What Is The Best Email Marketing Software in 2020?

“The money is in the list.”

Those were the words drilled into my head when I first started figuring out this whole “online marketing” thing back in 2012 and ever since, I have been looking for the best email marketing software.

And you know what? Not much has changed since then.

Email marketing is still one of the best, if not the best way to reach your audience on a level that no website or social media marketing can offer.

Your list is immune to BS policy changes…

It’s immune to reach-slashing algorithm updates…

And it’s even immune to animal-loving Google penalties.

The key difference is that you actually own your list, and, more importantly, you own the relationship you have with that list — which is what makes it so friggin’ valuable.

And once that oh-so important realization sinks in, another one slowly creeps up on you. The facilitation of that list.

Despite how much emphasis I put on the ownership aspect of an email list, there’s one gatekeeper that should always be part of the equation.

I know you know the answer.

That’s right, your email marketing tool.

What Exactly Is An Email Marketing Software?

An email marketing tool is the engine that powers your list.

It’s responsible for everything from storing emails, sending marketing emails, tracking emails, and in some cases, a whole lot more. (We’ll dive into the specifics of these shortly.)

Ultimately, it’s an end-to-end solution for email marketing and email newsletters, and it’s one of the few tools that are an essential component of any online business.

Before we get into the meaty stuff, let’s talk about some typical use-cases for email marketing and why any of this even matters.

Types Of Email Marketing Campaigns

There are a few types of email marketing campaigns that a reliable email service will allow you to send out to your list as a small business.

Let’s do a quick breakdown of what they are:

Types Of Email Marketing Campaigns

1. Onboard

Often in the form of a welcome email or sequence that you send to new customers in order to familiarize them with whatever it is they have purchased or enrolled in.

2. Update

Could be a new product announcement, a new blog post, an upcoming event, a webinar reminder, or maybe even changes within the company.

3. Nurture

Almost always an email, or sequence of emails sent to new leads in order to prime them for upcoming promotion material. This could be a barrage of tips, a freebie, or even relevant storytelling.

4. Promote

Anything that encourages an action, or more commonly, a form of payment from the reader. A common example of this is a sales sequence, promoting the launch of a product.

5. Transactional Emails

Usually a very simple, one-off email such as a thank you email, payment confirmation, webinar registration confirmation, etc.

This isn’t a complete list by any means, but it does cover 99% of use-cases and will provide the basis of our comparisons throughout this post.

And that brings us to the actual tools…

The 7 Best Email Marketing solutions

Frankly, I could have added dozens of tools to this list, but we’re all about deep analysis and I wanted to make sure we release this post before the next millennium.

So, I took what I believe to be the 7 most common, most popular email marketing tool companies and proceeded to tear them apart.

The good news is most of them offer free trials so feel free to sign up for several of them of pick the one that matches you the best.

Here are the brave candidates:


ActiveCampaign is an intelligence-driven email marketing platform and sales CRM that first came about in 2003.

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website

Active Campaign


AWeber is the original list-based email marketing service going all the way back to 1998. It’s now used by over 120,000 businesses.

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website

Aweber Logo Blue

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is the oldest email marketing software in this roundup, with the first iteration of its tool available in 1995. It’s now owned by Endurance (who also owns Bluehost).

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website

Constant Contact Logo


ConvertKit is a blogger-focused email marketing tool developed by Nathan Barry, and it was made openly available to the public in 2015.

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website


Drip is an email automation focused marketing tool from the guys over at LeadPages.

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website

drip logo


GetResponse is another mature email marketing service and all-in-one marketing platform that came about in 1997, now with over 350,000 customers.

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website

getresponse logo


MailChimp is a very popular, beginner-friendly email marketing tool that has seen rapid growth since all the way back to 2001.

Short Review | Full Review | Visit Website

MailChimp Logo

Best Email Marketing Software “Must-Haves”

At this stage, you understand the different tools available and what they have to offer, as well as specific ways you might use these in your marketing effort.

