25 Tools for Email Marketers Who Want an Unfair Advantage

28 January 2015

Do you struggle with staying up to date with email marketing technology and email marketing tools? If you do, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, “remaining up to date with current marketing technology” is the #1 most pressing business challenge for B2C marketers according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing Report. It beats out even new business development (#2) and customer acquisition (#3).

remaining up to date with current marketing technology is the #1 most pressing business challenge for B2C marketers according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing Report

To help you stay ahead of the curve and get an edge on your competitors, we’ve compiled a list of our 25 favorite email marketing tools. This is not a list of general marketing tools, or social media marketing tools. These are specifically for email marketers. And while there are a few widely-known favorites listed below, we’ve also found a few gems you’ve probably never heard of. So take a look, and try out just a few. Your email marketing is about to get better.

Analytics, testing & optimization tools for an email coordinator/analyst

1) Touchstone

You already know how important subject lines are. You probably test them. But would you like a tool that might show you which subject line will perform better, before a test is ever run? That’s what Touchstone is for.

The smart people are Alchemy Worx pooled all the data about email subject lies performance they could get their hands on. Then they created this tool to show us how to optimize our email subject lines. Wasn’t that nice?

use Touchstone to test email subject lines

2) Return Path’s Inbox Insight

The title of this blog post mentions getting an unfair advantage. This tool will definitely give you that. Though Return Path’s Inbox Insight is really more of a service than a tool, it will give you detailed and highly actionable information about not just how your emails perform, but how your competitors’ emails perform, too.

Inbox Insight can show how your emails compare to your competitors, to your industry in general, and to other industries too. They break all the stats and metrics down so you have actionable information to optimize your emails with. So if you really do want to be sending best in class emails, it’s time to cheat – I mean – it’s time to get an advantage.

Return Path's Inbox Insight email marketing tools

3) LeadPages

Landing pages are so essential to email marketing that we had to include a landing page tool in this list. Fortunately, we’ve got a great one. LeadPages is pretty much the 800-pound gorilla of squeeze pages, landing pages and any kind of lead generation. It’s also got an array of other list building tools and widgets.

Lead Pages can create landing pages and much more.

4) Email On Acid

More than 50% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. That can mean big headaches for email marketers and designers. There are dozens of different mobile devices, and thus dozens of different ways an email can render. Fortunately, Email on Acid can show you what your email will look like on all those devices. Just to make things even better, it’s integrated into your MailUp account.

Email on Acid shows you what your emails will look like on multiple devices

5) Google Analytics

It’s the go-to analytics tool across the web. Chances are you’ve got it installed already. So why not hook Google Analytics up with MailUp and see how your email subscribers behave once they get to your site?

Use Google Analytics to see how email subscribers behave on your site

6) SenderScore.org

I’m sure you know it already: SenderScore is the magic number for email deliverability. If you’re having trouble with deliverability, or if you just want to check in on it periodically, this is the best tool.

Bonus: This tool will also let you know if you’re on an email blacklist, or if you’ve got a spam trap in your list.

ReturnPath's Sender Score tool

Inbox productivity tools

7) Unroll.me

Do you know how many email lists you’re signed up for? Could you guess? We email marketers tend to like email, and so we often end up on hundreds of email lists. When I first checked my primary inbox with this tool, I discovered I was on 718 email lists.

Fortunately, right after Unroll.me showed me that count, they also listed all the email lists I’m on, and let me unsubscribe from those lists with just one click for each list.

Have you been meaning to reduce the glut in your inbox? This is a great way to save yourself a few hours of very tedious work.

Reduce the inbox glut with Unroll.me

8) HubSpot Sales

Ever wonder if someone received your email message? Would you like to know if they opened it once, much less 24 times? Then HubSpot Sales is for you. Especially if you’re in sales, or if you pitch people, it can be heartening to know if someone ever opened your email.

This is one of my favorite tools for sending cold emails. It helps me know if I at least got close to getting someone to reply to my pitch.

