Super Simple Email Marketing, or Is It TooSimple?
Constant Contact, like most services in the e-mail marketing space, will inform you that it's the best. Heck, it's not simply the best; it's expected to be the onlyitem you'll need to market your product and services by means of e-mail, SMS, and perhaps social media.
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And with cost effective strategiesthat include marketing projects, landing pages, and more, how could it go wrong? Well … that's a bit of a story.It's a roller coaster trip of functions that are terrific and extremely easy to use, features that are straight-out missing, and then there was that time I got my account briefly banned. And you understand what? That was among the highlights of my experience!
No, truly, it was a good idea, and a point in Constant Contact's favor. I'll describe everything.
See, I went undercover to determine just how excellent (or not) the service would end up being. If you need to know whether Constant Contact has the specific functions you need for yourservice or if you ‘d be much better off with one of the other top e-mail marketing services, this is the place to learn.
The brief response? It's respectable for newbies.
What about the rest people? Well, let's see.
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The Good, the Bad, and the Missing (Features) I can't fault Constant Contact for its general ease of use. I imply, sure, you'll require to comprehend the fundamental concepts of e-mail marketing to get your money's worth out of the platform, however that's real for all of them.
But this specific platform stands apart by having decent fundamental tutorials constructed into the interface, and the interface itself is incredibly stylish. I in some cases get frustrated by page and email contractors feeling slow and clunky, even on my video gaming rig. Not so here.
When it in fact does what you want, Constant Contact is an absolute pleasure to utilize.It's simply the odd missing thing that'll throw you off. It's like a burger that's absolutely fantastic, however where in God's name are the pickles and the custom automation workflows? That's what I ‘d like to understand.
Yep, this platform is missing out on a few of the more advanced functions we've pertained to expect thanks to the competition. Here's what I indicate:
Email Campaigns, Templates, and Personalization
Email campaigns are kept fairly simple, and honestly a little bit restricted. The Email strategy permits you to send out emails to approximately 10,000 contacts, and the Email Plus strategy will let you send e-mails to 50,000. And there doesn't seem to be an alternative for anyone with a bigger contact list.
The Email Plus plan likewise supplies access to things like individualized pop-up types, RSVP forms, surveys, vouchers, online contributions, personalized email material, and more.
After you send any campaign, sharing that very same email/newsletter on social networks is simply a matter of clicking a button that shows up when you've sent the e-mail out normally. You can share your material on Facebook (Business Pages only), Instagram (Businesses just), LinkedIn, and Twitter.
You can also technically send a campaign through SMS, however those are entirely different campaigns. And technically, you ‘d be sending them through a different service called EZtexting. It appears that Constant Contact has a business deal with EZTexting to manage that side of the service.
The email project design templates are completely decent. Okay, a few of them feel a teensy bit outdated, but they are generally tidy, contemporary, and attractive.Besides, there are over 300 of them, so you have options. Do not wish to utilize a pre-built template? There are a number of that enable you to start from skeleton structures, or perhaps completely from scratch so you can bend your e-mail style abilities.
These design templates are all searchable and categorized by tags like “Holiday” (e.g. “See Our Christmas Deals”), “Newsletter,” or” Greeting” ( e.g. “Welcome to Our Mailing List”). They're all mobile-responsive, which is sort of important. A lot more people are using smartphones than any other sort of calculating device these days.
And heck, when I'm not dealing with my desktop, my other desktop, or my laptop, even I'mon my phone. That's why they get me to compose these evaluations for a living.
The real email builder/editor is quite decent. It's got all of the fundamental functions you ‘d desire: dragging and dropping, predefined material obstructs to help you lay out your text and images, decent font style choice, easy color modification, all of that good stuff. You need to upload your own images, however. There's no stock library to speak of.
Okay, a stock image library isn't strictly essential, but it's a nice-to-have, you know?
RTL language support (for languages like Arabic and Hebrew) would also be nice, but is also lacking.
Speaking of nice-to-haves, you can likewise throw a bunch of bonus into your e-mail layout (on the Email Plus strategy), consisting of items from your Shopify or WooCommerce shop, events from Eventbrite, the previously mentioned surveys and RSVP kinds, and more.
Now, confession time. I got my next screenshot from the Constant Contact aid center, since I handled to screenshot practically every function other thanthe editor. And I can't get another one because my account is canceled. [Bad reviewer, bad!]
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Simple, useful material obstructs make building e-mails easy. You can likewise (and we're still on on the Email Plus prepare here) tailor your e-mails to individual contacts with variables. For instance, the subject and greeting can say, “Dear Darla” rather of, “Hello there valued consumer. So valued. Much worth certainly.”
