There is no free lunch, supposedly, but there is plenty of free email marketing tools. In this post, I’ll list 17 free tools to accelerate your email marketing program.
Email Service Providers
Many email service providers offer lengthy free trials and even free permanent plans for startups or low-volume senders. Here are three examples.
Constant Contact. One of the oldest and most trustworthy email senders, Constant Contact offers a free 60-day trial without having to provide a credit card number.
Mailchimp, another longtime provider, offers a free plan (not a trial) for companies with 2,000 or fewer subscribers and 12,000 or fewer monthly emails.
Dotdigital, a U.K.-based provider, offers a 14-day free trial.
Coding and Template Help
Not everyone is well versed on designing and coding email templates. Fortunately, there are many services to help.
Chrome DevTools. If you have Chrome on your computer, Chrome Developer Tools can quickly identify potential problems in HTML and other email code. To access, first open the email in Chrome. Then go to View > Developer > Developer Tools. This will display a split screen — email on the left and the code on the right. Highlight an area of the email, and DevTools will show the underlying code in the “Elements” tab. This is useful for identifying and correcting errors, such as with formatting.
Gmail Promotions builder. Gmail teamed with Litmus to provide an easy-to-use code generator for the Gmail Promotions tab. The code generator will guide a user through coding emails to highlight offer details and promo codes.
HTML to Text Email Converter. Some email service providers will not automatically create a text-only version to send to users who cannot accept HTML emails. This tool from Mailchimp allows you to paste the email’s HTML and receive a text-only version.
Deliverability and Reputation
IsNotSpam will check the content of your email and flag areas that may trigger spam filters. Send your proposed email to the specified email address, and IsNotSpam will produce a detailed report of potential problems.
Sender Score from Return Path offers the ability to look-up your email’s sending IP address and domain and receive a score of your sending reputation. It could alert you of deliverability problems if the score is low.
Blacklist check. Even reputable senders can appear on one or more blacklists that impair or block the deliverability of your emails. Bookmark this page from MX Toolbox and periodically check that your sending IP or domain is free of problems.
Email deliverability test. Send Forensics offers a free email deliverability test that compares your company’s email deliverability against others in the industry with regional and worldwide benchmarks.
Previews: subject line, from line, preheaders. Many retailers don’t take advantage of a coordinated “from” line, subject line, and preheader. This service from Zurb will display how all three look on leading email clients. This is a helpful tool to determine, for example, if your subject lines are too long or if preheader text is effective.
Subject Line.com allows you to preview subject lines for potential spam problems — scoring the subject line on a 0-100 scale. It will explain why a particular subject line is a high risk, such as using excessive capitalization.
Email preview tools. Both Litmus and Email on Acid offer free trials. Their services include (a) previewing emails across leading browsers and email clients, (b) spam checkers, and (c) email template builders.
Free Images offers over 300,000 free photos and illustrations for personal or commercial use.