When I look at a mass email service there are six things I look for: deliverability, ease of use, cost, template attractiveness, social integration and analytics. Your list might be slightly different. For example, if you purchase email lists you can’t use Mail Chimp and if you need someone else to design your template or need phone support, Emma might be for you. I urge you to do your own research on any of the variables not listed, but I think this list is pretty comprehensive for most businesses.
Deliverability on both Constant Contact and Mail Chimp will be about the same. They are both well recognized and have tough internal policing when it comes to spam. However, Constant Contact is blacklisted from military addresses, something worth considering.
Ease of use hands down goes to mail chimp. It’s slick, intuitive and if you know basic HTML can be extremely powerful. That’s an awesome feature, the service can grow with you. If you grow to the point where you have an in house web designer they can fully customize the emails and if your email list grows to 4,000,000 people Mail Chimp can grow with you. The ease of use will also make Mail Chimp cheaper in the long run. Time is money.
Cost. The services are basically the same when you get down to it. Constant Contact offers a two month free trial. But, Mail Chimp is free for small users (12,000 emails a month and 2,000 email contacts), and that’s forever. The free version is slightly neutered, but it’s still a high quality product and will deliver everything 99% of my readers need. Pricing on the low-end of subscribers is slightly cheaper with MailChimp and the services are identical up to $25,000 at which point you must call constant contact for a quote. Again, scalability is key and if you’re starting out with a small email list, Mail Chimp will be cheaper.
Template attractiveness. Mail Chimp again, hands down no questions asked. Mail Chimp templates are current and match web 2.0 styles. Constant Contacts’ templates look like they were created 5 years ago. They just lack style. If you need a visual just compare their websites. Their respective templates look like their websites.
Social Connectivity again goes to Mail Chimp and at this point I’m starting to feel like it’s important to point out that Mail Chimp does not pay me in any way nor have I contacted them about this article. I swear, I’m unbiased. While both services allow you to place important social links within your email Mail Chimp has an app that you can put on your Facebook page (easily) that will allow Facebook fans to sign up for your newsletter.
Finally, Analytics. These are again about the same. I think Mail Chimp wins out on the intuitiveness of it’s analytics, but I’m going to give this one to constant contact because paying members get access to frequent webinars and sometimes learning by video is nice. However, Mail Chimp’s support PDF’s are a stellar way to improve your campaign performance.
Phew. Summed up, Mail Chimp is the best. Hands down. No questions. Oh, almost forgot. Mail Chimp can be used to manage an SMS campaign. That’s pretty slick.