8 Best Free Email Marketing Software Tools in 2018

Levi Olmstead
Levi Olmstead  |  October 16, 2017

For many startups and small businesses, their initial version of an email marketing software is a scrappy, bootstrapped mail-merge spreadsheet. 

However, as businesses grow, so do their marketing needs. Soon small businesses are overwhelmed by large Excel files of unclean emails, unsubscribe lists and deliverability rates.

Startups with little budget need a solution for their drip email marketing, email templates and email segmentation. Let me tell you, we at G2 Crowd were in this very position only a few years back.

But small businesses, have no fear, free email marketing tools are here!

Best free email marketing software 2018

While many email marketing companies offer their services on a trial basis, a handful of services go as far as having a completely free email marketing offering.

To help the small business professionals of today, we’ve put together an in-depth analysis of the best free email marketing software tools on the market. Get ready to automate your email marketing (for free!)

Editor's note: For highest/lowest-rated features, G2 Crowd included only email marketing-relevant features. This post was updated November 25th to include new products ranked by user-satisfaction score that is self reported on G2 Crowd.


1. MailChimp

Free Plan: Mailchimp’s awesome free email marketing service, entitled “Free Forever” allows email marketers to store up to 2,000 contacts and send as many as 14,000 emails every month.

Paid Pricing: Mailchimp offers two paid tiers called ”Growing Business” and ”Pro Marketer”. At $25 per month the ”Growing Business” plan allows for 1,1511 to 2,500 subscribers per month and allows for unlimited emails with demographic and email a/b testing features. The “Pro Marketer” tier sells for $199 per month for enterprise-level companies’ high-volume subscriber lists. This package includes more in-depth reporting and multivariate a/b testing features.

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What Users Say: Mailchimp is not just one of the most popular email marketing products; but products across the entirety of G2 Crowd. With over 2,500 Mailchimp reviews and the highest user satisfaction rating of any email marketing platform, small businesses can’t go wrong with Mailchimp. Users enjoy Mailchimp’s personalization capabilities and email building, but at the same time, users rate the email marketing service’s quality of support as below average. On top of its market presence and user love, Mailchimp recently began to transition to a complete marketing automation solution.

Highest Rated Features from Users:

  1. Sending outbound emails - 92 percent.
  2. Email and mobile preview - 90 percent.
  3. Building and personalizing emails - 89 percent.

Lowest Rated Features from Users:

  1. Managing email lists - 84 percent.
  2. A/B testing - 85 percent.
  3. Automated email responses - 85 percent. 

2. Elastic Email

Free Plan: Elastic Email crushes free bulk email marketing. Its free offering allows marketers to send up to 150,000 emails a month and 5,000 a day.

Paid Pricing: Elastic Email’s offers additional email marketing tools based upon the number of contacts in a company’s subscriber list. Once a company hits their storage limited, they are charged .29 cents/1000 per month for the first 100,000 contacts and .19 cents/1000 for the next 1,000,0000.

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What Users Say: Elastic Email overall is one of the highest-rated email marketing tools for feature and satisfaction scores. The email marketing platform has above-average user scores in every (that’s right every) category. Unlike Mailchimp, Elastic Email has one of the highest quality of support ratings at 97 percent (category average: 88 percent).

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. Email platform integration - 93 percent.
  2. Email scheduling - 89 percent.
  3. Sending outbound emails - 89 percent. 

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. Sender reputation management - 80 percent.
  2. A/B testing - 80 percent.
  3. Spam filter testing - 83 percent.

3. ExpressPigeon

Free Plan: ExpressPigeon does have a free email marketing service, but only small businesses with very small and refined lists should look its way. This email marketing platform caps subscribers at 500 and allows for 1,000 emails to be sent per month for free.

Paid Pricing: ExpressPigeon has three tiers in their priced offerings. At $19.99 per month users can send unlimited emails up to 2,500 contacts. At $199.99 per month companies can store up to 100,000 contacts and send unlimited emails to 40,000 of their subscribers. For larger lists, companies can go the $999.99 per month tier route which allows storage for up to 250,000 subscribers while sending up to 3,500,000 emails per month.

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What Users Say: While ExpressPigeon’s free offering won’t be the right solution for small businesses with large lists, its users love the platform. ExpressPigeon has above-average scores in every satisfaction and feature rating. Most impressively, the tool is rated by users as having a high-volume sending rating of 97 percent (average, 89 percent), automated email response of 98 percent (average, 87 percent) and building and personalizing emails of 99 percent (average, 88 percent).

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. Building and personalizing emails - 99 percent.
  2. Automated email responses - 97 percent.
  3. High volume sending - 96 percent.

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. No rated featured less than 89 percent. 

4. MailerLite

Free Plan: The MailerLite "forever-free" plan plan in a great low-cost option for small-business companies looking to sending bulk email to a small subscriber list. The free tier allows businesses to send unlimited emails per month to up to 1,000 subscribers. The product sports features such as email automation, A/B testing, analytics and report, drag and drop editing, advanced html editing, free newsletter templates, pop-ups and more.

Paid Pricing: MailerLite is fairly transparent on their pricing model. Aside from their free option, there are 4 other tiers for email lists of varying sizes. Surprisingly, MailerLite's highest volume package is still only $50 a month and allows an unlimited about of emails to be sent to up to 15,000 users. After that number however, MailerLite doesn't list a price, so those interested would need to contact a representative.

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What Users Say: From over 60 MailerLite reviews, the product has a user rating of 3.9/5. Users overwhelmingly find MailerLite's email marketing core features to be stellar, with the two highest-rated features being email and mobile email preview (90 percent user satisfaction) and sending mass outbound emails (91 percent user satisfaction.) The platforms integration and quality features fall slightly behind, with it having lower-rated scores for its internationalization (73 percent) and integration APIs (75 percent.)

