If you’ve been looking for one go-to email marketing service that actually hooks your mailing list into a variety of other services – say online surveys and event planning, then Constant Contact makes no bones about it: it’s here for you. And it’s here for you for sixty days without even paying them if that’s your bag, with an excellent upfront credit card-less 60-day free trial that comes with no commitments whatsoever. Is that music to this reviewer’s ears? You bet it is.
But before we get ahead of ourselves in the world of Constant Contact, we’ll have to dig deeper and ensure that the free trial isn’t just a mirage for what is ultimately a bad service. You get what you pay for, after all. In this review we’re going to take you through the features of the Constant Contact service and weigh it against the leading competitors like AWeber. If it’s time for you to update your online marketing skillset, this may be the resource for you. But you’ll have to keep reading to find out.
The Constant Contact High
Upon first impression, Constant Contact sounds more like a Mixed Martial Arts principle than an email marketing service, but one visit to the site and one quick signup into their free trial are all you need to change your perceptions dramatically.
Why? Because you get all of the features – off the bat – that you’d find at the other leading email campaign managers like AWeber. For example, all the usual suspects are here, including:
- Email campaign analytics with the basics: seeing how many people opened your email
- HTML templates for your emails
- Easy interface and editing
- Variable-rate pricing based on the size of your email list
Okay, so I’m not a big fan of the last one, but this is par for the course when it comes to email campaign managing platforms. Besides, the conventional wisdom tells us, the bigger your list is, the more money you’re making and the more money you’re making, the more you can afford. Still, would it kill a service to produce a more flat program usage fee? Other programs have flat-rate licenses; why not the AWebers and Constant Contacts of the world?
But before I go on the pricing rant (this often happens when I have to pay monthly fees for anything), let’s continue to focus on the features. And there’s more than e-mail marketing features present here, as you’ll see at Constant Contact’s site with a quick hop over. Constant Contact integrates marketing concepts like event planning, social media – they’re very big on the social media – and online surveys.
Granted, not all of these features will have a use to you. If you’re a small business or sole proprietorship, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be hosting any major events that require big event planning beyond the basic Facebook invite. And online surveys? What, are you going to tell your customers that they can get free “stuff” by filling out a few forms? Not all of the features here are for everybody, but it’s always nice to know you have them in case you do have the genuine need.
Overall, Constant Contact delivers all of these features with simplicity and style, the combination that’s near and dear to my heart. They also offer free phone support, which means you won’t have to worry about having any troubles even when you’re on the 60-day free trial.
And besides, when you’re talking about a relatively inexpensive platform that delivers on all of these features at once, one can definitely see the appeal. And what about that inexpensiveness?
Pricing: The Final Frontier
If Constant Contact delivers all of the above, then pricing is the last place it can break my heart. How does it stack up?
It’s great. First, you have the aforementioned 60-day free trial, a credit card-less signup form taking you to two month’s worth of fine Internet features so accommodating you wonder how you ever did with them before. Is that an endorsement? You bet it is. If you want to have an email list for free for two months, Constant Contact is definitely the place to go. I only wish I’d had this knowledge when I created short-lived email lists in the past.
But the free trial, like all of us, is mortal and eventually comes to an end. So what’s the pricing like once you get past the initial fun of having great service without any cost?
It’s not a dramatic upswing, which is surprising considering how easy it would be for Constant Contact to go the upsell route. The bottom tier is set at $15/month, and this will get you a list of up to 500 subscribers. Let’s go up the pricing tiers here:
- $30/month: 501-2,000 subscribers
- $50/month: 2,501-5,000 subscribers
- $75/month: 5,001-10,000 subscribers
- $150/month: 10,001-25,000 subscribers
- More than 25,000 subscribers: “Call for pricing”
It’s almost like they’re daring you to build a list of over 25,000 subscribers. But you get the idea: the pricing is flat, predictable, and reasonable for what you’re getting, especially as you build a larger subscriber network worthy of such heftier monthly bills.
I find this to compare favorably with sites like AWeber, and for all of the services you’re getting at Constant Contact (not to mention the first two months free), I’d say Constant Contact wins out.
Overall, I’m very impressed with Constant Contact. It’s got generous features, generous pricing, a more-than-generous free trial that doesn’t try to sneak you into the backend of their system, and they do it all with an ease-of-use that more marketing platforms should strive for. Basically Constant Contact should be considered one of your top picks if you’re looking at email marketing platforms on the cheap, and certainly should be considered as your long-term solution as well.
I’ll keep Constant Contact in mind for any future endeavors concerning an email list, and if you don’t, then have fun with whatever inferior service you’re using. Because I know me (and my business) will be just fine.