What are the best email marketing services for artists in 2023?
As we look to the future of marketing, email marketing will likely remain a staple in an artist’s marketing mix. If used correctly, it can prove one of the most effective digital marketing tools there is.
If you’re trying to figure out which email marketing service to use as an artist, here is a look at the best tools available and how they compare to each other.
The Best Email Marketing Services for Artists of 2023
- ConvertKit: Best overall selection for artists.
- Mailchimp: A good beginner tool, dubious for artists who’ve been at it for a while.
- ActiveCampaign: An excellent solution for artists with established teams and business models.
- GetResponse: Enduring email marketing service – quite possibly the best among old-guard tools.
- Constant Contact: Classic email marketing still packs a punch and is forward-looking too.
- AWeber: Old guard mail marketing service and a good all-rounder.
ConvertKit, Best of the Best Email Marketing Services for Artists
ConvertKit (affiliate link) was founded by Nathan Barry, an independent creator who wrote three books and two courses. Barry is well-acquainted with the ebbs and flows of being a creator and saw a gap to fill in the email marketing software for creators realm. Thus, ConvertKit.
- Free: $0 USD
- Creator: Starting from $15 USD per month
- Creator Pro: Starting from $25 USD per month
Easy to understand. Effective list growing, email campaign templates, automation, and monetization tools.
Pros & Cons
|+ All the features you need to grow and manage your email list and send campaigns out of the box
+ Flexible tag-based system for segmenting and managing your audiences
+ Useful, easy-to-understand analytics
+ Excellent automation functionality
+ Features to monetize your list
+ Solid deliverability
+ Free migration
|– ConvertKit targets creatives and creators as customers, but the interface does not feel artistic or creative|
I make no bones about it. ConvertKit (affiliate link) is our top recommended email marketing software for artists.
And this is not one of those generic recommendations (“Yeah, it’s pretty good, you should check it out”) you can find anywhere on the web. No, I’m speaking from personal experience.
I signed up for ConvertKit a couple of years ago and had every intention of moving my lists over from Mailchimp. I delayed and delayed until I couldn’t justify the cost of Mailchimp anymore.
Mailchimp doesn’t just charge based on the plan you’ve selected. Every little add-on (like automation), costs you extra. But I will get to that a little later.
And just so there’s no confusion – I am on a paid plan with ConvertKit right now.
Either way, I also thought it would take me a long time to figure out ConvertKit’s workflow. Initially, that was a point of hesitation.
And, sure, it took me some time to find my way around. But overall, ConvertKit could not have proven much easier to acclimate to. So, if you’re worried about moving yourself over from another email marketing service, you’ll be glad to know the process is straightforward (and that includes importing your existing lists).
I like ConvertKit’s email campaign templates. There are great-looking templates out of the box, and you can customize them to suit your needs. Additionally, sending plain text emails (the kind you see most marketers sending) with Mailchimp was impossible (I tried, and eventually gave up) – basically, it always formatted incorrectly. With ConvertKit? No problem!
I love ConvertKit’s automation tools. They make it easy for me to create custom sequences for my customers. I have many products, and the ability to tailor my communication to different customer segments is very important to me.
ConvertKit also has better landing pages and form tools for building your audience compared to some of the alternatives mentioned in this guide. Dare I say it – ConvertKit’s arsenal of tools almost makes list growth apps like Leadpages irrelevant.
Finally, ConvertKit knows its audience as well as the fact that monetizing their work is a priority. Although I don’t sell digital newsletter subscriptions or ask for donations via email myself, it’s nice to know it’s something you can do with ConvertKit.
For the price, ConvertKit is very competitive, and their email delivery rate is 99.73%. I find my campaigns get opened more since moving to ConvertKit.
Sign up for ConvertKit (affiliate link) now.
Mailchimp initially built its reputation on being a free-to-use (up to a point), full-featured email marketing service. The company was founded in 2001, and upon its launch, it was revolutionary. Since then, Mailchimp has added an array of new features to enhance its marketing capabilities.
- Free: $0 USD
- Essentials: Starting at $13 USD per month
- Standard: Starting at $20 USD per month
- Premium: Starting at $350 USD per month
Mailchimp has grown from a simple email marketing service into a more comprehensive offline and online marketing tool.
Pros & Cons
|+ Free to use up to 1,000 subscribers
+ Basic tools for growing and managing your email list, as well as sending email campaigns
|– Difficult-to-use interface, poor navigation, bad menu labeling
– Not cost-effective long-term unless your email list is especially profitable
– List-based system makes segmentation, tagging, and managing your subscribers harder than it should be
Mailchimp is a reasonably good starting point for beginners, given that its off-the-shelf functionality will get you familiar with email marketing. Getting subscribers, managing them, and sending campaigns can all be done with relative ease using Mailchimp’s built-in tools.
