Constant Contact is easily one of the more popular email platforms out there, thanks to being an early starter and having built a good reputation over the years. But if you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re unhappy with your experience with Constant Contact, or you’re wondering if there are better options out there for you.
And there are better options available!
Today, let’s review alternatives to Constant Contact that offer a variety of features and are budget-friendly as well.
Table of Contents
- Constant Contact: Overview
- Pros and Cons of Constant Contact
- Why Marketers are Seeking an Alternative to Constant Contact
- Campaign Refinery
- Hubspot Marketing Hub
- Campaign Monitor
- Benchmark Email
- Comparing Email Platforms: Constant Contact vs Alternatives
- Campaign Refinery: Upgrade to the Next Level
Constant Contact: Overview
Constant Contact has been around longer than most email platforms, which explains why many email marketers are aware of it. The company has been in business for over 25 years and offers tiered plans to attract small businesses and enterprise plans for email senders with bigger volumes.
Besides letting you send emails, the company also offers analytics to track performance, email templates, and automation features. You can also build landing pages and sign-up forms and build integrations with your social media campaigns. The paid plans also include an SMS marketing option, letting you send a specific number of text messages each month.
Constant Contact: Pricing
Constant Contact has three pricing tiers.
- Lite — $12 per month.
- Standard — $35 per month.
- Premium — $80 per month.
On the Lite plan, you can send 10 emails per month to 500 contacts. Any more, and you will have to pay as you go. On the Standard plan, you can send 12 emails per month to each of your 500 contacts, whereas on the Premium plan, you can send 24 x 500 emails.
Pros and Cons of Constant Contact
Let’s now look at the good versus the bad; here’s a table comparing the pros and cons of Constant Contact.
|Good deliverability rates
|Scaling up your emailing operations is challenging because of high prices
|Drag and drop email builder
|The editor isn’t advanced — it can’t help you catch design issues or detect spammy elements
|Multiple features — page builder, social media tools
|The automation options could be a lot better; they don’t offer as much control and flexibility as newer email platforms
|Non-profit organizations can avail discounts
|A lot of the designs available in the template library are outdated and need overhauling
|You can’t test for mobile formatting
|The free trial is practically useless as you can only send about 100 emails
|Barely any email testing tools; for example, you can only A/B test the subject lines
|Constant Contact also takes a cut of your website sales, charging 1.5% flat.
For many email marketers, the cons listed here can be a dealbreaker. Also, the email industry is constantly evolving; if an email platform doesn’t keep up with trends and customer requirements, it can quickly lose its edge.
In recent times, in an aggressive email landscape, Constant Contact has been losing ground to newer, more flexible email service providers. Let’s look at a few of the common reasons why users are bailing.
Why Marketers are Seeking an Alternative to Constant Contact
Here are the most common reasons email professionals are seeking an alternative to Constant Contact.
- Automation issues
- Outdated templates in the library
- The form builder doesn’t allow much customization
- Can’t test mobile responsiveness of emails
- Some users find it slow and clunky
It’s important to team up with an email platform that offers you powerful automation tools with a lot of personalization options. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case with Constant Contact as they only offer basic autoresponders and non-editable email templates.
This means you are pretty limited in reacting to subscriber actions — at best; you can respond to a clicked link or send a second follow-up email for an unopened email. That won’t suffice, as you won’t be able to run any lead nurture campaigns at all.
Pricing is another issue at Constant Contact, as you will see your costs scale along with your subscriber list. While that is natural, the question is — how much is fair? According to reviews online, customers are unhappy about both billing and pricing at Constant Contact.
As for outdated designs, that is another issue that directly affects email marketers. With so many design tools available online today, it’s hard to justify old or drab-looking email templates. Scrolling through hundreds of boring email designs in the template library can get annoying pretty quickly.
And in an age where most email users check email on their phones, it’s surprising that testing mobile responsiveness isn’t an option on Constant Contact.
As you can see, there are enough issues for Constant Contact users to consider looking for greener pastures. Let’s begin with the greenest one.
Campaign Refinery has been around since 2018, and we consider ourselves a boutique email services provider that is focused on top-level performance.
We’re pretty proud of what we offer our clients at Campaign Refinery; when we started out, our biggest goal was to be the best email services platform, and we’re succeeding at it. We are razor-focused on email deliverability, engagement rates, and strong conversion rates. Everything we offer on our platform is to help clients achieve the best metrics possible.
