Every business needs an email marketing platform, no matter what your size, to help you manage contacts, grow your list, and create, schedule, and track beautiful and effective emails. Choosing between the different options is not so easy, so we’ve compared two market leaders, Constant Contact and ActiveCampaign, so you can see which is best for your business.
Constant Contact Highlights
Constant Contact offers an easy to use email editor and a huge marketplace of apps and integrations. There is also a very useful section of educational resources which go beyond helping you manage your account, providing valuable email marketing training.
- Easy to use email templates
- Lots of educational resources including marketing webinars
- Over 300 apps and integrations
ActiveCampaign offers full marketing automation with a sales CRM (customer relationship management) and data-driven decision making as well as email marketing services. The range of automation features is impressive and the basic level plan includes more options than most.
- Many in-person marketing events
- Powerful marketing automation that links with a sales CRM
If you’re a small to medium business looking for a simple and easy to use email marketing service, Constant Contact is a great choice. It’s ideal for users who aren’t experienced at email marketing and don’t want a lot of confusing options.
ActiveCampaign is best for small to medium businesses that are looking for an all-in-one marketing automation solution. It is a good choice for more experienced marketers who have the know-how to manage more advanced automated tools.
Constant Contact: Features
With Constant Contact you’ll get an extremely easy to use and intuitive email designer with drag and drop elements. The range of templates is extensive and you can customize them easily, drag in custom elements from your media library which holds up to 2GB of media, and personalize the name field.
Constant Contact lets you add contacts by uploading a file in multiple formats, manual entry or through synchronized imports from sources like Outlook, Gmail, or your CRM. You can also create customized signup forms to automatically sort new subscribers into different lists for segmentation.
Constant Contact makes it easy to move contacts between lists and assign tags for advanced segmentation. You can track responses through the tags and segment further, or manually drag contacts from one list to another.
Constant Contact does not offer this feature.
Constant Contact lets you schedule your emails for a particular date or time, or set up recurring emails for the same date each year. You can create drip campaigns or have emails sent at intervals of a certain number of minutes, hours, or days.
Constant Contact offers A/B testing for email subject lines only, so that you can test which has the highest open rate.
With Constant Contact you can manage a more limited range of email automation, with the choice of two simple workflows. You can create an autoresponder to send a custom email when a contact has a birthday or reaches an anniversary, or to welcome a new subscriber.
Constant Contact offers real time updates on your email analytics tools. You can easily view the open and click rates and check on bounce statistics and unsubscribe requests on the intuitive dashboard. You can also compare up to five email campaigns to view high-level results.
With Constant Contact you can access event marketing which enables you to create events, invite contacts, and track responses through the platform as well as setting up a custom event landing page.
Constant Contact’s mobile app means that you can manage your contacts, organize them across different lists, and keep on top of your email campaigns wherever you go.
Surveys, Polls, and Offers
With Constant Contact you can easily include surveys, polls, invitations, and donation requests in your emails. Then you can collect donations and track RSVPs and responses from within the Constant Contact app.
ActiveCampaign offers an intuitive email editor with plenty of templates for every email situation and a drag and drop designer. You can personalize almost every aspect of your emails using C# fields, not just the recipient’s name, to create more customized emails at scale. ActiveCampaign also lets you pull content from your website, and the image library can hold unlimited media for your emails.
ActiveCampaign integrates with most email platforms, CRMs, and eCommerce platforms so that you can automatically add contacts from those sources. You can also import CSV files or add contacts manually. Create customized and beautiful subscription forms which automatically channel new contacts into different lists depending on which form they used.
ActiveCampaign offers an impressive granular level of segmentation fed by the rich data that it collects. You can use conditional fields in multiple combinations to segment by demographics, behavior, tags, location, and more. There’s also dynamic segmentation which automates your marketing according to each contact’s actions.
With ActiveCampaign you can create one email campaign that adjusts the contact automatically according to your customer insights. It helps you create a more tailored email on a mass level without a lot of effort.
With ActiveCampaign, once your email campaign is ready you can schedule it to be sent immediately or on a specific date, or create drip campaigns that send emails at particular intervals.
With ActiveCampaign you can split test practically every element of your email, including subject line, image placement, call-to-action placement, formatting, colors, and more. You can run up to five different versions at once and choose whether to rate them by open rate or click rate.
ActiveCampaign offers highly advanced email automation that enables you to create complex workflows. You can set basic autoresponders for events such as someone joining your list, birthdays or anniversaries. By combining customer actions, triggers and advanced logic you can automate emails for a high level of personalization.
