Constant Contact Review – Not the Best Email Marketing Service

Constant Contact is a pretty reliable email marketing service provider. My experience has been good so far. But what really makes the best email newsletter service? I'd say deliverability first. Frankly I don't care much about template designs or pricing structures (well, as long as reasonable...) If you're using a particular email service just because it's free or easy to use, check how many of your subscribers actually open your emails. No point if they don't get to receive them. Open rate is all it matters, and it needs to be fixed if it seems to be low, first and foremost! In this Constant Contact review I'll reveal some findings.

Constant Contact Review

Overview

Constant Contact (CC) allows you to send unlimited number of emails, the price starts from $20 per month (up to 500 subscribers), and the main features include;

  • Campaigns: Customizable welcome mail is sent out when a user signs up. Only "Email Plus" option (starts from $45 per month) offers automatic followup (autoresponder) option. 
  • Signup forms: (1) Pop-up (2) inline form (3) landing page or (4) Facebook lead ad.
  • Contact Management: Segmenting the list is super easy (I like this).
  • Reporting: Showing open rate, click through rate, bounce rate and unsubscribe rate. Also can be export all as CSV file.
  • Integrations: Includes Facebook, Shopify, BigCommerce, WordPress plugin, etc.
  • Support: Video tutorials, knowledge base, Ask The Community, live chat, tweet and phone support.

When I signed up and my first impression was - dull. Maybe it's my personal taste in design or color combination. But if you feel the same way, don't be fooled by it, the look of the dashboard is nothing to do with the usability. In fact I soon discovered that the navigation menu was the most comprehensive one, out of other major email marketing services; AWeber, GetRespnse, or Mailchimp.

Pricing Structures

CC provides two sets of pricing structure; "Email" option that's suitable for a basic individual user, and the other one "Email Plus" option for a syndicate up to 10 users.

On checking other reviews of Constant Contact, the pricing plan doesn't seem to be favored by many. Perhaps the most disappointing part is that the basic option doesn't include autoresponder. Though it allows you to schedule-post, and make a duplicate copy of your previous mail at a click of a button. 

If you want the autoresponder feature, you need to go for Email Plus option which will be pricier up to 10,000 subscribers. But if you have 10,001+ subscribers, both options offer the same prices.

Max. subscribers
Email Option
Email Plus Option

500

$20

$45

2.500

$45

$70

5,000

$65

$95

10,000

$95

$125

15,000

$195

$195

25,000

$225

$225

30,000

$295

$295

35,000

$315

$315

50,000

$335

$335

As well as autoresponder, with Email Plus option you can also have some extra features;

  • Event Marketing
  • Online Donations
  • Surveys & Polls
  • Coupons
  • Subject Line A/B Testing

Discount Schemes

10% discount is offered if you pay 6 months in advance, 15% discount is offered if you pay 12 months in advance, and 30% discount applies if you are a non-profit organization.

If you have just under 10,000 subscribers and pay for 12 months in advance, 12 x $95 x 85% = $969 (works out as $80.75 per month).

1 -month Free Trial

CC offers a month free trial, but you need to provide your credit card (or PayPal) detail, so if you're not happy with it, make sure to cancel your account before expiry!

BUT... (On Thing I Really Don't Like!)

There's one thing I was disappointed to discover upon writing this Constant Contact review... If you want to cancel your account - WHEN you want to cancel your account - you will leave at some point in the future, you have to speak to their representative on the phone. You can't close your account from your settings menu.

It's an online service and it (obviously) allows you to join online. But it doesn't allow you to leave online. You need to have a telephone conversation with them. I think that's wrong, don't you? Though it says "don't worry, they won't try to keep you in", whatever the reason behind it, I don't like that.

Who Is Constant Contact For?

CC prohibits certain niches to promote via their services, listed below. Also from the fact that the autoresponder is not available for those on a budget... It's clear that CC's target customers are primarily hybrid users and corporate businesses.

If you are an individual marketer who wish to promote evergreen products, it may not be for you. More specifically, if you are an AWeber user (who can use autoresponder for $19 per month up to 2,500 subscribers), CC is not your ideal alternative.

This email marketing service is definitely ideal for any retail businesses including e-commerce, catering businesses, government bodies, non-profit organizations for discounted rates.

Prohibited Contents

Contents that are not permitted to promote by CC's policy are;

  • Firstly obvious ones - unlawful stuff, sexually explicit, violence... Check the link below for detail.
  • Materials that exploit children under 18
  • Any pharmaceutical sales
  • Debt collections, credit repair
  • Investments - stocks, cryptocurrencies
  • DJ/nightclub, event promotions
  • Gambling
  • Work-at-home offers promoting "get rich quick," "build your wealth" and "financial independence".
  • MLM.