Before we get into the comparisons, let’s kick it up a notch and talk about what you should actually be looking for in an email marketing software.

Unfortunately, as with most tools nowadays, there’s a ton of hype around flashy-featured solutions, and it’s so easy to get sucked in by email marketing features.

When it comes to email marketing software, there are really only a few key factors that’ll move the needle for you, and once you know what they are, you’ll be in a much better position to pick out the right tool for your business.

So let’s break each of them down, one-by-one.

System & Advanced marketing Segmentation

The “system” refers to how the tool handles, and more importantly, segments contacts on a fundamental level.

Not all that long ago, this wouldn’t have even been a comparison factor because almost all email marketing tools were list-based, meaning that each of your subscribers would be assigned to a single marketing list.

The problem with list-based email systems is that it puts all your contacts under one umbrella, which limits the relevance and effectiveness of your communication to anyone on that list unless you go through cumbersome list management processes.

With newer tools implementing a tag-based system, it became infinitely easier to segment and target subscribers in various ways, by manually or automatically assigning tags based on contact behaviour.

Here’s a quick overview on the key differences:

List-based email system:

  • Difficult to segment prospects effectively
  • You’re forced to take a blanket approach with your emails
  • List crossover leads to duplicate sending for some contacts
  • Same subscriber on multiple lists are counted individually

Tag-based email system:

  • Easily segment prospects based on contact behaviour
  • Allows you to get super targeted with your emails
  • Prevents sending the same email to multiple subscribers
  • Subscribers are only counted once regardless of how many tags are applied

So, to compare systems, I’ll be looking at the ability to:

  • List: segment subscribers effectively across different lists, for list-based providers
  • Tag: segment subscribers effectively using tags, for tag-based providers
  • Automation: use tags to trigger automations and set conditions (I’ll dive a lot more into automations specifically in the next section)
    Granularity: get really specific with targeting options (bonus points)


ActiveCampaign utilises tags for everything from organization, automation triggers, and even conditional segmentation.

ActiveCampaign Tagging System


AWeber has now implemented a tagging system, though it’s still quite rudimentary in comparison to it’s competitors.

AWeber Tagging System

Constant Contact

Constant Contact does allow tagging, but it doesn’t venture far from the basic functionality. It’s also not the most intuitive.

ConstantContact Tagging System


ConvertKit has built itself around the idea of being a tag-based system and, as a result, it works well for both segmentation and automation.

ConvertKit Tagging System


Drip is also very tag-focused with a strong emphasis on automated segmentation. Really impressed with it here, actually.

Drip Tagging System


GetResponse offers a robust tagging system, especially in the way of tag-based automation. No manual tagging, though.

GetResponse Tagging System


MailChimp uses ‘groups’ and ‘hidden fields’ for segmentation, but these are still not quite as efficient as tags. Overall very list-centric.

MailChimp Segmentation System


Easily one the most important factors in this entire comparison is “email marketing automation”.

This incorporates everything from drip campaigns (also known as autoresponders) to advanced automation triggers and conditions that take your email marketing to a whole new level.

Combined with a tag-based system, this kind of automation tools allows you to not only categorize subscribers based on behaviour, but also create intelligent marketing campaigns that, when used properly, will literally skyrocket your conversion-rate.

Examples of email marketing automation in action:

  • A contact visits your sales page but doesn’t buy, so you send out a follow-up email to bring them back to the page (and perhaps a mini Q&A to answer common concerns).
  • A visitor subscribes to your email list but doesn’t open the lead magnet they signed up for, so you send them a reminder to download the freebie.
  • A subscriber has been on your “list” for exactly 1 year to the day, and you have an automation set up to send out a thank you email (telling them how awesome they are).
  • A subscriber reads a blog posts that ties in nicely with one of your products, but hasn’t yet bought the product — so you a trigger an email sequence with the goal of pitching your product.

