Super Simple Email Marketing, or Is It TooSimple?
Constant Contact, like a lot of services in the email marketing space, will tell you that it's the best. Heck, it's not just the very best; it's expected to be the onlyproduct you'll need to market your service or products through email, SMS, and possibly social media.
Constant Contact Inline Form
And with inexpensive strategiesthat include marketing projects, landing pages, and more, how could it fail? Well … that's a little a story.It's a roller coaster trip of features that are excellent and really easy to utilize, features that are outright missing out on, and then there was that time I got my account momentarily banned. And you know what? That was among the highlights of my experience!
No, really, it was an advantage, and a point in Constant Contact's favor. I'll discuss whatever.
See, I went undercover to identify just how good (or not) the service would end up being. If you need to know whether Constant Contact has the exact functions you require for yourorganization or if you ‘d be much better off with among the other leading e-mail marketing services, this is the place to find out.
The short answer? It's pretty good for beginners.
What about the rest of us? Well, let's see.
Constant Contact Inline Form
The Good, the Bad, and the Missing (Features) I can't fault Constant Contact for its basic ease of use. I indicate, sure, you'll need to understand the fundamental ideas of email marketing to get your cash's worth out of the platform, however that's real for all of them.
However this particular platform stands apart by having decent standard tutorials developed into the interface, and the interface itself is exceptionally stylish. I often get irritated by page and e-mail contractors feeling sluggish and cumbersome, even on my gaming rig. Not so here.
When it in fact does what you desire, Constant Contact is an absolute satisfaction to use.It's simply the odd missing thing that'll throw you off. It's like a hamburger that's absolutely amazing, however where in God's name are the pickles and the customized automation workflows? That's what I ‘d like to understand.
Yep, this platform is missing out on a few of the more advanced features we've concerned expect thanks to the competition. Here's what I mean:
Email Campaigns, Templates, and Personalization
Email projects are kept relatively basic, and truthfully a bit limited. The Email strategy enables you to send e-mails to as much as 10,000 contacts, and the Email Plus plan will let you send out emails to 50,000. And there doesn't seem to be a choice for anybody with a bigger contact list.
The Email Plus plan likewise supplies access to things like individualized pop-up forms, RSVP forms, polls, coupons, online donations, customized email material, and more.
After you send any campaign, sharing that exact same email/newsletter on social media is just a matter of clicking a button that appears when you've sent the e-mail out generally. You can share your material on Facebook (Business Pages only), Instagram (Businesses only), LinkedIn, and Twitter.
You can also technically send a campaign by means of SMS, but those are entirely different projects. And technically, you ‘d be sending them through a different service called EZtexting. It seems that Constant Contact has a company deal with EZTexting to manage that side of the service.
The e-mail campaign templates are completely decent. Okay, a few of them feel a teensy bit dated, however they are generally clean, modern-day, and attractive.Besides, there are over 300 of them, so you have alternatives. Don't wish to utilize a pre-built template? There are several that allow you to begin with skeleton frameworks, or even entirely from scratch so you can bend your email style abilities.
These 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 type of essential. A lot more people are utilizing smartphones than any other sort of computing device these days.
And heck, when I'm not working on my desktop, my other desktop, or my laptop computer, even I'mon my phone. That's why they get me to write these evaluations for a living.
The actual e-mail builder/editor is quite decent. It's got all of the standard functions you ‘d want: dragging and dropping, predefined content obstructs to assist you lay out your text and images, decent typeface selection, simple color modification, all of that good things. You need to submit your own images, however. There's no stock library to speak of.
Okay, a stock picture library isn't strictly important, however it's a nice-to-have, you understand?
RTL language assistance (for languages like Arabic and Hebrew) would likewise be nice, however is likewise doing not have.
Mentioning nice-to-haves, you can also toss a bunch of bonus into your email layout (on the Email Plus plan), including items from your Shopify or WooCommerce shop, events from Eventbrite, the previously mentioned surveys and RSVP kinds, and more.
Now, confession time. I grabbed my next screenshot from the Constant Contact aid center, due to the fact that I managed to screenshot practically every feature other thanthe editor. And I can't get another one since my account is canceled. [Bad reviewer, bad!]
Constant Contact Inline Form
Simple, beneficial material blocks make structure emails easy. You can also (and we're still on on the Email Plus prepare here) tailor your emails to specific contacts with variables. For example, the subject and greeting can state, “Dear Darla” rather of, “Hello there valued customer. So valued. Much value undoubtedly.”