But. Mailchimp seems to get worse with age. I don’t know why no one seems to want to broach this subject – maybe because they’re shilling Mailchimp – but I will.
First, its user interface has never been that great, and it only gets more complicated as they add more features. Monkeys evoke a sense of mischief and fun. Mailchimp evokes a sense of overwhelm, industrial complex capitalism, and frustration, especially with the puzzling navigation bar (arguably, that’s where the mischief is at work, right?).
With all the changes they’ve made through the years, I thought they might be able to nail the email equivalent of eating bananas and swinging from trees, but I haven’t seen it yet.
Mailchimp primarily uses a list-based system to manage contacts, and ironically, it’s much less flexible than email software utilizing a tag-based system. This makes segmenting your audience and sending different messages to different people at different times impossible without annoying, complex workarounds.
Delivering the right message to the right people at the right time is the essence of effective marketing! You don’t want this to be any more complicated than it already is, and Mailchimp doesn’t make it easy on you. So, by default, you lose out on opportunities to engage and monetize your audience.
The cost of Mailchimp can also add up much faster than their pricing scheme would seem to indicate, especially once you’ve exceeded over 1,000 subscribers. They charge for every add-on, and that includes automation – a basic feature every artist, creative, and independent entrepreneur will require (especially if you’ve got more than a few products), as their business grows!
You might think that if you’ve got 1,000 subscribers and you’re sending them weekly messages, you’d be making bank, but that’s not always the case. So, you end up dolling out $30+ USD per month for the privilege of sending messages to a subscriber base you worked your ass off to build. Yeah.
Mailchimp could still be a worthwhile solution during the early years of your development. Long-term, you will want to be able to do more sophisticated things with your email list, and when you get to that point, you will need an easier-to-use, more flexible tool to get the job done.
ActiveCampaign was founded in 2003 in Chicago. They have over 180,000 customers, and they are well-known for their automated workflows, advanced features, integrations, and great customer support.
- Plus: $49 USD per month
- Professional: $149 USD per month
- Enterprise: Depends on the organization
Automation is ActiveCampaign’s greatest strength.
Pros & Cons
|+ Powerful automation, advanced features, and integration
+ In-depth reporting
+ Exceptional deliverability
+ Speedy and friendly customer support
+ Free migration
|– Steeper entry-level price
– Horrible customer service
ActiveCampaign is generally considered a step up from free to low-cost email service software solutions and is the preferred choice for many independent entrepreneurs. That has a lot to do with its flexible and powerful feature set that extends well beyond conventional email marketing.
It is a very popular solution for independent entrepreneurs like me who use KLEQ to build their memberships, courses, forums, or online coaching platforms. I still settled on ConvertKit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like ActiveCampaign.
We all have a specific tool stack, and if you’re looking for an email marketing service that integrates well with apps, eCommerce platforms, and other services, then it’s well worth considering integration as a key factor during the buying process. That’s a blanket statement that applies to all Software-as-as-a-Service (SaaS) purchases.
Either way, as you may have guessed already, ActiveCampaign’s greatest strength is marketing automation. In addition to autoresponders, list, and contact management can be automated too. If you choose to take advantage of their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features, you can also use their “Deals” system to manage your contacts, appointments, direct messages, and more.
That is perhaps too much power for the independent creative, especially if she doesn’t have a marketing and sales team, but it’s nice to know ActiveCampaign can scale with her.
ActiveCampaign’s interface is also one of the easiest to understand. Most email marketing services could learn a thing or two from the way ActiveCampaign has set up their navigation.
ActiveCampaign is a great email marketing service overall, but it’s not recommended for those just getting started. Its cost is steeper than alternatives already covered, and that cost will only increase as your subscriber base grows.
GetResponse was founded in 1997 in Poland. Besides email marketing, the company has expanded into website builders, marketing automation, and even eCommerce marketing. A forward-thinking company, GetResponse has recently added a ChatGPT-powered email and subject line generators into their feature set.
- Free: $0 USD
- Email Marketing: starting at $13.30 USD per month
- Marketing Automation: starting at $41.30 USD per month
- eCommerce Marketing: Starting at $83.30 USD per month
GetResponse comes with a built-in webinar feature, which, so far as I know, is unique to GetResponse.
