An email marketing services provider helps freelancers and small businesses expand their lead generation potential and increase their revenue using digital marketing. A good email marketing services platform adds power to your marketing efforts without you needing to add extra employees. We review two leading email marketing services for small businesses in a head to head comparison so that you can make an informed decision.
Constant Contact Highlights
Constant Contact has a very intuitive and easy to use email editor along with more integrations than you’ll find from most other email marketing service providers.
- Over 300 integrations
- Intuitive and easy to use email editor
- Extensive educational resources and community forum
AWeber stands out for its very high level of customer support that’s delivered through three different channels, and for the ease with which you can use tags to segment your contacts.
- Excellent customer support
- All features available to every user
- Plenty of useful marketing education resources
Constant Contact is best for small to medium businesses that are looking to grow their email lists and improve their email marketing strategy. The educational resources and intuitive user interface make it ideal for beginners to email marketing.
AWeber is best for bloggers, freelancers, and small businesses who want to grow their email lists. The powerful list segmentation tools help marketers to produce customized content and the excellent customer support makes it a good choice for inexperienced marketing users.
Constant Contact: Features
Constant Contact offers plenty of ways to add to your contacts list. You can manually enter or copy and paste information, upload a file in CSV, XLS, XLSX, or TXT formats, or import contacts directly from a third party source like Outlook or Google mail using the Constant Contact integration. You can also create signup forms for different places and automatically sort new contacts into lists according to which form they use.
Constant Contact keeps your contact lists clean by automatically de-duping them (meaning that it checks email addresses against your existing list and removes any that are already on the list). It also removes any customers who unsubscribe from your lists so that they don’t count towards your total number of contacts.
Constant Contact’s email editor is intuitive, letting you drag and drop elements and choose from hundreds of templates. You can also quickly personalize your emails using your customers’ name or a choice of greeting, and there’s an image library of up to 2GB for your custom media as well as a stock image gallery. Once you’ve created your email you can easily preview it before sending.
Constant Contact makes it easy to segment your contacts into groups by clicking and dragging the contact. You can also assign tags across different groups and use those tags for advanced email segmentation.
Constant Contact allows split testing only for the subject lines of your emails, and that is only available to Email Plus users. It’s a very limited split test option, but for the moment this is still better than AWeber’s currently non-existent testing.
Constant Contact has a similar range of automation available. You can set up drip campaigns that send emails a certain number of minutes, hours, or days apart and autoresponders for a customer’s birthday, anniversary, or new subscription. But again, there is no option to use advanced automation workflows.
Constant Contact enables you to follow the progress of your emails in real time without having to refresh the page. You can easily view your open, click, bounce, and unsubscribe rates on the dashboard and compare up to five emails to see high-level results.
With Constant Contact’s mobile app, you can stay on top of your contacts lists and email campaigns wherever you are.
AWeber allows you to enter contacts manually or to copy and paste their information, but you can’t import contacts from another CRM or third party source. You can upload files in TSV, CSV, XLS, XLSX, or TXT formats though, but adding contacts is relatively slow with AWeber. With AWeber you can create signup forms and sort subscribers into lists automatically depending on which form they use to sign up.
AWeber doesn’t offer the same de-duping service although it does automatically unsubscribe contacts who request that. You’ll have to remove duplicate email addresses yourself and you will still be charged for duplicate or unsubscribed email addresses, which is quite annoying.
AWeber offers over 700 templates to use when designing your emails and newsletters. an easy to use drag and drop editor and a stock image gallery. You can also turn your latest blog posts into emails using the RSS to email feature. The range is impressive and makes it easy to find one that suits your needs. Unfortunately there are no web fonts available – only a handful of safe fonts. You also need to send a test email to preview your draft.
AWeber allows you to sort contacts into unlimited groups and then use those segments in your broadcast emails for customized emails on a mass scale. You can add tags automatically according to which link customers click on in your emails. You can use segments and tags to create unlimited lists and the segmentation tools are powerful and easy to use.
AWeber used to have excellent split testing options which let you test four different factors in each email so that you could discover which ones performed the best. However, that feature is currently suspended although AWeber promises that it will be brought back soon.
AWeber was the first service to offer autoresponders and it’s still very easy to set up a drip campaign or emails based on time intervals. You can create a campaign that automatically sends emails for events such as a birthday or anniversary or a new subscriber. However, you can only create pretty basic automation workflows.
