My pick for “the best” email marketing tool


Animated character standing in front of a bunch of files. The caption is 'Best Email Tool'?

My pick for “the best” email marketing tool


Click on the gif above to watch this video on YouTube or click play below to listen to the Podcast version



No, it’s not ActiveCampaign. It’s not MailChimp. It’s not even ConvertKit.

It’s the one for your specific situation! Let’s dive into how to avoid buggy software, dodge overly-complex money wasters, and discover the real tool that’s going to work for your situation.

Here’s my pick for “the best” email marketing tool.


00:00 Introduction

00:23 What people further ahead are doing

01:09 When you’re first starting out

01:25 If you have a clear process, step-by-step plan, and funding

02:16 For the solopreneurs and small business owners

03:04 How techy are you? Here’s what to look for!

03:37 Some essential features

03:56 What a good basic email marketing tool looks like

04:20 WARNING about ActiveCampaign!!

05:29 Why you should avoid all-in-ones

06:11 A few recommendations for simple tools

06:45 Advanced applications of email marketing tools

08:22 Why you should avoid switching

08:49 What to do when you notice a function is missing

09:55 When to go to tech support

10:26 The consequences of switching platforms

12:04 Wrap-up


The transcript is below if you would prefer to read this yourself instead of watching the video!


Welcome back or Welcome To Sidekick COO. I’m Sandra B. Your Sidekick COO and today we’re going to be talking about…”what is the best email marketing software you should be using”. This question comes up all the time. Everybody is always second-guessing the tools that they’re using and everybody is always wondering what is the best tool to use. They’re always looking at all these things that like people who are way further ahead of them are doing.

People who are just starting out in their business will look at what Amy Porterfield or Marie Forlio or James Wedmore or Ryan Levesque or whoever else is doing in their business. And they’ll think “Ooh, I should be doing that too”!

  • I want to do that cool thing where the person’s name shows up on the thank you page
  • I want to do that cool thing where we ask them X number of questions after they sign up
  • I want to do that cool thing where it gives them a personalized countdown for whatever. 

And that’s all fantastic and all of those things are most likely done by a couple of different tools. You know, at some point in time you might wanna get there, but when you’re first starting out, if you’re just on your own in your business, and especially if finances are an issue and you need to keep expenses down, then you’re probably not gonna be able to do all of those fancy things, and that is totally fine. 

Now, there is something to be said that if you have a business model and you know what you’re gonna do. Or, you have a business plan, you have a clear process and a clear step-by-step plan for getting where you’re going, and you have investors or you are investing in your own business, you have the money to float the business for a little while, and you really want to get those fancy things going, that’s up to you. I can’t tell you not to do it. It’s totally your call. Just if you’re going to be doing anything like that, make sure you know your numbers, make sure that you’ve done the due diligence and that you understand how long it’s gonna take for you to break even and start making money.

Don’t go floating your business if you don’t understand or have a really good idea of when you are going to see those financial gains again. 

That aside, for most of us, when we’re talking about what tool we should be using for our email marketing, we’re solopreneurs, we’re small business owners, and we’re tending to do this all of ourselves. We’re wearing all of the hats and we’re just trying to find the best tool to do what we need it to do. And honestly, that’s pretty much any tool. Most of the email marketing platforms out there will do most of the things that you need it to do at this stage in your business. 

It almost doesn’t matter whether you use MailerLite, MailChimp, Convertkit, or you know, any other email marketing software out there. It’s really just a matter of looking at what you specifically need it to do and just double-checking that it does it. I would recommend that if you are not a techy person, you make sure that you choose somewhere that has fantastic customer service and will help you out with things. 

If you are a slightly techy person, but you know you can’t figure everything out yourself, I’d recommend making sure you get a place that has great customer service and a really strong active power users group on Facebook that you can ask questions to.

You’re gonna want one that has really good tutorials and a really good knowledge base so that you can find the answers that you’re looking for. You want one that is going to let you control how you’re running your list, how you’re tagging and how you’re organizing. And you’re gonna want one that’s not gonna hinder you in any way and has a really good sender reputation (which most of them do) and one that is fairly intuitive and easy to use. 

So I would say when you’re first starting out, unless you’re super super techy and really know that you’re gonna use the features, you will want something a little lightweight. You want something that can do automations, that can do broadcasts, and maybe even it does a landing page here and there if you need that functionality. However, you don’t necessarily need Infusionsoft, you don’t need an Entreport, and you don’t even necessarily need an Active Campaign. 

My Advice:

If you’re thinking about Active Campaign, I am just going to warn you against it right now. In the past, they have been okay. Right now I don’t know what’s happening there. I know that they’re doing a lot of development and I know that things are breaking constantly. Everything is glitchy, everything is not working. I think I’ve seen a slight improvement in the last three weeks, but overall, not my favorite tool at the moment, even though it’s the tool I use. 

Their customer service and tech support are not great. I can count on one hand without using even all of my fingers, how many times I’ve actually gotten something fixed by contacting Tech support at Active Campaign. And I have had to go to Tech Support at Active Campaign numerous times because it’s not just me that uses Active Campaign. Many of my clients use Active Campaign as well. 

Yeah, so I’ve had to go to Tech Support a lot, probably 50 times in a year, which is way more than you should ever have to go to Tech Support. I’ve had them resolve an issue maybe once or twice, possibly, I don’t even think it was twice. So right now I would not recommend Active Campaign no matter what. I’m finding it very challenging to use reliably, pretty much anything else out there seems to work.

