Written by Sabrina Dougall Reviewed by James Macey Updated on September 15, 2023 On this page What Is an Email Marketing CRM? Keap – Best Overall Marketing CRM Freshmarketer – Best Email Marketing CRM for Automations Act! – Best for Ease of Use HubSpot – Best Integrated Email CRM How We Test Verdict FAQs Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. When it comes to email marketing CRM tools, our recommendation for small business is Keap. Its sophisticated lead segmentation combines with an email design editor for reliable automated outreach. It's not the cheapest, however, so keep reading if you're looking for a more affordable solution. What Are the Best Email Marketing CRMs? These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Clicking on the links will take you to the provider's website or to the review further down this page.Keap – Best Overall Email Marketing CRMFreshmarketer – Best Email Marketing CRM for AutomationsAct! – Best for Ease of UseHubSpot – Best Integrated Email CRMYou may have already weighed up the most popular CRM systems, and now you're looking to focus on an email-specific solution. Here are the main factors you need to consider when choosing a product:The price needs to be within your budgetAutomation should be the right level of complexity for your business modelEmail design ideally includes templates you can customizeLimits on the number of contacts and emails you can send per monthEach of the above are very specific to the exact nature of your business, so you should carefully consider your priorities. In this article, we've assessed the best CRM for email marketing according to how well it supports the essential lead nurturing process. Our expert research includes first-hand testing of each product, an assessment of value for money, and direct comparisons with similar products.What's on this Page 01 | What Is an Email Marketing CRM? 02 | Keap – Best Overall Marketing CRM 03 | Freshmarketer – Best Email Marketing CRM for Automations 04 | Act! – Best for Ease of Use 05 | HubSpot – Best Integrated Email CRM 06 | How We Test 07 | Verdict 08 | FAQs HubSpot's free tool enables you to create marketing campaigns with personalized emails. What Is an Email Marketing CRM?An email marketing CRM is a database tool with email marketing automations enabling you to engage new and existing customers. The software replaces the need to write up individual emails and send them at the exact right moments to clients, partners, and leads in your database. You can set the CRM system to deliver emails triggered by certain customer actions or calendar dates, use templates to design marketing campaigns, and carry out A/B testing to optimize open rates.Benefits of Email Marketing CRMThese tools are huge time savers because they save on manual tasks like sending emails at certain times. Email CRMs for small businesses enable your account managers to work in a connected way. Here are the other benefits:Loyalty: Improved customer retentionRemarketing: Boosted customer lifetime valueBranding: Long-term growth for your businessData: Understanding how customers interact with your email contentEfficiency: Execute segmented campaigns based on customer preferencesTesting: Learn what conversion techniques successfully drive salesFeedback: Carry out customer satisfaction surveys at scaleCost: Save on the phone bill by automating the customer onboarding processTraffic: Boost visitors to certain pages on your website with links to your contentSecurity: Block malware and protect dataCleaning: Eliminate duplicate data with contact mergingCompliance: Automate opt-out and ensure you're acting in line with regulationsDivision: Ensure junior staff cannot access certain client data Keap – Best Overall Email Marketing CRM Keap Pricing $159-$289 per month Competitor Quotes Who it's best for Keap is a great CRM system, yet it's a more expensive option than most, and therefore an investment best suited to scaling business operations. Marketing and sales managers in industries such as fast-moving consumer goods, ecommerce, fashion retail, professional services, insurance, and technical or support services will benefit from a Keap subscription. Read more + Read less - Strengths Unlimited automated workflows Dedicated account manager Unlimited storage Weaknesses Plan limited to two users Limited contacts Pricier than other plans Pricing See more See less PlanPrice Pro 2 users included ($29 per additional user), 1500 contacts $159 per month (billed annually) $199 per month (billed monthly) Max 3 users included ($29 per additional user) 2,500 contacts $229 per month (billed annually) $289 per month (billed monthly) We favour Keap for email marketing automation overall for its useful