No doubt about it, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach your leads and customers. It’s key to driving the growth of your business. But which email marketing solution should you choose? Today, I’ll compare two of the most popular options: MailChimp vs Constant Contact. I’ve used both of these tools and will help you choose the tool that is best for you.
With email marketing, you can directly connect with existing customers and even reach out to new ones. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’ve already discovered the merits of email marketing and are searching for a tool to reach your goals.
Let’s take a close look at what I consider to be two of the best and most ubiquitous email marketing options: Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
I’ll compare Mailchimp and Constant Contact in the following areas:
- The Basics
- Registration Forms
- Customer Support
- Pricing and Plans
- The Verdict
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The Basics: Mailchimp vs Constant Contact
Mailchimp is the most popular email marketing solution available. It’s a fantastic service whether you opt for the free version or pay for all the bells and whistles.
It’s easy to set up, use, and even master without ever compromising on the number of features available.
The deep analytics Mailchimp provides are perhaps the biggest reason why this email marketing platform is the most popular. These analytics provide a lot of insight into your email campaigns.
Constant Contact cannot boast the same number of users are MailChimp, but it can match its rivals in terms of what’s on offer. It’s easy to set up and use, and you’re never going to be desperately hunting for a feature that is not there.
There are plenty of email designs to choose from, although not as many as Mailchimp, while the analytics provide concise breakdowns of your advertising.
So, both Mailchimp and Constant Contact deliver a robust suite of tools for complete email marketing campaigns.
You want the best possible outcome when selecting tools for your business. Keep reading to find out how to make an informed decision between Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
Features: Mailchimp vs Constant Contact
At first glance, Mailchimp and Constant Contact look virtually identical.
But what happens when you dig a little deeper? Are these two apps identical or is there a clear winner when it comes to features?
Let’s find out!
Email automation is all about bringing efficiency to marketing campaigns. Instead of manually firing off potentially thousands of emails, automation handles the task for you and sends emails to recipients on a schedule you choose.
You simply create the email once and automation will handle sending the email to people who cover the criteria you decide upon.
Mailchimp delivers excellent automation tools that give customers the ability to truly personalize the emails they send.
For example, users can generate product recommendations within an email, or add triggers for when a reader clicks a link in an email. Purchase follow-ups and other customizations are also available.
Over on Constant Contact, you can have autoresponders and personalized emails too, although the set of automation tools is more limited.
Winner – Mailchimp takes this battle because of its suite of advanced automation abilities, including the ability to react to customer choices with triggers.
Ethics & Spam Deterrence
Like any form of online communication, there is potential for emails to be used in harmful ways.
Email inboxes such as Gmail and Outlook are set up to filter out malicious content and send it to spam. This is not ideal for email campaigns, so organizations need to know if their emails will pass these filters.
Mailchimp uses an integration called Omnivore to ensure customers can only send appropriate content.
It automatically detects abusive content and will give you an overview of the ethical quality of your email campaign before you launch it.
Thanks to Omnivore, Mailchimp promises a 96 to 99 percent deliverability rate.
How Constant Contact Prevents Abuse
Constant Contact takes similar steps to both provide a high deliverability rate and ensure emails are ethical. It uses a spam checking tool that predicts if an email will face deliverability issues.
Thanks to this robust tool, Constant Contact boasts a 98 percent deliverability rate.
Winner: It’s a tie! Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact do about equally well in this category. Both deliver excellent tools for ensuring your email campaigns pass spam filters with high deliverability rates.
A registration form is an efficient way to gauge customer interest in the services and products you offer. With a simple form, you prompt those customers to show their interest by signing up to your platform, signal plans to purchase, or other conversion goals.
However, registration forms don’t always play nicely with spam filters on inboxes.
That’s not good news if you are trying to build a subscriber list.
Mailchimp helps you to overcome this concern by leveraging numerous custom boxes you can drag and drop into an email. You can also take one of the many opt-in messages and customize it.
Thanks to the Omnivore service, any registration form will be vetted for deliverability before it is sent.
Constant Contact is more limited because there are not as many fields available. You can only include regular check boxes for a registration form.
However, it does help with deliverability and allows a QR code link to be generated.
Winner: Both apps do the job, but Mailchimp wins simply because it has more customization options available.
Sure, design is subjective and what person loves another may hate.
However, usability is tied directly to design, and how an app functions is something that can be quantified beyond subjectivity.
Constant Contact offers a dizzying array of templates, more than Mailchimp in fact.
Still, if you want to be able to customize on top of a template, Mailchimp offers many more unique customization options. You can tweak the layout, add and remove options, and relocate images.
Mailchimp also scores points for offering unlimited storage for images, while Constant Contact provides a much more modest 2GB. Still, Constant Contact does have a large gallery of stock images, something Mailchimp does not provide.
Winner: It’s a close round, but Mailchimp edges it just because of the customization tools available and extra storage space (for many image-happy users that’s important).
It’s one thing creating and activating an email marketing campaign, but an entirely different one to properly understand how that campaign is performing.
Analytics provide the information you need to tell if your campaign is succeeding as you hoped or not.
Furthermore, data insights can help teach you lessons that you can carry into future campaigns.
Mailchimp reporting gives you a deep analysis of a marketing rollout. You’ll find data on open rates, click-through rate, bounce rate, and other important metrics.
This data lets you properly weigh up a campaign’s success and coordinate your efforts. Importantly, the app delivers the analytics in easy-to-understand interactive graphs.
You can also see click maps to see which parts of an email attract subscribers more than others.
