If you’re looking for the best free email marketing services, you’re in the right spot. Unfortunately, without the right knowledge, email service providers can be very expensive. Here’s why email marketing is essential for your business and the best free newsletter services to get you started.
Everywhere you look, marketers and online influencers are touting the advice:
“You need to build an email list!”
If you don’t know how or why to start an online newsletter or don’t know which email platform to use, read on.
Why is building an email list crucial to your business?
Many bloggers and online content creators think that using SEO tactics and social media are the best ways to get eyes on their content. It’s true that they can help.
However, Google and Pinterest’s ever-changing search engine algorithms for website traffic and expensive Facebook ads make it more difficult for online entrepreneurs to use these tools as effectively as they once could years ago.
In addition to this, any customers you receive from e-commerce platforms such as Etsy are the platform’s customers, not yours.
So, why is everyone saying you need to start a newsletter? It’s simple.
Successful marketing is built on visibility and a target audience — two things that newsletters give you.
The fact is that if you rely on any of these outside resources to find readers (or clients) and one or more of them shut down, you will lose a significant source of customers and traffic.
But with email marketing, you have complete control.
Not only do you own your list, but you don’t have to rely on the changes other platforms make to serve the platform. If you want to grow and nurture your business, email marketing is the way to go.
Why email marketing is essential for your business
Not convinced? Here are 5 things newsletters can do for your business and why they are a must-use marketing tool.
1. Get you the eyeballs (visibility)
Newsletters allow you to reliably reach your customers when social media algorithms are consistently putting creators’ content in front of fewer and fewer people.
To put it in perspective:
- How many people see your Facebook posts? Right now, it’s about 6% of your followers on average (and keeps shrinking with new algorithm updates).
- How about Twitter? Difficult to say, but definitely nowhere close to 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 email newsletter: nearly 100% of those 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 by 25-50% of the people who sign up. Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? None of them can offer anything close to that.
But it gets better.
2. Build an audience that wants more of YOU
Emails don’t just get you eyeballs – your subscriber list gives you 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 (or more effective) than that.
This allows you to grow a base of loyal followers through personalized messages that build trust. Why is that important? Because it translates into people buying your products or recommendations because they trust what you have to say.
3. Speak to your customers about their interests
Email newsletter services offer the ability to segment your audience to get relevant information to the right people, which reduces frustration and builds loyalty.
This is especially helpful if you cover a range of topics or offer a variety of services or products.
For example, if you talk about different types of pets, you can segment your list into dog lovers, cat lovers, and more, so you’re only speaking to them about the issues and products they care about.
It saves them time, shows respect for your audience, and builds more trust (which increases sales).
4. Newsletters have the best conversion rates
Email offers much higher click-through rates vs. social media (as much as 6x more effective). That’s a huge difference. This is why, hands down, the best way to make a sale is from your subscriber list.
Your customer email list is marketing gold because it’s a self-selected target market that wants more from you and invites you to market directly to them.
All you have to do is give them what they want.
5. Provide crucial analytics
Email newsletter service providers give measurable analytics that you can use to make informed strategic decisions in your business.
With this data, you can see what types of subject lines create better open rates, what types of products get more clicks, and even what day (or time of day) results in more people reading your emails.
Then you can use this data to make adjustments to your email marketing strategy and increase profits.
Email marketing can be intimidating at first
If you’re new to email marketing, there’s a bit of a learning curve as you learn terminology and technology. For example:
- What’s an autoresponder?
- How do I get people to sign up?
- How do I make a newsletter?
Don’t stress yourself out trying to learn it all at once!
You can create test accounts on any of the services mentioned below. Play around with them, send some test emails, and learn how everything works.
Then pick the one you are most comfortable with for your email marketing and learn about more features as you go.
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.
The 7 best free email newsletter service providers
As a new (or fairly new) business, using a full-price email service provider (ESP) can be cost-prohibitive. Luckily several ESPs provide free plan options, making them a great tool to use as you start your email marketing journey.
