Choosing between Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact as your email marketing tool

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May 9, 2019

mailchimpandconstantcontact

A strong email marketing tool is central to any company’s successful marketing and communication strategy. With a system like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you’re in the best position to build an email list, send engaging email newsletters, and automate emails workflows to guide your contacts down your marketing funnel and towards being a long-term customer.

It’s not always easy to choose the best email marketing software for your business, however. To help you find the right tool, we’re comparing Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp: two of the industry’s most popular email services. Which one is right for your business right now and in the future?

Let’s weigh up the pros and cons with an in-depth comparison of the differences between the two email providers.

A preview of when to choose Constant Contact or Mailchimp:

Ease of use – Constant Contact Reporting – Mailchimp Customer service – Constant Contact Automation & A/B testing – Mailchimp Extra features – It’s a tie Value for money – Mailchimp Deliverability – Constant Contact Integrations – It’s a tie

Ease of use

Constant Contact and Mailchimp are both rated a 4.5/5 on Capterra for ease of use, but they earn this high rating for different reasons. Here’s our deep dive into some of the factors that influence each tool’s usability.

Designing your emails – both tools offer great go-to templates

Constant Contact customers takes pride on their easy-to-use templates and design features. It’s especially easy to drag and drop blocks from integrated tools like Eventbrite, Shopify, MINDBODY, or Contact Contact’s survey tool. Constant Contact offers a lot of ready-made templates and designs for you to choose from. If you’re happy with something cookie-cutter rather than perfectly matched to your brand, that can be a real time-saver:

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Mailchimp also has user-friendly design features, as well as a range of templates for you to browse. These tend to be a bit more polished than Constant Contact’s. They also offer great block-based templates for you to drag your own content in to keep things on-brand.

Email pro tip: Once you have a customized template or two you’re happy with, it’s simple to clone those emails and edit the copy in future to send your emails faster.**

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List management – Constant Contact keeps things simple

Email pro tip: Make sure you record the original source of a subscriber, such as signing up on your website, at a tradeshow, or by downloading a resource. You need this record for data protection purposes – and it also helps you to send the most personalized content.*

With Mailchimp, one of the main downfalls is keeping your lists organized. As with many email tools, you’re recommended to have one master list and use segments to keep it clear which campaigns to send to a contact.

It can get confusing to segment your lists and identify who has or hasn’t received recently sent emails. There’s also the difference between segments and tags: segments can be ready-made or custom and can be automated based on certain criteria, while tags are customizable labels for contacts like "social media influencer"

With Constant Contact, this might be more intuitive. There are fewer options, and it’s clearer what you need to do to get the outcome you want:

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Brand and Customer Experience – Mailchimp is a great brand, Constant Contact is a great product

It’s difficult to compete with Mailchimp’s remarkable branding – you could actually say that their product is behind their strong visual brand.

When it comes to brand experience, Mailchimp is the strongest email marketing tool on the market (whether you love or hate their 2019 rebrand, which included dropping the capital “C” from their name). If you had to choose a well-designed email tool that was fun to use, you’d probably choose Mailchimp.

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However, great branding doesn’t always mean great user experience. Mailchimp falls short in other respects – like list management – and Constant Contact gets ahead.

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for ease of use? Constant Contact, just about.

Reporting

Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer reporting, but they each have different strengths to consider here.

Constant Contact gives you all the key insights you need – including sends, bounces, open rate and click rate – on one simple graph.

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As with most of their features, Mailchimp reporting looks great. It’s easy to see open rate, click rate, and even an industry average open rate. However, the sources of this chart’s information are not always clear.

Unlike Constant Contact, you don’t seem to be able to hide certain metrics on Mailchimp. That might be annoying if you wanted to screenshot your reporting for a company slide deck, for instance:

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There’s a tab titled “Revenue” on Mailchimp reports – this enables you to enhance your data with stats about the traffic and revenue generated by a campaign by integrating with Google Analytics.

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for reporting? Mailchimp.

Customer service

If support and customer service are important to you, Constant Contact is our top choice. Whenever you’re using the tool, you’ll see a contact number and “Contact Us” button in the top navigation, so you can easily give them a call:

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If you choose Mailchimp, getting hold of their support team is more of a struggle. Mailchimp doesn’t offer phone support, which they say helps them keep their prices down. As a free user, you only have access to a support email address for the first 30 days, while paid users can contact customer service via their support chat in business hours.

