This post was updated on 3/9/2012:
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Constant Contact, it is one of the leaders in e-mail marketing services. They allow small businesses to create and manage e-mail lists and professional looking newsletters. The site boasts to have serviced over 300,000 customers. The company went public late 2007 and nearly doubled its offering price on the first day.
We use the service ourselves at Team and a Dream and are satisfied with it. However, I wondered what other companies offered the same service after I heard about the IPO. After talking to some of our clients and browsing through the web, I’ve compiled a list of seven alternatives to Constant Contact (in no particular order).
If you're switching from another service, this post on CANSPAM policies of the top email campaign solutions may be useful.
- iContact – In addition to creating, sending and tracking e-mail newsletters, you can also create and send surveys, auto-responders, blogs, and RSS feeds. iContact offers a free trial without requiring a credit card and the next level starts at $14 a month. This service charges you on the number of contacts you have - not the number of e-mails sent or a flat fee basis. The platform also works with Macs (not common with other platforms).They've also partnered with a third party to improve how many e-mails get through to recipients. Look for the 20% discount if you're a non-profit. The service recently won the Web 2.0 Award for "Best Marketing Application."
- VerticalResponse – This company offers a pay as you go model or a monthly subscription. They seem to be one of the few services to integrate with Salesforce and Intuit. In addition to offering surveys, they also allow you to send postcards from your browser. You can customize your postcards online and VerticalReponse will send them for you - offering a unique and an additional way to get in touch with your prospects or customers. Their rates are comparable - with $10/month for up to 500 emails and $120/month for as many as 16k emails.
- AWeber - The Company has been around since 1998 and works with more than 110,000 businesses, non-profits and agencies. They are known for their customer service - besides email, they clearly display their phone number on the homepage and even have a live chat feature. In addition, they have a setup wizard to help first-time users set up their account instead of leaving them to discover features on their own. Their popular features includes autoresponders, analytics, segmenting, split testing, and even social integration (e.g. collecting subscribers from Facebook/WordPress, etc). A 30-day trial is $1 and provides full access to all features. Pricing is based on the number of emails and starts at $19 monthly for up to 500 subscribers and goes up to $149 for up to 25,000 emails. Something unique they do is also discount their plans if a user pays quarterly or yearly and they also providing discount pricing for students and nonprofits.
- GetResponse - Praised for their top-notch customer service which is available on weekends, they recently launched an iPhone and Android application to make it easier to use the service on smartphones. Their most prominent features are the unlimited autoresponders, broadcasts and lists they provide. The analytics tool they offer under their Email Intelligence section makes it easy to track and compare campaigns. In addition, they have 16 different ways to import your list which is probably what has helped them service more than 220,000 companies. Pricing is discounted by 18% with an annual subscription. A list of 1,000 starts at $15 a month, $25 for 2,500 subscribers and $65 for 10,000 names. They also have a enterprise version for lists that are more than 100,000.
- Campaigner - Tailoring themselves for small businesses who are new to email marketing, this company charges a monthly subscription depending on many email addresses you have in your list. The lowest plan is $10/month for 500 contacts and the highest is only $55/month for up to 10,000 contacts. The features seem standard - email templates, easy to use email editor, signup forms, tracking and reporting, etc.
- StreamSend – With clients like Monster.com, Barnes & Noble and UPS, StreamSend is an enteprise solution suited for medium to large businesses. Their pricing starts at $19.90 for 2k emails and goes up to $209.90 for 150k emails. One feature that stuck out at me is their Email Analyzer where they preview your email in 30 email clients as well as test it with 9 spam filters. They also offer professionally designed custom templates for a fee.
- MailChimp - Offering a pay-per-email or a monthly plan option, MailChimp lets you customize how you want to be billed. The most notable difference is how they allow users to perform A/B testing of your subject lines. Their monthly plan starts at $10 for 500 subscribers and goes up to $240 for 50k. Pay-per-you-go pricing starts at three cents per email and decreases accordingly as more credits are purchased.
Bonus: For those looking for an enterprise solution, Infusionsoft combines email marketing, CRM and ecommerce solutions. Their most impressive feature is what they call a "an automatic follow-up engine" which they guarantee will double your sales (has anyone tried these guys?). Offering a 15-day free trial, monthly pricing starts at $199/month for 10k contacts and 25k emails/month.
If you’ve encountered or use a service we haven’t mentioned, please share your experiences with us by adding a comment below.