Overall, I think it's absolutely vital for online business owners to seriously consider their email marketing solution (and if you're not doing email marketing, you're really missing out!).
One of the biggest competitors to MailChimp (and one of the best solutions for online business owners) is a company called Constant Contact.
MailChimp's advertising platform is much larger than Constant Contact, so it's likely that you haven't heard of this alternative email marketing solution.
Make no mistake though, Constant Contact is the real deal!
They have over half a million customers worldwide and have been in business since 1995. Although they're much more under the radar than MailChimp, they still have a large infrastructure and customer network, and they do a great job at utilizing profits to create a better overall product.
The bottom line is this: Constant Contact offers unique, advantageous solutions to the savvy email marketer, and I wanted to create this article to explore some similarities and differences between MailChimp and Constant Contact, and allow you, the reader, to make an educated decision towards the right email marketing tool for you!
An absolutely vital area of importance for online software companies in the modern day is having a solid and easy-to-use platform interface.
And, in my opinion, both of these companies do an absolutely killer job at making it easy for their customers to bounce around the dashboard and access/edit their campaigns!
While MailChimp may be slightly more modern and sleek feeling, I find Constant Contact's dashboard to be slightly more accessible and easy-to-use. This is a personal opinion, and not necessarily the indisputable truth regarding both interfaces.
One thing to note is MailChimp's more extended navigation elements to move seamlessly throughout one's campaign (a little slider bar allows you to navigate between different elements of each email campaign, creating a really nice experience visually).
Overall, though, I find both tools extremely easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, so I see no clear advantage from using one tool over the other in this department!
I give the slight edge to Constant Contact when it comes to the features list.
Both tools offer the standard setup when it comes to things such as newsletter customization, templates, autoresponders, A/B testing, etc.
However, due to the extended features of Constant Contact's email editor (including aspects such as event management, surveys, advanced forms, coupons, etc.), I give the slight edge to Constant Contact in this department.
Furthermore, if you want advanced multivariate split testing for MailChimp, you'll end up paying more for a higher base package, which is not necessarily ideal for the cost conscious consumer!
Note: If you want some of the best marketing features in the industry for a comparable cost, I recommend you check out GetResponse.
Both platforms give you a great number of templates to use to start building and fleshing out sexy emails that will grow brand reputation and trust with the customers.
MailChimp offers 80 different templates to use to get started and are sorted into various categories based on your needs. Constant Contact offers 100 different templates, although they aren't sorted by categories.
If you're savvy enough, you can actually build your own email templates using html on both platforms.
I give MailChimp the slight advantage in this section because you can edit and move elements around much easier with MailChimp's platform.
Although there are less overall templates to use, MailChimp's templates give the user more flexibility when it comes to building and fleshing out great looking emails customized for their business needs.
It's absolutely vital to your email marketing efforts to have a high rate of deliverability.
If the email service you're using is getting your emails landed into the spam folder on most ESPs, then that is VERY, VERY bad.
Literally, having a high deliverability can make or break the profitability of your business, because if people aren't getting your emails delivered into their inbox correctly, then they're not going to open your emails and take action on your offers.
It doesn't matter how much time you spend honing and refining your emails to induce customer action, if the customers aren't getting your emails, then they aren't going to buy anything!
What's great news for you, the consumer, is that both of these platforms have very high deliverability (based on the sender scores of the servers that they're sending the emails from). This means that you don't have to worry about your customers not receiving their emails, because both of these platforms are excellent at getting into people's email inboxes!
MailChimp offers 24/7 email support and live chat support during their hours of operation. However, if you're on the free forever plan, then you will only get access to the support features for the first month of your new account, after that you have to figure it out yourself!
Constant Contact also offers email and live chat support, however it's only during their hours of operation (they don't answer during the weekend). If you're a newbie and have pressing questions, you'll have a hard time getting them answered quickly.
I'll give the edge to MailChimp on this one, but I think other platforms like GetResponse have better support than both of these companies!
Although MailChimp offers much more integrations on paper (800 listed integrations vs. 270), in reality all of the big, vital integrations are available for both platforms.
What must be noted for Constant Contact is the event management software. You can accept payments for event registration and collect these registrations online seamlessly integrated within emails. This is a deal-breaker, hands-down winning feature for event planners, but even if you're not in this industry, you can likely use this feature to make some serious dough if you're crafty!
