Email marketing as a practice has stood the test of time and is still ubiquitous in 2023 providing near unbeatable ROI for businesses across industries. Working as a growth marketing consultant for the last 10 years I have utilized a range of CRM systems—which one works for you will entirely depend on the industry your business operates in and your specific marketing/sales processes. The team at Toksta researched and tested 10 CRMs that we believe excel specifically for email marketing purposes. In this extensive guide, we breakdown the pros, cons, pricing and everything in between.
Why a good CRM tool is essential for effective email marketing
The aim of any email marketing function is to build and maintain relationships with customers, convert users into paid users, and ensure that they remain engaged with your brand over time. And you want to do this at scale. Without a CRM, the amount of time and manual effort required to manage a large number of subscribers and their various preferences would be overwhelming and could easily lead to missed opportunities for engagement.
Different industries have different needs, and the right CRM can help optimize your email campaigns according to the unique needs of your business.
Here are some specific examples of how email marketing professionals across different industries use email marketing CRMs:
- Email marketing CRMs allow online retailers to automate email campaigns, which can then be used to send targeted promotions to customers based on their past actions. A customer who has recently made a purchase, for instance, may be sent a follow-up email containing suggestions for similar purchases or special discounts.
- Personalizing email content: healthcare providers could use an email marketing CRM to send personalized appointment reminders via email to patients based on their health needs and preferences. For example, a patient with diabetes can receive tailored content about managing their condition and reminders for upcoming check-ups and tests.
- Segmenting email lists: A travel agency could segment its email list to send targeted emails to different groups of customers based on their travel preferences and past booking behavior. For example, a customer who frequently books beach vacations can receive emails about new tropical destinations or hotel deals.
- Tracking email engagement: A non-profit organization could use an email marketing CRM to track the engagement of their email campaigns, including open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This data can help them analyze the effectiveness of their campaigns and make improvements to their content and messaging.
- Integrating with other tools: A real estate agency could integrate its email marketing CRM with other tools such as social media to create a seamless marketing and sales process. For example, a customer who engages with the agency's social media posts can receive targeted follow-up emails with property listings or invitations to virtual tours.
Quick comparison of CRM software for email marketing:
|Easy to set up and use making it ideal for beginners
|Integrates with sales and service to provide comprehensive client data for personalization
|Tracks emails to gather information and automates communication and tasks like setting meeting reminders
|Has features specifically designed for e-commerce businesses
|Email Analytics incorporating sales figures to find the most beneficial emails
|Integrates email and chat for seamless communication
|Has good attribution models to gauge campaign performance
|Managing lists and reporting is very easy
|Automation can be configured based on a wide range of events and activities
The Top 10 Best CRM Software For Email Marketing are:
HQ: Chicago, Illinois, United States
| Price: Starts at $29 per month
Free plan: No; Trial: 14 days
Support: 24/7 (phone + email)
|Businesses looking for an industry-standard software
|+ Easy to segment and track customers' behavior
+ Robust Automation that can be easily set up with drag and drop builder
+ Has built-in email marketing templates and campaign tools
|- Email designer is difficult to use and lacks some features
- Poor reporting and analytics tools; they are very basic - we recommend using third-party software
- Some features needed for small businesses are locked up in higher price tiers
|Salesforce, Accounting Suite, Xero, Quickbooks, and 870+ more
| Lite: $29 per month
Plus: $49 per month
Professional: $149 per month
Enterprise: On quotation
Active Campaign is a power-packed CRM with over 700 automated pipelines for communication, email marketing, and other business activities. It is the gold standard of CRM SaaS and often serves as the benchmark for assessing other tools.
It has top-of-the-line email marketing tools to improve customer engagement. By utilizing custom fields and dynamic content within your emails, Active Campaign makes it possible to create highly personalized email designs that will have much higher open and click-through rates. This could range from customized email signatures to unique banners.
What's more, Active Campaign makes it easy to capture contact information from your website and social media. It also gives you the option to add tags to your contacts based on their interactions, so you can easily segment your customers and create targeted campaigns.
Unlike ordinary email apps like Gmail and Yahoo, this software has a sophisticated email editor. This editor comes packed with templates and features to create eye-catching content. Consequently, it allows you to create interactive emails and embed images, videos, and web forms in just a few clicks.
