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Constant Contact vs. iContact vs. Vertical Response Vs…

Winner

GetResponse Logo

Runner-Up

StreamSend Logo
Third Place
Campaigner Logo

Emailing outside on laptopI’m sure you’re familiar with the name Constant Contact. They’ve spent more on marketing their brand than any other email marketing service out there. And lately they’ve been adding television and radio ads. The question is – are they really the best? Or are they simply spending the most? We break down the most popular email marketing companies out there and give you recommendations of our 2014 Top 3 winners for Best Email Marketing Service provider.

2014 Email Marketing Service Provider (or E-Newsletter) Winners

We also provide pros and cons so that you can dig deeper to find which ones suit you best depending on your specific email marketing needs. We’ll start out with giving a description of each email marketing, and will then point out some weaknesses and strengths of each marketing with email company, as well as provide links to special sign-up offers and promotions we’re permitted to extend to our visitors.

What are my options when it comes to email marketing services?

Not only do we review some of the most popular email marketing providers, we give you some background on email marketing in general, and provide you with a comparison table and a guide to common definitions and terminologies to help you compare essential differences at a glance.

Email Marketing Reviews

To jump straight to an in-depth review of an email marketing provider you’re interested in, use the list below:

Our 2014 Winners for Best Email Marketing Service Provider

Below you’ll find our 2014 top picks for email newsletter services based on a variety of factors ranging from price and features to reliability and customer service.

1st Place Winner: GetResponse

WeRockYourWeb Gold MedalGetResponseVisit Website: GetResponse

GetResponse – Intelligent reporting pushed this company to the top as they actively help you improve your campaigns to better reach and connect with your audience at every step of the way. Other no cost perks include: online surveys, inbox preview, auto responder and social networking integration. And, they get high marks for customer service which goes a long way in our book. The only real negative we could find on them was that their image search can be a bit confusing once you have uploaded an image. Try a free 30-day trial of GetResponse and read our full GetResponse review. To celebrate their 15th birthday, GetResponse is offering 15% off any plan for life!

2nd Place: StreamSend

WeRockYourWeb Silver MedalStreamSendVisit Website: StreamSend

StreamSend – A longtime power player in the email marketing world and this vast experience has encouraged them to keep things simple, even for the brand new email marketer. Its biggest selling point vs. the competition is that it is the only company that offers unlimited image hosting so that you never run out of space for all your photos. And, it is no secret that a picture speaks a thousand words. They also include a private IP address, trigger-based messaging, live telephone support and extensive social media sharing capabilities which is often an added fee with other providers. Try StreamSend out for free for 30 days and read our full StreamSend Review.

3rd Place: Campaigner

Campaigner Email MarketingWeRockYourWeb Bronze MedalVisit Website: Campaigner

Campaigner has the best entry price at $10 for up to 1,000 subscribers. This paired with a 30-day free trial will likely be just what most small businesses need to get rolling. They also have one of the best reputations for customer service, offering around the clock, 24/7 support. Boasting more than 700 email templates, they have one of the largest libraries of creative to help you make a unique impact on your customers. Lastly, they include A/B testing, social media integration (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and even YouTube!) and auto-responder at no additional cost. The only real negatives would be if you plan to do any online surveys, this will cost you more with Campaigner than some which include it in the monthly email cost but the tradeoffs may still make it worth your while. Try a 30 day free trial of Campaigner and read our full Campaigner review.

Email Marketing Service Comparison Table

To help you sort through the email marketing madness, we’ve also created an email marketing comparison table that highlights the main features of each EMSP (Email Marketing Service Provider), along with their pros and cons.

Email Marketing Services Comparison TableDue to the large size of our EMSP comparison table, we are putting it on a separate page so you can reference it more easily. Please visit our email marketing services comparison table (or click on the image at left) for pricing and feature details on the EMSP’s we review in this article. We’ll continue adding EMSP’s to the table as we gather data, and update existing ones as they add and support new features.

You’ll find a list of terminologies following the table, as well as at the bottom of this article.

In-Depth EMSP Reviews

Jump to the comprehensive reviews below where you’ll find more details on features, pros/cons, and pricing plans for each provider. Or continue reading to learn more about EMSPs in general, common features you should expect, industry terminologies (lingo), and more.

What should most email marketing services have in common?

It’s important to know what email marketing companies have in common, so we can leave these criteria out of our pro and con lists below. In order to even stay in business, an EMSP needs to have relationships with the major ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) such as AOL, Yahoo, Juno, etc. If they didn’t, emails would get blacklisted and clients, unable to reach their customers, would not be happy. They all advertise as having the best “whitelisting” relationships with ISP’s, but the truth is – the arrangements are more or less the same. The important thing is that the email marketing provider have the support and staff necessary to maintain the relationships, analyze the SMTP send logs, etc.

Anti-Spam policies

Along the same lines, an email marketing brand must have an anti-spam policy in place to keep many users from being blacklisted in the event that one user misbehaves. Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Streamsend, and iContact and the rest of the lot typically take the same anti-spam measures. Common anti-spam measures, in accordance with CAN-SPAM (an official anti-spam policy), are the requirements to include a postal address, unsubscribe option, information on how the recipient joined the list in each email newsletter, and not using false or misleading headers and subject lines.

A Note on Newsletter Archiving and SEO

Many service providers, such as Constant Contact, offer a free or paid service that will archive your old email newsletters on their website. From an SEO point of view, we should point out that this is not always ideal for you. Your email newsletter contains valuable content relevant to your business that could be indexed by search engines. If the content is archived/hosted on the EMSP’s servers, however, you won’t get credit for it. Look to either archive your old newsletters on your own website, or find a way to copy/paste the archive from their service over to yours.

Best Entry Level EMSP’s

From our research, Campaigner, MailChimp, Streamsend, Vertical Response, Constant Contact, and iContact provide the best entry-level opportunities for small businesses, as they offer a good balance of pricing (low-cost per month per subscriber and email send count), reliability, flexibility (email template design and management) and reporting (bounce, unsubscribe, spam reports, etc.). In addition, they all provide online support communities where users can interact with other users, share their opinions on the service, as well as get support from administrators and extensive knowledge bases.

Detailed Email Marketing Service Provider Reviews

Now that you have an idea of what EMSP’s can offer you, we’re going to dig a little more deeply into some of these companies so you can find the email marketing provider that fits the unique needs of your company or organization.

AWeber Review

AWeber - Email Marketing Made EasyVisit Website: AWeber

AWeber is rising in popularity. What began as an auto-responder service is now a full-fledged email marketing provider. AWeber prices themselves competitively, and is a contender in the email marketing battle. Their basic plan ($19 per month or $194 annually) lets you enlist up to 500 subscribers and send an unlimited number of emails. Check out the discounted $1 trial for the first month of AWeber.

Pros

  • Their interface is clean, polished, and easy to use. It’s easy to manage the subscriber lists associated with different email campaigns.
  • Good WYSIWYG editor – AWeber has one of the better WYSIWYG editors we’ve seen. It’s easy to format text, add images, hyperlink text (create links), etc. It’s so extensive that it gets close to allowing you to create custom HTML newsletters.
  • You can add attachments to newsletters (this appears to be an offspring of their auto responder service). In other words, if subscribing to your newsletter allows people access to a file (such as a 5 page PDF file with race results), they will receive it as an attachment.
  • Extensive reporting and tracking functionality lets you track statistics such as number of emails sent, open rate, click-through, emails that were not delivered (undeliverables), and more.
  • Good list management.
  • They are can-spam compliant and take spam seriously. In other words, your newsletter won’t end up in the junk mail as often as it might with a competing provider.
  • It is now possible to send one message to multiple lists – simply check the boxes of the lists you’d like to add to the sender’s list when preparing your message.
  • Broadcast archive – lets you archive your newsletters by publishing them as an easy to navigate web page that can be shared among your existing visitors as well as to attract new subscribers.
  • They are well-known for solid and easy to reach customer support via phone, email, or chat. They also have an easy to use and extensive knowledge base, video tutorials, etc. on their website.
  • Shopping cart integration: Google Checkout.
  • Custom integration with Zapier: connect AWeber to shopping carts, payment gateways, event registration sites, form buildings, CRM, Google Contacts, and SMS text messages.
  • Web form options: integration with Formstack, 123ContactForm, Gravity Forms, Zendesk, Salesforce, Connected CRM, and more to extend your visitor subscription options.
  • Image hosting: store an unlimited number of images with a maximum size of 10mb each
  • Facebook and Twitter integration
  • HTML editor

Cons

  • No surveys – They do not include a survey tool that lets you create surveys and monitor responses (you are able to create a generic Q&A using their form building tool, but this falls short of some of the more advanced survey tools offered by competitors).
  • At time of writing, you can’t auto-remove duplicates from your email lists, you’ll need to do this manually.
  • “Tell a friend” forms are not permitted.

Unique Features

  • The broadcast archive feature optimizes the newsletter archiving process by turning your newsletters into easy to use web pages for your visitors.

$1 Trial

Benchmark Review

Benchmark EmailVisit Website: Benchmark

Benchmark is at the very forefront of email marketing because of its progressive and consistent use of social media features and its intuitiveness when it comes to integration of email lists and information. Benchmark also utilizes advanced email marketing methods to ensure no spam will ever appear on your emails or marketing material. What we really like is that they genuinely care about their customers’ concerns, and this is showcased by their in-dash feedback forum where you can voice your concerns without ever navigating away from the page. Benchmark pricing starts at $9.95 per month for 600 emails or $11.95 for 600 contacts. Click here to get a free 30-day trial.

Pros

  • Interactive video and links make email campaigns look great and stand out from other template designs.
  • Fantastic systematic approach to email marketing creation makes designing and producing templates easy to understand and easy to do.
  • Drag and Drop function makes importing your own pictures quick and easy.
  • Intuitive marketing team will assume all responsibility and create marketing campaigns for you with only an email list, pictures, and an idea of what you want to say.
  • Fantastic help and support team.
  • 30-Day Free Trial

Cons

  • No private IP address.
  • Does not allow for the use of attachments in marketing campaigns but they do give you up to 10mb per file to store and link to them on their server.

Unique Features

  • Unique Dashboard – brings all of your marketing campaigns, including social media, on to your main screen and allows you to monitor all activity from one page.
  • Integration with Google Analytics - allows you to track statistics on your home page.
  • Subaccounts – you are able to set these up to send out multiple campaigns for multiple target audiences.
  • Interactive Campaigns – incorporating video and social media into your marketing is faster and easier than ever.

BigHip Review

Visit Website: BigHip

BigHip isn’t known well in the email marketing world. Doing a simple Google search will bring up one result, their website. This makes it hard to tell the pros and the cons because no user has given feedback. They have a ton of features but are missing some much wanted items like surveys and attachments. One thing they’ve got going for them is the first pricing tier is free for 1,500 emails sent to 50 contacts forever. Pricing starts at $19.95 for 75,000 emails to 2,500 contacts or click here for a free 60 day BigHip trial.

Pros

  • Unlimited data fields
  • Double opt-in list moderation
  • Moderation triggers
  • Template library
  • Schedule and send unlimited campaigns
  • Personalize campaigns
  • Click thru traffic
  • Geographic statistics
  • Manage multiple users
  • Detailed reporting
  • Email and phone support as well as live chat

Cons

  • No surveys
  • Doesn’t allow attachments

Unique Features

  • Receipt statistics tells you when an email was delivered and opened

Boomerang Review

While they might not have the name recognition of some of their competitors, Boomerang has been in the email marketing game since 1991. That’s an eon in internet years, and that sort of longevity certainly suggests they know their business. They offer sixty different reports to help track who’s clicking what, where and when. That is a massive amount of information if you know how to use it. Boomerang offers integration with most large social media networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Yahoo) as well as online webinars for beginners and experienced users. Pricing starts at $9.95 for 500 email credits, or sign up for free trial and get your first 100 emails free.

Pros

  • You don’t survive in marketing for 20+ years without knowing your stuff.
  • Vast amounts of analytic data allows users to really pin-point what is working for them and what isn’t.
  • Live webinars can be a great tool, especially for those just starting out.

Cons

  • “Email credits” can be a dubious proposition. It’s often less cost-effective than more straight-forward pricing models.
  • All of that analytic data is only helpful if you know how to use it. Someone just starting out could easily feel overwhelmed.

