Constant Contact: A Review For Small Businesses

Constant Contact is an email marketing tool that dates back to 1995.

More than 650,000 people currently use Constant Contact, making it one of the most popular email marketing platforms worldwide.

The fact that Constant Contact was founded nearly 30 years ago might give potential customers pause for thought regarding how up-to-date the service is from a technological perspective. However, the platform has made some significant changes in recent years, which is why we felt a fresh review was needed.

Before we proceed with the review, it’s important to note that the way Constant Contact is designed makes it more suitable for small businesses than larger business ventures and organizations. For this reason, we’ve also geared our review towards small business owners since this is the demographic we believe will get the best use out of Constant Contact.

Constant Contact A Review For Small Businesses

An Overview Of Constant Contact

We thought we’d start with a summary of what Constant Contact does and who it’s for to help you decide whether this could be a useful tool for your small business.

Constant Contact, as we’ve already mentioned, is an email marketing tool for small businesses, but what does that actually mean?

In short, Constant Contact provides the tools and features necessary to allow small business owners to raise awareness about their business and keep in contact with their customer base via email, social media, and even Google advertisements.

From newsletter templates to advert designs, Constant Contact offers its customers a range of professional, customizable marketing services for business growth and success. Let’s take a look at some of those features now…

Features: Reviewed

Newsletter Construction

The main feature promoted by Constant Contact and used by customers who have signed up for the service is the newsletter creating function.

Using the editor accessible through your Constant Contact plan, you can choose from over 200 unique templates. Some of these templates are more visually appealing than others, but the range of choice is definitely an advantage.

The email branding feature also allows you to generate your very own template based on the colors featured in your logo and business branding. (By the way, you can actually use Constant Contact to create your logo!)

Apart from this method of tailoring the template to your business, personalization options are quite limited, with few options beyond adding your own greeting or contact information.

Automated Emails

Automated Emails

A key reason why Constant Contact is a popular choice amongst business owners for email marketing is the fact that it offers the option to send out automated emails.

Automation happens on several levels and takes into account the interactions different customers have with your site.

Unfortunately, much like the email templates, there’s not a lot of room for customization or factor combination when it comes to automation.

Delivery

If you’re wondering which email providers Constant Contact is compatible with, you’ll be pleased to know that the majority of the main email providers worldwide are covered by Constant Contact’s plans.

Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook can all be reached by Constant Contact, and deliverability test results have shown that the emails reach their destination (inboxes) the vast majority of the time.

Constant Contact also has a bounce filtration system in place. This means that when an email bounces, it’s held for 15 days before a re-send is attempted.

If the second email bounces, it is then flagged by the filter for emails recommended for removal. This feature doesn’t automatically remove the emails for you, though, so you’ll still need to go through and remove them yourself.

Speaking of email bouncing, while Constant Contact doesn’t have a built-in spam checking feature, there is a preview feature that allows you to view your newsletters as a reader (outside of the editor).

Alternatively, you can add a Limitus subscription to your plan for an additional $10, which will buy you 5 spam tests each month. This should minimize the number of emails that bounce or get filtered as spam.

User Interface

The Constant Contact website is clearly laid out and easy to navigate your way around. It might not be the most up-to-date and eye-catching layout in the world, but it does the job, and you should be able to find whatever you’re looking for within a minute using the drop-down menus.

Contact Management

You can use Constant Contact to create lists of contacts based on activity, contact information, memberships, and tags.

This feature is really helpful for organizing your email campaigns and advertising strategically, and it’s one of the best things about Constant Contact for small businesses.

Analytics

An important part of email marketing for a small business is keeping an eye on your analytics to see where the weak points are in your marketing strategy. This way, you can make the necessary changes and hopefully boost engagement.

Constant Contact offers an analysis report feature, which will show you how many of your emails are being opened, the number being filtered as spam, and other statistics such as subscription and cancellation rates.

Your analytics report will also include other crucial statistics, including engagement percentages and click trends. You can even compare the rates of success for different subject lines!

This is where Constant Contact’s analytics reporting ends, though. Unlike some more advanced email marketing tools, there’s no option for social tracking or other more recent methods of analyzing engagement.

Data Storage

Prospective users of Constant Contact will be pleased to hear that Constant Contact offers unlimited data storage, including image storage.

This is the case for all of Constant Contact’s plans (see ‘Plans and Prices’) so you’ll never have to worry about going overcapacity.

App Integration

There are over 400 compatible apps that you can integrate with Constant Contact, including social media integrations. Using this feature, you can get the word out about your business and maximize your engagement through various apps and platforms.

Accessibility

Constant Contact is easy, convenient, and safe to access as a business owner or manager.

Authentication through SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DMK (Digital Mobile Key) authentication are both supported.

Additionally, the owner of the account can designate and allow access for other roles within the business, so account access can easily be structured in levels.

Language Options

Unfortunately, Constant Contact has significantly reduced its potential pool of users by only making the email management tool available in English. For non-English speakers, this means that the site itself becomes very difficult to navigate.

Once you get into the email templates, you can make some language adjustments. There are 10 (primarily European) languages to choose from, but customer support is only available in 4 of these.

Customer Support

Customer Support

Any good email marketing platform should have equally good customer support.

Constant Contact’s customer support service comprises several avenues. There is a live chat function where you can get advice from advisors, a telephone line, and also a community forum where you can interact with other users and ask questions.

With that being said, the live chat and telephone line are the best places to go for expert advice, especially if you have an urgent query. The problem with this is that the chat and phone lines are often very busy due to the number of users.

When you do manage to speak to an advisor, though, you can count on them being helpful and efficient. So, all in all, the customer support at Constant Contact is very good, but you may need to be prepared to wait to speak to someone.

