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Constant Contact
3.5

Constant Contact Review - The Heart of Small Business?

steve lamattina
Professor

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 automations and recurring newsletters.

On top of these options, they also boast a marketplace with over 400 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!

Try Constant Contact for free: http://constantcontact.emailtooltester.com/ Find a more detailed Constant Contact review here: http://www.emailtooltester.com/... Constant Contact Review - The Pros & Cons of the Newsletter Tool 2016-08-12 https://img.youtube.com/vi/vk8HUV2fudI/hqdefault.jpg

Try Constant Contact for free

500 SUBSCRIBERS

$20/MO

Standard Email Plan. Discounts available for 6 and 12-month plans.

2,500 SUBSCRIBERS

$45/MO

Standard Email Plan. Discounts available for 6 and 12-month plans.

5,000 SUBSCRIBERS

$65/MO

Standard Email Plan. Discounts available for 6 and 12-month plans.

10,000 SUBSCRIBERS

$95/MO

Standard Email Plan. Discounts available for 6 and 12-month plans.

> Compare prices with our cost calculator

Niche features:

Constant Contact have some interesting niche features such as event management, which may come in handy for specific businesses.

High deliverability rates:

They have consistently performed well in our deliverability tests, offering some of the highest rates of deliverability among our reviewed tools.

Very poor price-performance ratio:

The prices for this newsletter tool are incredibly high compared to what they offer, and also compared against other tools.

Limited automation:

They offer basic automations, but we’re really missing the more sophisticated and flexible workflows offered by other providers here.

criterion rating comments

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.

Newsletter Creation

Editor

The editor is fast, but light on features, especially in the styling department. 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.

Email types

Classic, autoresponders and basic automations, recurring newsletters, A/B testing, event registrations, coupons, surveys and polls.

Choice and Flexibility of Template Designs

Not bad. There are around 100 (!) templates to choose from, with varying degrees of quality (some are decent, while others look a little basic and dated). You can also start from scratch, and use a handy feature called ‘Brand your email’ to auto-generate a template based on your website’s colors and logo.

Email Automation

They offer autoresponders and abandoned cart campaigns for Shopify and WooCommerce. It also generates pre-defined contact segments based on your customers’ interactions with your online store (e.g. repeat, lapsed and potential customers). They recently also introduced automations based on contact triggers (e.g. email opens, clicks). It’s worth noting that the automations aren’t the most flexible, though – you can’t really combine conditions and actions as you can in many other tools.

List Management

Constant Contact have list management / segmentation, but it’s on the basic side. It’s done through a simple contact search using contact field values or behavioral data (e.g. opens, clicks). Once you’ve got your results you can either add them to a list or export them, and then send them an email campaign (although you’re not able to add them to automations). You can also tag contacts manually or based on contact field criteria.

Registration Forms/ 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.

Deliverability

As you can see in our deliverability tests, Constant Contact does not perform too badly, reaching the most popular email providers (AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook) the majority of the time.

Reports and Analysis

Seems like Constant Contact have expanded their reporting since our last review. In addition to standard open and click reports, spam, bounce and unsubscribe rates are also available. You also get click heat maps, and some useful overview reports such as open and click trends, opens by device, and most successful subject line. You can also compare campaigns. However advanced tracking such as ecommerce tracking isn’t available.

Languages

Here’s where it gets a bit hairy. The site is available in English and Spanish, while the tool is only available in English. You can choose to change some of the non-editable email sections (e.g. footer and privacy policy text) to one of 10 languages available, mostly European. Support and the knowledge base is available in 4 languages. Slightly confusing, but at least there’s some effort to support multilingual users and audiences.

Further Features

Spam- and Design-Testing

Spam testing isn’t available, however there is a feature to check the email for errors (missing links, placeholder text that hasn’t been updated etc). There’s also a tool that allows you to preview how emails will look for specific recipients, although this didn’t seem to work when we tested it out. ‘Inbox Preview’ by Litmus is available as an add-on service, although at $10/month for just 5 tests, it’s a little steep.

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.

Blacklist

yes

Import/export available although it’s not as straightforward as it could be – you need to first enable advanced email permissions under Account Settings.

Storage available for data and images

2GB

Max image size of 5MB.

Pro Features

Authentication

yes

SPF and DKIM are supported.

Own Domain

no

Different levels of account access

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 400.

Landing Page Editor

yes

This is only available via their event management tool.

Support

3.5/5

There are several channels of support, including live chat, phone support, a knowledge base and community-based support. However I found that the chat and phone support weren’t always available, which was a little frustrating. When I was able to get hold of chat support, however, I did find them to be responsive and useful.

Overall rating

3.5/5

For a basic email tool, Constant Contact ticks most of the boxes. The main issue here, though, is that they’re asking a premium price for a sub-premium product.

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. In fact, for the amount you pay with Constant Contact, you could find yourself using much more powerful tools such as ActiveCampaign and GetResponse.

They do pick up points for their decent deliverability rates, integrations (particularly social media integrations), and for allowing different access levels for separate users. And with recent enhancements to marketing automation and reporting, it does look like they’re making an effort to improve the product. But their lack of advanced features, such as marketing automation, makes it difficult to recommend over others at their price point.

 

Try Constant Contact now for free for 60 days.

 

Please note that we are using affiliate links in this review. Some of the companies mentioned in this text pay us a commission if you make a purchase. This doesn’t influence our ratings and we will never shy away from pointing out weak spots in a product.

ActiveCampaign has one of the most advanced automation systems we’ve ever tried, and it can’t be compared to Constant Contact’s simplistic approach (it only features autoresponders). They also offer robust reports and analysis tools. On top of that, they are even cheaper than Constant Contact.

MailerLite is a very affordable tool but at the same time powerful. We appreciate their approach to design and their reliable automation system. Indeed, one of the best alternatives if you are looking for a budget-friendly solution.

GetResponse is a solid alternative. It comes with many advanced features (e.g. a webinar tool), has excellent automations and offers one of the best spam and design testing tools we’ve ever used. That’s why Constant Contact falls short when compared to Get Response.

We have a detailed guide with the best alternatives to Constant Contact, check it out here. You can also try out our Smart Finder to see which newsletter service is best suited to you.

steve lamattina
His career has spanned across areas such as film, digital media and literature, with the tech and mobile world remaining a personal passion. Now he’s interested in sharing that passion for email marketing, through honest reviews and good content. Oh, and he’s Australian...but don’t hold that against him.

Latest Updates

23 Jan 2019 - Updated review
7 Jan 2019 - Deliverability rating updated
20 Mar 2018 - Deliverability rating added
6 Apr 2016 - Readjustments of the ratings
12 Aug 2016 - Video review added.
28 Jul - 01 Aug 2016 - Initial tests.
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