My colleague Svetla recently gave her 7 reasons why email marketing is important for growing your business and hopefully you got really determined to start sending newsletters, if you haven’t done this so far. But, which email marketing software should you use?
Back in 2010, we started using Constant Contact for sending monthly newsletters to the subscribers of SilverlightShow.net – a community portal developed and maintained by IndigoVerge. The overall experience was good, the price was reasonable, so we continued using their services (for this & other projects) for more than 4 years. Recently, though, we spotted the increase in their fee and decided to check out other newsletter tools. After evaluating a few options – we decided to give the “monkeys” from MailChimp a try.
2 months later, we have entirely switched to MailChimp for all our projects. I want to summarize why we took this decision and what I see as advantages of MailChimp over Constant Contact. Hope this would be useful if you, yourself, are hesitating what email marketing software to use for your business.
With MailChimp you can send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free.. forever. As for the paid plans – they include all features and have multiple user/price segments. With ConstantContact, you get a free ‘test drive’ of their services for 60 days, for up to 100 contacts. They have different subscription plans for the different needs of their customers (email marketing, social campaigns, surveys, etc) and only 5 segments when it comes to the number of subscribers.
So let’s say you have 5,500 subscribers – with MailChimp you’ll be charged $65/mo as you are in the 5,401 – 5,600 segment, while ConstantContact will charge you $75/mo for their email marketing product since you are in the 5,001 – 10,000 segment. MailChimp also offers free hosting for images, while in Constant Contact you pay $5 extra per month for up to 250 MB of storage. Small difference, but when you commit to regular monthly payments, it does add up.
The User Interface
The first thing that really grabbed me in MailChimp was the email editor. You can edit your text or HTML and see your changes in real-time. On the right side of the page you see the editor box, on the left – the preview of your newsletter. Applying your changes and seeing them appear immediately without even refreshing the page is just a blast!
With Constant Contact you first create the newsletter HTML, then paste it in the editor (which I preferred to avoid since editing longer HTML content in it was so clumsy!), then press a button to open the newsletter preview.
As a whole, I found the interface of MailChimp much more intuitive – from the creation of subscriber lists and campaigns, to generating and analyzing the reports.
The WordPress plugin
MailChimp WordPress Plugin is very handy and makes it easy to gather newsletter subscriptions throughout your website. We use it for our own blog so I can confirm that the initial configuration of the plugin is a no-brainer even for new WordPress users. Constant Contact provides a WordPress Plugin that’s easily activated as well, but unlike MailChimp plugin it doesn’t give an interface for custom styling of the subscription box. On the other hand, Constant Contact plugin has some additional features like integration with Google Analytics and ability to edit your contacts and lists directly from the plugin. Yet, I find MailChimp plugin more straightforward and appropriate for businesses that need a simple and easy to customize newsletter subscription.
All in all, pretty pleased with MailChimp so far. And it seems that I’m not the only “monkey” cheerleader. A research by Capterra shows that 75% of small business owners who’ve used MailChimp & Constant Contact prefer MailChimp.
We live in a competitive world. And a better, easier and more affordable solution will always dominate the market. So – thanks Constant Contact, but you are kind of lagging behind.
Hope this comes useful. I’ll be happy to get your 2 cents on the topic of this post in the comments below.
And, if we can help with creating newsletters for your business that really get opened and read – get in touch with us!