And those examples only skim the surface of what’s possible. Believe me, you can get SUPER creative with this in ways that’ll make your subscribers think you’ve been watching them. #creepy

So, in this case, you should be able to:

  • Build: build your own marketing automations quickly and easily
  • Template: choose from templated automation based on common scenarios (i.e. send cart abandonment reminder)
  • Triggers: offer various different trigger types to start any given automation
  • Conditions: set conditions that allow you to split your automations and segment subscribers on the fly.


ActiveCampaign is excellent for building complex marketing automations, though I almost want to deduct a point for the sluggishness of the workflow builder.

ActiveCampaign Automation System


AWeber offers very basic sequence automation, and while the builder is both fast and intuitive, it doesn’t allow for any form of conditional segmentation (only runs linearly).

AWeber Automation System

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is seriously lacking in the automation department. The best you’ll find here is the ability to set up a basic autoresponder.

Constant Contact Automation System


ConvertKit offers the most user-friendly marketing automation builder I’ve seen without sacrificing (too much) on functionality, though it’s not quite as flexible as ActiveCampaign or Drip.

ConvertKit Automation System


Drip’s marketing automation builder is both powerful and easy to use, and while it’s not quite as feature-rich as ActiveCampaign, it is a lot faster.

Drip Automation System


GetResponse goes a step beyond some of the other alternatives here, but the marketing automation builder did feel a bit clunky at times.

GetResponse Automation System


MailChimp’s marketing automation, like AWeber, only works linearly, which makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to create advanced automations.

MailChimp Automation System

A/B Testing

Split-testing allows you to test close variants of different emails against each other, and this concept is utilized in virtually every form of marketing. (For good reason, it works.)

And while not every campaign should be subject to rigorous testing, there are scenarios, like during product launch sequences, where split-tests can lead to significantly more revenue for your business.

There are a few moving parts when it comes to running these kinds of tests, and it’s important your email marketing tool is able to facilitate those things in order to really maximize the power of A/B testing.

In this case, you’ll want to be able to:

  • Versatility: test everything from the subject line, the call-to-action and even a different design of the same email.
  • Segmentation: run tests to specific subscribers based on prior segmentation. (Also helpful if you have a large list and you pay by the email.)
  • Types: run tests for different campaign types, whether that’s a standard campaign or a drip campaign.
  • Data: access to the right data in order to correctly assess a winning variant from each test (open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, etc.)


ActiveCampaign allows you to split-test everything from campaign emails, autoresponders, and even automation workflows.

ActiveCampaign A/B Testing Split Test Types



I was unable to find any way to run a split-test test within AWeber, even on a basic level. If it’s there, they clearly don’t want you to know about it.


Constant Contact


Despite multiple requests from users dating back several years, there’s still no A/B testing functionality within Constant Contact.



ConvertKit lacks some functionality in this department. Currently — and only as of recently — it allows you to A/B test your email subject lines.

ConvertKit AB Testing System


Drip does have some basic split-testing functionality built-in, but testing actual email content requires a complicated workaround.

Drip AB Testing System


GetResponse allows you to A/B test subject lines, the sender identification, delivery time and, most importantly, specific email content.

GetResponse AB Testing System


MailChimp supports A/B testing for subject lines, from field, delivery time, and content. I really liked it, but no support for split-testing automations.

MailChimp AB Testing System

Form Building

You can’t generate leads without a form, right?

And while not everyone will rely on their email marketing service provider for lead generation, for now, we’ll be moving forward on the assumption you don’t have access to tools like Thrive Leads or Lead Pages.

Now, I won’t blabber on with this one since form building isn’t exactly rocket science, but I will clarify the core elements we’re looking for here.

  • Simplicity: It shouldn’t require a degree to understand how to build the actual sign up forms (and visual form builders tend to work a lot better in that respect).
  • Design: With third-party builders especially, it’s important to have control over the look and feel of your form so that it fits in seamlessly with your sites design.
  • Functionality: Being able to create and test different form types – like slide-ins, overlays and popups – will help to increase conversions.
  • Implementation: Building the form is one thing, but embedding that form into your page should be equally as smooth. Nobody likes a broken form.
  • Pages: Allow you to build entire landing pages to capture emails (for bonus points).fo


Unless you’re willing to shell out for higher tier plans to get access to more form types and remove branding, ActiveCampaign is pretty weak here.

