There are hundreds of email marketing platforms out there, from EmailOctopus through to Mailchimp. When you’re just starting out in email marketing making the decision over which tool to use can be overwhelming. We’ve rounded up the best 8 email marketing platforms, all of whom offer free plans, and summarised their benefits.
But before we get into comparing each provider, here are likely a few things you’ll want to think about when searching for your latest marketing provider:
The number of subscribers
Most platforms differentiate themselves with the number of free contacts you’re allowed to upload. Contacts are email addresses who you’d like to store within the tool and send your email campaigns too. EmailOctopus, for example, offers the most generous subscriber tier, allowing you to upload up to 2,500 subscribers – whereas platforms like Mailchimp will limit you to only 500.
Email marketing platforms these days are no longer just about email. They provide landing pages, automation, autoresponders and social media marketing. When you’re looking for the right product, make sure it has the right features you need to get started.
The number of emails
Alongside subscribers you may also be limited by the number of emails you can send, either per day, or per month. This is often linked to the number of contacts you can store, so when you’re signing up make sure you have the right mix – whether that be unlimited emails to a smaller number of contacts, or 10,000 emails to 2,500 contacts.
To help choose your next platform, we’ve pulled together some of the best platforms out there and covered what their free plan includes.
The top 8 free email marketing platforms
EmailOctopus offers the largest free plan out of all the mainstream email marketing platforms. With only a few clicks, and for absolutely free, you can sign up to use EmailOctopus and send to up to 2,500 contacts.
EmailOctopus offers all the essential features for email marketing, with one of the simplest to use products out there. The drag and drop email creator allows you to create beautiful email and automated campaigns, which look great on both desktop and mobile. If you’re a little more advanced, the free plan also allows you to upload custom HTML – allowing you to create perfectly on brand emails.
The free plan also includes real-time reporting, which is available for a campaign for up to 30 days allowing you to adjust and improve your email marketing strategy over time and with 24/7 human support across both free and paid plans, you can ensure you have the help and guidance to start your email marketing journey without spending anything.
EmailOctopus free plan summary
Contacts: Up to 2,500
Emails: Send 10,000 per month
Highlights: Largest number of contacts, 24 hour support (inc live chat), custom HTML emails, all integrations
Mailchimp was the original free email marketing platform however in August 2022 they made significant changes to their offering. Mailchimp reduced the size of their free plan down from a generous 2,000 contacts to only 500. The change also limits emails to only 2,500 per month.
The product also has significant limits on the features offered to free customers, with automation and email templates unavailable for users unless they join the Essentials plan which starts at $11 per month.
Users of the free plan can still make use of forms and landing pages to create simple websites to grow their lists, however with the limitations around features and contacts it’s likely that many will outgrow the free offering rather quickly.
For the first 30 days in which they open their account users do email support from Mailchimp – helping unfamiliar users get across the initial set-up hurdles.
Mailchimp free plan summary
Contacts: Up to 500 (including unsubscribed contacts)
Emails: Send 2,500 per month
Highlights: The most recognised name in the industry
Mailerlite launched in 2010 and quickly established itself as one of the top email marketing platforms for cost-conscious consumers. Their free plan lets users contact up to 1,000 subscribers, sending up to 12,000 emails per month to their list.
You can use the platform to create automations and drag and drop emails, using their excellent email editor. Unfortunately custom HTML isn’t available until you join their Advanced plan (starting at $19 per month) – but for a new, non-technical, user starting out Mailerlite is worth considering.
Email support is also on hand for free customers, again making it a platform of interest for those newer to the marketing industry. If looking for a little more hand holding and instant support – chat is sadly limited to the Advanced plan.
Mailerlite free plan summary
Contacts: Up to 1,000
Emails: Send 12,000 per month
Highlights: Create up to 10 landing pages
GetResponse is an email marketing platform based in Poland which has been around for a number of years now. They recently introduced their free plan to help users get familiar with the product.
The GetResponse free plan offers 500 contacts with unlimited emails, however users are likely to find the lack of other features a little limiting. Segmentation, automation and even essentials, like email scheduling, are not available until upgrading to a paid plan which start out at around $50 per month.
Users can at least create a landing page and try out the website builder within Get Response, and the unlimited emails is a generous offering – particularly for those looking to send daily email updates to a relatively small subscriber list.
Highlights: Unlimited emails on an otherwise feature limited free plan
SendInBlue free plan summary
SendInBlue launched in 2012. Like EmailOctopus and Mailchimp it has a heavy focus on the small and medium businesses. Their focus is on email marketing, but their platform also includes CRM and SMS functionality.
Because of it’s wide offering, SendInBlue are unusual in offering unlimited contacts on their free plan – instead choosing to heavily limit just the emails sent through the product. Without paying anything, users get 300 emails per day in which they can send which is sufficient for entry level marketers. Automations can be triggered but only if you have fewer than 2,000 contacts.
Access is limited to a single user while on the free plan but with basic email support it’s a tool worth considering for very early stage email marketers who are starting out.
Contacts: Unlimited (2,000 if using automation)
Emails: Send only 300 per day (9,000 per month)
Highlights: Unlimited contacts, but a low email count.
ConvertKit is a marketing platform aimed at creators, with a mantra of create, grow and sell. Their free plan was launched relatively recently and serves as a welcome to the paid product.
Restrictive limits are imposed on the free plan; users can only store up to 300 contacts in their ConvertKit account and essential email marketing features like automation aren’t included. The focus on the creator segment does see e-commerce functionality included, however, and users can use Convertkit to sell products or subscriptions making it an ideal entry for those looking at selling coaching courses.
ConvertKit free plan summary
Contacts: 300 subscribers
Emails: 7,500 per month
Highlights: Sell digital products and subscriptions
A stalwart in the email marketing industry, Aweber finally launched a free plan in 2020 to compete with the likes of Mailchimp and co.
The Aweber free plan offers 500 subscribers and allows you to send up to 3,000 emails per month. Users can also create landing pages and forms, allowing them to grow their email marketing list for nothing. Unfortunately the free plan doesn’t include any automation tools, but unlike the majority of other providers users can invite multiple team members allowing teams to collaborate on their next email campaign.
Aweber free plan summary
Contacts: 500 subscribers
Emails: 3,000 per month
Highlights: Add unlimited team members to your account