Pros & Cons
|+ Free-to-use plan available
+ Its Email Marketing plan is more affordable than many of its competitors
+ Comes with sophisticated marketing automation tools
+ Built-in webinar feature
+ Built-in “Chat” feature for your website
+ Comes with a landing page builder with A/B testing functionality
+ Customer support in an array of languages
|– The drag-and-drop landing page builder is clunky
– Split testing is only available for subject lines and content
– The website builder is a little lackluster compared to competitor alternatives
– Paid-for webinars are only available on the priciest GetResponse plans
GetResponse has exceptional and in-depth autoresponder functionality assuming you are on one of its paid plans. They are probably the best in the business, at least in this regard. You can create time- or action-based messages based on opens, clicks, subscriptions, birthdays, changes to user data, and more.
Naturally, GetResponse also comes with sophisticated automation tools. For better or worse, though, you can only access its full range of capabilities if you’ve purchased the Marketing Automation plan. The marketing automation tool features a drag-and-drop editor to create sophisticated and customized user journeys – it’s probably the best of its kind.
GetResponse comes with nearly 200 responsive templates, most of which are modern, varied, and easy to edit. GetResponse lets you choose from several categories based on the intended goal of the campaign – celebrate, educate, promote, sell, etc. – which is a handy feature.
If anything is lacking here, it would be that you can’t set global styles for headings and text. That means if you want to change the style of a single paragraph, you end up having to change all paragraphs. On the upside, you can take advantage of a bevy of Google Fonts.
For those who were drawn in by the buzzword A.I., yes, you’ll be happy to know GetResponse comes with a few handy Artificial Intelligence features. And even though they are new, they are remarkably effective.
The A.I. subject line generator will provide you with five suggestions for your campaigns, and the email generator can create a campaign – text, layout, and design – based on the prompts you give it. You can also choose from six “voice tone” settings.
GetResponse also comes with competent analytics/reporting, split testing, landing page builder, webinar, conversion funnels, website builder, Chats, push notification tools, and more, depending on the plan you purchase. We’d be hard-pressed to cover them all here, but you can refer to the pros and cons section above for an overview.
GetResponse may well be the best among the old-school tools like AWeber and Constant Contact, also seen below.
Founded in 1995, Constant Contact is an “old guard” email marketing service. That means they’ve had plenty of time to earn the public’s trust. But that doesn’t mean they’ve fallen behind the times. They continue to evolve, and they’ve recently added A.I. tools to their repertoire too.
- Lite: Starting at $12 USD per month
- Standard: Starting at $35 USD per month
- Premium: Starting at $80 USD per month
Constant Contact empowers you to stay in touch with your contacts using email, texting, and social media.
Pros & Cons
|+ Good entry-level pricing
+ Easy to use
+ Brainless audience segmentation features
+ Stats displayed in the dashboard; more detailed stats available in the Reporting section
+ An array of attractive templates
+ Great automation features
|– The best automation features are reserved for higher-priced plans
– Prices increase rapidly as your list size grows
– The user interface is a little buggy
– While there are plenty of templates, many are a little dated at this point
Constant Contact has managed to keep up with the times. Since they’ve been in existence for nearly three decades, their efforts to remain relevant are commendable.
One of the things users love most about Constant Contact is its easy-to-use interface. Setting up your first campaign is a breeze, and that goes for just about anything else you might set up using the service – newsletters, landing pages, social media posts, and more.
The interface is sort of a double-edged sword, though, in that it can be unresponsive at times, especially in embedding video content. While Constant Contact does have mobile apps, they are lacking the functionality users expect from them.
As I mentioned earlier, all growing creators and businesses need automation, and I’m happy to report this is one of Constant Contact’s strong suits. You can create audience segments yourself and organize your lists by location, tags, email activity, and more. If you don’t mind paying for the additional functionality, you can get Constant Contact to organize your audience into four categories – most engaged, somewhat engaged, least engaged, and everyone else.
Being around for longer has certain advantages, and Constant Contact has had time to add a ton of mobile-friendly email templates to its platform over the years. The placeholders offer some ideas on what to include in your campaigns. You can also have Constant Contact automatically create a custom template based on your website’s design.
Again, its strengths are sometimes its weaknesses too, and Constant Contact’s templates aren’t exactly fresh off the press. While you can customize the templates to an extent, the options are kind of limited.
Overall, though, Constant Contact is a solution that can scale with use, and it has the right goods to be worthwhile for those just getting started and more advanced marketers alike.
AWeber is another old-guard email marketing service. Founded in 1998, over a million entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations have used AWeber to communicate with their audiences and grow their ventures.
- Free: $0 USD
- Lite: starting at $12.50 USD per month
- Plus: starting at $20.00 USD per month
- Unlimited: starting at $899 USD per month
AWeber is a good all-rounder and doesn’t necessarily have any standout features. It comes with autoresponder functionality, reporting, list segmentation, a landing page builder, integration, basic eCommerce features, and more.
