Everybody wants to get the best deal on the market. This doesn’t exclude email marketers who are looking for the best price to value ratio for their company’s email needs.
This can be challenging since there are so many Email Service Providers to choose from. This is even more difficult if you are looking for something on a tight budget. What is their offer? What features do they have? And more importantly, you want to make sure you get your money’s worth. Many operators make their pricings unnecessarily overcomplicated, so it makes it very difficult to easily compare their offers.
We challenged ourselves to check what exactly an email marketer on a budget can get for $10. We decided to highlight five leading Email Service Providers to compare the best deals on the market.
What factors should be considered?
When it comes to figuring out the best email service provider, you want to take into consideration four different factors. Price, features, support, and aesthetics. Some are definitely more important than others, but nonetheless, they create a tool that should be a pleasure to work with.
Best pricing varies as it can be highly customizable and adjusted to your needs and wants. Many companies have tiered pricing with either a free option or a trial. It's good if you want to try out their services before making a decision to pay. Furthermore, an additional important element is how and when you can pay. Some companies require credit card details upfront, while others allow you to input them later.
Features are so important for every email marketer, as, with fewer features, the value of the provider decreases. Furthermore, with some options lacking, you may need to substitute them with 3rd party tools which can increase costs. It’s inconvenient to use an Email Service Providers where you still need to do most of the work, or they don’t improve or develop new options and it is difficult to operate. It's important to have a variety of features that will cater to every need of an email marketer (regardless of their experience). It is also important to have these features perfected and constantly improved upon.
Next, is support. Everybody, at some point, will require a little bit of guidance and help with completing a task. Due to the nature of the questions that could be asked the Support Department of the Email Service Providers has to be knowledgeable, fast, reliable and polite. Currently, there is no place for a long exchange of emails between users and Support Department team members. The solution should be provided as soon as possible with the least room for doubt.
The last one is aesthetics. For some, this element is not that important. You do need to realize that aesthetics is not just a pretty landing page. The user dashboard should be intuitive, easy to read and even easier to get used to. Additionally, it should be aesthetically pleasing as well so using it is a pleasant experience, not a chore.
Mentioned Email Service Providers at first glance.
segmentation, A/B testing, basic reports, custom templates, single-step automation
autoresponders, A/B testing, visual email editor, send-time optimization, web forms, basic automation
segmentation, A/X testing, drag and drop editor, autoresponders, analytics, send-time optimization, web forms and landing pages editor, geolocation tracking
drag and drop editor, photo editor, landing pages, email automation, segmentation, A/B testing, newsletter templates
customizable templates, segmentation, marketing calendar, mobile application, tracking and reporting
credit card, paypal
credit card, paypal
credit card, paypal
credit card, paypal (only if payment is done yearly)
credit card, paypal (credit card information necessary)
additional features like private IP available with higher plans
additional features like private IP available with higher plans
private IPs $30/month, premium support $35/month
private IPs $50/month, premium support $100/month, unlimited landing pages and websites $10/month
unlimited emails per month
No. The limit is 10 times the number of contacts on the account
Yes, unlimited number
Yes, unlimited number
Yes, unlimited number
Yes, unlimited number
What can you get for $10 with MailChimp?
MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing platform directed mainly to small businesses. It was founded in 2001 and headquartered in Atlanta. Their upside is definitely long-time experience on the market, which shows. They are currently one of the biggest (if not the biggest) ESPs in the world.
MailChimp offers tiered pricing. Their first plan is $9.99 per month called “Essentials”. With the Essentials package, you can get a maximum of 500 contacts (the price goes up to $19.99 with 1000 contacts). Some features are linked to a specific tier, and it’s a shame that you don’t have the possibility of signing up for a trial to check them out. For a beginner, it might be a bit difficult. The lack of possibility to test the options makes it hard to establish what tools you actually need. You can, however, at any point upgrade from the plan you have at the moment. Their tiered pricing is pretty good, however, it seems that there is one plan missing as the difference between Standard and Premium is over $250, and there is not that much of a difference in the features offered.
With the Essentials ($9.99) tier, you get access to some basic options like segmentation, A/B testing and some basic reports. With this plan, you can also use some of their beta features like Marketing Calendar or website builder. It is definitely an interesting option to test. What is missing though is a send time optimization feature and custom templates which are pretty much a necessity nowadays. They do offer some pre-built emails (however not all of them) from their gallery, but if you want to design your own with HTML or code, you would have to change your plan.
When it comes to support, the story is relatively simple. You have access to a Knowledge Base, tutorials and a glossary as well as chat and phone support. What is weird though is that on their pricing page you get two separate support sections. 30 days of email support, and 24/7 email and chat support. Both features link to the same page, so you can only assume that they mean the same thing.