You can also use these variables to put in any of the client's info, like their address, phone number, birthday, or anything else you can consider. Last but not least, there are variables for youraccount, such as your own name, address, websites, email, and so on. It's all quite beneficial for automated projects, and for doing things like verifying a consumer's contact info.
What you can'tdo, and this is a pretty big oversight, is “dynamic content display screen” based upon client information. For example, if you wanted to show a special message to one set of users (e.g. all the Steves), and a various message to another set (e.g. all the Darlas) in the very same email, some platforms will let you do that. On Constant Contact, you ‘d need to produce completely different lists of all the Steves and all the Darlas, and send each list a different email.
GetResponse and Sendinblue would both let you do this far more easily.
Another feature that's incomplete is A/B testing. Now what's that? Well, let's state you want to send an e-mail project to all of your contacts, but you want to send out two different variations to see which one performs better.
Let's say you're experimenting with a “Buy Now” button that's huge and blue, and another that's small and red. A/B testing would permit you to send the design with the huge blue button to half your users, and the red to the other half. Then, your analytics and statistics would tell you how many more people clicked one button style over the other.
Now, Constant Contact does have A/B testing, but it's extremely restricted. All you can do is test subject lines against each other. However if you wanted to check two various versions of e-mails, either in regards to content or style, that's not an option.
A/B testing is one of the big manner ins which companies measure the efficiency of design and wording changes in email marketing, so to (primarily) not have the option is aggravating, and it's downright odd for any major email marketing platform to limit your testing options in this method. Practically all the top email marketing services offer you more flexibility.
Mailing Lists and Segmentation
Fortunately, creating and managing your mailing lists is relatively simple on Constant Contact. You can create web types that are quickly embeddable in any web page to gather e-mail addresses. If you already have a lot of e-mails to work with, you can import them by copying and pasting them, or submitting a file. Lastly, you can manually enter 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 details readily available, you can likewise easily import complete names, addresses, age, gender, and practically anything else you can envision.
I mostly stayed with email addresses for my tests, but you can import as much information as you desire. You can browse and sort through your contacts by e-mail, status (subscribed or not), source, date added, job title, company name, and location. If you require to find contacts by 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 a sophisticated search for all of your contacts who have clicked a link in your emails in the past 6 months, are subscribed to your “fancy kilts” newsletter, and live outside of Scotland. What if you could have a dynamically upgraded list of those specific individuals to follow up on, so you don't need to do a brand-new search every time?
Well, you can. That's called segmentation, and it's the backbone of numerous marketing campaign. Good news– segmentation exists and quite effective in Constant Contact.You can produce a filter based on what you learn about your customers, and go.
Constant Contact Inline Form
The segmentation filter interface is pretty simple, and can incorporate with Shopify, eBay, etc. I want to specify that you can also segment your contacts by engagement. That is, you can sort contacts by the people who have engaged with your emails a lot, just a little, or not at all. THis assists you to identify those potential clients who have the most guarantee.There are no suppression lists; the function is simply missing out on. This is unfortunate, and Constant Contact needs tohave them.See, suppression lists are an useful little thing. They're lists of people that you do not, under any scenarios, want to send email to. The most common usage for these lists is to keep you from accidentally sending out more mail to individuals who have already unsubscribed. In some nations, that's a matter of law, so it's worth paying attention to.The good news is, Constant Contact has a manual block list you can use to block people forever. You definitely do require that, and it's there.
Landing pages are great for when you wish to actually 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 incomplete. Let's see, how do I put this? There were 5 templates. Yep, just 5. There are no absolutely nos missing out on from that number.
To be fair, the three landing page design templates that aren't blank look fine.
That stated, the templates are responsive, and of equivalent quality to the email templates. The landing page editor is comparable also. In truth, it's almost precisely the same, minus the Shopify combination and whatnot
Constant Contact's landing page editor looks and works nearly precisely like the email editor. It's not a bad function, as such. If you have all of your material prepared to go, there's no factor you could not get a page up and running in 10 minutes or less. But it requires more work, and more templates to begin people off with. The drop from 300+ templates to a whopping 5 is rather high.It likewise needs assistance for custom domains (e.g. yourwebsite.com). Yeah, your landing pages will not even appear under your site'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 e-mails return to your own domain.
