Digital marketing now spans countless platforms and communications channels from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to SMS and interactive chatbots.

Though many have predicted that email would be replaced by social media, then live chat, email has not only proven that it’s here to stay, it remains one of the most effective marketing channels around.

Statista estimates that 3.9B people use email worldwide, while a 2019 DMA report found that for every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect an average ROI of $42.

Clearly, email marketing is a critical part of any digital strategy, which means choosing the right email automation software is a pretty big decision.

Below, we’ll look at some of our top picks for email automation software.

What is Email Automation Software?

Email automation software allows users to send emails automatically, based on a predefined set of triggers and actions.

These tools allow marketers to nurture leads and build customer loyalty by automatically delivering the right message at the right time.

Compared to one-off email blasts that send the same message to all of your contacts, email automation tools make it easy to send targeted messages to each audience segment.

While there’s a lot of variation between email automation platforms, many of today’s best platforms include sophisticated workflow builders and AI and machine-learning capabilities.

They also allow users to connect multiple data sources so that you can create personalized campaigns based on behavior, purchase history, or personal preferences.


Drip has rebranded as an e-commerce CRM as opposed to an email automation platform.

They still offer email automation and marketing tools, that change just reflects the fact that the platform has expanded into new areas and caters to e-commerce brands.

That said, if you’re just looking for a user-friendly email marketing tool, Drip offers a solid lineup of features that all types of business will find useful.

Among Drip’s marketing automation features, you’ll find features like lead scoring and website visitor tracking.

You’ll also find lead management features like lead capture, lead nurturing, interaction tracking, and source tracking, though those looking for more robust sales intelligence may do better with another platform.

Key email marketing features:

  • Auto-responders
  • Event-triggered email
  • Landing page/form builder
  • WYSIWYG email editor
  • Dynamic content
  • Template manager
  • A/B testing
  • Subscriber management
  • Lead scoring
  • Segmentation
  • Website visitor tracking
  • Analytics and marketing ROI reporting tools

Drip’s email automation software works for beginners and pros alike.


ActiveCampaign calls itself an all-in-one marketing platform that allows you to do a ton with email. Users can create workflows based on if/then logic, setting rules that correspond to customer behavior.

The platform’s built-in AI and machine learning capabilities allow marketers to personalize on an individual level, use predictive sending to ensure emails arrive at the right time, and assess win probability to help users prioritize deals.

Key email marketing features:

  • Email segmentation
  • Email autoresponders
  • Broadcast emails
  • Triggered emails
  • Autoresponders
  • Email funnels
  • Scheduling
  • Dynamic content
  • Predictive content
  • Event tracking
  • Site messages


SendinBlue has evolved from being a purely transactional email serve into a comprehensive suite of marketing tools, as well as chat, SMS, marketing automation, and a built-in CRM.

The platform’s built-in automations allow users to set up goal-based campaigns and even include sales-specific tools like lead scoring and custom triggers that prevent leads from slipping through the cracks.

Key email marketing features:

  • Drag-and-drop editing tool makes it easy to design emails, landing pages, forms, and more.
  • Personalization features allow users to create tailored campaign content that engages on an individual level.
  • Marketing automation features allow users to automate messaging sequences and segmentation.
  • Transactional email. SendinBlue’s transactional email feature will enable users to design the messaging, engagement.


ConvertKit is an email automation tool initially built for bloggers and solo-preneur types, though today, it also caters to e-commerce stores and other online businesses.

The platform aims to make things simple for users, offering a limited set of email and landing page templates that aren’t entirely customizable—the logic here is, you can’t mess them up.

It’s worth mentioning, ConvertKit only supports text-based emails, so it might not be the best tool for users looking for more

Additionally, the platform includes a simple automation builder that allows users to connect triggers to events, actions, or conditions. Essentially, you’ll design workflows by selecting a trigger, then choosing which action should follow.

Key email marketing features:

  • User-friendly automation builder
  • Landing page, form, and email templates
  • Subscriber management
  • Campaign reporting

ConvertKit is best suited for small operations like freelancers, bloggers, podcasters, and e-commerce shops. Organizations with multiple sellers or high-volume email requirements will probably want to look elsewhere.


GetResponse is another marketing automation tool that comes loaded with a full suite of features. Like ActiveCampaign, GetResponse comes with a landing page builder, email marketing tools, ready-made automation workflows, and now, a webinar tool.

Key email marketing tools include:

  • Automated email campaigns. Users can trigger based on events like abandoned carts, purchases, downloads, and more.
  • Newsletter broadcasts for announcing one-off updates and offers
  • Autoresponders for nurturing subscribers
  • List segmentation
  • Automated blog digests to encourage readership

GetResponse’s main advantage is that it offers a comprehensive set of features and integrations that can take on the lion’s share of your lead gen efforts.

However, the platform doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to email deliverability.

Drift Email

Drift Email isn’t a traditional email marketing platform. Instead, we bring chatbots into the inbox to further enhance the sales process.

The platform’s built-in AI can separate human responses from autoresponders, route incoming messages to the right rep, and track responses and other metrics alongside sales data.

Email bots automate inbox interactions and handle warm hand-offs to sellers when buyers are ready to engage.

Additionally, the Drift Email automatically updates your CRM and marketing automation platforms with data sourced from email correspondence, keeping track of job changes, unsubscribes, and updated contact details (which by the way, improves your all-around deliverability rates).

Key email marketing features:

  • Manage conversations and replies
  • Email bots
  • Data cleaning and enrichment
  • Lead surfacing
  • Integrations with Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, and other tools you use every day

Final Thoughts

As you can see from the examples outlined above, email marketing automation software comes in many different forms.

You’ve got your all-in-one platforms like GetResponse and ActiveCampaign that can take on the bulk of your marketing tasks.

There’s the simplicity of ConvertKit, a platform that touts its limited options as a strength, and solutions like Drip that keeps expanding into new territory.

When selecting a platform, there’s a lot to consider. Deliverability rates, editing tools, and niche-specific features such as lead scoring or advanced automation make your job easier.

Learn how you can make your email automation campaigns more conversational with our free email templates.

12 Conversational Email Templates To Steal Today

Email isn’t broken. We’ve just been doing it wrong. Unlock your email’s hidden potential by making your messages truly conversational.

Get 12 free templates now

Join 5,000+ customers using Drift to connect with their customers NOW.

Get a demo