Campaigner Review

Campaigner Email MarketingVisit Website: Campaigner

Campaigner tout themselves as “an email marketing service built by marketers for marketers and non-marketers alike.” (Not much different from the tag lines of most email newsletter providers). They are a cloud-based business service offered by j2 Global Canada, Inc [NASDAQ: JCOM] (the makers of eFax and other software). Campaigner has been around since 2005 and pride themselves on their customer support reputation. Pricing starts at $10 for unlimited emails to 1,000 contacts or click here for a free 30 day Campaigner trial.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service reputation with little to no wait times (won the 2014 Silver Stevie International Business Award for Customer Service Team of the Year – Telecommunications)
  • Competitive pricing – Some of the best pricing of any EMSP, starting at $10 for up to 1,000 contacts. And they use contact pricing, which lets you send an unlimited number of emails to all of the email addresses in your contact list. Per email pricing, on the other hand, would only let you send a certain number of emails per month).
  • Large amount of customizable email newsletter templates (over 700 ready-made templates).
  • A solid and flexible newsletter template editor.
  • Fast sending of email newsletters (a couple of minutes).
  • Includes 10MB of image hosting space.
  • Integration with social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, etc.).
  • Solid contact manager that lets you import your contacts via Excel, Outlook, a CSV (comma-separated values) file, or popular email providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.
  • Includes an autoresponder that will send a pre-written message to new subscribers.
  • You can automatically have unsubscribes and bounces removed.
  • Features opens, bounces, unsubscribes, clicks, forwards, spam stats, best performing links, click trends, heat maps, reporting comparison, social sharing stats, a/b split testing and workflows

Cons

  • No internal support for surveys.

Unique Features

  • Template Builder – one of the easiest to use and most powerful email template editors we tested. And if you don’t like their editor, developers experienced with XHTML/CSS can upload their own designs.

Free Trial

in Depth Review

Campaign Monitor Review

Visit Website: Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is an email marketing product that was built specifically with graphic designers in mind. This interface is very pleasing to the eye and allows for multiple account management. Prices start at $9 for 2,500 emails or $29 for unlimited emails up to 500 subscribers.

Pros

  • Design emails with your favorite design tools.
  • Preview screenshots of a designed email in more than 20 email clients before sending.
  • No pre-built logos, watermarks or links in emails.
  • Unique features include trigger-based messaging and A/B testing.
  • Integration with Google Analytics.
  • Track return on investment and conversions.
  • Offers unlimited image hosting.

Cons

  • You cannot reach a person for customer support and this is a pretty big negative if you actually run into a question.
    • No telephone customer support.
    • No live chat support.

In Depth Review

Check out our full review of Campaign Monitor

Constant Contact Review

Constant ContactVisit Website: Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the oldest email marketing companies around – they have been in business since 1996. Here’s a breakdown of what you get, and the pros and cons. Follow this link Constant Contact (or on the logo at left) to receive 60 days free to try them out.

What you get

The Constant Contact pricing structure has changed over the years. In other words, prices have gone up. They used to have a free option for email lists of 100 users or less. The free option is no longer available. This service is now only available as a paid service, starting out at $15 per month for 0 – 500 contacts (but you can try it for free for 60 days – see link above). Constant Contact’s pricing then increases according to the pricing schedule below.

Toolkit

Toolkit is a newer Constant Contact service that is an online marketing platform that simplifies small business marketing. It does so by bringing together the tools you need to drive repeat customers and reach out to new ones through a variety of campaign types distributed through email, social, mobile, and web.

Pricing

 

  • 0-500 contacts – $15/month
  • 501-2,500 contacts – $35/month
  • 2,501-5,000 contacts – $55/month
  • 5,001-10,000 contacts – $85/month
  • 10,001-25,000 contacts – $195/month
  • 25,001-50,000 contacts – $295/month

Optional features include the ability to archive emails and host them on a Constant Contact-hosted homepage, and conduct surveys, both of which cost extra. This brings us to our pros and cons list.

Pros

  • One of the most experienced providers, having been around since 1996.
  • Well designed interface that is easy to learn and use.
  • Email newsletter templates (400 and counting) that get you up and running in minutes. You can also hire them to custom design a template for you.
  • Contact manager/importing contacts – they have two utilities that help you mass import contacts into your subscriber list:
    • QuickImport - import from Gmail, MS Outlook, Outlook Express, and Facebook. You can upload 100 individual email addresses (no other details) at a time. Use QuickView to add contacts from your iContact list as well.
    • InfoTransfer - import from QuickBooks, Salesforce.com and ACT!.
  • Excellent customer service and support – including your own support agent assigned to you when you sign up. They are also one of the few EMSP’s that answers phones on weekends.

Cons

  • On the more expensive side (you have to pay for the personal customer support). And Constant Contact is known for their “nickel and dime” approach that charges for just about every add-on feature they or you can dream up.
  • You have one sign-up form for your entire account. This is not ideal if you are planning on maintaining multiple lists within one account, and signing up different groups of users on multiple websites using different sign-up forms. For this purpose you’ll need to open multiple accounts, which can be a pain, as well as prove more costly.
  • Charges extra for additional features such as conducting online surveys and archiving email newsletters that others include at no extra charge.
  • Cluttered user interface can make finding what you’re looking for time-consuming.
  • Flexibility of template design is limited compared to some providers. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor (ie. word processing interface) is only available if you use their in-house templates; not with your own html designs.
  • Only 1/2 mb of online image storage is included (5 images and 5 documents) with your subscription. If you want more space, you pay extra ($5 per month for up to 250mb).

Unique Features

  • Social media marketing – available for a monthly fee of $20.00. You get access to contact management tools, coaching and support, small business MarketPlace, and more. (The fee for this service is constantly changing.)

Constant Contact is the email newsletter provider most known of nickel and dime features. Pretty much every add-on feature is going to cost you extra monthly. That’s one of the main downsides with their service. Is the social media marketing worth it?

Free 60 Day Trial

Contactology Review

Visit Website: Contactology

Contactology is an email service provider that prides itself on white labeling (or rebranding as their own), which allows users to use their own color scheme and logo so that the recipients don’t realize that an email service provider is being used. They offer monthly subscriptions starting at $10 for up to 500 subscribers and the first 100 are free. There’s also a “Pay-as-you-Go” option which is discussed below.

Pros

  • Designed for newbies and seasoned marketing experts.
  • Industry Leading API allows for added functionality.
  • Pay-As-You-Go Plans is unique in this industry. (see cons as well below)
  • Inbox Analysis to test campaigns in 30+ various email clients and 12+ spam filters.
  • Multivariate Testing will compare up to 26 campaign versions, select the winner and send it.
  • Import History Report gives you access to a 30-day history of import jobs. This report will show you duplicate contacts, invalid addresses or errors.

Cons

  • Pay-as-you-Go is unique but not a best practice – we would not recommend it.
  • Surveys cost extra, an additional $35 a month.

In Depth Review

Check out our comprehensive review of Contactology

Emma

Emma boasts over 40,000 users and they’re growing fast, having made Inc 500/5000 four times. Emma emphasizes the service end of email marketing and it shows in rave reviews of their customer service. Their drag and drop email editor is easy to use and they offer full image integration from Facebook and Flickr, which could mean the world to a small business looking for free image hosting. With prices starting at $45 per month for 1000 subscribers (unlimited sending) Emma is slightly more expensive than some other services, but as you work up the pay scale the prices become much more competitive.

Pros

  • Easy to use drag and drop interface.
  • An impressive selection of templates from which to choose.
  • Fully integrated with Facebook and Flickr for image hosting, as well as other social media for automatic content sharing.
  • Top notch customer service.
  • Request a 30 day free trial.

Cons

  • Among the most expensive options we’ve reviewed.

ExactTarget Review

Visit Website: ExactTarget

ExactTarget tags themselves as the future of marketing and is a company that has been around since 2000. While claiming to be from “humble” beginnings, this company now operates one of the more dominant email marketing and comprehensive marketing solutions on the market today. Unfortunately, this growth into big business has created somewhat of an intimidating appearance for many smaller businesses seeking these services. But, if you are looking for a comprehensive marketing integration tool to put everything in one place and make it easy to analyze all of your online marketing efforts, Exact Target may be perfect for you. Click here to schedule a customized demo to see how it could work for you.

Pros

  • Live chat customer service allows for access to customer service without long phone wait times.
  • Comprehensive marketing integration across email, mobile, social media, web, data and analytics make cross-platform marketing simpler.
  • Individually based pricing – Pricing for the ExactTarget email marketing solution is based on an individual basis which is catered to each company’s unique needs.
  • ExactTarget offers both a WYSIWYG email editor as well as an HTML email editor.
  • Email attachments can be activated for ExactTarget accounts if needed.
  • RSS feeds can easily and quickly be integrated in to email sending.

Cons

  • No immediately available pricing information.
  • You must have knowledge of AMPScript to use email attachments with ExactTarget.
  • No listed customer service hours.
  • No image hosting service.

Unique Features

  • Software Suites – One of the most attractive features of the ExactTarget email marketing system is the variety of software suites available. For example if you were looking only to utilize social media marketing there is an option to do so through ExactTarget without investing in a complete e-mail marketing solution.

In Depth Review

GetResponse Review

Get ResponseVisit Website: GetResponse

GetResponse is an email service provider that was founded in 1999 and touts itself as the world’s easiest email marketing. They are our 2014 choice for best email marketing service. Their user-friendly interface and email intelligence makes Get Response one of the easiest programs to jump in and get emailing in no time and they have over 300,000 customers to prove it. Pricing starts at $12.30 per month (w/annual discount) for 1,000 subscribers.

Try GetResponse with a no-risk, 30-day FREE trial! Then you can find out first-hand whether it is the best email newsletter service for you.

Pros

  • Intuitive Email Intelligence makes tracking, gauging and analyzing a pleasure.
  • Creating a newsletter is incredibly intuitive with Email Creator.
  • List Booster allows you to import email addresses 16 ways including uploading from a hard drive, importing from mail clients, and from services like Gmail, Outlook, Salesforce and LinkedIn.
  • Form Builder makes creating embedded sign up forms easy on your website, blog and Facebook fan page.
  • Free Surveys to capture valuable feedback from customers, find out what improvements could be made and make sure your campaigns are targeted correctly.
  • Choose from over 500 templates.
  • Time Traveler allows you to send your email at the optimal local time for all recipients to maximize open rate. (e.g. You want all recipients to receive the email at 9am local time so it will deliver to east coast readers at 9am EST and to west coast readers at 9am PST).
  • Inbox Preview to make sure your email will look correct on many different email providers.
  • Free live webinars are conducted on a weekly basis.
  • Social Sharing tool lets your readers share your newsletter instantly and all of the data is tracked in the easy to understand and use Social Share Analytics (includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and LinkedIn).
  • Lots of free images from iStock photo and also easy to add in your own videos, pictures and other media. They even have a QR code generator if you’re into that sort of thing.

Cons

  • No Free Plan.
  • Once you have uploaded images to their database, it might prove difficult to find the imported images to actually use them.

In Depth Review

Google Groups Review

In early 2013, Google rolled out a new Google Groups for Business platform but the focus is no longer email marketing. Today, this is a tool for improving online collaboration between team members, groups and communities who frequently interact in digital discussions. This product been removed from this article to make room for true competitors in this space.

GraphicMail Review

GraphicMailVisit Website: GraphicMail

The services offered by GraphicMail’s marketing software are designed to give users complete control of their marketing campaigns. Among the features included in Graphic Mail are the ability to: customize or create newsletters from templates, manage and build opt-in email lists, send emails via HTML and text, send emails via secure servers, ensure timely delivery of emails, a 24-7 team of support staff tacking message delivery, create CAN-SPAM compliant emails, check SPAM scores, create actionable reports, get detailed information on email recipient activity, track clicking activity, deliver emails over time, view bounced email rates, view complaints reported and export full graphs and data of important account analytics. Pricing starts at $9.95 per month for 2,000 sends.

Pros

  • Offers a free account to those with less than 500 contacts and who don’t need to send more than 10 releases a month.
  • Users are given free access to marketing eBooks that focus on mobile marketing, industry information, email marketing, taking small business online, building email lists and how to successfully email market.
  • Graphic Mail offers Connect +, a social content management system that integrates into their email marketing service.
  • Webinar and video support are made available to users in addition to live chats and telephone support.
  • This software can be integrated into IT platforms utilizing the API (full support for this process is provided on the GraphicMail website.)
  • Offers users the opportunity to have professionally designed newsletter templates designed for them but this comes at a cost (see below).

