We know you’ve heard a lot about Mailchimp. Constant Contact? Not quite the same level of fame yet. While they have been around since 1995 and serve roughly half a million users worldwide, their advertising power seems a lot more meagre than Mailchimp’s.
It should also be noted that they are rated lower than MailChimp in our comparison table. But because Constant Contact offers some niche features, they could actually be the ideal email marketing solution for certain companies and individuals. Is it the case for you? Let’s break it down below to find out.
Table of Contents
Constant Contact's plans start at $20/month and they have one of the highest deliverability rates. MailChimp offers more advanced features, including better automations, reporting, email templates, and a free plan for sending 10,000 emails to up to 2,000 contacts per month.
Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer easy navigation and clear sections, making them ideal for beginners or people who don’t want to spend too long learning how to use an extra backend in their life. But if we had to pick a winner, we’d have to say that Mailchimp’s editor feels more modern and faster than Constant Contact’s, even if some advanced features are a bit hard to get at first (it took us a while to find how to add subscriber opt-ins, for instance.)
One feature we really like is the navigation menu when you create a campaign in Mailchimp. You can move forward and backward to check every step of the campaign and to make sure everything is in place.
Winner: no clear winner here in terms of usability. Constant Contact feels simpler because it has fewer features. But when Mailchimp do advanced features, they do them well: the campaign navigation tool, for example.
Both solutions offer a decent number of templates to get you started. There are fewer of them with Mailchimp (80 Vs 100 for Constant Contact) but Mailchimp’s are sorted in categories like ecommerce, events, holidays, newsletters or notifications.
When it comes to creating your own newsletter from scratch, both platforms let you use HTML. And with Mailchimp, you can import the code from a URL or a .zip file.
Bridging the gap between custom code and a template, Mailchimp offers some kind of blank templates called layouts. These are basically an empty structure where you can add your content such as images and text. It’s pretty handy, and while Constant Contact offers 3 or 4 of them too, they are nowhere near as useful.
In terms of editing the template, Mailchimp seems to offer a bit more flexibility and options, such as the 3 column layout. You can also get creative with how you display images and social media options, showing shares and likes on your page.
Finally, both solutions let you save your templates and re-use them for your next newsletters (luckily).
Winner: definitely Mailchimp. There are 20 fewer templates, but they look better and offer more flexibility.
Constant Contact offers decent autoresponders (emails sent to users on special occasions or when they sign up to your mailing list). They also let you add surveys and coupons, and their event management tool is completely unique (see extras section).
Mailchimp also offers autoresponders, but most importantly automations. These come with solid features such as campaigns triggered by segment (people interested in product A will get emails that people interested in product B will not), and email sequences, perfect for newsletter sales funnels.
They also offer a basic A/B split testing option with 3 different variables (different subject line, content or send time, for instance). You can try more complex multivariate testing (at an extra cost).
Winner: Mailchimp wins this round too. One thing to note though, if you really want the best marketing features, we highly recommend you check out Active Campaign and Get Response too. The automations and A/B tests, amongst others, are far superior to Mailchimp’s.
The form that could make or break your subscriber list. If you want it as nice as possible when integrating it with your website, Mailchimp simply has more options. You can add custom fields, drag and drop existing ones and tweak the colour (although you have to do it with an HEX color code for some weird reason).
Constant Contact lets you change the font, image banner, background color and… that’s about it. The fields are limited to standard tick boxes for first name, last name, company etc… You can create a QR code that links to your sign up form, which is pretty cool.
Mailchimp is also better with opt-in messages, as you can easily customize them based on your preferences. Constant Contact does it too, but the interface isn’t intuitive or fun to play with.
Winner: The QR code option isn’t enough to help Constant Contact win this round. Mailchimp wins again.
An important step when you want to ensure your emails arrive in your subscribers’ inbox looking good and tidy. To do so, Mailchimp offers a third party tool called Inbox Preview which lets you visualise your newsletter on different devices and email clients. This is a (kinda) paid service as each view costs 1 token. You can buy 25 tokens for $3, but you also get free tokens monthly based on your subscription plan.