Our key features:
- Automated list cleaning: Concerned about your emails bouncing due to invalid emails, expired IDs, or spam traps? Our clients definitely aren’t. Our automated list cleaning is one of our most formidable tools, cleaning your list without any babysitting required. With this feature, our clients have seen average customer open rates go up by 37%.
- List segmentation: A strong segmentation strategy is critical for marketers to achieve their campaign goals — with our advanced tag system, it’s exceptionally easy to break up an email list into unique groups.
- Deliverability: We’re the best at deliverability. Period.
- Automation: “Simple and powerful” was our driving mantra when we designed our sequencing tools. Our automation features let our clients design different types of brilliant campaigns, which translates to excellent open rates and improved clickthrough rates.
- Gamification: Another one of our best features is engagement gamification. We created a points-based system for subscribers where they earn points for opening and clicking, and it’s had a massive impact on engagement. We’ve got the numbers to back it up — our open rates are at 76.37%, and our CTRs are at 72.76%.
- Template library: If you’re looking for inspiration, the countless templates in our library will rejuvenate your creativity. And you can modify them as much as you like, plus design your own.
- Customer support: Customer feedback has played an important role in Campaign Refinery’s journey; a lot of features we offer today were born from continual discussions with our clients!
- Marketing tool integrations: There are marketing tools that email professionals swear by, and we get it. That’s why third-party plugin support is something you never have to worry about because we support all the popular ones.
- Evergreen Flash Sales: There’s nothing like a limited-time deal to get leads excited. Our clients have successfully used our Evergreen Flash Sales feature to entice customers with time-sensitive offers that create urgency and increase conversions.
Campaign Refinery: Pricing
Campaign Refinery does not offer any free plans.
- Business Plan — $99 per month
- Growth Plan — $299 per month
- Enterprise Plan — $1,000+ per month
There is no free plan because we work with experienced email marketers who already have a following and know exactly what they want. We also work with high-volume senders handling millions of emails every month. Having this in mind, you should know that there are no limitations on the number of contacts! More on that later.
The basic Business Plan is perfect for small and medium-sized businesses, as it lets you add unlimited contracts and gives you 50,000 credits; you can use credits to clean your lists or for email sends. On the Growth plan, you get 200,000 credits and our Enterprise plan gives you a million credits per month.
If you’re an email marketer, you’ve definitely heard of MailChimp. While they’ve done a good job marketing the brand, is the email platform as good? Let’s take a look.
Besides email services, the platform also lets you build websites and run social media campaigns. Mailchimp has a lot of great features, like a good template library, flexible automation tools, and support for third-party marketing tools. The analytics and reporting tools are also good.
But cost is something that will concern you as you scale your operation. While there are many great features on Mailchimp, you slowly end up paying more and more to unlock them. For example, the free plan comes with many limitations and also includes the Mailchimp branding on emails you send out. And tools like advanced automation and segmentation features are only available on the top two tiers.
And limitations on the email limit isn’t restricted to the free plan; on the third and most expensive tier, you can only send a mere 150,000 emails a month. And if you’re planning on discussing any problems with the customer care department, Mailchimp doesn’t exactly have an excellent track record for customer service.
Mailchimp has four tiers:
- Free — $0 (for individuals and beginners)
- Essentials — $13 per month
- Standard — $20 per month
- Premium — $350 per month
Mailchimp lets smaller email marketers sign up for a free plan which lets them send 1,000 emails a month. The Essentials plan lets you send 5,000 emails, the Standard plan lets you send 6,000, and the Premium option allows you to send 150,000 emails.
Hubspot Marketing Hub
Hubspot was created in 2006 by a couple of MIT students and is a well-known name in the email industry today. It is an inbound marketing and sales platform and offers a range of features, including website building, email marketing, social media management, lead generation, analytics, and more. On the email front, you get features like a drag-and-drop editor and template builder, personalization options, testing tools, and automation controls.
The platform even features a free CRM tool to manage your customers, making Hubspot an all-in-one marketing platform of sorts. Besides that, Hubspot also offers billing software that helps you sort out invoicing, create payment links, submit quotes, manage subscriptions, and track revenue.
While a free plan on Hubspot can be pretty appealing for new email marketers or small businesses exploring the world of email, it gets expensive quickly. And contracts are airtight; you can’t move out of a contract until the term is up.
