Email Marketing – MailChimp vs. Constant Contact

Which should I use?

This article is aimed at folk who prefer not to get involved in techie stuff like HTML and CSS. I have used both of these services for email marketing over the last 3+ years and support both of them for various reasons. The choice between the two usually hinges on three issues, but first let’s look at what they can do.

What do email marketing tools do?

Email marketing is now a basic tool used by many businesses. It cannot be done well using standard Outlook, Gmail, or web-based email programs.

Why? you ask…
  • You cannot tell whether or not your emails are being read.
  • You don’t have the option to see if what you are sending is what they want to read…

This could lead to you losing good customers by wearing them down with unsolicited, long, boring emails.

Both Constant Contact and MailChimp provide insights into…
  • who is opening your emails
  • what they are responding to
  • what time of day the email was sent
  • whether or not your emails are being shared, etc.

All of this data allows you to adjust your content and delivery so that your emails are seen by the largest numbers of potential clients.

MailChimp and Constant Contact both have…
  • templates that help you create branded, colored content
  • sharing features for social media sites. This is huge in marketing! Your emails become posts, tweets, and other sharable content. This allows your readers to promote your products for you.


Constant Contact or MailChimp? [1]

 Constant Contact MailChimp
Open Rate/Analytics  √
Social Media Share Options  √
Customizable Templates  √
Automated Delivery Options  √
Personal Branding Options  √
Cost Free Trial/Paid “Forever Free”
Ease of Design (Technical skills required) A- B-
Integration ? ?

But the difference between the two comes down to price, ease of use and integration. Upon those three issues, hang your decision.

 Constant Contact MailChimp
  • 0-100 subscribers, 60-day Free trial, no credit card required
  • 0-500 subscribers’ $15 per month
  • 500-2500 subscribers’ $30 per month

See details.

  • You can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers with MailChimp’s Forever Free plan, though a few features are only available to paying users.

See details.

Ease of Design
  • The templates are more customizable. They allow you to move things around a bit, and change out the type of “blocks” in any given email campaign. There is a small learning curve for this flexibility if you modify the templates.
  • Very comprehensive tutorials and guides (video and PDF)
  • There are fewer options for how you can customize the templates. Branding is not a problem, and there is even a fairly handing “matching color scheme” option that will match your emails to your website colors for you, but the “blocks” of content are fixed to the template you choose. If you choose a three column template, for instance, and decide that you don’t want an image on the middle column, you cannot change your mind easily and turn it into a two column format with a wide box at the bottom.
  • Basic video self help training and available.
  • Comprehensive knowledge base and Support Articles
  • More than 150 Apps and Integrations are listed here.
  • Apps plug into Constant Contact to help you achieve more with your overall marketing efforts.
  • Integrations connect Constant Contact with small business tools to share contacts and marketing results.
  • More than 450 Apps and Integrations are listed here.

Is cost your deciding point? If so, the decision is clear – go with MailChimp.

On the other hand, if your emails need customizations, you’ll want to take a look at Constant Contact to see if the costs you’ll pay will be worth it in your case.

If you have a blog, CRM, CMS, e‑commerce shopping cart or other software that needs to integrate with your email marketing then check out your specific requirements to confirm best fit.


[1] This article compares services that I have used. The market for email services has matured a lot over the last few years. A number of very capable products now exist.