Launched as Roving Software out of a Massachusetts attic in 1995, the company was renamed Constant Contact in 2004. In 2015, Constant Contact was acquired by Endurance International. Over the years, the company has made a number of strategic acquisitions that broaden its capabilities.
Today, Constant Contact is one of the most prominent tools used for email marketing. It’s usually a good sign when a software and online company continues expanding for more than a decade. So, is Constant Contact a hands-down winner or are they just great self-marketers?
Constant Contact offers a 60-day free trial period. No payment information is required until you decide to buy the product. Setting up your account is easy: all you have to do is provide your name, email, password and company name and you will be taken to the dashboard. It’s ready to use immediately, if you opt to skip their more probing questions aimed at customizing your user experience. Since there’s no statement of how extensive their trial is, by checking the storage info, it appears that you’ll be able to explore the more expensive of their two plans.
Components and details
Design, navigation and user friendliness
When you get into your dashboard, you’ll notice that everything looks quite simple. You’ll find this to be true no matter what features you’re using in Constant Contact. On the upper bar in the left corner, you’ll see the dashboard home in the shape of Constant Contact logo, Campaigns, Contacts, Reporting, List Growth Tools and Library. Most of the tabs are self-explanatory, but Reporting gives you the analytics of what you achieved with your campaigns. List Growth Tools allow you to create sign-up forms and generates codes for them. In the right corner, you will find the link for pricing, phone number for their international billing support, and three icons for Notification Center, Help and Account Settings.
Getting to know your dashboard is relatively easy, with only a slight learning curve. Most of this is related to the marketing and analytics stuff that might not be titled in the most obvious way. However, when it comes to using and analyzing your data, you’ll be covered in almost every aspect. The only downside is that you can only evaluate emails one by one—not as a group. Some people find the templates a bit outdated, however, they look appealing and you can (although a bit more complicated) insert your own HTML code to update them. There are a lot of good things about Constant Contact, for example, there’s no cap on the number of messages you can send in a month, which is not always the case with competitors.
When you want to create a campaign, you’ll choose between sending an email, collecting event registrations, creating a coupon, automating your emails or reading a survey. Bear in mind that not all these functions are available in every plan.
If you want to send an email, you first select your desired template. After that, you customize it by selecting elements and reshuffling them to your satisfaction, putting some text in the email —and you are done with the design part of the process. You can save, undo, redo and preview your creation before you go onto the next step. Last, you do the usual email stuff like writing a subject, where the email will be sent from and where you will receive replies, to which list you will send it, etc. It’s easy and painless to create your email, and it will look snazzy.
Features and Specs
When it comes to storage, you have two options: 1GB or 2GB. Honestly, that’s not much storage when it comes to files and images. 2GB can be filled up very quickly and 1GB even faster. We were a little disappointed with this, but since their templates are not included, there is some relief. Unfortunately, there are no options to expand your storage, so that’s also a bit disappointing.
All Constant Contact templates are customizable and adaptable to your needs. There are over 100 of them, so it’s unlikely that you won’t find what you need. They have intuitive elements that snap right in place, so customizing templates is pretty easy. If you are on the go most of the time, don’t worry, they also have a mobile app that will allow you to create your emails on iOS and Android devices.
Third-party apps and marketplace are one of the company’s greatest strengths. With a few clicks, you can integrate Constant Contact with WordPress, social media, online payment methods, etc. There’s a referral page for small-businesses services such as email marketing, website design, content creation, social media and more. And there’s even a place for you to apply if you offer services or create apps.
Although we mentioned that there are no limitations on how many messages you can send, there are limitations to how many contacts you can have, which is 10,000. If you need more, you’ll have to contact their team. You can input contacts manually or import them from other apps, although Constant Contact will on occasion send you an error message when you’re downloading a large number of contacts. You won’t ever lose existing contacts, but this can be a bit annoying.Aside from that, it’s really easy to import your contacts from multiple sources. You can categorize them by the lists or tags and migrate and/or add them from one to the other with ease. You can also make that workload easier by adding the sign-up tools.
However, when it comes to true customization of emails for your clients, such as unlimited access to email automation and autoresponder, event marketing, surveys, polls and expertly customized templates, you’ll have to pay for the more expensive plan. The more you pay, the more you get, but we’re not sure if the difference in pricing is justified. Also Facebook and Instagram image access is not available from the Library and you won’t have access to archived emails if you’re not on the more expensive plan.
When it comes to support, you’ll get almost everything you need. However, phone support is not 24/7, though the working hours are still pretty good. They are generally available 7 am to 11 pm, Monday thru Friday, but this may vary by up to two hours, depending on your location. Chat and email support are both available, and the agents will even call you on occasion. There’s also Twitter support, FAQs, video tutorials, knowledge base and user community. You can even apply to online seminars and training for email marketing.
Constant Contact has two plans and each has discounts if you prepay for 6 or 12 months of service. They also have a 60-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.
1 GB file storage 1 user $20/mo.
2GB file storage 3 users additional features like automation 45/mo.
- great marketing tool, especially for beginners
- extensive help
- free trial and money-back guarantee
- a bit pricey
- storage limited to five files
- lacks some advanced features
Constant Contact is an easy to use and versatile marketing tool for your email needs, especially if you’re a small business. It’s one of the best solutions available, although, because of a few shortcomings, we don’t think it’s the top option. Occasional errors while importing contacts, the higher price tag and relatively small storage are more annoyances than deal breakers. For those who are more advanced, it may be somewhat limiting, but the analytics are useful and it makes marketing easy to understand, even for total beginners. There are plusses and minuses with Constant Contact, but if you consider their 60-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s no reason for you not to test it out. In the end, it’s a good tool, but you may want to give it a trial before signing the contract to make sure it’s right for you.