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Email is the leader of the marketing world.

  • Email drives more conversions (read: money in your pocket) than any other marketing channel, including search engines and social media. [Monetate]
  • It offers a huge ROI - 3800% - generating $38 in revenue for every $1 spent. [DMA]
  • And, email is widely used, with 92% of online adults using email and 61% accessing it daily. [Pew Research]

But how do you know which email marketing service is best for creating, sending and tracking your bulk emails? Not all email service providers (ESPs) are created equal - costs and featurs can vary quite a bit.

Read our list of pros and cons for platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, Emma, iContact, Vertical Response and Bronto. You'll find the answers you need to determine which e-marketing service is right for your organization.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a good overall option for small to medium organizations seeking an inexpensive email platform that performs well. It’s likely the most common starter service.


+ Intuitive email creation - quick and easy, drag and drop design.
+ Variety of user-friendly templates available, easy for non-programmers to customize.
+ Easy to read reports with a bit more detail than other simpler platforms.
+ Ability to create and send surveys.


- Does not integrate with Google Analytics.
- High risk for account suspension for dirty lists.


Constant Contact is slightly more expensive than similar services for smaller lists ($15/mo for 500 addresses), but competitively priced as list size increases ($75/mo for 10,000). Discounts are available for pre-pay and non-profits.


MailChimp is ideal for small organizations that send to a single list, without complex email targeting.


+Very quick and easy email creation – drag and drop design, easy image upload.
+ Variety of user-friendly templates available, however they are very basic and not easy to customize.
+ Unlimited image storage.
+ Fun and sassy monkey-themed system messaging.


- Lacks detail in reporting; cannot track a user journey.
- Can be difficult to target and segment your lists; can only send to one segment/list at a time.
- Interface can feel a bit clunky and is not intuitive.
- High risk for account suspension for dirty lists.


MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 contacts, but the MailChimp logo must be added to the bottom for free accounts. Paid plans range from $10/mo for 500 subscribers to $75/mo for 10,000 subscribers.


Emma is ideal for users seeking design upgrades and the ability to create one-of-a-kind emails.


+ Very quick and easy email creation – drag and drop design, easy image upload.
+ High degree of list segmentation and targeting.
+ Unlimited image storage.
+ Ability to be 100% white labeled – gives the appearance of a custom system.


- Fewer out-of-the box templates than other platforms.
- High risk for account suspension for dirty lists.
- Custom templates have to be designed by Emma staff.


Emma’s monthly fees range from $30/mo for 1,000 emails to $125/month for 10,000 emails. Non-profit customers can receive special pricing.

Vertical Response

Vertical Response is ideal for organizations that want advanced image editing within their email service.


+ Advanced email editing features, including advanced image editing.
+ Integrates well with Salesforce.


- List management and targeting is less flexible than other platforms.
- Delivery isn’t reliable for Gmail addresses.
- Basic platform; advanced features available at additional cost.


Vertical Response plans start at $8.80-$12.75/mo for up to 500 subscribers and increase depending on list size. Advanced features like social media marketing, surveys and event planning require additional investment.


iContact is consistently one of the highest-rated services for beginning users and small- to medium-sized accounts – but it’s best for users with less than 10,000 subscribers.


+ Strong social media integration and social analytics.
+ Large selection of templates available for email creation.
+ Nice options for list segmentation and management.


- Image storage limited to 5MB free space.
- Editor is easy-to-use, but limited in options and functionality.


iContact plans are competitively priced at $14/mo for up to 500 subscribers and increase depending on list size – up to 10,000 subscribers is $79/mo. Advanced features, like A/B testing, are available to premier accounts and require additional investment. Expanded image storage is an upcharge for all account types.


Bronto is ideal for retail business and e-commerce. It offers advanced features to meet the needs of organizations focused on increasing sales through email marketing.


+ Robust list management and user targeting capabilities.
+ Flexible email creation options, including drag and drop or HTML.
+ Detailed reporting outlines conversions and ROI per email.


- Interface is large, but confusing. Training is recommended.
- More expensive than other email management systems.
- Free trial is not available.


Pricing is typically only available by quote from Bronto.

A variety of alternatives exist for specialty email marketing or advanced needs. For example, if your organization or business performs complex targeting or needs regular subscriber maintenance, finding a service that offers database integration may be of interest. There are plenty of platform options available; finding what’s right for your group is key.

If your organization is in the market to begin email marketing or interested in switching systems, consider working with a marketing firm to help you navigate selection, setup, template design and training. An agency will know the best practices and will have the talent to meet your needs, generally with more support than working through the platform’s customer service department.

For more information on email, web, print or other marketing services, reach out to the Greenleaf Media team. We’re here to help.


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