Cons

  • SMS messaging with link-to-site capability enabled comes with an extra cost of $0.03 for USA, South Africa & Canada; $0.06-0.09 for other countries.
  • Custom newsletter templates come at a cost of $350 per template which is a considerable price in comparison to the fees charged by most non-affiliated graphic designers.
  • Monthly credits that go unused do not carry over in to the next month and are lost.

iContact Review

iContact

Visit Website: iContact

iContact offers very competitive pricing plans (starts at $14/month for 500 users) and a wide array of features. But how reliable are they? Read the pros and cons to find out how iContact compares to others. Want to give them a try? Try iContact for free (or click on the logo at left) to receive a free trial account.

Pros

  • Very competitive pricing.
  • iContact offers flexible options for your subscriber sign-up forms. You can create multiple different forms on different websites with various fields for gathering unique types of data (name, email, street address, etc.).
  • Live Customer Support via phone as well as webinars, video tutorials and more.
  • HTML editor for email newsletter templates.
  • You can create surveys at no additional charge. iContact surveys are fully supported, which means they don’t use any third-party plugins.
  • You can archive email newsletters at no additional charge.
  • Supports the creation of auto-responders.
  • Seamless integration with Salesforce for stronger CRM programs.
  • List segmentation by demographics, interests, and subscriber behaviors.
  • Supports 5mb for online image storage.
  • Comprehensive contact manager that includes:
    • Subscription management
    • Bounceback handling
    • Contact history reports

Cons

  • Slow loading website.
  • Social media marketing included at no extra charge only includes Facebook and Twitter (Pinterest, LInkedIn, GooglePlus, etc. are excluded).
  • Google Analytics integration is only in place for members of their premier level service vs. other services that include this as a standard feature.
  • We’ve heard reports that their support system is not nearly as good as the competition (i.e. inexperienced support staff, long wait times, etc.).
  • Support community appears to be more of a “content blog” where people can post content on various topics completely unrelated to email marketing.

Unique Features

iContact offers the following tools to help you customize your email newsletter templates:

  • MessageBuilder – allows you to build newsletters from scratch using a WYSIWYG editor.
  • MessageCoder – allows web designers and developers to code templates in HTML – the same technology that is used to build web pages, so you can imagine the flexibility this allows you as far as designing your newsletter templates and getting them to match your website look/ layout.
  • Google Analytics Integration – iContact’s Google Analytics integration, for premier account holders, allows you to:
    • Enable Analytics tracking on a per-message basis.
    • Customize source, campaign, and content parameters.
    • Automatically have Google Analytics parameters attached to your messages.
    • Track results for an unlimited number of domain names.

Coupon Code

For the 2014 Holiday Season, We Rock Your Web readers will receive 15% off their iContact purchase. Click here take advantage of this offer!

In Depth Review

JangoMail

JangoMail began as a single company’s elegant solution to a complicated problem. How to pull data from multiple servers (some local, some halfway around the world) and assemble it into a single mass email? That feature is JangoMail’s unique claim to fame, although it incorporates many other features, including foreign language support, in-depth personalization options and fully customizable RSS to email conversion. Pricing starts at $15 per month for up to 2500 emails.

Pros

  • Extremely competitive price.
  • Many innovative features, including their customizable RSS and foreign language support in both plain text and HTML.
  • We can’t stress “fully customizable” enough. If you don’t see a feature, just ask. They’ll make it happen.

Cons

  • It’s a powerful system, but often reads like a tech manual. If you’re not a pro, you might feel like you’ve gotten over your head.

MailChimp Review

MailChimpVisit Website: MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the newer contenders in the ring as far as our reviews are concerned. They offer a simple and fun interface, and a free plan for a mailing list under 2,000 subscribers. How does MailChimp stack up against the competition? Let’s find out…

Pros

  • Competitive pricing (monthly plan starting at $10 for 500 users/unlimited sends) and a free plan for lists with 2,000 or less subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month). There are some limitations (e.g. no A/B testing until you’ve been using it for a while) but this is by far the best free plan we’ve come across.
  • Straightforward contact list management and easy import of contacts via CSV file.
  • Unlimited image hosting – MailChimp allows you to host as many images as you’d like.
  • Embed email archives on your website – MailChimp offers a “Campaign Archive Folder” that will automatically sync your archived newsletters to your website. This is the best implementation of this feature we’ve seen. The benefit? You get the SEO benefit of all that content you’ve created.
  • MailChimp includes a feature to track where your sign-ups originated from. You can use this to optimize your opt-out prevention methods.
  • An Inbox Inspector add-on that lets you generate over 25 screenshots of your email in all major email applications, as well as live tests from all the major ISPs to see if spam filters are triggered. This is one of the better spam checking/score features we’ve come across.
  • MailChimp’s HTML templates are easy to use, and you can use their WYSIWYG editor to customize your own designs.
  • NEW MailChimp Editor for iPad

Cons

  • It’s not quite as feature packed as some of its competitors. For one, it doesn’t have the comprehensive reporting options some other email newsletter providers do. On the other hand, it does integrate with Google Analytics to provide insight to optimize future campaigns.
  • Importing of contact lists could be easier – the columns have to match up perfectly for the import to work.
  • Importing templates from existing website graphics would be a great add-on. It takes some work to get your email template looking like you want it to.

Unique Features

  • Embed and publish email archives – The feature described above that allows you to automatically and seamlessly (by copying and pasting a code snippet onto your website) have archived copies of your newsletters published on your website. These can then get indexed by search engines (such as Google), and you can receive visitors to your website thanks to all the hard work you put into writing unique, relevant content for your newsletters.
  • Goal triggers emails from actions on your websites while Conversations keep track of replies from subscribers.

In Depth Review

Check out our deep-dive review of MailChimp.

Mailigen Review

Mailigen

Visit Website: Mailigen

Mailigen is a great option for beginners and experts alike due to its effortless customizations and wide array of features that make crafting a unique marketing strategy fun and effective. There are a few shortcomings, however, like limited stock images and an image (some would call it tacky) that is sent out with every email. All things considered, Mailigen is a fantastic option loaded with features that make for a solid product. Click here to get a 30-day free trial and pricing starts at $10/month for up to 500 subscribers.

Pros

  • Dynamic Code Feature allows you to target very specific interest groups which makes for creating custom emails cost-effective.
  • Autoresponders feature can be utilized to send out custom messages when very specific events occur (ie.- when someone joins your email list, they can receive a custom welcome email).
  • Email Setup Wizard walks you through email content creation so novice users can showcase professional-looking products.
  • Social Network buttons are easy to implement and link your contact to all of your social media sites.
  • You can request your own IP address which will further protect you against spam and malware.
  • Employ deliverability specialists and strategic account representatives which provide top of the line help and support.

Cons

  • Very small database of images (10mb) to choose from makes customizing newsletters and emails somewhat limited (does increase to 100mb for the Pro Package and up).
  • Does not offer ability to preview emails before you send them out, so you are not able to see a final product until it is released.
  • Mailigen’s branding appears on every email unless requested otherwise.

Unique Features

  • Automatic Follow-Up – Great way to create consistent and unique email marketing campaigns.
  • MERGE Marketing – systematic and effective approach to email marketing
  • Dynamic Content – allows marketers to interact with individuals by building multi-tiered marketing messages based on specific segments, criteria or attributes.
  • Drag ‘n’ Drop Editor – multi-purpose editor makes crafting unique email marketing pieces easy to customize and easy to understand.

Free Trial

  • Try out a 30-Day Free Trial from Mailigen

Omnistar Mailer Review

Omnistar MailerVisit Website: Omnistar Mailer

Used by over 14,000 clients, Omnistar Mailer is a powerful service with an easy to use interface that got its start in the real estate industry. But with its one-time pay fee structure, it is more likely to be used by companies that send out a great deal of email campaigns or plan to use it to promote another business and be compensated for this work (e.g. advertising agency). Omnistar also shines for designers to resell as their own product. Click here to get started with a free 15 day trial and then pay a monthly fee starting at $27 for 500 subscribers or pay $276 for unlimited email for a year (90 day money back guarantee).

Pros

  • One time fee. Pricing starts at $287 for unlimited emails.
  • Rebrand the software for resale (white label). For $587 you can resell to 5 clients and for $887 you can resell to 10 clients.
  • Personalize each email so that recipients feel the email is just for them.
  • Split Test Email Campaigns to test the effectiveness of multiple campaigns.
  • Integrate with current design.
  • Powerful reporting features.
  • 24/7 Help Desk Support and Phone Support through the week.

Cons

  • At $24+/month, it’s expensive and a little confusing for the beginner.

In Depth Review

SharperEmail Review

SharperEmail offers a clean and streamlined product with a number of pros and cons. Their lack of social media integration shows that they may be a little behind the times, but they offer a good product that is affordable on most budgets. They do offer a 30-day free trial which will allow you to try the product and decide for yourself if it is right for you.

Pros

  • Affordable service. Aside from companies that offer free sending, SharperEmail offers the most affordable basic plan price.
  • Users are given a choice of an HTML and a WYSIWYG editor as well as the ability to send emails in both HTML and text.
  • Users are given unlimited image hosting capabilities.
  • Existing contact lists can be imported directly in to the software with a few clicks.
  • Provides a detailed set of reporting and analytics tools to measure marketing progress.
  • Users are offered the choice of utilizing a dedicated IP address.
  • Most basic features offered by email marketing services are offered including: split testing, trigger based messaging, spam score checking, list segmentation, inclusion of surveys, auto-responder services and RSS feed integration.
  • 24/7 customer support: US, Europe and Asia

Cons

  • They do not offer a free plan, instead, they offer users a thirty-day free trial and a pay as you go plan.
  • Once users exceed 5,000 subscribers their pay as you go pricing is not as appealing as it was for lower level service.
  • To date, SharperEmail gives no indication of integrating social media management in to their email marketing services.
  • Attachments must be uploaded directly to the server and inserted in to emails as linked attachments. This is not unusual, as the prominence of viral attachments has forced most email marketing companies to ban direct email attachments. Additionally attaching files causes messages to get flagged by spam filters frequently.
  • Google Analytics cannot be integrated

Unique Features

  • Create personalized newsletters and flyers. – powerful creation engine makes creating personal newsletters easy to do and unique to each user.
  • Large template library- from promotions to postcards, the template library allows users to choose from a wide range of themed templates.
  • List building – email marketing is easy to set up and can be changed at any time.
  • Sophisticated reporting – detailed reports on all activity is easy to understand
  • Advanced delivery methods – anti-spam software and around the clock monitoring ensures your emails will be seen exactly as you send them out

StreamSend Review

StreamSend Email MarketingVisit Website: StreamSend

StreamSend’s tagline is Email Marketing You Can Believe In. They are becoming increasingly popular amongst our readers. Streamsend differentiates themselves from the pack by offering unlimited image storage, a private IP address, trigger-based messaging, and extensive social media sharing capabilities. Read the terminology section below to find out what all this means. Pricing starts at $19.90 per month for 2,000 email per month (not limited by # of subscribers like most). If you’d like to try StreamSend out for free for 30 days, click here, or the banner above.

Pros

  • Very friendly and easy to use interface, complete with drag & drop.
  • Offers unlimited image hosting – this is practically unheard of in the industry.
  • Unique features include a private IP address, trigger-based messaging, and A/B testing.
  • Good list segmentation- includes filters to target specific recipients (filter by domain name, for example)
  • In-depth campaign reporting that includes statistics on opens, bounces, subscriptions, and more.
  • Integration with Google Analytics.
  • Demographic reporting.
  • Easy to use importing of contacts from Excel, Outlook, or a CSV (Comma Separated Values) text file.
  • Developer API is now available.
  • Email Analyzer – lets you analyze screenshots of your email newsletter as it will appear in 30 email clients. You can also see what your message will look like depending on how the user has their mail program setup – ie. with images, without images, and in the preview pane. Finally, you can run your email through 9 popular spam filters to see how it will fare.
  • Live telephone support is now available Monday – Friday, 8-5 PST. Call (877) 439-4078, extension 3.
  • HTML editor

Cons

  • Costs slightly more than its competitors but the unlimited image hosting alone may make up the difference in no time if you use images in your emails.
  • Doesn’t have as many great looking templates to choose from (100+) as some of the competitors.

Free Trial

  • Try StreamSend for free! Jelly Belly is a proud customer of this company.

In Depth Look

Visit our detailed StreamSend Review.

Vertical Response Review

VerticalResponse, Inc.

Visit Website: Vertical Response

Vertical Response has been in business since 2001, and they have continued their commitment to customer service. Unfortunately, they have also been receiving quite a few complaints recently as you’ll see in our comments section. Sign up and receive 500 free email credits from Vertical Response (or on the logo at left – this is an exclusive deal for our readers!). And, if you are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), you can apply for a free credit program. Pricing starts at $10 for 500 users.

