at restaurants and comfort foods that you usually can’t eat on a diet. She has been sending out this stylish, well copy written newsletter for at least 7 years that I know of. That’s when I first signed up for it, and I still get it today.

I’ve taken some of her recommendations and tried some of her foods. I have always been in shape, but I want to maintain it my whole life. Now also, I want to also lose about 5 to 10 pounds of baby weight, or maybe just somewhere around 7 pounds. I made sure that the newsletter stopped going to my junk folder and that I started reading it again several months ago. She built a whole business on her website and newsletter.

a web rocker
Thanks for your service. It is very helpful and very useful too to read all the opinions. I have two suggestions. (1) Could you include a date of your review in the matrix? (2) If possible, it would be nice to know if pay-as-you-go is an option for those of us who mail less frequently. Thanks

Alex Schenker
Thank you for your feedback. We have added the last update date in bold at the top of the best email marketing matrix page and the last update date for the table was September 20, 2012. We will have to do some digging for more info on pay as you go but will leave a comment here when we find the answer. Thanks!

Alex Schenker
All of the email marketing companies we have reviewed here are “pay as you go” in that they do not require you to sign a contract. So, it is month-to-month for one flat fee per month unless you change the services you use. However, in most cases, if you skip a month, you may have to start over from scratch with new template designs, mailing list upload, etc. each time if you take a month off not to mention that your customers are much less likely to open an email from you if they have not heard from you in more than 45 days or so. Hope this helps!

Do you all think that email marketing is as important as it used to be? Seems like all anyone ever talks about anymore is social media this and Facebook that… just want to make sure I am spending my very limited marketing dollars in the right place. Any tips?

Great question. I personally feel that email marketing is still extremely important, maybe even more important than it was before social media. Yes, social media is proving to be a great way to communicate to customers. However, email marketing is still the only way to make sure that your message goes directly to the user that you want it to. With social media, you cannot guarantee that the people you want the message to go to will see it. It could be a day where they did not get online and there are still plenty of people who do not access their social media accounts on a regular basis. With email marketing, you know that your message will get to the persons email inbox. They might not see it right away, but it is there and I feel like there is a better chance of the user reading it. I would be curious if anybody else has conflicting views?

Web Business
Stay away from iContact if you have a large subscriber list. Inexperienced sales staff who doesn’t deliver on what they promise to make the sale and won’t work with you on your list as promised. Do. Not. Use.

I was just about to move forward with signing up for iContact until I stumbled upon your comment. I have a mid-sized list, about 4,000 emails. Could you expand on your experience with iContact? Just curious what promises were not kept.

Darren Spencer
HonestMail is the lowest price full featured email marketing service provider on the planet and the first built on Amazon’s ground breaking email technology. You will see a detailed price and feature comparison to all of the major email service providers on our site.

Darren Spencer, CEO at

YourMailingListProvider has worked great for some of my smaller clients, easy-to-use, all the features we needed, great support and from what I could tell, great deliverability.

Worth a look, if you are a small business and need good pricing without compromising or skimping. Plus I’d say it’s the easiest one I’ve tried… although MailChimp was very quick to learn as well.

YMLP is awesome. Just recently they made you pay an international transaction fee!!

Looking for Follow-Up to: Next Up
I was wondering what the status was for adding the review / add next section to your comparison table? I love what you’ve done and how you’ve presented the information thus far. Hoping to see Bronto: Caters primarily to the high end market; specializing in email newsletters for e-commerce (No monthly option available – annual only), Benchmark, MyEmma, Boomerang, JangoMail, Big Hip, and mUrgent (a full service outfit). And many more will be reviewed soon! Thank you so much for your extraordinary help!

Michelle Schenker
The promised new services will be added in Spring 2013 along with a complete update on this review. Stay tuned and sorry for the delay.

Manny Erickson
I think the above is totally wrong. What about Emailvision? Not only are they a superb email marketing service, they also provide marketing analytics and predictive recommendations. Who else is doing that and as well? How can you go wrong with solid email marketing, their Customer Intelligence platform where you can send targeted emails segmented by purchase history (etc.) ensuring to send relevant emails and their predictive recommendations for your ecommerce site. Far supersedes what everyone else is doing I must say!

