There’s no doubt about it, Constant Contact is a huge player in e-mail marketing. They have been around since 1998 and are practically a genericized trademark for e-mail marketing campaigns.
But anybody who uses Constant Contact on a daily basis quickly realizes it’s shortcomings. For instance not being able to use Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) selectors on anything other than elements with a class defined. Now I realize this is an email client issue and not Constant Contact’s fault, but there are ways around this and Constant Contact is either just too lazy or cares very little about usability to pursue these other options. However, MailChimp which supports much more advanced CSS, built this awesome tool that allows you to use Constant Contact with less of a headache. Why would MailChimp make such a helpful tool that you don’t even need to use with their product? Because they are amazing, this kind of support for people who aren’t even their customers speaks volumes about how helpful the people at MailChimp really are.
Is MailChimp really as great as it sounds?
Yes. As of two weeks ago the agency I work at had around 25 clients managed under Constant Contact, we have migrated over half of these accounts to MailChimp and proceed to sign-up all of our new e-mail marketing accounts with ‘The Chimp’. My experiences with MailChimp have all been favorable, it is faster and easier to create campaigns, storing extra information within your list and accessing it through merge tags couldn’t be simpler, and finally tracking the campaign and with MailChimp I actually look forward to generating reports for clients! MailChimp is light years ahead of Constant Contact and we haven’t even been taking advantage of all the cool integrations it provides. As an added bonus for those of us here in Atlanta we’re supporting a local business!
It’s also worth noting the pricing differences. If you do a small amount of e-mail marketing (up to 500 subscribers) and don’t mind a MailChimp logo on the bottom of your e-blasts than you can get a ‘forever free’ account. Otherwise MailChimp’s pricing is pretty comparable to Constant Contact’s rates, unless you are part of an agency. You can get a 15% discount and you can organize all of your clients under one account with sublists and groups, allowing you to only pay for one lower monthly fee for all of your clients. There is also a pay as you go credits program that could be valuable to a campaign with fewer e-blasts.
The bottom line is just try the free account offered by MailChimp (really try it, don’t just sign up and look at the pretty interface) and see your e-mail marketing headaches disappear.