When it comes to sending mass emails, the first step is to have well-structured, organized lists. As you can imagine—or may have experienced—sending a follow-up email with promo codes to a list of people who have never made a purchase from you to “thank them for shopping” is not ideal.
Both Constant Contact and MailChimp have fairly simple list-building processes, but Constant Contact allows for many more ways of importing contacts than MailChimp. Like all platforms, you can add your contacts by typing them in manually or importing a file such as a .csv or .xls. This platform takes it even further and allows you to add contacts by importing them directly from your Gmail or Outlook account, a feature that not many other platforms offer. MailChimp, which is known to be fairly simple, is true to its reputation and allows for only 3 ways of adding contacts to a list – importing a file, copying and pasting from a file, or importing contacts from integrated services.
When it comes to list building, Constant Contact is a sure winner. Both platforms offer extremely simple solutions for the first step in the email sending process, but Constant Contact offers more features that are very useful for frequent email senders, especially small- to medium-sized business owners.
2) Template Builder
After building your list, next comes template building—an often stressful process and one which makes many email marketers want to give up due to sheer frustration.
With Constant Contact, building your email can’t get any easier. Like MailChimp, it offers the build-your-own-template feature, which allows you to use a drag-and-drop display to build your email’s look and feel from scratch. Many like to design their emails from the ground up, but if you prefer to leave the artwork to the designers, you can choose from a large selection of pre-built and beautifully-designed templates.
MailChimp has pre-built templates, but your options are limited and the designs are more basic than those found on Constant Contact. Additionally, both platforms offer the ability to create your email from code, but if that’s not an option, you can use the PDF to Email feature offered on Constant Contact, which allows you to build a template easily based off of a selected and imported PDF file.
There’s really no question when it comes to the email and template building capabilities of both of these email marketing platforms. The winner is the one that offers more template building options, a plethora of aesthetically-pleasing designs, and added options of creating an email from a PDF—Constant Contact.
3) Marketing Services
When delving into what makes certain email campaigns for small- to medium-sized businesses more successful than others, it comes down to added features and bonuses.
Automation: Using automation within your emails helps you get the right message to the right people. Constant Contact has a feature called the Autoresponder Series, which is a series of personalized emails that you make once and that get sent automatically based on inputs customized according to your preferences.
All you need to do is create a “series,” which describes different scenarios such as signing up or making a purchase, and your customers will receive the email automatically. It’s a great way to communicate with your contacts and keep them in the loop. MailChimp also offers automation services but they are less comprehensive than Constant Contact’s, and aren't built with the same business-driving process to help you achieve core goals.
Signup forms: If you don't have a list of subscribers to send emails to, a signup form is a great place to start and grow a list. With signup forms, both platforms work similarly, the only difference being that Constant Contact offers one more feature than MailChimp. After creating your sign up form, you will want to promote it by sharing it on social media and other communication channels.
MailChimp allows you to share your forms on Facebook, Twitter, with a scannable QR code, or by embedding it into your website. Constant Contact on the other hand, offers everything that MailChimp does plus the ability to grow your list by embedding a link to it in your personal email signature—an innovative way to get your personal contacts and the people you speak to regularly to sign up to receive your emails. It’s simple and works with the leading email providers, such as Gmail, Apple mail and Outlook.
*Prices last updated May 2018
MailChimp’s pricing ranges from the new business plan, which is free, to the growing business plan, which costs $10 per month, and pro marketer, which costs $199/month. The new business plan allows for only up to 2,000 subscribers, only lets you send up to 12,000 emails per month, and leaves MailChimp branding at the bottom of all emails.
Extra features can be added on for an additional payment. If you have more than 2,000 emails, you will need to pay for the growing marketing plan, which starts at $10 and goes up to $35 if you reach 2,500 subscribers. If you need anything more, your only option is the pro marketer plan, which costs $199 for features and reporting extras.
*Prices last updated May 2018
Compared to MailChimp, Constant Contact may seem pricey at first, but when taking a closer look, it’s actually the better deal for many email marketers. Constant Contact’s plans get more expensive the more contacts you have, like MailChimp, but offer a whole lot in return. Any amount of contacts up to 500 costs $20 per month for the basic plan, while the email plus plan costs $45 per month.
Pricing goes up as the amount of subscribers increases — 2,000-5,000 contacts cost $65 per month for the basic plan and $95 per month for the email plus plan.
Unlike MailChimp, there’s no free plan, meaning you’ll need to pay to send emails to even 500 contacts, but paying for the basic plan gives you the ability to see high results. Included in even the basic plan are pretty much all of the necessary features for successful email marketing, such as unlimited email sending, tracking and reporting, live expert support, marketing calendar and more.
Pricing may be higher than some other options out there, but you get everything needed in one bundle. So for those looking for a plan that’s all inclusive and will get the job done, Constant Contact is the best choice.
5) Customer Support
Have a problem with one of your campaigns or can’t figure out how to set up your mail merge tags? Support is an important component when choosing a platform to work with.
Though its documentation is thorough and simple to follow, MailChimp lacks a good customer support department. When faced with a problem, it may direct you to forms that display similar questions, but often fails to properly answer your needs. Non-paying customers have the option to fill in a form on the website and MailChimp says it will answer the request, while paying customers don’t have much more, with only a live chat available to them. This is often times frustrating when faced with a pressing need.
Constant Contact offers a toll free number for phone support. Support is not 24/7, but the weekday and weekend hours, which are listed on its website, are pretty good. Constant Contact also offers email and chat support to make sure that all your questions have been answered and ensure your satisfaction—making it obvious why more than 600,000 small businesses choose Constant Contact to achieve success.
Overall, Constant Contact is the superior choice when comparing features and ability to grow and personalize your email marketing list when compared to MailChimp. It allows for more ways of importing contacts than MailChimp, and has unique features like the ability to embed a link to your personal email signature. On top of all this, Constant Contact has more template building options, and a wide range of creative and professional designs for better-looking emails.