Top 10 Email Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

We all know that email marketing is a perfect solution for promoting businesses of all types and scales, from small to major companies. It’s fast, easy to work with, and it may bring an incredible ROI of to 40:1. Everything mostly depends on our creativity… and some more factors. Skillful use of some specific tools is among them.

We mean online tools and services that help email marketers on all stages of their work. Which of them are the best? Well, let’s make a compilation of ten services that we consider the most convenient and performing.

What we need first to start bulk mailings? Right, it’s people to send newsletter emails to. In other words, we must collect the primary email database. It can be small at the beginning, but extending it is a matter of time. Contact list is a must have. That’s why the first service we’ll talk about is Zapier.

1. Zapier

In fact, Zapier functionality is much wider. This service allows end users to automate their work and arrange the advanced integration of services and applications. You may read the details on their website.

Speaking about databases, Zapier is able to create and automate registration and subscription forms cooperation with services like Gravity Forms, Wufoo, Google Forms, etc. Please, be advised that all the new European and American requirements about opt in permissions are taken into account and implemented by Zapier. This service may also process the data entered by websites and social media visitors as well as extract and add contacts data to MySQL, PostgreSQL, Firebase, and MongoDB. If you have no experience in these databases, you can try Zapier Storage with similar functions. It will be even easier.

And, going forward, we feel like mentioning that modern ESP has to provide you with tools for further work with database. Considering this, eSputnik ESP is a good choice as this service is featured by option to create registration and subscription forms, and it has an integration with Zapier. Convenient, isn’t it?

…Ok, we are moving to suitable email marketing automation systems also known as ESPs (email service providers). The key criteria to choose the ESP is a type of business you run.

Here are the criteria for small businesses and startups:

  • reasonable prices;
  • simple scenarios;
  • regular database segmentation;
  • use of shared IP addresses;
  • use of shared domains;
  • options to track customers behavior on social media channels;
  • reports on campaign results.

So let’s pay our close attention to Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor as these two ESPs seem to be optimal for small business purposes.

2. Mailchimp

They say themselves that they are targeted on small businesses and startups. And recommend that major scale enterprises choose other ESPs. However, CNN is among their most famous clients 🙂

Their pros are an intuitive interface, members rating helps with detecting VIP customers, and extended integration with Facebook, Instagram and Google Remarketing allows tracking customers and placing ads on these platforms. As for cons, there are only two channels (emails and pop-up sign-up forms) which are not enough to configure complex scenarios.  Mailchimp’s unique feature is: forwarding and sharing emails.

3. Campaign Monitor

As for this ESP, used by 8.3% of email marketers worldwide, they can boast about their famous customers, too. Among them, you may find Adidas, Chandon, Soho, Austrian Red Cross and others. In general, it’s similar to the previous one but options for building scenarios are much wider. Campaign Monitor offers a “journey” to help with scenarios — besides helpful recommendations, you are offered even to specify your industry.

Other features to note here are smart elements support, option to compare the results of campaigns — and, of course, their blog with a lot of useful posts.

The next type of essential tools is responsive email template builders. Some of them are integrated parts of ESPs, others are stand-alone editors. As for built-in editors, they are not bad, in general. But ESPs priorities still remain a bit different. We mean emails delivery, reports, multichannel communications, etc. That’s why their email editors are usually weaker than stand-alone email builders. So it’s better to use template editors and then export emails to ESP you use – fortunately, today’s integration level allows doing this without technical issues with just 1 click.

To save precious time, it’s crucial to choose editor with a robust set of predesigned templates and all the options of automation. So, our preference is this:


This independent next-gen editor is maybe the best one among competitors, and it’s already embedded in many ESPs. It offers 300+ fully responsive email templates, over 10,000 images and a set of various options. It’s important to mention the advanced symbiosis of drag-and-drop and HTML code editors allows using them simultaneously — you make changes to the code and see them right away in the WYSIWYG editor when working with visual elements, images, videos and even interactive elements.

Other pros are personal content library to save and reuse the email modules, smart elements to optimize products content modules creation, option to add texts over banner without Photoshop, etc. Stripo always sticks to hottest trends, so their latest release is the ability to build and edit AMP-powered emails and integration with Email on Acid to test emails right in this editor.

Stripo blog is worth mentioning too, it’s a treasury of posts on hottest  topics: you are curious how to craft performing emails, embed interactive elements or so? – Just welcome to read their posts!

Last but not least is advanced integration with all the famous ESPs and email clients that allows you to export templates in one click, and even edit them after export.

…Speaking about email testing. This stage of marketer’s work requires deeper attention. And the next two services will help you not to be ashamed of twisted and broken layouts which make your users want to wash their eyes with holy water to unsee it 🙂

Some email editors are already equipped with email testing tools. Anyway, let us tell you in a nutshell about these two services:

5. Litmus

Litmus is a set of eCommerce tools to build campaigns, test them, and analyze results. Speaking about testing, Litmus features are template preview of combinations of over 90 email clients and devices, errors detection and HTML editing, HTML code verification, etc. Litmus is able to test links, Alt Text and images. As well as, to run spam filters testing.

Impressive, isn’t it? But their competitors offer one more unique feature:

6. Email on Acid

Along with a similar set of testing options, Email on Acid offers an additional one — email accessibility test. This is essential as accessibility is one of the 2019 hottest trends. Yes, we must take care of all our subscribers including people with visual and hearing impairments, color blindness, dyslexia, etc. The second reason is that screen reader software (Voice Over) becomes more popular every day — today people are too busy to read emails, so they prefer listening to them. And this is essential to let them hear clean and distinct speech, not an ugly growl of Mordor orcs 🙂 With this aspect, Email on Acid wins.

The next two tools are also specific. They’re all about personalization and hyper-personalization, another 2019 trend. The two tools below personalize images and videos.

7. NiftyImages

Using NiftyImages you can craft personalized images for your email campaigns almost in no time and without extra effort or deep skills. No only NiftyImages builds personalized images, but also data source images (such as live scores/stocks, local weather, etc.) and real-time content. When your image is ready, NiftyImages provide you with HTML embed code — all you need is to insert it in your HTML email template.

8. Vidyard

Like NiftyImages, Vidyard produces personalized content. Though it’s not as easy and intuitive as NiftyImages because arranging videos is a much more complex task. But some practical experience and their user guides help you out. When a video is ready, Vidyard provides you with the embed code.

We finally came to the last two tools that are rather inspirational than utilitarian — Hubspot and Really Good Emails.

9. Hubspot

EPS-wise, its share in email marketing worldwide is 5.1%. Still, for many people HubSpot is famous first of all for its blog. Over 4.5 million visits per month — this success is caused by rich a library of posts on different ecommerce topics. I’d also recommend that you subscribe to their newsletters as they can serve as great examples too and you will not miss the topics that you are interested in.

10. Really Good Emails

Last but not least is Really Good Emails. It’s said to be the best collection of email designs on the web. This handpicked collection contains over 4 000 samples and is growing every day. Need examples for inspiration? Welcome to RGE! Or send your campaign example over to them if you want to share your experience with others 🙂  

Summing up

This is what our set of tools looks like. Of course, there are many more other tools — we just shared our compilation. If you have other preferences, please tell us about them.

What should we add here? Choose the best tools to optimize your email marketing.

Sincerely wish you inspiration and the best of luck!

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.