The days of harvesting emails using crawlers and spamming are long gone.
Nowadays, email marketing is a highly specialized field and no longer just a case of sending out bulk email blasts and hoping for the best.
Effective email marketing nowadays is all about permission marketing which means accurately targeting potential customers, allowing them to opt-in, engaging them, following-up and ultimately, converting them into clients.
In our extensive research, we found that all the best email marketing solutions are now Cloud based with very few having desktop apps for either macOS or Windows.
The reality is that unless you really want to have everything saved offline on your desktop, you’re really limiting your business by searching for macOS or Windows desktop only email marketing apps.
With this in mind, here are the best platforms to create effective email marketing campaigns on a Mac.
Direct Mail is one of the few desktop email marketing tools that’s designed specifically for Macs.
Although it can’t compare to the other cloud based solutions reviewed here in terms of features, it’s ideal for small businesses that want a Mac desktop solution that works offline.
Direct Mail which has lots of elegant and professional looking template designs to choose from.
The templates are easy to customize although you can only modify things like the amount of columns, titles, text and tables you want to insert.
If you know HTML though, you can import your own templates from scratch or you can import email marketing templates from apps like Apple Mail, Mail Designer, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or any other HTML document.
Direct Mail uses a WYSIWYG interface so you can see your mailshots take shape as you edit them. Adding images is simply a case of dragging and dropping them into the interface and they are automatically optimized for Retina displays.
Particularly useful in Direct Mail is the Email Preview feature which allows you to design test how your newsletter will look in 30 different email clients depending on the email account your customers are receiving in (such as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Thunderbird etc).
The tracking tools in Direct Mail are useful and succinct, providing a clear overview of the opened and unopened rate with the top 5 most clicked links clearly visible.
However Direct Mail definitely is not suitable for businesses with a large subscriber base though and it’s quite basic as an email marketing tool.
For example there are no landing page creation tools, no webinar features and the automated features are very limited.
You can use Direct Mail free for up to 50 mails per month but beyond that you need an unlimited or pay-as-you-go subscription.
Depending on the number of bulk e-mails you want to send, Pay Per Email rates range from $15 for 500 recipients to $99.99 for up to 10,000 recipients.
Direct Mail is the perfect mailing list software for individuals that want a native macOS email marketing application although it lacks the power and marketing automation features of the professional solutions.
If you’re a small business on a tight budget, then the best free email marketing solution you can use on a Mac is ConvertKit.
ConvertKit is an incredibly popular marketing tool used by bloggers, individuals and those that run online courses to promote their brand.
If you’re looking for fancy looking newsletters and mailouts then ConvertKit probably isn’t for you but if you’re looking for an email marketing solution that you can use in minutes, it’s a breath of fresh air.
ConvertKit is ideal for those that want to share what they are doing with their audience without getting bogged down in the complexities of advanced email marketing.
You can start using ConvertKit for free now and the free version allows creation of unlimited landing pages and forms, unlimited traffic, a customizable domain and the ability to manage up to 1000 subscribers.
Pricing: Free / Plans starting from $9/month.
Free plan supports 1000 contacts
Ideal for freelancers or one person businesses looking to promote themselves
Constant Contact has been in the email marketing business over 20 years and is still one of the best email marketing solutions for small businesses.
Constant Contact is an incredibly well designed email marketing solution that takes the complexities of email targeting and makes it easy.
If you’re a small business or non-profit that doesn’t have time to learn the ropes of email marketing but needs an effective, understandable and reliable solution, Constant Contact is an excellent choice.
From automatic welcome emails, subject line testing and contact segmentation years of experience in the email marketing industry has made Constant Contact a very refined tool.
One thing that stands out in Constant Contact is that Contact Management is very well done compared to many email marketing apps and it allows you to import lists from Excel, Outlook, Salesforce and more.
Constant Contact has lots of customizable templates with powerful analytics tool that make it easy to measure the ROI from campaigns and shows you how you can increase conversion rates with different approaches.
Constant Contact can also be integrated with our favorite landing page software LeadPages which enables you to convert visitors into customers quicker.
MailChimp is one of the most popular online email marketing solutions out there and one of the most well known on the market.
Although it has been left behind a bit nowadays, especially when it comes to automated email marketing, there’s still a lot of good reasons to take a closer look.
MailChimp is a popular starting point for those getting started in email marketing because it allows a very generous 12,000 email or 2000 subscriber limit for free.
MailChimp has an excellent template designer, subscriber manager and has iPhone/Android tracking apps. It’s also got lots of tools for targeting and retargeting users.
It’s got excellent tracking tools which show you subscription rate, opening percentages, click rate and other useful stats to help you improve your campaigns.