You can likewise use these variables to put in any of the consumer's details, like their address, telephone number, birthday, or anything else you can consider. Finally, there vary for youraccount, such as your own name, address, websites, e-mail, and so on. It's all quite useful for automatic campaigns, and for doing things like confirming a consumer's contact details.
What you can'tdo, and this is a pretty big oversight, is “vibrant material display screen” based upon customer information. For instance, if you wished to reveal a special message to one set of users (e.g. all the Steves), and a different message to another set (e.g. all the Darlas) in the exact same email, some platforms will let you do that. On Constant Contact, you ‘d have to develop totally separate lists of all the Steves and all the Darlas, and send out each list a various email.
GetResponse and Sendinblue would both let you do this much more quickly.
Another feature that's insufficient is A/B testing. Now what's that? Well, let's say you wish to send out an email project to all of your contacts, but you wish to send two different versions to see which one carries out better.
Let's say you're trying a “Buy Now” button that's big and blue, and another that's little and red. A/B testing would allow you to send the style with the big blue button to half your users, and the red to the other half. Then, your analytics and statistics would inform you how many more people clicked one button style over the other.
Now, Constant Contact does have A/B testing, however it's extremely minimal. All you can do is guinea pig lines against each other. However if you wished to test two various versions of emails, either in regards to material or design, that's not an option.
A/B testing is among the huge manner ins which business measure the efficiency of style and wording changes in e-mail marketing, so to (mostly) not have the option is discouraging, and it's downright odd for any significant email marketing platform to restrict your testing choices in this way. Almost all the leading email marketing services give you more versatility.
Mailing Lists and Segmentation
The good news is, producing and handling your mailing lists is relatively basic on Constant Contact. You can create web forms that are easily embeddable in any websites to collect e-mail addresses. If you currently have a bunch of emails to deal with, you can import them by copying and pasting them, or uploading a file. Lastly, you can manually get in contacts yourself.
Note: supported files consist of Microsoft Excel files (. xls,. xlsx),. csv files,. vcf, and even comma-separated text files.
My experience was smooth and basic. If you have the info offered, you can likewise quickly import full names, addresses, age, gender, and practically anything else you can imagine.
I primarily adhered to email addresses for my tests, however you can import as much information as you want. You can browse and sort through your contacts by email, status (subscribed or not), source, date added, task title, business name, and location. If you require to discover contacts by more advanced requirements, there is an advanced search feature to help you out. You can even tag contacts to make them easier to find in the search.
Now let's say you've done an advanced look for all of your contacts who have clicked a link in your emails in the previous 6 months, are subscribed to your “elegant kilts” newsletter, and live outside of Scotland. What if you could have a dynamically upgraded list of those specific individuals to act on, so you don't need to do a brand-new search each time?
Well, you can. That's called division, and it's the foundation of lots of marketing campaign. Excellent news– division is present and pretty reliable in Constant Contact.You can produce a filter based upon what you understand about your subscribers, and go.
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The division filter user interface is quite basic, and can integrate with Shopify, eBay, etc. I want to define that you can likewise section your contacts by engagement. That is, you can arrange contacts by the individuals who have actually engaged with your e-mails a lot, just a little, or not at all. THis assists you to identify those potential customers who have the most guarantee.There are no suppression lists; the function is simply missing. This is sad, and Constant Contact ought tohave them.See, suppression lists are a helpful little thing. They're lists of individuals that you do not, under any circumstances, want to send e-mail to. The most common use for these lists is to keep you from mistakenly sending out more mail to people who have already unsubscribed. In some countries, that's a matter of law, so it's worth focusing on.The good news is, Constant Contact has a manual block list you can use to obstruct individuals forever. You absolutely do need that, and it's there.
Landing pages are great for when you want to really sell someone on a particular services or product in one go.
Constant Contact's landing page is good, but like the automation, it's somewhat insufficient. Let's see, how do I put this? There were 5 design templates. Yep, only 5. There are no zeroes missing out on from that number.
To be fair, the three landing page design templates that aren't blank look fine.
That said, the design templates are responsive, and of comparable quality to the e-mail design templates. The landing page editor is equivalent as well. In reality, it's nearly exactly the exact same, minus the Shopify integration and whatnot
Constant Contact's landing page editor looks and works practically precisely like the e-mail editor. It's not a bad feature, as such. If you have all of your material ready to go, there's no factor you could not get a page up and running in 10 minutes or less. However it requires more work, and more design templates to begin people off with. The drop from 300+ design templates to a tremendous 5 is rather steep.It also requires support for custom-made domains (e.g. yourwebsite.com). Yeah, your landing pages won't even appear under your website's domain, and that can be a genuine hit to your SEO. Also your e-mail's deliverability, as it; s much better if links in your emails go back to your own domain.
