• Simple to use
• Good deliverability
• Great for email newsletters
• Extensive customer support and knowledge base
• Limited range of template designs
• No integration with Google Analytics
Constant Contact is an established and reliable email marketing service, set up in 1998. With a solid reputation and an easy to use system, Constant Contact offers a good deal for basic, newsletter-style email campaigns.
We took a closer look at Constant Contact’s offering to see how the service stacks up against its competitors. We found a number of good features and some quality tools to help you manage an email marketing campaign.
The price you pay is per number of contacts you have in your email list (which is a little different from other suppliers), starting at 1-500 and going up to 25,000. This may not be the most convenient system if you are unsure how many people will sign up to your emails - if you exceed your limit you are automatically bumped up to the next tier and it is unclear from the website whether you can then go down a tier again.
While signing up for Constant Contact and downloading the program was a breeze, setting up the software is somewhat time consuming. Constant Contact features a fantastic set-up wizard to help you along, but there are quite a few screens to move through as you configure the various settings to your liking. Expect to spend an hour or two with the set-up wizard initially, as there is a great deal to configure.
Constant Contact offers a choice of over 400 email templates to which you can add your own logo and colors – a big selection. The templates are grouped by function – social networking, invite etc – and for industry. All of them are geared towards a newsletter-style email, so if you are looking for something a little more creative you may not like the selection.
You can customize your template with HTML email designs or order a custom design from Constant Contact. If you want to use images from the Constant Contact system and store images you need to add on an extra charge to the package price.
Constant Contact gives you the capability to unsubscribe users from an email list, in bulk or one by one. It’s not automatic, so you do need to keep on top of your unsubscribe requests. Additionally, the Constant Contact service allows for the importing and exporting of mail lists from Excel and Outlook Express, a quick-and-easy way to build lists.
You can segment your list by certain criteria. Constant Contact doesn’t offer all the options of our market leader iContact, but it does enable you to carry out a simple email campaign without hassle.
Constant Contact features a decent spam check feature which helps more of your emails get to recipients’ inboxes and not to the trash. You can also check the format of your email against how it will display in major email providers’ inboxes.
The delivery rate is around 97%, which is a little lower than other providers but the service has a positive reputation and works with ISPs to get more of your emails through.
Tracking & reporting
While Constant Contact doesn't feature the depth or breadth of reporting options that similar programs do, it covers all of the basics. You can expect to find all the industry standards in reporting such as complaints, opt-outs, bounces, bounce percent, click-throughs, click-through percent, etc. You can compare your email’s results with results for your industry or type of email.
Constant Contact does not currently support conversion tracking, and it can be unusually difficult to generate reports with per-user data. Also, Constant Contact is not integrated with Google Analytics or any other web analytics software, an important feature we would like to see implemented in future versions.
Social media – You can post your emails to Twitter, or share your emails on the social networking sites. If you have a blog you can email it with just a few clicks.
Autoresponder – There’s a basic autoresponder feature so you can send out automatic emails to sign-ups and other common reasons for getting in touch.
Archive - For an extra fee you can archive your sent emails on a website. This feature, once turned on, works with a few clicks and is an easy way to let customers read your past features.
Ease of use
Constant Contact is pretty easy to use if you want an email newsletter to send to regular contacts. We found creating an email with Constant Contact was straightforward and hassle-free. If you are looking for more customization or different features, you can add HTML but the system isn’t as easy to operate.
Help & support
If you're the type of person who expects or needs a lot of support surrounding your marketing tools, you're in luck. Constant Contact features one of most comprehensive customer support centers we've seen, with downloadable tutorials, live demos, webinars and a huge knowledge base that's fully searchable. Additionally, Constant Contact is well-supported with robust user manuals and extensive documentation for all of its software.
And if none of those options are any help, you can always contact their customer service center via phone or email. Turn-around times are usually around 24 hours.
For Internet marketeers running email newsletter campaigns, Constant Contact offers a professional, easy-to-use solution for creating effective campaigns with high conversion rates.
Constant Contact offers a lot of “hand-holding” – more experienced marketeers probably don’t need so many suggestions and may prefer to work outside the structured boundaries. If you’re interested in creating more bespoke campaigns, you may find the service lacking.
Constant Contact currently features a free 60-day trial for sending emails to less than 100 contacts.
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