Email marketing is still the most effective way to connect with your customers. Social media and pay per click advertising are both essential parts of the equation, but they can often only go so far. After all, you're not building a community of loyal customers with advertisements on social media or Google. Email marketing is still the way to connect with and engage customers, both new and old. So which email marketing tool is best for you? There are a lot of them out there, but we are going to focus on two of the most popular: Constant Contact and Mailchimp. Let's pit Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact and see how it turns out.
Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact: A Quick Glance at Both
MailChimp is the largest email marketing application out there, and for good reason. They have a great program, and they also offer a free membership. Within minutes of setting up my account I was happily plugging away at my first email. The feature list is rather impressive, but the true reason people go with MailChimp is because of its modern, flat designs, both on the MailChimp dashboard interface and with the email templates. Its analytics in particular are worth a look, and they have some decent mobile apps that help with designing and sending emails.
As for Constant Contact, it doesn't have as many users as MailChimp, but it's still one of the most popular email solutions out there. I set up my account in minutes, and the free trial doesn't require a credit card. It has a lot going for it and it does many things very well, but the email designs aren't as sleek as MailChimp. That said, it is still a viable option for a number of reasons.
Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact: Pricing
Mailchimp has the following plans:
- New Business – Free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 email sends per month. You get free reports, beautiful templates, signup forms and automation, all for free.
- Growing Business – Starting at $10 per month for everything in the previous plan, support for more than 2,000 subscribers, a database connection, advanced segmentation, engagement reports, collaboration tools and delivery tools for sending at smart times.
- Pro Marketer – Starting at $199 per month for everything in the previous plan, support for high-volume sending, API access, advanced testing, comparative reports, the most powerful automation tools and transactional emails.
Constant Contact has the following plans:
- Email – Starting at $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers. This can go up to $95 per month for up to 10,000 subscribers. The plan has unlimited emails, contact management, reporting, 1GB of storage, a mobile app and lots of community resources.
- Email Plus – Starting at $45 per month for up to 500 subscribers. This can go all the way up to $125 per month for up to 10,000 subscribers. It has everything from the previous plan as well as email automation, event marketing, online donations, surveys and polls, and coupons.
The Winner? MailChimp
Constant Contact provides a free trial for 60 days, but this doesn't compete with the free MailChimp plan. You get this forever and the tools are incredible for smaller businesses and bloggers. The good thing about Constant Contact is that you don't have to punch in your credit card, so that's a plus.
When going past the free plan, MailChimp is still cheaper than Constant Contact on a subscriber basis. Not to mention, you get automation and some other features with the smaller plans in MailChimp.
Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact: Features
MailChimp will deliver your emails just fine, but let’s look under the hood for a second. MailChimp provides some great tools that just aren’t available in Constant Contact, like A/B testing. A/B testing lets you send out a few versions of the same email to a sample group and it will let you know which one received more attention. This is an invaluable tool, one that Constant Contact just dosen’t have. Testing email campaigns in a sample group will help you to maximize the impact of your email marketing campaign. Both of these services will track clickthrough data and such, but A/B testing will really help you streamline email campaigns.
Importing contacts can be done on a massive scale, so if you have a CSV document it allows you to bring in all of those contacts or even connect to something like Gmail.
Some of the other main features from MailChimp include:
- Tons of automations for ecommerce, education, music and even date-based automations.
- Beautiful templates and a flexible drag and drop editor.
- Advanced analytics, open rates and clickthrough rates.
- Custom forms.
- Cool mobile apps.
- Multi-user accounts.
- Merge tags.
- Advanced segmentation.
- Much more.
Constant Contact has a lot of templates to choose from when making your first email. They also allow you to create your own custom email layouts if you’re feeling creative. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know HTML to create a great email in Custom Contact. The tools for creating your own custom email are very intuitive and easy to use. Constant Contact may even have a slight edge over MailChimp when it comes to designing emails from scratch. If you’re the creative type that is something to consider.
As for some other standout features, we like the email tracking to see how people are responding to emails. They also offer social media integrations and mobile applications. Client management is easy with Constant Contact, and the multi-user accounts are handy.
However, the best features come in the Plus plan, with options like:
- Event marketing.
The Winner? MailChimp
The thing with those features in the Constant Contact Plus plan is that you can technically do all of them with MailChimp. They're not as streamlined, but a regular MailChimp campaign can link to coupons, surveys, event marketing and donation forms.
Not only that, but the lack of autoresponders in the basic Contact Contact plan troubles me. It's tough to cover all of the MailChimp features since there are so many. But needless to say, the feature-set is far more advanced with MailChimp.
Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact: Email Customization
MailChimp has a ton of templates and allows user designed emails. Their tools for designing emails are a bit less streamlined, but that’s really a matter of personal opinion. It still allows for creativity in designing your emails, and the templates have a pretty high level of customization. There is nothing stopping you from crafting a great email with MailChimp.
MailChimp has better templates to choose from, but Constant Contact's email designer is pretty incredible. It's completely drag and drop, and you can adjust things, like image sizes, simply by dragging the corner of the image. Most of the customizations are done with the click of a mouse, whereas MailChimp requires some jumping around.
The Winner? Constant Contact
The Constant Contact designer is especially made for beginners who don't want to spend much time learning about a completely new interface. MailChimp has a steeper learning curve.
Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact: App Integration
Mailchimp has a lot of compatibility with other apps. It integrates with social media, just like Constant Contact, and it integrates with any CRM application you may be using. The deep compatibility with other platforms makes MailChimp extremely flexible and easy to integrate into any workflow. Some of the more common integrations include SalesForce, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, Magento, Shopify, Facebook and Eventbrite.
Constant Contact integrates with most social media platforms, so you can get your message out there. Some of the common integrations for Constant Contact include Facebook, MailMunch, SalesForce, Quickbooks, Wix, Shopify, Bigcommerce and more.
The Winner? Tie
I'd probably give the edge to MailChimp since it's much easier to filter through the integrations and find the ones you want. However, both offer similar integrations, especially in the ecommerce field.
Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact: Customer Support
Unfortunately, this is where MailChimp falls flat on its face. They only provide email support, and from all accounts that support is pretty shoddy. There is no substitute for talking to somebody on the phone. They lean pretty heavily on their self-help topics to solve most user issues. That said, the self-help topics are actually pretty useful. I used a few of them myself when setting up a test email and they are well written and concise. A determined email marketer could easily teach themselves how to use MailChimp using the self-help articles.
This is where Constant Contact really shines. They have a dedicated customer service department with phones, live chat, and email. After I signed up for their service they actually gave me a call and asked if I had any questions about how to use their platform. They are very responsive. If you expect to run into problems starting up your email campaign, Constant Contact is the way to go.
The Winner? Constant Contact
Although the online resources from MailChimp beat out Constant Contact, you can't replace talking to someone over the phone.
The Bottom Line
Either one of these services will allow you to mount a successful email marketing campaign. They both have the basic tools to help you get started, and they are both pretty intuitive. MailChimp is cheaper (free) for people just starting out compared to Constant Contact, which actually costs money, albeit very little. Constant Contact has a great customer support department, so you won’t have to worry about getting stuck when you’re just starting out. Remember, both of them have free trials or plans, so there is nothing stopping you from testing out each one before you commit.
Give Mailchimp a try