Email List SizeMonthly Cost
0 – 500$10
501 – 2,000$28
2,001 – 4,000$46
4,001 – 8,000$72
8,001 – 16,000$120
16,001 – 25,000$150
25,001 – 40,000$240
40,000+Call for Vertical Response pricing

Pros

  • Excellent support community. It appears that the support community has relatively fast response times, is well-organized, and has avid user interaction.
  • Offers a whopping 25MB of online image storage for your newsletters.
  • Email newsletter archiving included at no additional charge.
  • You can segment your mailing list, and send out newsletters to sub-groups of your mailing list.
  • Free webinars and support seminars, along with video tutorials, on how to make the most of your email newsletter campaigns.
  • Realtime reporting and statistics, accessible from any web browser.
  • Offers a free credit program to allow not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organizations to use this program free of charge.
  • VerticalResponse Social includes a Social Media Dashboard with which you can schedule a full month of social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Also provides relevant content based on your industry and interests.
  • More than 850,000 users so they’ve got to be good.

Cons

  • No sequential autoresponder functionality, despite the fact that they’ve been promising this feature since 2009. They say they are launching a new VerticalResponse in 2014 with an autoresponder so stay tuned!
  • They’re spam checking tools are very limited. For instance, you can’t get a spam score indicating the likelihood that your email newsletter will make it to your subscriber’s inbox.
  • The first 25 online survey results are free but once you pass that threshold there is an additional cost (starts at $13.50 per month).
  • It’s important that you don’t provide a “from” address in opt-in forms as this may result in confirmation notices not reaching recipients. If you leave the “from” field blank, Vertical Response will auto fill it with one of its own. This should be more obvious.
  • When a recipient unsubscribes from a Vertical Response email they unsubscribe from all Vertical Response user emails, so they might unsubscribe from yours unknowingly.

Unique Features

  • Direct mail postcards – send direct mail postcards for $0.75 a piece.
  • FreeForm web editor – allows you to upload your own HTML.
  • Image library & editor – large image hosting space (25MB), and an image editor that lets you crop, resize, flip and rotate your images.
  • BigContacts – an integrated CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) tool for advanced managing of your contacts. Pricing starts at $15/month.
  • Survey PricingVR does offer survey functionality, but at a cost. Pricing is no longer posted on their site but this is the most recent info that we have:
    • $13.50/month for up to 1,000 responses.
    • $27/month for up to 4,000 responses.
    • $45/month for up to 7,500 responses.
    • $67.50/month for up to 15,000 responses.

Free Trial

in Depth Review

Is your EMSP Not Listed?

If the email marketing brand you’re looking for wasn’t reviewed, check the comments below, you’ll find that many of our visitors are posting their own reviews and opinions. We will also stay as current as possible on this list to update existing and add new providers. Your requests are welcome. You can subscribe to our feed in the upper right corner to stay up to date.

Changing email marketing service providers

So let’s say you’ve decided you want to switch to another provider, such as from iContact to Constant Contact, or the other way around. How painful will the transition process be? Fortunately, any good email marketing provider should allow you to export your subscriber list. You can then import the subscriber list into your new email marketing provider. That’s the easy part. You should also consider how you will move your newsletter archives so you do not lose this valuable content you have created over the years. The more difficult part, depending on how your website is set up, will be replacing all the sign-up boxes you have scattered over the Web to gather sign-ups for your newsletter.

Content Management Systems (CMS) make transitioning easier

If you’re using a back-end driven, dynamically generated site such as a CMS (Content Management System – i.e. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) and you have a “block” or “snippet” for your newsletter sign-up box, you should be able to make one update and have it update across your website instantaneously. If you have more than one website, you’ll need to make this update for each website.

The last thing you’ll want to copy over is the design templates you use for your newsletters. Typically you’ll have access to the HTML for these, so copying these over shouldn’t be all too difficult in most services, as most email marketing service providers provide flexible template editing options.

Terminologies

In this section, we outline some email marketing terminology that may sound Greek when you first hear them but don’t worry, we have prepared definitions to help you out. These are referenced often in the reviews, so make sure to check back to this section if you get lost or confused.

  • Surveys - email marketing surveys help you capture visitor data. Typically, surveys will let you:
    • Create public (anyone can answer) or private (only a specified subset of your subscribers can answer) surveys.
    • Choose different answer formats – text boxes, radio buttons, drop-downs, etc.
    • Redirect visitors to a custom thank you page upon completion of your survey.
    • Export survey results to a file or spreadsheet for analysis (ie. by sorting columns you can gauge responses based on different variables).
  • WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get. This is used to describe a web editor interface that lets you design newsletter templates using buttons similar to those found in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. Examples of buttons include bold, italic, using headings, a button to insert images, and more.
  • Autoresponder – An autoresponder fires off an email to a subscriber automatically. A single autoresponder is most common – this typically just replies to a subscriber when they sign up. A sequential autoresponder is a little more advanced and allows you to schedule a series of predefined emails to be sent out on a specified schedule.
  • A/B Testing (Split Testing) – an Internet marketing technique that lets you test and see which elements of your email newsletter: subject line, text, graphics, design or layout, can be improved to increase your newsletter’s success rate.
  • Trigger-based messaging – lets you send messages based on your subscriber’s actions. They offer a more personalized interaction with your subscribers. Examples of trigger-based messages include a welcome email, a “happy birthday” message, a reminder to renew a subscription, a note that a new version of a product is available, a “we miss you ” note to a subscriber that hasn’t opened a newsletter in a while, etc.
  • List Segmentation – send messages to subsets of your subscriber base to help establish a stronger connection via more relevant newsletters. Customer segmentation marketing is becoming increasingly important as the consumer looks for more one-to-one communication in the Facebook age. You can use split testing mentioned above with list segmentation to test the efficacy of different subject lines, layouts, and content. You have the option of resending messages to subscribers who didn’t open or respond the first time. Finally, you can target subsets of your subscriber base and mail out promotions and offers based on demographics, purchasing history, geographic location, and more.
  • Attachments – most EMSP’s do not allow attachments for a simple reason – they increase the probability of a given message being viewed as spam (as a result, the EMSP (and your) delivery rates may be affected. Attachments can also be flagged as computer virus files. You’re better off using inline links in your newsletter email, which you can then link to a hosted file. When the user clicks the link, they are given the option to download the file. Not as streamlined as an email attachment, but much more likely to allow the email to reach its full audience.
  • Spam Score/Checking – finding out whether your subscribers actually got your email is important. If they didn’t, why not? Some EMSP’s offer spam score utilities that help you determine the likelihood of your newsletter ending up in a spam box before you hit send. Spam tests help you optimize and clean up your email campaign before sending it.
  • Newsletter Archiving – the ability to save, or archive, your old newsletters. EMSP’s differ in the way they handle this feature. Some offer you to backup a certain quantity or volume of newsletters on their servers. Others offer export options that convert your newsletters into PDF or HTML files so you can download them and/or store them on your website. We point out that there is an SEO advantage to archiving your own newsletters (DIY).

Please Comment Below With Your Opinions!

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About Alex Schenker

Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.
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  • RFQ

    This is an excellent article! I appreciate the table comparison chart. I have been beta testing several of the apps and liked MailChimp best so far. It was easy to use, free, and allowed more emails per subscription campaign. Most of all it was easy to use. There is another robust tool, Send Pepper, I have not tried this one yet, but will be shortly. One of my partners uses it and has the autoresponder code, which I don’t see or know how to use yet with MailChimp that I need for webinar automation/WP tools.

    • http://www.asecurelife.com/ Kimberly Kurimski

      Glad you found this article useful! Thank you for telling us about your experience with MailChimp and being a part of our community.

  • Kathy

    Campaigner DOES require a credit card for a free trial. No thanks.

    • http://www.asecurelife.com/ Kimberly Kurimski

      Thanks for the update Kathy! We have corrected it in the article.

  • Matt

    I’ve been using e-blasting dot com services for a while now. They give me excellent phone support. I’ve recently started using some of their automated features. Fair price for the level of support I get.

  • House

    It’s good having so much information in one place. When you update the reviews, can you date them and also add whether or not the company offers responsive customizable templates?

  • Guest

    Something I’ve noticed when signing up with certain company newsletters is that they start you off with the first newsletter. For example, let’s say it’s a series of newsletters about decorating your home and it starts out with a newsletter about painting. I think this would be very useful for many businesses. It would give them a chance to offer something that customers would want to sign up for, but wouldn’t require them to constantly be in front of the computer sending out separate newsletters.

    When you’re approaching customers for their email address, there needs to be an incentive to get customers to sign up. Otherwise, why would they? After all, we all get tons of spam. Why would someone willingly sign up for spam? Whether it’s a discount code, informative series of emails, or other special perks, you will attract more flies with honey.

    This is one reason ebooks came about. Businesses were looking for ways to attract new customers through email marketing and began offering ebooks that the target audience would find useful. For example, a company that revolved around cleaning products might have offered a free ebook on keeping your home organized and tidy. Not only did it give them a chance to promote their products within the book, but also attract more customers to their email list.

  • Guest

    After reading this over, I think I have settled on GetResponse as my email marketing provider. The interesting thing is that they actually offer options I did not even consider before I was reading this article. I have been looking for an email marketing provider to take care of my newsletter and other email marketing needs and I was not totally sure of what I wanted until I read this article.

    My goal was to get people more involved in the newsletter and email campaign in general. I have found that surveys are a great way to get the audience involved. While I do already have limited surveys on some of my sites, the idea that an email marketing service provider would provide that with the email service makes a lot more sense to me. The surveys on the sites do great, but using surveys in emails seems like it would a lot more effective since it goes directly to the audience rather than trying to get them to do it on the site. I also like some of the other services GetResponse provides, but the surveys tend to stand out the most for me at this moment.

    • Christi

      Did you end up choosing Get Response? If so, are you happy with your choice? I am trying to decide and I’m leaning towards GR. Thanks!

  • guest

    It is not easy ton find an email marketing service that does everything you need it to. You only know if it is the want you want by trying it out or reading about it on sites like this. I know that I personally would never go with any kind of service provider based on their own ad campaign. I mean, I will listen to what they have to say about the services they provide, but I would never base my decision just on that. I prefer to go with a company that puts its money in the service or product rather than on marketing. That’s because once I pay for it, their marketing does not do anything for me.

    To me, it says a lot about a company if they offer the first month for free. You get to try the service and play around with your email marketing campaign a bit before you make any decisions that are going to cost you any money. That tells me the company has faith in their product. They think you will like it enough to stick around and keep using it once the free service period is over. I realize this is a marketing tactic too, but at least the company is letting the product speak for itself.

  • guest

    First of all, I had no idea that these companies offered so many different services. I knew that you could use these companies to create and send out newsletters, but hadn’t considered surveys or any of the other services. As someone who is trying to grow her business, I know that this is a service that could greatly boost my success. My only problem is whether or not these companies offer more services than I need. I really don’t want to pay for services that I never use.

    I have to say that I was overwhelmed by all the information. There was just so much I didn’t know about, such as being able to view how a newsletter will look across different email clients. There was just so much I hadn’t considered. However, I do feel that I have a better idea of what I do and do not need from such a service.

    I look forward to viewing the email marketing comparison table to get a better idea of which company will work best for me. The information I share on my website is extremely time-sensitive so I will need a company that can handle a quick turnaround and get my newsletter to readers before the information is no longer useful.

  • guest

    As someone just starting to look into email marketing as one of the methods of reaching my audience, I found these reviews really helpful. The only problem is that there are so many companies to choose from. I also noticed that some of the comments show differing opinions involving ease of using the templates. I think this is probably a matter of ability as well as the program.

    What I mean is, we tend to forget that not everyone is tech savvy and I think that many email marketing services tend to forget that as well. I personally am not all that tech savvy, so what is going to be easy for you to use is not going to be easy for me to use. I offer a great service, but I may not always know how to use the tools that I need to in order to market it.

    For me, ease of use is the big deal. I want to be able to get my information out there without having an IT degree. I also need to have the option to use surveys. My service is very interactive and I value the opinions of my customers (as any business should). Other than that, I want to pay for what I am using, not what I might use.

  • Guest

    I’ve been researching email providers for a while now. I am seeking ways to expand my online network in order to better serve my business needs. That includes keeping my customers informed and my readers interested. As such, I feel a great deal of frustration when I have to deal with poor service providers that are constantly losing information or not able to access it. I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to trying to track down documents and emails. Up until recently I have been content to use free email services, but I have gotten what I paid for.