Cathy Goodwin
AWeber charges you for duplicates on email lists AND charges for unsubscribes, too. They are very sneaky – it’s not listed anywhere. You have to manually remove all the unsubscribes every single month. Also it is hard to import a list. For a major player like AWeber, this is ridiculous.

Thank you for telling us about Google Groups. I had no idea this service even existed, and it’s free?! Well, at least it’s free right now. I actually did the Constant Contact free trial, but really did not have much of a list to market to at the time; I just wanted to see if the system would work for me after I completed my whole marketing campaign.

I wanted a free option, but could not find one. Google Groups probably was not available at that time though, so this is great. I’m so glad that I stumbled onto this post because I am a small business. I only have a small opt in list. I hope it grows, but to be honest, that might take a few years. This is only my side business. I have a real world job, and not a lot of money to invest in my business, so this is going to just work so much better for me.

The only thing that is a little bit challenging is the fact that everyone must have a Google account. So many people do these days that it might be workable though.

Trying to decide between MailChimp and Constant Contact. Does anyone have any experience or recos to share on which one if the best for email newsletters?

Thanks for all the great info on email marketing newsletters and also for the price comparisons paired with features. This can help me choose the best email newsletter for me.

Rentini Travel
This is a great email newsletter comparison review! Thanks for helping us choose, trying out iContact as it looks to suit our needs best!

Since someone who is new to the world of email marketing may not understand all of the jargon used it is a nice touch for this site to include a list of terminology used. The definitions and explanations offered are all given in plain English, so even a newcomer will be able to clearly understand everything going on here.

I also liked the fact that they provided a good explanation for the way they choose to organize this information. By explaining the fact that they have left off most of the common features that each provider offers make things a lot clearer. It also goes a long way towards adding to their credibility and honesty. For example, when the author says that all of these providers basically have the same types of relationships with the major ISP’s this shows that they care more for you. It also helps to clear up some confusion, since many providers advertise the fact that they have the best relationships.

The advice about archiving and SEO is also really good. I would imagine most folks have never thought about the implications of archiving their old newsletters and emails on the provider site.

The first impression that I get from this information is that the author is really trying to help and simply give some good advice. It seems as if the writer(s) actually care about their audience and want to protect them from making any kind of mistake. I love the idea of including a list of terms to keep people from being confused or intimidated into a provider who may not really be the best choice for their business or situation.

The various categories are also very helpful. The author has taken the time to actually review each company on the basis of whether they would be a good entry level provider. It seems that they certainly really understand their audience and want to answer their common questions.

Yet, they do not stop there. If you are already using a provider, then you may be interested in switching to someone else. They include a number of helpful tips to make this transition easier and less painful. For example, using a content management system can help. They also point out that many users have added comments and other information about providers which have not been specifically reviewed.

Jessica Moretti
What an amazingly thorough review of the big names in email marketing. You should consider doing a review of SnapRetail. If you haven’t heard of Snap, it is an online marketing solution specific to the retail marketing and offers some truly unique product features, like ready-to-use content and a drag-and-drop planning calendar. (disclosure: this commenter works for SnapRetail)

Dave Burton
Does anyone know anything about

I used to be the marketing manager for a small furniture retailer that made good use of promotional email and the internet in general as a marketing tool. Constant Contact was the service we subscribed to for our email services and from my experience, it was a very useful tool and we were able to achieve some pretty impressive results in both the collection of email address and also the success of our campaigns.

I found the interface to be pretty simplistic, almost too much so, but it did allow for all the editing and manipulation of the content that I needed to make things both functional and aesthetically pleasing. There were some limitations in what we could do design-wise, but ultimately the value of the program came in the data we were able to retrieve from it in terms of measuring our success and finding out more about our core group of customers.

If you are not already, sign up for a free trial of one of these services and start communicating with your customers right away!


I love your comparison chart and reviews of the email marketing systems/products. I am considering I’ve heard that it is great for auto responders and having the shopping cart (which I eventually will need)all in one. Have you reviewed it or compared it to MailChimp and the other products? I’m new to all of this and would like to set myself up with the system/program that will serve me best without having to migrate my list in a year.



a web rocker
Get Response web templates don’t work with Internet Explorer. Really?