Finally, the dashboard. MailChimp has a menu pinned at the top where you can choose a dedicated section you want to work on. The menu is not visible after you access the editing screen. In order to switch the tab, you need to go back to the dashboard using backspace.
Bonus points: They support non-profits like Literacy Action that are dedicated to supporting adult learners in Atlanta Public School, Living Walls that promotes artists and they advocate for considerate urbanism alongside the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. So essentially, by supporting MailChimp, you also support these local organizations.
Can you pay $10 to GetResponse for their services?
The short answer? Unfortunately, you can’t. You can, however, spend $15 to get their “Basic” plan that is the first of the four options listed on their page.
GetResponse was founded in 1997, and it’s first office was created a year later in Poland. Currently, they operate in multiple offices in Russia, the U.S.A., Canada and in Brazil. They are one of the longest standing Email Service Providers on the market - over 20 years old.
So, what features can you get for $15 with GetResponse?
For starters, you get 1,000 contacts. If you want to expand on this, the next threshold is 2,500 contacts and the price goes up to $25. Alternatively, for 10,000 contacts in the Basic plan, you will be charged $65 per month. Apart from the absolute baseline of sending newsletters are features like autoresponders, visual email editor and A/B testing. You also get access to their templates gallery and stock photos. The variety is impressive and email templates are definitely aesthetically pleasing. Sadly, I can’t say the same about their dashboard. But let’s stay a bit longer with their list of features.
Among some typical options that also include landing pages and web forms, there are some less understandable features. There is no option to look them up directly from their pricing page, but Google came to the rescue. In particular, I wanted to focus on two options - Time Travel and Perfect timing. The terms are exclusive to GetResponse and they sound attractive. Upon further searching, however, they both stand for pretty basic features. Time travel allows you to send emails at the same local time in every timezone. Perfect timing is nothing more than send-time optimization to make sure all your emails are delivered at the optimal time to the subscriber. Are they useful? Yes. But the fancy terminology seems a bit overdone as it sells the features as far more attractive and advanced than they are.
GetResponse does offer basic automation with the $15 price point. Thank you emails, birthday campaigns and welcome emails are included with templates. That is a nice offer, especially for people wanting to quickly set up a workflow. The feature itself is pretty easy to use. However, in my opinion, their most attractive option that sets them apart from the rest - webinars is not available with the Basic plan. You can use it with the next tier that costs $49. That’s a steep price for an additional 3 hours of webinar storage. It does seem disappointing that it’s not available even with less storage or with a smaller audience. You do get to try it out with their 30 days trial, but it’s unclear if the webinars are then deleted from your account or not.
Another thing that is quite unclear is the option to purchase a private IP. There is an option for custom DKIM within the Basic plan. But the actual mention about custom IPs is only in the Enterprise tier, and that one costs a whopping $1,199!
With Enterprise you also can get dedicated support and with every plan there is an option to either contact 24/7 chat or email them directly.
The GetResponse dashboard seems very simple at first, but while looking around, it can be a bit confusing for some. It mostly operates based on tiles, so you need to scroll through to see all the options. You can, however, access the same options from the drop-down menu or from the top bar. So, you have three access points to the same features. Some might find it useful, but personally, for me, it seemed a bit chaotic. The design of the dashboard seems pretty similar to MailChimp overall.
Bonus points: Their out-of-the-box webinar marketing feature seems really cool. They also have an incredibly huge resources page with courses and infographics. Pretty sure though you can sign up to them separately by creating an account.
What will Elastic Email give you for $10?
Elastic Email was created in 2010, which means that they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Their main office is in Poland, but they have employees in Canada and in the Philippines and Costa Rica as well.
For $10, you can get 10,000 contacts and unlimited emails. Yeah, you read that right. That’s 10 times more contacts than the above competitors on the market. Elastic Email has two-tiered pricing for the Unlimited section, and two-tiered pricing for the API and pay-to-go option as well. Let’s focus on Email Marketing.
There is an impressive amount of features for the base pricing including segmentation, A-X testing, geolocation tracking and send-time optimization. Apart from this, you get an easy drag and drop email editor, a webform and landing page creator as well as an HTML editor. The template editor is easy to use with three separate sections and a tiles design. When you click on the section you want to edit within the email design, you get even more options to edit.
However, if you would like to quickly create an email, there is a template gallery. You have access to it without any restrictions. Another important element is advanced analytics. Now, although with the Unlimited plan you can’t get custom rDNS you can purchase private IPs for $30 per month. And if you are in need of custom rDNS, there is always the Unlimited Pro plan.
The great aspect of Elastic Email support is not only that it’s 24/7 over email and in-app messenger, but if you want to get dedicated support, you can. You don’t need to purchase the next tier plan. Instead, you can pay for it independently for around $35 per month. If you are unsure which plan will suit your needs or if Elastic Email is even right for you, you can try it for free. There’s no 30 day cut-off, and you can send up to 100 free emails a day. Upon registering, you don’t need to input any credit details, but you can add it once you’re confident with your plan choice.
