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Your Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect Email Marketing Provider

Is social media starting to feel more like a chore than a fun way to reach potential customers? If you’re not big on the idea of dancing to market your business, then we have a perfect alternative for you! Email marketing allows you to passively build connections with your audience, warm leads, and create a community outside of social media. 

We’re all for email marketing, especially because it’s so simple! All you have to do to get started is create a lead magnet, email opt-in form, write out and design your email sequence, then link everything together and you’re good to go! 

Maybe you’re feeling a little overwhelmed trying to decide which email marketing platform is best for you, but that’s where we come in! Each of our clients get a personalized recommendation and assistance integrating the email service provider of their choice with their website, but for those of you DIYing, we’re going to break down five common email marketing tools to help you make an easy choice. 

A Designer’s Dream: Flodesk 

We can’t say enough good things about Flodesk. Have you ever subscribed to an email list and each email you open is boring, bland, and difficult to read because it lacks strategic design? Flodesk set out to change that story by creating a platform that makes it easy to design emails that people love to open. They have an amazing template library, the best font selection of any ESP on this list, and drag and drop layouts that you can combine to create a beautiful, memorable email newsletter. 

As designers, we also love how simple Flodesk makes it to add your branding to email templates. In your account settings, you can upload your logo files and color codes so that customizing an email template takes minutes instead of hours. 

There’s a lot to love about Flodesk, and we’ve put it at the top of this list because we 100% recommend that you try it out. On the flip side, the one drawback of Flodesk is the pricing. It’s definitely on the more expensive side of things, especially since three out of five platforms we’re talking about in this article have free options. Flodesk costs $38 per month or $418 per year (you get one month free when you choose the annual plan) and there is no free pricing option. You can, however, try before you buy and sign up for a free 30-day trial here!  If you’re already decided, click here to save 50%.

The Beginner’s Choice: Mailchimp

If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of email marketing and aren’t totally convinced that this is for you, then Mailchimp is the way to go. It has all the features you could imagine, and most are easily accessible on the free plan! When you sign up for Mailchimp, here’s what you’ll be able to do…

  • Schedule your email campaigns 
  • Analytic reports for click-through rates, open rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates
  • Customize templates or build emails from scratch 
  • Easily integrate Mailchimp with your website and other platforms 

On the downside, if you decide you love Mailchimp, their paid plans start to get pretty pricey once you have over 2,000 subscribers. Once you become an email marketing pro, Mailchimp might not meet your demands, since it’s created for newer business owners and not advanced email marketing campaigns.

While Mailchimp may be the best in terms of overall capabilities on the forever free plan, it doesn’t have the most intuitive user interface, so you’ll have to spend some time exploring and getting used to all the features after you sign up. 

Best Free Value: MailerLite 

The perfect choice for those who don’t have a large email list and are looking for the whole package: landing pages, automation, segmentation, and aesthetic content. MailerLite is right up there with Mailchimp, but it’s considered much easier to use. 

One thing we love about MailerLite is that it’s much easier to create an aesthetic and customized email for free here than it is in Mailchimp. There are tons of templates you can customize and layout blocks you can drag and drop. 

Unfortunately, MailerLite doesn’t allow you to upload your branding for easy email customization. You can set your logo, but you can’t set fonts or create a color palette. An easy way to get around this is to build a few email layouts with your branding and then save them as templates to use in the future. This will also save you time whenever you open MailerLite to send an email newsletter to your subscribers! 

Just like Mailchimp, MailerLite has a forever free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, but their pricing options for larger lists are slightly more affordable. 

The Blogger’s Best Friend: ConvertKit 

ConvertKit markets itself to content creators, bloggers, and other service-based businesses in the creative space. If you’re looking for a platform with the same functionalities as Mailchimp but more niche, then ConvertKit is the perfect choice for you! 

Email marketing platforms aren’t the most aesthetic business tools, since functionality and features are more important than aesthetics. However, we have to give it to ConvertKit, because their user interface is much cleaner and easier to navigate. Combining that with an amazing list of features, ConvertKit is a great tool! Some features you can utilize include…

  • Opt-in and landing pages 
  • Email workflows and automation
  • Tagging systems 
  • List segmentation 
  • Personalization 

They also offer a forever free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, just like Mailchimp and MailerLite, but then their paid plans start at $29 per month, which is more affordable than Flodesk but not as cheap as MailerLite. 

The Aesthetic Integrator: Squarespace Campaigns

Last by not least, we’re giving an honorable mention to Squarespace Campaigns. It’s a great tool to use if you’ve built your website on Squarespace and are a diehard fan. Their email layouts rival Flodesk, and can be easily branded as well with all the information you’ve put into your website. 

If you’re running an eCommerce Squarespace website, Squarespace Campaigns is a great option to seamlessly integrate your shop products with your email content. While some email marketing platforms we’ve mentioned can feel cluttered and confusing, Squarespace Campaigns has a simple and intuitive user interface that’s very similar to their website builder. So if you’re running short on time and don’t want to learn a new platform, Squarespace Campaigns is a super convenient tool. 

The downside? It isn’t free, even if you have a Squarespace website. Their paid plans are still more affordable and start at $5 per month on the annual plan and go up to $68 per month. 

There’s a lot of information to sift through when you’re deciding what email marketing platform is best for your online business, but when you work with Social Circle to brand your business and build your website, we become so familiar with your goals and how your business works that we can provide you with a personalized recommendation so you can confidently start email marketing. If you’re looking to give your brand a makeover, take a look at our services and get in touch so we can talk more about working together! 

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tune into HUSTLE
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I'm Jacinta — branding expert, web designer, and owner behind Social Circle, a full service creative studio dedicated to helping ambitious female entrepreneurs launch the business of their dreams with ease. 


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