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. Sending outbound emails - 91 percent.
  2. Email and mobile preview - 90 percent.
  3. Building and personalizing emails - 89 percent.

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. Internationalization - 73 percent.
  2. Integration APIs - 75 percent.
  3. Breadth of partner applications - 77 percent. 

5. Benchmark Email

Free Plan: Benchmark Email's free email plan comes equipped with a fairly large number of emails. The entry level allows small-business marketers to send up to 14,000 emails a month and store 2,000 email contacts. Its free option also comes loaded with basic features such as email analytics, email drag-and-drop editor, email drip campaigns and more.

Paid Pricing: Benchmark Email has a multi-leveled pricing plan that be a bit confusing. For medium lists, users can send unlimited emails to 600-1,500 subscribers at $13.99-$27.99 per month. For larger lists, companies can send between 1.7 million and 2.45 million emails to 125,000-175,000 subscribers at $659.99-$846.99 per month. There are also multiple other tiers for packages into between these subscriber counts and from subscriber lists that are much larger. While confusing, Benchmark Email has a user-friendly pricing page that can nail down exactly how much their platform would be for any business needs here.

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What Users Say: From Benchmark Email reviews, users enjoy Benchmark Email’s preview mode as well as its email building and personalization. However, the email tool lags in many feature ratings, such as email deliverability and email list management. Benchmark Email users rated the tool’s worst feature as high-volume sending at 77 percent (average, 89 percent), but free users can avoid this feature as the marketers looking for a no-cost option mostly will not be sending a large number of emails.

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. Email and mobile preview - 90 percent.
  2. Automated email responses - 89 percent.
  3. Building and personalizing emails - 88 percent.

 

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. High-volume sending - 77 percent.
  2. Manage email lists - 79 percent.
  3. Manage email deliverability - 80 percent.

6. SparkPost

Free Plan: SparkPost’s free offering is slightly different than the rest of the email marketing platforms on this list, as its tool is more of a transactional email software. Geared more toward developers, the free account allows users to send up to 15,000 emails per month with the same features as paid users.

Paid Pricing: SparkPost offers a simple four leveled pricing plan. $9 for up to 50,000 emails per month, $49 for up to 150,000 emails per month, $124 for up to 250,000 emails per month and $249 for up to 500,000 emails per month. Overage charges range from $0.60-$0.75 per 1,000 emails.

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What Users Say: Marketers looking for a pure email marketing tool should stay away from SparkPost. However, if your team is looking for a transactional email product that has features rooted in email marketing, this may be the tool for you. Users rate SparkPost’s email reporting, email deliverability and outbound emails much higher than the category norm. On the flip side, users rate the platform as below average in its ease of admin and ease of setup, which makes sense for a developer-focused tool.

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. High volume sending - 94 percent.
  2. Sending outbound emails - 93 percent.
  3. Manage email deliverability - 93 percent.

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. Preset template availability - 61 percent.
  2. Building and personalizing emails - 67 percent.
  3. Template creation - 69 percent.

7. Mautic

Free Plan: The only open-source email marketing tool on the list, Mautic allows users to download its tool for free to do everything from email marketing, contact management and social media marketing. There is no contact or email limit with Mautic.

Paid Pricing: Mautic is the only completely free and open-source tool on this list.

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What Users Say: Mautic is better defined as a marketing automation software but has many email marketing features that will satisfy the needs of marketers. With only 14 reviews, it's the least-used tool on this list. The users that have shared their experiences have rated Mautic above average on its online behavior tracking and have an overall 92 percent positive sentiment when posed with the question of “s the product going in the right direction?”. As an open-source tool, companies can customize and build on top of its source code to tailor the product to their specific needs.

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. Segmentation - 87 percent.
  2. Automated email response - 87 percent.
  3. Sending outbound emails - 86 percent. 

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. A/B testing - 79 percent.
  2. Building and personalizing emails - 79 percent.

8. VerticalResponse

Free Plan: VerticalResponse’s free plan isn’t for marketers with large email lists. Its plan allows marketing teams to send up to 4,000 emails per month and store up to 300 contacts.

Paid Pricing: VerticalResponse offers three pricing levels. A “Basic” level starting at $11 per month, a “Pro” level starting at $16 per month and a “Pro+” level starting at $196 per month. As you pay more, you receive more features such as live support, heat maps and even an expert email strategist for the top tier. VerticalResponse is not transparent on their pricing page on the number of emails or users are allotted for each tier, but does say that their pricing is based off of email list size.

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What Users Say: Sometimes free products are great, and other times they’re not. Users rate VerticalReponse below average in every feature and satisfaction rating on G2 Crowd. Some of the worst include their quality of support at 73 percent (average, 88 percent) and automated email responses at 69 percent (average, 87 percent).

Highest Rated Features from Users

  1. Sending outbound emails - 82 percent
  2. High volume sending - 80 percent
  3. Basic reporting - 74 percent

Lowest Rated Features from Users

  1. Automated email response - 67 percent
  2. Managing email list - 70 percent
  3. Managing email deliverability - 73 percent 

Additional free email marketing resources

Great! Now you know the best email marketing software you can implement on a budget! What's next? 

Below are a few additional resources for marketers on a budget:

Check out our entire email marketing software category page for more information on these products as well as on paid systems.

Levi Olmstead
Author

Levi Olmstead

Levi is the Manager of Community and SEO who came to G2 Crowd in 2015 after graduating from Indiana University's Telecommunication's Department. Aside from rooting on his Hoosiers, you can find Levi at an IndyCar race, re-watching King of the Hill reruns, spending hours on paranormal websites and helping his dog Frodo on his quest to destroy the ring.