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What is the best email marketing service (ESP)?

Having selected a good CRM and a marketing automation platform (MAP), marketing and sales teams may wonder if they also need to complement their tech stack with an email service provider (ESP). What is the best email marketing service? The answer depends on a business’ sales goals and preferable methods of lead generation. Your market share, territorial management, communication channels, and overall marketing and sales strategy should be factored in when putting together the ideal tech stack. Your company’s size and financial resources is also an important factor as budget considerations will limit the range of email marketing solutions at your disposal. Let’s answer the most common questions about small business email marketing and the technology associated with it and examine our top picks for the best email marketing software.

What is the best email marketing service for small businesses?

If a small business or a startup operates on a tight budget, a legitimate question arises: Wouldn’t it be best not to pay monthly for an email marketing service when you have G Suite or Outlook with terrific email management features? The answer is: No, it wouldn’t, if the outbound email is one of your company’s major lead generation techniques.

Email marketing is closely associated with bulk email sending. For outbound prospecting, companies need a professional ESP to provide a dedicated domain, unlimited email quota, email deliverability, automation, and design options.

According to the HubSpot 2020 Marketing Statistics report, email marketing remains one of the most effective methods for businesses of any scale to develop and nurture their relationships with prospects and clients. Segmenting audiences and campaigns with top email marketing platforms improves email engagement and increases revenue manifolds.   

Therefore, when exploring services for small businesses, factor in your business needs, email marketing strategy, available features, and an affordable price. Willing to stay on top of what your leads’ main pain point is, make use of personalized communication that a selected email marketing tool can provide.

What main features do top email marketing platforms have?

Depending on what is included in your marketing tech stack, the best way to approach choosing an email marketing service is to look at both stand-alone tools and integrated platforms with much more than just email marketing features. Here is a list of essential features:

  • Integration. Martech bloat is a kind of challenge companies try to avoid. Therefore, having well-integrated software is a crucial factor in the selection process. Look for a built-in integration in each tool in your stack, including an ESP. If integrating a new ESP with your CRM is difficult for some reason, try to ‘marry’ them by using a service like Zapier.
  • Automation. Automating rote tasks is a must for email marketing solutions. SDRs need to spend their brainpower for coming up with ideas and mapping journeys, whereas the tool’s job is to shoulder repetitive motions and automate email marketing campaigns. Make sure an outbound tool of your choice offers excellent automation for your daily tasks: Building and sending out email newsletters, creating opt-in forms and gathering email addresses of website visitors, managing omni-channel communication, maintaining email sequences, list segmentation, etc.
  • Analytics. A new generation of martech provides incredible assistance in terms of data gathering and data analysis. Choose a platform that relies on a robust set of analytics and tracks email engagement. Upon seeing the results, SDRs build outbound campaigns and email sequences. For example, different lists of prospects will get different content based on the prospects’ data and behavior.
  • Configuration. When selecting an ESP, have a list of criteria pulled together from your job demands. If you need a tool only for yourself, your choice is different than when you need software for a whole team. Make sure the tool can handle the size of your email contact list. Check out if there are some designated tools specifically for your industry (ConvertKit was developed with publishers in mind, Pardot is great for B2B businesses, while Keap works best for sales and marketing).
  • Easy-to-use. You buy a new tool to make your life easier rather than harder. Setting up your new ESP and warming up a new domain shouldn’t feel like a challenge. Once you edit your DNS settings and handle DKIM and DMARC, the rest should be a breeze. If it is not, look for another service.
  • 24/7 support. If your outbound prospecting is pivoted on a solid ESP, you may consider 24/7 support a must. Especially if there’s no in-house tech team ready to tackle any technical issues. When something isn’t working right, who has the time to wait?

If lead nurturing is among your priorities, there are a number of ways to grow your B2B lead lists with Belkins.

Reviews on email marketing solutions

Before you decide what the perfect match for your company is, here are our picks for the best email marketing services in 2021, including options for a small business.

Constant Contact

Easy-to-use e-commerce-focused email marketing software that can work like charm for small businesses and startups due to its affordable pricing and beginner-friendly email templates and sign-up forms. Boasting a 97% deliverability rate, Constant Contact provides email address management, campaign statistic dashboards, list segmentation, lead data analysis, tracking options, and excellent integration with Gmail, Outlook, and Excel.

