Internet is a dynamic space where things change faster than one can imagine. However, there’s one thing that’s still fresh and evolving, i.e. email marketing.
Despite being one of the oldest methods, email marketing is still considered to be one of the most effective methods of internet marketing. Talk about lead generation, lead nurturing, ROI or conversion, email marketing still rules the roost.
So, if you are running an internet-based business and not using email marketing as a promotional tool, you are losing a big chunk of customers. You should start it right away, especially considering the fact that getting a taste of it wouldn’t cost you a dime. Here is a list of some free and open source email marketing software that you can use to kick-start your email marketing campaigns.
Nothing comes free, not even the email marketing software. Sending emails consumes server resources, cost of which needs to be managed either by you or the service provider. Based on this, free and open source email marketing software can be categorized in two segments:
Open-source email marketing software: You can download an open source email marketing software and install it on your own server. An open-source email marketing software will always be free to use and you will be able to send unlimited emails, but you will need to buy and manage the server space of your own. Plus setting-up such software on your server needs a steep learning curve. This kind of solution is good for large businesses that need to send email in large volumes.
Free email marketing software: Better read it freemium. In this case, the service provider offers you limited resources for free and expects to convert you into a paid customer when your business grows. There would be some kind of limit on either the number of email you can send per month or the number of contacts you can have in your email list. But the benefit here is that you get a readymade solution. There’s no setting up and server management. This kind of solution is great for start-ups and small businesses.
OpenEMM is a feature-rich email marketing software that can be used for marketing automation, sending out newsletters, transactional emails, and event/time triggered emails.
Event/time-triggered email means you can also run drip campaigns with it. Other than email marketing, you can use it to provide support and do follow-ups with your existing customers.
OpenEMM is easy to setup and use. The user interface is smooth, available in multiple languages and the software is very well documented.
As evident from the name, PHPlist is an email marketing software based on PHP and uses MySQL database to store the list of subscribers. That makes it quite easy to install and setup.
PHPlist is a great option if all you need is to send email newsletters to your subscribers. You get all the basic features like Open/View and click Tracking, Template management, Bounce handling, Scheduled Sending etc. However, features like transactional and event-triggered emails are unavailable.
You read it right. The mighty Gmail can very well be used as a free email marketing software, you just need to use its limits in the right way.
A regular free Gmail account has a limit of sending up to 500 emails a day, whereas, a Paid Google Apps account can send up to 2000 emails a day. A chrome extension called Mailking from CloudHQ, lets you leverage this limit systematically to run an email campaign efficiently.
Say you want to run an email campaign to a list of 1200 subscribers from a free Gmail account, Mailking will deliver this campaign in batches over a period of three days. Simple!
In addition, you get all the features of a regular email marketing software like Email templates, email and link tracking, mail merge etc. You can even import templates from MailChimp. Since your emails are being sent from a Gmail server, the deliverability rate is quite high.
Free up to 450 emails per day for regular Gmail account and 1800 emails per day for Google apps account.
Of all the freemium email marketing software, Mailchimp stands out as the best option. Its forever free plan lets you keep using it for free until you have reached 2,000 subscribers or need to send more than 12,000 email per month.
You can use MailChimp to send out email newsletters, create marketing automation with trigger-based emails and run drip campaigns. The deliverability rate is quite high as well. Moreover, a well-equipped dashboard lets you access a wide range of reports and actionable data to help you with optimization.
If you are just starting out and don’t want to dirty your hands with setting up and installation, Mailchimp is best for you. It’s a readymade solution. You can sign up and start sending your newsletter within minutes.
Free up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per month
Zoho Campaigns is similar to Mailchimp, both in terms of features and free sending limits. However, what sets it apart is the seamless A/B testing feature.
The A/B testing feature lets you send two different versions of your email to different sets of people and analyze which one worked better. Moreover, you get all advanced features like Autoresponders, template management, Real-time analytics etc.
Free up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per Month
There are more than a hundred free and open-source email marketing software. But one needs to be careful since email deliverability rate matters a lot and ones mentioned here excel in this department at least. What’s the point of having hundreds of features in your software if the emails are landing in the spam folder of your subscribers?