Bulk email services are a key component of a well-oiled online income engine.
A properly executed email campaign will turbo charge your revenue with high conversions — in fact, over time your growing email list will become a marketing asset that can easily replace the income from your day job.
Now, there are lots of mass email services competing for your attention, yet many are missing key features that are critical for your success.
In this article, I’ll cut down your research losses by recommending those that are best designed to grow your online income.
Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation at no additional cost to you to support this site that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my 10+ years of online business experience consulting for clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that offer the best return for your investment (for more details, read my Affiliate Disclosure).
Not unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, before someone will spend money on you, whether you’re working on a blog to earn income through affiliate marketing, an eCommerce store or a site that sells digital products, you’ll first need to earn their trust.
Nobody ever does business with people or companies they don’t know, like and trust (do you?)
So, what’s the most effective online strategy to earn the trust of potential customers? Building a strong relationship via email.
How do I do that?
You first entice your website visitors to volunteer their email address in exchange for something free of charge that has little or no hard cost for you to produce but is of huge value to them.
This is referred to as a “lead magnet.” For instance, your lead magnet could be a checklist that’ll save your prospects a lot of time (e.g. things to do to properly stage a house for sale, if you have a real estate blog) or a list of tips that’ll keep them from making rookie mistakes (e.g. tips on how to properly light your subject if you have a professional photography blog).
Once you’ve obtained their email address, you need to build a relationship of trust by emailing them regularly (say, once or twice a week) for months on end with free advice, tips, guidelines, ideas, in short, anything that makes their lives easier.
These emails don’t have to be long but they have to be offer clear value to your audience.
A trick to do this with minimal effort is to blog regularly (say, twice a week) and follow each blog post with a broadcast email to all your subscribers with some enticing text that links to that post.
Over time you’ll gather thousands of email addresses creating a tremendous marketing asset that you’ll be able to monetize for years to come, branding you as an authority in your field and making you the go-to site for advice and, more importantly, purchases!
So, what should you look for in a bulk email service?
Aside from high email deliverability (this is the bare minimum), you’re looking for a set of features that will allow you to gather valuable data about the online behavior of your subscribers, so you can mine it for revenue gold.
The best bulk email services will allow you to track, trace, measure and act on virtually anything subscribers do online. For example, you want to be able to learn when they:
- Open an email (how long after receiving it and how many times)
- Click on any links inside (using traceable link triggers)
- Visit a page on your website (what specific pages and how often)
- Read a blog post (which ones and how often)
In addition, you want to be able to:
- Find out what part of the world they come from (country and time zone)
- Receive a notification whenever something you deem significant happens (e.g. a subscriber visits a product page on your website or reads one of your “money” posts)
- Seamlessly integrate the email service to your website builder (e.g. Wix), content management system (e.g. WordPress) or eCommerce platform (e.g. Shopify)
So, without further ado, here are the best solutions for your bulk emailing needs, including: the best option overall, the best budget option, the runner up and the system with the most generous free tier before you have to start paying monthly fees.
What Are the Best Bulk Email Services?
AWeber is the original innovator that brought us the autoresponder over 20 years ago, a central feature in the world of email marketing.
With over 100,000 customers worldwide, AWeber is still a commanding force in the industry, even though there are now a lot more players than back then.
Being one of the oldest services in the field, they have impeccable email deliverability stats, possibly the best in the industry for mass email delivery.
This means that very few of your emails will end up in people’s spam folders, or worse yet, blocked by email servers from ever reaching their destination.
Where they really shine, which is an area of extreme importance for beginners, is in their customer support.
In fact, AWeber has been the recipient of multiple customer-service awards with its phone support, 24/7 live chat, and email support.
If you ever get stuck in your implementation (even at 2 in the morning!), you’ll be able to count on highly supportive and patient staff who will always be there for you until you get back on track.
Although some competitors offer more bells and whistles (which you may not always need) AWeber has a reputation for having a solid, reliable product that simply gets the job done.
AWeber Features that Stand Out
- Ease of use for beginners
- Affordably priced
- Flexible page builder and email editor
- Hundreds of integrations, including WordPress and website builders like Wix
- Award-winning support
- Large set of templates (over 700!)
- Mobile responsive email design
- 30-day free trial
- A/B testing
- Single and double opt-in support
- Extensive analytics reporting
Now the Cons...
- More basic automation than offered by competitors
- Missing some features included in competitors' offers, like spam scoring
- User interface doesn’t look as fresh as newer competitors
Find Out More About AWeber Here.
Best Budget Option: GetResponse
Over the past few years, GetResponse has been out-innovating its competitors in a significant way, and most surprisingly, without increasing their prices.
The tool is now unrecognizable from when they started out, and it’s jam-packed with powerful marketing features others charge you an arm and a leg for.
The result is that they’ve grown to an impressive 350,000 customers in 180 countries, even surpassing much older competitors.
