If you run a small business, you often find yourself operating on a tight budget — particularly when it comes to marketing. As a rule of thumb, if your revenue is less than $5 million annually, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends spending 7-8% of revenue on marketing and advertising.
But when you factor in your Google Adwords budget, new product photos, website upkeep, social ads, and an in-house marketing hire to offer an extra set of hands, that budget gets used pretty fast.
Fortunately, there are a number of marketing tools built specifically for small business owners that come at an affordable price point — particularly when it comes to email marketing. Below, we explain how to keep your email marketing cost as low as possible by choosing a solution that helps stretch your budget.
Email Marketing Cost: Is it Worth the Investment?
If there is one marketing channel you want to invest in, email automation should be it.
Don’t believe us? Research shows that email marketing generates $36 for every $1 spent — that’s a jaw-dropping ROI of 3,600%. Plus, if you invest your time in developing an email marketing strategy that works, experimenting with A/B testing, personalization, or segmentation, you can increase your return on investment to 4,200%.
Translation: Even a small investment in email could reap large rewards for your company.
Plus, email marketing is a channel that impacts a wide range of audiences. While social platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, and Instagram are heavily influenced by demographics (case in point: less than half of U.S. adults ages 18-29 have used TikTok), email impacts nearly everyone. In fact, research shows that there are 4.6 billion email users across the globe. Meaning, the chance is incredibly high that the vast majority of your current and potential customers have an email account.
Therefore, if you need to stretch your budget, make sure that you don’t cut out email as a marketing tool.
How Much Does Email Marketing Cost? Pricing Popular Email Automation Platforms
A number of email marketing services are tailored to help small business owners, startups, and solopreneurs amplify their message. Below, we share the price points of a number of services to help you find the best email solution for your budget.
Starts at $0-$299 per month
Mailchimp is a popular email automation platform for small business owners. While it comes with a free tool, this bare-bones plan doesn’t come with custom branding, customer service, pop-up forms, or email templates, making it unsuitable for most small business owners (unless you’re an expert in custom-coded email design).
Therefore, most small business owners start with the Essentials plan, which starts at $9.99 for 500 contacts. From there, Mailchimp increases its price point according to the number of subscribers in your list (for example, a list of 2,500 subscribers would triple your investment to $30.99 per month). If you want increased functionality, prices begin at $14.99 per month (for 500 contacts) for their Standard plan and $299 per month (for 10,000 contacts) for their Premium plan.
2. Constant Contact
Starts at $20-$195 per month
Like Mailchimp, Constant Contact offers a tiered pricing structure that increases as you add more features. For $20 per month, you gain access to hundreds of email templates, reporting and analytics, social media posting, and customer support, making it a top choice for small business owners.
Unfortunately, that $20 price point — which, at first glance, appears completely affordable — quickly increases as your audience grows. If you double your email list size to 1,000 contacts, you’ll suddenly pay $45 per month. If you increase your list to 5,000 contacts, you’ll pay a whopping $95 per month on email marketing software alone.
Starts at $15-$279 per month
ActiveCampaign is an affordable email service provider quickly gaining traction in the space — with over 150,000 business owners choosing it for email automation.
ActiveCampaign offers a competitive pricing structure, with rates starting at $15 per month for their Lite plan for up to 500 contacts. With Lite, you gain access to customer support, email templates, reporting metrics, opt-in forms, and unlimited sends. If you want more features, like landing pages, e-commerce tools, or even to remove the ActiveCampaign branding from your emails, you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
Like other marketing automation platforms in this list, ActiveCampaign’s pricing quickly increases based on the size of your list. If you increase your audience to 1,000 contacts, the Lite cost increases to $30 per month, then $50 per month for 5,000 contacts.
Starts at $0-$65 per month
If you’re just getting started with digital marketing, Sendinblue could be a viable option for your plan — mainly because it offers a free plan. Sendinblue is a cost-effective solution, offering a free plan, then increasing to $25 per month for its Lite plan. (Note: At the time of this writing, the platform does offer a 50% discount for the first three months of any plan.)
Unlike many of its competitors, with Sendinblue the cost of email marketing increases depending on the number of emails you send — not by how many subscribers are in your list. For their free plan, you can have unlimited contacts while sending up to 300 emails per day. If you want to remove the Sendinblue branding, bypass the daily sending limit, get tech support, or add features like A/B subject line testing, you’ll need to upgrade to their Lite+ add-on plan for $37 per month (for up to 10,000 email sends per month). If you send more than 10,000 emails per month, your cost will gradually increase to $99 per month for 100,000 email sends.
Starts at $45-$3,200 per month
HubSpot is a robust CRM and email marketing platform known for publishing a number of reports and marketing tips. HubSpot is most popular amongst fully staffed email marketing agencies — rather than small businesses — because many tools are unrelated to email. For example, HubSpot offers a full CRM platform, digital ad optimization, complicated drip campaigns, and lead scoring, which may be more bells and whistles than what you bargained for.
These advanced email marketing tools — of course — come with a higher price point. To gain access to its bare bones email tools, including signup forms, custom branding, 25 email lists, and automated welcome emails, you’ll need to subscribe to their Starter plan. The Starter plan begins at $45 per month for 1,000 contacts, then quickly increases to $90 and $135 per month for 2,000 and 3,000 contacts, respectively.
Why Gumbamail is the Most Cost-Effective Solution for Small Business Owners
If you want to start sending email marketing campaigns to promote your business, download the Gumbamail Chrome extension. Unlike other platforms on this list, Gumbamail offers a straightforward pricing structure — one that doesn’t increase with your list size.
Gumbamail offers a free plan to help small business owners get up and running, sending 250 emails per month (plus, unlike its competitors, Gumbamail’s free plan comes with custom-branded emails). If you want to send unlimited emails per day or up to 50,000 emails per month, you’ll upgrade to its Basic plan, offered at an affordable price point of $9.45 per month.
Plus, unlike other platforms, implementing Gumbamail is incredibly easy, because it works with your existing Gmail account. With Gumbamail, you can send email newsletters and promo emails without leaving your inbox, while gaining access to 800+ gorgeous templates, advanced reporting, and branded campaigns.
Ready to see how Gumbamail can start saving you time and money? Download the Chrome extension to get started.