“Email marketing is dead.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this lately. And I couldn’t disagree more! Sure, I delete lots of emails. But I still quickly skim them first, even if it’s just to see who sent it and what it’s about (hellooo effective subject lines). And I rarely unsubscribe, I just wait until the message is relevant enough for me to open and take action.
Whether you send them or receive them, emails from businesses are most definitely in your inbox. Last year, 3.7 billion people used email. That number will surpass 4.1 billion by 2021 (Statista). That’s more than half of the world’s population!
Email marketing is an effective strategy that can work for any business—if it’s done right. And I know just who can help you do it.
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What is Constant Contact?
Founded as “Roving Software” in 1995, Constant Contact is one of the (if not the) leading email marketing software providers. Based in Massachusetts, they have offices across the United States and in the UK. They were acquired in 2016 for an estimated $1.1 billion and currently boast over 5 million small business customers.
Why am I sharing all of this “fluffy stuff” with you? Because Constant Contact is a powerhouse, and if you want to provide your clients with an email marketing product or service, you need to know about them.
Aside: For 16 years, Constant Contact was led by Gail Goodman who served as the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. She took leadership in 1999 when there was no product, no revenue and no funding. She led the company to a successful IPO and through its billion-dollar acquisition. Enough said. When I grow up, I want to be Gail.
So if you've been living under a rock for the last 50 years, you may ask, "what is email marketing?"
Email marketing is exactly what it sounds like—campaigning to customers through their inbox with the intention to market a brand, product, or service. Technically, any business sending any email to any consumer could be considered email marketing. But the most effective emails are marketed to specific lists, with specific intentions. The keyword here is relevance.
Constant Contact Pricing for Resellers
Constant Contact pricing depends on two factors: The plan your clients need, Email or Email Plus, and the number of unique contacts (email addresses). The wholesale cost of the Email package is $17/month, and Email Plus is $38/month. The retail prices are $20/month and $45/month respectively.
Their retail rates are widely published, but as a Vendasta Partner, you get wholesale rates through Marketplace. For almost all of our products that are available for you to re-sell through Marketplace. Bonus: there is no commitment—Constant Contact included!
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|10,001 - 15,000||
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Contact us for pricing
There’s room for a slight margin there, with all the same perks and benefits of going to Constant Contact direct. And maybe even a few more! They include:
- Pricing: Pick your price point to resell Constant Contact to clients to give yourself a healthy margin. Duh. Amy, you just went through that.
- Packaging: To improve the value of your email marketing bundle, pick and choose complementary marketing solutions to sell alongside Constant Contact from the Marketplace. For example, G Suite and branded emails for client email campaigns, website design, Customer Voice to generate new reviews, and a social marketing platform.
- Managed Service: You can offer managed email services along with Constant Contact to clients with higher budgets and bigger email marketing needs. Vendasta's white-label marketing services team can supplement email campaigns with monthly campaigns for newsletter, sales emails, and more! Check out the Vendasta solutions pricing.
- Customer List (2-way sync)
- Executive Report: Prove the performance of all your marketing services to clients with the Executive Report in Business Center. This report gives historical and weekly updates on the overall impact your services are making for your client's online presence.
Constant Contact Key Features
Which Constant Contact pricing plan is right for you and your clients? Depends on the features your clients are looking for.
|Starts at $17/month USD||Starts at $38/month USD|
|List Building Tools||✔||✔|
|Forms||Pop-up Form||Dynamic Forms|
|Tracking & Reporting||✔||✔|
|Storage||1 GB||2 GB|
|Contact List Import||✔||✔|
|Facebook Lead Ads||✔||✔|
|Apps & Integrations||✔||✔|
|Subject Line A/B Testing||✘||✔|
|Surveys & Polls||✘||✔|
Email Plus is touted as “the tools that go beyond in the inbox”. Let’s take a deeper look into these features.
With the Email plan, you can activate one pop-up style sign-up form on your client's website. This helps turn website visitors into contacts and increases list size. But these forms can’t be customized and do include Constant Contact branding.
With Dynamic Forms (available through Email Plus), your clients can create multiple pop-up contact sign-up forms for their website and customize the timing before they pop. Plus, the Constant Contact branding can be removed. To me, that’s key.
Store images and documents right within each account—and easily share them with a web link. Sizes range from 1 GB to 2 GB depending on the plan. Up your plan, get more storage. Easy peasy.
Managing successful events online with Constant Contact looks something like this:
- Send the event invitation
It’s customizable; choose from templates or use the drag-and-drop functionality, and include social buttons so invitees can easily share it online.
- Track event registrations in real-time
Get all the details from attendees through a form on a landing page you or your clients can easily create. Trackable tickets (mobile and paper) can be issued at this point.