A common complaint you’ll see online is from customers who are unhappy about the lack of transparency in pricing. Finding out that you have to pay more for a feature you thought was part of your plan can be especially aggravating.
Another issue with Hubspot is that unless you’re using all the tools to the maximum potential, you may not feel like you’re getting full value for the price you cough up every month. As a marketing platform, Hubspot offers you a wide variety of features and tools, but what you need is an email platform that specializes in email marketing. There are far more affordable options on this list.
Hubspot offers three tiers:
- Free — $0
- Starter — $50 per month
- Professional — $800 per month
- Enterprise — $3,600 per month
The free plan can get you up and running and lets you send about 2,000 emails per month, but you will feel the restrictions once you begin growing your contact list. The next tier lets you add 1,000 contacts and email them 5x a month. You can add 2,000 contacts on the Professional plan and 10,000 on the Enterprise plan, and the sends are limited to 5x per month for both.
GetResponse is yet another email services platform that has been around for a couple of decades. The company offers a range of features for marketers letting you create landing pages, popups, webinars, data collection forms, and the like.
You can also run social media campaigns through GetResponse and build websites that have online stores and payments. You can also connect to numerous third-party stores, like Shopify or WooCommerce. GetResponse also offers SMS marketing and has been dabbling with AI features on its platform recently.
For your email marketing, you get the usual set of tools — a simple email designer, a template library, automation options, and list management features.
While GetResponse offers everything a marketer needs, the platform struggles with deliverability rates. Another pain point is the email builder — while it offers a drag-and-drop functionality, it does a shoddy job of it. The same goes for the website builder; it can help you set up a basic site, but customization can be a challenge.
The A/B testing tool feels incomplete as well, as it does not let you test send times or change senders. Similarly, the automation tools, while excellent, are only full-featured on the top-tiered plans.
GetResponse offers four plans; here’s the monthly pricing:
- GetResponse Free — $0
- Email Marketing — $15.6 per month
- Marketing Automation — $48.4 per month
- Ecommerce Marketing — $97.6 per month
- GetResponse MAX — $999 per month
The free plan gets your foot in the door, letting you send 2,500 emails to 500 subscribers. The prices listed here apply only if your subscriber count is limited to 1000 contacts — any more, and you’ll have to pay as you go. For custom plans, you can get a personalized quote on the GetResponse MAX² plan.
Campaign Monitor is an email services company owned by Marigold, a renowned marketing firm. Unlike the companies mentioned thus far, Campaign Monitor focuses on email marketing as its primary offering, with SMS marketing as an add-on feature.
On the email side of things, Campaign Monitor offers a high-quality email builder and lots of beautiful templates to choose from. This ESP also offers plenty of personalization options when designing your campaigns and allows integration with your SMS marketing plan, too. The analytics tool is also robust and gives you a good overview of your campaigns.
On the flip side, the automation on Campaign Monitor isn’t great. Putting together complex campaigns can be a task, and the support for third-party marketing plugins is clunky at best. Campaign Monitor also struggles to deliver on the customer service end, with quite a few complaints visible online.
Like a lot of the email services companies on this list, Campaign Monitor can be expensive for high-volume emailers.
Campaign Monitor: Pricing
The platform does not offer any free plans. Here are the three paid tiers:
- Lite — $11 per month
- Essentials — $19 per month
- Premier — $149 per month
The above prices are for 500 contacts, and it’s capped at 2,500 emails on the Lite plan, whereas you can send unlimited emails on the Essentials and Premier plans. Post that, there are tiers that quickly get more expensive the larger your list grows.
Benchmark is an email platform that is popular across the world thanks to its multilingual approach. It is also known for its simple email editor, which also supports HTML coding — so If you’re the type to code your emails from the ground up, Benchmark can be a good option to consider. Besides that, the platform also offers a CRM, a page builder, and a popup form designer.
The template library is decent and has enough options that you will find what you are looking for. You can get deep insight into the performance of your campaigns on the detailed analytics dashboard. You also get access to various email testing tools, which include design and copy checks. There is extensive support for e-commerce integration on Benchmark.
On this platform, things get a bit messy when you attempt to create complex drip campaigns; the automation features fall short of your expectations. Generally, there is customer dissatisfaction regarding the pricing structure on Benchmark, as well.