ActiveCampaign Form Building


Just good enough to get by with, but given the quality of the templates and the lack of form functionality, I really wasn’t impressed.

AWeber Form Building

Constant Contact

ConstantContact not only lacks form types, but it gives you almost zero control over the look and feel of your form.

Constant Contact Form Building


ConvertKit allows you to build different form types (inline, modal, etc), as well as entire landing pages. The design options are a bit weak, however.

ConvertKit Form Building


Drip’s form builder allows for plenty of form types, as well as control over form behaviour and visibility. The design aspect could be better.

Drip Form Building


GetResponse had a surprisingly solid form builder and you can also build out full landing pages with it. No options for form behaviour, though.

GetResponse Form Building


MailChimp offers the ability to create general inline forms, embeddable forms and also pop-ups. The form builder was very “average”, however.

MailChimp Form Building

Email marketing Templates

Email marketing templates are not only HUGE time-savers, but they allow you to maintain brand consistency for every email you send out.

Again, I won’t go on about it because you already know why templates are valuable, so let me just give you a breakdown of what we’re looking for in this particular comparison.

To score maximum points, it should…

  • Selection: Have a strong selection of email templates suitable for various different industries
  • Design: Offer well-designed and professional looking email templates
  • Customizability: Allow for moderate customization of any template to tailor it to your own sites branding
  • Responsive Email: Offer email templates that look great on any device and any screen size

If you’re like me and you prefer the “raw marketing email” approach that doesn’t require a template, you can, of course, put less weight on this factor as part of your decision process.


ActiveCampaign provides a reasonable selection of email marketing templates, and the drag and drop email builder isn’t too bad either. Some hiccups here and there.

ActiveCampaign Email Templates Library


AWeber gets point for the sheer number of marketing templates it offers, but I found most of them pretty ugly and the editor difficult to use.

AWeber Email Templates Library

Constant Contact

ConstantContact delivers in terms of template selection, though I felt most of the design were dated. The editor was also surprisingly good though.

Constant Contact Email Templates Library


Very limited templates and customization options. You can hard-code your own HTML templates with variables, however.

ConvertKit Email Templates Options


Drip doesn’t even bother to offer a marketing template library. Instead, you’ll need to code your own templates from scratch if you want anything fancy.

Drip Email Templates Settings


GetResponse comes loaded with a huge marketing library of (actually half-decent) templates across various industries, though I found the editor a little hard to work with.

GetResponse Email Templates Library


MailChimp allows you to choose between layouts and themed templates — which were all well designed. The editor didn’t let me down, either.

MailChimp Email Templates


Most online businesses these days are built on a number of different tools and services, and it’s more important than ever that those components can communicate effectively with one another.

As it happens, email marketing is possibly the best example of why this is so crucial, and there are literally dozens of possible ways to integrate an email marketing software with different tools and services.

For example, let’s say you wanted to…

  • Run a drip campaign to certain prospects within a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, like SalesForce.
  • Add a relevant tag to target subscribers who purchased a product through a third-party shopping cart platform, like ThriveCart.
  • Design a landing page with a third-party page builder, like Thrive Content Builder, and have your email marketing tool capture those emails.
  • Run a competition using something like Gleam.io, and have your email marketing software capture those emails

In order to make any of that work, you’ll need an email marketing software that integrates well with popular third-party applications.

In terms of what we’re looking for, it should…

  • Compatibility: be compatible with a healthy number of popular third-party tools and services
  • Functionality: provide adequate functionality to make full use of each integration
  • Extendability: ideally integrate with Zapier, which opens up integration with hundreds of other apps


ActiveCampaign integrates with 150 different apps and marketing services, including support for Zapier integrations.

ActiveCampaign Integrations Dashboard


AWeber integrates with 180 different apps and services, including support for Zapier integrations.

