There are dozens of email marketing software platforms designed to help businesses run email marketing campaigns. Choosing the right email marketing software for your business is important as it frames the way in which you interact with your current and potential customers.
The software that is right for you will depend on your marketing strategy, your target audience and what you are willing to invest.
Two of the most popular email marketing platforms used by small to medium sized businesses are MailChimp and Constant Contact.
Both are easy to configure, use and offer an effective way for businesses to set up email marketing campaigns, but which one should you use for your business?
MailChimp has the largest market share amongst small and micro businesses in the UK.
Due to its ease of use and being free for those with less than 2,000 contacts, MailChimp it is a great starter platform for those with limited budget and a low value brand proposition. The platform is branded in a fun and funky way with a chimp featuring on every email sent.
The system offers simple list segmentation, reporting and lead tracking (using a star segmentation system). With integrations to a number of CRM platforms it can be integrated into most digital marketing strategies. You are able to see who has opened each email and download this information to excel.
The limitations of the platform are that it only offers basic functionality and extras such as autoresponders cost more, bringing the cost towards its competitors with a comprehensive core offering.
There is limited support available and it is only provided via email, meaning that if your business is having an issue with its email marketing it may take time to resolve.
Finally with every email branded with the chimp, it is clear to readers that the business is using a cheap option, which can lead to subconscious assumptions about the business being made.
Constant Contact is a comprehensive email marketing toolkit for businesses, offering email marketing, surveys, event management, promotions, contact management and the ability to integrate social and email marketing campaigns.
With over 650,000 customers worldwide, and around 10,000 in the UK, Constant Contact is a global leader in email marketing, but also provides additional easy-to-use digital marketing tools, in one platform.
Constant Contact offers a 60 day free trial and has plans that start from as little as £15 p/m, plans with automation and the full range of services cost from £30
The platform has easy to use templates to craft emails that can be easily segmented and tagged to ensure the right message reaches the right audience.
The software tracks opens and clicks, with the tagging functionality makes it easy to set up follow ups to those that have opened or clicked a link. The ability to send surveys and offer promotions gives businesses the ability to engage and incentivise their audience.
The contact management allows you to see a history of emails for each person on your list, this allows sales people and customer services to build up a picture of each contact should they get in contact.
Auto responders can also automate some content meaning that you can be running campaigns on autopilot.
Email and more…
Constant Contact offers businesses the flexibility to create a mix of digital marketing in one platform. In addition to email, businesses can also organise and manage events, create surveys and polls, maximise their social audience through the Facebook fan promotion and create offers through trackable coupons. Using this combined approach means that an email can be a sales driver as well as engagement and awareness tool.
Constant Contact offers phone and email support meaning you can speak to a real person not only about technical aspects of the tool, but you can also get advice on things like what makes a good subject line, or the best time to send. This support is available to anyone, whether in trial or a customer.
Overall Constant Contact is a comprehensive business marketing tool.
MailChimp v Constant Contact
Whilst both platforms are easy to use, it is clear that Constant Contact is a step above MailChimp.
MailChimp does the basics well but gives the impression to your customers that you are unwilling to invest in your business and do not value your communications.
The additional functionality available Constant Contact gives businesses a more professional and sales orientated email marketing platform. It does have costs attached but a well run and managed campaign should repay these quickly.
Constant Contact also offers phone support whereas MailChimp does not, phone support means things can be sorted quickly rather than waiting for an email that may not solve an issue.