Best Email Automation Software in 2021 (free & paid)

Best Email Automation Software in 2021 (free & paid)

Table of Contents

  1. What is email automation?
  2. Typical features \ a. Scheduled email sending \ b. Email campaign management \ c. Autoresponder management \ d. Email templates \ e. Automated email responses \ f. Email design builder \ g. Analytics
  3. MailChimp: best for e-commerce
  4. HubSpot: scalable, full marketing solution
  5. Salesforce Pardot: best overall
  6. Moosend: best affordable option
  7. Mumura Campaign+: powerful with best customer support
  8. MailWizz: open source, one-time fee
  9. Airtable: total customization and integration
  10. Key takeaway

What is email automation?

Also known as Email marketing, the term refers to a suite of software that allows businesses to communicate with their customers on an individual level. Using email marketing automation, marketers can send customized emails based on the consumer's past behavior and interests.

You may also hear email marketing automation referred to as "business email marketing" or "automated email marketing". These three terms are more or less interchangeable.

Automatic email delivery software can also be used to customize emails according to various triggers, such as whether it was opened or not, the time of day it was read, if they opened the email but did not click on the video, etc.

Drip campaigns are a great example of automated email marketing. From simply gradually sending content to users after they sign up to personalized emails sent out by complex rules, they can drum up business and are still a trusted and efficient marketing tool.

Businesses harness the power of email marketing automation in a variety of ways, depending on the type of business and the goals of the email campaign. For example, companies can use this software to develop personalized email messages to welcome new subscribers or send promotional offers to customers who have purchased a certain product or service. Companies can even use this technology to automatically respond to customer inquiries in real-time, with each response tailored specifically for that customer's needs.

Typical features:

Scheduled Email Sending

Scheduling emails for the future is a great way to engage your audience without having to be present at your computer all day long. If you have clients in different time zones, for example, you might not want to schedule all of your messages for the same time every day. An auto-responder or bulk email tool can help you make sure every new customer receives a personal message from you at a time when it's convenient for them to respond.

As with other types of marketing automation software, bulk mailing tools allow you to send targeted messages based on specific criteria, including how customers interact with your site and what they've purchased in the past. This is very useful for drip campaigns.

Using this information allows you to send more relevant messages and convert more leads into paying customers.

Email Campaign Management

Allows you to create a strategy with different templates for specific purposes and goals. You can also set up an automatic reply for every incoming email.

Autoresponder management

Enables you to send automated messages to customers based on their actions. For example, if a customer has signed up for your newsletter, then he/she will receive an email welcoming them. 

Email templates

With email templates, you can reuse email content like product descriptions and images in email campaigns. Templates allow you to create multiple email content with different variables such as the recipient's name and other product details, which can be used as per requirement. This saves time since all information doesn't have to be entered again for each new email campaign.

Automated email responses

The solution to this problem is email automation software. This powerful software can automatically sort incoming emails into various categories, based on information that you input into the software. You can then set up automated responses for each of these categories of emails, allowing you to send relevant information back to your contacts whenever they reach out to you. However, we recommend caution when using this, as it can be very frustrating when it does not work and getting in touch with a human becomes frustrating.

Email design builder

A drag-and-drop email builder is a powerful tool for creating customized emails, even if you're not particularly tech-savvy. With this tool, you can design beautiful emails using images, text, buttons and CTA's that are easy for your subscribers to read on their mobile devices.


Tasks like segmentation, A/B testing, and tracking can also be handled right within your email automation software's interface. They can be very useful in verifying which campaigns are working and will help you identify what you are doing well so you can continue betting on your winning horses, so-to-speak.

MailChimp: best for e-commerce

MailChimp is great for e-commerce businesses looking to get started with email marketing. It's free for the first 2000 subscribers, and it's very easy to use. MailChimp also has a blog with tons of useful content on how to market your business using email.

It's an excellent solution if you have a lot of subscribers or if you need advanced features like automations and A/B testing.

What’s more, the basic plan is free – the first 2,000 subscribers are free - so if you don't need those features there's no reason not to try MailChimp.

Easy-to-use templates and drag-n-drop builder make it easy to create beautiful emails.

An incredibly powerful benefit for more complex and useful automations is the vast number of integrations with some of the most popular ecommerce platforms. HubSpot’s API can also be used to connect to other platforms by using custom software.

Cons include the fact that it is more expensive than other services and certain limitations when it comes to email automation.

If you are not focusing on e-commerce, you might be better off choosing other software.

MailChimp Pricing

HubSpot: scalable, full marketing solution

HubSpot is a good choice for small businesses because it is easy to use with an affordable monthly fee. The interface is user friendly and the reporting and analytics are simple to understand.

Not only is it an email automation tool, but it is also a full marketing automation and CRM tool. It is the very best for those looking for an all-in-one marketing solution. Features include social media marketing, email automation, website optimization, CRM system, etc.

The main downside of HubSpot is that it can't send transactional emails such as password reset or welcome messages.

