mailchimp vs constant contact

MailChimp vs Constant Contact: Which one is better?

MailChimp and Constant Contact are two of the most popular email marketing service providers out there.

They both come with different features, deliverability rates and pricing. But which one is better? Which one will better serve your needs?

It could be difficult to decide which one to choose if you’re not familiar with them.

That’s why we are comparing both tools in this post and explaining in full detail what they have to offer.

Features and functionality

Both MailChimp and Constant Contact are rich in features and functionality that can help you become an expert at email marketing.

However, there are some differences that are worth discussing in this chapter.

Importing contacts – both MailChimp and ConstantContact give you good options for importing your current contacts into their platforms.

MailChimp allows you to add subscribers one by one, import a CSV file, copy/paste from files or import contacts from services like Google Contacts, Salesforce, Highrise and Zendesk.

To do that, go to Add a subscriber -> Import subscribers.

mailchimp import subscribers

Then choose your preferred method.

mailchimp import contacts methods

Constant Contact, on the other hand, also let’s you upload contacts by adding them one by one, adding multiple contacts at once, pasting them, or uploading them with a file (it accepts more formats like .xls, xlsx and .vcf)

constantcontact import contacts

You can also integrate with variety of apps like Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Salesforce.

At the end, it seems like Constant Contact has slightly more options when it comes to uploading contacts into your list.

List management and segmentation – Constant Contact tends to do a much better job when it comes to managing your list.

In addition to having different lists, you can add tags to your subscribers (something that is not available in MailChimp).

All you have to do is select your contact and click on Manage Tags:

constantcontact managing contacts

Then you can add the desired tag.

constant contact tags

Managing your MailChimp contacts is a bit more complicated.

In each list you can create groups and segments (and the difference between both might be confusing to the user).

Groups are a way to target users within a single list, so you don’t have to manage multiple lists with the same subscribers. You can use them to filter people by their interests, profile, etc.

Each list can have up to 60 groups, and you can choose which group a contact gets into after an opt-in.

Segments are created based on shared list data about your subscribers. This could be things you filled out yourself and information that has been collected from campaigns.

You can create segments based on:

  • who opened or didn’t open any of your last campaigns
  • who clicked or didn’t click in your last campaigns
  • subscribers who recently purchased or didn’t purchase a product
  • subscribers who live in a certain location
  • loyal subscribers who have already spent more than $500 on your products

Emails – both MailChimp and ConstantContact offer you great options for creating beautiful emails.

ConstantContact tends to have more ready-to-use email templates with a better design.

constant contact templates

Some of them are created for special occasions (Mother’s Day), purposes (flash sale) or industries (retail).

The drag and drop editor of Constant Contact is also easier to use, and there are more options to customize your emails.

constant contact creating emails

Images – MailChimp is once again the clear winner here since it allows you to upload an unlimited number of images.

They are all stored in your account, and you can use them later in other campaigns as well.

mailchimp images storage

You have the option to upload the images or import them straight from a URL, Flickr or Giphy.

mailchimp images upload

Unfortunately, Constant Contact allows you to upload only five images for free, then you will need to upgrade to MyLibrary Plus. However, they do give you access to free stock images you can use for your emails.

All you have to do is click on the button pointing to the Stock Images Gallery:

constant contact images

And then you have to type your desired keyword to find available free images.

constant contact stock images

Email previews – both Constant Contact and MailChimp allow you to preview your emails for desktop and mobile before you send them.

However, MailChimp has the additional feature of showing you exactly how the email is going to be displayed in specific email clients.

That’s how you can see how it’s going to look in Gmail, Outlook, etc. That way, you can identify issues and prevent them from occuring before you even send the emails.

Analytics – Constant Contact allows you to track things like opens, clicks and revenue from your campaigns.

Constant Contact engagement report

It also has a cool feature that allows you to compare open rates between desktop and mobile.

desktop vs mobile constant contact

However, MailChimp takes this to a whole new level with much more detailed and easier to understand reports.

You not only can track opens and clicks of your emails, but you can compare your results to the industry averages so you see how well you’re doing.

mailchimp reports

For each campaign, you can see how many emails were delivered, how many people opened the emails, what percentage clicked, how much revenue you generated from the email and the average order value.