9) Inbox by Gmail

It’s been hailed by some as the next evolution in email. And it’s been hailed by others as the destroyer of email marketing. Inbox is a nice upgrade for a lot of email functions and tasks, and it’s definitely got a nicer design than Gmail, but that’s about it. My favorite feature is that I get an alert on my phone when there’s a new email from someone Inbox recognizes as important.

Inbox by Gmail

List building tools

10) PadiAct

PadiAct is basically pop-ups 2.0. It uses behavioral targeting to optimize when website visitors see the opt-in prompt. Then it maximizes that ideal moment by offering a customized the opt-in message based on how a user has been behaving on your site.

You can set up to 20 different user actions to trigger a variety of different opt-in messages, and you can split-test everything. The result is far more leads and subscribers. And, it’s integrated with MailUp.

Grow your email list with PadiAct

11) Opt-in Monster

There are dozens, maybe hundreds of different list-building plugins and apps. If I had to pick one solution to make your website a subscriber-generating powerhouse, Opt-in Monster would be a good choice. Hybrid-Connect might be a good runner up, and Leadpages is worth knowing about, too.

Opt-in Monster will let you add opt-in boxes below blog posts, in the footer of your site, in a Hello-Bar like top navigation bar and elsewhere. You’ll be able to split-test everything.

Grow your email list with Opt-in Monster

Tools to remove invalid addresses from old lists

12) BriteVerify

If you’ve collected email addresses over time at offline events (e.g. trade shows) or you have an opt-in email list that you have not used in a while, chances are that there could be a good number of email addresses that are no longer valid. If you email to that list, the number of bounces (i.e. undeliverable messages) could be quite high and hurt your sender reputation.

BriteVerify works by checking your list for addresses that will bounce before you send your emails. It removes those pre-bounced email addresses for you. The result is nearly zero bounces and a more perfect SenderScore.

Reduce your bounce rate with BriteVerify

Marketing automation tools for email marketers

13) Right Inbox

Depending on your company culture, it may either be cool or not cool to send emails at 2 am. But now you can make it look like you’ve sent an email at any time you want by using this cool Gmail plug-in.

Right Inbox has other features, too, like sending you a reminder at a time you specify so you won’t forget to follow up with someone. It can also send you a reminder to reply to a specific email on a specific date.

Right Inbox helps you manage your inbox

14) Zapier

Marketing automation is a hot topic. Unfortunately, marketing automation systems can become way too complex and expensive. Enter Zapier. It is a way for non-programmers to get different tools, apps and services to talk to each other.

And they don’t just talk. Zapier can do if/then logic, so it is smart enough to, say, add someone to a specific email list based on how they fill out a form. If you haven’t heard of Zapier before, or tried it out, you could be wasting thousands of dollars a month. Check out a few examples of zaps with MailUp. And, if you’ve already heard of Zapier, have you heard of IFTTT? It’s a equally brilliant.

Automate marketing tasks with Zapier

Copywriting tools for email copywriters

15) Hemingway App

Clear copy sells. Hemingway can help. It shows you how to make your writing clearer. Sentences that are hard to read will be highlighted in red. The grade level score is also very helpful. I aim for copy that hits about a sixth grade level.

Write more clearly with the Hemingway app

16) Grammarly for Chrome

This is far more than a spell checker. The online version of Grammarly is $30 per month, but the Chrome plugin is free. Grammarly will catch typos, usage errors, clunky sentences and more. Most marketers have had the experience of just one typo destroying a campaign. That’s why we should all be using this.

Grammarly can save you from typos

17) Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer

This is similar to the subject line checker from Alchemy Worx, but it’s for headlines more than subject lines. Still – you know how similar headlines and subject lines are. And you definitely want the articles in your emails to be as clickable as possible.

Headlines are so critical to the success of a piece of writing that old-time copywriters used to spend half their writing time on just the headline. Upworthy’s writers will pen 25 different headlines to ensure they find a winner. Maybe you don’t have to go that far, but try to come up with at least five headlines, then tweak them until one scores better than a 70 with this tool.