Check the prohibited content by Constant Contact from here.

Totally understandable. Because these categories are often associated with spam, CC deliberately tries to avoid people like niche affiliate marketers in order to maintain their own reputation, their existing customers' reputation, and protect the subscribers from spams.

In terms of "work-at-home" niche, I've had a discussion with the support desk to clarify further (for the sake of it because I'm in that niche!). They say you're allowed to promote ways to build a business and make your own successful career. But depending on the context and the product you promote, it's easy to mislead your subscribers, so they're reluctant to allow you to place an affiliate link to any "make money" products.

There's a very thin line between the two statements "you can make money online" and "you can make money online easy". The latter is definitely spammy. As for affiliate links, even if your intention is genuinely to help your subscribers (to build a career), there may be a misleading content in the destination page.

For most of niche affiliate marketers, it's essential to be able to use an autoresponder in order to promote the same products to any subscribers as they sign up. If I were to continue to use CC, I'd have to go for "Email Plus" option and only promote some useful online tools, I wouldn't any of the promote "start an online business" products.

Solo ad vendors - stick to your AWeber account! ...Or account(s)! 

​Sign Up Forms

Signup Forms

Left: Popup form / Right: Inline form placed in sidebar

The form templates are very easy to customize, allowing you to publish on your site within minutes. I like the fact that it's not equipped with fancy patterned variations like "Classic Office" "Ocean Breeze" and stuff like that. Simple. You can change the color of text and background. No more. There are more fields you can add; first name, last name, phone number, address, birthday, anniversary, job title, etc. 

Inline form is size responsive, so you don't have to worry about setting the width. But on the other hand, because all you have to do is to simply embed the code in your webspace, if you embed it in the middle of an article you'll end up having a full-length form. If you wanted to set the form width, you'd have to insert a column in WordPress for example, or Thrive Architect users can insert a content box and set the box width accordingly.

Facebook lead ad is a great feature. It allows you to create a Facebook ad with an opt-in form, where you can add your logo or any photo. You need to provide your own "Thank You (for subscribing)" page URL, where a new lead should be directed to immediately after signing up. Also need to provide your Privacy Policy page URL. 

Sending Campaigns

Campaign Template

It has over 100 ready-made templates as well as variety of blank templates (1 column, 2 columns with a main image on top, etc, etc.) And the drag & drop editor allows you to delete any elements in the template, ad new elements, add your own image, change background and change the font size/style.

You can save your images in the Library section - there's more than enough storage space. 1Gb for a basic user or 2Gb for an Email Plus user.

Email Plus option can get you to do much more, such as;

  • Shopify Block - Insert your Shopify product and pricing information to promote your products or services.
  • Event Block / RSVP Block - Your subscribers can respond by clicking directly in your email, so you can get an accurate headcount for an upcoming event.
  • Poll Block - Add questions or prompts for your subscribers. They can directly click on your email.
  • Donation Block - Subscribers can donate by clicking directly in your email, so you'll collect and review donations easily.
  • Coupon Block - To offer special discounts/savings to your customers. Again they can respond by clicking directly in your email.
  • Instantly access your Facebook and Instagram images.

You can send it out either immediately or schedule it for any time later on.

There's another extra option available for Email Plus users - subject line A/B testing. Test two subject lines on a % of your target audience in order to maximize your open rate. This is definitely useful if you have more than tens of thousands of users and send similar newsletters periodically. 

List Management

Obviously, your new subscribers will be automatically added to the list of your contacts as they sign up via the form. You can also add contacts manually, or by uploading a list from elsewhere, import from Gmail, Outlook or other apps. You need to confirm that you have a permission from the subscribers that you're importing.

The Contact section doesn't retain any other information other than what you collected, and the time of subscription. It means if your signup form only has an email field, it only shows the email address and the date/time of subscription of each subscriber. It doesn't detect their IP address or country.

For instance, if you are planning to run country-specific campaigns, you do have to ask for their country of residence in your signup form.

Another example is where the same person signs up multiple times using different email addresses with malicious intent (i.e. harassing your business), if you knew the person's IP address you'd be able to block them (considering they're not using VPN). You can't do that with Constant Contact. Though if you're get into such trouble you can always ask the support desk to help.

List Segmentation

List Segmentation

Segmenting the list of subscribers is the way to keep engaging with your subscribers, and avoid losing them. By sending generic messages to all of them, some will simply lose interest and unsubscribe.

