Looking for the best email automation tools on the market? You’re in the right place.
Email automation tools are software solutions that let you run email marketing campaigns on autopilot.
They make it easy to set up automations that send the right messages to the right customers, at the right time.
In this post, we’re going to be reviewing and comparing our favorite email marketing automation software available this year.
No matter the nature of your online business or how big or small your list is, you will find something to fit your needs on this list.
Ready? Let’s get started:
The best email automation tools – summary
#1 – ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is hands-down the best email automation tool on the market right now. It’s a complete customer experience automation platform and CRM system with some super advanced features.
You can use it to automate highly targeted email marketing campaigns and create personalized experiences across every touchpoint.
ActiveCampaign has everything we’re looking for in an email automation platform, including a drag-and-drop email builder, automation workflow builder, unlimited email sending, tons of email and automation templates, segmentation, site and event tracking, and powerful reporting.
You can use it to set up autoresponders, automate email series, and send out transactional emails and triggered emails based on purchases, site visits, engagements, etc.
And you can target those email messages to different audience segments based on pretty much any factor you can think of. The level of personalization possible is crazy.
You can personalize your emails to individual recipients with Conditional Content, which lets you show different content when recipients meet certain conditions.
For example, if they’ve recently bought a certain product from your ecommerce store, you can use Conditional Content to recommend a related product. You can also personalize emails and segment your contacts based on the actions they take on your website thanks to the built-in site tracking.
And it’s not just email that you can personalize. You can use ActiveCampaign to create those personal connections across every touchpoint. Depending on the plan you sign up for, you can send out personalized SMS messages and even personalize your website content.
The machine learning-powered automation builder has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s incredibly powerful once you know how to work with it. You can create really complex workflows and set up email automations in pretty much any way you want.
You can even use ActiveCampaign to pull info from every offline and digital channel (like social media, live chat, landing pages, etc.) and feed that data back into your automations.
If you don’t want to build your email automations from scratch, ActiveCampaign also has hundreds of pre-built automations that are ready to roll out in one click.
That includes things like abandoned cart email automation, 7-day drip series, and more. And if you can’t find a prebuilt automation that does what you want in the platform, you can browse the marketplace to explore hundreds more.
Aside from the automation templates, there are also over 250 prebuilt email templates to choose from.
You can see how contacts are engaging with your messages through ActiveCampaign’s contact records via the built-in CRM. Plus, use the goal tracking feature to see what’s working and what’s not, and learn more about the customer journey with advanced reporting features.
ActiveCampaign integrates with over 850 third-party apps, including WordPress, Shopify, Salesforce, Square, Facebook, Eventbrite, and many more.
- Marketing automation builder
- Lead scoring
- A/B split testing
- Unlimited email sends
- Drag and drop email builder
- Advanced segmentation and personalization
- Site and event tracking
- Campaign reporting
- Engagement tagging
- Hundreds of email and automation templates
Pros and cons
|Superb segmentation and personalization options||High learning curve|
|Advanced features||Limited design options in the email builder|
|Excellent reporting capabilities|
|Good selection of templates|
Plans start at $29 per month paid yearly. You can get started with a 14-day free trial.
#2 – Drip
Drip is an “ecommerce revenue engine”. It’s built specifically for ecommerce and as such, it’s the email marketing tool we’d recommend if you’re running an online store.
Drip’s segmentation capabilities are next level. You can segment up your mailing list based on all sorts of data, including things like purchase history and products viewed. Then, you can send targeted messages to each of those audience segments full of personalized, tailored content.
For example, you might want to send a particular series of emails to your most loyal customers. In that case, you could create a new segment that only includes contacts who’ve placed an order at least 5 times.
Or you might want to create a segment for contacts that have purchased a particular type of product. That way, you can email recommended products tailored specifically to them. The result: More upsells and sales.
Drip’s email builder is really easy to use so you can whip up an email in seconds. And there are tons of pre-built templates that ecommerce brands need, like sale announcements.