- Event management
Process payments, get feedback for future events through a follow-up survey, and receive detailed analytics on the click path and volume for each invitee.
Is there any point in sending out email marketing campaigns if they’re not automated? That’s so 1999. Automation helps send the right email at the right time to the right customer, which is crucial with email marketing campaigns.
Constant Contact calls this feature Autoresponder, but really, it’s drip campaigns. You can segment lists of customers and send them specific messaging or target them individually. What does that mean, you say?
Example: Say your client is a yoga studio. For new students, set up a 3-email drip that starts with a welcome message, provides a class calendar, and an exclusive invitation to join the loyalty program. Or, if we want to target existing students (the “regulars”), we can send them a campaign prompting them to leave reviews (hopefully positive, of course) or a discount coupon to bring a friend.
Despite the type of businesses you work with, some campaigns are universal. Like birthday or anniversary emails, a small gesture can go a long way. At my last corporate gig (Porsche in Toronto), I set up business rules to have a “happy anniversary” email go out every year on the day the owner took delivery of their new car. It may not seem like much, but holy these went a long way! I mean, buying any car is one of the biggest purchases the average consumer will make in their lifetime and most Porsche owners treat their “baby” like a literal one.
Along with the anniversary message, we also included a little incentive to get the owner back into the dealership—10% off their next service if booked within 30 days.
And birthday emails are self-explanatory. You were born today? Cool! Here’s a message about it and a small incentive to get you back in the store.
The right email at the right time to the right customer will build raving fans for life! With Autoresponder, when you send emails created with your clients’ contacts in mind, their relationships get better—and so do their results.
Subject Line A/B Testing
A standard practise in the industry, A/B testing for subject lines is available through Constant Contact Email Plus. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, here’s what the A/B testing process entails:
- Create your email. Content, creative, all that jazz.
- Customize the audience.
Select the percentage of the contact list that will receive each subject line. So if your total list is 10,000 recipients, send version A to 1,000 people and version B to 1,000 people.
- Set test length.
Choose how long to wait—6, 12, 24, or 48 hours—before declaring a winner. The best performing subject line (based on the number of opens) automatically gets sent it to the remaining audience.
- Track results.
In real-time, track which subject line is performing better and by how much.
A subject line is the first impression made on recipients. In almost all cases, it dictates whether your email will be opened or not. Make it count.
With Email Plus, Constant Contact gives you the option to add a “donation action block” from their drag-and-drop email creator into any template. Secure processing is available through WePay which is setup on a custom landing page, designed to get one-time or recurring donations from generous donors. And of course, there’s reporting that tracks it all.
For businesses that provide medical care (like animal shelters or human hospitals) or any type of non-profit, this feature is a must-have.
Polls & Surveys
Emails should be engaging (otherwise they’ll be ignored) and an easy way to do that is to take the temperature of customers. With polls or surveys, you can start a two-way conversations with your contacts.
Polls are simple, one question (usually multiple choice) to get feedback on a product or service or drive engagement with fun topics or current events.
Constant Contact poll examples include:
- Fitness: What type of new class would you like to see? Hot yoga, Bikram yoga, Advanced yoga.
- Food: What should the new crepe on our menu be? Banana and nutella, or bacon and cheese.
- Retail: Which brand should we start carrying in store? Chanel, Prada, or Gucci.
Surveys are more complex—choose from seven different question types, from multiple choice to open-ended questions to sliding scales. Customize which questions appear on a survey based on participants' answers. These conditional questions use “skip logic” to keep the survey as relevant as possible. Like the other Email Plus features, surveys can be embedded into emails or shared on social (Twitter and Facebook).
These aren’t deal breakers (maybe just clunky workflow?) but there are two things that you should know:
- Published surveys can't be edited.
Once you publish a survey, you won't be able to edit it. Instead, you'll need to create a copy of the Survey and edit the copied version if you need changes made.
- You can't go back to draft status.
You cannot move a published survey back into Draft status. You can, however, change it to closed status.
This way, your data will stay clean, but you better set the right questions from the start!
Coupons are a proven way to drive traffic, build loyalty, increase sales, and get new contacts. With Constant Contact Email Plus, a mobile-responsive coupon can be shared via email or social media. Then, easily track when it’s claimed, shared, and redeemed. Incentivize sharing to drive referrals and find new customers.
(I can’t be the only sucker for coupons. Are any of you reading this as prone to them as I am? While I definitely know better, I somehow convince myself every time that I’m actually saving money by spending it. And I’m a professional marketer! I should be immune!)
Something I found especially interesting is using coupons to get more information from customers and permission to market to them. So let’s say the business knows their customers but hasn’t been collecting email addresses. They can create a coupon, share it on social, and ask for an email address as part of the coupon claiming process.