Active Campaign also allows multiple users to edit the same email, making it perfect for team collaboration. What's more, it supports A/B testing and provides advanced customizable reports on email performance.
Finally, it has many impact-focused tools and checks in place to ensure that your emails land in the inbox and not in spam.
With a starting price of just $29, there's little wonder Active Campaign is one of the top email marketing tools today.
HQ: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
| Price: Starts at $45 per month for two paid users
Free Plan: Yes
Support: Phone, email & chat
|Sales teams looking for a feature-rich email marketing solution
|+ The interface is clear, with the right amount of functionality
+ Has detailed email tracking and analytics, providing insights into consumer behavior
+ List management is easy with automatic list creation like gray lists and blacklists to remove old subscribers and improve the open rate.
|- It can get costly when you need additional features
- Workflows can be confusing and hard to understand at times
- It locks you into at least a one-year contract which can be restrictive for startups.
|Google Calendar, WordPress, Gmail, Mailchimp, and many more
| Starter: $45 per month for two paid users
Professional: $800 per month
Enterprise: $3200 per month
Hubspot is a comprehensive CRM platform offering hundreds of tools and features in five software bundles. The marketing hub is of particular interest to us as it contains some of the best email marketing tools of any CRM.
The drag-and-drop interface of the email builder helps you create beautiful email campaigns without needing designers or technical expertise. It has numerous email templates which you can customize to include your branding.
This software provides personalization tools that can tailor content to each customer. Hubspot generates relevant subject lines based on membership lists, subscriber lifecycle, and other details on the contact records. It also schedules your emails to arrive at the optimal time for the opening, regardless of time zones.
Hubspot integrates with the CRM to leverage customer data to send targeted emails.
Hubspot's marketing hub can share data with other tools, making team collaboration very easy.
The analytics tools can perform A/B testing on your email campaigns to analyze their performance. It helps you learn which content generates the most engagement and which customers are interacting with each email.
Hubspot is the cheapest and most expensive CRM for email marketing. Many of its features are free to use. However, the price snowballs when your usage increases and you need additional features. As such, it might be best to stick to the free plan since it contains most of the features needed to meet your marketing needs.
HQ: New York, United States
| Price: Starts at $9.90 per month (one user)
Free Plan: No; Trial: 14 days
Support: Live chat, phone, help center
|Sales teams that want to automate and streamline their communications
|+ Automatically tracks all calls and emails, creating reminders on the scheduled date and time.
+ Pipedrive can easily move leads to different stages depending on the outcome of the outreach.
+ Every email communication is tracked & updates automatically when you link your email.
|- Features like email templates, email scheduling and tracking, and custom email signatures are not available in the Essential plan.
- Difficult to track email responses.
- Cannot link multiple email addresses to the same account.
|Zapier, Xero, Quickbooks, QuarterOne, and many more
|Essential; $9.90 per month (one user)
Advanced; $19.90 per user/month
Professional; $39.90 per user/month
Enterprise; $59.90 per user/month
Pipedrive CRM has several email marketing features for sales teams to manage client communications.
The email segmentation tool allows you to send the right messages to the right customers by providing highly customizable settings. It allows you to target subscribers based on common fields in their deals, leads, contacts, activities and products and campaign data.
The email builder is intuitive and comes with many GDPR-compliant templates. You can create and store your custom templates as well. This builder supports previews for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Despite its simplicity, Pipedrive allows you to write and import custom HTML code if you have the technical know-how.
Email campaigns wouldn't be very useful without a way to assess their performance and measure lead engagement. Pipedrive provides several analytics and reporting tools to help develop your marketing strategy. This software will tell you which subscribers are opening emails and clicking links. You can use this data to build more effective campaigns.
Email marketing with Pipedrive is effortless, thanks to the automation it provides. This tool triggers emails based on updates in your pipeline, like changes in deal status. Also, it can automatically schedule and send emails to targeted contacts.
Pipedrive is affordable and one of the highest-rated CRMs on the market. It offers several integrations with other CRMs and business software. Many customers have commended its ease of use and customer support.
