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Constant Contact Review - The Heart of Small Business?

roberta phillips

Aug 25, 2021

Professor

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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.

For a bit of background: this email provider belongs to a massive group of digital tools called EIG, which includes brands like Bluehost, HostGator and Web.com. One thing I noticed is that Constant Contact is very often the top choice for many other review websites. In previous tests of the EIG brands, our reviewers found that most of the time their marketing was stronger than the actual product. Naturally, I am curious if that might be the case here too.

What makes them special is that they’ve added several features over the years that few of their competitors sport, such as digital product downloads, event management, appointment scheduling and social campaigns. These all add to the diverse list of email options available, in addition to automations and recurring newsletters.

Constant Contact boast a marketplace with around 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!

Constant Contact Summary

Constant Contact is directed towards small businesses, but their prices aren't the most affordable, especially when you consider that their features just aren't that advanced. Plans start from $20/month but this only allows for 500 subscribers.

Try Constant Contact for free: https://www.emailtooltester.com/out/constant-contact-cta Find our detailed written review here: https://www.emailtooltester.co... Constant Contact Review: Is it Time to Move on? 2020-10-30 https://img.youtube.com/vi/6wpA5bVnhU8/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.

15,000 SUBSCRIBERS

$195/MO

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

25,000 SUBSCRIBERS

$225/MO

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

35,000 SUBSCRIBERS

$315/MO

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

50,000 SUBSCRIBERS

$335/MO

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

> Compare prices with our cost calculator

> Find out more about Constant Contact’s plans in our complete pricing guide

Niche features:

Constant Contact have some interesting niche features such as the ability to sell digital products, schedule your social media posts and create your logo. They also let you take payments for events (with some additional feeds applied, of course).

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 to 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, though a bit dull-looking. You can get to most places within a couple of clicks, though as they’ve added more functionality, some things have become a little hidden, for example, automations.

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, only allowing you to insert simple greetings or contact details. There is no if/then/else logic available.

Email types

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

Choice and Flexibility of Template Designs

Not bad. There are around 200 (!) 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). Automations based on contact triggers (e.g. email opens, clicks) are also available. It’s worth noting that the automations aren’t the most flexible, as you can’t really combine conditions and actions as you can in many other tools.

List Management

You can create segments from contact activity, list membership, contact details, tags, or ecommerce activity. You can also create a segment from your contact insights and tag contacts based on contact field criteria.

Registration Forms/ Opt-in & Opt-out- Process

There is next to no customization 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.

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

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, % of contacts engaged, and most successful subject line. You can also compare campaigns. However, advanced tracking such as social tracking isn’t available.

Languages

Here’s where it gets a bit hairy. The site and the tool are 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

Unlimited

All plans come with unlimited storage.

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, almost 400.

Landing Page Editor

yes

This is only available via their form builder, and it’s very basic. Instead, we’d recommend these free landing page builders.

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

3.6/5

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 automations and reporting, and the addition of new features like a website builder, it does look like they’re making an effort to improve the product. But their lack of advanced features makes it difficult to recommend them over others at this price point.

So, there you have it: the next time you see Constant Contact as the number 1 rated service anywhere around the web, I would boldly claim that there might be other interests at play there.

Try Constant Contact now for free for 30 days.

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.

Sendinblue is one of the cheapest all-in-one email marketing tools on the market. It’s available in 6 languages and comes with advanced automation options and a built-in CRM.

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 GetResponse.

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.

Mailchimp beats Constant Contact hands down. If you’d like to get into the details, take a look at our Mailchimp vs Constant Contact comparison.

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Constant Contact doesn’t have the most advanced contact management features. You’d be much better off taking a look at any of these CRMs for small businesses.

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roberta phillips
Having worked as a digital marketer, Roberta has tried, tested, fallen in love with and despaired with so many digital tools. She is excited to be helping businesses find the email marketing tools they need in order to thrive.
25 Aug 2021 - Contact management features updated
07 Jun 2021 - General update
30 Oct 2020 - New video review
05 Oct 2020 - Images updated
14 Apr 2020 - Small update
23 Jan 2019 - Updated review
07 Jan 2019 - Deliverability rating updated
20 Mar 2018 - Deliverability rating added
06 Apr 2016 - Readjustments of the ratings
12 Aug 2016 - Video review added.
28 Jul - 01 Aug 2016 - Initial tests.
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