Overall, I will give the edge to MailChimp because of the sheer number of integrations, but this is really a moot point for both as all of the big players (email, social media, apps, etc.) are covered with both platforms!
Both platforms offer great insight into your campaigns to know who opened your emails, who clicked through to offers and links within emails, who took action on offers, etc.
This information is vital for the online business owner who is looking to increase their campaign's success, and metrics that are easily measurable within both platforms increase the effectiveness of A/B testing, making you much more money in the long run!
MailChimp and Constant Contact both do a fantastic job when it comes to reporting, however MailChimp also offers geo-tracking, newsletter metrics vs. email provider (gmail, mail.com, yahoo, etc.), and a few other nice reporting features (that Constant Contact doesn't offer).
I have to give MailChimp the slight edge in this department!
This is the make or break point for many of you reading this article.
Price is huge when it comes to email marketing solutions, and, whether we like to admit it or not, we are heavily swayed by the pricing tiers of the various marketing platforms we choose.
Of course, it's important to keep in mind the cost vs. benefit of choosing one platform over the other, but I think both platforms are close enough in terms of features and execution, that Price is a heavily valued determining factor for the conscious consumer (you, if you're reading this article!).
Constant Contact offers a free 60-day trial for their platform, which is absolutely outstanding!
This trial period rivals some of the top software trial platforms online today, and gives the user plenty of time to try out and implement the software fully before paying for their services.
Likewise, as I mentioned in a previous article on this site, MailChimp actually offers a free pricing tier for their service, where it's free forever for the user. This may sound great, but it comes with the drawback of having advertisements for MailChimp on each one of your emails, and brings down the professionalism of your online business as a whole (in my opinion).
Therefore, I don't think the free version of MailChimp is a viable option for the professional business owner!
Constant Contact is slightly more expensive than MailChimp, as it costs $40/month for up to 2,500 subscribers with their platform! MailChimp's base plan only lets you have 500 subscribers and it costs $10/month, so it's slightly cheaper for MailChimp but not by much when you get down to the pricing structure of both!
In comparison, MailChimp will charge you $30/month for 2,500 subscribers, but there are discounts for both platforms if you pay more in advance (annually vs. monthly).
I think that the pricing should be a moot point for even the most cost-conscious consumer, because the amount of value that both platforms deliver should allow anyone who's relatively skilled in email marketing to grow an online business like wildfire that has profit potential which far exceeds the base costs for both email marketing platforms (take into account other marketing costs, also!).
Overall, I think that the 60-day free trial that Constant Contact gives you to try out their platform (in its entirety) really gives it the edge over MailChimp in the pricing department. In reality, both platforms cost about the same, and most competing email marketing platforms in the market are priced very similarly.
Furthermore, if you know what you're doing online, then 60 days should be more than enough time to start and scale an email marketing business, which means that you're able to take advantage of the trial period to actually start and grow an online business from scratch!
If you can't tell throughout the rest of this review, I truly think that both platforms are great options for your email marketing efforts. I think you'll find it much more profitable and rewarding to focus on your email marketing efforts, rather than the subtle differences between two big players in the email marketing software industry.
However, there are definitely some differences between the two platforms, and if you're very conscious about which one is right for you and your business needs, then you'll need to make a decision: Constant Contact or MailChimp?
You're very metric based, as I believe that there deliverability is slightly better than MailChimp's (despite having the same deliverability score, Constant Contact delivers more emails into the inbox by a slight margin).
Furthermore, if you want more customization options for your marketing efforts, then I think Constant Contact's sheer number of template designs allows you more creative control than is available with MailChimp.
You're more in the "experimental" phase of email marketing and just need some solution that will allow you to test out this business model.
Due to the nature of the free forever plan that MailChimp offers, you can theoretically advertise to 2,000 people and gain some traction with online business. However, you'll quickly want to purchase a paid subscription once you've made profits, as you'll increase your brand's professionalism, reputation and profits in the long run by doing so!
MailChimp also has a slightly better automation dashboard and easier to understand interface for campaigns, which means it's more accessible and beginner friendly (slightly, again).
So, which tool are you going to use for your marketing efforts? Let me know in the comments below!