Decades after it emerged into the spotlight, email is still one of the most powerful channels for marketing in the world.
Millions of people respond to at least 20% of the emails sent by marketing teams, leading to a return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent.
One of the easiest ways to upgrade your email marketing efforts is to make sure you’re using the correct tools.
Constant Contact vs MailChimp: Overview
Constant Contact and MailChimp are two of the best-known email marketing tools available. Let’s start by looking at their features.
Constant Contact is an easy-to-use solution known for its wide range of available templates and simple contact management strategy.
Designed to give businesses a single tool for all of their email marketing efforts, Constant Contact supports everything from on-page pop ups to event registration tools.
- Wide range of email templates
- Easy-to-use drag and drop editor
- Multiple sign-up form options
- Basic analytics
- Easy contact management and segmentation
- No A/B testing
- Limited analytics
- Basic customization
MailChimp is also a complete email marketing tool, and probably one of the biggest names in the email market.
The service makes marketing automation easy, with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that makes it easier to create attractive email templates.
You can re-engage customers with a series of custom triggers, and automatically send offers to earn back lost revenue.
- Thorough reporting and analytics
- Excellent email editor
- Generous free plan
- Lots of customisation options
- Limited customer support
- Fewer integrations
- Complicated in places
So, which email marketing software is best?
I loaded an account up on each to find out.
Constant Contact vs Mailchimp: Contact Management
One of the most important things you can do in any email campaign is segment your audience. Personalized emails deliver over 6 times higher transaction rates, after all.
Constant Contact’s contact management option is one of the most impressive things about the tool.
Loading people into your list is a breeze, with the option to upload a CSV, import from Gmail and other third-party tools, or paste emails directly. With one click, you’re given a complete alphabetic list of your contacts.
You can split your list according to “implied permission” and “express permission” – which is fantastic for GDPR compliance.
The “Segments” feature also allows you to develop focused lists based on criteria like who opened your most recent emails, what kind of job a person has and so on.
The biggest issue here is editing. To adjust anything about a contact on your list, you need to click into their individual page.
I think that the ability to edit everything on your overview page would be much easier.
MailChimp also allows for contact management at multiple levels. You can easily remove people from your email marketing campaigns, add tags to keep your contacts organized, and split your list into groups and segments.
I wasn’t sure what the difference between Groups and Segments at first, but apparently, Segments are all about customer behaviour, like, “customer who opened the welcome email.”
On the other hand, Groups are a bit more personalized and can include things that aren’t related to your email campaigns.
For instance, you can group people by their interests, or allow audience members to select a group from themselves by opting in with a sign-up form.
It’s all a bit confusing at first if you’re a beginner, but the segmentation levels are very good when you get into them.
The various tags, groups, and segments allow for some pretty powerful testing and some very in-depth management of your audience.
I’d have to name Constant Contact the champion here, out of personal preference alone. Both tools offer excellent segmentation options, but everything just seems a bit more straightforward on Constant Contact.
The sheer extent of the options on MailChimp is likely to be pretty overwhelming for new users, and it might take you a while to figure out how to segment your audience correctly. With Constant Contact, you can just jump straight in.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Analytics
50% of companies believe they can increase email engagement through personalization.
How do you test whether your segmentation is working? Through analytics, of course!
Constant Contact’s analytical options are pretty basic. You’ll find a range of campaigns to choose from, and options to see information about your number of opens, clicks, and unsubscribes.
However, that’s basically it. There’s no click map or industry average list so you can benchmark your performance.
Mailchimp’s reporting features are a lot more immersive. You can either view the basics like email open rates and click-throughs on your “Campaign” page or click through to a “Comparative” overview.
Here, you can see how your performance compares in different regions, between individual segments, and even against industry benchmarks.
MailChimp tells you how many of your emails were delivered, how many people bounced out of a message and so on, all with a helpful baseline so you can track how well your campaigns are really doing.
You can even track the links in your emails that get the most opens – which is pretty useful if you’re A/B testing to drive traffic.
MailChimp comes out on top in the analytics world. Constant Contact gives you the basics – but that’s it.
With MailChimp, you can get a much more significant insight into what’s going on with your marketing efforts, and how your strategies compare to the leaders in your industry.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: A/B Testing
A/B testing is essential to running an effective email campaign.
How do you know which of your subject lines, CTAs, and email offers are giving you the most value if you don’t test them?
Unfortunately, Constant Contact seems to have forgotten all about the value of A/B testing with their service.
The website promises that you can A/B test your subject lines – but I couldn’t even figure out how to do that.
There was no obvious button to click on, or anything suggesting you could test the subject lines you entered.
Even if you could test your subject lines – that’s not really enough for a great marketing campaign.
Sure, you’ll be able to check what people need to see to click onto your emails – but what about when they get into your message? How do you test your CTA button, your email copy, your offer, or anything else?
Fortunately, MailChimp has you covered.
You do need to upgrade to a premium account for more features, but you can test up to 3 variations of your emails even on the free account, including subject lines, “from” name, content, and send time.