Plans And Prices

Small businesses make up such a diverse demographic that there is no one-size-fits-all plan to suit every business’s needs.

That’s why Constant Contact offers a couple of different plans at different prices, so you can choose the plan that works best for you, both financially and in terms of included features.

Constant Contact provides 2 main plans: Email and Email Plus.
The standard Email plan starts at a monthly fee of $20, while Email Plus begins at $45 per month.

If you’re wondering what Email Plus offers that the Email plan doesn’t, it basically provides extra tools to maximize your engagement, including automated features, data collection via surveys, and even event management tools.

Here’s the catch, though: the more subscribers you have as a business, the more expensive your monthly plan will be.

The starting prices for both plans assume that you will have 500 subscribers. Once your subscriber count surpasses this mark, however, your bill will also increase. At 501 subscribers, your standard monthly subscription will go up to $45 and Email Plus will increase to $70. Between 5,001 and 10,000 subscribers, you’ll pay $95 monthly for the standard plan and $125 for Email Plus.

In comparison to other email marketing tools with similar or even more advanced features, these price points are fairly steep.

Advantages And Disadvantages

Pros

  • Wide variety of templates. You can choose from and (slightly) customize 200+ email templates.
  • Optimal deliverability. Compared to other email marketing tools, testing has demonstrated that Constant Contact has a high rate of deliverability.
  • Unique features. Although there are email marketing services that provide a similar service to Constant Contact, some of Constant Contact’s features are relatively unique. These include the email creation feature, the ability to manage events, and the social media scheduling function.
  • Several customer support avenues. You can obtain support by phone, through the live chat function, or from other users.

Cons

  • High price points. The monthly price for both the Email and Email Plus plans are comparatively more expensive than many other email marketing tools.
  • Minimal automation. There are several automation features accessible through Constant Contact, but these are mostly quite basic and many are only available if you get the Email Plus plan. Additionally, there are marketing tools that offer very similar services for more affordable prices.
  • Language restrictions. The tool itself is only available in English, there are only 10 language options within the email editor, and just 4 languages for customer support.

Comparable Services

Based on the pros and cons listed above, you might already have decided that Constant Contact isn’t the right service for you, or you might be on the fence because you’re not sure what other options are out there.

Either way, in this situation, it’s always helpful to know about the alternatives available to you.

In the case of Constant Contact, there are several platforms and services that provide similar features and could make good alternatives depending on your priorities.

We’re going to provide brief overviews of some of the best Constant Contact alternatives so you can check out the competition for yourself and see how they compare.

GetResponse

GetResponse is a similar marketing tool to Constant Contact, but it has some advanced features that Constant Contact doesn’t provide.

You’ll get access to more automation features through GetResponse, and the spam testing function is better.

GetResponse even has a webinar construction tool!

ActiveCampaign

Another very good alternative to Constant Contact is ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign is one of the best email marketing tools out there in terms of email automation. If growing your business is important to you (which, if you’re using a marketing tool, we assume it is), ActiveCampaign’s more detailed analytics reports will be beneficial to you as well.

Crucially, ActiveCampaign is more affordable per month than Constant Contact.

Sendinblue

Finally, we would also recommend Sendinblue as an alternative to Constant Contact.

Sendinblue is an excellent budget alternative – it’s actually one of the most affordable online marketing tools available right now. The automation options are refined and it’s a more accessible tool for users who speak languages other than English.

The advanced customer relationship management (CRM) features built into Sendinblue is another advantage over Constant Contact as far as marketing is concerned.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Cancel My Constant Contact Subscription?

Yes, you can contact your Constant Contact subscription, but in order to do so, you’ll need to contact the company via their phone line.

Remember, Constant Contact operates on Eastern time, and their business hours are between 9 am and 8 am, Monday through Friday. This may mean that you are unable to cancel your subscription immediately since you might need to wait until the next working day.

Is Constant Contact Good For CRM?

Constant Contact does have some CRM (Customer Relationship Management) features, but they are not advanced.

CRM-driven email marketing tools such as Sendinblue might be better if customer relationship management is your current focus.

Should I Use Constant Contact Or MailChimp?

In most cases, we would recommend MailChimp over Constant Contact.

The features included with MailChimp are more advanced, and the automation in particular is better developed.

Additionally, the email templates are much more customizable, so you have more freedom to express your brand and come across more personably to your subscriber base. MailChimp even offers a free plan, and its plans start at $14.99, while Constant Contact starts at $20.

MailChimp is also more likely to help you improve your rates of engagement because its analytics are more detailed, including social tracking and integration with Google Analytics.

Overall, MailChimp offers more automation, personalization, and analytics for lower prices than Constant Contact.

Final Thoughts

Constant Contact remains one of the most enduring and popular email marketing tools accessible today. It provides plenty of useful features that will be helpful to small businesses hoping to reach more customers.

However, a comparative analysis of Constant Contact alongside other email marketing services such as Sendinblue and MailChimp demonstrates that much of Constant Contact’s competition is superior in terms of advanced features and pricing.

If you’re a small business and are specifically looking for an email marketing service with solid rates of deliverability, event management tools, and a good level of integration, you’ll be pleased with what Constant Contact has to offer.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that if you want advanced automation features and a lot of potential for email customization, Constant Contact is not the tool for you.

It all comes down to the fact that the majority of the features provided by Constant Contact can now be found through other email marketing platforms, often at a more advanced level, and frequently for more affordable prices.

If Constant Contact were to lower their monthly fees, they would be highly recommended as a reliable budget option for small businesses. At the moment, however, Constant Contact is largely overshadowed by its competitors.

Mark Matthews