In terms of automations, there are plenty of pre-built workflows that are ready to roll. Again, these are specifically built for ecommerce stores, so there are automations for things like abandoned cart emails, post-purchase emails, welcome series, win-back emails, birthday messages, etc.
And of course, you can also build your own custom workflows with Drip’s point-and-click visual workflow builder.
I found Drip’s automation builder much easier to use than ActiveCampaign’s. The interface is just nicer to work with and it’s all very intuitive. Even if you have no experience building automations, you should be able to get the hang of it quickly.
The easiest way to deploy simple automations is with Rules. Rules work in a straightforward ‘if this, then that’ fashion. All you do is pick a trigger and an action. If the trigger condition is met, Drip will perform the action.
There are all sorts of triggers and actions you choose from. For example, your trigger might be if a contact makes a purchase, or if they visit a certain page on your website or on social media (yes, Drip can pull trigger events from other platforms too).
And the action might be to add a tag to their customer profile, send them a thank you message, add them to a certain email sequence, etc.
- Point and click workflow builder
- Pre-built ecommerce automations
- Segmentation and personalization
- Visual email editor
- Forms & popups
- Insights and analytics
Pros and cons
|Easy to use||Expensive for large stores with lots of contacts|
|Intuitive Rules-based automations|
|Built for ecommerce (lots of ecommerce automation and email templates)|
|Great visual email builder|
Drip uses a flexible pricing system. All plans included unlimited emails but the more contacts you have, the more you pay.
Prices start at $39/month for 100 contacts and go all the way up $1,999/month for 180,000 contacts. If you need more than that, you’ll have to get in touch with Drip for a quote.
#3 – MailerLite
MailerLite is one of the best email marketing automation tools we’ve seen in terms of value for money.
The free plan is super generous and the paid plans are pretty cheap too, up to 5,000 contacts or so. It only starts getting expensive if you have 20k+ contacts. And you get a lot for your money.
Despite the name, MailerLite isn’t just an email automation tool. You can also use it to build your whole website, create landing pages and sign-up forms, publish blogs, and more.
But let’s focus on the email marketing and automation features.
There are three different email editors you can use to create engaging campaigns: a drag-and-drop editor, a rich-text editor, and a custom HTML editor. There are also tons of templates for newsletters that you can customize and even a free image library.
You can add buy buttons to your email that link back to your MailerLite landing pages, and sell products and subscriptions through the platform.
Then there’s the automation builder. You can use it to automatically send emails and perform other actions based on a trigger (or multiple triggers).
There are lots of trigger options, like form completions, link clicks, date matches, etc. You can add up to 3 triggers for all your automations to enable multiple entry points. And of course, you can personalize emails with subscriber segmentation.
- Three email builders
- Easy automation builder
- Transactional emails
- Multiple entry points
- Integrated website and page building tools
Pros and cons
|Excellent value for money||Recent issues with bugs|
|Flexible email builders||Customer service could be better|
|Easy to use automation builder|
|Set up multiple triggers|
|Industry-leading email delivery rates|
MailerLite offers a free plan for up to 1000 subscribers and 12,000 monthly emails. Paid plans start at $9 per month.
#4 – Moosend
Moosend is another great email marketing platform that stands out for its ease of use. You can use it to design, automate, and track email campaigns that drive results.
It comes with all the core tools you’d expect from an all-in-one email marketing software solution, including a drag-and-drop email editor and automation editor, list segmentation, automation templates, website and user tracking, reporting, etc.
There’s also a split-testing tool that you can use to compare different versions of your automated emails and see which performs best.
Aside from the email automation features, Moosend also comes with a landing page builder and powerful form builder, which you can use to create opt-in forms and pages, and grow your mailing list.
- Email marketing
- Newsletter editor
- Personalization & segmentation
- CRM tools
- Marketing automation
- product recommendations
- Reporting and analytics
- Landing pages and forms
Pros and cons
|Affordable||Lacks some advanced features|
|Simple pricing structure|
Plans start at $9/month. You can try it out with a 30-day free trial.