Benchmark Email: Pricing
Here are the three tiers on Benchmark:
- Free — $0
- Pro — $15 per month
- Enterprise — Custom
On the free tier, you can send 3,500 emails to a list of 500 contacts. The Pro plan lets you send 7,500 emails to 5,00 subscribers, and at 100k, you’re looking at spending $499 a month. If you want more, you can reach out to Benchmark for a personalized quote on the Enterprise plan.
One of the newer players in the email industry, MailerLite is an upcoming email platform. The company is about a decade old and positions itself as a budget-friendly option for email marketers. Besides email marketing, it also offers page, website, and form-building features. MailerLite has tools such as autoresponders, list management software, a free stock image library, and AI helpers.
MailerLite aims to simplify email marketing, which is reflected in its name. From a clean email editor to simplified automation tools, the goal is to make the process of emailing smooth for even novice email users. The platform also lets you run text message campaigns in sync with transactional emails. A unique feature that MailerLite offers is RSS-to-email, which converts new content into an email message and sends it to your subscriber list.
On to its cons — its automation workflow is something that MailerLite could improve. Its analytics and reporting suite is in need of refinement as well, as is its email testing tool.
MailerLite offers the four following tiers:
- Free — $0
- Growing Business — $10 per month
- Advanced — $20 per month
- Enterprise — Custom pricing per month
The free plan offers decent value as you can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of 500 contacts. The prices above reflect rates if you stick to 500 contacts. As your list grows in size, things get significantly more expensive, even with unlimited emails per contact.
The baby on this list, EngageBay was born in 2018 but has been steadily building a reputation for its services. While it is primarily a marketing and sales platform most popular for its CRM, it also offers email services.
As part of its email marketer tools, you get access to page builders, form designers, email templates, and automation software. The platform also provides all types of testing tools, including spam and A/B testers. The email creation tool is user-friendly; the same goes for its analytics and segmentation tools. EngageBay also lets you run ads on Facebook.
The most common complaint about EngageBay is probably the lack of support for third-party integrations. It also doesn’t give you great analytical insight into social media campaigns, and the template library is a bit limited. Building your own templates is also not an option at EngageBay.
EngageBay has four tiers, with the base tier being free:
- Free — $0
- Basic — $12.99 per month
- Growth — $49.99 per month
- Pro — $79.99 per month
On the free plan, you can add 250 contacts and send out 1,000 emails. On the Basic tier, you can send 2,500 emails to a list of 500 contacts. The contacts list gets an upgrade to 3,000 IDs on the Growth tier, with the emails limited to 20,000. On the top tier, you can add a list of 10,000 contacts and send 30,000 emails.
Brevo is a decade-old company that projects itself as a marketing and sales solutions platform, with its CRM software and email services being a part of the package.
Brevo offers the standard features of an ESP — email designer, landing page builder, custom signup forms, and more. Its email builder is simple and lets you design emails without any restrictions. Additionally, you can also run Facebook ads and WhatsApp campaigns using Brevo, plus you can send text messages and transactional emails when required.
On to the bad side. Brevo could do a better job of improving its deliverability rates. Besides that, the email platform also doesn’t offer much support for third-party marketing tools. The template library is another weak link and could use an overhaul.
Here are the pricing plans Brevo offers:
- Free — $0
- Starter — $25 per month
- Business — $65 per month
- Brevo Plus — $65 per month
You can add unlimited contacts on the free plan, but you can only send about 300 emails per month. That number gets upgraded to 20,000 emails on the Starter package, but you don’t get many features like automation or testing tools. If you opt for the Business plan, you can send 20,000 emails, but you get all the features that Brevo has to offer. And on the Brevo Plus plan, you can work out custom pricing with the team.
SiteCore acquired Moosend three years ago, and it has built quite a reputation as a marketing automation platform. Moosend also provides email services, making it a decent alternative to Constant Contact.
Besides letting you design landing pages and forms, Moosend also provides everything you’d seek in an email platform — you get automation tools, analytics, autoresponders, list management tools, and multiple personalization options. And the automation tools are pretty good, as you get multi-step marketing automation workflows. The email testing feature also works well, letting you check designs and mobile formatting for errors.
Moosend may not be a good option for those seeking affordable email plans, however. It gets expensive as your subscriber list grows, and there are much better options for senders with higher email volume.
Moosend has one free tier and two paid tiers:
- Free Trial — $0 (but only for 30 days)
- Pro — $9 per month
- Enterprise — Custom pricing
So the free trial gives you all the features of the Pro package, but you’re limited to 1,000 contacts, 30 days, and unlimited emails. Once that runs out, you can pay $9 a month for the Pro plan, which lets you send unlimited emails to 500 contacts. If your list hits the 50k mark, you’ll have to shell out $315 every month. Note that the free plan does not offer transactional emails.