ActiveCampaign lets you track open and click rates and social shares. You can also connect contact behavior on your website to see what happens after they click through. By integrating with Google Analytics you can track the effects of your emails.
ActiveCampaign does not offer this feature.
ActiveCampaign does not offer this feature.
Surveys, Polls, and Offers
ActiveCampaign does not offer this feature.
Ease of Use
Constant Contact stands out for being easy to set up and easy to use, even for beginners without any IT experience. The email editor is intuitive and it is simple to add and manage contacts. When you first enter Constant Contact you’ll find it easy to navigate the options and find the different sections that you need.
ActiveCampaign has an intuitive email editor with a simple drag and drop system that doesn’t need any prior coding experience. However, the main dashboard is somewhat cluttered and it’s not so easy to find your way around, partly because there are so many tools on offer.
Constant Contact boasts the most comprehensive number of integrations so that you can hook your email marketing up with your favorite business tools and grow your revenue. There are over 300 apps and integrations on offer at the built-in app marketplace, including FreshBooks, Shopify, Facebook, Mindbody, Zapier, Salesforce, and more, as well as an open API for integrating Constant Contact with your homegrown apps.
ActiveCampaign can’t match Constant Contact for the number of integrations, but it does offer 150 apps including Facebook and other social media channels, WooCommerce, Shopify, Stripe, SurveyMonkey, Xero, and full email integration. You can auto import contacts from other sources, and there’s an API and web hooks for custom applications.
Constant Contact has three pricing plans which begin at just $5, which is a lower entry price than most ESPs. Your final price is determined by the number of contacts you have, although you’ll have to first choose a plan and then choose your number of contacts to see it, which makes it harder to compare prices. There isn’t a top level enterprise-focused plan, since Constant Contact is aimed at supporting smaller businesses which need a different set of tools.
You can pay monthly or get a 15% discount for paying for 6 or 12 months at a time, but there are no contracts. You can change your plan or cancel at any time. Constant Contact has a full one month free trial, although you will have to share your credit card details to access it. Nonprofits get a 30% discount.
ActiveCampaign offers four pricing plans with an ascending set of features as well as a completely free 14-day trial that you can use without sharing your credit card details. Your final price is based on the number of contacts you have as well as which plan you choose, but you can easily check on pricing by using the slider to select your contacts range. ActiveCampaign stands out for offering more users per plan than most ESPs.
You can pay monthly or yearly and there’s a 20% discount for nonprofits. You’ll get a discounted price if you pay per year. ActiveCampaign doesn’t tie you in with a contract, so you can change your plan to upgrade or downgrade or cancel your account entirely whenever you like.
Deliverability rates are one of the most important issues for email marketing services. Constant Contact claims that its deliverability rate averages 97%, but ActiveCampaign doesn’t share its delivery rates.
Constant Contact offers troubleshooting advice through its community forum and an extensive knowledge base. You can consult video tutorials or get in touch for one on one support via live chat or phone. There are local numbers for the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico and although support is not available 24/7, hours are long. Phone lines are open Monday to Thursday from 8am to 10pm and until 9pm on Fridays, and the Mexico customer service hours are Monday to Friday 10am-6pm. You can use Twitter to ask questions too. As well as offering help using Constant Contact, the company provides a range of marketing educational resources such as webinars and events.
ActiveCampaign provides help articles, video tutorials and one on one training sessions, as well as an active community forum and FAQ section for troubleshooting. If you need to get in touch, you can do so through the embedded guided webform or through live chat. There’s no phone support though, and while live chat is not available 24/7, the hours are not posted on the website. ActiveCampaign also lists its frequent events that include meetups and marketing seminars.
Overall Winner: Constant Contact
Constant Contact offers more integrations and a more intuitive user experience. If you’re a small to medium business looking for simple email marketing services, Constant Contact is easiest to use and fastest to master, while still providing all the functionality you need. Its customer service is also a little ahead of ActiveCampaign. The mobile app gives it an edge over ActiveCampaign, especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners who need to keep on top of their email marketing on the go.
ActiveCampaign is more than just email automation – it offers full marketing automation combined with a sales CRM. If you need the power of wraparound email automation that connects cleanly with your other business tools, ActiveCampaign is your best choice. If ActiveCampaign adds a mobile app, it will match with Constant Contact but for now the lack of mobile access is a real disability.