AWeber Integrations

Constant Contact

Constant Contact integrates with 278 different apps and services, including support for Zapier integrations. (Reviews are also a nice touch.)

Constant Contact Integrations


ConvertKit integrates with 70+ different apps and services, though it does include support for Zapier integrations

ConvertKit Integrations


Drip integrates with around 70 different apps and services, as well as integration with Zapier.

Drip Integrations


GetResponse integrates with 177 different apps and services, as well as integration with Zapier.

GetResponse Integrations


MailChimp integrates with a massive ~700 different apps and services, and is by far the most supported EMS. Also allows for Zapier integrations.

MailChimp Integrations

Tracking & Reporting

This is something I tend to include with every tool-type comparison, and let’s be honest, no email marketing tool would be complete without reliable tracking and reporting built-in.

And I’m not just talking about checking your open-rates to make sure they’re up to scratch. While that is a good starting point, there’s potentially a lot more analytical data you can use to improve your email marketing effectiveness.

Some of these include:

  • Opens by day/hour
  • Subscriber growth over set period
  • Email client report
  • Automation reports
  • Drip-campaign statistics
  • And tons more…

These types of reports offer insights that allow you to make better email marketing decisions, like sending emails at peaks hours, and choosing the right A/B test variation.

So with all that in mind, the tool should…

  • Tracking: allow you to enable and configure tracking across all campaigns
  • Reporting: provide reports based on the tracking criteria set for any given campaign
  • Filtering: allow you to filter reports to zoom in on specific areas and drill down on the data
  • Granularity: offer advanced insights and more granular reporting (for bonus points)


ActiveCampaign let’s you really drill down into the numbers and offers plenty of visuals to go along with it. Again, it could be faster. They also automatically add Google Analytics tags to email links.

ActiveCampaign Reporting Example


AWeber’s tracking and reporting offering was actually pretty decent on the whole. Very little on the automations side, however.

AWeber Report Example

Constant Contact

It’s not terrible if you’re just looking for standard reporting features, but if you like to geek out on campaign data, you’ll be a little disappointed.

Constant Contant Report Example


While ConvertKit may not have the most advanced reporting of the bunch, it manages to stay true to its simplistic nature and I really couldn’t help but like it anyway.

ConvertKit Report Example


Drip goes above and beyond with not only the amount of data you can pull in, but just how well presented and consumable it is as a whole.

Drip Report Example


A little basic, but GetResponse does have some interesting functionality here, including real-time tracking, smart reporting, and even ROI tracking.

GetResponse Report Example


MailChimp absolutely nails the visual aspect of their reporting environment, and it certainly doesn’t fall short on comprehensive data and interactivity, either. Some plan limitations.

MailChimp Reporting Overview

Customer Support & Documentation

The quality of support and customer service has long been a deal-breaker (or deal-maker) when it comes to choosing between competitors, and you guessed it, the same applies here.

Email marketing can be especially complicated when you start factoring in advanced automations, and for most people, reliable support is one of the biggest selling points.

My criteria for this one, is that each tool should…

  • Options: have various support channels (i.e. phone, live chat, ticket system)
  • Speed: have reasonably fast response times across all support channels
  • Quality: be able to communicate well and solve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Docs: offer detailed documentation that covers the most common issues users face


ActiveCampaign’s website is loaded with how-to articles and videos for virtually every aspect of their platform. They also offer live chat support during business hours.

ActiveCampaign Support


AWeber has a bunch of video tutorials, as well as a toll-free number and live chat during specific hours. Some of their stuff could use an update, though.

AWeber Video Library

Constant Contact

Constant Contact offer comprehensive FAQ’s, similar video walkthroughs, live chat, phone support, and even a native community forum. No Facebook group, though.

Constant Contact Support


ConvertKit places a lot of emphasis on the quality of their support, even claiming to have a 1 hour, 14 min average response time. Live chat has also recently been rolled out.

ConvertKit Support


Several support channels available including live chat during hours. No phone support and free plans do get limited support, however.