    Over the course of my research, Constant Contact has been a name that has appeared over and over with good reviews and somewhat decent pricing. I haven’t quite settled on a choice yet, but I have to give them some consideration in light of their popularity. But then, I also have to make sure that they have earned a solid reputation, so my opinion can’t be based just on the frequency of mention. I don’t want to get caught up in a successful promotional campaign that promotes a company that my not be worthy of the mentions they get.

    • MalibuDave

      The company where I work has been using Constant Contact for a couple of years and the design interface is frustrating and very difficult to manage.

      If you are creating a completely new document every single time, it isn’t so bad. But if you have regular, recurring messages that you send to your customers, expect trouble and hair-pulling, curse-laden tirades. For instance, you can’t copy last year’s notice of your annual Labor Day party and update the date to use again this year. I mean, you can try, but the type and graphics will jump all over the place and the fonts will change color, size and alignment without warning or explanation. With the huge amount of time it takes to update an old notice with new information, you might as well start from scratch.

      So I’m here shopping for another email service, but this website says that the Constant Contact templates and interface are easy to use, I’m here to say that from my personal experience, the templates and interface for Constant Contact are not easy to use.

      I’m hoping someone here can tell me if the interface and graphic controls are better with any of the other services. And I’m secretly hoping that I’m not the only one having this problem with Constant Contact.

  • Guest

    I’m looking for a provider that allows as much integrations as possible. I find that I am constantly jumping around through various email providers and social networking sites. I probably spend more time doing the jumping around than I actually get to spend doing the work I’m trying to promote. Working online is a great deal, but you really need to have the right tools to do it effectively. Otherwise, you’re essentially working for pennies.

    I use around 6 social networking sites. For my social networking to be as effective as I need it be, I need to use those sites every day. That means I have to visit 6 sites a day and that’s before I ever even do any work. I’m not even social enough to appreciate the interaction. So, for me, being able to integrate my social networking with my email provider is something that is a must. If I’m going to pay for an email service rather than use a free one I don’t want to have to do everything manually. I want as much integration as possible and I don’t want to have to have a degree in technology to be able to use the service.

  • Guest

    I’m a bit confused. I’ve thought about using email services to build my business. But when I think about it, I get this visual of all the junk mail I get in my snail mail. To me, those emails I get rank along the same lines. So maybe I’m just misunderstanding how these kind of marketing platforms work. They must be effective in some way or people wouldn’t keep using them. Or is this a whole different concept? I don’t want to spam anyone and to me that’s what this is all about.

    When we talk about these kinds of providers, are we talking about a service that just regularly sends emails like newsletters to people who already subscribe? Or is this service supposed to build you a library of subscribers? If it does, how does it do that without spamming people? I can’t imagine that anyone just puts their name on a list to be sent tons of random emails.

    I’m sure I’m missing something here. Maybe I just don’t get it. I’m totally willing to put money into my business, but I’m not willing to risk my reputation to take a slim chance that this kind of service will actually benefit my business in some way.

    • We Rock Your Web

      These email marketing services are designed to enhance existing marketing programs – not add to junk mail. So, these services allow you to set the time interval and contents of each and every newsletter you send. And the newsletters only go out to the people who have opted-in as subscribers to receive news from you, the marketer/company. In fact, many of these companies have very strict no-spam policies and actually help you create the most targeted newsletters possible for your audience to further optimize your marketing spend. We believe that one-to-one direct email marketing is one of the most cost effective tools any marketer could use to grow their business. Hope this helps!

    • Mark

      So many different companies to consider when choosing the right email marketing service to go with for my business. I just cannot decide but this article helps me narrow it down. I might try a few out with the free trials and see which one I like best. Thinking either iContact or GetResponse…but NOT Google… I tried that one before. It is seems too good to be true, it likely is and in this case, it definitely is. Don’t do it!

  • Anonymous

    One thing that I did want to note, how many successful marketers use Constant Contact? I haven’t seen any. The inability to have more than one opt in form is enough reason to not chose them.

    I’ve been using iContact for over two years and have to say that I’ve very happy with their pricing, their service, their deliverability – AND their customer service totally rocks IMO. At any time when I’ve had a question I’ve used online chat and gotten instant response.

    Aweber is also excellent.

  • Anonymous

    One cool feature of Omnistar Mailer is the auto responder function. I really like using this feature because my email marketing goes on without me doing anything.

  • Lisa

    This was awesome information as I was tasked to research these tools in addition to event management software. What I found is that only about three of the products listed have an event management component: Constant Contact, Vertical Response and Boomerang. Emma claims to integrate with Eventbrite, but not much detail is offered. May be worth an additional 2 lines on the matrix for others with similar needs…

    Thanks again for the info – really cut down my leg word…errr key strokes? ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I have been using Constant Contact for years and was just dropped, my account closed without warning, due to ‘illicit pornographic content.’ As I use my account for my business, this does not actually apply to me and although I called customer service they just shrugged and said there was nothing they could do for me, the ‘system’ had closed my account based on a violation of company policy.

    I have been super patient with the terrible templates and once a day email spam from CC for several years, but this is just crappy customer service taken to a whole new level.

  • Anonymous

    I started with Constant Contact, and when the challenges of using them became more than I could stand (blocking , changing formatting, poor tech support,) I switched to RatePoint… their tech support is great, but they are challenging to use, and have limited options in terms of opt-in boxes…which are necessary for my 2 websites and auto responders that I need now. Ratepoint is not that easy to use and doesn’t have a whole lot of options in terms of fonts, styles and functionality, but the people are helpful, friendly and try to be accommodating when called upon for help. That said I do need an easy to use auto responder that can be attached to a webpage, e-mail, etc. and can have more than one group to opt-in for… does this even exist??? any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Loren

    • Anonymous

      Yesterday I got notice from RatePoint that they have been bought out by Constant Contact. Since my paid contract is up in November, I am looking for a totally new company since I believe Constant Contact is overpriced. It doesn’t seem like any one service gets me all I am looking for, so I guess I keep searching.

  • Chris

    YourMailingListProvider has worked great for some of my smaller clients, easy-to-use, all the features we needed, great support and from what I could tell, great deliverability.

    Worth a look, if you are a small business and need good pricing without compromising or skimping. Plus I’d say it’s the easiest one I’ve tried… although MailChimp was very quick to learn as well.

    • nakeeta

      YMLP is awesome. Just recently they made you pay an international transaction fee!!

  • Darren Spencer

    HonestMail is the lowest price full featured email marketing service provider on the planet and the first built on Amazon’s ground breaking email technology. You will see a detailed price and feature comparison to all of the major email service providers on our site.

    Darren Spencer, CEO at HonestMail.net

  • andy7777777

    Conflicting Info – Please check

    —————–

    1) Vertical Response (Table)

    http://www.werockyourweb.com/email-marketing-services-comparison-table

    Newsletter Archiving = No

    2) Vertical Response (Review )

    http://www.werockyourweb.com/constant-contact-vs-icontact-vs-vertical-response#vertical_response

    Newsletter Archiving = Yes

    • We Rock Your Web

      Hi Andy,

      Sorry for the confusion. Our bad. The table has been updated to reflect the correct information which is that yes, Vertical Response does offer an email newsletter service.

      Thanks for your help and keep on rockin!

  • Anonymous

    I know that there are plenty of other options to consider, and there are a lot of people on here who have given both of these companies bad reviews. But for a non-profit organization looking to just get a start, which would you consider the better deal? We have social media accounts in Twitter and Facebook, and are expanding our e-mail list.

  • Tim

    My business has a number of different niche market estores. We’ve been amazingly lax in not getting this done but we’re starting to get it. I’d like to be able to keep a masterlist of all customers who have bought from one of the stores in our group (we have over 100,000 names) and I’d also be able to get at the names on a “per store” basis. Our largest individual store has over 35,000 names; our newest store just went live in April and is just getting started and only has a handful so far. Average is probably about 10,000 names. Do any of the providers reviewed have this capability? (I know Constant Contact does not because they, in a profound example of customer service, suggested I open 11 separate accounts – at a substantial cost differential compared to a single list.) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Brian

      Off the top of my head I’m not sure the answer to your question. I’m working on updating this article this week and will keep an eye out for that sort of information. It’s also possible that Alex, the article’s original author, might have info for you in the short term. I’ll make sure he sees your question.

    • Alex

      Hi Tim,

      Excellent question. I believe some of the providers we’ve reviewed do offer multiple list management within one account, the question is can you search all of them as well as each list individually. We’re currently researching this to get you details on who offers this and to what extent.

  • Anonymous

    Your facts about Constant Contact are incorrect. They still offer a trial sign up for free — 60 days for up to 100 subscribers. I wasn’t sure so I called their offices today (January 17, 2012) to confirm. Also, I have been using Constant Contact for many years. I haven’t experienced a price increase for many years. And, you didn’t mention that Constant Contact fully exploits social media opportunities more than any other ESP. There is no question in my mind that Constant Contact provides the most value for the money.

  • client

    I have exported my database clients (that I have had for years!!) to iContact and sent one email to my clients. Result: all of the Yahoo emails do not receive my emails, and I need to resubmit them. The status is pending confirmation to be more exact, and this applies to half of my client list (many thousands …).

    I have sent email to my Yahoo clients, like iContact asked me to and I verified what happened: few answered and some emails I have tested went straight to spam (iContact said this was because my newsletters contained limited text).

    After that – anything I have asked iContact about I receive no support for! But the money I’ve paid them has been entered in their accounts for many months and still there’s no answer to my request to let me use my Yahoo emails.

    I have sent an email to iContact asking them to send me at least my database saved in their platform and they haven’t yet answered! This is no way to treat a client who puts thousands of USD ($) in your pocket!

    I will post this non-stop until iContact understands that this is not a way to treat a client who is trying to resolve his needs calmly when they simply don’t care!

  • Chris Wheaton

    It’s shameful you’re passing these reviews off as having been done in 2013. You’re painfully misinforming the public about current capabilities of various services. Just looking at the very first review for AWeber I know that these “con” claims are totally incorrect. All of these functions exist at AWeber.

    From your review:

    No image hosting – AWeber does not host your images for you. That means you’ll either need access to a hosting provider (such as the one powering your website), or an image hosting service such as Photobucket or Imageshack, in order to host (upload and save) your newsletter images.

    No Social Media Integration with any of the networks. Not even Facebook.

    No HTML editor – while you can’t import your website look and feel into your email newsletter template directly, you can copy and paste the source into the editor as a workaround.

    At time of writing, you can’t auto-remove duplicates from your email lists, you’ll need to do this manually.

    • Brian

      Hi Chris,

      Every company on this list was carefully audited and reviewed in preparation for updating this article earlier this month, so it is indeed accurate as of April 2013. You are correct that aWeber does not offer limited social media integration with Facebook and Twitter which we have updated in our article. Thanks for the heads up. However, the other items that you mentioned are still true so far as we can tell from everything we read on aWeber’s website and conversations we have had with user. For example, while they do have more than 100 HTML email template designs, they do not allow for you to edit the html to more customize the look (with the exception of a simple color change or addition of logo). Further, we see no reference to any image hosting or ability to auto-remove duplicates in list management.

      If you know otherwise please advise – we would be happy to update with any corrections that you or anyone provides. As you know, technology sometimes moves faster than we possibly can but we do our best to stay on top of things. It might take us a little time, but I promise we’re working on it.

      Thanks for reading and providing feedback. We welcome reader feedback to keep us honest and current but also appreciate your understanding that we are only human ;) Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I have a different take on Constant Contact than many of the other posters; I like them. I’ve always had excellent customer service and found it pretty easy to set up and send emails. (I code them in another program, then cut and paste into CC.)

    But I’m also leaving them. That’s partly because they’re pretty expensive and there appear to be less expensive alternatives. It’s also because later this month or early next they will no longer support IE7. I’ve grown out of the “I have to upgrade because an upgrade is available) stage of my life, and I’m still using Windows XP. That means I can’t use IE8. And I don’t have any particular desire to load and learn other browsers just so CC will let me be their customer. So I’m shopping.

    This article and these comments have been very helpful and have given me some leads. However, I might add that GoDaddy has an email marketing tool that I haven’t played with yet. Much, much less expensive than CC. Has anyone else tried it?

  • Frandischarles

    Amazing post. That is exactly what we had been trying to find. My partner and I liked your time and effort. Your own write-up is incredibly a good choice for me personally. I’ll absolutely revisit your internet site for much more.

