No matter what your reasons for blogging, getting someone to read a post is just the first step. It’s only by developing your relationship with your readers that you’ll achieve your goals.
And email newsletters are a crucial tool for developing those relationships.
Social media is useful, but there’s still something uniquely intimate about email: it’s more of a personal, one-on-one conversation. Plus, you’re not limited by a particular platform’s arbitrary rules.
You understand the “why” behind email newsletters – but what about the “how”?
Which email newsletter service will help you achieve your blogging goals? Here are the highlights of the most popular ones so you can decide for yourself.
There’s much more to MailChimp than their cute mascot, Freddy. They’re one of the most popular email newsletter providers for a reason.
MailChimp is known for their ease of use, intuitive interface, and great email design.
- Lots of email templates
- Flexible drag-and-drop email editor
- A/B testing
- Basic segmentation
- Autoresponders series
- Ecommerce integrations (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, etc.)
- Built-in analytics and Google Analytics integration
- Email design preview on various screen sizes
- Advanced RSS-to-email newsletters with custom merge tags
- Intuitive interface that’s easy for beginners to learn quickly
- Lots of beautiful, mobile-friendly templates
- Flexible, easy-to-use drag-and drop email editor – customize everything (font, colors, sizes, etc) without knowing any code
- Sign-up forms are limited and difficult to style if you don’t know HTML/CSS
- Segmentation and automation features are basic
- No phone support
MailChimp Is Best for:
Ecommerce is MailChimp’s primary target audience, and it’s where they really shine. If you’re selling a physical product online, MailChimp is meant for you.
MailChimp is also great for bloggers sending simple email newsletters or RSS-driven campaigns to small lists (it’s free for under 2000 subscribers!). MailChimp is the best at RSS campaigns.
Founded in 1998, AWeber is one of the most well-known email newsletter providers. Known for their robust features, they offer a free trial and a money back guarantee.
- Hundreds of email templates
- List segmentation
- Proactive spam tool for optimal deliverability
- A/B testing
- Extensive reporting and analytics; great for businesses with a need to keep all team members on the same page
- Flexible: Good balance between ease of use, and advanced functionality
- Good customer service via phone, live chat, or email
- Includes access to a library of thousands of stock photos
- Segmentation is awkwardly implemented. Subscribers are counted multiple times if they’re on multiple lists – which can drive your pricing up.
- Segmentation is very basic. You can’t automatically segment subscribers based on their actions.
- The email editor has a reputation for being non user-friendly.
AWeber Is Best for:
AWeber is geared more towards businesses or career email marketers than individuals. Honestly, AWeber offers some good features, but if you’re an individual blogger it’s nothing you can’t get in a better platform for the same price or cheaper.
Founded in the 90s, Constant Contact has been around for a while. Known for their dedicated customer support, they focus on providing email newsletter service for small businesses and nonprofits.
- Hundreds of email templates
- WYSIWYG drag-and-drop email editor
- Real-time analytics
- Organize and group your contacts using categories and tags
- Create and track ecommerce coupons
- Create surveys and polls
- Constant Contact provides support via phone
- Easy to use even if you’re not very tech-savvy
- No RSS-to-email feature (a big con for bloggers)
- Most templates are not mobile-friendly
Constant Contact Is Best for:
Small businesses and nonprofits are their main target audience. If you’re not very tech-savvy and phone support is a priority for you, then Constant Contact may be a good choice.
Founded in 2013, ConvertKit is the new kid on the block, but they’ve certainly made a splash so far and are still growing rapidly.
The founder is a professional blogger who also creates and sells his own products, and he created ConvertKit for a similar audience. It’s meant to help bloggers to manage email lists and drip campaigns in order to increase sales when they launch a product or service.
When I asked a group of online business owners which email newsletter provider they used, many were exuberant in their support of ConvertKit:
Convertkit ROCKS if you have multiple funnels running at the same time or you have multiple ways someone can enter your email list. The use of Triggers and Tags in Convertkit [makes] it super easy to help your customers navigate through the customer journey without mistakes of a client receiving an email that is intended for a prospect.
Marissa Stone of Simon Says Social
Everything just feels incredibly easy there. Forms are easy to set up. Tagging is easy. Sequences are easy to manage. I’m sure there are cons, but I don’t think I’ve used it long enough to get to those yet!
I was with MailChimp for the longest time – I was grandfathered in so had free automation etc. it was fine until I used it to run a course. I had lots of issues getting people on the right list, issues stopping or starting individual delivery, and if I needed to move someone from one list to another or manually add someone it took me forever. I realized I was spending about half an hour or so every few days just making sure things were working.
I moved to Convertkit and really like it. It took me about 15 minutes to recreate my 30 day email series and importing my list was easy and drama free. Super happy to be paying for something that I’m confident in – it’s great to know it just works.
- Advanced automation with tons of Triggers and Actions to choose from
- Segment and organize subscribers with tags
- Analytics, including conversion rates on individual opt-in forms
- Email courses and autoresponder series
- Intuitive interface that’s easy to learn
- Easy to organize even very complicated lists and subscribers
- Integrates with the Rainmaker platform
- The only email marketing provider to have a direct Gumroad integration
- Nicely designed opt-in forms and landing pages
- You can create several different opt-in forms and freebies for one list (great for implementing content upgrades)
- You can’t schedule a sequence to begin on a future date
- The email editor is very limited: you can’t customize font/color/size on emails without using code
ConvertKit Is Best for:
ConvertKit is specifically designed for bloggers and digital marketers who want to sell their own products and services. If you want to run an email course, set up complicated funnels or audience segmentation, etc., then ConvertKit is for you.
GetResponse used to be our tool of choice here at WHSR for the past 2 years. You can see Jerry’s GetResponse review here.)
- Advanced segmentation
- Automation: trigger specific emails by clicks, transactions, birthdays, etc.
- Free images library by iStockphoto
- Drag and drop landing page creator
- Tons of signup form templates, including exit intent pop-ups, scroll form, shake box, etc.
- Webinar integration, including invitations and reminder templates
- A/B testing with in-depth analytics
- Great all-in-one system for building your email list, including landing pages and all kinds of opt-in forms
- Very strong split testing and reporting features to optimize your email marketing
- Templates are rather limited, and the editor is a little clunky and difficult to use
GetResponse Is Best for:
Digital marketers, especially dedicated email marketers, who need advanced functions will likely find everything they need with GetResponse. If you want to handle everything in one place (landing pages, webinars, analytics, etc.) then try the free trial to see if GetResponse is right for you.
Choosing Your Provider
Have you been putting off starting your email newsletter because you’re not sure which provider to use?
All of the above providers are good, and many of them provide a free trial or even a free level of service. Don’t put off starting your list any longer – try one of these email newsletter providers and get started building your list today!
FTC disclaimer: Links to GetResponse and MailChimp are affiliate links.