MailChimp vs Constant Contact: Which Email Software Best for SMBs? (2023)

At Capterra, we recently conducted a poll of 60 small businesses that use either MailChimp or Constant Contact for their email marketing needs. Shockingly, more than half of the respondents had used both systems at some point in time, which speaks to the enormous market share these two leading email marketing software providers have. The more interesting finding from our study— of the businesses that had used both, 75% of respondents preferred MailChimp over Constant Contact. <<Tweet this stat

But does that make it the clear winner for all small businesses? Not necessarily…

MailChimp vs Constant Contact: Which Email Software Best for SMBs? (1)

Despite recent hype about content marketing, social media, and mobile, for the majority of small businesses, the first step to marketing success is still through the good, old-fashioned inbox. Email marketing has consistently been cited as thesingle most effectivemarketing tactic forfor awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention. And according to recent reports, 59% of marketers plan to increase their email marketing budgets in 2015.

If you’re just venturing into the world of email marketing or looking to make your business emails more sophisticated this year, you’ve likely already done a quick Google search to evaluate your options and encountered the two market leaders – MailChimp and Constant Contact. Both are tailored for your small business needs, affordable, and easy-to-use… so how’s a small business marketer to choose?

In this post, I’ll break down the primary differentiators between these two leading email marketing software providers. Plus, I’ll show you who wins out in the MailChimp vs Constant Contact battle for six common consideration factors: Price, Customer Support, Features & Functionality, Deliverability, Third-Party Integrations, and Company Culture.

MailChimp vs Constant Contact: 6 Consideration Factors

1. Price

As a small business marketer, you most likely don’t have unlimited funds to put toward your email marketing software. Luckily, you can rest assured that neither MailChimp nor Constant Contact will break the bank.

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MailChimp Pricing

  • MailChimp offers a “Forever Free” version for up to 2,000 email subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
  • Their paid email marketing service starts at $20 per month for unlimited emails up to to 1001-1500subscribers, and it increases $5 per month for every 500subscribers added. All paid plans have unlimited email sending capabilities throughout the month.The highest plan is $35 per month for 2501-2600 subscribers.
  • MailChimp also offers a “Pay as you go” option to purchase email credits for $0.005-$0.03 cents per email, making it easy to scale up or down depending on seasonality, slow periods, fluctuating database sizes, or in order to send one-time campaigns to a large list without permanently increasing your subscriber plan.
  • To take your email marketing to the next level, an additional $199 per month gets you the Mailchimp Pro Marketer Plan, which includes all of their marketing automation-lite features.
  • All nonprofit organizations receive a 15% discount on MailChimp paid accounts.

Constant Contact Pricing

  • Constant Contact offers a 60 day free trial period.
  • After your free trial runs out, email marketing with CC starts at $20 per month for up to 500 contacts, and it increases to as much as $90 per month for up to 10,000 contacts.
  • Constant Contact now offers an “Email Plus Plan,” which includes surveys, registration forms, coupons, and more. Email Plus starts at $45 per month for up to 500 contacts, and scales to $115/month for up to 10,000 contacts.
  • You can receive 10% off your Constant Contact account if you prepay for 6 months in advance, or 15% off for a year in advance.
  • Nonprofits get double the incentive to prepay, with a 20% prepayment discount for 6 months and a 30% prepayment discount for annual payments.

Pricing Winner= MailChimp.

As the founder and CEO of mKonnekt, Seshu Madabushi consults SMBs on how to engage customers with their marketing platform. Madabushi told us that MailChimp’s “Forever Free” model makes it a clear winner for his small business customers. “Given that most of our clientele are SMBs, the flexible pricing including FREE for the first 2000 emails is what attracts our clients.”

2. Support

Both MailChimp and Constant Contact are well known for being intuitive and easy-to-use, even if you’re not very tech savvy. But if you expect to need some hand holding, there are some key differences in service:

MailChimp Customer Support

  • Mainly self-service support available through their online Knowledge Base
  • Free accounts can only use the Knowledge Base, but users will have an introductory period that includes 30 days of free email support
  • Monthly and pay as you go customers can also use chat and email support 24/5– weekends are limited to email service only.

Constant Contact Customer Support

  • Phone, chat, and email support offered Monday through Friday for business hours across all time zones in the US and Canada, plus weekend email support. Constant Contact also offers limited phone support for UK users.
  • Additional training and support servicesare available for an additional purchase, such as a Quick Start to set up your account, Design & Build to create custom templates, or a Personal Marketer package to have a dedicated expert on call whenever you need them.

Support Winner= Constant Contact.