Campaigner botched the sign up and their templates look quite different in the set up than they do when you actually mail them.

Two strikeouts out of the “Top 3 2012 Winners”

Alex Schenker
Hi, We are sorry you had this negative experience with our recommendations. We have tested the Campaigner sign-up form and it worked fine on our end and actually did it from multiple ISPs, browsers and emails with no problems at all. So, maybe it was a fluke but either way, we certainly do apologize for this inconvenience.

As for Get Response, this is the first we have heard of this incompatibility with IE and their templates so we have followed up with them directly and are conducting our own research through third parties for more information on this and will report back/update our article with any updates. Thanks for letting us know – our user feedback means a lot to us.

Mail chimp may have a great service but not being able to get in touch with them is a huge problem. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to fix a problem and was so frustrated. I am looking for another service to try.

Customer Service and connection is important.

I’ve been using e-blasting and they are great over the phone. They even gave me some marketing ideas to use for my next mailing. I had signed up for a trial account first, so it’s worth a shot. Hope that helps.

Jessica Moretti
Hi Judy,

You might consider SnapRetail. It’s an email marketing solution that provides you with a dedicated marketing consultant with your subscription. Customer service and support is a top priority.

a web rocker
Anyone who is or has been considering using an email marketing service provider understands that this is a decision which should be made only after some very careful consideration. This article takes a very serious look at several of the top programs in this field and offers a lot of helpful information.

Personally, I found the comparison table to be quite helpful. Anything like this that is large enough to require its own separate page means that there is a lot of information to be had if used properly. Not only does it include all of the pricing and features data which you would expect, but the author also clearly seems to be committed to regular updates.

Another thing which really makes this article a cut above the rest is the fact that much of the reasoning for what is included in the tables and the reviews are explained in very clear language. To me, this was very helpful. Knowing that all of the providers have certain things in common makes it that much easier to focus on the differences and helps make comparisons quicker and simpler.

I have to say, I was kind of shocked to find out that Constant Contact was not your top choice. I guess, I’ve seen them around for so long that they seem like the authority to me. When they first came out, I did do a trial offer and I found the system easy to use. But I was not very business savvy at the time and did not really have a list. I bought a list, but We all know that good lists are usually organically grown, not bought.

It seems like GetResponse is a solid modern choice since it integrates social networking and such. The autoresponder is a given, but I think being able to conduct surveys is a really nice option.

I have to say that I never heard of iContact or Campaigner before now and they both even outranked Constant Contact. With icontact, the custom html and design features are a great plus. In fact, I kind of wondered why Constant Contact did not have it at the time I did their free trial. Campaigner is also worth a try at such a bargain. Whenever I see $10 for something, I always take a second look.

As a business owner marketing online, one of the most valuable investments you can make is choosing an email service provider. This is basically a service that can help you to put all of your email marketing, subscriber acquisition and follow up on automatic pilot. It is truly a very powerful service and great way to harness the power of technology.

This article attempts to make this decision much easier for you. There are a number of individual company reviews that give you an excellent overview of the email marketing service provider climate. Lest you think that these will all be glowing reviews just aimed at driving you to their individual sales page, no! There are positives and negatives listed, as well as what types of services they offer.

The best way to use this article is to start with the terminology. Learning this will give you a better handle on things. You will then be more familiar with how powerful these services are. Then, identify which features are the most important for you and your business.

a web rocker
2nd place for iContact?

I guess you have not tried their email customization. It has a major flaw that other providers don’t have: in the email they correctly insert the first name of the recipient (e.g. “Dear Mary”), but when Mary clicks on the link that says “click here to view email as a web page” they can’t do the customization, they insert “John” for everyone, so Mary sees “Dear John”.

For small to medium sized businesses that are looking at launching email marketing campaigns, selecting the right service to get themselves started is crucial. Often times, these companies are either borrowing a budget from some other location or starting completely from scratch and require the campaign to ultimately pay for itself. For this reason, business owners often default to the best deal they can get and take the lowest number they can find. This ranking of email marketing services shows that thinking, as it usually is, is fatally flawed.

