One of the most heavily commented on articles we ever wrote was about Mailchimp versus Constant Contact. This was written almost four years ago… and as you’d imagine, when you write about technology of four years ago, it is going to probably become wrong within a year. Or two days.
So we thought we’d revisit Mailchimp versus Constant Contact. (This one’s just for you, Albert!)
Something we all have to do with an email list, at least initially, is import some contacts. To make my life easier, I decided to import my Gmail contacts (exporting them first as a .csv file). Don’t worry, I will not market to you in any way; this was purely for the exercise.
Mailchimp gave me a hard time re: the formatting issues (see above) and Constant Contact ported them right in.
Both email services made sure I had permission from the people I was importing to add them to my list (I said yes, again, not planning on actually using this list, just wanted to test the import feature). In other words, don’t randomly add people to your email list without permission.
Both services make it equally easy to modify premade email templates (or make email templates yourself) and create lists.
Constant Contact = 2
So both Mailchimp and Constant Contact allow you to send newsletters. These can be scheduled ahead to send or sent as they are created. Both also have reports after the newsletter is sent to tell you open rate, when links were clicked on, etc.
Now, Mailchimp charges you to make autoresponders. That means if you wanted to, say, send an ebook link 24 hours after each person signed up for your email list automatically, it’s a paid feature (to the tune of $10/month in my case but it depends how many subscribers you have).
Constant Contact, on the other hand, charges you to have email archives on your site, which is totally lame in my opinion. I mean they are storing them anyway, what’s letting you generate a little embed code for your website. This is what I mean: www.breakingeveninc.com/newsletter (Plus Constant Contact is constantly trying to upsell you from its dashboard. “We can create that template for you!” “We can do the social media for you!” I get it, CC, you can do it all…)
In terms of reports, Mailchimp seems to have much deeper data. For example, I can tell an exboyfriend of mine opened our email newsletter a few months ago 15 times. Constant Contact has less deep data in its reports, which may be fine for your purposes but is worth noting.
Constant Contact= 1
Google Analytics Integration: Both allow tracking with Google Analytics (when someone clicks from your email to your website, you can tell they got there that way through Google Analytics)
Social Media: Mailchimp allows you to autosend a campaign to Facebook and Twitter as you create it. Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact let you share campaigns on social media or easily forward them to a friend. Also both have Facebook apps and embed codes, which means you can easily add them to your website.
Other Integration: If you use a CRM or other third party software you’d like to integrate, it is worth taking a look at both their integration directories. I will say Mailchimp has A LOT more integrations with third party software:
Do these integrations cost money? Sometimes but it’s usually not much (less than $20). And often they are free. When you consider how much it would cost you to, say, changing all your form software (if you like your form software that is) versus integrating, it ends up being worth it most of the time. I will say the Constant Contact directory seems easier to browse as it has some ‘advance search’ options and ratings whereas the Mailchimp one has an input box, meaning it is probably easiest to know what software you want to integrate ahead of time.
Constant Contact= 3
If you care about mobile integration, both Constant Contact and Mailchimp offer mobile friendly templates. Mailchimp, however, does allow you to preview your design in mobile. I will say though I never quote trust these simulators, send yourself a test. But the fact Mailchimp has this at all may mean they know you should care about that.
Constant Contact= 0
Constant Contact has a 60 day free trial (and I got to give them a lot of information including my phone number- though I will say they didn’t take my credit card info so kudos to that).
Aside: They have called me, I’m not even kidding you, 15 times and have emailed me 4. I have asked 4 people via phone to stop calling me, that I’m a marketing person and I’ve used software like this before and that I will call them if I have any questions. (Seriously, they need to work on some internal communication, the constant nagging really turned me off.) Mailchimp has never called me once.
From a marketer standpoint though, Constant Contact lets people like me be resellers/affiliates whereas Mailchimp does not. I will go on record and say I think this is douchey. If someone wants to pay me for advice, I should send them to the best product I think for them, regardless of whether I get paid to say it or not.
Below are pricing screenshots of each website I took today:
So as you see, with Constant Contact, you’re charged $20/month to start (after the 2 month trial) and Mailchimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers (unless you want to do autosends or do special time zone sending things, then it’s $10/month to start). Both of them have ad links to their services in the footer of your email just as a heads up. Yup, paying Constant Contact money doesn’t make the ad go away.
Since it’s relatively easy to move contacts from one service to the other, it makes sense to start with the free option.
Constant Contact= 1 (I am not giving them zero, they get a point for having autoresponders included in their price!)
Constant Contact= 7
Conclusion: If you want just email marketing with deep data and integrations and an eye towards both mobile and non-mobile experience, Mailchimp is still the winner in my book. If you want additional services (event marketing, social) or even just some hand holding in addition to the email stuff, try Constant Contact. Both of them have nice, CANSPAM compliant email templates.