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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, after Mailchimp.
One thing I noticed is that Constant Contact is very often the top choice for many other review websites. Naturally, I am curious to see if our detailed analysis produces the same outcome.
You might have checked out the Constant Contact reviews offered by users online, too, and whilst they are pretty positive, they may not give you the whole picture. Our review of Constant Contact is based on a methodical approach and uses our practical experience and knowledge of dozens of other simple and advanced marketing automation tools.
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 to 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 $9.99/month, but this only allows for 500 subscribers, and prices rise pretty sharply after that.
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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.
They offer basic automations, but we’re really missing the more sophisticated and flexible workflows offered by other providers here.
Difficult to cancel account:
Constant Contact make it very difficult to cancel your account. Instead of adding an option to do so with your account settings, you’ll have to phone them within business hours Eastern time.
Also, the discount applied to annual plans may be appealing, but make sure you properly test the platform beforehand, as it’s a long time to be paying for a service you’re not happy with.
Not recommended if:
You need advanced automation:
Surprisingly, for the premium it charges, Constant Contact doesn’t offer the most advanced automations. While they do offer triggered campaigns, autoresponders and abandoned cart campaigns (for Shopify only), you’ll find that other much cheaper tools offer similar levels of automation – MailerLite and Sendinblue, for example.
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.
The editor is fast, but light on features, especially in the styling department. Apart from that it’s easy to work with.
This is very basic, only allowing you to insert simple greetings or contact details. There is no if/then/else logic available.
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 Marketing 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.
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.
As you can see in our deliverability tests, Constant Contact performs very well, 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.
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.
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.
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
All plans come with unlimited storage.
SPF and DKIM are supported.
Different levels of account access
The Account Owner can also assign roles to be either an Account Manager or a Campaign Creator.
Constant Contact offer a massive amount of apps and integrations, almost 400.
Landing Page Builder
This is only available via their form builder, and it’s very basic. Instead, we’d recommend these free landing page builders.
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. Bear in mind that you’ll need to call in order to cancel your subscription, which is pretty annoying.
For a basic email tool, Constant Contactticks 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. (You’ll see we don’t list them as a good Mailchimp alternative, either.)
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.
Is Constant Contact better than Mailchimp?
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.
Can Constant Contact be used as a CRM?
Constant Contact, in partnership with SharpSpring, offers an all-in-one CRM platform. However, at $399/month, you’d be much better off taking a look at any of these CRMs for small businesses, which will be far more affordable. There are even plenty of excellent free CRMs to choose from.
How can I cancel my Constant Contact subscription?
Frustratingly, you’ll need to call Constant Contact within business hours Eastern time in order to cancel your account. Here is the number for the US and Canada: 855-229-5506
Is Constant Contact legit?
Constant Contact is a legit email marketing software for small businesses. It safely stores your customer data and offers a secure way to manage your subscribers.
Constant Contact deliverability - is it any good?
Constant Contact’s deliverability rates are consistently good in our bi-annual deliverability tests.