Constant Contact Review 2020: Worth Money? Features, Pros & Cons

Constant Contact Review

If you are a blogger or own a website and want to see it grow, having an email list is very important to achieve the goal of bringing in revenue and increasing your client or readership base.

In fact, email list are among the most important things you can ever have as a blogger or eCommerce website owner, especially due to the benefit of monetizing in the increasingly connected world of today.

If you want to connect with your subscribers in a more personal way, it is very important to send emails, and it helps you to solve their problems when they come up.

Starting an email list can sound like a task that will take you days to master, but various email providers have reduced the need to be tech-savvy first.

Constant Contact counts itself among the email providers that seek to make your email list organization much easier, but does it really?

You might understandably have questions about them, but we have done much of the hard work in researching and writing this Constant Contact review, as well as their price plans.

What is Constant Contact?

This is an email service that started in 1995, and they have grown into a very popular platform. Their packages, which begin at $20 a month.

As the online world has developed, they continuously cement themselves as one of the best places to assist you with:

  • Ecommerce
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Email templates
  • Social marketing

If you are a blogger, you probably know the importance of marketing.

Since your blog or website has the structure and functions of a real business, our Constant Contact review shows that the platform is always there to make your digital marketing efforts more effective.

Email Solutions at Constant Contact

Constant Contact does its best to provide reliable email marketing solutions, but it is now looking to expand its horizons beyond simply emails, similar to many of its competitors.

For example, the company recently added some interesting features that keep their focus on marketing personalization, segmentation, integration and automation – even though they are not quite there yet.

An instance of these improvements would be their branded template builder and a 160-plus template library, which help you to quickly create emails that match the website of a company, in just a few clicks.

Our Constant Contact review also shows that the platform is increasingly adding a variety of integrations to help in easier email management, such as partnering with Shopify and Eventbrite, among many other third-party companies.

In fact, it is only a few months ago, in October of 2019, that the company announced its recent dealings with both Instagram and Facebook in terms of:

  • Ad creation
  • SEO tools for optimizing keyword use
  • Social media tools for monitoring metrics and posting updates
  • Landings page feature to make it easy to create a call to action page

The company has 2 email packages, whose benefits we will outline below:

Email basic

  • Unlimited emails
  • Industry or branded templates
  • Customizable templates
  • Import of your contact list
  • Ecommerce marketing basics
  • Pop-up forms
  • Welcome emails and list-building tools
  • Segmentation of lists
  • Instagram and Facebook insights and ads
  • Landing pages
  • Google ads
  • Social monitoring, inbox and posting
  • Marketing calendar
  • Integrations and apps
  • Image library
  • Mobile app
  • Tracking and reporting functionality
  • Learning resources
  • Award-winning chat and support
  • Automated email resending to non-openers

Email Plus

All the benefits that apply to Email Basic package are also here, with the addition of:

  • Customizable pop-up forms
  • Automated email welcome series
  • Dynamic content
  • RSVP
  • Automated email behavioral series
  • Subject line A/B testing
  • Event marketing
  • Users
  • Coupons
  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • New customer consultation
  • Online donations

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    Some quick facts on the pricing

    As we mentioned earlier in this Constant Contact review, their prices start at $20 a month. If you want to try their features without committing immediately though, as is the case numerous times, the platform allows you to have a trial period lasting 60 days, then you renew afterwards.

    Compared to other email management platforms, Constant Contact are quite expensive – for instance, the lowest fee of their Email Plus plan carries a monthly price tag of $45 when it comes to the marketing databases.

    However, it is important to keep in mind that the pricing you pay for will not necessarily depend on the maximum number of emails you send every month, which is quite different compared to other email platforms. Instead, it uses your contact numbers to determine the fee you will pay.

    In fact, many of the customers who use this platform are microbusinesses that have limited time when it comes to dealing with newsletters, and a small employee base of 1 to 10 employees.

    If you are not sure of the package you want, you can access these features for a 60-day free trial. Some of the features you can use are unlimited campaigns, though your email list will only include a maximum of 100 contacts.

    This is a good way to get familiar with the platform, then you can choose to upgrade when you are ready. The money-back guarantee policy is also 60 days as well, which is quite flexible compared to what most companies will give you.

    The platform has two plans, depending on the size of your email list, which are:

    Email

    This package offers smaller businesses an easier way of starting a marketing campaign through emails, and covers areas such as audience segmentation, template customizing and building, list management, and so on.

    It comes at a starting fee of $20 per month (covers 500 subscribers) all the way to $335 a month (covers 50,000 subscribers). If you have more than 50,000 subscribers, you can get a custom plan that will require you to pay more.

