We’re going to dive into the best bang for the buck in email marketing tools, but first let’s figure out what this term, “bang for the buck” really means…
President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a problem—cut military spending while covering Cold War commitments. After some deliberation with the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, he came to a solution titling it the “New Look”— a policy of using nuclear weapons in any conflict bigger than what they called ‘a brush-fire war’.
On paper it made sense, you could cut the cost of sending soldiers to fight and increase military power, all without blasting the government’s budget. During that conversation, Admiral Arthur Radford was quoted, describing the policy as, “a bang for your buck.”
And like that, a proverb was born.
I’m sure your dad has dropped a, “Now that’s some serious bang for the buck” when he found a deal on a new leaf blower at Lowe’s. But, this isn’t about the Leaf Destroyer 3000 being on sale. This is about finding the email marketing tool that will give you the most bang for your buck so you can start dropping email bombs in your audience’s inbox.
Our 7 Best Bang for the Buck in Email Marketing winners.
- Email Octopus – the only marketing employee you’ll hire with 8 limbs.
- GetResponse – the email solution more effective than a Swiss Army knife.
- SendInBlue – email marketing that helps you take flight.
- Benchmark – setting the standard for cost-friendly email marketing.
- Constant Contact – the email marketing tool for dummies.
- Active Campaign – the master of email automation.
- MailChimp – the tool that plays no monkey business when it comes to marketing.
Before I jump in, let’s get on the same page.
If you’re a grab-saaser that reads our software reviews, you know we have a thing called the Mule’s Rules. For our fresh new faces, they’re the standards you, the person reading this, need to follow if you want to kick-ass at email marketing. These are the rules that should never be forgotten, even when you’re trying to save a few benjamins.
- Landing Pages & Sign-Ups – you need to get emails somehow, and cold-calling is not the answer. Your ESP should let you create simple landing pages and forms where you can grab people’s emails and add them to your list.
- Email Templates – Those looking to budget need plenty of templates because you definitely aren’t spending extra to create your own. Find an ESP that has a variety of templates so you have some flexibility when it comes to sharing your content.
- Automation & Segmentation – Again, as a penny-pincher, you look to save wherever you can—that includes time. An ESP with strong automation and segmentation will eliminate those arduous hours of duplicating emails.
- Deliverability & Reporting – Knowing how your content performs is essential to establishing an audience and feeding them what they want. Your ESP should deliver real-time data on your campaign performance and audience engagement.
- Importation and Migration – this is the most costly part of every project that everyone forgets. If there is one place to loosen up your tight fist, it’s here. Be willing to find an ESP that migrates your data for you.
- Support – Don’t try doing this alone. It might start out hot, but you don’t want to come crashing down in a ball of flames. Make sure your ESP has a solid support program, whether it be email, chat, or phone.
- Platform Transparency – Chances are you have a few other apps that help keep your business churning, so finding the ESP that connects all of those in one place will make your life a hell of a lot easier.
- Documentation – Support teams have lives, just like you and me. Thus, to supplement them you need documentation that can answer your everyday questions. Don’t overlook this, you’ll run into trouble fast.
Here’s a better look at the 7 Best Bangs for the Buck in Email Marketing.
Active Campaign is the king of automation. Seriously, they raised over $100 million to fund their Customer Experience Automation platform. As the king, they help the small brands and goliath businesses send effective email marketing that is driven by next-level automation.
- 14-day free trial without credit card.
- Lite Plan – $17/mo for 1k contacts.
- Professional Plan – $129/mo for 1k contacts.
- Automation: Active Campaign is the software that never sleeps, making sure that at any moment your contact is pushed in the proper direction. With a laser-focus on effective automation, they’re the best when it comes to hitting the inbox on time, every time.
- Support: This is not your everyday support. Sure, they flex the regular email, phone, and chat, but they also have a full marketing university where you can get trained up on everything automation.
Who Active Campaign is for: The budding brands that have a variety of audiences and need powerful automation and segmentation to drive their delivery. Active Campaign simply does it better than anyone else in that category.
Who Active Campaign is not for: If your needs & wants list is as limited as your budget, Active Campaign might not be the option for you. It’s not a jump-in-and-get-to-it kind of solution, it requires some time and effort.
Benchmark is a wallet-friendly solution (aka… it’s one of the best cheap email marketing services) that lets you jump into email marketing fast. With simple email and landing page builders, even an ass could start sending marketing messages.
- $13/mo for 600 contacts.
- $22/mo for 1k contacts.
- $52/mo for 5k contacts.
- Landing Pages & Forms: Benchmark comes through with dynamic landing pages that allow you to collect emails quickly and segment them into lists, so you can build out your audience.
- Segmentation: In the same vein of collecting emails, Benchmark makes it easy as hell to create segments based on a diverse amount of criteria such as gender, location, or engagement period.
Who Benchmark is for: The cost-sensitive email marketer. You worry about that monthly bill more than the big fancy feature list. Benchmark is the Sonny to your Cher.
Who Benchmark is not for: The team looking to leverage sophisticated automation.
Constant Contact is the intuitive email marketing tool that makes sending emails into the world as easy as sharing a political post on Facebook.
- Free trial for 60 days.
- Email Plan – $45/mo for 1k contacts
- Email Plus Plan – $70/mo for 1k contacts.
- Contact Management – Constant Contact lets you input details into each contact’s history, allowing you to deliver more personalized messages to each one of your audience members.