  • CC review

    Constant Contact is a complete joke. They are by far the most expensive email service out there. What exactly are we paying so much money for? More advertising for them? We had been with CC for 5 years and finally decided to switch to a new mail provider because we couldn’t justify the monthly charges.

  • a web rocker

    Get Response web templates don’t work with Internet Explorer. Really?

    Campaigner botched the sign up and their templates look quite different in the set up than they do when you actually mail them.

    Two strikeouts out of the “Top 3 2012 Winners”

    • We Rock Your Web

      Hi, We are sorry you had this negative experience with our recommendations. We have tested the Campaigner sign-up form and it worked fine on our end and actually did it from multiple ISPs, browsers and emails with no problems at all. So, maybe it was a fluke but either way, we certainly do apologize for this inconvenience.

      As for Get Response, this is the first we have heard of this incompatibility with IE and their templates so we have followed up with them directly and are conducting our own research through third parties for more information on this and will report back/update our article with any updates. Thanks for letting us know – our user feedback means a lot to us.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome comparison. Was considering the big players like iContact and Constant Contact when I saw everyone’s comments. Now am divided between CampaignMonitor (seriously, they power Yahoo, Apple and Facebook? Is this true? Source: http://www.campaignmonitor.com/customers/) and Exabytes Ebuzzzz (http://www.exabytes.com.my/services/emailmarketing/) which is hosted in Malaysia, where I am.

    Per-email of Ebuzzz is as low as 0.00075 USD, as compared to MailChimp’s 0.005. That’s nearly 7x cheaper! But Ebuzzzz doesn’t seem anywhere near as professional as the big boys. Customer support is pretty zippy though. What do you guys think?

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever looked into GroupMail? It is a reliable program, let’s you create your own templates (or use theirs), import lists, include surveys/metrics, use remote locations for inserting images, etc. I find very few cons when using the program. But please, if anyone knows of a better program, or feedback to GroupMail, I would love to hear it.

    • Anonymous

      Group Mail ROCKS! We have been using it for years… Very powerful and flexible email lost management program with tons of free add-on features as well, like ‘Subscriber’, which can automatically keep track of subscribe/unsubscribe requests.

      Also, checkout “Live Email Verifier Pro” if you have text files, emails or any other machine-readable file with customer addresses you need to automatically import – We then use a output text file from Live Verifier to load these addresses into Group Mail – It Works!

      • Anonymous

        We have also been using Group Mail and Live Verifier Pro for the past 12 years – awesome combo. With 25,000 subscribers, we have saved over $36,000 – and all the hassles of dealing with ESP’s!!! Live Verifier is particularily cool, as it can extract email addresses from any (and we mean any) data file! txt, dbf, xls, doc, even folders within Pegasus Mail!

  • Anonymous

    I have tried Constant Contact and MailChimp for my restaurants. Constant Contact was too complicated and cluttered. MailChimp was fun and cool, but it was like rocket science and way too many features. I have very limited time and just want to quickly create and send my emails.

    For all of you needing an easy & uncomplicated email marketing software, I suggest you try RedCappi. I started using RedCappi about 2 months ago and it’s very easy to use. Interface is as simple as you can get, and the email creator is Drag & Drop and always in preview mode, so you see exactly what you are creating while doing it.

    • Anonymous

      I have been reading many sources. First time to hear of this service. After using it for two months, any more information on them compared to Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse, and Benchmark. Did you decide about the pros and cons on this service. What did you find? I would love to hear more about this one from someone using it. Thanks.

  • a web rocker

    I like EmailDirect… they offer more hands on support and advanced features but don’t cost too much like Exact Target, Silver Pop and those companies…

  • Anonymous

    Let me start by saying that I am just starting to research email services and have not yet used any of them. That being said, I thought I would add another company to the mix – Campaign Monitor.

    The thing I find interesting about Campaign Monitor is that they don’t have any monthly fee. They have a “per email campaign” cost structure($5/campaign + $0.01 per recipient). As volume increases, they provide discounts on the $0.01/recipient cost. For small or niche companies who don’t send thousands of emails or who might not be using the service every month, this might be a better cost model. Probably not for everyone, but likely a better fit for some.

    • Anonymous

      I reviewed the pricing of Campaign Monitor and really did not see a benefit of switching, especially when Vertical Response has such great features. For small businesses that only do 500 emails per month (example) it would only cost $7.50 with VR versus $10 with CM. Also, VR allows you to “Roll-Over” your email credits … So if you only use 400, you will get 600 next month .. etc. etc.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t even know where to begin. Bombarded with Constant Contact junk mail daily (approx 5 per day), clunky convoluted hard-to-use software, the website will kick you out with no notice and won’t let you log back in, and the worst thing about Constant Contact is their LACK OF SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT!!! When you’re on a tight deadline, and their website fails, when you have moments to make that critical change for your client, Constant Contact sends you to voice mail and tells you to leave a message and they’ll call you back later.

    WHEN MOMENTS COUNT, CONSTANT CONTACT SENDS YOU TO VOICE MAIL!!! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORK DAY NO LESS!!!

    AAAGGGHHHH! This has happened to me far too many times. I am currently waiting as I write this review for them to call me, so I can get back into my account that I was kicked out of for no reason!!!

    My client is waiting, and I’m stuck writing this review because I chose to use Constant Contact. Thanks a lot CC! You could qualify for government work!!!!

    BKS

    • Anonymous

      They DO suck. Their customer support is horrible, long wait times, no one knows what they are doing, expect customers to be able to work with HTML (so what do we need them for?), program is filled with errors and weird things that make it user unfriendly, have no sense of urgency (after all, these are time sensitive email blasts, no?) and worst of all, Constant Contact is blocked by many companies. Can’t wait to get rid of them, just trying to find the right replacement.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard fantastic things about Campaign Monitor and I’m surprised to see them left off this list. One of the things I like is the pay by the drink rather than being forced into a monthly subscription, though you can do that too if you want to. Any feedback on this service?

    • Web Rocker

      Yes, we’re in the process of reviewing Campaign Monitor. Our results should be ready shortly.

    • Anonymous

      Mail chimp has a pay as you go plan as well. Works perfectly for my business.

  • Cathy Goodwin

    AWeber charges you for duplicates on email lists AND charges for unsubscribes, too. They are very sneaky – it’s not listed anywhere. You have to manually remove all the unsubscribes every single month. Also it is hard to import a list. For a major player like AWeber, this is ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    Our small company (3 different contact lists totaling about 700 contacts, and we send about an e-mail a week) is debating whether to go with iContact or Vertical Response.

    I was just wondering if anyone knows of any updates to Vertical Response since some of the last reviews. I really like how iContact lets subscribers who fill out the form choose what newsletter(s) to receive, but overall the reviews seem to be leading me to believe Vertical Response is the better option overall.

    Also, regarding the Joomla reference in a previous post, we also work with the Joomla platform. Will any of these be unable to integrate that I should know about before signing up and giving our web guy a heart attack?

    Thanks for your help and we are open to insight, but would like to make a move within the next few hours, LOL!

  • Anonymous

    Misinformation in your analysis. I have 214 images in my ConCon library and have used only 6% of my 50 mb available storage space.

  • Anonymous

    It seems like people are pounding on CC a lot. I too am seeking to possibly migrate from CC to another service and want to find a service that better meets my needs.

    CC has froze my account, unexpectedly about 3-4 times. I felt violated to a small extent. It angered me that I had to spend about an hour on the phone to look into what the hell was going on and then get scolded and negotiate with them to turn the service I’m paying for back on!

    I am not digging the whole, “pay per contact” pricing model? That penalizes you for success? I am paying for an email marketing service and I want to pay per email! That is very attractive to me, as well as pay as you go.

    I have a need to manage totally different businesses in the same account, something you cant do at CC and is such an obvious need. No way am I going to open up a 2nd CC account to get this done.

    I would like an auto responder and the ability to do nice professional, custom designed templates, services that CC has, but I have not tried yet.

    I have to admit, I never felt that the CC design user interface was all that intuitive. Overall, the experience of making a CC newsletter is clunky and slow.

    CC is expensive.

    I think customer service thus far has been ok with me.

    I noticed that Benchmark has this service called, “We Do It All For You”. You pay $100/ month and they build your emails and manage your campaigns for you. Now THAT sounds great! I’m too busy and really need a campaign manager on my business running the email marketing. I’m going to look into that tomorrow.

    Mailchimp sounds compelling.

    If anyone has any advise, its greatly appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    Their support is absolutely bad. Beware of their sales people as they promise things that their support will not keep.

  • Manny Erickson

    I think the above is totally wrong. What about Emailvision? Not only are they a superb email marketing service, they also provide marketing analytics and predictive recommendations. Who else is doing that and as well? How can you go wrong with solid email marketing, their Customer Intelligence platform where you can send targeted emails segmented by purchase history (etc.) ensuring to send relevant emails and their predictive recommendations for your ecommerce site. Far supersedes what everyone else is doing I must say!

  • Anonymous

    I am the guy who was writing about using Constant Contact before, and I forgot to go into what the weaknesses were. As I said before, I felt the program overall worked very well for what we needed to do. However, there were definitely things that were not great about working with it and could have handled some serious improvements. Nothing is perfect as the saying goes, and I am sure some of these issues were addressed in past updates. It has been a couple of years since I had to delve into the nuts and bolts of it, but in general I am sure the user experience is relatively the same.

    So, first things first, Constant Contact had some pretty limited style options. You had the option of starting from scratch or building off of a pre fabricated template. The templates had some nice design elements to them and were very serviceable, but there just were not very many of them. I feared that other Constant Contact users would have similar looking emails and our brand’s value would be lessened. I would have liked to see more variety to the templates, they really were time savers and they did look quite professional for the most part.

    The other issue I had was with the interface itself. It was simplistic and relatively intuitive to work with, but in working with other programs, such as Photoshop and other types of applications, it would have a hard time communicating with them and made relatively simple tasks take longer than they really should have. I frequently would use the most basic program, MS Paint, to do simple image editing tasks, and moving images from Paint to the clipboard and then to the browser where I had Constant Contact open was a total nightmare sometimes.

    Those two things were tough to deal with at times, but they were also largely workable. The thing that bothered me the most though, was trying to make changes to an almost finalized email design and having very minor adjustments result in large-scale disaster to the entire lay out. I have had this problem with my resume’ on Microsoft Word as well, but you make things so finely tuned, that even the slightest adjustment can send things completely out of whack and it can take hours if not days to figure out what really went wrong. With the timing of emails so important, it could lead to some pretty tight deadlines coming up and having a finicky program messing you up.

    So, like I said, it is completely possible that these things have improved dramatically since I last worked with Constant Contact, but I think that a significant part of their target market are people who are looking for the lowest price they can find for that type of service, their budgets dictate it. So they purposely offer a stripped down email service program that can do what it needs to and work respectably.

    • Anonymous

      Glad to see that Constant Contact is not in your top 3 – they suck! I have tried to use them in the past but they always screw everything up. I think I will try GetResponse and see how it goes… I’ll be back with a review of this email company soon.

  • Anonymous

    I have had nothing but problems with every aspect of that company, and today, the e-newsletter bounced for every one of my AT&T and BellSouth email contacts. I’m told the company is “having a problem” with those providers.

    I have had trouble with their slow servers, their poor interface [which goes so far as to insert exclamation points in the middle of a word for no discernible reason] and their support service. One tech kept referring to me in the chat as Booby, when my name is Bobby.

    I am going to try out Vertical Response. I have had it with iContact and would absolutely, positively NOT recommend them to anyone.

  • Web Business

    Stay away from iContact if you have a large subscriber list. Inexperienced sales staff who doesn’t deliver on what they promise to make the sale and won’t work with you on your list as promised. Do. Not. Use.

    • RJ

      I was just about to move forward with signing up for iContact until I stumbled upon your comment. I have a mid-sized list, about 4,000 emails. Could you expand on your experience with iContact? Just curious what promises were not kept.

  • Anonymous

    I used to be the marketing director of a relatively small furniture retailer some years ago and I actually used Constant Contact quite extensively as a marketing tool. It was something the owner of the business had invested in prior to my joining the company and had utilized to stay in touch with their customers. They had been collecting email addresses from everyone who visited their store or their website and done some small prize giveaways and done some campaigns to advertise seasonal sales.

    One thing they had done a really good job of was collecting email addresses. Small businesses often overlook the possibilities that having direct contact with their customers present. It is understandable, often small business owners are focused on a million other things at once and this seemingly small task is backburnered pretty easily. These people did a much better job and it was simply by making it easy for people to sign up. They had paper slips in the lobby of their store and a computer at the front desk where people could enter their information to win prizes and so forth.