automation and lead segmentation features. While some CRM systems have email marketing tacked on as an afterthought, Keap is designed as a marketing-first tool. It allows unlimited email marketing drip campaigns, and unlike monday sales CRM, there's an email design editor for eye-catching inbox marketing.Keap will help you to pick up on loose ends when it comes to lead nurturing, thanks to scheduled reminders and sales pipeline automations.Keap's Email Marketing FeaturesSync with Gmail or OutlookAutomatic lead segmentation based on selected criteriaEmail templates for newsletters, broadcasts, ecommerce and moreRemarketing with email automationA/B testing on email typesCampaign effectiveness reportsReminders sent automaticallyKeap's automation library gives you ideas on time-saving sales and marketing email methods.Keap's Additional Marketing FunctionalitiesText message marketing ($9 per month with Pro or included with Max)100+ custom fields to store business-specific informationLead scoring (Max and Max Classic plans only)Calendar sync and appointment schedulingAutomatically request Google reviewsMobile app for marketing and sales managers Freshmarketer – Best Email Marketing CRM for Automations Freshmarketer Pricing $0-$359 per month Go to Freshworks Who it's best for Freshmarketer is ideal for ecommerce entrepreneurs (anyone who is selling online), particularly those migrating data from Shopify or WooCommerce. It's better for ambitious smaller businesses attracting customers through online channels including social media, email, and messaging apps. Read more + Read less - Strengths Custom workflows (quick to set up) Contact segmentations Clear, attractive dashboard Marketing analytics Weaknesses Limited customer chatbot sessions A/B testing costs extra Website-triggered emails Enterprise only Pricing See more See less PlanPrice Growth 2,000 marketing contacts $19 per month (billed annually) $23 per month (billed monthly) Pro 5,000 marketing contacts $149 per month (billed annually) $179 per month (billed monthly) Enterprise 10,000 marketing contacts $299 per month (billed annually) $359 per month (billed monthly) A product under the Freshworks umbrella, Freshmarketer is the best email marketing CRM for automations thanks to its custom user journeys. You use “journey playbooks” which are basic templates that are easy to edit and amend marketing moves to suit your lead generation process.We liked the smooth interactivity and attractive graphics of the CRM dashboard; every time you mouse over a different journey type, the section flips over to reveal the target audience and use case. That made it clear and easy to interpret.Freshmarketer's broad range of marketing channels enables you to synch your email marketing to your wider customer outreach campaigns. It's a more comprehensive marketing toolkit than Less Annoying CRM, which lacks a built-in email client, workflow automations, and web forms.Freshmarketer Email Marketing FeaturesEmail templates (20, 100 or 500 depending on plan)Different emails based on customer journey typesMultiple email subscription types (5, 25 or 50)Timezone-based email delivery (on Pro and Enterprise plans)Custom domain names for marketing emails (Pro and Enterprise plans)Emails triggered by user action on website (Enterprise only)Customer journey playbooks give you inspiration for email marketing automations.Freshmarketer Additional Marketing FunctionalitiesMarketing journey workflows which you can customizeReal-time customer trackingWhatsApp messages triggered by certain actionsSMS messaging triggered by certain actionsFacebook, LINE, and Google Business messenger integrationsShopify back-in-stock notificationsData import and exportChat widget with FAQs, and AI chatbot builder More Leads, Please! Marketing automation can increase the volume of leads for your business by 80%, according to research. Act! – Best for Ease of Use Act! Pricing $30-$399 per user, per month Competitors Who it's best for Act! is ideal for keeping sales and marketing teams organized in smaller and medium-sized businesses. Email campaign features connect with your CRM sales management system to improve deal closure rates. Read more + Read less - Strengths Customizable email templates Campaign calendar view (with filters) Real-time campaign metrics Email surveys for data collection Weaknesses Phone support costs extra A/B testing on Advanced plan only SMS messaging costs extra Pricing See more See less PlanPrice Act! Premium Cloud CRM + Marketing Automation Basic $30 per user, per month (billed annually) or $40 with desktop sync Act! Premium Desktop CRM + Marketing Automation Basic $37.50 per user, per month (billed annually) Marketing Automation Select Must have Cloud or