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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 for successful email marketing campaigns, you need more specialized email marketing applications.

Email marketing software enables you to broadcast messages to large groups and track real-time metrics like open rates, click-through rates and social shares.

Despite the rise of social media, email marketing remains particularly effective, delivering the highest return on investment for direct marketers.

While permission-based email marketing has long been advertised as a best practice, Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) has turned it into a legal requirement. As a result, many Canadian companies now prefer a double 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. Businesses commonly use it to:

  • Increase awareness and stay top-of-mind
  • Acquire new customers while reducing the cost of communications
  • Improve the relevancy of communications with personalization
  • Nurture viable prospects until they’re ready to buy
  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Implement up-selling and cross-selling strategies to existing customers
  • Increase customer satisfaction and retention rates
  • Solicit referrals

What does email marketing software do?

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

Some CRM applications 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 added to this list, although some email marketing solutions include automation capabilities.

AI capabilities in email marketing software

AI capabilities empower you to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, driving higher engagement, conversions and ROI. Explore how they can save you time to:

Segment your lists based on demographics, behaviour and engagement history for highly targeted campaigns.

Create dynamic personalized content that changes based on each subscriber's profile and past interactions, allowing for targeted and tailored email campaigns that resonate with recipients.

Recommend products or services based on past behaviour, increasing customer satisfaction and sales.

Optimize send times by analyzing engagement patterns and historical data for maximum impact.

Generate and test different subject lines to optimize open and click-through rates.

Automate A/B testing by identifying the most effective email variations to optimize campaign performance.

Increase customer retention and loyalty by identifying at-risk customers and personalizing re-engagement strategies.

Free and low-cost email marketing solutions

If you are looking for low-cost or free email marketing software, you may want to consider the following.

Revised March 2024

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.

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