Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp: Which Email Platform is Right for Your Business?

How often do you check your emails on a daily basis? Nowadays, checking your inbox is part of your daily routine. We can say it’s similar to what in the past was reading the newspaper.  In fact, 73 percent of millennials report email is their preferred method of communication from businesses. This makes sense since most stores send discounts and special offers via this channel.

For this reason, email marketing is a crucial component of your digital marketing strategy. From branding, engagement, retention, direct sales, generating traffic, and encouraging referrals, a well executed email marketing strategy will help you grow your business.

With all the email marketing platforms available, how do you decide which is the best option?  To help you make the best decision, we broke down the key features and offerings of both Constant Contact and Mailchimp, two of the most popular email marketing platforms in the market.

Pricing Structure

Constant Contact offers a free trial for 60 days and allows you to import up to 100 unique contacts. Base features are offered until the trial expires, at which point you can select between Constant Contact’s Email and Email Plus plans. Plus includes automation, event marketing, A/B testing, additional user access, surveys, polls and more.

On the other hand, Mailchimp features a free plan that includes up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month with a daily limit of 2,000. While free features are limited to one user account or owner, a few basic email templates, basic reporting, 1 audience, and single email automation, the free package is available until you exceed 2,000 contacts. Similar to Constant Contact, Mailchimp offers different plan tiers: free, essentials, standard, and premium.

Both email services have different pricing brackets based on your subscriber list. If you’re looking for flexibility or simply want to better understand your company’s email needs before you commit to a specific plan, Mailchimp offers a Pay As You Go plan, as well as add-on features, so you can control the use and tools you need.

Email Templates and Design Features

Incorporating your company’s brand and style in your email communications is important to keep consistency in your advertising efforts.  Both Constant Contact and Mailchimp have customizable templates that allow you to integrate your brand colors, fonts, and more, in an easy way. Both platforms allow you to save your templates for re-use at a later time, saving you time and making it easy for any team member to jump in and work on your email communications.

Constant Contact design features:

  • Access to free stock photos
  • Mobile responsive design
  • Drag and drop editing
  • Embed surveys

Mailchimp design features:

  • Templates sorted by type and email use.
  • Mobile responsive design
  • Drag and drop editing
  • Embed SurveyMonkey surveys

Automation Capabilities

Automation tools allow you to follow your customers throughout their buyer journey. Creating triggering events will send specific, personalized emails increasing customer engagement and retention rates.

Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer automation capabilities. A notable difference between the two is that Constant Contact restricts automations to Email Plus accounts, which start at $45/month with 0-500 contacts and increases based on contact list totals.

Mailchimp allows all accounts to use automations and its capabilities are more robust. For example, you can set up an automation if a person clicks on a certain link or purchases a certain product. Constant Contact is more restricted but does allow for autoresponders and simple lead nurturing campaigns.

Measuring KPIs

Like every marketing effort you execute for your business, having the ability to track performance is essential for optimization and making improvements to your strategy.

Constant Contact features the following reporting tools for both Email and Email Plus plan versions:

  • Open and click rate reports
  • Campaign comparison reports
  • Click maps
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Segmentation based on content clicked
  • Open rates by mobile device

Mailchimp includes all of the above reporting tools plus:

  • Industry average open and click rates
  • Forwarded open rates
  • Geo-tracking reports
  • Social media reports
  • Newsletter delivery success by email provider
  • E-Commerce reports
  • Integration from services like Eventbrite or SurveyMonkey for additional statistics

Registration forms

Growing your email subscriber list is one of the main objectives behind every marketing campaign strategy. Constant Contact and Mailchimp both offer list-building strategies and tools so you can reach new audiences through your website, social media, and also offline at events or trade-shows.

With both email platforms you can:

  • Customize your sign up-form
  • Develop a welcome email after signing up
  • Embed the form on your website or social media
  • Use pop-up sign up forms
  • Use your mobile device to collect sign-ups on the go
  • Allow for subscribers to edit their preferences or update their profiles.

Additionally, Mailchimp & Constant Contact have Custom API forms where you can code the entire form to fit your needs.

A/B Testing

A/B testing helps you maximize your email open rates by determining which subject line, email message, image, CTA (Calls to action), or format may resonate the best with your audience. You eliminate the guesswork through multivariate testing.

Constant Contact allows you to test only two different subject lines. It’ll send the test to a portion of your contact list and then automatically select the preferred subject line to send out to the remaining audience.

While it is recommended to only test one variable at a time, Mailchimp’s A/B testing goes beyond the subject line allowing you to also test for content, different “from” names, and send times.

In both platforms, you can adjust the time to wait before a winning email is selected and set to the remaining contacts. You can also track the results with real-time reporting and the percentage of participants who receive the test.

Both Email Platforms are Good… Which One Should I Choose?

As your company grows you will also want your email marketing tools to grow with it; supporting more complex CRM data and reporting, integrations, and compatibility with your other tools and digital strategy plans. Although you may benefit now from pre-made templates and landing pages, having the ability to code and design your future pages will help develop your brand. Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer customization, however, Constant Contact does require an API key request prior to use.

A full service email marketing agency can help determine the best platform for your company needs. With more than 20 years of experience, Bayshore Solutions is familiar with what email platforms have to offer, how to maximize their tools and make them work for you. We want to see you succeed.

Call (866) 352-4791 or email us at info@bayshoresolutions.com to discuss your needs and learn how we can facilitate growth.