Most recent Transactional Email Delivery pricing post available here.

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Investing in a Transactional Email Delivery solution has potential for a significant ROI, as I discussed in a previous post including a back-of-the-envelope calculation for determining that potential ROI. Now that you know how much revenue you are losing due to emails not reaching the inbox, let’s talk about how much those solutions actually cost.

Comparing the cost of various solutions side-by-side can be quite the challenge, as I’ve recently discovered. And the columns and rows in my comparison spreadsheet multiplied faster than expected. When asked to compare prices of Transactional Email Delivery solutions, I thought this was a simple task.

Then I started looking at all the variables in features, limitations on the number of emails, solutions with no pricing listed on their website, marketing lingo, monthly fees vs. solutions that charge per email, deliverability terminology, and the overwhelming list of variables continues.

I’m hoping to make your search a little easier … or at least give you an idea of which solutions to cross off your list now because they don’t fit your needs.

We’ll walk through side-by-side comparisons of the pricing for Transactional Email Delivery solutions: solutions based on the number of emails you need to send, if you have specific requirements (e.g, dedicated IP, newsletter functionality or sub-accounts.), your monthly budget (including solutions for those of you with no budget), and where you can try them out.

You’ll first need to identify the volume and types of emails you’ll be sending with a Transactional Email Delivery solution and how the various vendors price based on that. This might impact what companies you want to start looking at. Before we begin talking about the numbers, let’s look at how each vendor prices their packages. Please click the link or image below to see a PDF of the table.

Transactional Email Delivery Pricing Table 1 (PDF)

As you can see, all products offer plans based on the number of emails you send. Some, such as Amazon SES, offer pay as you go options. Some, such as SendGrid, offer a package based on a set allowance of email volume per month, then charge per additional email. Mandrill charges monthly for the addition of a dedicated IP, but you can add this at any level. Some plans charge based on bandwidth used.

Additionally, do you plan to send newsletters? Only a few companies offer newsletter features. The next table shows which ones and with what packages.

Newsletter Features

ElasticEmailElasticEmail’s Email Marketing Platform with all plans
MailjetDo-it-yourself newsletter tool and template gallery with all plans
MandrillwpMandrill plug-in sends emails generated by WordPress through Mandrill
SendGridNewsletter App available at the Silver Plan and higher

As you see, ElasticEmail, Mailjet, Mandrill and SendGrid offer newsletter features. Compare the additional features of those products here.

Or, are you an agency and it’s more important for you to have unlimited sub accounts? The following table shows solutions that offer unlimited sub accounts.

Agency-Specific Plans/Features

ElasticEmail

Sub Account Control Panel

  • Unlimited sub accounts

JangoMail

Agency/Account Management Features

  • Client sub-accounts
  • Multiple logins including reporting-only logins
  • Private label
  • List/group sharing
  • Unsubscribe/bounce sharing
  • Locked templates
  • FTP

MailGun

Agency/Partner Features

  • Domains API: Users can create domains/sub-domains
  • Unpublished API: NOT public, only provided to partners to provision accounts

Mailjet

Agency/Partner Features

  • Unlimited sub-accounts (not available with free plans): Master user can determine what features each sub-user has access to (account settings, stats, newsletter tool, contact management, dashboard)
  • Unlimited subdomains
  • Partners API features: NOT public, only provided to partners

MessageGears

Agency Plans

  • Provide “pay per use” pricing model with automatic discounts as volume increases. Prices are not currently published.
  • Unlimited sub-accounts
  • Unlimited sending domains
  • Agency-specific APIs
  • $500 monthly minimum

As the chart shows, ElasticEmail, JangoMail, MailGun, Mailjet and MessageGears provide plans and features, namely sub-accounts. To compare the other features these solutions offer, click here.

Now, let’s compare pricing. Let’s start with answering this question: “How many emails do I need to send?” A LOT of flexibility and solutions exist in answer to this question and putting it all together can become overwhelming, so I’ve broken this down into three options: low, medium and high volume solutions. Starting from the bottom (including free solutions!), this next chart compares solutions from 0 to 45,000 emails.

Low Volume Solutions

In this and the following charts, green cells contain free solutions (limited trials are in another chart). Purple cells contain solutions that offer a single dedicated IP address, multiple IP addresses or an IP subnet. Please click the link or image below to see a PDF of the low volume solutions table.

Transactional Email Delivery Pricing Low Volume Solutions Table (PDF)

Not enough volume for your growing business? The next chart covers solutions from 50,000 to 1,340,000 emails.

Medium-Volume Solutions

You will only find one free solution (green cell) in this chart, and the purple cells still continue to contain solutions with a dedicated IP, multiple IPs or an IP subnet. Please click the link or image below to view a PDF of the medium volume solutions table.

Transactional Email Delivery Pricing – Medium Volume Solutions Table (PDF)

For those of you seeking a solution that gives you the opportunity to send an even higher volume of emails, this next table highlights solutions ranging from email volumes of 750,000 to 110,000,000.

High-Volume Solutions

If you’re looking for free solutions, I wouldn’t start here. You will, however, find more solutions with dedicated and multiple IP addresses (purple cells). To view a PDF of the medium volume solutions table, please click the text or image below.

Transactional Email Delivery Pricing – High Volume Solutions Table (PDF)

Those three charts summarize the majority of available solutions. If you’re working within a monthly budget, the next chart provides an overview of solutions based on monthly plans.

Monthly Plans

This chart contains much overlap with the previous charts, but offers a better understanding of how much you would be paying per month. Again, you will find free solutions (green) and packages that offer dedicated IP addresses (purple) in this chart.  To see the PDF of the medium volume solutions table, please click the text or image below.

Transactional Email Delivery Pricing – Monthly Plans Table

Now that you have an idea of where you want to start looking, the following chart displays solutions that offer free trials based on number of emails or 1-month time.

Free Trials

Where can you try out the solutions you are interested in now? Find out in this chart. Please note: Free solutions are not included this chart. This chart only lists free trials (short-term). Free solutions (long-term) such as those offered by Amazon SES, MailGun, Mailjet, Mandrill, PostageApp and SendGrid are included in the monthly and low, medium and high volume pricing charts. Although you can use free solutions as trials, they can also be used as long-term solutions.

Free Trials

CritSendFree Trial: 1,000 emails
ElasticEmailFree Trial: 1,000 emails
JangoMailFree 1-Month Trial: 200 emails

Compare the features of those Free Trials here.

Compare Features of the Top 5 Transactional Email Delivery Solutions

As you can see, there’s a lot to choose from among solutions. Additionally, not all solutions offer the same features. Now that we’ve discussed pricing, check out a side-by-side comparison of the features the current top 5 solutions by features hereFor a more in-depth look at individual solutions, follow the links below.

Transactional Email Delivery Product Pages in Ombud

These links will take you to each solution’s product page in Ombud; there you’ll find more details about the specific features each solution offers in addition to user reviews.

*The pricing in this post was last updated on May 24, 2012. Follow these links to the updated monthly pricing chart and post (updated November 2012).