7 in 10 people will use a coupon within a week of receiving it. #getthatbread
Constant Contact Templates
My favorite Constant Contact feature by far is their vast library of templates. Constant Contact email templates are reusable and mobile responsive. The Branded Template Builder creates a personalized email template in seconds based on company's colors, images, and social media links from your website.
At Vendasta, we have a number of different types of email we send—and each requires their own custom template. I am not kidding you, we have spent hundreds of hours creating just these template designs. Most businesses don’t have that luxury, and unless you’re a creative agency specializing in email marketing, you likely want to spend those precious man hours elsewhere.
Here’s how easy it is to design your email with a Constant Contact template:
- Choose a template.
- Keep it as is or use the drag-and-drop editor to customize the template. Change colors, fonts and more.
- If needed, access stored image or free stock photos
Constant Contact templates cover every type of email. Here are some examples:
- Basic Email Templates
Send a simple letter, flyer, or update to subscribers. A reminder for that appointment that’s easy to forget at the local salon.
- Announcement Email Templates
Send quick, effective messages about new products or special occasions. The mall downtown has a new department store opening up in it next month
- Event Invitation Templates
Send email invitations or save-the-dates—and get instant RSVPs. The yoga studio is bringing in a world-renowned yogi next week for a special, 2 hour class.
- Holiday Email Templates: Send seasonal emails that bring subscribers into the business every day. Before winter holidays hit, Black Friday has gotta happen!
- Email Newsletter Templates
Stay top of mind and deliver valuable news. Forge real connections with customers. A monthly newsletter for a cleaning service can answer FAQs and include testimonials from happy customers.
- Sales Email Templates
Professional-looking follow-ups and reminders will impress. No matter the business, when there’s a sale going on, the best place to reach customers is their inbox.
- Thank You Email Templates
Show customers how much their business is appreciated. Realtor? Mortgage broker? Lawyer? The least you could do is send a quick thank you for the largest purchase most consumers will ever make.
- HTML Email Templates
Use your own custom code to create a template that’s unique. All you creative agencies out there will love this one!
First-time users prefer creating emails with Constant Contact 4-to-1 over top competitors (MeasuringU2017). I bet you a pair of Christian Louboutins that ready-to-go email templates are the main reason!
Constant Contact Reviews
Before I bestow you with my (completely unbiased) review of Constant Contact, here’s a quick roundup of what the major players are saying about it. Oh and because Constant Contact has really evolved over the years, I tried to focus on reviews from this past year—2018.
Out of 2,700 reviews, Constant Contact scored a solid 3.8 stars on G2Crowd. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pros: High-volume sending ability (send thousands of unique, personalized emails per second, Email and mobile preview (make sure subscribers see the email as intended), and performance and reliability.
Cons: Usability—the need for better preview functions, advanced automation, and more data in reporting.
I sifted through a ton of “I don't really have anything I dislike about Constant Contact, I think it works great!” and “We did not dislike anything about this product at all. It is Great!” comments.
Constant Contact gets a respectable 4 out of 5 stars from 816 recent reviews on Capterra. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pros: Overall product, ease of use, and customer service all scored extremely well. More stated pros include affordable plans, great help materials, built-in templates for emails, imports contacts (from Gmail, Outlook and more), easy-to-use editor for customizing campaigns, signup forms, Google Analytics integration and more!
Cons: Large lists—the larger the list, the harder it is to manage. Going back to view old emails results is a manual process—think, search through lists to find the one campaign you’re looking for.
Okay, my turn! For small and medium-sized businesses, I think Constant Contact is the perfect email marketing solution.
Even though limitations of the system include no A/B testing of emails (just subject lines) and only basic email “automation” (what they call Autoresponders), I don’t think the majority of customers who could benefit from Constant Contact would ever need these features.
Constant Contact uses complex techniques to get emails delivered—they boast a 97% deliverability rate! While remaining completely compliant (CAN-SPAM and CASL), they have tools to flag an email if it has spam triggers and they’re whitelisted by most ISPs to ensure deliverability.
The templates. Oh, the templates! The variety, the options, the customizations. Choose from over a hundred mobile-responsive email templates designed to deliver results.Amy Gill
Email makes money. For every $1 your clients spend on email marketing, they can expect an average return of $38. That’s huge!
Sure, you re-sell Constant Contact to the businesses you work with and have them do all their own email marketing. You’ll even make a little money! But the real opportunity lies in providing email marketing as a service. As the agency of record, you can create the copy, creative and send the actual email(s) and charge a hefty premium. Depending on the number and type of emails being sent each month, that’s revenue in the thousands. All while using Constant Contact as the product of choice.
Like this idea? But don’t have the bandwidth to manage the service? Get our Marketing Services to do it for you! Now, that’s what I call the total package.