Automation is an incredible feature that Constant Contact just sort of has. See, automation is amazing for designing procedures like, “If a customer register for offers, send them a welcome email. Wait six months, then send them a survey to ask if they like our offers. Wait a year, then ask if they ‘d recommend us to a good friend.”
It's a beneficial feature to numerous, and lots of e-mail marketing platforms will give you a way to link marketing projects and user interaction to make a system that you barely need to watch on.
Nevertheless, Constant Contact does not allow you to create your own automation workflows. It simply offers you three main options:
- These are the only automatic e-mail options you get with Constant Contact. An automated welcome e-mail (for when users register)Birthday emails (an extremely efficient marketing strategy)
- Anniversary emails. No, not the client's anniversary with their spouse, partner, or little pet. Their anniversary of signing up for your marketing emails. Because that's a thing.
Now technically, you canlikewise send out “Why do not you return and buy things?” e-mails if somebody leaves the shopping cart on your site abandoned, however that function only seems to be offered if you're utilizing Shopify, or if you utilize Constant Contact's own online store home builder.
Oh, and there's no autoresponder option for individuals who send out e-mails to you, either. In short, automation ispresent, but it's extremely minimal. I'm glad it's there, however I wish to [insert deity here] that there was more.
Constant Contact Inline Form
On top of whatever else, Constant Contact has its own website builder, and an online shop builder as well.I didn't look too carefully at these functions, as they're far beyond the scope of this review, but it should be kept in mind that they exist.
You get limitless file storage (within reason), website analytics, blogging functions, and more on the site home builder. The store home builder provides endless product sales, support for both digital and physical items, stock and tax management, discount coupons and discounts … The usual features you ‘d require.
Constant Contact has an occasion management tool,which enables you to monitor user registration for online occasions. We're speaking about things like webinars, classes, workshops, product demonstrations, and more.
You can, obviously, set up a landing page for event registration, collect information on your guests, and keep track of who has voucher codes. Everything. You can even accept payments right there on the sign-up page, if you want it to be that kind of event.
Last But Not Least, Constant Contact can integrate itself with a heapof other services,not just Shopify, WooCommerce, or eBay. You can use almost any analytics platform, the DonorPerfect fundraising software application, BigCommerce, and a great deal more. Plus, you can use Zapier to connect Constant Contact to almost anything on the Internet, for a massive 3300+ total third-party integrations.
That number is really type of nuts.
Constant Contact has so
numerous integrations, it needs an entire market. All in all, the features that Constant Contact does haveare terrific, and a satisfaction to utilize in general. However there's just so much that's essentially missing, I was a bit dissatisfied.
Constant Contact Takes Spam Pretty Seriously, but Is Still Missing Some Important Features
So here's the deal. You desire your emails to go through to your contacts' email servers, and ideally not get marked as spam, right? This is the ideal outcome for your service, and ideally perfect for your happy consumers as well.
There are services out there that will evaluate an e-mail marketing service and state that its deliverability score is, let's say, 90%. Well, the problem is that those numbers are extremely unreliable, since there are simply a lot of elements included. You can't quickly test for whatever that might impact an email's shipment, unless you have admin-level access to the server that's sending it, the server that's getting it, and potentially every other server along the way.
Simply put, what we do is simply this: we test what we can. We look at a few simple aspects that make a huge distinction in your email's deliverability,and make the best judgement we can based upon the info available.
First off is DKIM, which is essentially an authentication system that utilizes encryption to inform email service providers, “this e-mail came directly from the initial server, and was not tampered with in any way.” Naturally, email services all over the world are more likely to trust messages that have DKIM authentication made it possible for.
Constant Contact has DKIM authentication, and has a simple guide you can follow to get it set up, as (partly) seen here:
You can confirm your email or your own domain name through Constant Contact. Next, we take a look at the spam policy. Constant Contact's policy is in fact rather rigorous. If more than 0.1 % of your emails get marked as spam, your contact lists and your entire account can come under review. The anti-spam crew is pretty hands-on about this whole thing.Really hands-on, in reality. One of the tests I run includes uploading the email addresses of recognized spammers, to see if they'll get flagged. The perfect outcome is that these spammy e-mail addresses simply don't get imported, and you (the user) get an error message to that result.
Constant Contact did not prevent import of spammy addresses, but about half an hour later, my account came under review.I was sent out an e-mail informing me my account was basically in difficulty, and I needed to call tech support to get whatever straightened out.So I called, and it turns out that suspicious e-mail addresses do get instantly shadow-banned. As in, they get flagged, and you do not learn about it until your account gets examined.
