<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=1360553&amp;fmt=gif">

How to Choose the Best Email Provider For Your Small Business

As a new or growing business, it can be overwhelming to choose the right email service provider. Having worked with pretty much all of them, we’ve gotten pretty good at helping match people with the right one. The reality is that most ESPs are pretty solid and it comes down to a bit of personal preference and answering four key questions.

Choosing the best email provider: Four questions to ask yourself 

1. What types of emails do you want to send? 

If you’re just looking to send out newsletters or promotions to all of your contacts, your needs are relatively straight forward. If you want to send different messages to different people or even automate your emails, you have a bit more to consider. Here are the types of emails you might want to consider as you match your needs to the right email provider.

Newsletters and Announcements: Often called batch and blast emails by marketers, these messages go to your full list on a regular basis that is driven by your schedule, not the actions of your prospects and customers. These are great for sharing news about your company, big sales, and other topics that are relevant to your entire audience. 

Automated Emails: These are emails that get automatically sent based on the actions that someone takes on your website. Below are a few of the most commonly used options.

  • Welcome series: This series of emails is based on an amount of time since someone joined your email list and usually include between 2 and 4 automated emails designed to introduce new subscribers to your brand and what you sell.
  • Abandoned cart emails/series: These emails are sent when a shopper on your site adds an item to their cart but leaves without completing a purchase. Research shows that sending a series of emails to people who abandon can convert at a higher rate, as does varying your message or offer based on the value of someone’s cart.
  • Order follow up emails: These emails are triggered a certain amount of time after someone makes a purchase. Unlike transactional emails that are more or less receipts, these can include an order summary but are also great for introducing your brand, suggesting additional products, and/or requesting a product review. 
  • Win-back emails: These emails are triggered when a subscriber has not visited your site in a designated amount of time and often include a great offer to get people to come back and see what’s new.

2. Are you selling online? 

If you’re selling online you’ll want to choose an email provider that integrates with your ecommerce platform. This gives you a few advantages. For example, you can include coupon codes that automatically sync with your store or send triggered emails based on cart-centric behaviors (e.g., abandoned cart emails, order follow up emails.)

3. How big is your list? 

For most email providers, the size of your contact list is the biggest driver of cost. It’s important to think about not only what your list size is today, but also what you expect it to be in the future. After all, growing your email list is critical to growing your business! Many email providers start at a very low cost but scale exponentially as your list grows. So when you are evaluating the price of a provider, think about what it may look like 6 months or a year down the line and budget against that because switching can be a pain.  

4. What features will you really use?

Every email provider offers a wide array of features, many of which sound great but you’re unlikely to ever use. If you’re just getting started, focus on what you need today and what you could grow into quickly. If you’re more established, think about what will realistically help you move the needle. Things like automation, segmentation, tracking, email design, and integrations come in many shapes and sizes!

5. What type of help do you need?

One thing most businesses forget to consider when buying any software is the level of support they will need. While most providers offer at least a minimum level of support, some attach it only to higher paying tiers or set limits.  In addition, some providers have “Do It For Me” services or high touch “account management” that you may want to explore. Just make sure you understand the costs associated before you buy!

Based on the answers to those questions, we’ve grouped our email partners into five key categories. While some may cut across groups, we’ve tried to keep it simple to help you compare your email marketing provider options!

Note: Privy Growth can capture and sync new contacts to any of the email providers listed below. 

Choose an ESP Questions

Emails providers for ecommerce: Just the basics


Primary Capabilities


Privy Logo_2019_400x400-1

Privy’s email marketing for SMB ecommerce includes true abandoned cart emails, order follow up emails, welcome series, and newsletters with deep integrations into Shopify and BigCommerce discounts and cart behavior.

$10 for first 1000 contacts, $5 for every 1000 after. 


Seguno’s email marketing product is built within Shopify to make it easy to send emails without leaving your ecommerce store admin portal. Seguno includes basic ecommerce automations, shopify discounts integration, and newsletter capabilities.

Free up to 250 contacts, $10 for first 1000 contacts, $10 for every 1000 after.


Email providers for non-ecommerce: Just the basics




constant contact

Constant Contact’s basic plan includes newsletter and list building tools along with hundreds of email templates, excellent support, and tons of integrations. They recently released abandoned checkout emails for Shopify but are best for non-ecommerce businesses. Most automations are saved for their Email Plus plan. 

Email basic starts at $20 for to 500 contacts. Email plus starts at $45 for up to 500 contacts.

mailchimp logo

Mailchimp offers a great email newsletter tool and has expanded into a broader set of options to allow customers to promote their business across email, social, landing pages, postcards, and more — all from a single platform. As cost rises, they offer some very sophisticated tools focused on ecommerce and non-ecommerce but no longer have direct integrations with Shopify.

Mailchimp offers a variety of plans, including a feature and send limited free plan for new businesses.


Email providers for non-ecommerce: Beyond the basics






AWeber lets you create and send modern, professional email newsletters to your audience with powerful email marketing and automation tools as well as integrations to many non-ecommerce site builders.