No matter how good the service is or how effective it can be, it will not make any difference whatsoever if the end user does not know how to make the most of it. This is where customer service and support comes in as perhaps the single most valuable component when measuring these providers against one another. A more simplistic service that provides a free manner of learning how to use it will be far more valuable in the short term to a small business owner that is just getting started. Spend the extra money on the people in the know, it just works.

Horrible experience with Vertical Response, site worked great but exceptionally poor customer service. I would not recommend this company to anyone. Try any of the others on the list.

Chris Wheaton
It’s shameful you’re passing these reviews off as having been done in 2013. You’re painfully misinforming the public about current capabilities of various services. Just looking at the very first review for AWeber I know that these “con” claims are totally incorrect. All of these functions exist at AWeber.

From your review:

No image hosting – AWeber does not host your images for you. That means you’ll either need access to a hosting provider (such as the one powering your website), or an image hosting service such as Photobucket or Imageshack, in order to host (upload and save) your newsletter images.

No Social Media Integration with any of the networks. Not even Facebook.

No HTML editor – while you can’t import your website look and feel into your email newsletter template directly, you can copy and paste the source into the editor as a workaround.

At time of writing, you can’t auto-remove duplicates from your email lists, you’ll need to do this manually.

Brian DeLue
Hi Chris,

Every company on this list was carefully audited and reviewed in preparation for updating this article earlier this month, so it is indeed accurate as of April 2013. You are correct that aWeber does not offer limited social media integration with Facebook and Twitter which we have updated in our article. Thanks for the heads up. However, the other items that you mentioned are still true so far as we can tell from everything we read on aWeber’s website and conversations we have had with user. For example, while they do have more than 100 HTML email template designs, they do not allow for you to edit the html to more customize the look (with the exception of a simple color change or addition of logo). Further, we see no reference to any image hosting or ability to auto-remove duplicates in list management.

If you know otherwise please advise – we would be happy to update with any corrections that you or anyone provides. As you know, technology sometimes moves faster than we possibly can but we do our best to stay on top of things. It might take us a little time, but I promise we’re working on it.

Thanks for reading and providing feedback. We welcome reader feedback to keep us honest and current but also appreciate your understanding that we are only human 😉 Thanks!

Super rundown on several email marketing platforms! Very thorough and fair.

Would love to have you give BombBomb a try (yes, I work there). It’s an email marketing platform designed to support video since day one. Video, of course, makes your message more personal and more powerful. Pricing is kin to Constant Contact. We build two custom templates for every new customer at no cost.

I won’t belabor it or sell it any further here in this comment – would love to have you fire up a free trial (

Thanks! And thanks again for the great rundown on all these ESPs.

We are in an agency. After setting one of our clients up on Constant Contact we tested the platform and found that 30% of the time connection requests by various ISP’s to the Constant Contact image library failed. The most problematic was Gmail. This resulted in all the images of falling out of the test campaign.

Google’s Gmail team reported issues with the vendor. In fact currently there is no way from the Gmail side to enable automated delivery of content with images. Google has removed the add to safe senders list menu option for all content generated from Constant Contact’s domain. During our test Constant Contacts failure was elevated to a tier 2 support level to fix their coding error.

While waiting for support to fix this problem the account was flagged for delivery issues then locked down by yet another division freezing our list. In summary if you have a lot of time to waste, want to deal with a bureaucracy equal to the federal government and like talking to yourself this is the vendor of choice.

Good luck !

I agree and have had similar experiences. We bring them a contact list in their upper pricing table and they still manage to waste our time with really poor and rude support.

am preparing to leave VR. I have been with them for quite some time and am finally finished with their version of customer service (or lack there of).

I have had multiple issues as of late and they keep telling me I am crazy or that it is my fault. I am no newbie and was a bit put off. One of my issues was that when I sent out my campaign with links in it, the code they attach to the link to track was bad. All my customers who clicked it got a VR page (not a browser page) that said the link was incomplete. I received multiple complaints. I double and triple checked the links I provided and they were correct.

Other issues I have had are templates being erased completely when the ‘Save’ button is pushed. Seems to me we are trying to prevent the exact opposite.

I loved the software’s ease of use, list segmenting, and email templates, but when we got down to the most important part of our relationship, service, they severely let me down. I was a monthly subscriber with a list of 27,000 emails. I am now convinced it is time to move on.