SendPulse is a multi-channel marketing automation platform that aims to offer a one-stop solution for sales and marketing teams. This 11-year-old company offers features like chatbots, text-based campaigns, a CRM, and even an online course builder for your audience.
But we’re going to focus on its email offerings. You get impressive automation tools, an email designer, email testing tools, lots of free email templates, and a decent analytics dashboard to study your campaign performance. SendPulse also lets you send out transactional emails and build subscription forms.
The template library is lacking, however, and doesn’t have a lot of options to choose from. And while the automation tool has a visual interface, there is a bit of a learning curve before you can use it comfortably.
Here are the pricing details for SendPulse:
- Free — $0
- Standard — $8 per month
- Pro — $9.6 per month
- Enterprise — $13.4 per month
The base plan will appeal to new email professionals or small businesses, as you can send 15,000 emails to 500 contacts every month. The Standard plan lets you send unlimited emails to 500 contacts and if you want more features, you’ll have to go for the Pro or Enterprise features, which charge $9.6 and $13.4 monthly for 500 contacts. Want to add more subscribers? The price racks up quickly as your contacts list grows, and for a million contacts, you’ll have to pay $3,383 a month on the Enterprise plan.
Comparing Email Platforms: Constant Contact vs Alternatives
Now that we have a long list of Constant Contact alternatives — let’s compare various features.
|Automated list cleaning
|Email cap on base tier
|Evergreen Flash Sales
|Email cap on the base tier
*restricted to 500 contacts
In the table above, you can view a bunch of features and factors to help you decide the best option for you from all these alternatives to Constant Contact. Of course, we listed our own features here, as we stand toe to toe with the best in the industry.
If you review the options and features of each Constant Contact alternative carefully, you will see that most pricing plans have strict limitations in terms of the number of contacts and emails you can send. Campaign Refinery does not have limitations on the number of contacts — you can add as many as you can acquire! We have a credit system, but more on that below.
Campaign Refinery: Upgrade to the Next Level
At Campaign Refinery, we had a clear vision when we started the company that we wanted to be the best. And to be the best, you wanted to work with the best. We set out to create a platform that would delight our customers and allow them to reach their most ambitious goals.
An integral part of the blueprint was to create the best tools. Our email builder is one of a kind — it’s simple, and smooth and allows you to create any type of campaign, visual or simple, without hiccups. To this, we added an extensive Campaign Library, powerful automation controls, and a Branch & Rule Builder that could give maximum control while designing marketing email sequences.
We operate the platform with best practices in mind, and ESPs have rewarded our diligence with the best sender reputation scores — and this applies to all our customers who work with us to ensure excellence. Our secret to record-breaking deliverability is simple: it’s hard work, discipline, transparency and smart, actionable strategies integrated within our product.
It is this transparency that you see in our pricing too; unlike the rest, we’re honest and upfront about what you get. Just ask our clients:
This is the best email platform I’ve ever worked with. Their standards are so high for both users and themselves. Pretty remarkable.– David Cartolano, Copywriter
We struggled for years to make email work for our sales team. Campaign Refinery powered our email from $0 to $3.6m in the first 12 months.– Cale Own, GymLaunch
Our credit system will give you more freedom in making important decisions and here is why it’s better for you than what our competitors offer.
How Our Credit System Works
Unlike many email platforms, we don’t believe in charging our customers for the size of their email lists. We came up with a credit-based system instead, where you pay for what you use. While our base plan of $99 a month is perfect for small businesses, things are just as good for our high-volume partners, who send out millions of emails every month.
The credit system that we have implemented gives you 50,000 credits a month, which works out to $1 CPM (cost per thousand). You can use this for the automated list-cleaning feature or to send emails. We also let customers purchase credits in bulk, and such purchases do not expire in time — unlike our monthly credit limit, credits bought in bulk last much longer.
The value of our Enterprise Plan is immense; the CPM drops down to $0.60, plus you get a whopping 1 million credits. We also assign a dedicated Success Manager, who will guide you in hitting your campaign goals.
We’ve been selective while picking clients, and we’ve seen them flourish as partners, with Campaign Refinery playing a key role in their success. If this is something you’d like to experience, apply to join Campaign Refinery today!