#5 – Sendinblue
Sendinblue is an all-in-one marketing platform that comes with a bunch of useful tools including email marketing and automation, as well as a CRM, SMS marketing, transactional emails, signup forms, and landing page builder, etc.
The automation features on Sendinblue are second to none. You can create really advanced automations and have multiple workflows running in parallel on the same lists of contacts. You can even line them up so that when a contact finishes one workflow, they’re pushed into another—something you can’t do on many other automation platforms.
To create workflows, you first set an entry point (the event that triggers the contact to be added to the workflow). This can be something like an email activity like opening an email, or a website activity like visiting a landing page, etc.
Then, you can add conditions and actions to control what happens next. For example, you might send them an email or drip a sequence of emails. You can even add ‘if’ clauses to send contacts down different paths depending on their behavior.
There are also pre-made workflows that you can use for simple automations, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
- Automation builder
- Transactional emails
- Landing pages
- Sign-up forms
- Premade templates
Pros and cons
|Sophisticated and flexible automation builder||Might be overkill if you only need simple automations|
|Great for advanced users||Can get expensive if you send lots of emails|
|Unlimited contacts on all plans|
Prices depend on the number of emails you send per month, with plans starting at $25/month. There’s also a limited free plan.
#6 – Keap
Keap is an all-in-one CRM built for entrepreneurs. It comes with powerful sales and marketing automation features that can help you to collect leads, convert them to clients, and build lasting relationships with your customers.
Keap offers all the core features you’d expect from an email automation tool: curated email templates, list segmentation, and an advanced automation builder.
There are a bunch of ‘easy’ automations you can roll out in a few clicks, like automations for when you capture a new lead, and automations that send post-purchase, sales nurture, and appointment reminder emails.
But email automation is just the beginning. Keap also offers a powerful CRM, landing page templates, appointment setting functionality, and more. There are also text marketing features, and you can even get a free virtual business phone number with Keap Business Line.
- Automated emails
- Automated text
- Premade blueprints
- Landing page templates
- Appointment setting feature
- Keap Business Line
Pros and cons
|Great for entrepreneurs||Expensive entry-level plan|
|Very easy to use|
|Good premade templates for simple automations|
|SMS & email|
Plans start at $129/month if billed annually. A free 14-day trial is available.
#7 – Omnisend
Omnisend is an email and SMS ecommerce marketing platform that lets you manage and automate all your customer communications in one place.
It’s a great choice for small to medium-sized businesses as plans are affordable but offer pretty good features. You can use Omnisend to automate emails, SMS messages, and even web push notifications.
Plus, there are prebuilt automations designed specifically for ecommerce stores. There’s also a powerful email builder with a built-in product picker and product recommendation engine, segmentation features, form-building tools, campaign management, and more.
- Product picker
- Ecommerce templates
- Email marketing
- SMS marketing
- Automated push notifications
Pros and cons
|Lots of ecommerce features||Support could be better|
|Nice email builder|
|Omnichannel marketing automation|
Paid plan prices depend on the number of contacts and start at $16/month. You can try it out with a free plan.
#8 – GetResponse
GetResponse is the best all-in-one email marketing solution. It comes with tools to help you automate the entire customer journey, from lead generation to conversion.
You can use GetResponse to grow your list with landing pages, forms, and funnels.
Then, manage your list with rich segmentation, and automate your communications with automated email, SMS, and web push notifications.
You can even build your entire site on GetResponse with the website builder tool. Plus, create popups, webinars, and more.
- List building features
- Lead funnels
- Email and SMS automation
- Web push notifications
- Website builder
- Popups and forms
Pros and cons
|Broad feature set||Feature set might be overkill for some users|
|Build your entire site|
|Good segmentation and list building features|
|Powerful automation capabilities|
GetResponse offers a free plan, and paid plans start at $13.30/month.
