Constant Contact used to be the most popular solution for author newsletters. But is it the best? Here are 7 reasons why I prefer Mail Chimp to Constant Contact:

1. MailChimp is free(er) than Constant Contact.

Constant Contact costs a minimum of $15 a month. If you have 2000 names or less MailChimp is free. After the 2000th subscriber the prices are roughly the same.

If you are just starting your email list, you probably don’t have many names. It takes many authors years to build a good-sized list. Why pay $15 a month for the first slow months when you can start using MailChimp for free?

If it takes you a year to get to 2000 addresses, you can save between $180 and $360 by using MailChimp. That’s a free iPhone.

2. MailChimp integrates with Twitter.

Mail Chimp lets your readers share your newsletter with their Twitter followers with one click. Even if you don’t use Twitter this can be a big platform builder. It has deep social media integration.

3. Easy to Understand Reports.

One of the key features of any email marketing platform is reporting.

  • How many emails were opened in your last campaign?
  • What links were clicked?
  • Is your email marketing working?

While Constant Contact gives you reports you need a class in marketing to figure out how to interpret them. MailChimp on the other hand gives you a side by side comparison with both your average list performance and your industry average.

MailChimp Report

A MailChimp report. notice how it gives you your list average and industry average. This campaign did way better than the industry average but slightly worse than the list average.

4. MailChimp has cleaner embed code.

Constant Contact allows you to embed a subscribe form in your site but the code is bad code. It sometimes breaks other parts of the design and is generally difficult to use. MailChimp, on the other hand, uses relatively clean CSS instead of invisible tables used by Constant Contact. MailChimp is still not standards-compliant but it is, at least, a step in the right direction.

MailChimp also provides a handy MailChimp WordPress Plugin to make it easy to add a subscription form to your website. Constant Contact provides a WordPress Plugin as well.

5. MailChimp is easier to use.

This is a matter of opinion, but in our tests MailChimp is easier to use. MailChimp has a monkey at the top of every page that gives tips on how to use the site. Who can compete with that? This is in addition to the video guides, email marketing guides and intuitive interface. Our clients who use Constant Contact grow to hate the interface for being difficult to use.

6. MailChimp keeps you out of the spam box.

The worst thing that can happen to your newsletter is for someone to mark it as spam. When they do that, your newsletter can get spammed for your other subscribers as well. When MailChimp sees that someone marked you as spam, it automatically unsubscribes that person from the list. Constant Contact does this as well.

What I like better about MailChimp is that they offer a One Click Unsubscribe. This means it is just as easy to unsubscribe as it is to mark the email as spam. Constant Contact, on the other hand forces you to click, type in your email address then click again to unsubscribe.  This makes unsubscribing a hassle. You never want it to be easier to click spam than to unsubscribe. Subscribers marking an email as spam which is very bad for your list.

7. MailChimp plays nice with others.

Whether you are putting together an event on EventBrite, a survey on SurveyGizmo or want to see Google Analytics reports from your email surveys MailChimp will integrate with those services.

So let’s say you wanted to schedule an event to speak about your book. You could create the event in EventBrite which would kick the info to MailChimp for the invitations. You could then create a speaker evaluation with SurveyGizmo and then MailChimp will do the rest.

Constant Contact does not integrate with much. It is almost like they got lazy a couple of years ago when they got dominant market share and stopped innovating. As a result they feel like a Web 1.0 company trying to compete in a Web 2.0 world.

That said, both MailChimp and Constant Contact work with Zapier which connects with over 240 services allowing you to work with services that may not be compatible out of the box.

What do you think?

  • What newsletter solution do you use?
  • Are you happy with it?
  • What do you like/dislike about Constant Contact?
  • What do you like/dislike about MailChimp?

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