You want to offer discounts only to people who didn't click your last email, for example, in order to keep them in.

I've seen quite a few list segmentation tools that are so overcomplicated and hard to set, but Constant Contact has a really comprehensive, straightforward one. It allows you to segment your list by multiple criteria, name it and save it. Then that list can also be segmented further at a later date.

Deliverability!

Deliverability Rates

EmailToolTester results

The best reason I think you should go for Constant Contact is its excellent deliverability. No matter how good your copywriting skill is, if a quarter of your subscribers don't get to see your newsletter because their mail boxes are treating it as spam, if will be a wasteful campaign. Your hard work will end up in despair. 

According to email deliverability tests carried out by EmailToolTester.com in the past 1.5 years, CC has proven to deliver the 2nd best rate on average, next to ActiveCampaign. At January test, it came to the 3rd, beaten by MailerLite.

​MailerLite is another one that offers a service for affordable price, but I cancelled my membership only a few months ago because of the low deliverability rate that I was experiencing. Perhaps this is another one that I'll keep an eye out for.

To make sure CC is delivering good rates, I carried out my own tests too. I first subscribed 4 times using different email addresses (Gmail, iCloud, Hotmail and Mail.com). Then I created a spammy email, inserted some typical spam words both in the subject line and in the body. (NB: not swearing words! Words including a large sum of money, words related to debt collection, etc.)

100% delivered

Amazingly, all 4 of my mailboxes safely received this email in inbox. Perhaps because it was just a list of 4 subscribers, but this has convinced me. (I'm not doing this again, I'll get told off otherwise!)

Help and Support

Knowledge Base has plenty of Quick Start guides and video tutorials, but you could spend hours learning how-to's. I suggest that you play around with it and if you have any question, search by keyword or "ask the community". If you have a problem, contact their Twitter support. That's the best option. Don't bother sending emails - their email support doesn't work/respond!

Ask The Community

You can also ask for support directly by;

  • Phone support - I find them very friendly and helpful. Open internationally (US & Canada, Australia, France, Germany, India, Spain, UK and Mexico) But only open between Monday - Saturday. Longer than office hours up to 14 hours, depending on the day.
  • Live chat - I find them also very friendly, but they have a limited knowledge. If you need something technical, they'll ask you to use the phone support.
  • Ask the community - there's a vast amount of threads but you can search by keyword and learn how people have solved the problems in the past.
  • Twitter support - my personal favorite. They'll direct you to the best solution within a few hours.
  • Email support - does not work (according to Twitter support). I did send a question and received an acknowledgement by email saying it would get back within 1 working day. I never received a response!

Constant Contact Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great deliverability, hence trustworthy - spam free.
  • Very easy to navigate.
  • Facebook Ad integration is simple & easy.
  • Plenty of knowledge base.
  • 1 month free trial.
  • Suitable for corporate users.

Cons

  • Autoresponder only available for Email Plus option (Starting $45 per month)
  • Support desks (phone and live chat) are not open 24/7.
  • To close your account, you have to speak to them on the phone.
  • Email support does not operate.
  • Not the cheapest.

Constant Contact Review - Final Verdict

Finding Constant Contact extremely easy to navigate was a pleasant surprise for me. As well as the usability (but much more importantly) for the trustworthiness, I would recommend CC to any organizations who wish to expand the customer base through email marketing. The price range is not the lowest in the market, not designed for internet business newbies. But if you are looking for a safe email marketing experience, it may be worth trying.

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Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Bud Weinstein

Hi Ray, I’m glad you mentioned about having to cancel the account over the phone because that was one thing I didn’t like. I agree with you about autoresponder not a part of the basic charge. that was the reason I decided it wasn’t for me. There are many other email marketing services. Constant Contact is unfortunately not the best one.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Bud, yes CC is not the most reasonable email marketing service as far as the pricing is concerned, though the deliverability is (almost) all that matters. Thanks for your comment.

    Reply
Cassie

I’ve had an awful experience with Constant Contact. Firstly they told me the automation is part of the cheaper option, it was the only reason I signed up. As soon as I got in I knew the automation was not there. I had to call them to cancel and they tried to persuade me to upgrade. What a cheek! I was not impressed.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Cassie, sorry to hear about your bad experience! It’s a shame because the service it provides is so decent! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply
Vikas

Yeah it was easy to use but I had a trouble cancelling it too. I couldn’t get though to the billing team, waited over 10 minutes, then took ages for them to cancel my account.