Ira Wolfe, President of Success Performance Solutions, has been using Constant Contact for nearly 10 years. He comments, “[Constant Contact] offers a tremendous amount of support and resources for the small business. I’m guilty of not utilizing more than I do, but it’s available.”

3. Features & Functionality

While most of the same basic features are available in both MailChimp and Constant Contact, Mailchimp has functionality that lends itself better to eCommerce companies, while Constant Contact has more robust features for companies hoping to integrate their social media and email marketing. I’ve created a chart below to show where the functionality differs. (Note: the highlighted cells indicate unique features, where one email provider had an advantage over the other.)

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Some small business owners, like Michelle Geib at Xperience Days Inc., prefer MailChimp’s functionality: “At the time the decision was made, Constant Contact was the most prominent email marketing solution for small businesses. The features it offered- such as delivery, open rate, and click-thru statistics, as well as the ability to view trends over time- were attractive benefits, especially because we did not have access to any of this information with our former, in-house solution. We began looking for a new solution in November, 2013 after having issues with our Constant Contact account. We made the switch to MailChimp, which offers a multitude of additional features Constant Contact didn’t offer. These unique features and the scalable pricing plans were the reasons we decided to move our account.”

But others, like Brent Levi at The Office Connection, say Constant Contact has the edge in functionality. “I feel that MailChimp is best to start out in email marketing for the first time, but it lacks more powerful features. However, I know they are always adding new features. Constant Contact seems to be the best for those who have some experience but are not necessarily experts; such as the common Marketing Coordinator.”

Kevin Jordan of Redpoint Marketing Consultants concurs. He notes that Constant Contact “seemed very intuitive to use and had a large number of professional-looking templates for different types of emails and industries. I also liked the fact that it has event marketing and social media marketing tools in addition to email.”

Functionality Winner= Tie.

4. Deliverability

Both systems have among the highest deliverability rates in the industry, according to Shero Designs, with Constant Contact at 97% and MailChimp at 96-99% deliverability.

MailChimp Deliverability

Based on anecdotal feedback from users, it seemed MailChimp was stricter about CAN SPAM compliancy between the two. However, MailChimp does allow you to re-upload unsubscribes to your lists, which some reported would halt your entire account if you attempted to do so in Constant Contact.

Dave Bowman of Design Turnpike says he’s not sure if it’s verifiable or quantifiable, but that his bounce rate and unsubscribe rates were considerably lower with MailChimp than with Constant Contact. He speculates, “Maybe they work harder to keep their site from triggering spam alerts or getting sender mailboxes blocked?”

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Constant Contact Deliverability

Of our survey participants, the primary reason that marketers preferred Constant Contact when they had used both systems was because they saw greater email deliverability with Constant Contact. That said, according to a 2012 comparison of the systems by LightSpeed, Constant Contact was supposedly blacklisted from sending to all military email addressesso keep that in mind if you’re sending to a large proportion of military contacts.

One great user story about MailChimp’s deliverability came from PR & Marketing Consultant, Corina Kellam. After Kellam noticed a snazzy MailChimp email from one of her clients, she began to switch over her new client accounts from Constant Contact to MailChimp. But that’s when she noticed something odd. “Within one month of using Mailchimp, my primary email wasn’t working properly – I later discovered about 1 in 20 weren’t being sent or received. I kept thinking it was the clients’ fault, but after months of missed connections, my email host finally confirmed I’d been flagged for spam because of my Mailchimp account. Unimpressed!” While her MailChimp emails were still being delivered, the emails she sent from her primary email address (the one she had used to set up the MailChimp account) were flagged as spam.

Marc Apple of Forward Push Media experienced a similar situation. “When we first started with email marketing we used MailChimp because it was free, and we had seen other businesses use it. We quickly made the switch to Constant Contact when we heard numerous times that our emails were going to our subscribers spam folders. Constant Contact’s deliverability rate made the decision to switch very easy for us.”

Deliverability Winner= Constant Contact.

5. Integrations

Both of these solutions have countless integrations with other popular small business software systems— from CRM software, to blogging platforms, to social media channels, and more. So many, in fact, that both MailChimp and Constant Contact have a directory or marketplace of apps with which they integrate:

MailChimp Integrations

  • Integrations to note: WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Magento, Salesforce, ZenDesk, Shopify BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Prestashop, Squarespace, Stripe, Drupal, Mandrill, Eventbrite, Unbounce, Slack and Google Analytics
  • In a recent comparison we did of 11 CRM software solutions, the only software that integrated with the 10 CRMs that did not have their own built-in email marketing system was MailChimp.