    The emails they had been sending were a little rough looking though. I took over the design and list organization duties of making the system go. I found Constant Contact to be a pretty capable program, with its strengths and weaknesses of course, and we had some great success in putting together very professional looking and productive email campaigns.

    On the positive side for Constant Contact, I found the overall interface pretty simple and easy to understand. Moving from function to function and preparing the layout of the resulting email was not terribly difficult and the simplistic design of the Constant Contact website meant that you were not waiting for the pages to load too long in between refreshes.

    Subscribing to the Constant Contact web service was also relatively inexpensive considering the volume of exposure you can achieve. We would set certain goals for all of the marketing investments we made in terms of return on investment and overall traffic generated. Constant Contact was one of the only things we did that never, ever did not return its cost and then some in revenue.

    It also provided some great data in the form of feedback about individual campaigns. You could track how many emails were sent, how many were sent to spam folders, how many were actually opened, and even where people clicked on the email indicating interest in certain products and services. It was extremely valuable data to have so that we could tweak future emails to work more efficiently. One thing we found was that the timing of campaigns and when people get the email was crucial to getting the email opened. We never would have known that without the feedback.

    All in all, I had a positive experience with it and I would recommend it to somebody else for their business.

  • Anonymous

    I found this while searching to compare MailChimp and CampaignMonitor – came here straight from MailChimp.com so immediately noticed some of the data at the top is waaaaay out of date but the article indicates it was last updated 8/1/2011?

    Anyways, MailChimp’s free plan currently allows 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month: http://mailchimp.com/pricing/free/ Haven’t made a decision yet and will evaluate a couple of the others above. Would be useful to know who can be used for transactional emails in addition to newsletters.

  • Anonymous

    Any comments on GraphicMail? I am about to start my first campaign (pay-as-you-go), and I am considering GraphicMail, Mail Chimp, Sharper Email and Campaign Monitor. Any comments would be very helpful!

  • Anonymous

    We have used Topica for years, but are now concerned by the fact that they have no integration for Joomla. We wrote them years ago to request this, as it is tedious to have to upload new site members to Topica. We prefer to have one universal sign-up.

    We are using JomSocial with Joomla. What is your opinion on Topica, and what do you recommend for sending mass email messages while allowing Joomla registration.

    We have 2 main lists of 3K and 5K each and we send about 2 mass mailings a week to each list.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your reviews – I ended up trying out all the services, and must say I like Vertical Reponse the best by far. Constant Contact is fine as well, but I save at least $5/ month by going with VR – even more if I’m using surveys (an additional $15/ month with Constant Contact), and email archiving (an additional $5/ month).

    With Constant Contact, my total would be $25 MORE per month than with Vertical Response, and I’m getting pretty much the same stuff. Don’t get me wrong – Constant Contact is solid. It’s just too expensive!

    • Anonymous

      I would have to agree that Vertical Response provides solid service. They’re features are up to par with Constant Contact, and like you mention, less expensive. My favorite from the bunch is actually StreamSend – in particular because they offer more in-depth campaign reporting, and their user interface is by far the most intuitive. On the downside, StreamSend costs a bit more – but then again, you get what you pay for.

      This last statement in particular applies to iContact – I couldn’t even get a portion of my email list to receive my newsletters – junk folder or no junk folder. I’ve also noticed that the iContact server appears to be sluggish – it takes forever, during busy times, to create a newsletter when I’m logged in. Needless to say, I did not extend my iContact trial.

  • Anonymous

    Do you all think that email marketing is as important as it used to be? Seems like all anyone ever talks about anymore is social media this and Facebook that… just want to make sure I am spending my very limited marketing dollars in the right place. Any tips?

    • guest

      Great question. I personally feel that email marketing is still extremely important, maybe even more important than it was before social media. Yes, social media is proving to be a great way to communicate to customers. However, email marketing is still the only way to make sure that your message goes directly to the user that you want it to. With social media, you cannot guarantee that the people you want the message to go to will see it. It could be a day where they did not get online and there are still plenty of people who do not access their social media accounts on a regular basis. With email marketing, you know that your message will get to the persons email inbox. They might not see it right away, but it is there and I feel like there is a better chance of the user reading it. I would be curious if anybody else has conflicting views?

  • http://DodEdu.com Tcat Houser

    I’m swinging back to looking at email marketing after being out of the loop since MS Outlook was in beta (not kidding).

    In my research so far for my brand new site for IT education, I think I cannot beat http://Emailmarketing.net

    It looks like I have the analysis tools I want without the hell my buddy went through with ConfusionSoft.

    If anyone has good/bad experiences, I’m all ears.

    TIA – Tcat

    PS thanks for the great overview here on so many email service provider options.

  • Anonymous

    I complained to Constant Contact about their nickel and dime pricing, and said I would not be using them in the long term, and they should know why. The customer assistant’s response was to immediately cancel my policy. That’s pretty rude. I am glad there are plenty of competitors to choose from – and once I find one I like, I will be sure to tell all my clients and business friends who to switch to.

    In addition, the emails did not save and I had to log in and out again and again to start over, AND when I finally sent the email out, the formatting was not the same as on the preview.

    • Anonymous

      I was wondering whether you’ve switched or not. If you did, then kindly share to what? And how do you compare the two?

    • Anonymous

      I have the same problem with Constant Contact. What you type and save is not what saves after all. It can be centered one minute and then left justified the next. Their fonts change all the time. It’s one of the most frustrating parts of CC. Which is why I’m looking at this site to begin with…I’m considering dumping them.

      • Anonymous

        I can’t even begin to describe the amount of curses I’ve directed at Constant Contact. I haven’t tried other providers yet but I truly loath the CC service. The templates are terrible, and they react as if they are full of bugs. I agree with what you said about the fact that what you see in the previews has no relation to what you see when the email finally arrives. It crashes constantly. Forcing me to log back into my account.

        Our account was frozen for no apparent reason. It’s slow and cumbersome. Their customer support is polite but unhelpful. I find myself working for 2-3 days on each newsletter just to align it – something which is unacceptable. The problem is I use a WordPress website which converts browsers to applicants for the mailing list. I don’t have the time to readjust everything.

        Does anyone have a recommendation about a company which provides good service and works with Word Press?

  • Anonymous

    MailChimp is blacklisted with many ISPs. Verizon bounces all emails coming from MailChimp. Yahoo and AOL users too. I canceled my account.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree. I’ve used 4 companies with the same list and emails and the amount of abuse complaints with Mail Chimp is 4 times, along with the bounces.

  • a web rocker

    Thanks for your service. It is very helpful and very useful too to read all the opinions. I have two suggestions. (1) Could you include a date of your review in the matrix? (2) If possible, it would be nice to know if pay-as-you-go is an option for those of us who mail less frequently. Thanks

    • We Rock Your Web

      All of the email marketing companies we have reviewed here are “pay as you go” in that they do not require you to sign a contract. So, it is month-to-month for one flat fee per month unless you change the services you use. However, in most cases, if you skip a month, you may have to start over from scratch with new template designs, mailing list upload, etc. each time if you take a month off not to mention that your customers are much less likely to open an email from you if they have not heard from you in more than 45 days or so. Hope this helps!

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thank you for your feedback. We have added the last update date in bold at the top of the best email marketing matrix page and the last update date for the table was September 20, 2012. We will have to do some digging for more info on pay as you go but will leave a comment here when we find the answer. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    If you are looking for simple create, send and track campaign functionality GoToCampaign could be great value for money with their Pay as go Plans starting at 0.5 cents per email. They also offer free account loaded with 5000 send credits.

  • Anonymous

    I have been a Constant Contact customer for at least 4 years. They have suddenly put a block on my account after I added names to the account. I have just paid for another year and am basically being held to ransom.

    • Anonymous

      What finally happened? What is the context of your advice to stop signing up w/ CC?

  • Anonymous

    I tried Constant Contact last Friday. I sent 800 emails, than tried to see the statistics on Saturday, when I realized that they froze my account! Of course there is no Customer Service over the weekend so I was stuck until Monday.

    It turns out that they froze my account because of high rate of undelivered mail. I understand their need to fight spam, but I object to their method.

    First of all, they should have sent an email, attempt a discussion, or seek some sort of resolution BEFORE freezing the account! I find their action extremely heavy-handed and unacceptable. (We provide seminars to regional trucking shows, which return once every 12-18 months, so it is quite normal that a mailing list from 2 shows ago, especially considering that truckers are not the most “stable” and computer-savvy people, would have a large number of undeliverable addresses!)

    I was totally offended by the discussion with their “customer care” agent, who started to lecture me about how to run my business.

    I found them arrogant, and useless. The agent made it sound that I had to be grateful for having a chance to try their product. As far as I am concerned, I have no use for callous providers like this…

    100% useless!

    • Anonymous

      DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AS MANY OTHERS. I moved all my contacts to Constant Contact and some hours later they froze my account because they said it was suspicious. Nevertheless I called them and I explained, but after an hour on hold they told me that my emails look suspicious to them. I showed them proof that they weren’t but they just told me: “it is up to us if we like you or not, so find another company.”

      • Anonymous

        CC also froze my account. I had a valid list of 5,000 names which we had been actively using with a competitor for several year, but had not mailed to them in 2 years. In my first mailing with CC, I got a number of bounces and opt-outs (a lot has happened in 2 years), resulting in my account being frozen. I was then asked to provide a paper trail to prove that all had opted in, something that they had never asked for before, and which I could not produce.

        I wrote a long explanation and confirmed that their competitor still viewed all of these as valid emails without success. I gave up, canceled my CC account and returned to the competitor.

        Customer service was friendly, but could not deviate from the script. I understand the need to control spam and fully support that, but cannot deal with a company that makes up the rules as they go.

        • Anonymous

          Dear Web Rocker,

          33% of all email addresses change every year. That means that 1/3rd to 2/3rd of your list that has not been emailed to in 2 years, would be HARD bounces. It is imperative to send to customers/clients/addresses at least 1 time monthly, minimum, to engage in Best Practices.

          Sometimes the ESP’s purposefully keep a dead email address in your list as a marker, so they know to block your WHOLE list because the HARD bounced email addresses were not taken out of the database.

          ON a whole other level you can go to a company like mobileSTORM, that not only assists a company in sending to your opted-in email data base but also assists their clients in managing their messaging…not to mention the awesome ability to have a fully integrated platform that does mobile and email!

    • Anonymous

      I was transferred over to CC when RatePoint was bought out, and in my first attempt to put together an email blast lost 5 working days trying to make it work. They screwed up all my imported lists, included DNMs, mixed up the email addresses, and there is no way to see which list an email address belongs to.

      While putting together the email it was impossible to correct the line spacing and centering glitches without going into the HTML. Since I am an interior designer, not a website designer, HTML is not my area of expertise. Moreover, each of the 5 numbskulls I spoke to swore they had fixed the problem (“I don’t see any problem on my end”, doncha just love that?) and then the same issue was present in the preview.

      In trying to reach customer service, I was on hold 3 days in a row for longer than 20 minutes. When the email finally went out, the fonts and colors had changed, it looked terrible, when it posted to FB it showed a LinkedIn thumbnail (“Duh, how did that happen?”) and their response was for me to delete the post from FB. Oh, and when it posted, it screamed “Constant contact” in the first line. I AM NOT PAYING TO ADVERTISE CONSTANT CONTACT. I AM PAYING TO ADVERTISE MY BUSINESS.

      In every one of my previous emails with RatePoint, I had more than a hundred Likes and Comments on FB, after this one I had….ONE COMMENT and ONE LIKE (that was me), so effectively my rate of return dropped more than 100%.

      I think CC sucks. Looking elsewhere. The most obvious downside for me on iContact was that they were only open M-F, so if there is a problem you are stuck waiting for them till Monday morning, when presumably their wait time is going to be lengthy. and who needs to lose 2 days? Never got any further than that with them, considering vertical response.

    • Anonymous

      While I agree that it was heavy handed to freeze it right off, you should have taken the time to clean your list before using their service.

      • Anonymous

        How do you clean your list? I have almost the same problem.

        • Anonymous

          Call FreshAddress – 617-965-4500 x230.

          • Anonymous

            Their website indicates min $1000 for a job. Is there anything cheaper out there?

    • Anonymous

      At least they only froze it – MailChimp canceled ours because we had 1-2 spam complaints on 10 emails we sent to segments. They said it was too high and canceled our account, no questions asked, no 2nd chance. Constant contact has been good to use for the past 8 years. I would like to get a new service with more features that is easier to monitor multiple stores with, but they seem to be the most agreeable to spam complaints over .01% and about 1% bounce rate.