    Email plus

    If you own a business that has more sophisticated requirements when it comes to email marketing, you should get this package.

    Some of the areas it covers include automation of emails, online donations, A/B testing, event registration and marketing, online surveys, online management, and so on.

    The starting price per month is $45, which covers 500 subscribers, and goes all the way to $335 monthly that covers 50,000 subscribers.

    Important features to look out for

    1. Creation of subscriber lists

    There are several methods you can use to add your email contacts, as we note in our Constant Contact review. These are:

    • Manually typing in addresses in a form
    • Copying and pasting
    • Uploading a file – such as in TXT, CSV, XLSX, or XLS form
    • Importing from Microsoft Outlook or other CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools
    • Importing from Gmail

    Regardless of the method you use to upload your contact list, the process is quite easy and straightforward, and the system will merge duplicate contacts in case there are any.It is also quite easy to add custom fields when you need to insert more information, or mapping new fields.

    Similar to the Campaigner email marketing platform, Constant Contact will allow the use of disposable addresses such as Mailinator.

    Also known as ‘burner email addresses’, there are many email management services that do not allow for their use, as evidenced by the response of many services in offering this opportunity.

    In addition, the platform helps you to adding tags to your contacts. This is particularly helpful if you want to sort out some information, such as finding out which of your customers are loyalty members, how they signed up for your service, and so on.

    The integration with Shopify will also show some details like lapsed customers, and it is quite easy to create segmentation where you group customers in terms of interests, location, and other aspects.

    The one thing that we do not like from our Constant Contact review is that it is a major pain trying to edit user records. If you wish to add details to your customer information, for instance, you will have to load each record and update all the fields.

    It would be more deficient to do a small edit from the main contact list though, since this would be less challenging. The best way to avoid the issue is having a spreadsheet that has complete customer information anyway.

    A major advantage here is that the platform allows you to create forms, which your customers can use to sign up for newsletters and emails.

    It will also offer landing pages and integrations with third party services, including Facebook’s Join My List app, Facebook Lead ads, and OptinMonster.

    Along with this comes the ability to segment your customers based on if they used sign-up forms or other methods, proving useful when tailoring your marketing strategies.

    Similar to its competitors, Constant Contact will need you to verify that you have consent from your whole email list – so that can only mean they will not allow you to buy lists from someone else.

    They will also not allow the use of group addresses, such as marketing@ or sales@, or even distribution lists. This is because they cannot verify that you have the consent of each person that is getting messages sent to the address.

    2. Increasing your email lists

    If you are just starting out creating a list and are struggling to get a sizeable number of contacts, here are some pointers to help you do so:

    • Adding forms to your blog –

    This is a very strategic way of growing your email list, and they are very important when you want to grow a dedicated base of customers as well.

    Ensure that you have a form on your website’s front page, as well as the bottom of your blog posts, so that people always know they can sign up for your email lists.

    Feel free to play around with wording and offers, and see which ones work the best for you in getting people to sign up.

    • Do content upgrades regularly –

    If you have been blogging for some time, for instance, you probably have a blog post that did very well – maybe people liked it, it got a good readership, and high numbers of shares.

    If this is the case, consider turning it into a checklist or guide, and send it to people who are new subscribers to your email list.

    For instance, if the best performing post was on meal planning, then consider making a meal planning calendar and send it to new sign-ups.

    • Pitch guest posts –

    This is an excellent method of increasing your audience, as it allows you to reach out.

    In fact, you can ask other bloggers for permission to tell their audience about your website or blog, and encourage them to sign up.

    • Running giveaways –

    This can apply to business websites as well, as it is a great way to give back to your subscribers and encourage more to sign up.

    You can also inform them to follow you on your social media accounts and get more information.

    • Doing some marketing –

    Consider doing extra ads on social media platforms, which will attract a greater audience and encourage them to sign up.

    You can also use podcasts as a chance to market yourself through joining guest podcasts, and becoming an expert source to land opportunities of posting information on major publications and sites.

    Whatever method you use, be sure to tell your audiences that you have an email list, and they should consider signing up.

    3. Setting up of campaigns

    When you are in the midst of setting up an email campaign, you can select your preferred method among the Survey, Event, Email Automation, and Email options.

    If you are thinking of copying or revisiting a marketing campaign, you can make your job easier through viewing the ‘Recent’ tab or searching for campaigns by keywords or date.

    The platform even has an integrated marketing calendar, which makes it easy to schedule events based on holidays or upcoming events.

    When starting off on an email campaign, you can utilize a template to begin the job. Constant Contact makes it easy for you to create a template; you use their drag-and-drop editor that has a variety of options for layouts, as well as few restrictions.

    The editing tool, on the other hand, will allow you to change your text, thanks to its access to Google fonts, colors and images.