I decided to try constant contact coz I thought automation meant something else. Then found out it was autoresponder, I couldn’t use it with my option. Disappointed a little esp. I imported some of my leads already.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Vikas, thanks for sharing your experience, and sorry to hear that. I hope they’ll improve the system, though some other email marketing companies exclude autoresponder from their basic mailing option, there must be a reason behind it (I’ve asked this question in the past but couldn’t get an answer). Perhaps extra maintenance cost? Thanks for your comment.

    Reply
Ingrid An

I totally agree, Ray. If I joined once and wanted to leave, why would I have to speak to someone on the phone to cancel it? Especially I hardly use my phone for anything other than SNS, I find it outrageous. It seems to provide very good service but it’s the biggest off-putting factor. Thank you for your thorough Constant Contact review, Ray!

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Ingrid, thanks for your comment. Let’s hope they’ll change the policy in the near future!

    Reply
ACampaign

Active Campaign is better if you want to choose a hybrid email marketing service. Better price, better options and includes automation.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi, thanks for your comment. Yes Active Campaign seems to provide great service. At least CC has a good delivery rate, that’s one thing I like about!

    Reply
joostkappers

Hello. Is Constant Contact available globally? Can I start from one subscriber, and build up the subscribers gradually to 10, 100, 1000 and so on? Before I was using a Dutch company and they did not accept me because I did not have enough subscribers. Thank you for your assistance.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi, yes CC is available wherever you live. It’s interesting to hear that the Dutch email marketing service didn’t approve your request to join because of the number of subscribers. Everyone has to start from zero and, yes as you say, you build up your subscribers by collecting them via opt-in (signup) form. You can certainly sign up with CC with no subscriber. If you already have some subscribers from elsewhere you can import the list to CC, of course. Thanks for your comment, any more questions don’t hesitate to get back to me any time.

    Reply
AJ

I think it’s outrageous that you have to speak to the agent to cancel the account. You are totally right, it’s an online service. If they only accept cancellation over the phone why don’t they only accept new customers over the phone? Totally 20th century. I’m not too impressed.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi AJ, I’m hoping that they’ll change the system in the near future. Yes you should be able to cancel your account online, whatever the reason behind is. Really, that’s one reason that I’m hesitant to recommend CC to anyone. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.

    Reply
Angel Sakima

Hi Ray, thank you for the useful review. I read with interest.

I can see that Constant Contact is clearly not for casual users for because the price is not competitive. It’s hard for people like me who are willing to start an online business but to start as an affiliate to make some extra money and also confidence.

I feel it’s a shame because it sounds like a very good service they supply.
Your information is valuable to me. Thank you.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Angel, thanks for your comment. Yes as you say, this is not for new affiliate marketers, but who knows you might use it in the future; when your business has taken off and your monthly income is constantly on the rise, you might want to pay double on email marketing to take a step further to expand your business!

    Reply
Hassaan

I didn’t think it was user friendly it kept asking me. To log back in…I have to put my email address every time. Not convenient. It does not give many options.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Hassaan, sorry to hear that you seem to be having a problem logging on to your CC account. Have you been in touch with their Twitter support? They’ll be able to take a close look at your account for you and hopefully fix the issue. I’ve never had that kind of problem… Check with them! Thanks for your comment.

    Reply
Hiyesh

Hi Ray, thanks for the great information. I didn’t know about this company. Def. keep in mind. My Aweber account was lately shut down and I don’t know the reason why. I was thinking about GetResponse because of the price. Maybe next one is Constant contact even though it’s pricier I don’t use autoresponder. Cheaper option is good enough for me. Can you tell me if it’s suitable for me to use it? Thank you.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Hiyesh, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear about your AWeber account shut down, possibly you’d received too many spam reports from your subscribers? It’s best to contact them to find out exactly why, but things don’t always work out in the way we want, but perhaps you can learn from it and move on. As long as the niche you promote is not in the “prohibited list”, CC will be happy to have you for sure. Any more questions don’t hesitate to ask any time 🙂

    Reply
Giles Parr

I think it offers the most compelling service comparing to others. Overall I’ve had a good marketing experience but I remember I had a trouble setting things up due to the instructions that were not very clear. Help desk I cannot say was the most competent either. Left after about a year for AWeber.

Reply
Sergio Kair

It’s disappointing a good email marketing companies like this one charge a lot more than others. I like to be assured I am sending my newsletters safely so I use reputable companies. I am not sure of Mailerlite or Getresponse but Mailchimp and AWeber are popular I know. Constant Contact I believe is good but too expensive for me. If the price comes down I will start to use it.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Sergio, thanks for your comment. Yes as you say, CC is not the cheapest in the market but the safe delivery counts. If you have in-depth opinions on other service providers, please let me know, I value your voice greatly. Thank you!