Moreover, if you are only looking for an email marketing automation tool, you will get better value using alternative options.

HubSpot Pricing.

Salesforce Pardot: best overall

Considered the very best of the bunch, Salesforce Pardot is very powerful; and very expensive.

Pardot is a sales automation platform offered by Salesforce, and it's popular among businesses of all sizes. Whether you're an independent consultant or a Fortune 500 company, Pardot can help you manage your email marketing campaigns, build a subscriber list, and optimize your social media presence.

One of Pardot's strongest features is its ability to integrate with multiple systems. For example, if you want a lead to be added to your HubSpot account after they fill out an inquiry form on your website, you can easily do this without writing any code or technical integrations yourself. And if you are willing to write some code (we do this, too!) you can integrate with virtually any software that you use.

Built-In Lead Tracking: Pardot also comes with its own tracking software so you can see how many people are filling out your forms, clicking on links in your emails, etc. It's not as powerful as other solutions like HubSpot or Marketo, but it gets the job done if you don't have time to implement another solution.

On the other hand, pricing starts at $1,250/month. Smaller organizations are likely to find it too expensive.

Finally, it does not offer standalone mobile apps, unlike HubSpot.

Salesforce Pardot Pricing

Moosend: best affordable option

Not only do plans start at $8 a month, you are able to choose whether you want to pay according to a) the number of emails that you are sending, or b) the number of subscribers, whichever is cheapest for you.

User friendly, it makes it easy to get attractive and timely emails due to its drag-and-drop editor, templates, and a powerful image picker.

Another benefit is its automatic email list administration, on top of which is powerful analytics that highlights important, revenue-generating customers, helping drive revenue.

On the other hand, it is not as powerful as the other tools. But the smaller price tag, with a free plan and paid plans starting at $8, makes it a good contender, especially for smaller businesses.

Moosend Pricing

Mumura Campaign+: powerful with best customer support

Mumura Campaign+, while more obscure, has become a favorite for many. Having tried various alternatives, including custom solutions, there are multiple accounts of businesses who’ve settled with Mumura.

User favorites include an efficient, 24/7 development and sales support system and a very user-friendly interface. And unlimited ESPs and SMTPs.

When it comes to sending customized emails, Mumura offers a wide range of tools, increasing open-rates and ultimately, sales. And it automatically keeps track of all sent, bounced, opened, and clicked emails. Knowing which campaigns are working can help you do more of what’s working.

Simple scheduled campaigns, to complex drip campaigns that adjust depending on user interaction (or lack thereof) are easy to do with Mumura. If that is all you are after, this is a solid option.

On the other hand, its source code is obfuscated, which may be a dealbreaker for some. 

If you are willing to self-host, it also offer a free plan for up to 5,000 contacts, albeit with several limitations. Cloud hosted plans include all the features and start at $47/month.

Mumura Campaign+ Pricing

MailWizz: open-source, one-time fee.

MailWizz includes most of Mumura Campaign+’s features, but cheaper. If you are willing to self-host, and price is a strong consideration, MailWizz is a solid alternative. A regular license costs $79 and an extended one – more suited for business use - $295.

Its source code is also available, which may be a strong consideration for some.

MailWizz Pricing

Airtable: total customization and integration

Airtable? Yes! If you have tried various tools and none of them are really suiting your business needs, Airtable can be a fantastic alternative. And you can easily find and modify templates that turn Airtable into a flexible email automation tool.

For example, you might mark an invoice as paid by ticking a box in Airtable. You can set it so that an email gets sent automatically, to whatever degree of customization you build.

Already powerful on its own, what really makes Airtable a favorite is its support for code. You can either find it online, built it yourself, or get an expert in. A lot of our clients have found that custom solutions using Airtable were much better than everything they had tried before.

If you integrate Airtable with your payment system, it could automatically mark the invoice as paid in Airtable, which in turn triggers the email. And if you want to manually review and edit emails first, that’s also possible. You can even set rules for it, e.g. only for payments of over $500.

However, setting it up takes some time and effort upfront, and especially if you use code to automate and integrate your solution end-to-end.

The second biggest advantage of Airtable is that once you have built your own tool and set up your own server (or hired an Airtable expert such as DataCose to do it for you) then ongoing costs are much lower. There is no subscription fee to use your own custom, purpose-built tool. And there is only a fee for a cloud server if you decide to use one – usually around $20-30/month.

This means that you can grow your contact list and the number of emails you sent at marginal costs. 

Airtable Pricing

Key takeaway

There are so many options when it comes to choosing an email automation platform that it can be overwhelming. A paradox of choice.

Start by deciding what you need the platform to do, what you are likely to need it to do in a year or two’s time if things go well – or look at how flexible the tool is – and narrow it down from there. You could also consult a friend, business owner, or expert.

Overall, continue to monitor your chosen platform. Does it provide more pros than cons? Is it moving you closer to your goal? There are so many alternatives in the market that staying dissatisfied means wasting the fantastic opportunity that email marketing is.

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