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As Mailchimp is such a popular tool, you’re likely to find the answer to most queries with a quick Google search.

However, if phone support is important to you, opt for Constant Contact – their phone support is often cited as a pro on review sites like Capterra.

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for customer service? Constant Contact.

Automation and A/B testing

Automation

Your email marketing tool isn’t just for newsletters – to get the best value from it, you should be sending automated emails such as nurturing workflows too. This is possible with both Mailchimp and Constant Contact.

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Automation is one area where Mailchimp is better than Constant Contact. They offer the fullest automation suite at the lowest price point – you can access all of their automation features on their Free plan (and yes, it’s really free).

Constant Contact gates their automation features (other than welcome emails) behind their Email Plus plan (from $45/month).

Here are some of the automation features you might want to use, with a comparison of what you’ll get from each tool:

Welcome emails– Send these with Mailchimp’s Free plan or Constant Contact’s basic Email plan (from $20/month).

Nurturing workflow –You can automatically enroll new subscribers in workflows via Constant Contact’s Automated Email Series feature, or Mailchimp’s Subscriber Activity emails.

Post-purchase emails –Mailchimp enables First Purchase and Product Follow-up emails.

Abandoned basket emailsMailchimp enables abandoned cart emails for stores they integrate with (no longer Shopify). Alternatively, Constant Contact offers cart reminder emails for Shopify.

Retargeting emails – Mailchimp makes it easy to combine email marketing with retargeting and remind website visitors of the great things they saw on your site.

Re-engagement emails –Mailchimp offers Customer Re-engagement Emails, while Constant Contact allows you to identify and target unengaged contacts with segmentation.

A/B testing

Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact allow you to carry out A/B tests to experiment with different variations of your email and send the best option to subscribers. With Constant Contact, you can only run tests on your subject line. Mailchimp offers a lot more scope for experimentation.

With Mailchimp's A/B testing, you can test up to 3 variations of your campaign – be it changes to subject line, body content, from name, send time, or any combination of the above. Before sending, you can specify how many people will receive the test version. Mailchimp also offers multivariate testing, although this is only available on their Pro plan. What is multivariate testing? Simply, it allows you to send up to 8 variations of your campaign.

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for automation and A/B testing? Mailchimp.

Extra features

Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact have some additional features beyond just email marketing, automation, and outreach.

Survey tool: Constant Contact makes it easy to send surveys to your email list, giving you a choice between hosting online or embedding in an email. Mailchimp does enable use of merge tags for surveys, but otherwise you’ll need to integrate with SurveyMonkey. We recommend the Constant Contact survey tool if you’ll be sending them often.

Postcards: Mailchimp offers an unconventionally-old-school tactic with their postcards feature. It’s not the most ecological, but you might prefer sending a fun postcard over more traditional direct mail advertising.

Donations: With Constant Contact, you can collect online donations securely and track donations on a custom landing page.

Facebook, Google and Instagram Ads: Mailchimp data shows that combining email with Google remarketing ads can boost your sales by an average of 107%. They also offer handy integrations for your Facebook and Instagram ads, so Mailchimp is better than Constant Contact if you’re looking for a holistic solution for a marketing team with a paid ads budget.

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for extra features? It’s a tie. These additional features may either be worthless for your business or provide a specific added value that works for your niche.

Value for money

Mailchimp’s pricing page advertises “Tools for pros. Prices for everyone.” Mailchimp’s most popular plan is their Free plan, which allows you to store up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month. Mailchimp has a huge user base, and it’s arguably the best free email marketing service on the market.

Constant Contact, on the other hand, doesn’t have a free plan. It does have a 60-day free trial, but that’s not a long-term solution for your business – your minimum monthly spend afterwards will be $15/month.

When comparing the basic plans of Mailchimp and Constant Contact, Mailchimp wins on every metric other than the number of emails you can send per month (12,000 versus no limit with Constant Contact).

Basic plans of Mailchimp and Constant Contact: how much do they cost per month?

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While you can get started with the Mailchimp Free plan, you’ll soon need to upgrade to the Grow plan (from $30/month) if you have more than 2,000 subscribers on your list and want to remove Mailchimp branding from your emails. You can also optimize your send time, deliver by time zone, get insights into audience demographics, and access email and chat support.

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Mailchimp starts getting expensive as your list gets bigger, especially if you need premium support, advanced segmentation, and multivariate testing. These features are all gated behind their Pro plan, starting at $199/month based on your list size.