    Reply
Laura C

I don’t like the support system. It says in their website that if you want to cancel the account, contact the billing team, they don’t try to keep you in. But there is no option to email the billing team. You have to speak to them on the phone. They did try to persuade me to stay. No thank you. The worst support.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Laura, thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts. I cannot disagree with you, unfortunately. Many support options are displayed but few of them actually work. And I don’t like the fact that you have to use a telephone to cancel your membership while everything else is operated online. I’d say it’s a waste of resources. Looks like it’s best to use Twitter support to receive quicker response.

    Reply
Ryo kawaizumi

Hello Ray, thank you for introducing Constant Contact review to us. It looks like very good system for sending to subscribers newsletter. I am looking forward to email subscribers by Constant Contact. I don’t know yet 100 or 1000 subscribers. Firstly, I have to call many people. I will send when I have enough. I like your many pages to study. Thank you very much.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Ryo, thanks for your comment. Sounds great, it may take time and effort in building a list of subscribers, but if you need a hand don’t hesitate to contact me any time. Good luck!

    Reply
Maria

It wasn’t my cup of tea unfortunately… I learned solo ad in the past and it wasn’t worth for me. I have lost faith in email business.

Reply
Stevie

Thank you for such a great review, Ray. I can tell from your explanation that Constant Contact is one of the best, because of the deliverability. I can totally understand if you put all your effort into lead generation and spend so much time writing good email swipe but if so many of your subscribers don’t receive it, there is no point. I would love to use this company and will definitely keep any eye on it. Thanks.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Stevie, great to know that you’re interested in CC. Depending on your budget, it’s worth starting an email marketing at an early stage. If you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to contact me any time. Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
Campbell

Hi, thanking you for good advice. How can I learn email marketing. Does Constant Contact offer training and if so is it a novice friendly ? I am willing to pay the price indicated but I wouldn’t know where to start or what to write. Thank you.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Campbell, CC is not a training program, although there are tips and advice you can receive from the knowledgebase as well as community and live support. It’s certainly user-friendly but if you are completely new to email marketing, you need to learn the basics first. Contact me and ask any questions in detail, I can give you some advice. Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
Robert Atherton

Hi, I manage event venues in a football stadium. No problem with budgets, very few subscribers right now. I’m willing to run a campaign a little more aggressively. Is this suitable, if so how do I start? Thanks.

Reply
Mars

I see very few newsletters by this company but they all from companies in big scale I can see what you say. It’s for corporate users not so much for people who try to make a success on internet.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Mars, CC is not as affordable as other popular email marketing service providers among sole trading marketers such as AWeber but it provides a secure and reliable service as I explained in the post. It’s worth using for anyone, regardless to the level of fees. Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
brendansnetwork

It sounds like the best option is to go for email plus and pay 12 months in advance but I have over 20k subs it’s not exactly the price I can pay easy. What if it doesn’t work out?

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hello, thanks for your comment. Yes it will be a lot to pay (12 x $195 x 0.85 = $1,989) but one month free trial is offered so that you can make sure you’re absolutely happy with the service before you’re making the payment. You can specify the monthly payment option first, then a few months in if you’re still happy, you can go yearly too. Any more questions don’t hesitate to get back to me.

    Reply
Saskia

Great review. It looks like doing a great job to keep businesses going. You need this kind of thing. Look at all the possibilities with different styles of campaigns you can run. Good job well done.

Reply
Andre Moor

Constant contact has nothing but disadvantages for me.. When I need a support I want immediate answer. I shouldn’t have to wait for more than a few hours..

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Andre, thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear that you don’t seem happy with CC? If you could please share your experience with us a little more in detail if you don’t mind, perhaps it can help all of us. Have you ever used their Twitter support?

    Reply
Mo

I don’t understand why you have to pay extra money for auto responder… I appreciate about good delivery rate however I have no reason to use this company now I know other company’s are cheaper and better. I have never used mailer lite I will have to look. Because I am not 100% happy with Aweber. It sometimes do not let me send broadcast but I’m tired of contacting support every time.

Reply
    Ray Alexander

    Hi Mo, sorry to hear about your bad experience with AWeber. Their support is good though, as far as I’m concerned. Although if your broadcast is put on hold for security check purpose etc, you’ll have to wait for the response from the compliance team which may take a long time.

    CC’s target customers are primarily companies, and the customers seem happy to pay higher rate for more stable service. For individual marketers by all means there are other decent mail marketing services available. Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
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