Drip Contact Us Form


GetResponse offers a wide range of support, including email, phone, live chat, and a huge library of supporting documentation. Couldn’t find any community, however.

GetResponse Support


MailChimp provides some very thorough documentation within their knowledge base, as well a ticket-based support system and live-chat.

MailChimp Support

Comparison Table

So now we’ve covered the crucial aspects of the best email marketing tool, we can start to paint a broader picture of how these popular tools stack up.

The summary table below aggregates all the scores I’ve given throughout this article:

Tools System Automation A/B Testing Form Building Email Templates Integrations Reporting Support
Active-Campaign-Logo 5/5 5/5 5/5 2/5 3/5 3/5 4/5 5/5
AWeber 3/5 2/5 N/A 2/5 2/5 3/5 3/5 4/5
Constant-Contact-Logo 2/5 1/5 N/A 1/5 3/5 4/5 2/5 4/5
ConvertKit-Logo 4/5 4/5 2/5 3/5 2/5 2/5 3/5 5/5
Drip-Logo 5/5 5/5 3/5 4/5 1/5 2/5 5/5 4/5
GetReponse 4/5 3/5 4/5 4/5 3/5 3/5 3/5 4/5
Mailchimp logo 2/5 2/5 4/5 3/5 5/5 5/5 4/5 4/5

Testing Deliverability

One thing we really wanted to test with all the email marketing tools in this series was deliverability.

As you can imagine, this is quite a difficult thing to test and we spent a lot of time coming on with various ways to do it, but we eventually settled on two separate methods.

Here’s how it went down:

Method #1: Run Our Own Test

The most obvious approach was a run test with the same conditions across each email marketing software.

That means sending:

  • The same email
  • With the same template
  • From the same sender
  • A the same time

So, we took 7,000 of the most active subscribers on the Health Ambition email list, randomized the order, and divided them into smaller lists of 1,000 each.

We imported those lists of 1,000 subscribers into their respective tools and sent an email to all based on the exact same conditions (or as close as I could possibly get).

We allowed 5 days before checking the results, on which we used open rate as the determining factor.

Believe me when I say this was WAY more complicated and time consuming than it looks on paper, but we got there, and I believe the results were worth the trouble.

Method #2: Use An External Testing Tool

As we like to do here at Authority Hacker, we wanted to include another source of data to as part of our results — just to make sure we were being thorough.

That’s when we stumbled across GlockApps.tool


I don’t want to turn this into a GlockApps review, but the tool basically tracks your emails across various inboxes and reports back with a dizzying amount of data.

All we had to do was send the same email from method #2 to GlockApps provided emails, and it would track the deliverability.

As it turns out, it gave us a lot more data than we could have possibility retrieved from our own test, so we’re happy to have found it in all honesty. :)

The Results

While I could have overloaded you with data from the GlockApps test, I decided to pull out the core data points instead.

Here’s the comparison table:

Tools Open Rate Inbox Tabs Spam Missing
Active-Campaign-Logo 34.6% 65.7% 23.9% 9% 1.5%
AWeber 30.10% -- -- -- --
Constant-Contact-Logo 34.4% 89.6% 6% 1.5% 3%
ConvertKit-Logo 39% 85.1% 1.5% 13.4% 0%
Drip-Logo 36.1% 91% 1.5% 7.5% 0%
GetReponse 34.77% 71.6% 4.5% 17.9% 4.5%
Mailchimp logo 35.7% 84.8% 7.6% 6.1% 1.5%

Still Not Sure?

You can interpret both the comparison table and deliverability results however you like, but there’s still one thing we haven’t covered yet.


For some, keeping costs down is a priority, and choosing a tool that ticks the right boxes without being super-pricey is a better option. For others, having access to the best possible tools for getting the job done is the only thing that matters, regardless of price.