Desktop CRM $79 per user, per month Marketing Automation Complete Must have Cloud or Desktop CRM $199 per user, per month Marketing Automation Advanced Must have Cloud or Desktop CRM $399 per user, per month Act! marketing automation offers a common-sense tool that neatly connects your sales and marketing operations. We found its dashboard very easy to navigate, with the right amount of on-screen guidance on how to use the functions. While tools like Salesforce or HubSpot can seem overwhelming in their complexity, Act! is simple to use without being too basic.Act! Email Marketing FeaturesEmail drip marketing with multiple stages170+ email templates (not the most comprehensive or stylish but you can make your own)Campaign calendar with filter viewsVisual marketing automation workflow editorCompliance tools to manage spam and delivery ratesReal-time campaign metrics (track clicks, opens, and compare stats)Carry out polls and surveys that save customer responses in databaseAutomation workflows are not drag-and-drop but you can click any feature to edit it.Act! Additional Marketing FunctionalitiesSocial media campaignsLanding pages with client data capture formsManage which team members have access to functionsVisual history of prospect engagementMaps, social profiles, and other contextual contact info from the webMobile app for Apple and AndroidProductivity dashboard to show your top deals and activitiesComplete and Advanced Plans Only:Marketing automations connect with sales-side actionsDetailed user behavior tracking (dwell time, ROI, leads generated)Lead scoring from engagement behaviorWebsite activity tracking HubSpot – Best Integrated Email CRM HubSpot Pricing $18-$3,600+ per month Go to HubSpot Who it's best for The Marketing Hub is suitable for marketers of any experience level, as its onboarding is tailored to your level of knowledge. Certainly a vital tool for PR and brand management, plus increasing engagement with new and existing customers. Read more + Read less - Strengths Customizable marketing emails Over 1,500 app integrations Scalable Weaknesses Campaign comparison data only on pricier plans Up to 10 automations on Starter plan No phone support on Starter plan Pricing See more See less PlanPrice Professional and Enterprise plans: Must pay for onboarding at $3,000 or $6,000 Marketing Hub Starter 1 user, 1,000 marketing contacts $18 per month (billed annually) $20 per month (billed monthly) CRM Suite Starter Marketing Hub Starter (1,000 marketing contacts), Sales Hub Starter (2 paid users), Service Hub Starter (2 paid users), and more From $20 per month (billed annually) From $30 per month (billed monthly) Marketing Hub Professional 1 user, 2,000 marketing contacts $800 per month (billed annually) $890 per month (billed monthly) Marketing Hub Enterprise 2 users, 10,000 marketing contacts $3,600 per month (billed annually) No monthly plan available Visually appealing, with adaptable tools and paid add-ons as you need, HubSpot's Marketing Hub is best-in-class software for outreach, conversion, and customer engagement. It's the best for integrating with the rest of your software set-up, as HubSpot has over 1,500 app integrations (including MailChimp and Xero). On top of that, HubSpot offers further CRM tools for sales and customer service functions, if you're looking to add those.Advanced marketing technology functions, including web analytics and social media integration, give you better insight into the effectiveness of your campaigns. HubSpot's automations workflows are complicated, but likely to be invaluable for sales and marketing operations at scale.One downside, however, is that you'll only access lead scoring on the pricey Marketing Hub Enterprise package (from $3,600 per month). If this is a critical feature for your pipeline protocol, you should consider Act! Complete, a far more budget-friendly CRM at $199 per month.HubSpot Email Marketing FeaturesEmail design optimized for viewing on smartphoneDrag-and-drop email editor (very easy to customize and looks great)Bulk email sendsSegment target audiences and send personalized email using automationOne inbox for email and live chat messagesData reports to monitor targetsEmail response trackingHubSpot's email automation set-up offers handy tips at each stage.HubSpot Additional Marketing FunctionalitiesCustom data dashboards to understand your performanceMobile app (iOS and Android)Website traffic analyticsLive chat to convert website visitorsRetarget ads on Facebook, Google, or LinkedInConnect marketing data with sales and customer service CRMProfessional and Enterprise Plans Only:A/B email and landing page testingFacebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter integration (publish posts, monitor performance)Group content together into campaigns you can trackGoogle Search Console integrationSEO analyticsCampaign performance comparisonWhatsApp integration How We Test CRM Systems for BusinessesWe tested 13 market-leading CRM systems to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, cost, scalability, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to US businesses.Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in six main categories of investigation and 13 subcategories – in fact, we covered 84 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!Our main testing categories for CRM systems are:Features: the functionalities and capabilities provided by the CRM software, such as contact management, lead and opportunity tracking, and task and activity management.Help and Support: the resources and assistance available to users when they encounter issues or require guidance while using the CRM software.Customization: the ability to tailor the CRM software to suit the specific needs and processes of the organization, e.g. customizing fields, layouts, and workflows.Scalability: the ability of the CRM software to accommodate the growth and changing needs of the organization, such as the capacity to handle a growing customer database.Price: the cost associated with using the CRM software. It includes factors such as licensing fees, subscription plans, and additional charges for add-on modules or features.Team Structure – Sales CRM: determining if a platform makes it easier to manage large sales teams, including team dashboards, team hierarchies, and team inboxes.Usability – Small Business CRM: assessing the simplicity of the interface, the ease of navigating through menus and options, and the overall user experience. You Can't Beat Keap After carefully weighing up the competitors, we champion Keap as the best email marketing CRM for your small business. Although it's not the biggest name on the market, we think it's an underrated platform that offers the right amount of automation for performance marketing campaigns.Unlike Act! and HubSpot, you can access A/B testing on all tiers of Keap, to understand what makes your audience convert on a marketing email. The automated follow up features of Keap are a life-saver when it comes to managing floods of enquiries during busier trading periods. You're much less likely to lose track of valuable deals with this mid-priced tool.But if you're not certain Keap is a keeper, we're happy to set up introductions to sales managers of other CRM tools. If you want quotes for the best CRM for your business simply let us know how to get in touch. FAQs Which CRM platforms are considered the best for email marketing? The best CRM email marketing platforms are: Keap, Freshmarketer, Act!, and HubSpot. What features should I look for in a CRM for email marketing? The best email marketing CRM platforms include:Email personalizationAutomated sendsCampaign monitoringOpen and response trackingA/B testingOption to add more marketing contactsIntegration with your sales CRM How can I measure the ROI of using a CRM for email marketing? To measure return on investment (ROI) of email marketing CRM, you should take into account data from a wide trading period (minimum one year). This ensures your results aren't skewed because of the time of year.Next, you need to choose a success metric. This could be the number of leads generated, or, more concretely, the value of sales, purchases, and deals closed as a result of contact with email marketing from your CRM. Then add up the total costs of your email CRM tools, and divide the total by the sum of your sales. The final figure is your ROI. If it is negative, then you have a negative ROI, whereas a positive figure is a positive ROI. Should I choose a regular CRM and integrate it with email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact instead? It depends on what you really need for your business. If your company handles a high volume of sales enquiries with a long or complex pipeline then you will definitely benefit from a sales-specific CRM. If marketing is less of a priority, then in this case, you could simply choose a regular CRM and integrate an email marketing automation tool.On the other hand, if you operate within ecommerce or retail, then your email marketing is likely to align much more closely with your sales operations. In this case, we recommend an email-specific CRM like Keap. Written by: Sabrina Dougall Web Marketing Expert Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master’s in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation. Reviewed by: James Macey Senior Business Software Researcher James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.