Everywhere you look, marketers and online influencers are touting the advice:
“You need to build a list”!
Why? Because with email marketing, you have complete control. Not only do you own your list, but you don't have to rely on Google's ever-changing search engine algorithms for website traffic or Facebook's pay-to-play advertising model. If you want to grow and nurture your business, email marketing is the way to go.
If you don't know how to start an online newsletter or aren't sure why you need a list, read on. We're going to review five of the best free email marketing services and why you need to start using one.
The Five Best Free Email Marketing Services
One of the best free email marketing plans I've found. Sendinblue offers 9,000 free emails per month — which include access to their email template designer, unlimited contacts, and mobile-friendly designs. They also have advanced marketing solutions like automated workflow, triggered campaigns, transactional stats, retargeting functions, send time optimization (which sends your email at the best time of day), and they are fully GDPR compliant. However, due to the nature of this plan, there are daily sending limits, and you don't have access to custom branding.
If you need a more robust plan, Sendinblue's Lite plan offers users 100,000 emails per month for just $25.00 a month — which is one of the cheaper plans I've seen on email marketing services.
One of the better-known email marketing platforms, Constant Contact, offers a free 60-day plan, which includes professional-looking templates, opt-in forms, analytics, and their extensive online library of marketing tips and strategies.
This platform is extremely easy to use, and you don't have to supply a credit card for the free 60-day trial period. If, after 60 days, you decide this is the right platform for you — the paid version is only $20 a month for 500 contacts. Constant Contact offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on their service.
Their free plan includes 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails a month. MailChimp offers both email templates and the ability to create your emails from scratch. Save emails you create as a new template to use in the future. Other features include a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, subscriber profiles, third-party integrations, analytics, sending plain text emails, and more. With MailChimp's free plan, you don't get custom branding, pro support, and many other advanced marketing tools. However, it is simple to use and gives the essential features you need to manage and grow your subscriber list.
With MailChimp, you're charged based on the number of subscribers you have, so if you need a larger plan, the next level up (2,001 – 2,500 subscribers) will cost you $29.99 per month.
ConvertKit tends to be the goto email marketing service for creators, small business owners, and bloggers. It's a robust platform that offers a lot of bells and whistles in terms of stats, funnels, and automation, but it also comes with a steep learning curve.
With their free plan, you get:
- Unlimited landing pages
- WordPress plugin for forms (including pop-ups)
- 30+ premium landing page templates
- Unlimited traffic
- Customizable domain setup
- Mobile responsive designs
- Manage up to 1,000 subscribers
- Unlimited email broadcasts
- Subscriber tagging
Once you surpass 1,000 subscribers, the next plan starts at $49 per month. ConvertKit also offers its users a lot of free training courses like how to get your first 100 subscribers.
MailerLite is a simple and affordable email marketing solution for small business owners. Their free plan includes up to 1,000 subscribers with 12,000 emails per month, a drag-and-drop editor, mobile-friendly emails, landing pages, forms, list segmentation, and automation.
However, the downside of this free plan is you don't have access to their newsletter templates, and the MailerLite logo is included in the footer of every email you send.
For unlimited emails, for 1,000 subscribers, the cost is only $10 per month, and the next tier is $15 for up to 2,500 subscribers.
Email Marketing Can Be Intimidating At First
- What's an autoresponder?
- How do I get people to sign up?
- How do I make a newsletter?
Don't stress yourself. You can create test accounts on any of these services. Play around with them, send out some test emails, and learn how everything works. Then pick the one you are most comfortable with for your email marketing.
Whatever you do, sign up for at least one of these services and start building your subscription list today. Having a newsletter is one of the best things you can do for your home-based business.
Why You Need One of These Email Marketing Services?
Why is everyone saying you need to start a newsletter? Simple. Successful marketing is built on visibility and a target audience — two things newsletters give you.
Getting the Eyeballs (Visibility)
- How many people see your Facebook posts? Right now, 7% of your followers on average.
- How about Twitter? Difficult to say, but definitely not all of your followers.
- Your blog? Well, Google Analytics can give you a good idea, but the short answer is: it varies.
- How many people get your newsletter: nearly 100% of the people who sign up.
Your subscription list is a guaranteed audience. Everyone who signs up will receive your email and will make an active decision to read it or delete it. Only a newsletter can do this. Good newsletters routinely get opened and read over by 25% of the people who sign up. Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? None of them can offer that.
But it gets better.
An Audience Who Wants More YOU
Newsletters don't just get you eyeballs. Your subscriber list is a collection of people who want to hear what you have to say. So not only are people reading your newsletter, but your audience is already interested in what you offer. Your subscriber list is a self-selecting target audience. Audience targeting doesn't get better than that. Which is why …
Newsletters Have the Best Conversion Rates
Hands down, the best way to make a sale is from your subscriber list. Your customer list is marketing gold — a self-selected target market that wants more and invites you to market directly to them. All you have to do is give them what they want.
There you have it, five free email marketing services, and the reasons you need to start using one today. It is never too early to start building a subscriber list.
Originally published February 16, 2015. Content updated in September 2020.
After working as a massage therapist, flea market vendor, and customer service representative, Jessica Burde has found success as an online marketer and self-published author. Today she helps other stay-at-home moms start their dream businesses. Jessica's Creative Home-Based Business Ideas worksheet is available as a free download.