The whole system is incredibly easy to use too. With the premium account, you can test up to 8 variations of your email at once. You also get access to industry benchmarks and other data.
Another thing that sets MailChimp apart?
There’s a “Send Time Optimizer” feature that automatically calculates the best time to engage with your audience based on previous campaigns.
Since I was only testing the feature for the first time, I couldn’t see how useful this service was myself.
Based on past campaigns I’ve ran myself, I know this would be a useful feature for capturing your audience at the best time to get clicks.
There’s even a “TimeWarp” option so that you can send a campaign according to the local time of each time zone.
MailChimp offers a host of A/B testing options right out of the gate, including additional features if you’re willing to upgrade to their paid plan.
Constant Contact seems to struggle even offering the basic A/B testing feature they claim to have (subject line testing). It’s clear to see who comes out on top in this area.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Automation
Who has time to run an entire email campaign manually these days?
Statista shows that 50% of companies are using automation for their drip campaigns these days. The more segments you have to manage, the more important your automation features will be.
Constant Contact has some basic autoresponder options built into the software. You can set up a drip campaign to respond to things like clicks and email opens.
However, you can’t combine triggers to design an entire funnel – at least not in the trial version I was using.
That’s not to say there aren’t any options for automation. Constant Contact allows you to send emails automatically on a customer’s birthday when they join a list and so on.
The service is a lot better than their A/B testing options. However, it’s all very limited, both in advanced automation and split testing.
With MailChimp, you get a lot more options, instantly.
You can integrate your MailChimp campaigns with your website and send automatic emails based on website activity.
So, for instance, if someone clicks through to your checkout, but doesn’t complete their purchase, you can immediately send a follow-up email. That’s a pretty useful feature.
You can also set follow-on triggers depending on user activity.
For instance, if someone clicks from your campaign into a specific page of your website, you can then send an email based on where they click through to.
There’s even an option to infuse purchase data into your strategy, so you can give personalized product recommendations, or suggest upselling opportunities.
Users can also reward their top buyers with discount codes, deal with shopping cart abandonment, and so much more.
The only downside? None of this comes free with the basic plan. You need to upgrade to a paid account if you want to use it.
The winner for automation has to be MailChimp again – if you’re willing to pay for your email services. If you’re just looking for the basics on a free account, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.
However, Constant Contact only offers a free trial, not a consistently free service, so it doesn’t come out on top for budget-conscious people either.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Opt-in Forms
Getting people to interact with your email campaigns is great.
However, to do that, you’re going to need to convince them to sign up for your email lists in the first place. That means that you need a compelling opt-in form.
I was personally quite impressed by Constant Contact’s options regarding forms and landing pages.
All you need to do to start building your forms is click onto the Sign Up Forms tab, where you can choose from a range of Facebook lead ads, landing pages, Inline messages, and pop-ups.
There’s a great selection to choose from, and the drag-and-drop editor allows you to alter basic features like what kind of questions you ask, and the color of your form.
When someone signs up for your form, you can decide where their email address goes in your segments – which means it’s easier to organize your new contacts.
It’s not the most advanced form creator in the world – but it’s definitely enough to get you started – and I liked how easy it was to use.
MailChimp, on the other hand, definitely takes the more “advanced” route with your landing page options.
However, I have to say that figuring out how to create a landing page was a bit of a challenge in itself.
There’s no specific tab for forms, you have to click through into your Audience segment, then scroll down and click on a small link to create a pop-up or landing page.
It took me a while to find – but maybe I’m just not the brightest bulb. The landing page feature is excellent, and it’s packed full of personalization options.
There’s a drag-and-drop template editor that integrates naturally with Shopify and other platforms.
There is a range of templates to choose from, and they are much more mature than what you can get with Constant Contact.
If you just want a basic form, you’ll need to go into the Audience tab again and find the Form building tool.
This is a nifty piece of kit, that comes with a lot more features that you’ll find on Constant Contact, including the option to translate your form language for international customers.
You can also adjust your sign-up URL, add design features, and link in social media buttons.
MailChimp is the winner here for its fully-featured landing page service and comprehensive form-building options.
My only complaint is that they could make it easier to find the form building solution in the first place. Why is it hidden in the Audience tab?
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Deliverability
This area is pretty difficult to comment on.
Email deliverability is dependent on a lot of different things, including content, authentication, reputation, and so much more. The results you get from any reviewer will differ depending on their strategy.
MailChimp is pretty effective because it uses Omnivore – a technology designed to detect abuse and let you know if you’re sending unethical emails before they’re distributed. This means you can rely on a deliverability rate of between 96 and 99%.
Constant Contact also adheres to industry best practices and makes the most of a spam detection tool. That means that you can predict if you’ll have any problems with your emails in advance. The average deliverability rate is around 98%.
I’d say that in terms of deliverability rates, the two tools are even.
|Email Marketing Tool||Open Rate||Inbox||Tabs||Spam||Missing|
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Ease of Use & UI
Even the best email marketing tool isn’t much good if you can’t figure out how to use it.
