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Constant Contact Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Pricier service but has nice template customization; not recommended for Mac users or those who want to edit their own HTML

Full Review:
Though Constant Contact is one of the most popular names in email marketing, they fall in the middle of our rankings because for the price, we expected something a little more than average. That being said, it is a solid service with some nice extra features we discuss below. Though the service is not fully compatible with Macs, PC users will enjoy their extensive set of customization tools. Their nicely laid out template editor is definitely worth checking out on the 60-day free trial.


Site Navigation

Like most email marketing services, Constant Contact's site may seem overwhelming at first. Across the top you will notice tabs for "Social Campaigns," "SaveLocal," "EventSpot" and "Survey". You can post to your business's Facebook using the Social Campaigns tab, and SaveLocal is a Groupon-like tool that allows Constant Contact users to send deals for free, only costing them $1 to $3 every time a purchase is made. EventSpot costs $20 per month and it essentially allows you to manage events online. When your company has seminars or large events, EventSpot allows attendees to pay fees online. You can use it to track people, teams and sponsors. This is useful because many times, other event management services charge per attendee, so the monthly rate is pretty convenient. Adding surveys to your emails will cost you $15 per month, but are useful if you need to obtain pertinent information about your readers.


Aside from these extra features, everything else on the site is pretty basic, including adding contacts. Uploading contacts is easy and they have a nice layout, pictured above, for doing so. They also have a great search function where you can filter contacts by zip code, country and other metrics. In addition, they have a "Premium List Service" that is free for 90 days, where they add and manage your contacts for you if you have over 10,000.


Email Creation

Constant Contact doesn't have the largest selection of pre-made templates but the template editor is one of the more customizable out of the services we've reviewed. After selecting your template, you can click on each section and edit it using the Microsoft Word-like toolbar. The side bar includes a wide selection of different colors and fonts, and after clicking on a text module within the design, you will see a lot of insertable widgets. You can edit the email inside of the design screen or there is a simple text option you can edit instead. There is a button for checking for spam as well, which, like some of the other features, did not work in Chrome.


You can also use your own HTML or XHTML code to create the email. As mentioned earlier, Constant Contact is not fully compatible with Macs and works best on Internet Explorer on the PC. In general, we found Constant Contact's HTML editing inferior to other services. To enter your own HTML, click "want to use your own code?", and after entering in basic address information for the email's footer, click "advanced editor." Here you can enter in code, insert uploaded images and preview your email; however, there are no tools to help edit the design. If you are an HTML wiz and want pure coding then this should be fine for you; otherwise, try a service with a better design editor like iContact.

If you would like a custom email created for you, "Email Quick Start" is the cheapest option for $99. You add the content and images, and Constant Contact's team will create a template that fits your brand. There are more expensive options like "Email Campaign Creation" for $199, and if you want an entire template created for you it will cost anywhere from $399 to $599.


Analytics

Constant Contact's report viewing is standard. You can see how many people clicked, opened, bounced and unsubscribed from your email. The statistics are presented in a bar graph as well as in table form. You can compare emails side by side, in addition to a feature that allows you to see how well your emails do compared to those of other Constant Contact clients.


Customer Support

Though Constant Contact's live support hours aren't the best, their representatives were knowledgeable and friendly when we contacted them. Live chat is available Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and on Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. Phone support is available during these same days and hours as well as weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Email is available 24/7 and when we sent our request, it was answered within two hours.


Plans and Pricing

You can try Constant Contact free for 60 days, for up to 100 contacts. Other than that, this service is a bit on the pricier side. You get an allowance of up to 500 contacts for $20 per month and up to 2,500 contacts will cost you $35 per month. There are plans for higher email send allowances listed on the pricing page, but again, they are pretty pricey.


Conclusion

If you're a PC user, Constant Contact is a solid yet standard service. If nice template customization is important to you, definitely test it out with the free trial. Features like Event Spot and SaveLocal are an added bonus, but if you don't plan on using them you may be better off with a cheaper service that has better HTML customization as well.

Sign up for Constant Contact | Compare to Other Email Marketing Services

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Service Details

Cheapest Price/
1,000 Contacts:
$20/mo
(w/ annual plan)
Free Trial /
Discount:
60-day free trial;
save up to 15% w/ annual plans
Customer Support:Email, live chat, phone
Email Allowance:Unlimited
Analytics:
Email Creator:

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