Starts at $19 for up to 500 contacts


Campaign Monitor offers intelligent email marketing and automation software for growing companies featuring simple drag-and-drop design and automation tools and great analytics. While they do integrate with ecommerce platforms, this does not seem to be their primary focus.

Campaign Monitor’s feature limited Basic plan starts at $9 month for up to 500 contacts.

emma logo final

Emma is an email marketing platform focused on retail businesses, franchises, and non-profits that makes it easy for teams of all sizes to create and collaborate on beautiful campaigns. Its focus is on delivering powerful personalization in an accessible way to ultimately drive more conversions and sales.

Emma Pro starts at $89/month for up to 10,000 contacts.

hubspot logo

Hubspot’s email marketing software is designed to easily create, personalize, and optimize marketing emails without IT involvement. Integrated with the larger Marketing Suite, Hubspot is a powerful tool for marketers but is not focused on ecommerce.

Hubspot recently released a free plan for CRM users. Paid plans start at $50/month for up to 1000 contacts.

icontact logo

iContact offers easy to build email marketing with excellent newsletter capabilities and more advanced automation and segmentation capabilities designed to increase conversion and drive more people back to your website. iContact does not appear to have direct integrations with most ecommerce platforms.

The iContact Essential plan starts at $14/month for up to 500 contacts.


Email providers for ecommerce: Beyond the basics




active campaign logo

ActiveCampaign offers newsletters, triggered emails, and advanced segmentation and more marketing automation rules like abandoned cart recovery and win back emails to drive engagement among new and existing subscribers and customers.

Basic functionality begins at $15/month for up to 500 contacts. 

conversio logo

Conversio offers a wide array of email marketing options  with a focus on ecommerce. From automated receipts and abandoned cart emails to follow up emails, surveys, and product review requests, Conversio provides great automation for store owners.

Starts at $20/month for up to 500 contacts.

drip logo

Drip is an ecommerce CRM and email marketing platform designed to create a personalized experience for shoppers that includes email automation, social media ads, and more.

The Basic plan starts at $49/month for us to 2500 people.

klaviyo logo

Klaviyo offers a wide array of email automations and newsletters with a focus on ecommerce and deep integrations with Shopify and BigCommerce (including discounts). Klaviyo automations use real-time behavioral and customer data to trigger abandoned cart, win back, browse abandonment, and other emails.

Klaviyo offers a limited free plan for up to 250 contacts and starts at $20/month for up to 500 contacts.

Email providers for ecommerce: Advanced





The Bronto marketing platform lets you create highly targeted, personalized, and relevant messages with software that helps you grow revenue, save time, and optimize marketing resources. The platforms email marketing capabilities include browse and cart abandonment emails, targeted newsletters, triggered emails based on customer data, welcome series, win-back emails and more.



dotdigital is a cloud-based customer engagement platform designed to help B2B, B2C, and e-commerce marketers create, test, automate, and send marketing emails with ease. It is a powerful solution that employs the latest customer engagement technology which enables businesses to engage their audience across all touch points. dotdigital is also highly integrated with the top ecommerce platforms.



Emarsys is the largest independent marketing platform company in the world and the only marketing platform that knows your industry. With embedded, industry-specific turnkey solutions, our software enables truly personalized, one-to-one interactions between marketers and customers across all channels — building loyalty, enriching the customer journey, and increasing revenue. This enables companies to scale marketing decisions and actions far beyond human capabilities.


iterable logo 

Iterable is empowering the world’s leading brands to achieve world-class customer engagement at scale. Powered by the same technologies that propelled leaders like Twitter and Facebook, we are building tools for growth marketers wishing to captivate customers with messaging that matters when it matters.


Listrak Logo

Listrak helps marketers unlock the power of their customer data to create personalized, 1:1 interactions that drive incremental revenue, engagement, lifetime value and growth. Listrak has nearly two decades of digital marketing experience, serves more than 1,000 clients, and works with leading retailers and brands.


retetion science

Retention Science uses artificial intelligence to automate your emails, outperforming rules-driven campaigns and saving you time—and headache. Automations include AI driven product recommendations, announcements, and more.


zaius logo

The Zaius B2C CRM platform provides you the visibility of a Customer Data Platform (CDP), the cross-channel campaign functionality of a next-gen Email Service Provider (ESP), and deep insights from data science. The platform includes segmented email newsletters as well as post purchase, cross-sell, win-back, and abandoned cart emails.



Want to learn about Privy Email? Find out more.

Subscribe for Updates

Get our best content on ecommerce marketing in your inbox 2 times a week.

Written by Josh Mendelsohn

Josh brings his marketing chops and lifelong passion for jam bands, craft beer, and SMBs to the team at Privy. Having spent time working at SMB and ecommerce leaders like Constant Contact and Salsify, he has a deep understanding of how to help small and medium sized ecommerce businesses be all that they can be. In addition to leading Privy's marketing team, Josh spends too much of his time managing his pug Marvin's instagram account.

Start Your 15-Day Free Trial

Get your first campaign live in minutes

Try Privy Free