I’ll give you my personal recommendation in either case, but first, let’s kick this off with a price comparison:

Tools Free Plan 1,000 subs 10,000 subs 25,000 subs 50,000 subs 100,000 subs
Active-Campaign-Logo No $29 p/m $139 p/m $225 p/m $299 p/m $459 p/m
AWeber No $29 p/m $69 p/m $149 p/m $392 p/m $792 p/m
Constant-Contact-Logo No $45 p/m $95 p/m $295 p/m $335 p/m $595 p/m
ConvertKit-Logo No $29 p/m $119 p/m $199 p/m $379 p/m $679 p/m
Drip-Logo Yes $49 p/m $149 p/m $254 p/m $429 p/m $779 p/m
GetReponse No $15 p/m $65 p/m $145 p/m $250 p/m $450 p/m
Mailchimp logo Yes $15 p/m $75 p/m $150 p/m $240 p/m $475 p/m

Note: The table above represents the number of subscribers on the lowest tiered plan for each email marketing service, without any annual discounts taken into account.

Best ‘Value Email’ Marketing Software

Whether you’re a penny-pincher, or you’re simply on a tight budget, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a clear winner when it comes to email marketing tool

MailChimp Logo

Despite the fact that MailChimp is one of the cheapest email marketing tools, that’s not actually why I’m naming it as the ‘best value’.

If there’s one thing the pricing comparison table doesn’t show you, it’s that MailChimp offers the most generous free plan.

Not only does MailChimp now include automations in this plan, but you can also send out regular campaigns to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers at no charge.

(Yes, Drip does have an attractive free plan, but it’s capped at 100 subscribers which you’ll have to pay $49 to maintain once you exceed that amount — which won’t take long.)

Best ‘Premium’ Email Marketing Software

If cost isn’t a factor and you’re willing to pay a premium for the absolute best email marketing tool available, you probably know which tool I’m about to recommend.

Active Campaign

Not only was this the most consistent of all email marketing services across the board, but it’s also extremely powerful in the areas that matter most.

What I’m mainly referring to is the automations functionality, which gives you virtually unlimited control over how subscribers move through different automated workflows. This gives small businesses the power to email marketing that’s as potent as Amazon’s

As it happens, it’s also very reasonably priced, which makes it an absolute no-brainer if you’re looking to go hard with your email marketing, plus, they now also offer email AND sms messages.

Best Email Marketing Softwares (Reviews)

Now that I’ve compared the email marketing tools based on a number of different key factors, I’d like to finish up with a summary of each one.

Keep in mind, many of these tools have dedicated reviews, and these are more like “mini-reviews” that reflect my findings in this roundup post, as well as my own, individual analysis.

Note: we will continue to update this page as we publish more email marketing tool reviews.


From it’s humble beginnings as a Chicago startup back in 2003, ActiveCampaign offers an affordable way for business owners to stay in touch with their contacts since all plans offer an unlimited amount of emails per month.

Today, it’s a full-blown, intelligence-driven email marketing platform and sales CRM platform that revolves heavily around automation — ultimately giving users more power over their email marketing, with less work.

The company has become one of the biggest email marketing platforms on the market, and it’s also one that we — the Authority Hacker team — use on a daily basis.

  • Uses both lists and tags for subscriber management
  • Advanced automation features
  • Very thorough split-testing tools
  • Decent email template builder
  • Extensive list of integrations and Zapier support
  • Very thorough split-testing tools
  • Excellent tracking + reporting functionality
  • Responsive support (incl. live chat and community groups)
  • It’s cheap as chips
  • The interface can be really slow navigate
  • Managing contacts can be a bit overwhelming for noobs
  • The sign up form builder is very limited on the lower plan
  • Not many pre-designed email templates


Founded in 1998, AWeber has managed to hold a strong position in the market and currently benefits from a user-base of over 120,000.

Anyone who’s been in the IM game for a while will probably be familiar with AWeber, mostly because it was the the go-to email marketing for such a long time.