Pros & Cons
|+ Free plan to get started
+ Reasonably priced plans
+ Easy to use
+ Solid selection of templates, newsletters, and landing pages
+ Build-in landing page builder
+ Excellent customer support
+ Basic eCommerce features
+ Decent integration features
|– You pay for unsubscribed contacts sitting in your account
– You can’t use multiple segments when sending campaigns
– More affordable options exist
– No A/B testing functionality for landing pages
Not surprisingly, AWeber has a huge library of mobile-ready newsletter templates, with over 600 available (although some are merely variants on established themes). With the Free and Lite plans, however, you can only access a limited number of templates, so users beware. You need at least the Plus plan to be able to access all.
As with Constant Contact, some of AWeber’s templates look a little dated. In this case, quantity mostly makes up for quality. Plus, you can still create customized templates if you prefer, and there is a “Smart Designer” option, which will analyze your site’s formatting and attempt to duplicate it (with mixed results).
AWeber makes a rather bold claim, that they invented autoresponders in 1998. That may be true, but AWeber’s autoresponder feature set is about average. AWeber has multiple templates for autoresponder campaigns, though (like welcome sequences, lead magnet series, YouTube newsletter, and more), and these do come in very handy.
AWeber’s autoresponder functionality probably isn’t good enough for growing creators and businesses, however, as there’s no way to complete more advanced autoresponder tasks.
AWeber does come with “AWeber Campaigns,” the closest thing they have to marketing automation. But it can’t keep up with Mailchimp or GetResponse’s automation features.
AWeber’s strong suits also include split testing as it lets you create and send up to three variants of your campaign. It offers very competitive functionality when it comes to A/B testing too, with subject lines, different content, etc.
Additionally, AWeber has good reporting out of the box, though you cannot access some of the more advanced features unless you’ve purchased the Plus or Unlimited plan.
Constant Contact and AWeber share much in common in terms of features, which makes AWeber another capable all-rounder.
Best Email Marketing Services Honorable Mentions
- Bandzoogle: Bandzoogle isn’t strictly an email marketing service and rather a website-building and hosting platform for musicians. That said, they do give you the ability to grow your list and send campaigns or newsletters from inside your account. If you ever need to export your list and take it elsewhere, Bandzoogle lets you do that too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best email marketing service for artists?
In our assessment, the best overall email marketing service for artists is ConvertKit. That said, the best service will still depend on the exact nature of your activity and business, as well as your needs and goals. Most platforms offer the features and functionality you need to get up and running, but it makes sense to home in on the right solution for you as your audience starts to grow and you’re paying for your contacts.
Why do I need email marketing software?
First, sending mass broadcasts to your list manually (e.g., using Gmail) is thoroughly impractical or in some cases, a violation of privacy and laws. Second, email marketing software makes the management of your contacts, growth of your list, and sending of campaigns and newsletters a much more manageable task, with reporting on every campaign sent (open rates, click-through rates, etc.).
What types of email marketing are there?
All email marketing is effectively the same, in that all types involve sending campaigns to your audience, or an audience segment. But some marketers do like to think of updates and sales messages as separate from newsletters. Automated “Thank you for your purchase” type messages may also be considered separate, and not “marketing” in the strictest sense.
Which email marketing service is the most affordable?
Mailchimp has long been touted to be the most affordable email marketing service, but ConvertKit is close on its heels, and can even prove more cost-effective over the long haul. Other services offering free plans are also worth checking out, like GetResponse or AWeber.
How can I make money with email marketing?
As with any type of marketing, making money is not a guarantee. But any time you’ve got a new musical release, book, wearable, piece of art, or otherwise, you can send your audience a campaign and include a link where they can go to purchase your offer.
Is it possible to market via email for free?
Yes. Most services offer a free plan or a free trial you can use to send email campaigns for free. Free plans are generally better than free trials, though, as you won’t have a time limit on managing or exporting your email list should you choose not to go with a specific service.
Is email marketing better than social media marketing?
As expert marketer Dan Kennedy says, the best thing you can do as a marketer is execute multiple strategies simultaneously with great urgency. We feel the same way. So, while email marketing is more personal and has better visibility, you can benefit from incorporating social media into your marketing mix, especially if you can use it to grow your email list.
Final Thoughts, Best Email Marketing Services
And that’s everything you need to know about email marketing services for artists. If you’re just getting started, your best bet is to take advantage of a provider like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, GetResponse, or AWeber, which have free plans. On the other hand, if you’re on a massive growth trajectory, you might want to look at ActiveCampaign or more comprehensive digital marketing solutions like Ontraport and HubSpot.
Good luck with your email marketing efforts, and let us know if we can help!