- Websites: This is a new feature of CC, but it is something many other ESPs have yet to master. I’ll say, it has tremendous potential based on how intuitive the email software is.
Who Constant Contact is for: The ones who don’t identify as marketers. It’s a tool anyone can use with simplicity, no matter what the title on your resume is.
Who Constant Contact is not for: This isn’t for the savvy email marketer used to a 10,000 horsepower email marketing engine.
Email octopus is the only marketing hire you’re going to find with 8 limbs. There is no doubt that this sits up top on the best cheap email marketing tools list with Benchmark and Sendinblue.
- Starter Plan: $0/mo for 2.5k contacts.
- Pro Plan: $20/mo for 5k contacts
- Analytics: Email Octopus shines when it comes to reporting. Sure it’s easy to collect data, but displaying it in a way that doesn’t make you want to vomit is hard’. They collect it all, showcasing it so you can see exactly where your success is coming from.
- Support: Phone support is severely underrated. Email Octopus has a team on the line constantly, ready for you to call in because you need help with an HTML edit, or just want to talk about your day.
Who Email Octopus is for: Those wanting something like Mailchimp, but not the dirty monkey. If you’re a Shopify operation looking for a new best friend, here it is.
Who Email Octopus is not for: Just turn your back now if you’re in the market for riveting automation that will rock your socks off. This is strong for its size, but can’t stand up to the big boys.
GetResponse is the email marketing multi-tool—think of it more like a messaging swiss army knife, with features you never realized were possible. Plus, it does a solid job of converting contacts into cash.
- Free first 30 days
- Basic Plan: $25/mo for 2.5k contacts
- Plus Plan: $59/mo for 2.5k contacts
- Professional Plan: $119/mo for 2.5k contacts
- Enterprise Plan: Lists over 100,000 contacts/must email their team
- Webinars: Not too many ESPs also flex a webinar feature. Just in case written exchanges felt too impersonal, GetResponse lets you set up webinars so you can have full, face-to-face engagements, even if we’re still in quarantine.
- Social Ads Creator: For the social media amateurs, GetResponse has a tool that allows you to create photos, videos, banners, and slideshows for all your social channels, so don’t have to dish out money on a photographer or designer.
Who GetResponse is for: The brand on a mission to grow their following across email and social. It’s a solution built to connect you to your audience wherever they are.
Who GetResponse is not for: Those who want the cheapest options, not fancy features at a solid price.
Ever heard of guerilla marketing? Well, Mailchimp made it up and today they boast over 12 million active users—one of the most widely used ESPs in the world. And they earned that reputation for good reason.
- Free up to 2k contacts
- Essentials Plan: $10/mo for 500 contacts
- Standard Plan: $15/mo for 500 contacts
- Premium Plan: $299/mo for 500 contacts.
- Email Builder: If you’ve never drafted an email before, Mailchimp has the most simple interface on the planet—so simple, even a chimp could do it.
- Integrations: Mailchimp is known for its bulky collection of integrations that keep all of your marketing efforts allocated in one place. For those eCommerce operations, this is where you will find the greatest benefit, as you can connect your most-used applications to your email service.
Who MailChimp is for: The marketing monkey is for those who are big on integrations. eCommerce hustlers looking to sell hard and fast, while keeping their systems connected should keep Mailchimp at the top of their list (as long as they’re not on Shopify).
Who MailChimp is not for: If you want to upgrade your ESP, without upping your budget, Mailchimp quickly gets expensive once you venture out of the free realm.
SendInBlue is the email marketing software making eCommerce brands and side-hustlers take flight. With one of the best free plans in the email ecosystem, you can kickstart your marketing game fast. As we’ve noted earlier, this is one of the best cheap email marketing services available.
- Free up to 2000 contacts.
- Lite Plan: $25/mo for 40k emails
- Essential Plan: $39/mo for 60k emails
- Deliverability: Great automation is nothing if your email never gets to the inbox. SendInBlue ensures not only that your email gets to the inbox, but that it hits your contact exactly when the time is right.
- Reports Heat Map: This is your weather map of engagement. In order to predict the future, you need to see the past, which is where SendInBlue delivers. With their heat map, you can see where every contact clicked, so you know to cut it with the shitty GIFs.
Who SendInBlue is for: It’s rare to say, but this is a software anyone can use. Whether your 17 or 71, if you’re looking to sling some messages to inboxes, SendInBlue empowers you to do so—without shaking you upside down for quarters.
Who SendInBlue is not for: The veteran email marketer looking to shave a few dollars but keep all the features.
Once again, it’s difficult to pick the best bang for the buck because some of you are just getting started and every dollar saved is a major win. For others, it’s about finding that perfect balance between price and features that will empower you to grow from an everyday operation to an empire.
That being said, here are the two best bang for the buck email marketing tools:
- SendInBlue: SendInBlue is the best cheap email marketing software. Yes, there are a few other free options I mentioned, but none of them scale as well. If you’re looking to get your hands into email marketing with ease and keep your monthly bill low, hell even free, SendInBlue is where it’s at.
- GetResponse: GetResponse is the tool for those who have more wiggle-room in their budget and want to get the most out of extra features. With their webinar tool and eCommerce functionality, you’re getting more than what you pay for if you partner with GetResponse.
Like what you read? Let’s play Grab SaaS next week.