#9 – ConvertKit
ConvertKit is the best email marketing tool for content creators. It’s built for independent creators like coaches, authors, podcasters, bloggers, etc. However, it’s flexible enough to also work well for ecommerce stores and other types of online businesses.
Because it’s built for independent creators, ConvertKit has a very easy-to-use interface. You can build workflows by connecting triggers to events, actions, and conditions.
And for simple automations that don’t require a whole workflow, you can just set up a rule by selecting a trigger and the action that should follow.
ConvertKit also comes with a visual email designer, landing page and form builder, and commerce features so you can sell digital products on your site. It integrates with lots of third-party tools including Shopify, Teachable, and Squarespace.
- Email marketing
- Email designer
- Sign-up forms
- Landing pages
Pros and cons
|Great for content creators||Not be ideal for large businesses and enterprise users|
|Simple automation rules + visual automation builder||Email editor is extremely basic|
|Easy integration with other platforms|
|Out-of-the-box lead magnet delivery functionality|
There’s a free plan and paid plans start from $9/month.
#10 – HubSpot
HubSpot is one of the most advanced and sophisticated CRMs on the market. It offers a suite of best-in-class software solutions and enterprise-level features.
HubSpot’s software suite includes different ‘hubs’, depending on what features and tools you need. The marketing hub includes email marketing automation (plus tons of other tools), and you can also get very basic email scheduling features as part of the free sales tool package.
HubSpot’s entry-level plans are affordable for entrepreneurs, but their Professional and Enterprise plans are very, very expensive. We’re talking thousands of dollars per month, depending on the number of contacts in your list.
That said, if your running a big business and have a big budget to work with, there’s no better CRM. On the higher-tier plans, you get some of the most advanced automation and marketing features, including omnichannel marketing automation, ABM tools, dynamic personalization, lead and contact scoring, and much more.
- Powerful CRM
- Several hubs for different areas of operation
- Email automation
- Form automation
- Landing pages
- Live chat
Pros and cons
|Enterprise-level feature set||Higher-tier plans are very expensive|
|Very advanced||High learning curve|
|Dozens of sales and marketing tools|
HubSpot offers various free tools and email automation is included in their Marketing Hub Starter plan, which starts from $45/month.
#11 – Mailchimp
Mailchimp is another solid email automation platform worth checking out. It stands out for its simplicity and ease of use.
Mailchimp is ideal for creating simple email automations. It has a good selection of pre-built templates for all the basic automations online businesses need, like abandoned cart reminders, cross-sells, re-engagement emails, etc.
There’s also a Customer Journey Builder, predictive list segmentation, drag-and-drop email design tools, and much more.
- Audience management tools
- Dynamic content
- Campaign templates
- Subject line helper
- Content studio
- Customer Journey Builder
- Insights & analytics
Pros and cons
|Easy to use||Less advanced feature set|
|Great design tools||Poor customer service|
|Good prebuilt templates|
There’s a limited free plan and paid plans start at $11/month.
Email automation software FAQ
Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about email automation software.
What are email marketing automation tools?
Email marketing automation tools are software solutions that help you to automate your email marketing efforts.
You can use them to automatically collect leads, segment your mailing list, and send out targeted emails to your subscribers. All you have to do is tell the software ‘when this happens, do this’, and it takes care of the rest for you.
At the most basic level, email automation software can be used to send out things like welcome emails, order confirmations, and abandoned cart emails.
These emails are triggered by the actions of your subscribers. So when someone subscribes to your mailing list, makes a purchase, or abandons their cart, they automatically receive a relevant, targeted email message.
But you can also use email marketing automation tools to set up much more complex automated email sequences. This usually involves connecting up triggers to conditions and actions in a workflow chart within your email automation software.
What to look for in email automation software?
Any of the email marketing automation tools on this list could be the right choice for your business. Here are some factors to bear in mind when you’re comparing your options:
- Advanced features. Some email marketing tools offer more advanced features than others. If you just want to set up straightforward email sequences, any of the tools on this list should do the trick. But if you plan on running sophisticated campaigns, you might want to look for a tool that comes with advanced features like A/B testing, lead scoring, deep analytics, etc.
