iContact Review: Meeting Potential Customers at iLevel

iContact's main page is attractive - and they want your emails to be, too.
iContact is a site that worries precisely about that: how things look once your customer has actually made “eye contact” with your email newsletter. While many services out there – think AWeber and Constant Contact – are interested in getting your email campaigns in front of as many eyes as possible, iContact is more concerned with how things look once those emails get opened.

That’s not a bad thing. Some email campaign marketing companies don’t put any thought into this at all. And it’s not to say that iContact doesn’t worry about basic features like analytics and other normal accommodations in this world of email marketing. But it is iContact’s specialty, and wel’l want to keep that in mind as we give this service a good once-over.

As you can see in the image above, the iContact site certainly looks enterprising and stylish. Whether or not iContact can deliver the same for your email campaigns is another matter entirely. Let’s find out if they walk the walk in this iContact review.

First Things First: The Features

iContact is a pretty popular platform, so it certainly has to deliver the goods in the features department. After all, you don’t get to be this popular without a certain degree of quality and overall service that at least rivals what your competitors are doing. iContact does deliver on many of the basics, including:

  • Marketing analytics, like how many people are opening your emails
  • Contact list management and subscription buttons
  • Quality email sending with spam avoidance

If you’re a serious online marketer, those three features alone are considered basic requirements rather than icing on the cake. If you’re new to the world of email marketing, these will seem like great features until you realize those are what all the email marketing services offer.

iContact does do a surprisingly good job of providing each, and they clearly take their features seriously, much as the emphasis might be on looking good. The features are handy, simple, easy to use, and not difficult to find once you log in to your control panel. This makes it, at the very least, an attractive option for the beginner who has never managed a subscription list before.

Is there more to the story? There always is. In the world of email marketing, the oft-employed multi-tier pricing structure can mean a difference in a lot of monthly dollars, depending on the size of your email subscriber list. Let’s take a look at iContact’s stance on this particular issue.

If the Price is Right…

If you’ve been scrolling around iContact’s web site while reading this review, you’re probably actually pretty excited by now. Their site does a good job of explaining all of the features you can expect and makes you really think you’re going to look good while exploring these features. Essentially, you may think to yourself, iContact will be my email subscription manager.

As long as the price is right.

The good news here is that the price is indeed right. Well, to put that more accurately and to end our game show reference, the prices are right.

A list of up to 250 subscribers is only going to cost you $9.95 monthly – less if you sign up for a yearly agreement. Managing 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers costs $29.00 monthly – again, less if you sign up for a full year. And so it goes.

Admittedly, things do get a little bit confusing over at the full pricing structure site, which means you’ve got your work cut out for you if you’re an avid price-comparer and are considering other sites like Constant Contact. Still, the prices at iContact are reasonable enough that you won’t feel buyer’s remorse simply by staying signed up and maintaining an email list. You’ll actually feel like you have a pretty good bargain on your hands. I would argue that you’re probably right.

But Does It Look Good?

iContact’s big promise is on the quality of its HTML templates, allowing you to choose different – and elegant – structures that convey your message to your email audience. The key ingredients in a good HTML template? It should look professional, it should look attractive, and it should never look like an HTML template.

This is where so many templates go wrong, especially in the world of instant website building. But iContact doesn’t really disappoint. The HTML templates are easy to figure out and when you do figure them out, you end up with some really nice-looking emails that you’d be happy to send to your list, whether you’re just working on that initial fifteen or you’re working your way into five digits.

If you’d rather avoid the HTML template idea altogether, you can do that as well, as the features of iContact will keep you plenty happy. It’s an overall flexible experience that you wish more web sites would embrace.

Conclusions

iContact should be considered up there with other providers like Constant Contact. Where is “there”? The upper echelon. The elite. The final contenders for your email marketing service. Heck, if you decide to simply end the American Idol-like suspense and just go with a random email marketing provider, landing on iContact as your choice will yield dividends down the road. It’s a good choice.

It’s also punctuated by the fact that you can simply start out with a free trial in order to mitigate any potential risk you feel is out there. It’s a great way to ingratiate yourself to the world of email marketing in the first place, and certainly should be considered a must-do if you’re not sure about iContact or hesitant in any way.

We’re pretty confident you won’t get that buyer’s remorse feeling, especially considering the bargain-level pricing plan and overall quality of service and features. If you do feel like you have any regrets, it will probably be that you didn’t use iContact enough and didn’t place enough emphasis on generating a strong email list. And that’s one of the few things iContact won’t be able to do for you. But, hey, who says you have to be the one to break iContact first?

Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating

Dan Kenitz

Dan Kenitz is a former professional Search Engine Optimization specialist and current freelance writer, commentator, and all-around entrepreneur.

Leave a comment