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Free and low-cost email marketing software for your business

3-minute read

Email clients like Microsoft Outlook and Gmail are great for one-to-one business communications. But if you want to run successful email marketing campaigns, you need a different kind of tool: Email marketing applications.

Email marketing software allows you to broadcast a message to a large group of people and track live results such as open rate, click-through rate, social shares and unsubscribes to name a few.

With the advent of social media, some people think that email marketing is passé, but various studies indicate that it still delivers the highest return on investment for direct marketers.

Naturally, email marketing cannot be done without email lists. And while permission-based email marketing has long been advertised as a best practice, Canada’s anti-spam legislation has turned it into a legal requirement. As a result, most Canadian companies nowadays prefer to use double opt-in instead of single opt-in to confirm the explicit permission of their subscribers.

How does email marketing software help?

Email marketing can be used in a variety of forms and the value it brings will depend on your objectives and strategies, but most businesses find it useful to:

  • increase awareness and stay top-of-mind;
  • acquire new customers, while reducing the cost of communication;
  • improve the relevancy of communications with personalization;
  • nurture viable prospects until they’re ready to buy;
  • automate repetitive tasks;
  • up-sell and cross-sell to existing customers;
  • increase customer satisfaction and retention; and
  • solicit referrals.

What does email marketing software do?

Email marketing software in its simplest form allows you to create campaigns, capture and manage subscribers’ information, send emails and track your email campaign’s results.

Some CRM applications nowadays include email marketing capabilities, but marketing automation tools take it one step further by integrating email, your website and social media, and automating specific marketing tasks. They are typically offered at a higher price range and, therefore, have not been included in this list, although some email marketing solutions include automation capabilities.

Free and low-cost email marketing solutions

If you are looking for a low-cost or free email marketing software, you may want to consider the following. (SaaS refers to "software as a service.")

Revised September 2023

This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them.

Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications not offered either in English or in French, or that are neither low cost nor free. When assessing which solution is best for your organization, you will probably consider many other factors.

BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you are an email marketing software vendor and would like us to consider adding your solution, please contact us.