Optimize your subject lines and the titles of the articles in your emails with CoSchedule

Tools for email designers

18) BeeFree

Need a free way to easily craft beautiful emails that look good on all devices? Then check out BeeFree. It’s a drag and drop editor designed with email marketing best practices in mind. See our recent post about how to use BeeFree for more information about how to apply today’s email design trends to your messages.

Design your emails for free with the BeeFree email editor tool

19) Gifmaker.me

Animated gifs are one of the more interesting and most underused features of email. I think some marketers may be avoiding animated gifs because they think they’re high-tech, or might cause deliverability issues. They don’t. They’re just simple gif images, and they can be made with this tool in less than 5 minutes.

Gifmaker.me probably won’t win any design awards, but I’ve tried about six other animated gif tools, and this is the easiest to use. It has the most controls for animation speed and size. You can also use animated gifs in your landing pages and blog posts, too.

Make animated gifs quickly and easily with this tool

20) Smush.it and TinyPNG

Full-width images in emails are very popular now. They look great. But you don’t want to hurt your deliverability rates with an email file size that’s too large. That’s why you need these tools.

Reducing file size can require a bit of skill. While you can do it in applications like Photoshop, these two tools are used by the pros because they can reduce files so effectively without compromising on image quality.

Make images super-tiny with Smush it and TinyPNG

21) 99Designs

Afraid you can’t design a nice-looking email? You do have the option of hiring someone, but sometimes it’s hard to find a good freelancer. 99Designs makes it all much easier. For a$299 starter package you submit your specifications, then 20 designers will create an email to suit. All you have to do is to pick the design you like best.

Find a great email designer at 99Designs

22) Paletton

Even with the help of an email design tool like BeeFree, you’ll still need to pick a color palette that’s pleasing. Otherwise your email will never look quite right.

Paletton makes this a snap. You can choose from a monochromatic color scheme with different shades of the same color, or use an adjacent colorscheme or a triad colorscheme. Paletton will show you exactly which colors to use, including their HTML or hexademical colors.

Create a beautiful color pallete

Project and Task Management

23) Trello with Google Calendar as an editorial calendar

Need an elegant way to manage your email production schedule? Try out Trello. This free project management tool is widely used in content development as an idea storage and sorting system. It’s also fantastic at managing and tracking content as it moves through production.

You can also hook Google Calendar up with Trello and make yourself a sophisticated editorial calendar. And, as you may know, Google calendar can in turn be hooked up with Apple’s iCal and other operating system calendars.

Suddenly, you’ll have every phase of your email development assigned, tracked and scheduled. It’s so good you might even start working ahead of deadlines.

Use Trello and Google Calendar for a customizable editorial calendar

Email Monetization

24) LiveIntent

Want to monetize your email list without resorting to spammy solo ads or spending half your time chasing down advertisers? Then you need Live Intent. This company pairs up email marketers and advertisers. It helps you earn a little more money from each email message you send.

Find advertisers for your email newsletters

25) @Pay

What if you could let people place an order and checkout from within an email? That’s what @Pay promises, and what it has been delivering for it’s customers. The mobile payment system is especially good for repeated payments. That’s because the first time you check out with an @Pay-enabled site you will have to fill out a typical checkout process. But after that, you’ve got true mobile payments.

Process payments within emails with AtPay

For an alternative to @Pay, don’t forget the payment icon in the bottom of every Gmail email.

Google Pay

So that’s our rundown of twenty five tools every email marketer should know of. Whether you use them or not is your call, but we do recommend you at least try a few. You’ll like them way more than broccoli.

How about you? Which tools do you use to create great emails? Leave a comment and tell us about them.

This article was written by

Pam Neely

Pam Neely


I hold a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. I’ve built email lists of over 10,000 subscribers with nothing more than search engine traffic, and once ran an A/B split test that resulted in a million dollars a year in additional sales for a client. Basically, I wrote button copy that doubled their conversion rate.

Related articles