    If you want to, it is possible to add a teaser for your blog posts, as well as importing PDF files that change into interactive emails.

    In order to make things interesting, the platform also has a branded template builder that can grab your social media links, color scheme and company logo, and use these in all your emails.

    If you want to store company assets such as videos and images, there is a media library you can use, such as images and other logos.

    The image library can store up to 2 GB of storage, and the maximum file size of 5 MB. The platform allows for access to stock photos as well, both paid and free, and the image editor will include text, filters, cropping, frames, and many more features.

    When you are satisfied with your newsletter, you can choose to send it immediately, or put a scheduled sending for later, like intervals of 5 minutes.

    If you want to send emails for anniversaries and birthdays or other occasions, you can send recurring emails, although there is no choice for sending messages on a monthly, weekly or daily basis, or sending messages using the recipient’s local time as a basis.

    The platform itself has a wide variety of integration options, such as Eventbrite and Shopify. For Eventbrite, it will allow your subscribers to RSVP, make donations from their emails, download coupons, and respond to polls.

    It also allows you to add Buy and Product buttons directly to your email, and an Abandoned Shopping Cart to help you follow up with potential customers.

    4. Tracking campaigns

    When you send your newsletters, you can use the ‘Reporting’ tab to track their success. This dashboard will show you all the basics, which include bounces, opens, click-through, and unsubscribe requests.

    It also helps when you want to track your most-engaged subject lines, as well as opens on mobile devices versus desktop.

    If you are unsure of how to navigate the system, the platform has a video tutorial that walks you through the whole process, what the reports mean, improving open rates, and crafting subject lines.

    If you want to constantly monitor the performance of your newsletters, the mobile app comes in handy when you do not have access to a desktop.

    If you have subscribers who did not open your campaigns, then you will need to resend it to them, and even change the subject line to encourage them further.

    If you want to see the results of you’re a/B tests for subject lines, you can use the ‘Report’ page, and monitor any customer interactions with your posts through clicking any emails.

    5. Email automation

    In order to create auto responders, or an automated series of emails, you go to the ‘Campaign’ option and select email automation.

    This leads to a page where you can select an email trigger – opening the email you want. You then click a specific link, and the contact joins a list.

    In addition, you can create new emails, or use any of your existing campaigns, see the length of time you need to wait, and choose whether to send an immediate follow-up or waiting for some time.

    It is also possible to send multiple follow-up emails, as many as you want.

    If you want to send a series of emails to specific contacts instead of all your subscribers, it is also possible to do that as well.

    For instance, giving information on a day-to-day guideline on starting off with your service, or contacting them for follow ups to future events.

    The only thing you need is segmenting your contacts into a variety of folders, while matching them with automated series.

    Customer contacts and support

    Regardless of the uptime you will get from a web hosting provider, there are some times when something might happen and it interferes with the system – for instance, disk crashing of servers.

    It is therefore important to choose a web server that handles issues efficiently, and has a working mechanism for communicating with its customers.

    The good thing is that the Customer support in our Constant Contact review proved to be quite easy to reach, and their knowledgebase is very easy to use.

    In fact, it has a variety of help options, which begin with the Information icons that are next to the ‘Options’ tab (quite convenient placement), as well as fields that explain what they are.

    The articles on the Knowledgebase section are quite comprehensive, each dashboard contains plenty of contextual help, and coaches are available at toll-free numbers.

    Keep in mind that their customer support is not available on a 24/7 basis, but their hours are quite generous. If you want to reach them through other means, you can also do so through their Twitter handle.

    Their hours are:

    • Monday-Thursday: 8 am to 10 pm
    • Friday: 8 am to 9 pm
    • Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 8 pm

    Pros & Cons

    Pros

    • It has some niche features you will struggle to find in other email providers
    • They have a high rate of deliverability
    • Relatively easy to navigate
    • It is possible to get different templates

    Cons

    • You cannot own a domain
    • Lacks advanced automation features
    • Poor price to performance ratio
    • It can become expensive when you have a big client base

    Final thoughts

    If you are wondering whether Constant Contact is the right email service for you, our review shows that it is great for certain tasks – especially if you run events.

    This is due to its unique features that allow you to keep tabs on all event aspects, such as ticketing, registrations, and event invitations.

    However, it will not be a good fit for you if you need automation at advanced levels, despite it charging a premium fee – and you will likely find cheaper email hosting platforms giving you greater automation benefits.

    Constant Contact Expert Rating:
    • Features
    • Ease Of Use
    • Price/Value
    • Deliverability
    • Reliability & Support
    4.9
    User Reviews 0 (0 reviews)
    Constant Contact Review

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