What is the cost of sending emails?

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels. It allows businesses to reach customers directly in their inbox. But what is the actual cost of sending emails? The cost depends on several factors like email list size, email service provider pricing, deliverability issues etc. In this article, we’ll break down the major costs associated with sending emails for marketing.

Factors That Impact Email Sending Costs

There are a few key factors that influence how much it costs a business to send emails:

Email List Size

The size of your email list is one of the biggest cost drivers. Most email service providers charge based on how many emails you send per month. The more subscribers you have, the more emails you’ll be sending out which increases your costs. For example, if you have 1,000 subscribers and send out a weekly email newsletter, you’ll send about 4,000 emails per month. With 10,000 subscribers, that jumps to 40,000 emails per month.

Email Service Provider Pricing

Email service providers each have their own unique pricing models. Some charge a flat monthly fee while others charge per email sent. The fees can range from less than $10 to hundreds of dollars per month. For example, Mailchimp’s pricing starts at $0 for up to 500 contacts and goes up to $299/month for up to 100,000 contacts. Other popular ESPs like Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and ConvertKit have similar pricing tiers based on number of contacts and emails sent.

Additional Services

Many email service providers offer add-ons and extra features for additional fees. Things like advanced analytics, A/B testing, landing page builders, and dedicated IP addresses all come at an added cost. The more add-ons you use, the higher your email sending costs will be. For example, ConvertKit charges $7/month for its Basic plan but the Pro plan with extras like landing pages, automations, and split testing is $29/month.

Deliverability Issues

If your emails have poor deliverability and are getting flagged as spam, it will increase the number of emails you need to send to reach subscribers. Spam filters may block emails from going to the primary inbox. This means you may have to send 2-3x as many emails for a campaign to get the same results. Sending extra emails due to deliverability problems adds to your overall costs.

Cost per Subscriber for Common Email Service Providers

To better understand the actual costs of sending emails, let’s look at some example pricing from popular email service providers based on list size.


List Size Monthly Cost Cost per Subscriber
500 $0 $0
2,500 $15 $0.006
5,000 $45 $0.009
10,000 $75 $0.0075
50,000 $199 $0.00398

Mailchimp offers a free plan for up to 500 contacts. After that, its Essentials plan starts at $15/month for up to 2,500 contacts. The cost per subscriber stays below 1 cent for lists under 10,000 and decreases as the list gets larger.

Constant Contact

List Size Monthly Cost Cost per Subscriber
500 $20 $0.04
2,500 $45 $0.018
5,000 $70 $0.014
10,000 $135 $0.0135
50,000 $500 $0.01

Constant Contact has a higher base price but becomes more affordable at larger list sizes. The cost per contact starts at $0.04 but drops to $0.01 per subscriber at 50,000 contacts.


List Size Monthly Cost Cost per Subscriber
500 $7 $0.014
2,500 $29 $0.0116
5,000 $59 $0.0118
10,000 $119 $0.0119
50,000 $469 $0.00938

ConvertKit has a higher base cost at low list sizes but offers more features in its starter plan. The cost per subscriber averages between 1-1.5 cents across all list sizes.

Campaign Monitor

List Size Monthly Cost Cost per Subscriber
500 $9 $0.018
2,500 $29 $0.0116
5,000 $49 $0.0098
10,000 $79 $0.0079
50,000 $279 $0.00558

At Campaign Monitor, the cost per contact trends down from 1.8 cents to 0.55 cents as the list size increases into the tens of thousands.

How to Calculate Email Sending Costs

Now that we’ve looked at example pricing, here is a simple formula you can use to calculate your monthly cost for sending emails:

Monthly email cost = Number of subscribers x Cost per subscriber x Emails sent per month

Let’s say you have a list of 5,000 contacts and use Mailchimp, which charges $0.009 per subscriber at that level. If you send out three email campaigns per month, your calculation would be:

5,000 subscribers
x $0.009 per subscriber
x 3 emails per month
= $135 per month

This shows the total cost for sending 15,000 emails to a list of 5,000 subscribers on Mailchimp.

You can plug in your own number of subscribers, cost per subscriber, and monthly email volume to calculate your specific costs.

Make sure to account for any extra fees for add-ons or deliverability issues to get the most accurate estimate. Over time, divide your actual spending by the number of emails sent to arrive at your average cost per email sent.

Tips for Reducing Email Sending Costs

Here are some tips to help reduce the cost of sending emails for your business:

Trim your email list

Remove any inactive or unengaged subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked emails recently. This will lower the number of emails you need to send each month.

Improve deliverability

Increase inbox placement by properly setting up SPF and DKIM records. This helps avoid extra sending costs from deliverability issues.

Send less frequently

Reduce the number of email campaigns you send if open and click rates are low at current volumes.

Negotiate custom pricing

See if your email service provider can offer lower fees for higher volume sends.

Compare providers

Shop around for the most affordable provider based on your specific list size and needs. Switching could yield cost savings.

Use free add-on tools

Leverage free lead magnet tools, email templates, and analytics instead of paying for add-ons to keep costs down.


The main costs of sending emails for marketing include the size of your subscriber list, email service provider fees, additional services, and deliverability issues. Leading email platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and Campaign Monitor charge monthly fees ranging from around $0.01 – $0.04 per subscriber depending on list size. Carefully calculating your specific costs and using tips like trimming your list, negotiating custom pricing, and improving deliverability can help minimize the cost of sending emails for your business. With some work to maximize efficiency, you can keep email marketing affordable and effective.