Once you’ve built your website, you will probably be eager to get stuck into promoting it. Email marketing can be a highly effective marketing method. People who give you their email address have already shown a reasonable interest in your business. Therefore, they will be easier to convert into paying customers than people just looking around your site.
Mailchimp is a hugely popular email marketing platform. Although it offers a variety of services, like web design and domain registration, email marketing solutions continue to be its forte. Constant Contact is a close rival, with lots of features and resources for successful email marketing campaigns.
Naturally, I was keen to find out which one would deliver better results and, importantly, value for money. I researched both platforms to see how they compared.
Price is a big factor for the majority of businesses when choosing which email marketing platform to use. You always want to get the best value for your money. An email marketing platform should serve to maximise the return on your investment, and drive results and profits. To do this, it needs to be feature-rich, intuitive, easy to use, and share in-depth reports based on results.
Let’s take a look at the pricing structures of Mailchimp and Constant Contact to see how they stack up.
Mailchimp has a free plan which is very generous with its features. It includes access to basic templates, the ability to create Facebook and Instagram ads for your social media strategies, basic segmentation of your contacts, and access to metrics like purchasing behaviour and website engagement. The big downside though is you cannot remove the Mailchimp branding while you remain on the free plan.
Beyond this, prices for set plans start at £9.12 (Essentials), £14.09 (Standard), and £247.87 (Premium) per month. As you can see, there is a huge jump between the price of the Standard plan and the Premium one. The actual price will depend on how many contacts you have and the number of emails you will send per month. The Standard plan includes loads of exceptionally useful and intuitive features. These include social post scheduling, send time optimisation, content optimiser, as well as purchase likelihood and lifetime value predictions.
The downside to Mailchimp is that it can get expensive quite quickly with the number of contacts and emails you’re sending.
Constant Contact doesn’t have a free plan available but it does have a 60 day free trial. There are just two set plans, which makes the pricing structure a little more straightforward than Mailchimp. To make it even simpler, there is a pricing tier table available to view. By clicking on “View tiered pricing”, you can see precisely how much it would cost you to send a number of emails per month before signing up.
The Core plan, costing £8/month with 500 contacts, includes Facebook and Instagram ads integration, website sign up forms, social media post scheduling, contact segmentation, and email analytics such as views, heat maps, and bounces.
Winner – There are pros and cons to both platforms. Constant Contact has a clearer pricing structure so you easily know what to expect as your email list grows. However, Mailchimp has a definite advantage over its rival because it includes more features for your money. Therefore, Mailchimp wins this round.
Design and Customisation
If you’re spending time, money, and effort on an email campaign, well-polished email templates are a must. There are several things to take into consideration when it comes to the design tools that Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer. These are range of templates, ease-of-use, and flexibility.
Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact are pretty easy to use. They both have a vast choice of templates with drag-and drop functionality. Both platforms also offer subject line recommendations to help boost your open rate, as well as features for creating dynamic content. In short, Mailchimp and Constant Contact both handle design and customisation aspects very well. However, there are some differences between the two platforms.
Constant Contact boasts an impressive 300+ email templates that you can work with. Mailchimp, on the other hand, has 100+. Mailchimp enables more customisation options though, such as layout and image placement, making it easier and more efficient to achieve your desired look. Because of this, the end results tend to look more professional and personalised.
Mailchimp also has the advantage of its ‘Creative Assistant’. This is an AI tool that “gets to know your brand” and creates designs to fit your brand’s personality and drive the best results.
Winner – Constant Contact has considerably more templates, but Mailchimp excels in flexibility. Therefore, I’m declaring a tie for this round, with both platforms being equally great.
Good customer support goes a long way in building trust between a business and its customers. Knowing there will be someone on hand to help if you run into issues, will make businesses feel more comfortable about making a purchase.
Constant Contact have an award-winning customer support team. There is live chat and telephone support included in both their plans. There is also free access to useful tutorials, blogs and webinars, as well as a community forum. There are phone numbers for different locations and services. And, Plus plan members get a personalised welcome call to help them get the most out of their tools and resources. All-in-all, it’s very clear, concise, and above all, helpful.
Mailchimp, however, falls a little short on the support front, in my opinion. One downfall is that phone support is only available for Premium plan members; that’s the plan that costs £247.87/month. There is a phone number available on the website but it is a sales phone number and not intended for existing customers. While you have other support options like email and live chat, sometimes, you really just want to speak to someone. In many cases, a phone call can solve an issue much more efficiently.
Winner – For me, Constant Contact is a clear winner for the best customer support. Phone support is key for quick resolutions and being able to talk through your issue properly. Unfortunately, Mailchimp doesn’t offer this with the majority of its plans.
A/B Testing enables you to show two different versions of something to different audiences. It will determine which version gains the best results. You can A/B test lots of aspects of your marketing campaign like ads, web pages, and of course, emails.
You can probably see how useful A/B testing can be for optimising your conversion rates. Individually testing different parts of your marketing emails like subject lines, images, and text, will enable you to hone in on the right combination of elements for the best results possible.
Mailchimp does A/B testing spectacularly well. It lets you pick the determining success factor, for example clicks or revenue, and you can test subjects lines, images, and layouts. Furthermore, Mailchimp has a Multivariant campaign feature accessible for its Premium users. Its users can test up to three variables at a time, namely sending time, name, and content, to create the perfect combination.
Constant Contact, however, proves a little disappointing as it only allows you to test the subject lines of emails. While this is a good feature in itself, not being able to test other variables has significant limitations to an A/B testing campaign. What it offers in the way of A/B testing is relatively basic compared to Mailchimp.
Winner – Mailchimp is the winner for A/B testing with more comprehensive testing capabilities than Constant Contact.
Analytics, Reporting, and Insights
Finally, I’m going to look through the analytics, reporting, and insight features of Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Basically, all the useful stuff they tell you about the success and failures of your campaigns. And, helping you use those insights to build stronger campaigns in the future.
Constant Contact offers thorough reporting of your emails like openings and bounces. I really like the heat map feature too, as you can see which parts of your emails were clicked on. There is also reporting of social media posts and ads, which is really handy.
Mailchimp, on the other hand, takes things to a whole new level with insights such as predicted demographics, Lookalike audience finder and, as mentioned earlier, A/B testing. Mailchimp doesn’t just show you your data, it uses it intuitively to enhance customer experience and optimise the successes of your campaigns. For example, campaigns with every plan can be personalised with product recommendations based on the data it’s gathered. And, the Content Optimizer compares different previous campaigns to offer suggestions as to what will deliver the best results in terms of images, content, and layout.
Winner – Mailchimp undoubtedly wins this round. Its gathering, presenting, and use of data is more thorough and in-depth than Constant Contact’s.
Both email marketing services are fantastic but my overall winner for Mailchimp vs Constant Contact is Mailchimp. While Constant Contact has its advantages like their telephone support and more straightforward pricing, Mailchimp has more features to drive your email campaigns forward. It also have the free plan available for businesses on a tight budget.