Price: Start with a 60-day free trial (up to 100 contacts on the list) and choose a subscription plan from $20 to $45 per month.


Sendinblue is a digital platform with the right set of marketing and sales tools that small businesses can make use of. Provides email and SMS marketing options, chat bots, and a shared inbox. Paid plans give access to a wide variety of templates and a drag-and-drop editor for email newsletters, onsite forms, dedicated pages, and 8 automation workflows. However, a free plan is workable, too, and offers 300 emails per day. Available options include lead scoring, lead nurturing, automation, real-time statistics, Facebook ads, and A/B testing.

Price: Free starter plan; subscription options go from $23 to $66 per month.


Known as the best email marketing service for a reason, MailChimp integrates with all possible applications and CDRs, and will easily connect to your website. Offers an easy-to-use email and landing page builder, list segmentation, drip campaigns, advanced personalization, and scheduling according to user location. Reporting and analytics features include detailed reports and real-time statistics on a dashboard. Spam filters and A/B testing improve your domain health.

Price: Free plan and a free trial (with up to 2,000 contacts on the list); from $10 to $299 per month.


An easy-to-use enabler of email campaigns and smart newsletters, MailerLite offers several email builders (custom HTML, text, and drag-and-drop), built-in photo editor, and templates to create forms, pop-ups, and landing pages. Integrated with WordPress and Magento, MailerLite’s optimization features include list segmentation, surveys, A/B testing, and email automation and personalization.

Price: Free plan is available for users with up to 1,000 subscribers on the list and up to 1200 emails per month. Paid plans start at $10 per month and every 10,000 subscribers add $20-$40 to the monthly price.  


A free platform with well-performing email marketing features, Moosend fits the needs of small companies, offering tools to build email newsletters, campaigns, and contact lists. From easy-to-use editors and customizable templates to automation workflows and data analytics, Moosend’s AI-powered tracking and automation features infuse lead engagement and streamline sales funnels.

Price: Free plan (unlimited email and forms); the $8-per-month plan includes landing pages and access to 5 team members; custom pricing offers custom reporting, account manager, 10 team members, and onboarding.


Specialized in email automation, SMS, list segmentation, and customizable forms, Drip offers personalization, dynamic content, and a builder for automation workflows. It has neither landing pages nor Facebook ads, though.

Price: 14-day free trial; paid plans start at $19 (up to 500 contacts); pay extra for SMS ($15 per month per 1,000 SMS).

Why is choosing the best email marketing service important?

Whatever your customers’ preferred channels of communication are, a well-chosen EPS will help you build and maintain your relationships across the board.

Here are a few more reasons why opting to do your cold outbound through email can work wonders for your business.

  1. Retargeting. Generating B2B leads costs money. Retargeting makes good use of the money spent. Make use of prospects that developed an interest in your product and visited your website but then got cold. Leveraging a robust set of analytics, a top ESP will highlight prospects growing cold on the contact list and suggest solutions for reaching out with personalized messages. 
  2. Shorter sales cycles. By personalizing and customizing your messages based on a tool’s data, you can nurture leads into deals faster and more efficiently. Drawing on specific triggers, SDRs can craft ultra-personalized outbound campaigns with unbelievable CTRs and open rates. 
  3. Higher revenue. Prospects who are generated from outbound email efforts stay in a relationship with a company longer than those who come from social media and search. They are more open to opportunities for cross-selling and upselling.

How to find the best small business email marketing service for you?

We have stacked up the best ESPs against each other to make your choice easier and more informed. Whether you do prospecting on LinkedIn or reach out to leads triggered by their actions on your website, find out what your needs are, what works best for you and choose an email marketing service accordingly. 

First, look for what your current situation is; then look at what you ideally would like to have. And try to achieve it with well-performing tools. Handling lead nurturing through email marketing is not your only option, though.

Belkins has prepared effective techniques and methods that will bring you new business leads. If you need to put together the right set of tools, we are always there for you.

Don’t hesitate to reach out today!