  • Now uses a tag-based system
  • Huge selection of form + email templates
  • A respectable number of integrations available (including Zapier)
  • Very detailed reporting for broadcast and automated emails
  • Excellent email support options available
  • Can’t apply behavioural-based tags
  • Reconfirmation for importing subscriber
  • Very basic automations builder
  • No A/B testing capabilities
  • Form + email template designs are outdated
  • Form + email builder feels old and clunky
  • No additional form types (popups, slide-ins, etc.)
  • Very limited reporting for automations

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is the oldest email marketing tools in our email marketing series, with the first iteration of its tool available in 1995, eventually taking its current name in 2004.

The tool is also owned by Endurance International, the same company behind large web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostgator and JustHost.

  • Uses a tag-based system
  • Large selection of email templates
  • Decent email template editor
  • Strong list of integrations
  • Thorough reporting
  • Plenty of support options
  • No behaviour-based tagging
  • Automation functionality is limited to basic autoresponders
  • No split-testing
  • Very basic form builder
  • Lack of visual reports and deeper campaign insights
  • Outdated email templates
  • Forced account verification via phone (slow and unhelpful


ConvertKit is a blogger and creator-focused email marketing tool built by Nathan Barry, and it’s also one of the newer tools in an already crowded email marketing space.

The platform quickly gained popularity after getting the backing of influential marketers like Pat Flynn and Joanna Wiebe, as well as having possibly the boldest tagline in email marketing history…“The power of Infusionsoft, but easier to use than MailChimp.”

  • Tag-based subscriber system
  • Can create dynamic emails with merge tags
  • Has a simple but effective visual automations builder
  • Alternative “rules” builder for basic automations
  • Ability to create various form types
  • Offers a landing page builder (albeit a very rudimentary one)
  • Digestible reporting for subscriber acquisition
  • Great support channels available
  • No automations based on site tracking
  • Can’t set conditions to split automations
  • Very limited A/B testing functionality
  • Few customization options for forms and email templates
  • Reporting data is limited


Drip is an automation-focused email marketing software, acquired by the guys behind LeadPages. It also one of the newer tools in this review series (entering the market in 2013).

Despite going up against very established and well-funded competitors, Drip has grown into what many would consider the leading email marketing platform around today.

  • Uses a tag-based system
  • Advanced tracking and events
  • Robust visual automations builder
  • Auto resend unopens broadcasts
  • Advanced reporting dashboards and data filtering
  • Excellent support channels
  • Automations workflows can live multiple places
  • Limited split-testing functionality
  • The form builder is lacking
  • Email template library is non-existent


GetResponse is another mature email marketing service and all-in-one marketing platform, with the first iteration of the software making an appearance in 1997.

Fast forward today, GetResponse is a fully fledged email marketing platform with over 350,000 customers, serving both small and large businesses alike.

  • Advanced automation workflows
  • Support for website event tracking
  • Plenty of conditional elements and tags for automations
  • Thorough A/B testing capabilities
  • Great selection of form templates and types
  • Huge selection of pre-designed email templates
  • Reasonable number of integrations available
  • Activity and ROI tracking
  • Plenty of high quality support channels available
  • Can’t manually add tags to subscribers
  • Visual automation builder is a bit fiddly
  • Limited customization for some form types
  • Outdated and somewhat limited reporting interface
  • No community groups


MailChimp started it’s life back in 2001, and has since grown to a ridiculous 15 million customers — making it currently the world’s most popular email marketing service.

The tool offers everything from sending emails, setting up automations and running targeted campaigns to your email subscribers, seemingly everything you need to grow your business with email.

  • Intuitive user-interfaceIntuitive user-interface
  • Impressive split-testing functionality (broadcasts only)
  • Decent form builder (though inconsistent across from types)
  • Diverse library of professionally designed email templates
  • Very well supported by third-party apps and services
  • Comprehensive and easily digestible reporting
  • Various high-quality support channels
  • Still very list-centric
  • Confusing grouping and segmentation options
  • Very limited marketing automation capabilities
  • Rudimentary automation workflow builder
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Mark Webster

#167 – How to Use Trademarks to Protect Your Business Without Paying a Fortune w/ Randy Michels

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