Review of Constant Contact Email Marketing Services
Pros, Cons of Email List Management Features
Update: December 31, 2015: Constant Contact still offers a free 60-day trial period, and their prices are now considered competitive in the marketplace. Their reputation continues to encourage many business owners to connect more directly with their markets through email campaigns. Additionally, their template features have been upgraded and are now easier to work with.
They offer more than 400 free templates to create newsletters and email list mailings.
Constant Contact also offers online survey development tools (not included in list management prices).
- 0-500 emails per month - $15
- 501-2,500 emails per month - $30
- 2,501 to 5,000 emails per month - $75
Pricing as of 06/26/09. Discounts are available for large mailings, nonprofits, and prepaid accounts but does not include email archives or image library (archives and “premium” image library and hosting each cost an addition $5.00 per month).
Constant Contact Pros
Free Trial Period: Constant Contact’s 60-day free trial period is more generous than many other providers. This gives you time to really decide if Constant Contact is the right email list service provider for your business.
I like the ability to sign-up for the trial period without any contracts, commitments, or even having to register a credit card on file (as of 06/26/09).
Great Template Library: With over 400 templates, Constant Contact seems to have one of the largest free template libraries available.
Good for Beginners: If you are not interested in learning to design your own HTML newsletters, customizing their templates is not that difficult. (If you are looking for a high-end tool to free-form your own designs, choose another service.)
Import / Export Lists: Easy import of existing addresses from Microsoft Outlook®, Outlook Express®, and ACT!® by Sage®.
Security: They use SafeUnsubscribe™ and SafeSubscribeSM applications for better email address security.
Anti-Spam Policies: Constant Contact’s user standards comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
They do monitor large imported list activity to help keep spammers off their servers (a plus for legitimate account holders) and have no tolerance for spammers. You cannot use Constant Contact with purchased, rented, or illegally obtained emailing lists (this is also a plus unless you are a spammer).
Constant Contact Cons
Overpriced: Constant Contact is more expensive than some other similar service providers. Email archives and image storage each cost an additional $5.00 per month. These are both services that should be included in the base price. (You can only store five images for free.)
Difficult to Cancel Services: You cannot cancel your account online or via email. You must call them to cancel. This is a surprising disservice and inconvenience to customers, especially coming from an online service provider.
Customer Service Complaints: There are numerous reports online from customers who have complained about difficulties in canceling accounts and continuing to be billed after cancellation.
It is important to bear in mind people often post complaints without hesitation (whether the complaints are legitimate or not) rather than praise so it is difficult to rate overall customer satisfaction based purely on published complaints.
Limited Customization: You can only use their WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor when customizing their free templates. There is no WYSIWYG for working on your own HTML designs. Constant Contact clearly seems to cater to beginner skill level email campaign developers.
Autoresponders: Does not allow auto-responders.
List Management Limitations: No list segmentation feature and worse – you can only create and use one sign-up form for your website per account. If you offer more than one newsletter to subscribe to and want different sign-up sheets, this is a major drawback.
If you have more than one website you need more than one account.