Constant Contact offers an immersive and easy-to-use email campaign builder, with countless templates to choose from. From day one, launching a campaign is easy.
Just click on a model you like and adjust it to your preferences with the drag-and-drop editor.
You can even click on the Brand Template feature to design a custom campaign that matches your company’s style.
One particularly useful feature of Constant Contact is the Preview button, which shows you exactly how your email is going to look on mobile.
You don’t need to be an HTML expert to create attractive emails here.
MailChimp is also excellent for customization, although it offers far fewer templates than Constant Contact.
You do get a bit more flexibility when it comes to image placement and layout, and MailChimp also provides unlimited storage for pictures (compared to 2GB for Constant Contact).
However, Constant Contact makes up for this limit with a gallery of impressive stock images.
Using MailChimp’s campaign tool is very simple. The whole process feels natural and seamless. Once again, you don’t need to know HTML to get started, and you can even edit your photos directly within the templates.
However, MailChimp’s templates are a lot more basic than the ones offered by Constant Contact. Perhaps because the tool expects you to be able to do more yourself and create your own solutions from scratch.
For me, the winner here is Constant Contact, as it allows you to get attractive and branded emails out of the door quickly, with very little effort or background knowledge.
However, if you’re looking for something that will allow you to design much more customized emails from scratch, then you might prefer the DIY approach that MailChimp offers.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Pricing
Sometimes you need to invest more to get more with email marketing service providers.
However, it’s always important to find something that works with your budget.
Constant Contact Pricing
Constant Contact offers both the “Email” and “Email Plus” pricing plans, which are based on the number of subscribers you have. If you pay annually, you get a discount – so that’s nice.
However, as a pretty basic email marketing tool, Constant Contact is more expensive than it should be. The cheapest plan starts at $20 per month to manage 500 subscribers.
If you have more than 10,000 subscribers, you’ll need to contact the support team for a quote. One positive is that you get a month’s free trial when you sign-up, and a money back guarantee for thirty days.
On the other hand, MailChimp offers the “Forever Free” plan. That means you can send up to 12,000 emails per month to 2,000 subscribers, without paying anything. After that, you can choose between either pay-as-you-go or pay monthly pricing plans.
The Pay-as-you-go plans involve purchasing email credits, while the monthly plan is based on your number of subscribers.
If you’re starting from the beginning with a small email list, MailChimp remains free until you start building a more significant campaign. That’s useful for a lot of smaller companies who want to see the value of their email strategy before investing.
High-volume customers can also add the MailChimp Pro service to their account for $199 per month, which comes with things like multivariate testing, advanced comparative reports and more.
All around, MailChimp offers a more flexible and affordable range of payment options, including Pay-as-you-go packages, and the Forever Free plan.
However, the more premium features you want, the more you’re going to need to pay. In this battle, MailChimp comes out on top of Constant Contact for price. However, it might not be the best deal for bigger companies out of all the email tools out there.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Support
Both Constant Contact and MailChimp claim to be dedicated to customer service. However, one company seems to be far more committed than the other.
With Constant Contact, you’ve got plenty of options to find help when you need it. The “Call Customer Support” option was permanently closed when I tried it – but I was coming in from a time-zone outside of the US – so that’s probably the reason why.
There’s also a knowledge base to answer some of your basic questions, and Live Chat to connect with an agent as quickly as possible.
For me, the live chat took a little while to load, and when I did connect to an agent, his weirdly stunted responses made me suspect he might have been a bot.
I asked: “What sort of plan would I need for 10,000 subscribers” and got this response:
However, despite this, he did answer my questions – so it’s hard to complain.
There’s also email support 24/7 and the opportunity to “Tweet” the team if you want to as well. Basically, one way or another, you’re going to get the help you need.
MailChimp, on the other hand, isn’t nearly so forthcoming. If there’s one thing that really disappointed me about my interactions with the MailChimp app, it was how limited the support system was.
There’s an email service, but that’s only for the premium plan. If you’re on the free service, you’re literally just left to figure things out on your own. There’s no direct chat, no phone number – not even a Twitter page.
There are a lot of guides and tutorials to help you out, but when it comes to setting up an email campaign for the first time, sometimes you need some personal help.
Although there is some support available, it’s reserved exclusively for people who are willing to pay for the tool.
Constant Contact Vs Mailchimp: Conclusion
When you’re investing in an email marketing strategy, both Constant Contact and MailChimp will give you the resources you need to launch a successful campaign.
Both services have a host of tools to get you started, and they’re also both very intuitive.
However, it’s safe to say that each option is better for a specific kind of company.
Choose Constant Contact if you:
- Want a simple introduction to email marketing
- Are happy to pay more for your service
- Want reliable, consistent support from a team
- Like having plenty of add-ons and integrations
- Love ready-to-use templates
- Want a unique event management software
Choose MailChimp if you:
- Need a cheaper solution to get you started
- Don’t need many integrations
- Prefer the DIY approach
- Love your analytics and A/B testing
- Want lots of opt-in form and landing page features