Automation is an amazing feature that Constant Contact only sort of has. See, automation is awesome for creating processes like, “If a client register for offers, send them a welcome e-mail. Wait 6 months, then send them a study to ask if they like our offers. Wait a year, then ask if they ‘d advise us to a good friend.”
It's an useful function to many, and lots of email marketing platforms will provide you a method to link marketing campaigns and user interaction to make a system that you hardly have to keep an eye on.
However, Constant Contact does not enable you to create your own automation workflows. It simply provides you three primary alternatives:
- These are the only automated email alternatives you get with Constant Contact. An automated welcome e-mail (for when users register)Birthday e-mails (a really reliable marketing technique)
- Anniversary emails. No, not the consumer's anniversary with their spouse, partner, or little animal. Their anniversary of registering for your marketing emails. Since that's a thing.
Now technically, you canalso send out “Why don't you come back and buy things?” e-mails if someone leaves the shopping cart on your site deserted, however that function only seems to be offered if you're using Shopify, or if you use Constant Contact's own online shop contractor.
Oh, and there's no autoresponder alternative for individuals who send emails to you, either. Simply put, automation ispresent, but it's very restricted. I'm grateful it's there, however I want to [insert divine being here] that there was more.
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On top of everything else, Constant Contact has its own website home builder, and an online store contractor also.I didn't look too closely at these functions, as they're far beyond the scope of this review, but it needs to be noted that they exist.
You get endless file storage (within factor), website analytics, blogging features, and more on the website home builder. The store home builder provides limitless item sales, support for both digital and physical products, inventory and tax management, coupons and discount rates … The typical features you ‘d require.
Constant Contact has an occasion management tool,which allows you to keep track of user registration for online events. We're discussing things like webinars, classes, workshops, item demonstrations, and more.
You can, naturally, established a landing page for event registration, collect information on your guests, and keep an eye on who has voucher codes. Everything. You can even accept payments right there on the sign-up page, if you want it to be that type of event.
Last But Not Least, Constant Contact can incorporate itself with a lotof other services,not simply Shopify, WooCommerce, or eBay. You can use almost any analytics platform, the DonorPerfect fundraising software application, BigCommerce, and a lot more. Plus, you can utilize Zapier to link Constant Contact to practically anything on the Internet, for a massive 3300+ total third-party combinations.
That number is in fact type of nuts.
Constant Contact has so
lots of integrations, it requires an entire marketplace. All in all, the functions that Constant Contact does haveare fantastic, and a satisfaction to use in general. However there's so much that's essentially missing out on, I was a bit disappointed.
Constant Contact Takes Spam Pretty Seriously, however Is Still Missing Some Important Features
So here's the deal. You want your emails to go through to your contacts' email servers, and hopefully not get marked as spam, right? This is the ideal outcome for your company, and hopefully ideal for your pleased customers as well.
There are services out there that will evaluate an e-mail marketing service and state that its deliverability rating is, let's say, 90%. Well, the problem is that those numbers are highly undependable, since there are just a lot of factors included. You can't easily test for everything that might affect an e-mail's delivery, unless you have admin-level access to the server that's sending it, the server that's getting it, and perhaps every other server along the way.
Simply put, what we do is simply this: we check what we can. We look at a few simple elements that make a big difference in your e-mail's deliverability,and make the very best judgement we can based upon the info offered.
First up is DKIM, which is essentially an authentication system that uses encryption to inform email suppliers, “this e-mail came straight from the initial server, and was not tampered with in any method.” Naturally, e-mail services all over the world are more likely to trust messages that have DKIM authentication enabled.
Constant Contact has DKIM authentication, and has an easy guide you can follow to get it set up, as (partially) seen here:
You can validate your email or your own domain name by means of Constant Contact. Next, we look at the spam policy. Constant Contact's policy is really rather strict. If more than 0.1 % of your e-mails get marked as spam, your contact lists and your whole account can come under review. The anti-spam crew is pretty hands-on about this entire thing.Really hands-on, in truth. One of the tests I run includes submitting the e-mail addresses of known spammers, to see if they'll get flagged. The perfect outcome is that these spammy email addresses simply do not get imported, and you (the user) get an error message to that effect.
Constant Contact did not prevent import of spammy addresses, but about half an hour later on, my account came under review.I was sent out an e-mail informing me my account was more or less in difficulty, and I needed to call tech assistance to get whatever corrected.So I called, and it turns out that suspicious email addresses do get right away shadow-banned. As in, they get flagged, and you do not learn about it up until your account gets examined.