HQ: Wilmington, Delaware, United States
| Price: Starts at $12 per user/month
Free Plan: Yes
Support: Phone, email & chat
|Businesses that want to maximize customer engagement
|+ Email campaigns can be quickly created with drag and drop editor
+ Manages legalities of email marketing so that emails don't get marked spam
+ It has email broadcast feature
|- Significantly fewer options in templates where you can drag and drop
- No email sync unless you get the Sales Pro or All-in-One plan.
- There are limits on the number of emails you can send, even in the most expensive plan
|DocuSign, Zapier, QuickBooks, Xero, Shopify
|Basic: $12 per user/month
Growth: $40 per user/month
Pro: $80 per user/month
EngageBay is an affordable CRM with top-of-the-line email sequences that facilitate seamless customer communication. These email sequences promise to save time and increase Return On Investment (ROI).
EngageBay takes a two-pronged approach to maintaining your sales funnel. It combines marketing automation and lead generation, ensuring prospects stay in the funnel.
In addition, the software has many filters for segmentation. For example, you can segment your email lists and send hyper-targeted emails to each group. Moreover, the predictive lead scoring feature can help you define conditions for excluding contacts from your email sequences.
EgageBay has several sequence templates for drip campaigns, automated emails, and auto-responders. This lets you create or customize beautiful emails that convert. Additionally, this software allows you to share templates with your team and import custom ones.
Through real-time analytics on campaign performance, EngageBay tracks performance metrics for each template to identify the most engaging ones. Consequently, campaigns can easily be optimized for maximum engagement.
By leveraging one-click personalization, this software automatically customizes templates for each contact, ensuring that recipients of broadcast emails do not necessarily receive the same content.
All in all, the great thing about using EngageBay for email marketing is that it costs little to enjoy most of its features. You can manage up to 250 contacts and use the template builder to send up to 1000 branded emails. The only email features missing in the free plan are automation and A/B testing on broadcast emails.
HQ: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
| Price: Starts at $45 per month
Free Plan: Yes
Support: Phone and email
|E-commerce businesses looking for a dedicated email marketing tool
|+ Integrates with almost all e-commerce software
+ Ability to create content outside of the software and import it into emails
+ The templates make it easy for someone without experience in email marketing to build a visually appealing email.
|- The pricing is based on usage and needs to be more transparent about how the billing is done for each month.
- The initial price is low but rises rapidly
- Lacks design capabilities like image editing in email builder
- Managing multiple storefronts is tedious because they require separate Klaviyo instances.
| Email and SMS: $60 per month
Email: $45 per month
Klaviyo is an e-commerce marketing automation platform. It provides two communication channels for digital marketing – Email and SMS. At first glance, Kalviyo seems to have a minimal feature set. However, it boasts some of the most advanced contact management and automation tools of any CRM.
This CRM helps you create personalized campaigns without the help of developers. It automatically uses a built-in customer data platform (CDP) to create detailed customer profiles. You can then apply logic statements to send targeted emails. Klaviyo provides over 100 customizable templates to save time.
The drag-and-drop automation editor allows you to seamlessly build sequences that move your customers through the sales funnel. You can add custom triggers that initiate the automation sequence. Interestingly, Klaviyo offers certification courses for email automation and A/B testing.
The email features include campaigns, segmentation, and templates.
Email forms can automatically track on-site behavior and collect data even before the customer starts filling them. With over 50 templates on the form builder, you can create multi-step forms, pop-ups, flyouts, and teasers. It also provides coupon codes and built-in consent management. In addition, Klaviyo allows you to schedule limited-time forms and publish them directly to your website.
This software is great for beginners and advanced users alike. It has excellent filters and segmentation tools. What's more, the analytics and A/B testing are highly sophisticated and proven to increase revenue. Many customers agree that:
"Klaviyo, by far, is [our] strongest marketing tool. Generating over 40% of our revenue through email."
HQ: Austin, Texas, United States; Chennai India
| Price: Starts at $12 per user/month
Free Plan: Yes
Support: Phone, email, & chat
|Businesses looking to scale rapidly
|+ Convenient scheduling options, with simple rules on when to schedule a follow-up email to leads and opportunities
+ The free version is enough for small businesses.
+ Has a customizable dashboard that shows the best picture of performance metrics.
|- Some users find setting up to system complex and report needing a Zoho Partner to set you up integrations
- There needs to be more customer support.
