Constant Contact vs Mail Chimp
Small business owners have lots of alternatives when it comes to email marketing tools. The two most commonly used are Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. Both of these tools are fairly easy to use, making it easy for small business owners to stay in touch with clients and prospects for pennies per interaction.
We often get asked which email marketing tool is better? As a Master Certified Solution Provider for Constant Contact, I have to admit I am biased when asked to compare the two. However, there are times when Mail Chimp is a good choice. So which one is right for your business?
Sooner or later the conversation always comes down to price, so let’s start there. Both services offer discounts for nonprofit organizations and prepayments. But there is a difference in the monthly fees.
Constant Contact offers free sixty day trials. This allows you to figure out if you are going to use the product. After that, monthly packages start at $20/month. There are always promotional discounts for 20 – 30% off your first few months.
Monthly fees are slightly higher than Mail Chimp. If price is your only critera, then Constant Contact won’t be the right choice.
- 500 contacts $40/month
- 2,500 contacts $60/month
- 5,000 contacts $90/month
Ok, that is pretty hard to beat. For small business owners with a small list (under 2,000) this tool will be free forever. Yes, you are restricted on how many emails you can send each month but the limit of 12,000 is pretty high. It is hard to imagine most companies needing to exceed that in any given month.
And, if your list grows the incremental cost is very reasonable.
- 2,500 contacts $35/month
- 5,000 contacts $55/month
- 5,800 contacts $75/month
When you have a question how important is the type of support available? Are you comfortable with searching a knowledge base to find your answer, communicating via email or chat or do you want to talk to a live person?
This is one category where Constant Contact wins hands down. Phone support is offered Monday through Friday for business hours across all time zones in the US and Canada. The support teams are helpful, friendly, and really listen. There are also email and chat options for quick questions because the wait times for a live person can sometimes be long.
Email support is also available on the weekend.
The resource library includes simple FAQ’s, recorded video tutorials, a community forum filled with blogs and discussions and a listing of local seminars, webinars, and email marketing classes. You will even see the Roundpeg classes listed there.
On Your Own
With Mail Chimp you have to be pretty comfortable figuring things out on your own. After the first 30 days where you have limited email support, free accounts have access to their online Knowledge Base. This resource library is fairly complete so you should be able to find the answers you are looking for.
The Mail Chimp tool is pretty intuitive so for basic accounts this limited support is sufficient.
For paid accounts, chat and email support services are available 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. On the weekends responses are limited to email service only.
Both tools are extremely robust with easy to use drag and drop editors, simple customizable templates, image editing, and even the ability to edit the HTML code if you wish. Both tools let you manage multiple lists, set up auto response campaigns, integrate with social media, and monitor campaign performance.
So where do they differ? It is really on the small details. How much design variation do you want and do you need other features like surveys and events?
Templates, Events and Lists
While both platforms have easy to use drag and drop editors, Constant Contact has a robust library of specialty, holiday, and industry-specific templates which you can modify for your purposes.
There is an easy to use stock image library filled with both free and inexpensive images and optional event management and survey features are available for an additional cost.
Constant Contact gives you more information about your lists. You know when and why an email bounced so you can decide how long to continue to send emails to a specific address.
You can also mix and match lists for specific campaigns, sending some to specific lists and others to your entire data base. And, it is easy to see who clicked on specific offers and send a follow-up email to a subset of your list with just one or two clicks.
In general as an email marketing tool Constant Contact gives you more information and more control of your lists and messaging.
Unlimited Image Storage and Simple Lists
With Mail Chimp you can store as many images as you want, at no additional cost.
Step by step coaching makes it easy to build a campaign from scratch, although the designs tend to look a bit more “boxy” unless you know how to get in and manipulate the HTML code.
While they do not have their own event and survey tools, they do integrate nicely with Eventbrite and Survey Monkey. Actually, this is a strong suit of Mail Chimp across the board, they are more likely to connect smoothly with most 3rd party products.
Mail Chimp makes it easy to keep your list(s) up-to-date, automatically deleting contacts if emails bounce several times. You can divide lists into smaller groups, but can only send a campaign to one list at a time. That means you need to be sure people are only on one list, or they could end up with multiple copies of an email if you decided to send information to your entire list.
In general this tool is ideal for small, simple lists or companies with very different audiences.
Whichever email marketing tool you select, the basics of building a good campaign are the same.
Listen to this episode of More Than a Few Words for more information on this topic.
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