You can see the performance of your campaign per hour so you understand what time works best for you.

24-hour performance mailchimp

Additionally, you can see top locations by opens so you understand if you’re hitting the right markets.

mailchimp top locations by opens

You can also track which links in your emails are clicked the most. The click map is a very useful tool that helps you identify at what position in your email the clicks happened.

mailchimp click map

A/B testing – Constant Contact lacks A/B testing functionality, which could be a deal breaker for some marketers. There isn’t an easy way to test subject lines, email copy, images, etc.

This means that all split testing emails must be done manually.

In order words:

  • you need to create two new contact lists
  • copy half of your subscribers into the first list and the other half into the second list
  • send version one of your email to list #1 and version two of your email to list #2
  • analyze results separately and compare

You do understand that moving a massive list of subscribers into new lists is time-consuming and not an easy task. It is something that would not be necessary if they offered the right functionality.

On the other hand, MailChimp provides you with a full A/B testing functionality.

They make it extremely easy for you to split-test different elements of your campaigns, such as subject lines, names, content and send time.

mailchimp ab testing

You can choose between testing your campaign across your whole list or a percentage of it (and you decide what percentage).

It’s interesting that you can decide what factor determines the winning version – higher open rate, click rate or something else.

Automation – Constant Contact has very limited automation capabilities. You can create autoresponders that will be sent once someone joins your list.

But that’s it. You don’t get any advanced automation features that will allow you to send behavior-targeting emails.

With MailChimp you have a lot more advanced automation capabilities.

You can integrate it with your website and send emails to your users based on their website activity.

For example: you can send them an email when they view a specific page of your website (such as a product page).

You can use goal integration to email customers who go from your campaign to a specific page of your website.

Purchase data can be used to send customers specific instructions or product recommendations based on the items they already purchased.

Your can reward your top buyers with discount codes and stimulate them to buy more from you.

MailChimp allows you to also deal with shopping cart abandonment by sending automatic emails to remind your subscribers about the items left behind.

The only bad thing about MailChimp’s automation feature is that it is not included in the free plan. So you will need to upgrade to a paid account if you want to use it.

User interface

MailChimp has been created with simplicity in mind. So they are the clear winner when it comes to user interface and usability.

Even if you’ve never used the tool before, it will be extremely easy for you to understand.

It has a much better and modern design interface.

ContactContact is not that far behind, but it lacks the charm that MailChimp has. Some people find it more difficult to use.

Deliverability

MailChimp email deliverability is between 96 and 99 percent, and Constant Contact is at 97 percent.

Many people see greater deliverability of their emails with Constant Contact (and this is the main reason why they decide to switch to it).

This could be because they are an older company with more experience, so they know better how to not get into the spam folder.

Customer support

There is one thing that sucks a lot about MailChimp: their customer support, or the lack of it.

If you’re with the free plan, there is literally no way to contact the company to ask for help, which could be a huge issue for some companies.

There is a good knowledge base with videos, but the personal contact is lacking.

When you upgrade to the paid account you do get decent chat and email support, but there is no way to reach MailChimp on the phone to directly ask for help.

On the other hand, Constant Contact has 24/7 support by phone, email and chat. They are ready to help you with your issues at any time, so you can count on them.

The funny thing is that when you sign up for their service, they give you a call and ask you how they can help you with their service.

Integrations

MailChimp is the clear winner when it comes to third-party integrations. The tool integrates with basically every popular CRM (such as Sugar CRM, Zoho and SalesForce).

They also integrate with social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Not to mention you have official integrations with platforms like WordPress, Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce.

Constant Contact, on other hand, doesn’t have as many integrations, but it still connects with the major CRM softwares and social media channels.

Price

Constant Contact provides you with a 60-day free trial that allows you to have up to 100 contacts and send an unlimited number of emails.

However, MailChimp beats that by offering you a forever free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent per month.

The only drawback with the free plan is that you can’t use Automation and you don’t have any support.

Constant Contact also tends to be more expensive than MailChimp. For up to 2,500 subscribers, they charge you $40/month.

constant contact pricing

There are discounts if you pay for six months or a year, but this is still more expensive than MailChimp, which charges you $30 for 2,500 subscribers.

mailchimp pricing

When your list grows the difference becomes even greater:

  • for 5,001-10,000 subscribers Constant Contact charges you $90/month
  • for 5,801-10,000 subscribers MailChimp charges you $75/month ($15 less than Constant Contact)

The pricing for MailChimp is also easier to understand. Their calculator allows you to see how much you’re going to pay no matter your size (whether it’s 10K, 100K or 1M subscribers).