- Contacts can have multiple email addresses, but Zoho CRM supports only one
|Salesforce, SugarCRM, OneDrive, and many more
| Standard: $12 per user/month
Professional: $20 per user/month
Enterprise: $35 per user/month
Ultimate: $45 per user/month
With over 80 million users, Zoho has more customers than any other SaaS company on this list. This is unsurprising, given that it offers over 50 applications in its software bundles. Among its many tools, this software contains robust email marketing features to help grow your customer base.
Zoho CRM works by integrating with email clients to display emails in-app. In-app emails have status filters that inform you if they've been sent, received, opened, and replied to. Some advanced filters tell you if leads have yet to respond within a specific period.
This software also includes an email parser that extracts contact information from incoming emails. The software automatically links emails with the appropriate client, allowing you to find conversations easily. You get immediate notifications from deals and contacts, allowing you to send responses promptly.
Additionally, you can schedule messages and send broadcast emails to your contact list.
It identifies the customers with the highest engagement so you can focus your attention on them.
Email templates provide a quick and easy way to compose emails. You can create custom templates or use any pre-built ones Zoho provides. Some of the customization options include images, videos, and even tables. These templates also contain analytics that measure customer engagement and open rates.
Like most marketing CRM, Zoho offers automation to help you run campaigns efficiently. It begins with customer segmentation for personalized emails. Then, it nurtures leads with follow-up messages and auto-responses. Finally, it provides insights through Google Ads, so you know which campaigns convert the most leads to customers.
Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
| Price: Starts at $9/month
Free plan: Yes
|Sales teams that need a quick and easy way to create email campaigns
|+ Has e-commerce-specific features like countdown timers
+ Supports custom-coded emails. Easy to upload, preview and edit custom emails
+ Simple mobile-friendly layouts
|- Can get expensive very quickly
- Campaign Monitor's builder lacks vital features like table management, saved/global rows, divider styles, etc.
- Limited integrations with other software.
|Salesforce, WordPress, Shopify, Intercom, AdRoll
Campaign Monitor is primarily an email marketing CRM, more so than any other CRM on the market. As a result, its core feature is the drag-and-drop email builder. It also provides segmentation for creating personalized campaigns.
The email builder helps you create visually appealing email campaigns within minutes. For one, it provides a massive template library with hundreds of presets for announcements, feedback, and transactions.
It has beginner-friendly, time-saving features like the smart designer which ensures there is consistency in the branding. You just have to provide a website URL, and it will automatically extract your company's colors and logos.
The marketing automation tool provides a similar workflow builder, allowing you to create sequences for individuals or a larger segmented group of customers. You can execute actions based on triggers, conditions, and customer activities. This software allows you to expand your reach using shared email lists from other CRMs.
Campaign Monitor automatically tracks all email campaigns and collects real-time metrics on them. You can then use this data to perform A/B testing on your campaigns. Interestingly, this CRM allows you to test specific components of email campaigns, such as images, text, and even colors.
It also offers integrations with more sophisticated third-party tools for in-depth analysis, allowing you to see the direct impact of email campaigns on your ROI.
HQ: Newark, Delaware, United States
| Price: Starts at $29 per month
Free Plan: Yes
Support: Email & chat
|Teams looking for a very affordable solution
|+ Behavioral targeted emails and messages
+ Saves money by not having to pay for many different apps
+ Has advanced marketing and automation tools to make onboarding and customer success flows incredibly simple and intuitive
|- Limited customization available for reports
- Has many features that are not needed for a very small business
- Tends to have some bugs which are resolved quickly
|Zapier, WordPress, Stripe, Better Proposals, and many more
| Professional: $29 per month
Premium: $99 per month
GIST is an all-in-one CRM platform that emphasizes customer communication.
GIST's email marketing tools allow you to send different kinds of emails. From broadcast emails, which send one email to all your contacts, to drip campaigns that target specific contacts.
Creating emails with this software is a breeze thanks to the intuitive drag-and-drop editor. You can build custom layouts and import colors, images, and logos that match your brand.
GIST lets you personalize your emails with your CRM or contact database details. It also provides a template to help you create professional-looking emails.