To further compound my frustration. I have tried to download my unsubscribe list multiple times so that when I upload my information into my new providers database, I can also tag the unsubscribes so as not to violate the law. VR’s system keeps telling me it will notify me when the download is complete yet the notification never comes. I have tried 3 different times over a 3 week period. I can not get any of my information back out.

VR was a great concept with poor execution. Maybe if the CEO spent more time training customer support and less time sending out newsletters of her own to the subscribers, we could see a turn-around there.

I used Vertical Response (VR) for my Mortgage Financing business marketing for about a year when they stopped my email campaign one evening and then cancelled my account without an prior warning. Their reason was that they no longer support content relating to mortgage financing. This is the response from their delivery team:

I am writing to alert you that your account was closed because the content in your emails is not allowed by our Terms and Policies.

We do not allow content related to stocks, trading, or financial advice and coaching. Below is a list of finance industry email types that we do not allow:

Credit Services

* Debt consolidation/credit repair services and programs
* Credit Reporting Services
* VA Loans

Mortgage Services (MLS emails, Mortgage Loans, Mortgage Refinancing)

Grant services

* Government grants


* Online Trading (Stock tips, day trading, etc)

These types of emails have historically been so highly linked to abuse in our system we can no longer allow this type of content to be sent through our service.

Unfortunately we are unable to reverse this decision. Please note that this has nothing to do with the legitimacy of your business, we simply have fairly strict policies about what can be mailed though our service.

VerticalResponse reserves the right to close accounts that are determined too high of a risk to send mail through our network.

Don’t think about using these guys for any serious business venture.

Who are you using now?

Before you jump ship to Constant Contact, you’d better check some recent complaints. They just implemented a new editor (without any warning), and it is completely maddening! I’m shopping now because after 3 days of trying to do 4 hours’ work I’ve just completely had it. Oh, and customer support say it’s my fault… me and the other 500 people who are having trouble since this new editor went online. Our “formatting” is bad. Yeah, right! It worked last week!

We’ve had the same problem. We’ve used CC for over two years but have had the issue of it not saving our work several times lately, sending out older versions of files, and the final product looking different than the preview. We’re online shopping for a new service now.

We have spent hours working around the formatting of a newsletter – only to have it not save! It has been happening more and more. I’m searching for an alternate program because it appears they are burying this negative information and they are not being proactive about the problem. I didn’t know they had a new editor.

Problems we find include the formatting not sticking and the Save the paragraph not sticking. Highlighting to cut must happen in the left to right or it highlights the opposite text (all but what you want to delete). Saving a page inconsistently works.

Since the failures are not predictable or solvable, multiple extra time is being spent on writing the basic text. I don’t find any clues as to how to avoid this.

All great providers. But I use Pure360 and since then I haven’t looked back, their customer service is awesome.

Constant Contact does a great job of the very basic Add and Delete functions — but that’s comparable to having a heartbeat, so it is not a differentiator.

What Constant Contact does not do at all – nada, zilch — is provide any facility for subscribers to Change their email address or any of the other contact information that Constant Contact can collect.

In a competitive ISP environment and an economy in which people move often, this comparison would have been much valuable if you had included the ability, or lack thereof, for the subscriber to change their own contact information.

I think you’re mistaken. Every email has an Update link so the user can change information.

I was just about to get a MailChimp account, and they sent the confirmation email directly to my junk mail account. Fail.

As if that’s MailChimp’s fault somehow? Lets keep the relevant comments going.

How is this not Mailchimp’s fault? This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t use it. If their confirmation email is spam how is everything you send with them going to be taken as anything different. This site must be blacklisted and standard spam filters, ISP’s and everything in between recognize that anything coming from Chimp is crap.

Email cannot target a “junk folder” on a machine. That the email wound up in your junk folder would likely be due to settings in your email client/spam filter/ISP. So, your comment = fail.

If their email is getting caught in the default settings for what the email client considers “junk mail”, and MailChimp employ the same technique when sending email blasts, then those blasted emails stand a chance of being considered “junk mail” by others simply because of their default email client/spam filter/ISP settings.

If an email was incompatible with Outlook’s default “email client/spam filter/ISP” settings that would obviously be bad. This is the same thing.

