Constant Contact Review - The Heart of Small Business?
Constant Contact have been in the email marketing game since 1995. During that time they’ve managed to become one of the most used email tools in the world, boasting over 650,000 customers.
What makes them special is that they’ve added several features over the years that none of their competitors sport, such as an event management tool, surveys, and social campaigns. These all add to the diverse list of email options available, in addition to autoresponders and recurring newsletters.
On top of these options, they also boast a marketplace with over 270 apps and integrations that cater for even the most niche of products. Yet despite these flashy numbers and features, interest in Constant Contact seems to be on the decline, at least according to Google Trends. Enough reason for us to take a closer look at Constant Contact’s ins & outs and check if it’s still relevant in the 21st century.
Find out below!
Constant Contact in Detail
|Ease of Use||Generally it’s easy to navigate yet a bit dull-looking. As there aren’t too many options, it’s logically laid out you can get to most places within a couple of clicks. Sometimes sections can take a while to load, though, which slows down the experience.|
|-Editor||The editor is fast, but light on features, especially in the styling department. One of the limits we discovered, for example, is that a three column layout is not (yet) possible. Apart from that it’s easy to work with.|
|-Personalization||yes||This is very basic though, only allowing you to insert simple greetings or contact details. There is no if/then/else logic available.|
|-Types of Emails||Classic, autoresponders, recurring newsletters, event registrations, coupons, surveys and polls.|
|Choice and Flexibility of Template Designs||While the templates aren’t particularly stylish, there are a few to choose from, and you can also start from scratch. Using the previewer allows you to see how templates look in both desktop and mobile format.|
|Marketing Automation||Not available, simply autoresponders.|
|List Management||Constant Contact have quite basic list management and segmentation. It’s done through a simple search while with contacts, using “is”/”is not” filters, and once you’ve got your results you can check them to either add them to a list, remove them from one, or apply a tag.|
Opt-in & Opt-out- Process
|There is next to no customisation with the form, and it simply offers a description box, basic field options (which you can’t add to) and then a list, or lists, that people can check to be added to. Embedded forms also have a limit of 200 sign-ups per day.|
|Reports and Analysis||Constant Contact have just the basics in terms of reporting. Openers and clickers, and Google Analytics integration. No advanced tracking available though.|
|Languages||The site is only available in English, but you can choose to change some of the non-editable email sections to one of 10 languages available, mostly European.|
|-Spam- and Design-Testing||Under development.|
|-Bounce Management||yes||Soft bounces are placed on temporary hold for 15 days, and then resent. If it happens again they are moved into a suspended bounce category. They have a ‘recommended for removal’ filter available to view these, but don’t remove them automatically.|
|-Storage Available for Data and Images||2GB||Max image size of 5MB.|
|-Social Media Integration||They have 40 social media integrations/apps in their marketplace, including Facebook. You can also add a social bar within your email, which includes up to 7 of the main networks.|
|-Authentication||yes||SPF and DKI M are supported.|
|-Different Access Levels||yes||The Account Owner can also assign roles to be either an Account Manager or a Campaign Creator.|
|-Integrations||yes||Constant Contact offer a massive amount of apps and integrations, over 270.|
|-Landing Page Editor||yes||This is only available via their event management tool.|
|Support||Support was a letdown with Constant Contact. While they do have a moderately useful knowledge base, sometimes the links just didn’t work. I didn’t test the phone, but email and live chat were disappointing. Email help claimed a 4 hour response time, but it took 10. And live chat staff were often unable to help, directing me several times to call the international number.|
|For a basic email tool, you could do worse than Constant Contact. The main issue here, though, is that they’re asking a premium price for a sub-premium product.|
© EmailToolTester Matrix
As Constant Contact themselves reiterate through their site, they are a tool for small businesses. And, as such, it’s worth evaluating them on these terms. As mentioned above, they definitely have enough of the basics covered to satisfy most small businesses, and if it were as simple as that then we’d recommend them more highly.
The issue, these days, is that there are plenty of other email tools offering even more than Constant Contact, and for a lot less money. This includes not only features, but also user experience and, of course, customer service. This last point is a bit of a sore point for Constant Contact. I really didn’t feel valued as a customer during my interactions with their support team. It wasn’t that they were unfriendly, just that the level of knowledge was lower than expected and getting the right information was a multi-step process.
They do pick up points for their general integrations, particularly social media integrations, and for allowing different access levels for separate users. But their lack of advanced features, such as marketing automation, makes it difficult to recommend over others at their price point.
12 Aug 2016 - Video review added.
28. Jul - 01. Aug 2016 - Initial tests.
Last Update: 12 Aug 2016 | Steve Lamattina
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Product: Constant Contact
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