How 4 Top Free Email Marketing Services Compare to Mailchimp

Learn what each platform offers so you can decide which service is best for you.

Email marketing is an important part of any marketing strategy, and you need the right tools to do it well. There are many (many!) email marketing platforms to choose from, so it’s worth comparing the cost and features of some of the most popular services to determine which one will work best for you.

Mailchimp was named one of the 50 Best Email Marketing Products for 2021 by G2. Our platform makes reaching your audience with beautiful, branded emails easy, and it doesn’t cost you a thing when you use our Free marketing plan.

Email marketing is just one feature of Mailchimp’s all-in-one Marketing Platform. You can also bring your brand online with free Mailchimp domains, landing pages, and website builder. Mailchimp’s creative tools simplify the process of designing and sending on-brand emails, digital ads, social media postings, and postcards to drive traffic, sales, and brand awareness. And as people join your audience, you can learn about them to make your marketing better and more targeted using Mailchimp for audience management. Plus, Mailchimp can do some of the work for you when you use it to automate your marketing. And you can use the data your campaigns generate—presented in reports that are easy to understand and act on—to keep improving as you go.

That’s what sets Mailchimp apart—the features not only get smarter and more powerful as you use them together—they also don’t have to cost you anything. When you sign up for Mailchimp’s Free plan, you’ll gain access to features that can help you to build your business. Then when you’re ready for even more advanced features, Mailchimp offers 3 paid plans to grow alongside you.

 
 

What can email marketing do for your business?

Broadly speaking, email marketing is exactly what it sounds like—using email to promote your business. However, strategies and best practices can differ widely depending on your particular goal, customer base, and market. You want to use the best tools to get the most out of your efforts.

An email marketing platform provides features that help accomplish your marketing goals. The right platform makes it possible to reach your audience with targeted, personalized newsletters, birthday greetings, promotions, and more.

The 2020 State of Content Marketing Report states that email marketing is marketers’ top method for nurturing audiences and securing leads. Email marketing can work in tandem with your other digital marketing efforts, helping you boost your online and social media exposure to share posts, promotions, and links that your audience might not otherwise see.

It’s also an inexpensive way to invest in your marketing. According to the 2019 Direct Marketing Association report, email marketing averaged a return of $52 for every $1 spent by the businesses surveyed.

What do other platforms’ free email marketing plans offer?

Even among some of the most popular email marketing services, their free plans have different features and number of emails that can be sent. Some advertise themselves as “free” when they only offer a free trial.

Others offer free versions or plans that are extremely limited, requiring you to pay for more features. It’s important to familiarize yourself with any restrictions and conditions that may apply before making a decision.

At first glance, many free email marketing offerings may seem enticing. But it’s worth taking a closer look. Free email is only as good as the rest of the platform you can access. Since email should be at the foundation of your multichannel outreach, it’s easier and more effective when it’s part of a full-featured platform that empowers you to do all of your marketing from one place.

In addition, make sure that any free email marketing solution has a great email deliverability rating. While you’re working hard to stay in touch with your customers, Mailchimp works hard to keep your campaigns out of the spam folder. We send billions of emails each week and our inbox acceptance rate is 99.27%.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of how Mailchimp compares to MailerLite, Sendinblue, ConvertKit, and HubSpot in terms of services offered and what you can expect from their free plans.

Mailchimp Free PlanMailerLite Free PlanSendinblue Free PlanConvertKit Free PlanHubSpot Free CRM Plan
# of Email Marketing SubscribersUp to 500Up to 1,000Unlimited (Limited for automated workflows)Up to 1,000Up to 2,000
# of Email Sends2,500 per month12,000 per month300/day, 9,000/monthUnlimited2,000 per month
Access to Email TemplatesIncludedIncludedIncludedIncludedIncluded
ReportingIncludedIncludedIncludedNot IncludedIncluded
Customer SupportEmail, first 30 daysEmailEmail, first 60 days- Chat
- Email
- In-app
- Live chat
- Phone
- Email

It can be tough to decide which platform to choose for your business, but taking a closer look at the features and limitations of each provider is a good place to begin.

Mailchimp vs. MailerLite

MailerLite is a simple, easy-to-use platform, but simplicity can have disadvantages. The drag-and-drop builder isn’t quite as extensive as Mailchimp’s, meaning you may have less design functionality. Though, like Mailchimp, MailerLite does have a built-in photo editor.

Mailchimp vs. Sendinblue

Sendinblue offers a drag-and-drop editor with a few basic templates to choose from and a well-reviewed email plugin for WordPress users. Unlike Mailchimp, its free plan also offers a chat feature and SMS notifications. Sendinblue offers some free integration options and A/B testing. However, Mailchimp’s Free plan offers more integrations and data reporting features to help increase overall functionality.

