- Intuitive and elegant UI
- Offers social media campaign integration
- Selection of commerce and event integrations
- Templates don’t offer much flexibility
- Pricing will add up once you have thousands of contacts
How does Constant Contact stack up against the competition for businesses with 2,500 contacts in their marketing database? For one thing, it carries a rather high $45-per-month price tag. However, while many email marketing tools also have a cap on how many messages you can send in a month, Constant Contact doesn’t. Most of Constant Contact’s customers are “microbusinesses” with between one and 10 employees with limited time to deal with newsletters.
But while Constant Contact does well as an email marketing solution, it’s following the pattern of several of its competitors, including Mailchimp, in that it’s looking to expand its feature set beyond just email. Last year, the company added an array of features that focus on marketing automation, integration, segmentation, and personalization. These included a 160-plus template library and a branded template builder that can create an email to match a company’s website with a minimum of clicks. Constant Contact also added several integrations, partnering with Facebook, Eventbrite, WordPress, Salesforce, and Shopify, among others.
In 2019, Constant Contact announced even more feature expansion, including the addition of in-app Facebook and Instagram ad creation, social media tools around posting and monitoring, the ability to generate a Google My Business entry from inside Constant Contact, an SEO tool for optimizing things like keyword usage, and even a Landing page feature, which makes it easy to create a call-to-action landing page to flesh out your digital marketing outreach, similar to what SendinBlue offers.
Pricing and Features
Constant Contact offers two kinds of plans according to the size of the customer’s email list. The lower tier is called Email, and begins at $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers running up to $335 per month for up to 50,000 subscribers. Custom plans are available if your list contains 50,000 or more. The next tier is called Email Plus, and begins at $45 per month for up to 500 subscribers; it also tops out at $335 per month for up to 50,000 subscribers. Something to note about Constant Contact’s 30-day guarantee, if customers aren’t satisfied and close their account within 30 days of signing up, they will refund 100 per cent of your payment.
The Email plans offer features that most small businesses need to start an email marketing campaign, including list management, template building and customization, and audience segmentation, among several others. Email Plus is for companies with more sophisticated needs, offering A/B testing, automated email series, event marketing and registration, online donations, online survey creation and management, and more.
The free trial gives you access to all of these features for 60 days, including unlimited campaigns, but you can only send emails to 100 contacts. The trial is a great way to get used to the platform for a limited number of messages. Then you can upgrade to a paid plan when you’re ready. The free trial doesn’t automatically roll over and you can still access your data without signing up. There is also a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is generous compared to most of the competition.
Subscriber List Creation
There are several ways to add contacts to Constant Contact: copy and paste, manually type addresses into a form, upload a file (CSV, TXT, XLS, or XLSX), import from Gmail, or pull from Microsoft Outlook and other customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
Adding contacts manually, by file upload, via Gmail import, or using CRM migration options was all easy to do and the process worked as promised. I uploaded four Microsoft Excel and CSV documents with overlapping contacts and the uploads were fast; Constant Contact merged duplicate contacts. I had to map a few fields and add a new custom field, which was also easy to do. Like Campaigner , Constant Contact allows Mailinator and other disposable addresses, which expire after a brief amount of time. Disposable addresses are also called “burner email addresses.” It’s too bad most services don’t follow the example of GetResponse, which filters out known disposable domains.
Constant Contact lets you assign tags to contacts, which is helpful if you need to track things such as how they signed up, if they are loyalty members, or other details. There are also options for Shopify options such as lapsed customers. You can also create segments of users based on location, interests, and other information you have collected from your contacts.
My only quibble with the Contact Manager is that it’s a pain to edit user records. If you want to add more detail to several contacts, then you have to load each record and update the fields. I would prefer if I could have done a quick edit from the main list of contacts, which would make the process less tedious. Of course, the best way to avoid this is to have a spreadsheet with complete information in the first place which is rarely the case.
Constant Contact also lets you create forms that customers can use to sign up for emails and newsletters. It also offers landing pages, and integrations with OptinMonster, Facebook Lead Ads, and Facebook Join My List App. You can segment the users based on whether they used the sign-up form or other methods, which can be useful.
Like its competitors, Constant Contact requires you to verify that you already have consent from your entire list—no bought lists allowed! You also cannot use group addresses such as sales@ or marketing@ addresses or distribution lists since there is no way to verify you have consent from every person receiving messages sent to that address.
Setting Up a Campaign
Creating a campaign is as easy as choosing from Email, Email Automation, Event, and Survey. If you want to revisit a campaign or copy it, you can search for campaigns by date or keywords or view the Recents tab. Constant Contact also has an integrated marketing calendar so you can schedule emails based on holidays or other events.
For an email campaign, you can use a template to get started. Constant Contact has a drag-and-drop editor with a variety of layout options and few restrictions. The editing tool lets you tweak text, with access to Google fonts as well as images, and colors. You can also add a blog post teaser and import PDFs which transform into interactive emails. Constant Contact also has a branded template builder which can grab your company’s logo, color scheme, and social media links, and incorporate it all into your emails.
A media library is available for storing your company’s assets, such as logos and other images. The image library now allows 2 gigabytes (GB) of storage, with a maximum file size of 5 MB. Users can also access free and paid stock photos directly through Constant Contact.
Once a newsletter is ready to go, you can send it right away or schedule it for later (in 5-minute intervals, such as 3:05 a.m., 3:10 a.m., and so on). You can also send recurring emails for birthdays and anniversaries, though there’s no option to send messages on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis like Campaigner offers, or to send messages based on the local time at the recipient’s location, as GetResponse does.
Constant Contact has a variety of integration options, including Shopify and Eventbrite. The Eventbrite integration enables subscribers to RSVP, respond to polls, download coupons, and make donations right from the email. You can also add products and Buy buttons directly to your email. You can also create Abandoned Shopping Cart emails to follow up with potential customers which is a huge feature for direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailers and e-sellers.
Once you have sent a newsletter, you can track its success by using the Reporting tab. The dashboard displays the basics, including opens, click-throughs, bounces, and unsubscribe requests. You can also see your most-engaged subject line and opens on desktop versus mobile.