They do this to make people call in, because lots of their users tend to upload these email addresses from lists they purchased, and they don't always understand any much better.So I needed to explain myself a bit, however whatever exercised in the end. Although it's not the way I prefer to do things (which would frankly involve less human interaction), I haveto offer the support group points for taking on an educational function.Next, we take a look at affiliate marketing.
If you utilize your e-mails to promote affiliate programs, is Constant Contact going to allow that? Brief response?
No. Reports from other users state their accounts get flagged when they try to engage in any affiliate marketing via email projects, or perhaps recruit affiliates for their own projects.
Now, if you're not an affiliate marketer yourself, this can be a good thing. It means that spammy affiliate marketing emails won't be related to Constant Contact, and therefore your emails on the service are most likely to be trusted.Next, you may want to get a devoted IP address for your emails. Put simply, if your e-mail comes from the exact same IP address as a spammer, the whole IP address might get flagged for Spam. That would keep your e-mails from going through too.Buuut you can't get it here.
While Constant Contact does have its own known and trusted IP addresses, you can not purchase one for your email campaigns particularly. It's not a total offer breaker, however it is an embarassment. Every business must preferably have an IP address for its own e-mails, at some time. It can be type of expensive however, so it; s not a total deal-breaker.In the tests I ran, I never had a problem with my e-mails surviving.
The Support Team Is Mostly Fantastic
There are three main methods to contact support, and a number of additional support channels to try if those do not work. The “huge 3” would be phone support, live chat, and good old e-mail (sent via a type on the site).
Users who wish to take their issues public can constantly tweet at the Constant Contact Twitter account (Yes, that's a listed assistance channel on the site), and there's a neighborhood forum. A whole-assed, fairly lively community forum. Male, that feels like a blast from the past.
Lastly, there's likewise a fairly substantial knowledge base, which has a tonof tutorials covering every significant feature. Okay, I didn't discover everythingI needed in there, however I found the majority of it. Honestly, always examine the understanding base first. It conserves time for everybody.
For the talking-to-people assistance, I stuck to the main support channels for the sake of simpleness, and here's how it went: Pretty well.
I asked if there was any way to A/B test actual e-mail content and designs. I got an instant response,and well. You know. You can't. Still, the actual interaction was quick and offered me the answer I required, which is what the support team gets graded on.
Prompt and useful, even if the answer was frustrating. Phone Support Next, I contacted phone assistance, and asked if I might blast out my email projects by means of SMS and social networks at the same time as email heads out. I contacted a knowledgeable, enjoyable representative right away, and got my response.
It fasted and pain-free, as far as telephone call go.I don't much like calling customer service.The answer: Like I stated rather far above, social networks takes an additional button click when your main email project is sent out. And SMS projects have to be done separately.
The e-mail assistance was a little frustrating, to be truthful.
Particularly, I inquired about assistance for right-to-left languages like Arabic and so on. Well, I had to discover the info in other places, because the tech representative in this case entirely misinterpreted my concern. Oh, and I had to wait nearly 20 hours to get a response.
4.3 PRICINGYou Could Get More for Your Dollar Elsewhere Constant Contact's prices are by no methods outrageous, however they do notexactly influence me either.
Don't get me incorrect: in terms of large numbers, Constant Contact has pretty darnedgood strategies.The most affordable strategy, Email, provides a subscriber list size of 10,000 for AU$ 13.41 per month, which's not bad.
Include on 3 user accounts(so your marketing team can collaborate), and an entire lot of functions(like the website home builder) for which other platforms would make you pay additional, and you have a sweet deal on paper. The Email Plus strategy isn't that far more costly either.
However when I make these computations, I am required to weigh the addition of lots of features against the quality of those exact same features. While some are rather excellent, others are(asdiscussed above) missing or insufficient.
So while you might pay more elsewhere for those exact same features, the functions will … you know … exist .That stated, if Constant Contact keeps its pricing strategy while working to improve the actual functions, it will be among the greatest names in email marketing.
Someday. In the meantime, I ‘d strongly suggest that– before you devote to anything– you take advantage of the company's first month complimentary policy. And if you do spend cash, well, there is also a 30-day refund assurance.
That guarantee doesn't cover services like custom-made style, marketing supervisors, Facebook Lead ads … basically anything that's not directly tied to email marketing. As long as you adhere to basic performance, you can get all of your cash backwhen you need to. And if you would like to know more about the specifics, and I imply, get real specific, we've assembled a comprehensive breakdown of Constant Contact's rates strategies for your reading pleasure. You're welcome