When you’re just getting started with your business, choosing which email service provider you’re going to use may seem a little overwhelming. There are so many choices for which email service provider to use. Even just the idea of having to send out emails or create freebies for your website can seem like a lot to take on, especially if you are a new business owner.
The bottom line, though, is that email marketing is super important. Even as service providers, who may not be selling products to a large audience, email marketing can be an amazing tool for growing your audience and booking new clients.
In fact, I go into detail about exactly how I use email marketing to get clients in Client Vault training video.
How to Choose the Best Email Service Provider
First Things First — What Even Is an Email Service Provider??
Great question! Before we dive into which is the best email service provider, it’d probably be a good idea to figure out what it is and why the heck you even need one.
An email service provider (the cool kids call it an “ESP”) allows you to communicate directly with people who are on your email list.
There are a few different reasons why you might want to cultivate an email list for your business:
- It’s the only form of communication that you own (compared to social media, which is owned by each of those companies)
- It’s a more reliable form of communication
- The highest percentage of your audience will see each piece of content you distribute (compared again to social media, where the life of a tweet is only 18 minutes)
- It’s more personal, because it feels like you are talking to your audience one-on-one
- You will get the highest percentage of sales from the people who are on your list
How to Use Your Email Service Provider
Typically, subscribers will join your email list through one of two ways. They either (a) sign up directly to join the list, or (b) they give you their email address in exchange for some type of promotion, freebie, or event.
I see both of these options used fairly often, but unless you’re a huge brand or someone extremely popular, it’s typically easiest to “bribe” people onto your list by giving them something in exchange. That’s why sometimes you’ll hear a freebie called an “opt-in bribe.” (Just remember to follow GDPR rules, especially if you have subscribers in the UK.)
Once you’ve got a few subscribers, there are a couple different ways that you can interact with them:
- Delivering a freebie (usually happens right after someone signs up)
- Newsletters (also sometimes called “broadcasts” or “campaigns” and typically sent out at least once per month)
- Automated sequences (these can either start after an event is triggered, or you can use them to create a free “email course” that someone specifically signs up for)
Related: 5 Simple Strategies That Will Fill Your Email List with Clients
Popular Email Service Providers
Although sometimes it may seem like there are only one or two out there, the list of email service providers you can choose from is actually quite long!
The most popular ones out there for bloggers and small business owners include:
- Constant Contact
- Mad Mimi
- (Probably a few I’m forgetting)
Since that list probably looks a little overwhelming, especially if you haven’t decided on the best email service provider for you yet, I’m going to simplify it for you!
The top three that I am going to recommend to you today are: ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, and MailerLite.
Related: Why I Made the Switch from ConvertKit to ActiveCampaign
What is the Best Email Service Provider?
Now down to the nitty gritty! The recommendation that you’ve been waiting for!
Except…it’s a bit more complicated than that. I can’t recommend just one program as the “best email service provider. It really depends on you and your business!
What is going to be your best email service provider all depends on how long you’ve been in business and what you plan to use it for. It also depends on your budget.
If you’re just getting started out and/or you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend, MailerLite is going to be the perfect choice for you. It’s easy to learn, has a lot of great features, and it’s free (up to 1,000 subscribers)!
If you have a bit of money to spend and you’ve been in business for at least a few months, ConvertKit might be a better choice for you. It’s automation rules make it possible to do more complex things than you can in MailerLite.
If you’re an expert and you need an email service provider that has a ton of features and functions, ActiveCampaign is going to be your best bet. It’s like ConvertKit on steroids.