As an example of their constant improvements, they’ve added a graphical workflow automation feature which is pretty close to what you get with an expensive enterprise system.
This feature allows you to nurture your subscribers based on actions that they take online (e.g. visiting pages, clicking links in emails, etc.).
Another example is scoring your email content using a spam index to make sure you minimize the chances of your emails ending up in spam folders.
It even packs a conversion funnel feature usually found in much more expensive packages and a landing page editor, plus you can even host live and on demand webinars right from within the platform.
At its core GetResponse is a powerful yet reasonably priced bulk email service that allows you to set up autoresponders to drip trust-building emails for your subscribers in a fully automated way.
GetResponse Features that Stand Out
- Very well priced among bulk email service competitors
- Flexible forms with easy to use graphical editor
- Can integrate with Shopify and Magento eCommerce platforms
- Real-time email spam scoring
- Has a conversion funnel feature
- Has a graphical workflow automation feature
- Can host webinars
- User-friendly email editor
- A/B testing
- Mobile responsive templates
- Live support via email and chat
- Wide selection of third-party integrations
- WordPress integration
Now the Cons...
- No phone support
- Analytics are not as good as competitors
- No free plan, but they offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Email deliverability not as strong as competitors (I’m sure they are working hard on this)
Find Out More About GetResponse Here.
Best Runner-Up: ConvertKit
This bulk email service is a good second choice to AWeber. They are much newer but have been able to develop a loyal following that swears by them.
One of their distinguishing features is that in a relatively short amount of time, they’ve been able to develop best-in-class email deliverability stats.
Another distinguishing feature is the freshness of their UI and its ease of use for beginners. Their form and landing page editor is quite excellent, however their email editor is not as sophisticated as other competitors.
Although it's quite adequate for text-based emails, it lacks features for more visually appealing HTML-based emails. ConvertKit claims that this is not such a big deal because most people expect emails to be text-based.
While this is true for generic email marketing, it could pose a problem for eCommerce marketing campaigns, where photos of products need to be elegantly displayed on emails.
Like AWeber, they also have a great support team with friendly staff manning phone lines and their live chat tool.
ConvertKit Features that Stand Out
- Ease of use. Highly intuitive user interface
- Excellent forms and landing page editor
- Tab-based segmentation (a more modern and flexible technique compared to the older list-based approach of older bulk email services)
- Solid automation and segmentation features, including rules and workflows
- Best in class email deliverability
- 30-day free trial
Now the Cons...
- Lacks integrations from eCommerce platforms
- Email editor centered on text-based emails, lacking functionality for visual emails
- Much fewer templates and integrations as AWeber
- More expensive than AWeber
- More limited analytics than competitors
Find Out More About ConvertKit Here.
Best Free or Freemium: Sendinblue
This bulk email service offer has the best free tier in the space (which is quite rare).
For example, You may host an unlimited number of contacts and even run unlimited automations for up to 2,000 subscribers for free. The downside is that you can only send out a maximum of 300 emails per day.
You also have access to a great drag and drop email editor, A/B testing, email segmentation and even marketing automation.
Just for fun, they’ve added a built-in CRM (although it’s quite limited compared to most popular paid CRMs).
They also boast high email deliverability and even offer 200+ responsive email templates.
Where they're lacking is in their reporting, which is quite basic in the free plan. But this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re bootstrapping and just want the ability to build your email list for free at the beginning of your journey.
One downside of the free plan is that support is limited to a form on their website.
All in all, a good choice if you just want to get your feet wet with email marketing and don’t want to make an investment until you’re sure it works for you.
Sendinblue Features that Stand Out (Free Tier)
- Best freemium package available in the space
- Unlimited contacts
- Unlimited automations for up to 2,000 contacts
- Drag and drop email editor
- 200+ responsive email templates
- Extensive knowledge base
Now the Cons...
- Basic reporting in free plan
- Only contact form-based support with free plan
- Limited integrations
- You can only send up to 300 emails/day (not a lot)
Find Out More About Sendinblue Here.
What Should I Look for in a Bulk Email Service?
When looking for a bulk email service, you'll want to consider the following factors:
- Price: How much will the service cost? Do they cap the number of users per plan? Do they cap the number of emails sent? Do they cap both?
- Capacity: How many emails can the service send at once? Is there a way to space out mass emails in tranches?
- Deliverability: How likely is it that your emails will reach their destination? Does the service have a solid reputation for deliverabiity or have they been greylisted in the past?
- Features: What kind of features does the service offer? Does is have a user-friendly email editor? Does it support workflows or rules for dynamic segmentation? Can it connect to your CRM?
- Ease of use: Is the interface easy to navigate? Are features easy to learn and set up?
What to Do Next?
Now that you have a pretty solid handle on which bulk email service is best suited for your needs, the next step is to get your feet wet with either AWeber, GetResponse, ConvertKit or Sendinblue and start acquiring email subscribers—the centerpiece of a solid online monetization strategy!