Constant Contact Integrations

  • Because Constant Contact has a built-in platform that includes a suite of its own functionality, like social media marketing, events, surveys, and the like, they don’t have quite the variety of integrations that MailChimp has in these other spaces.

Tim Trampedach, a former product manager at Zynga, is now an avid MailChimp user at his current company, Level X Motorsports, thanks to the rich integrations that MailChimp offers. He explains, “MailChimp is extremely simple to use, has good docs (I’m including Mandrill), and it often has ready-to-go integrations into toolsets like Heroku, Magento, etc. MailChimp is excellent and a clear favorite with the Silicon Valley crowd.”

Integrations Winner= MailChimp

(Video) Mailchimp vs Constant Contact: Why they switched from Constant Contact to Mailchimp

6. Company Culture

At this point in this massive product comparison, you might be thinking, who cares about the company culture- isn’t it the software that really matters? Well, I thought so too, until I read some of the interesting responses to our poll. Perhaps one of the biggest differentiators between these two companies is their own respective approach to marketing.

MailChimp Company Culture

MailChimp is a playful, humorous, and some would even say a friendly company to work with. The company offers unique content like coloring books, creative guides, and of course, their beloved mascot, the Chimp. Ebony Grimsley, owner of Above Promotions, says, “Both products are similar in nature, but there is something about finishing your campaign and giving the Chimp a high-five. It gets you excited about what will come as a result to sending the newsletter that week.”

Copley Broer, CEO of LandlordStation, spotted the same sense of humor when evaluating email marketing solutions, and as a software vendor himself, he explains how important that quality is in a technology provider. “The thing that attracted us to Mailchimp originally was really their design, which is really simple and well-done, and their sort of odd sense of humor. They really make a point of having a lot of funny stuff built into the system, which acts as a daily reminder that all business and marketing should be an enjoyable and fun experience for the end user.”

Constant Contact Company Culture

The words that came up to describe Constant Contact’s company culture most often were helpful and reputable. Constant Contact invests heavily in television, radio, and other mass media advertising campaigns, and as a result, they seem to have greater brand recognition and awareness among small business marketers, despite a seemingly smaller user base. Likewise, their customer service, online learning center, blog, video tutorials, and other stellar online resources make them a go-to for small business advice, whether or not you use their system.

Culture Winner= It depends…would you rather work with a company that’s fun and friendly or trustworthy and reputable?

I think Bob Herman from ShipTropolis sums it up best… “Both MailChimp and Constant Contact can help create success for a small business. Thus, based on different strokes for different folks, sign up for the free trial on both systems and spend some time churning the wheels. Choose the one you like best and don’t look back!”

Not convinced? Check out some Constant Contact and MailChimp alternatives.

(Video) Mailchimp vs Constant Contact: Why I switched from Constant Contact to Mailchimp

FAQs

Who is better Mailchimp or Constant Contact? ›

Mailchimp tends to be a better choice than Constant Contact if you're cost-conscious, need advanced reporting features, and want more extensive automation and A/B testing. However, if deliverability rates, ease of use, and customer service really matter to you, Constant Contact may be the best choice for you.

Is Mailchimp cheaper than Constant Contact? ›

Constant Contact also tends to be more expensive than Mailchimp. For up to 2,500 subscribers, they charge you $45/month on the basic plan. There are discounts if you pay for six months or a year, but this is still more expensive than Mailchimp, which charges you $30 for 2,500 subscribers.

Which is the best platform for email marketing? ›

The 6 Best Email Marketing Software of 2022
  • Best Overall: Mailchimp.
  • Best for Automation: ActiveCampaign.
  • Easiest to Use: MailerLite.
  • Best All-in-One Marketing Suite: Hubspot.
  • Best Affordable Option: Moosend.
  • Best for E-commerce: Drip.

Is Mailchimp free enough? ›

Mailchimp offers decent features on its free plan. For example, the monthly email send limit is capped at 10,000 emails. There's also a daily limit of 2,000 emails on the free plan. Similarly, your contact list is limited to 2,000 contacts in this tier.

Does Mailchimp sell email addresses? ›

As a leading marketing platform, Mailchimp has a strict permission-based list policy. We do not provide, sell, share, or rent email lists to users. We also don't allow purchased, publicly available, third-party, or rented lists to be imported into our system.

How many people use Mailchimp? ›

Mailchimp Statistics 2019 vs 2020
Dec 2019Dec 2020
Total number of active users12.3M14M
People signing up for a Mailchimp account every day11K14K
Ecommerce orders generated by Mailchimp users839.5M515.3M
18 Jan 2022

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