MailChimp can even recommend the optimum time for sending out mails based on your subscriber behavior and target other subscribers that may be interested in your content.
MailChimp features some of the best third party integration of any email marketing tool out there with the ability to connect to over 2000 apps such as CRM software and project management tools courtesy of Zapier.
One thing to be careful with though with Mailchimp is that it has strict rules on the content of your email marketing campaigns.
Some users report having their accounts suddenly suspended for mentioning things like “making money online” or “internet marketing”.
MailChimp is free for 2,500 mails/500 subscribers which is one of the most generous free deals on the market and there’s no need to give your credit card details in order to use it.
If you need more power, there are monthly payments plans starting from $13+ per month for sending up to 5000 mails to 50,000 subscribers or $350+ per month if you’re a big business with heavy-duty email marketing needs.
ActiveCampaign is easily the most hands-off email marketing system we’ve used.
ActiveCampaign is not just a powerful email marketing platform but also a customer experience automation (CXA) software.
Not only does it do much of the hard work for you by automating email marketing but it’s extremely easy to use.
The main thing we like is that ActiveCampaign makes it extremely easy to create attractive email marketing campaigns that actually work.
ActiveCampaign is built around the idea of Marketing Automation which means that it triggers personalized emails to potential leads based on certain actions they make without you having to do anything.
This intelligent approach to mailout campaigns is not just time-saving but effective too because it’s incredibly well targeted.
The email editor in ActiveCampaign is an easy to use WYSIWYG editor that allows you to drag and drop text and images and customize things like fonts, titles and colors.
There are many themed templates to speed things up and all are optimized for mobile devices too. You can of course manually modify HTML and CSS if you know what you’re doing.
ActiveCampaign also includes its own Sales and CRM system to help bring everything together and manage everything under one app.
Like almost all bulk email software, pricing for Active Campaign depends on the number of recipients you’re sending to.
Active Campaign has Enterprise plans for more than 100,000 subscribers which includes unlimited sending, email marketing, newsletter sending and marketing automation.
If you don’t have the time or money to invest in a full-time email marketing effort, then look no further than OutBoundEngine.
OutBoundEngine is expensive starting at $199 per month but for that price, the company provides its own in-house copy writing, marketing design and tracking services.
All marketing material is branded for your business and the OutBoundEngine team can produce material in just a few days after receiving logos and other assets from you.
This makes OutBoundEngine very different from other solutions and is obviously reflected in the significantly higher price compared to other options.
It means you don’t have the expense of employing your own large in-house marketing team (or any at all) and is definitely worth closer inspection, especially for small businesses.
One other nice thing we like about OutBoundEngine is that it allows you to setup and track your own referral program so that users and customers are encouraged to spread the word about your services.
Pricing for OutBoundEngine mainly depends on the number of subscribers you want to target.
It starts at $199 per month for the Essential Plan for up to 300 contacts which includes branded content for your marketing campaign, two automated email campaigns per month, engagement tracking and support from the OutBoundEngine team whenever you need it.
The Value plan is $299 per month and supports up to 1000 contacts and 30 social media posts per month. The Premium Plan costs $499 per month and supports up to 10,000 contacts plus the bonus of quarterly referral campaigns.
The best thing to do is try a free demo of OutBoundEngine where they’ll ask for you a few details about your business and then send you a sample of the kind of material they can produce for you based on your business and branding.
Pricing: Plans starting from $199/month.
Allows you to contract out email marketing content
Tracking and analysis is done for you
Allows you to setup your own referral program
Only suitable for those that don’t want to create their own content
Email Marketing Templates
When it comes to email marketing templates, most email marketing solutions include their own range of customizable mail out templates although none of them actually allow you to download and edit them on your Mac desktop.
You can however use Mail Designer 365 for Mac which allows you to create professional looking templates without needing any knowledge of HTML.
You can then import the designs in HTML format into any of the email marketing solutions reviewed here.
However, to export your designs you’ll have to pay with in-app purchases starting from $29.49 going up to over $200 for businesses.
Bulk Email Software & Spamming
Using email blast software on a Mac aggressively can quickly earn you a reputation as a spammer among customers.
Spamming (bombarding people with commercial e-mail) or sending Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) should be avoided at all costs and is even illegal in some countries.
You should also only use e-mail marketing software to target customers who have willingly given you their e-mail address for commercial purposes.
Harvesting e-mail addresses from the internet and spamming them may not only be illegal but will have a negative effect on your organizations reputation.
And subscribers should also always be offered an “Opt-out” or “Unsubscribe” option in every mail out you send.
Bulk mailing can also result in your internet connection being suspended by your ISP.
You should check with your email provider whether it supports bulk mailing – Gmail for example limits e-mail sending to 500 a day to prevent spamming.