To access all of Constant Contact’s features, you’ll be paying upwards of $45/month depending on your list size. If you have 2,000 contacts, you’re looking at $60/month.

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Pricing for Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact if you have 2,000 contacts and want access to automation, time zone sending, and removing their branding:

Graphs-ConstantContact Mailchimp 3

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for value for money? Mailchimp.

Deliverability

What about deliverability? When you’re choosing the best email marketing tool for your business, you need to be sure that your emails are actually going to be received by your contacts.

On the Constant Contact website, they claim that on average 98% of Constant Contact emails hit customers' inboxes – compared to 77% of regular emails (data from Return Path 2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report). Constant Contact accepts that you might see a much lower delivery rate, especially to begin with.

Keep in mind it’s hard to measure deliverability accurately, as it can fluctuate so much. One thing that seems clear, though: Constant Contact has a better deliverability rate than Mailchimp.

Graphs-ConstantContact Mailchimp

This research gave Constant Contact second place of the ten tools they tested in three rounds (only behind ActiveCampaign). Mailchimp came through in sixth, it seems they’ve had some issues delivering to Microsoft (Outlook and Hotmail) accounts – where it had a deliverability rate between 40% - 62% in the three rounds of testing.

In the same study, 60% of Mailchimp emails sent to a Gmail inbox went directly to the Promotions tab (down from 100% in Aug 2017 and Mar 2018). This is an increasing problem for email marketers, as consumers tend to ignore the bulk of what’s filed under Promotions. This is less of a problem for Contact Contact (in the research above, none of their emails ended up in the Promotions tab in the January 2019 test), but it’s increasing across the board.

Constant Contact also performed well with avoiding spam filters in January 2019. The average spam rates ranged from 2-35%, with Mailchimp at 17.8% and Constant Contact at 4.8%.

Email pro tip: improve your email deliverability by cleaning up old or incorrect emails that result in hard bounces. Read more: 7 tips for 100% email delivery, every time.*

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for deliverability? Constant Contact.

Integrations

Your email marketing tool is just one of the systems in your business toolkit. For the best results, keep your systems in sync to spend less time on admin and improve accuracy.

Sync to your CRM

A properly configured integration between your email marketing tool and your CRM will save you time, you can automate email segmentation, and easily manage marketing opt-ins.

Efficient companies keep their email marketing tool in sync with top CRMs, like HubSpot or Capsule.

Read more: The best CRMs for small businesses: pros, cons, and what you need to know

Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact have direct connections with many CRMs, but Mailchimp integrates with a few more than Constant Contact. Check the 2-way connections available for each tool:

Ecommerce integrations

As an ecommerce business, you will likely want to sync your email marketing tool with your ecommerce software, like Shopify or BigCommerce.

Mailchimp no longer has a direct connection to Shopify, as announced in a March 2019 statement that explained why Mailchimp decided to end their integration. As a workaround to keep your contacts in Mailchimp and Shopify connected, it’s simple to use PieSync for a two-way contact sync.

Shopify is also still connected to Constant Contact, so ecommerce businesses might choose it over Mailchimp as their email tool.

Other integrations

Constant Contact has a great partnership with MINDBODY that thousands of their customers in the wellness sector benefit from. If you host events, they also have a great Eventbrite connection, enabling you to drag event blocks directly into emails.

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Whatever your business type, you can find two-way contact syncs between your favorite tools in the PieSync connections directory.

The verdict on Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact for integrations? It’s a draw. Mailchimp is a great all-rounder. But if you’re using Shopify, Eventbrite or MINDBODY, our vote is for Constant Contact.

The round-up: is Constant Contact or Mailchimp a better choice for your email tool?

When comparing Mailchimp and Constant Contact side-by-side, each email tool clearly has its own stand-out features. As you choose your email provider, it’s about deciding which benefits are most important to you.

Mailchimp is better than Constant Contact if you’re cost-conscious, care about reporting and automation, and want an attractive tool you’ll look forward to using. You can get started without a trial and see how their Free plan works for you. Most industry insiders will agree that Mailchimp is the best free email marketing service available.

However, if deliverability rates, ease of use, and customer service really matter to you, Constant Contact may well be the best choice for you. Take a closer look at the system with their generous 60-day free trial and measure the results it gives you.

Whichever email marketing tool you use, boost productivity and help your tools work together with two-way contact syncs between your go-to apps.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.