With this marketing CRM, you can be sure your emails reach the right people at the right time. It automatically resends emails to leads that didn't open the first message. Also, it schedules emails to be delivered when the recipient is sure to engage while accounting for different time zones.
GIST has a visual workflow builder to help automate your email campaigns. It provides triggers, conditions, actions, and other complex logic to help define a customer's journey through the pipeline. For instance, you can send welcome messages to new signups or follow-up messages when customers unsubscribe.
Customers value this CRM for its ease of use and affordable subscription model. It offers more features in its free plan than competing software. Moreover, paid subscriptions are cheap for small businesses as well as large teams.
Headquarters: Atalanta, Georgia, United States
| Price: Starts at $9/month
Free Plan: Yes
|Small businesses that want an efficient email marketing tool
|+ Reporting is detailed and easy to interpret
+ Email list management is easy
+ Integration with a wide range of other tools and platforms, such as social media, e-commerce platforms, and Google Analytics
|- Pricing is too high for a scaling company
- Templates look like stock and don't have a polished look
- Drag-and-drop email template builder lacks customization
|Zendesk, WordPress, Quickbooks, Stripe, and 300+ more
Mailchimp is an excellent standalone email marketing and automation tool. It stands out from the competition by providing personalized recommendations on improving your campaigns rather than waiting for you to perform A/B testing.
It has a customer journeys builder that helps you convert leads into customers at scale. As you build automated sequences, this software offers real-time suggestions on how you can increase traffic and sales. It also helps you create personalized journeys for each customer using a drag-and-drop builder.
Time is precious to every sales team, and Mailchimp helps save it through the pre-built journeys that achieve specific goals. You can welcome new customers, send automated orders, celebrate birthdays, and perform many other tasks with little effort. You can share data with other platforms and watch your sales increase by up to 35% weekly.
Mailchimp can send transactional emails when customers request a password, place an order, or trigger specified events. These messages are sent within seconds and personalized to each customer.
It also provides analytics that optimizes your emails through automated tags, A/B testing, and webhooks. You can download reports from the Transactional dashboard.
With over two decades of experience in email marketing, Mailchimp knows how best to grow your business. It has nearly 5000 reviews on G2 and scores highly on ease of use and customer support.
Headquarters: Sydney, Australia
| Price: $199 per month
Free Plan: Yes
|Teams looking for advanced automation tools
|+ Offers startups a 30% discount off the Professional and Business plans for 12 months
+ Automates some processes, saving time spent on manual work
+ Provides good reports and analytics
|- Needs a wider variety of integrations
- There is no central hub for reviewing and editing existing email templates.
- Price can grow quickly
|Zapier, Salesforce, Stripe, Calendly, Slack, Hubspot
|$199/month (30% discount for startups)
Ortto's core offering is automated customer journeys. To that end, it offers an impressive visual editor for creating campaigns and sequences.
Powered by a drag-and-drop editor, Ortto creates personalized emails that are designed to be opened no matter what.
Ortto finds the right audience by analyzing customer data. Using AI prediction, you can estimate the open rate on emails before you send them out, allowing you to design them for maximum engagement. Messages can be scheduled to be delivered at the best moment.
Ortto automatically resends unopened emails and uses branded URLs to improve delivery.
With Ortto, you can cater to a diverse audience by personalizing content in their language. It automatically translates email content to match the recipient's local language.
If you need inspiration when composing emails, this CRM offers several customizable templates.
You can receive payments directly through emails. When sending emails, you just have to either mark them as transactional or send them through the transactional API. You can also use a separate IP address for transactional emails, ensuring network security when handling payments. Like regular emails, Ortto provides several free transactional email templates.
Ortto has impressive automation capability and is your go-to CRM if you cater to a diverse client base.
Our Pick - Active Campaign
Active Campaign’s advanced automation system, ease of use, great value for money and extensive integrations with other software make it Toksta's top CRM software for Email Marketing in 2023
Meet the author
Sam Cassman is a seasoned growth marketer with over 10 years of experience as growth marketer for startups and small businesses. He is the founder of Toksta, a research technology company that helps businesses find and purchase the best software and SaaS. Sam has also run his own growth marketing consultancy Honest Growth, where he helped numerous clients to grow their businesses, including Eventcube, Baluu, Obby, and NBM Group.