They do this to make individuals hire, because a lot of their users tend to submit these email addresses from lists they bought, and they do not necessarily know any better.So I had to discuss myself a bit, however whatever worked out in the end. Although it's not the method I choose to do things (which would honestly include less human interaction), I haveto offer the assistance team points for handling an instructional role.Next, we take a look at affiliate marketing.
If you utilize your e-mails to promote affiliate programs, is Constant Contact going to permit that? Brief response?
No. Reports from other users state their accounts get flagged when they attempt to take part in any affiliate marketing by means of e-mail campaigns, and even hire affiliates for their own campaigns.
Now, if you're not an affiliate marketer yourself, this can be a good idea. It suggests that spammy affiliate marketing e-mails won't be related to Constant Contact, and thus your emails on the service are most likely to be relied on.Next, you might wish to get a dedicated IP address for your e-mails. Simply put, if your e-mail comes from the very same IP address as a spammer, the entire 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 recognized and relied on IP addresses, you can not purchase one for your email projects particularly. It's not a total deal breaker, but it is a shame. Every business needs to ideally have an IP address for its own emails, at some time. It can be kind of expensive however, so it; s not a total deal-breaker.In the tests I ran, I never ever 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 assistance channels to attempt if those do not work. The “big 3” would be phone support, live chat, and great old e-mail (submitted through a form on the website).
Users who wish to take their problems public can always tweet at the Constant Contact Twitter account (Yes, that's a listed support channel on the site), and there's a community online forum. A whole-assed, relatively lively neighborhood online forum. Man, that feels like a blast from the past.
Finally, there's also a fairly extensive knowledge base, which has a tonof tutorials covering every major function. Okay, I didn't find whateverI needed therein, however I found the majority of it. Honestly, constantly examine the understanding base first. It saves time for everybody.
For the talking-to-people assistance, I stayed with the main support channels for the sake of simpleness, and here's how it went: Pretty well.
I asked if there was any method to A/B test real email content and designs. I got an immediate action,and well. You understand. You can't. Still, the real interaction was fast and offered me the response I required, which is what the support group gets graded on.
Prompt and practical, even if the answer was disappointing. Phone Support Next, I got in touch with phone assistance, and asked if I could blast out my email projects by means of SMS and social media at the same time as email goes out. I got in touch with a well-informed, pleasant representative instantly, and got my answer.
It was quick and painless, as far as call go.I do not just like calling customer care.The response: Like I stated rather far above, social media takes an additional button click as soon as your primary email project is sent. And SMS projects have to be done individually.
The e-mail support was a little frustrating, to be honest.
Particularly, I inquired about assistance for right-to-left languages like Arabic and so on. Well, I had to find the info in other places, because the tech agent in this case completely misinterpreted my question. Oh, and I needed to wait nearly 20 hours to get an action.
4.3 PRICESYou Could Get More for Your Dollar Elsewhere Constant Contact's costs are by no methods outrageous, but they don'tprecisely motivate me either.
Don't get me wrong: in regards to sheer numbers, Constant Contact has quite darneddecent plans.The most inexpensive plan, Email, provides a mailing list size of 10,000 for AU$ 13.41 per month, which's not bad.
Add on 3 user accounts(so your marketing group can interact), and an entire lot of features(like the site home builder) for which other platforms would make you pay extra, and you have a sweet offer on paper. The Email Plus plan isn't that a lot more expensive either.
But when I make these calculations, I am forced to weigh the addition of lots of functions versus the quality of those exact same functions. While some are rather excellent, others are(asdiscussed above) missing out on or insufficient.
So while you might pay more in other places for those same features, the functions will … you understand … be there .That said, if Constant Contact retains its prices plan while working to improve the actual functions, it will be one of the biggest names in e-mail marketing.
Someday. For now, I ‘d highly recommend that– prior to you dedicate to anything– you benefit from the business's very first month complimentary policy. And if you do invest cash, well, there is likewise a 30-day refund warranty.
That assurance does not cover services like custom design, marketing managers, Facebook Lead ads … generally anything that's not directly tied to email marketing. As long as you stick to standard functionality, you can get all of your money backwhen you need to. And if you would like to know more about the specifics, and I mean, get genuine specific, we've assembled a comprehensive breakdown of Constant Contact's pricing strategies for your reading satisfaction. You're welcome