Constant Contact has its own reporting tools, providing insights on clicks, open rates, forwarding, and more. The app also provides an activity tab, which is a whole hub for seeing removals, unsubscribes, exports, and so on.
Winner: Mailchimp is the winner again thanks to its huge number of advanced reporting features. Constant Contact is no slouch in this department, but it lacks the click maps and some other handy features that are valuable on Mailchimp.
No longer are apps expected to function independently of each other. We are in the era of interconnected productivity apps, where you create an ecosystem instead of jumping from one service to another.
Integrations are something organizations look for when choosing a service because they want the functionality to be as seamless as possible.
In terms of email marketing, there are some integrations that are helpful and make campaigns significantly more effective.
For example, being able to directly tap into e-commerce solutions can provide valuable insight into customer data and the audience you are trying to target with remarketing ads. Or what about a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that allows you to track leads, and/or customer journeys for upselling?
Mailchimp has taken integrations seriously and has nearly 1,000 available to tap directly into email campaigns. Among the connections available are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Shopify, Salesforce, WordPress, and more.
Constant Contact cannot match the total number of integrations, but with around 500 available you will usually find what you are looking for. Examples include Shopify, Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress.
Winner: This is an easy win for Mailchimp as it has hundreds more integrations available, allowing you to make even more powerful emails and boost functionality. That said, it is worth noting Constant Contact makes finding integrations much easier thanks to a category, industry, and attribute-specific search tool.
Side Note – you can use a tool like Zapier to compensate for most modern apps and tools that lack integrations. I have no relationship with them, but Zapier is a terrific tool that I use to automate work and communication between apps and tools, and I recommend it enthusiastically to others. Check them out here.
If something goes wrong, you need to know the app you choose can back you up with robust customer support.
Mailchimp has a fairly standard contact page that has pre-generated issues to choose from. There is a deep knowledge base that helps you solve most problems you may have.
However, if you cannot solve the problem and need to contact support, options are limited to an email form and live chat. That means responses may not appear to be available as quick as you’d probably want them to be.
I’ve used their live chat support several times in the past (I’m a MailChimp customer), and my experience after waiting in queue has been fantastic. The support team members I’ve spoken with aren’t just random hires with minimal experience – they have deep product knowledge and can help you quickly find a solution to any issue you have, or instruct you on best practice to accomplish what you’re trying to do.
For what it’s worth – I’ve never had a bad experience with MailChimp customer support.
Constant Contact is much better about providing several points of contact. You can contact the company via email, phone support, and even live support.
This latter function is hugely important because it helps you solve issues in real-time. Furthermore, the platform also offers online and in-person training to help you get the most from the app.
Winner: Constant Contact is the hands-down winner in this department because of its phone support and online chat, though I can say that based on my positive experiences with MailChimp support that you can expect a great result with either option.
Pricing and Plans: Mailchimp vs Constant Contact
Of course, for many businesses, which app to choose may come down to something as simple as pricing. Below are how the two apps compare:
Below I’ll talk about the different Mailchimp plans available.
Supports up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send 12,000 emails every month. You also get free reporting, signup forms, and automation. Furthermore, you get unlimited templates, guides, and 30-day support.
Starting at $11 per month, you get all the benefits of the free plan with access to the customer journey builder, A/B testing, 24/7 Email & Chat Support, custom branding on your emails, and more.
Standard Plan (recommended)
Starting at $17 per month, you’ll enjoy everything in Essentials, plus a customer journey builder with branching points, send-time optimization, behavioral targeting, and dynamic content. These are very powerful features at this price-point, especially if you have an online store.
Starting at $299 per month, this includes everything you could want from an email marketing provider. You’ll enjoy the addition of advanced segmentation, multi-variate testing, comparative reports, unlimited seats for your account, and priority support.
Constant Contact Plans
And here are the Constant Contact plans you have to choose from.
Email Core Plan
Starting at $10 per user per month, the plan comes with unlimited emails, 1GB of storage, reporting, and contact management.
Email Plus Plan
Starting at $45 per user per month, you get the Email plan with 2GB of file storage, automation, coupons, donations, polls, surveys, and event marketing.
It’s important to note that when comparing the pricing of any email tools, the way the pricing scales with list growth is an important consideration. Every plan you see from either Mailchimp or Constant Contact quotes prices that “start at” a certain dollar value, but are based on the number of members you have in your list. Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact have tools on their pricing pages (linked here and here) to help you understand how much you’ll pay as your audience grows.
In my experience if you build and maintain a clean list, archiving or removing people who unsubscribe or who never open your emails so they don’t count toward your total, your email marketing tool will more than pay for itself.
Winner: Mailchimp is the winner here because it has a much more flexible payment setup. Not least because there is a free version of Mailchimp whereas Constant Contact is only free for a month. Many small businesses can start their email marketing for free with MailChimp and may not have to pay for a year or more.
The Verdict: Mailchimp vs Constant Contact
In my experience Mailchimp remains the best email marketing solution available, and it’s the one I use and recommend.
It has the perfect blend of features and pricing, making it the best all-around solution for running email marketing campaigns. And for many new businesses or entrepreneurs looking to begin building a mailing list on a shoestring budget, Mailchimp’s free plan offers a terrific no-cost entry point.
Constant Contact is a great tool as well, and I know many other users who chose it over Mailchimp and are very happy with their decision.
But to me it kind of feels like Constant Contact was the great email marketing tool used in my dad’s office (it actually was), that was lapped by upstart Mailchimp. It’s still playing catch-up today in many areas that are important to businesses.
It’s totally serviceable, but Mailchimp is where I’ll point you. I’ve been very happy with them.