The one thing I would say maybe not to do is…don’t get an all-in-one. Don’t go for like Kartra and do use their email marketing and all of their stuff. Don’t go for Kajabi because you’re gonna do a course and so you’re gonna have them do your email marketing. You want an email marketer that’s a marketing platform that’s going to be pretty flexible and that’s going to let you do all the things you need to do.

And typically when it’s part of an all-in-one, it’s lacking. There’s like functionality that’s missing. It’s not usually very intuitive and there are almost always some problems with it. I haven’t found an all-in-one yet where the email marketing is really, really good and you really want your email marketing to be pretty darn good. 

My Recommendation

So if you’re just starting out, Convertkit is usually my go-to recommendation. I’ve seen people use MailerLite and love it. I’ve seen people use Flowdesk (I think that’s the one) I think Flowdesk is the one that I don’t recommend because it doesn’t let you do tagging. It kind of does all the tagging itself. It doesn’t let you be in control of that. But yeah, I’ve had people using MailChimp for years, getting to a million dollars in revenue and using MailChimp and it’s totally fine. Really you just need something basic for a long, long, long time. 

The only time you need something a little bit more high-end is if you know you’re going to use its functionalities of it. If you know that there’s things that you need to or want to be able to do in your email marketing tool that you can’t do right now.

For instance, if you want your email marketing tool to:

  • automatically add new people that go through a specific automation into, I don’t know, like a Facebook Ads audience or
  • you want it to track people when they sign up for email and if they then later go to your website
  • you wanna track people through out different funnels of where they came in and when they bought and then use certain tools within the program to figure out if this person is likely to be a good fit for product A versus product B
  • You wanna do some lead scoring or something like that where not just tags, but you’re actually assigning scores to people as they come through, as they inter engage in your content.

With Scoring, you can say, oh well this person really really likes this type of content. This product is probably really good for them versus you know, somebody else that came through and is not engaging in that content at all. And therefore probably that product that has to do with that content wouldn’t be a good fit, right? So if you see the need for it and you know you’re going to use it, then go for something a little bit more robust.

But other than that, if you’re just starting out, if you just need some basic automations, go with something a little smaller, Convertkit, MailChimp, whatever you wanna use, just even get demos. Don’t be afraid to chat with somebody and get a demo. What you don’t want to do is just switch. You don’t wanna switch because you see somebody else that you really, really love using a different tool and you want to make sure that you’re using the best. You don’t want to switch like numerous times. 

If you’re using an email marketing platform right now and it’s working for you, stick with it. Don’t change until it’s no longer working. And if you know that you’re gonna need some features that don’t, that aren’t included in your email marketing tool right now, now, but you probably don’t need them for the next year or two, make sure they know that. 

Make sure your email marketing provider knows what tools, what functionality, and what services you are looking for in that tool. That way they can put it potentially on their roadmap. If enough people request a certain functionality in an email marketing tool, a lot of the time, especially anyone that’s really under development, they’re going to listen to that and they’re going to potentially implement it. So I really like tools that are open with their roadmaps and have a spot where you can actually request new features. But yeah, definitely if, if you think that there’s like functionality that’s missing, it’s not enough necessarily that you’re gonna jump ship right now, but you’d really like it, make sure you submit it as a feature request. Because tech companies and software companies do look at that. They do look at what their actual existing users want so that they can make the tool that everybody needs, right?

The same as any time you have an issue, don’t be afraid to go to tech support, make sure that you notify them because sometimes it might actually just be a feature that’s missing. Sometimes it’s actually something that’s broken and needs to be fixed and sometimes it’s a user error for sure, but it’s worth reporting as often as possible because if it’s a system that continuously breaks, they need to put some time and money into it. So don’t be afraid to communicate with your software providers. 

Other than that, yeah, I would just say if your current tool is working for you, just stick with it because you don’t want to be moving often. Every time you move your email marketing platform, you need to reteach your audience and your audience’s email providers that you are a safe sender, and that you are someone that they wanna see in their inbox. You have to ask your audience again to make sure to move you out of the primary tab and make sure to double-check that you’re not hitting spam and all of that stuff.

Your send-ability, “send-ability” ???? your deliverability does go down. Even when you move to a platform that has a really good deliverability rate and a really good, you know, safe sender score, your specific deliverability is still going to suffer because you are delivering from a new IP address. So you’re like a new sender. You have to train up the algorithms again.

So if you’re with someone right now, stay with it until you actually really need some features that aren’t included. And if you haven’t found a tool yet, don’t go with top-of-the-line unless you know that you are really, you are gonna sit there and use those tools that are included in that top-of-the-line. You’re gonna use them now. Right away. Cuz you want to get a return on that investment because it does cost a lot of money to use those higher-end services.

So don’t go if you’re not a techy person, don’t go with the higher-end thing unless you have somebody that can do it for you or you’re going to hire somebody to do it for you and you know you’re gonna use those features so that you can get your return on your investment.

And that’s it! If you like this video, please make sure to actually “like” it and subscribe and then also send it to somebody else who needs to hear it.

If you know a new entrepreneur, a new business owner that doesn’t have an email marketing tool yet, or if you have somebody that you know has been thinking about where to move to, please send them this video. 

It’ll be a personal favor to me, but also it’ll be definitely useful to them to understand when and why they should actually consider moving or not. So feel free to share. 

Don’t forget together, we thrive. 

Talk to you later.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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