AWeber’s tracking tools are very good, allowing you to follow the open and click rates of your emails as well as the bounce rate, signup methods and geographical email open location. You can also click through to see each individual’s email activity on a granular level.
AWeber offers a range of mobile apps so that you can manage contacts, track the progress of your campaigns, and educate yourself about marketing news while on the go.
Ease of use
Constant Contact’s email editor is very easy to use and intuitive. It’s simple for new users to get started, even without any email design experience. You’ll find that the tracking dashboard is uncluttered and clear, making it easy to switch between different views.
AWeber has a fairly intuitive user interface with a clear email editor and tracking dashboard. However, users have complained that the email design interface is a bit clunky, and you do need to switch between screens to navigate the tracking tools.
Constant Contact is head and shoulders ahead when it comes to integrations since it offers over 300 – far more than AWeber. You can connect your Constant Contact account easily to top integrations like Salesforce, Shopify, Facebook, Stripe, Xero, Mindbody, Zapier, and more through the simple API or integrate your own homegrown apps.
AWeber offers plenty of integrations with the business tools that you need the most, although it can’t compare to the number provided by Constant Contact. These include Facebook, WordPress, and PayPal as well as plenty of landing pages, webinars, lead generation, productivity tools, eCommerce, CRM, social, and more integrations. The AWeber API makes it easy to connect to the integration and app you desire.
With Constant Contact you can choose between three pricing plans which begin at $5, far lower than AWeber. Like AWeber, the Lite and Email plans share the same features and only differ because of the number of contacts you can have and the amount of storage for your media library, but the top Email Plus plan adds extra features like a dedicated IP address. Your final price is determined by the number of contacts you hold as well as which plan you choose.
Constant Contact offers monthly payments or a 15% discount for paying half-yearly or yearly. There’s also a 30% discount for nonprofits. Constant Contact has plenty of flexibility for changing plans, which you can do even in the middle of a billing cycle, and there is a 30-day free trial.
Somewhat oddly, AWeber’s three pricing plans don’t have any names. They also stand out because the only difference between each one is the number of contacts you can host. All the same features are accessible no matter which plan you use, but you don’t seem to be able to add extra users. You can also use all AWeber’s features while trying out the 30-day free trial, which isn’t so common. Although the top plan only allows up to 5,000 contacts, you can still expand your list by paying $69/month for up to 10,000 contacts, $149/month for up to 25,000 contacts, and you can arrange a custom enterprise plan for contact lists of over 25,000.
You can change your plan any time if you’re on a monthly contract, or at the end of your billing cycle if you pay per year. There’s a 14% discount for users who pay for a whole year upfront and nonprofits get the first three months free and then a 25% discount. Students with a valid .edu or .ac email address get a 20% discount.
Constant Contact boasts a deliverability rate of 97%. AWeber promises to ensure high deliverability rates but doesn’t share an average figure. An independent test found that Constant Contact had the second highest delivery rate at 89% and AWeber’s rate was 80%.
Constant Contact has a rich set of educational resources including video tutorials, an active online community forum and webinars, and live events on digital marketing. You can get in touch by phone or live chat or ask questions via Twitter, but there’s no email customer support. Constant Contact’s customer support phone line has local numbers for the US, UK, Mexico, and Canada as well as an international number, and it is open long hours, from Monday to Thursday from 8am to 10pm and until 9pm on Fridays. The Mexico line has shorter hours, from 10am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. Unfortunately, there’s no live support on the weekends.
AWeber users give it high ratings for its customer support, which has won awards for the past three years. You can get in touch by live chat, phone, or email web form – more options than other email marketing service providers. Live customer support, including toll-free phone number (U.S.), is open from Monday to Friday from 4am to 8pm EST and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 5pm. There is also an extensive and well-organized knowledge base, including video tutorials to help you master aWeber and free live webinars on digital marketing, but no community forum to get help from other users
Overall Winner: Constant Contact
With an easier to use interface and more integrations than AWeber, Constant Contact comes out firmly ahead. Although they offer a similar bundle of features, Constant Contact’s pricing is lower and more flexible, and aWeber’s current lack of split testing is a real handicap.
However, aWeber shouldn’t be ignored. The excellent customer support and good segmentation options make it a strong contender for small businesses and freelancers. When it brings back stronger and better split testing capabilities it will be able to rival Constant Contact again.