Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Benchmark and iContact as our 2018 picks for the best email marketing services for small businesses. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of email marketing services on our best picks page.

Why Benchmark?
Benchmark combines ease of use with a wide variety of design options to deliver the best value for the price. The company also provides excellent customer service. Benchmark has a free plan, as well as paid plans that start at $12 per month.

Ease of Use
Out of all the services we tested, Benchmark had the best combination of producing professional-looking emails and being easy to use, even if you have no prior experience with email marketing.

To create emails, Benchmark offers a drag-and-drop editor for those with no design experience, a code editor for advanced users who have expertise in writing HTML code, and a plain text editor for creating text-only emails.

The drag-and-drop editor is simple to use. It lays out all the steps in a very natural way that makes it simple to understand. You start by picking a layout. You can create your own layout from scratch or choose one of the nearly 200 predesigned templates. The templates are categorized by industry and theme.

Benchmark’s drag and drop editor allows you to add in or delete as many content blocks as you like.

Whether you choose your own layout or use a predesigned template, the emails are broken up into various content blocks, such as image, text, boxed text, buttons, social shares and navigation bars, which you can tailor in any way you like. You can adjust their size, add in text, and change text size, alignment and color. You can also choose background colors for not only each box, but the entire message, and you can add or delete content blocks. In addition, there is a robust photo editing tool that allows you to alter photos by size, brightness and contrast and to add effects and frames to them.

When you’re finished creating an email, you can run several tests to ensure it looks as you intended on mobile devices, doesn’t include anything that can be flagged as spam and doesn’t have any spelling errors. For advanced users writing their own HTML, the software offers a dual-view option that lets them see the design of the email as they’re inputting the code.

The last step is to schedule when the email should be sent out. You have the choice of sending it immediately or picking a specific date and time.

Building contact lists is also simple. You can add addresses individually; import them from an XLS, CSV or TXT file; or upload them from a wide variety of popular applications, including Shopify, Gmail, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce and WordPress.

Once you add an address, you can create a complete profile for that subscriber that includes name, address, phone number, job title and any other notes.