Anyone who doesn’t pay attention to things like this should stop clogging up junk email boxes with your unread email blasts.

Just found out about them reading this article. I sign up. Mail Chimp doesn’t recognize my login name or password. I click reset password, it sends to my email…so it does recognize my email!! Problem is, it took close to an hour for them to send it. I reset the password, try to log in… nope, doesn’t recognize my name or password.

Bottom line, if they can’t handle a simple thing like accommodating a new customer’s sign in…how can they be trusted with my company?


There is a relatively new Vertical Response module that can be used with Drupal. It looks like one can generate a newsletter from within their Drupal site and then launch it through Vertical Response.

Something no one has talked about is integrating your database. The only reason I’m looking at Vertical Response is that they have a partnership with our database company. Supposedly this will make it a lot easier to clean my list and manage bounces.

Does anyone else have experience with this?

One company that was not mentioned is Swiftpage. It is fully integrated into ACT! by Sage, SageCRM and Sage Saleslogix. This way all reporting and tracking are automatically entered into your database and saved in one place. I am not sure what database company you use but feel free to take a look at Swiftpage.

Bottom line: Stay away….looks can be deceiving.

I spent a week designing a fancy email newsletter on their service. I thought the features and the price were great. I had been doing my own designs on software that allowed me to design a newsletter and do bulk mailing.

I thought that for the price & features that Vertical Response would be a better choice. Understand, I am not a computer illiterate. I design websites, work in Photoshop, etc. so I know my way around this arena.

I found their design templates to be bulky and non intuitive and although they have pretty good basic phone support , they rely heavily on web based tutorials and videos to get you up to speed. That’s all great if you have the time to spend watching web videos but I need to get my newsletter out on time and want to spend time designing and NOT watch their tutorials to get answers to simple questions that might take one minute of a tech support persons time.

There system allows you to preview your emails easily and even send test emails to yourself for no extra charge BUT….and this is HUGE…if you have customized your recipients salutation, like Hi Joe, you have to use a merge field code. No biggie. You just insert the proper merge field info in the design template….BUT when you send the test email you can’t see if the system picked up the code properly. You have to send out a real email to confirm this.

Big mistake on my part. I sent out my whole 3000+ list and the merge field custom salutation was not picked up. So each recipient received an email that said:


Very embarrassing I must say. Tech support told me that the merge field had been improperly formatted but I had used the one inserted from their design program. Thinking that it was fixed I sent out some more emails the next day but…nope…same problem.

I called tech support, asked to speak to a supervisor, and, you guessed it, he was in a meeting.

So overall bad service, email tech requests went unanswered, the interface is clunky and unintuitive, and basically I got the feeling that no one there really cared.

I guess that’s why people pay the big bucks for Constant Contact.

I have a list of email addresses, all mine, for different providers. Beside the usual test Vertical Response sends, I send a real email to my test list to make sure the merges, font sizes, etc. look good across all providers. Call me paranoid, but it works. I do have to make a copy of my actual email to accomplish this, because once it’s sent the email is posted as “sent” and I can’t edit it.

Come on man. It’s two curly braces {{ whatever }}. You should be ashamed of yourself for cut and pasting their malarky and escalate the situation to your own supervisor.

Asking for a supervisor is really lame too. The adult equivalent of lying to a teacher about someone else to deflect your inability to assume responsibility.

This comment posting makes me think a lot less of you.

Good day.

Profollow is a less expensive private label of aweber, as I understand it, but without the analytics. Anybody know about it? If aweber is blocked (I only heard it on this blog), will Profollow also be blocked, could they have different IP addresses, etc.?


I am doing my marketing plan and project my email list to grow from 3000 to 36,000 over five years.

I would like to start with one service and stick with it. But this does not seem to be the right thing to do because since I am starting out the expensive services are too expensive for startups.

Vertical Response seems to have poor customer service. I don’t care if this thread has only one negative experience recorded. They still did not fix the problem.

ConstantContact is now to big to care about a small business like me, so I won’t try them.

Given the above input information, what path would you recommend for a small, caution startup with an extremely limited budget and a desire to work with one email marketing company in a long term relationship.

Thank you