The Elastic Email dashboard is pretty minimalistic in design. There is a sidebar with all the options and quick picks on the main page which results in an easy to use and not overwhelming setup. Once you select the section you want to access, the sidebar is still visible, and if you feel like you need more space, you can minimize it. Then, you will only see the icons. This way you can still see all the options and access them, but at the same time, they don’t obstruct your view.
Bonus points: They consistently support the Ancient Tree Alliance that is working to protect endangered old-growth forests all over Canada to ensure a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry. They also support their local animal shelter when possible. Part of their profits goes directly to these organizations and as a result, you are also a part of it too!
Will you be getting your $10 worth with MailerLite?
MaileLite actually started as a web design agency in 2005 and then, five years later, rebranded as an Email Service Provider. Therefore, they have around 10 years of experience on the market.
The price in MailerLite depends on the number of subscribers you have. For $10 you can get around 1,000 contacts with unlimited emails per month. If you want to increase your contact base to 10,000, you will have to splurge with $50 a month, just for the list.
When you first sign up with MailerLite, you need to fill out your profile information before you can test out the options to see if you even like it. It’s quite an extensive questionnaire about your company, previous experience and some open-ended questions about how you get your subscribers. All of that needs to be filled out before you even get to see the dashboard.
MailerLite has a drag and drop editor and also a photo editor. It allows you to directly edit your photos with the campaign builder. It’s definitely a nice feature, although it doesn't offer many more options than free applications that you can find online, and the quality of some elements (like stickers) seems to be lacking. The drag-and-drop editor itself is quite pleasant, but it would definitely benefit more if the blocks were grouped or presented in a more friendly way than currently (by scrolling through all the options).
Apart from that, you get an HTML editor, email templates, landing pages, and automation. You also can purchase additional IPs for $50 per month, and if you want to create unlimited landing pages, you also need to reach into your wallet for an extra $10. There is no web forms gallery, but you can create your own. You also don’t get an email verification tool, which is a shame.
When it comes to support, they offer, just like every other Email Service Providers, email and chat support. If you want to get dedicated assistance, you will have to pay $100 a month. This feature is hidden under MailerPro, and it offers priority support and assistance with setting up your account and campaign creation.
The dashboard has a menu on the top of the page that is visible most of the time until you launch any editor, then it disappears. Luckily, unlike some Email Service Providers, you have an option to go back, but it doesn’t mean that you can jump to other options at any given time.
Bonus points: They keep historical data on all the updates they’ve made and they have a 14-day trial if you want to test out their premium features without paying on day one.
Is it possible to spend only $10 with ConstantContact?
Honestly speaking, not a chance. You can double the amount to get their basic plan, but the good news is - you can try it for free, for one month!
ConstantContact launched in 1996 which means that it’s the oldest one on the market. Unfortunately, there is not much information about the company itself, their work ethics or values, but what I do know is that their main office is in Massachusetts, United States. Not many details to go further though.
So, what can you get with ConstantContact? For starters, the emails are unlimited which is nice, contacts are not though. For $20, you get up to 500 contacts and all the features listed on their page in the “Email” plan. The biggest turnoff for me is that even with a free month, you still need to input your credit card details from the very start. There is information that you can cancel anytime, but giving your details still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
With the “Email” plan, you get a drag-and-drop editor, pop-up forms, list segmentation, tracking and reporting and a mobile application. For more interesting features, you can find marketing calendars that will help you organize your content. You can also create landing pages and blogs.
Sadly, there is no information if the email and chat support is offered around the clock, but nonetheless, both options are available. The main difference between ConstantContact and other Email Service Providers is that they have many supporting features, like Google Ads, Facebook & Instagram Ads & Insights or LogoMaker. However, when it comes to strictly email-related options, they are pretty limited. Even with higher pricing ($45/month), there is not much-added value. Sure, you get automation and with that coupons, online donations and subject line A/B testing (again, that is the higher pricing, you don’t get that with the $20 per month plan).
Bonus points: You do have an option to save up around 15% with the prepaid option. Non-profit organizations can get even 30% off if they decide to pay upfront too.
So, now that you’ve read all of that, you’ve been given an idea of the mentioned leading Email Service Providers and their price to value comparison. You should now be well-informed when choosing the right one, especially if you land in the small business or in the “on a budget” category.
Please note that all of the information in this article was collected on April 3rd, 2020, and therefore, any changes the above companies have made after this date were not included in this article. The research was done by Elastic Email only, and if there are any errors or if there is additional clarification needed - let us know! Drop a message to our Customer Success Team at any time if you have any doubts, questions or alternative information that should be adjusted.