Here’s a review of the seven best free email newsletter services to help you decide which is best for your needs.
Brevo, formerly, Sendinblue, is a terrific option. The free plan allows you to send 300 free emails per day and includes access to their email template designer, drag-and-drop email builder, unlimited contacts, and mobile-friendly designs.
This email newsletter service offers excellent deliverability rates, so you know your email marketing campaigns arrive in your customers’ inboxes rather than their spam folders.
It also has advanced marketing solutions like:
- Automated workflows
- Triggered campaigns
- SMS marketing
- Transactional stats
- Retargeting functions
- Send time optimization (which sends your email at the best time of day)
- Full GDPR compliance
- Push notifications
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, Brevo’s Lite paid plan offers users 20,000 emails per month for just $25 a month.
Brevo is one of the cheaper options I’ve seen for email marketing services.
2. Constant Contact
One of the better-known email marketing platforms, Constant Contact is an email newsletter service provider that offers a free trial. The 60-day trial includes professional-looking templates, opt-in forms, analytics, and an extensive online library of marketing tips and strategies.
Many businesses use this email service provider because it has excellent email deliverability rates and offers important premium features such as:
- A/B testing for subject lines
- Third-party integrations
- Landing pages
- Marketing automation
It’s also ideal for e-commerce businesses because you can turn your email campaigns into money-making transactional emails by using e-commerce platforms such as WooCommerce, Shopify, and more.
This platform is straightforward 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 $10 a month for up to 500 contacts.
And just to ensure you’re satisfied with the email newsletter service, Constant Contact offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on their service.
This ESP offers both email templates and the ability to create your emails from scratch with their drag-and-drop email editor. You can also save emails you design as a new template to use in the future.
Some other features include:
- Third-party integrations
- AI support for optimization
- Sending plain text emails
With MailChimp’s free plan, you don’t get custom branding, pro support, or many other advanced marketing tools. However, this email newsletter service platform is simple to use and gives you 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 and the features you need. If you need a larger plan, the next level up (501-1,499 subscribers) will start at $13 per month, or you can get more features (such as email automation) for $20 monthly.
ConvertKit tends to be the go-to email newsletter service for creators, small business owners, and bloggers. It’s a robust platform that offers a lot of bells and whistles in terms of a landing page builder, 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
- Sell digital products and subscriptions
- Manage up to 300 subscribers
- Unlimited email broadcasts
- Subscriber tagging
- Audience segmentation
Once you surpass 1,000 subscribers, you can jump to the $25 per month plan, which includes additional email marketing tools such as third-party integrations and automated email sequences. 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 and chat support for 30 days.
You’ll also get:
- Drag-and-drop editor
- Mobile-friendly emails
- Landing pages
- List segmentation
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 $9 per month, and you can pay $19 per month for the premium plan, which includes Facebook integration and promotional pop-ups. The next tier is $17 for up to 2,500 subscribers.
This email newsletter service provider offers a wonderful “free forever” plan that includes up to 2,500 subscribers and 15,000 monthly emails.
Sender offers some great features, such as email automation for welcome emails and drip campaigns, templates, email personalization, unlimited segmentation, live chat support, and third-party integrations.
Then, once you grow beyond 2,500 subscribers, the next tier plan starts at $8.33 per month when you pay annually.
The Benchmark email platform allows you to have 500 subscribers and send up to 3,500 emails a month on their free plan.
With this service, you’ll enjoy features such as sign-up forms, list segmentation, an easy drag-and-drop email editor, marketing automation with drip campaigns, and more.
Because the free plan only covers up to 500 subscribers, it’s best for small lists that you want to send multiple emails to monthly. The next tier gives you up to 50,000 subscribers, starting at $8 per month.
There you have it, seven free email marketing services and the reasons you need to start using one today. By taking advantage of free emailing platforms, you can send bulk emails to your target audience on your own terms rather than fight the whims of algorithms and expensive paid ad campaigns.
With so many options available, you’re bound to find the right service that fits your needs.
Originally published February 16, 2015. Content updated May 2023.
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.