As for spam testing? Constant Contact does have a new spam testing feature, but we wouldn’t rely on it 100%. You’re better off using an external app such as GlockApps or MailTester.com.
Winner: Mailchimp. But it’s a soft win. Here again, other providers are more advanced. GetResponse, for instance, gives you a spam score for each newsletter campaign.
Also known as: how to measure your newsletter’s success. Constant Contact lets you know who opened and clicked it. There is also Google Analytics integration for tracking conversion.
Mailchimp offers all of the above, plus geo-tracking, plus social media reports and click maps, plus cool things like newsletter success per provider (Gmail vs Yahoo for instance). And most impressive of all, they offer a unique ecommerce conversion tracking that lets you know when products are sold through your store, and how.
Winner: Mailchimp probably has the best reporting system out of all the email tools we’ve tried. So yeah, Mailchimp.
An important metric to measure the success of your email before users read them. Quite simply, an email is considered delivered when it doesn’t land in the spam folder.
|Overall Deliverability Rate||84.9%||90.5%|
Results above combine the scores of our last 3 independent deliverability tests under the exact same conditions. We used Glock Apps, a trusted 3rd party spam testing tool.
Winner: this is a clear victory for Constant Contact. They land far more emails in the primary inbox and much less in the spam folder compared to MailChimp.
This could turn into a numbers game here as Mailchimp offers 800 integrations and Constant Contact has only 270. They range from social media to website integrations, but the truth is that you’re very unlikely to be missing any with either services.
One unique feature of Constant Contact (which starts with the $45 / month plan) is the event management software. It lets you accept payments online and tracks registrations for attendees, which could be a killer feature if you are in this industry. You even get a special landing page for your event – a shame the feature isn’t implemented for everyone.
Winner: If you are an event manager, then Constant Contact’s feature could be a big reason to choose the platform. Otherwise, Mailchimp still offers more integrations than you’ll know what to do with.
Mailchimp has 24/7 email support and chat help (during business hours). Free users access 1 month of support to get started, after that they’re on their own. We’ve asked Mailchimp a few questions and their answers are good, if a bit slow at times.
Constant Contact offers chat and phone support (business hours) and apparently they check the community forums and Twitter during the weekend for urgent matters. We’re a bit dubious because we’ve had bad experiences with their support in general. The documentation and knowledge base are not as complete as Mailchimp’s and, worst of all, we contacted them 3 times after they said they would call back. They never did.
Winner: Mailchimp. If only to spite Constant Contact because our experience with their support has been so poor.
In our full Mailchimp review, we’ve commented on the fact that their free plan is very generous (if limited in terms of features), the problem is that they get expensive quite quickly, as you will see in the table below. But they do also offer a flexible pay as you go option.
|Free plan||Up to 2000 subscribers / 10000 emails.||N/A|
|5000 subscribers||$50 a month||$65 a month|
|10 000 subscribers||$75 a month||$90 a month|
|Pay as you go||
1000 emails – $30
5000 emails – $100
10000 emails – $200
Constant Contact doesn’t offer a free plan but you can try it for 60 days. They get even more expensive than Mailchimp after that, and don't have a pay as you go option.
Winner: Mailchimp, obviously. Note that working out newsletters costs is quite difficult, so check our handy price comparison tool for more info.
Mailchimp wins pretty much all the rounds in this comparison review, as they are the best for general and advanced features, reporting, support and price, amongst others.
So should you even bother with Constant Contact? Well, we could recommend them if you run an event management business. Their event feature is not only unique, but also well thought-out, offering a great help for letting subscribers book and play directly within your newsletter. Of course, they’re a hard sell for anything else, lacking in features and documentation, and worst of all, expensive.
And don’t forget that there are other options. For instance, GetResponse and ActiveCampaign are much better at complex automations, so if you still want to investigate other platforms, make sure you check out our comparison table!
22 May 2019: Updated sending limit for Mailchimp free plan
July 29 2019 – Deliverability averages including latest round of testing