Mailchimp vs. ConvertKit

ConvertKit’s primary audience is bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers. It claims to be easier to use than Mailchimp, but it only offers 3 text-based email templates to choose from. It allows you to create forms and landing pages, but you don’t benefit from email marketing features such as segmentation and automation unless you’re on a paid plan.

Mailchimp vs. HubSpot

HubSpot has a visual drag-and-drop editor that comes closest to Mailchimp’s intuitive editor. However, many added features that are free on Mailchimp, such as automation, require upgrades on HubSpot. Like Mailchimp, HubSpot does offer ad management as part of its free plan.

 
 

Mailchimp’s free marketing features

When you take a closer look at Mailchimp’s features on its Free plan, you can see why it gets so much buzz.

You can send up to 2,500 email sends per month for up to 500 contacts at no cost. You’ll also enjoy how easy it is to use our drag-and-drop builder and professional-looking templates. You can save time (and boost your engagement) with Mailchimp’s single-step automations. Plus, once you launch a campaign, you have the ability to adjust it using real-time analytics and reports to optimize your performance.

You’ll also get a variety of tools to help grow your customer base, all at no cost, with our Free plan.

And, the more you use the features that Mailchimp offers, the more insights you’ll generate to market smarter with each campaign.

Mailchimp keeps up as your business grows

Beyond the free marketing features, Mailchimp provides plan options that can meet your needs as your business expands.

Essentials plan

The next step up from the Free plan is the Essentials plan. This is great for customers whose main goal is to keep up with the growing size of their audience. It provides 24/7 email and chat support and includes 3 audiences and 3 user seats for other staff members to access the account. Depending on your contacts tier, you’ll have between 5,000 and 500,000 email sends per month, and the plan’s price ranges from $11/month to $270/month.

The Essentials plan includes all the features of the Free plan, plus you can pick from any of Mailchimp’s pre-built templates, remove the Mailchimp footer from your emails, and gain limited access to the Customer Journey builder. You also get access to A/B testing, which allows you to compare campaign performance and refine your marketing tactics.

Standard plan

With the Standard plan you’ll get everything that comes with the Essentials plan, plus a few extras that account for the price difference, like 5 audiences and 5 seats. The Standard plan’s price ranges from $17/month to $540/month, and the monthly email send limit varies from 6,000 to 1.2 million, based on your contacts tier.

With this plan, you’ll get more features and greater audience insights. The app engagement range jumps to 3 months, and website reports include page views. You’ll be able to create a behavior-based automation series and access predicted demographics. You also gain access to insights like purchase likelihood and customer lifetime value, as well as tools to find new people such as lookalike audiences and mailing address finder.

On this plan, you can create custom-coded templates, access social post scheduling, and use retargeting ads. In Customer Journeys, you’ll get full access to the builder, which includes an automations builder that allows you to use multiple starting and branching points. Branching points help you send customers down a path based on their interactions.

You’ll also benefit from dynamic content and Send Time Optimization with delivery by time zone.

Premium plan

The Premium plan gives you all the features of the Standard plan plus increased volume limits, additional support options, and even more detailed reporting. It allows for up to 200,000 contacts, unlimited audiences and seats, and 3 million monthly emails. The Premium plan’s price starts at $299/month and goes up to $1,190/month, and the monthly email send limit varies from 150,000 to 3 million, based on your contacts tier. If you have more than 200,000 contacts, contact Mailchimp for a custom plan.

With this plan, app engagement analysis jumps to 18 months, you get access to comparative reporting, and the added option of multivariate testing gives you more insight than ever. And, with phone support, you can speak directly to one of our dedicated specialists.

 
 

Further considerations

When it comes to choosing your email marketing provider, there’s a lot to consider. Some providers don’t offer free plans, which are critical for small businesses looking to compare the performances of different platforms. Our competitive comparison articles show that Mailchimp can be a better option versus the competition in terms of email volume, but you should also consider the following questions when looking for the platform that best suits your needs.

  • What other tools does your business need, and does the platform provide them?
  • Are these tools available with a free plan?
  • How much can your business afford to invest when you’re ready for more features?
  • Does the free email option allow you to download your customer information if you want to try a different platform?
  • How is the quality of customer service, and how easy is the platform to use?

Choosing the best email marketing provider

With so many success stories, it’s easy to see why so many small businesses use Mailchimp’s email marketing services to reach their audiences.

A survey conducted by Newsweek ranked Mailchimp among the best business tools of 2019, and PC Magazine rated Mailchimp 4.5/5, making it an editors’ choice for email marketing in 2020. TrustRadius regularly ranks Mailchimp as one of the best options in its email marketing and all-in-one marketing categories. Mailchimp was also named a Fall 2020 G2 Leader in email marketing and ranked No. 8 in the G2 Best Software 2020 rankings.

Grow your business, one campaign at a time

Mailchimp’s Free plan has email marketing and much more.

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