This is not the case with Constant Contact. If your list has more than 10,000 subscribers, you need to contact the company for a quote.

When to use Constant Contact

If greater deliverability and customer support matter to you, then you should definitely pick Constant Contact as your email service provider.

The same is true when you want more customization options for your email design and you want more ready-to-use templates.

When to use MailChimp

If price is an issue for you, then you should choose MailChimp.

Their forever free plan is an unbeatable advantage, and you will pay less even when your list grows beyond the 2,000 subscribers.

Another reason to pick MailChimp is because of their advanced automation features that are not current with Constant Contact. Not to mention that it is also a better choice when you want to perform A/B testing.

Which tool do you currently use as email marketing software, and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Martin Zhel

Martin Zhel helps startup companies grow traffic, leads and revenue with the power of content marketing. Download his free ebook How to use quality content to rank in Google.

  • http://debbiemcneill.com/ Debbie McNeill

    Nice report. Thank you for sharing the information in a easy to digest format.

  • ConstitutionAlways

    Another big difference I have found is the way each company counts a subscriber. Mailchimp looks at each contact list separately. The exact same email address in (2) two lists counts as (2) subscribers. As for Constant Contact each email address only counts as (1) subscriber no matter how many contact lists they are in. I use both Mailchimp and Constant Contact and I like some features in each better than the other. Too bad I can’t get them all in one place 🙂

    • Dave Ricks

      Thank you for that info. I have 3K+ subscribers and those subscribers can be on as many as 7 lists. That makes a big difference in price for me.

    • Ron Herren

      I believe there is a way around this by using “groups” within a list.

  • Phoebe_King

    Thanks for the great, useful comparison. Very helpful.
    Could you do a 3-way comparison and include Aweber? Thanks!

  • Lyn

    Thank you for the information. I’ve been trying to decide which to use and this is extremely helpful.

  • Clancey

    I would have said Mailchimp is better due to price, but I tried to switch to them from Constant Contact and it did not go well. Mailchiimp would not let me send to any of my 800 contacts (only 800) without forcing them to resubscribe. Keep in mind, I just sent an email out to the same 800 people in December of 2016. But there was absolutely no way to get them to work with me around the resubscribe.. which, lets be honest, who is going to DO THAT? I recommend that when you start with one, stay with them. And don’t use Mailchimp.

    • Ron Herren

      Hmm…that hasn’t been my experience with MailChimp. In fact, all of my contacts were imported by me; they never subscribed. I’ve never had an issue sending to any of them. Maybe some issue on your end.

    • iamnataliemarie

      I agree with Ron, I easily import contacts with a csv file. Just export the csv from constant contact and upload it to mailchimp, there should be no problem.

  • Carolyn Campbell

    Thank you, Martin, and to everyone who has commented. I am still mulling it all.

  • Steve Presti

    how do either of these services compare to i contact?

  • Nelson Garcia

    Hello My company currently uses Constant contact very happy with it the only thing I want to know is if anybody has Mail Chip. When sending out email blast to different group of clients does Mail Chip recognize if the same client is in multiple groups. So him/her wont get the same email blast multiple times. Is there a way to only send him 1 email even though he is in a multiple groups. any feed back would be helpful thank you.

    • Dazzling Coins Silver

      It does send twice 🙁 You would have to remove it manually.

  • Arizona Silverbelle

    I think a huge difference between the two is that CC is more flexible when it comes to sending a prior email to a single new customer. We create an email about information on an upcoming event that someone has registered for. If they withdraw, we replace them with a 2nd person. In MailChimp, we cannot just send an existing email to the new person. In CC we can just click on the previously sent email and add the person’s name. Maybe we are doing something wrong but we have tried all different ways. If anyone has suggestion that would be great!

  • Sam

    Constant Contact now has automatic A/B testing that selects for the higher performing email.

  • Dazzling Coins Silver

    MailChimp is not free! I have 1200 subscribers and pay $20 a month.

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