- Pre-built sequences. To make your life easier, it’s a good idea to choose a tool that comes with pre-built email automation recipes for common automations like welcome sequences, abandoned cart recovery, thank you emails, etc. That way, you can roll them out in one click rather than building everything from scratch
- Budget & list size. Most email marketing tools on this list offer different pricing tiers based on the number of contacts on your mailing list. If you have a large list, expect to pay more. Consider your budget when weighing up your options and choose a tool that gives you the best value for money.
- Ecommerce integration. If you’re running an ecommerce store, look for email automation built for ecommerce. These tools include pre-made templates for things like abandoned cart emails and transactional emails.
- Deliverability. Another important factor people sometimes overlook when choosing an email automation tool is deliverability. Choose a provider with a track record of excellent deliverability to make sure your emails reach your customers’ inboxes.
What are the benefits of email automation software?
There are lots of reasons to invest in email automation software. Here are some of the main benefits:
- Time-saving benefits. Automating your email campaigns can save you hundreds of hours. Why waste time sending emails out manually when you can run your campaigns on autopilot?
- Better targeting. One of the best things about email marketing software is that it enables you to create super-targeted campaigns. You can use the software to segment your list based on subscriber actions and interests, etc. Then, send targeted messages to different segments.
- Higher open, click, and conversion rates. Automation software lets you send the perfect messages at the perfect time, and because those messages are laser-targeted, they usually generate much better results than manual broadcasts.
- Drive more sales. With email marketing automation, you can set up automated lead nurturing campaigns that turn leads into paying customers, thus driving more sales.
How do I build my email list?
It’s a good idea to offer some kind of lead magnet to encourage your website visitors to sign up. For example, if you’re running an ecommerce store, you might offer a 20% discount to visitors who opt into your mailing list. You could also offer a downloadable resource, product freebie, etc.
Another good strategy is to run a giveaway and promote it on social media. You can set up your giveaway so that people have to subscribe to your mailing list to enter and award them an additional entry when they get a friend to sign up too. The viral nature of contests and giveaways means they can gain a lot of traction and generate a ton of leads.
How do I improve my open rates?
The best way to improve your email open rate is to create a compelling subject line that your subscribers can’t ignore. The subject line is the first thing they’ll see when your email lands in their inbox, so it has to get their attention.
But most importantly, you need an email list of subscribers that have signed up to receive updates from you, and genuinely want to receive your content.
Can you automate emails in Gmail?
You can set up very basic automations in Gmail. For example, you can schedule up to 100 emails to be sent at a specific date and time, set up automated email replies, and automatically sort incoming messages with Labels.
However, Gmail isn’t designed to be a complete email automation solution, so it’s not suitable for running automated email marketing campaigns. You’ll need to use dedicated email marketing software like the tools we’ve discussed in this article.
Can you automate emails in outlook?
Unfortunately, you can’t automate emails in Outlook. To set up automated email campaigns, you’ll need to use a dedicated email marketing automation tool like ActiveCampaign or Drip.
Choosing the best email automation software for your business
That concludes our roundup of the best email automation tools.
As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap between the tools, and you can’t really go wrong with any of the options on this list. You should choose whichever makes the most sense for your needs and budget, but here’s a reminder of our top three picks:
- ActiveCampaign is the overall best email automation tool on the market right now. It’s an incredibly powerful automation platform that lets you automate every stage of the customer journey.
- Drip is the best choice for ecommerce businesses. It comes with powerful email marketing, automation, and segmentation capabilities and has a ton of features built specifically for ecommerce, like pre-built ecommerce workflows and personalized product recommendations.
- MailerLite is the best choice if you’re looking for value for money. It has all the features you need plus one of the most generous free plans we’ve seen. And you can get unlimited monthly emails for less than ten bucks per month.
We hope you found this useful. Good luck!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.