    • Anonymous

      A clean list is important to everyone because as you can see from the forum discussions, Mail Chimp is losing points in the rejected as spam category. This could be for different reasons, but ensuring the quality of the sender and his business is in the interest of ConCon and everyone else using it.

      Too bad though that there was no customer service over the weekend. I am sure it was irritating. I am pretty new to it myself but my customer care agent already kind of lectured me on the source of my list and its current value. Maybe you could try smaller batches next time first? Or maybe there are other ways of cleaning a list? Bet you could even outsource this process?

  • Rebecca

    Hi!

    I love your comparison chart and reviews of the email marketing systems/products. I am considering EasyWebAutomation.com. I’ve heard that it is great for auto responders and having the shopping cart (which I eventually will need)all in one. Have you reviewed it or compared it to MailChimp and the other products? I’m new to all of this and would like to set myself up with the system/program that will serve me best without having to migrate my list in a year.

    Thanks,

    Rebecca

  • Anonymous

    I used to be the marketing manager for a small furniture retailer that made good use of promotional email and the internet in general as a marketing tool. Constant Contact was the service we subscribed to for our email services and from my experience, it was a very useful tool and we were able to achieve some pretty impressive results in both the collection of email address and also the success of our campaigns.

    I found the interface to be pretty simplistic, almost too much so, but it did allow for all the editing and manipulation of the content that I needed to make things both functional and aesthetically pleasing. There were some limitations in what we could do design-wise, but ultimately the value of the program came in the data we were able to retrieve from it in terms of measuring our success and finding out more about our core group of customers.

    If you are not already, sign up for a free trial of one of these services and start communicating with your customers right away!

  • Anonymous

    Good comparison of email marketing companies. I think what people need to remember is that it’s not just about price. In other words, you get what you pay for. Then again, the behemoth that is Constant Contact doesn’t appear to be the best solution either. I think for now I’ll stick with VR (Vertical Response). Tried Omnistar, iContact, etc., and while they were fine, they weren’t as intuitive to me, especially when it came to template design, as VR. Cheerio people!

  • Anonymous

    There is one critical piece of information missing from this review, and that is deliverability rates. I don’t care if an email service provider PAYS me to use their service. If their servers are blacklisted by 20% of my list, I simply can’t use them.

    At least CTCT has the cajones to tell you when your emails bounce because their service has been blocked. MailChimp is super-strict about their bounce rates, but won’t tell you how much of your bounce rate is their fault, though they hold you accountable for the full number.

  • a web rocker

    Please review Imnica. A relatively new service, with a “too good to be true” looking price range.

    • Alex

      Thanks for the tip. We will look into Imnica and add it when the research is complete if they distribute wide enough for consideration by the masses.

  • Anonymous

    I have to disagree with many of the comments on CTCT. I’ve gotten great customer service.

    My first experience with CTCT was a year ago when I had to step in during an emergency. It was a weekend morning. I used their online chat, explained the situation, that I had 10+ years computer design experience but no bulk email experience. They talked me through the whole process.

    Today I had a problem with one client’s account, it’s the holidays, I sent an email HELP and they called me back in less than 30 minutes. We talked, they researched, and called back again 30 minutes later with a work around. Three hours later they called back to double check to make sure the work around was successful.

    About six months ago they assigned a “personal” customer support person and I get an email once a month checking to see if things are going well.

    I really like their new Hootsuite CTCT integrated app. They offered a free webinar to demonstrate.

    I use email, surveys, and event marketing for 4 clients, each with 500-2000 members in their hub.

    The analytics are great with both CTCT and the Hootsuite app to see them real time. We track ROI for events and I’m satisfied. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I haven’t got any real beefs.

    I do stay on top of my lists. If I encounter contacts that aren’t opening email newsletters, after 3-4 months I send a survey that asks, among other things, if they wish to continue the frequency, or if they’d prefer fewer emails.

    I also like being able to send posts to Facebook, Twitter, etc at same time I send emails.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been assisting various companies with their email marketing for a couple of years now. In my experience, I’ve found Benchmark Email Marketing Company easiest to use, and they supply detail reports standard with any plan.

    However, Silverpop has caught my attention as of recent with their new ‘Snooze’ action that can help save you from unsubscribes. I’m sure they have every other email marketing company thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?!?”.

  • Anonymous

    Vertical Response is the way to go. I have seen much better ROI and results from this. Direct Response Marketing is really helping businesses out.

    John

    Direct Response Agency

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been using iContact for a regular emailing campaign in a professional environment. As any other provider (I think) they add a “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email.

    The problem is that, if any of my contacts finds my campaign attractive (which is the point…) he will surely forward it to some of his contacts. Of course I have no problem with that. The thing is that if any of the contacts he forwarded my email to decides to use the “unsubscribe” link… he will MY contact from my list.

    After using iContact a few times, I definitely lost a few contacts. After several emails to customer support to ask for explanations, Mr Greg B (iContact Support Manager) apologized but could not do anything to add these contacts to my list once again.

    To summarize: the more efficient my campain is, the more people will forward it. If one of these new contacts decides to use the unsubscribe button, he/she will not remove their own address but MY contact’s address. This non-sense and the opposite result of any efficient marketing service. I stopped using iContact after promising to Mr Greg B that I would precisely explain my problem on any platform I could find.

    • Anonymous

      Visitor from afar, I recognize your issue with the pass along unsubscribe, but that issue exists with most all providers who run an automatic unsubscribe feature. Can anyone name one that the “pass along unsubscribe” feature will not automatically remove?

      Seems to me requiring an unsubscribe requester to ‘”enter” your email address’ eliminates the problem, but which services allow modification / refinement of the unsubscribe feature? Do any in the list uses/allow/provide it?

    • Anonymous

      I had the same problem with Constant Contact. It’s a huge problem, and has motivated me to put up my own mail server, and try and implement a Mail Marketing program (bought from others) myself.

      I wish the reviews would address this point, and let us know which sites have this problem.

      • Web Rocker

        Good point, we need to add this to the review. We’ll do some digging and see what we can come up with. This commenter points out the issue – if the user is prompted to enter their email address to unsubscribe, this problem shouldn’t occur (since the forwarded person’s email address won’t match the original recipient’s email address, and shouldn’t be on the list to begin with).

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for posting this experience, I am trying to find a good email marketing company and your insights helped narrowed my list. That is usually something you find out after the fact – so thanks for posting.

  • Anonymous

    I have been using Constant Contact for about a year for e-newsletters. Starting this year, and each year after, I want to send out an anniversary card to all my clients on their specific anniversary date of their first order. The card would be the same for everyone except the variable data for their name.

    I’d like to be able to import my list of clients’ name, email address and anniversary month/day/current year and have that date be the date that the e-card gets sent out and NOT have to schedule a send date for each client which is around 1000. And, I want the ecard to appear in the email, not a link that connects to the ecard.

    Any suggestions for a service that offers something like this?

    • Anonymous

      If you haven’t solved the problem from last year, I have an idea for you. Michael at JMichaelCavitt dot com.

    • We Rock Your Web

      We’re not aware of a newsletter service that offers this, but a quick Google search revealed a service called LetterMeLater.com that appears to offer some of what you’re looking for. If anyone else knows of a recurring email newsletter service that sends out individual emails, please comment!

  • Anonymous

    After trying Constant Contact and iContact, I found Benchmark Email to be far better, with more powerful features at a lesser price.

  • Anonymous

    Back in February, you indicated you were looking at Campaign Monitor? Any results? Thanks!

    • Web Rocker

      Sorry for the delay on that. For some reason that review never got completed. I’ll take another look and make sure it gets posted soon, thanks for the heads up!

    • Anonymous

      This is only my first day using it (and I’ve been rushed to find an email marketing provider so granted I’ve only spent an intense two days researching this), but after trying Vertical Response and Stream Send, to me there’s no comparison.

      Both seemed rigid in the formatting of my company address and the inclusion of their own logo within my message. Stream Send forces you to include social media links at the top of all messages – racked my brain and couldn’t find a way around it! How could that not be optional?

      Tried Campaign Monitor and it’s awesome. Straight from the site: “You know those services that have the hide to include their own logo in the footer of every email they send for you? We hate that stuff and never add our own content or change the look and feel of any emails you send.”

      Tons more flexibility. Interface is clean, simple, and intuitive.

      No WYSIWYG editor, so if you want more than plain text email you need to know/learn some html/css. (It’s aimed at web designers, but I think it’s accessible to non-designers as well.)

      First email marketing provider I’ve looked at that feels 100% legitimate, adequate, and just no-nonsense.

      PRICE IS RIGHT – it’s on par with the other sites reviewed here.

      Already sending campaigns and monitoring them – so far I’m sold.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you I will check out campaign monitor as vertical response email is not showing up in my gmail – it’s just blank. The vertical response graphical editor is a joke.

        I was looking for a replacement for VR and Campaign Monitor just may be it!

      • Anonymous

        I recently started working for a company that uses CM, however coming from larger ESPs like Epsilon’s DREAM and DREAMmail; and ExactTarget I found that CM is definitely not a model suited to comply/dynamic messaging. It doesn’t have a dynamic content module, so if you wanted to send multiple versions of the same message to your database, with say, a heading offer different per subscriber/group, this has to be done in a roundabout way via list management. I have also been trying to get someone from support to respond to me since early November – to no avail. I unfortunately wouldn’t recommend these guys for scalable marketing solutions. :(

  • Anonymous

    am preparing to leave VR. I have been with them for quite some time and am finally finished with their version of customer service (or lack there of).

    I have had multiple issues as of late and they keep telling me I am crazy or that it is my fault. I am no newbie and was a bit put off. One of my issues was that when I sent out my campaign with links in it, the code they attach to the link to track was bad. All my customers who clicked it got a VR page (not a browser page) that said the link was incomplete. I received multiple complaints. I double and triple checked the links I provided and they were correct.

    Other issues I have had are templates being erased completely when the ‘Save’ button is pushed. Seems to me we are trying to prevent the exact opposite.

    I loved the software’s ease of use, list segmenting, and email templates, but when we got down to the most important part of our relationship, service, they severely let me down. I was a monthly subscriber with a list of 27,000 emails. I am now convinced it is time to move on.

    To further compound my frustration. I have tried to download my unsubscribe list multiple times so that when I upload my information into my new providers database, I can also tag the unsubscribes so as not to violate the law. VR’s system keeps telling me it will notify me when the download is complete yet the notification never comes. I have tried 3 different times over a 3 week period. I can not get any of my information back out.

    VR was a great concept with poor execution. Maybe if the CEO spent more time training customer support and less time sending out newsletters of her own to the subscribers, we could see a turn-around there.

    • Anonymous

      Who are you using now?

    • Anonymous

      Before you jump ship to Constant Contact, you’d better check some recent complaints. They just implemented a new editor (without any warning), and it is completely maddening! I’m shopping now because after 3 days of trying to do 4 hours’ work I’ve just completely had it. Oh, and customer support say it’s my fault… me and the other 500 people who are having trouble since this new editor went online. Our “formatting” is bad. Yeah, right! It worked last week!

      • Anonymous

        We have spent hours working around the formatting of a newsletter – only to have it not save! It has been happening more and more. I’m searching for an alternate program because it appears they are burying this negative information and they are not being proactive about the problem. I didn’t know they had a new editor.

        Problems we find include the formatting not sticking and the Save the paragraph not sticking. Highlighting to cut must happen in the left to right or it highlights the opposite text (all but what you want to delete). Saving a page inconsistently works.

        Since the failures are not predictable or solvable, multiple extra time is being spent on writing the basic text. I don’t find any clues as to how to avoid this.

      • Anonymous

        We’ve had the same problem. We’ve used CC for over two years but have had the issue of it not saving our work several times lately, sending out older versions of files, and the final product looking different than the preview. We’re online shopping for a new service now.

    • Anonymous

      I used Vertical Response (VR) for my Mortgage Financing business marketing for about a year when they stopped my email campaign one evening and then cancelled my account without an prior warning. Their reason was that they no longer support content relating to mortgage financing. This is the response from their delivery team:

      I am writing to alert you that your account was closed because the content in your emails is not allowed by our Terms and Policies.

      We do not allow content related to stocks, trading, or financial advice and coaching. Below is a list of finance industry email types that we do not allow:

      Credit Services

      * Debt consolidation/credit repair services and programs
      * Credit Reporting Services
      * VA Loans

      Mortgage Services (MLS emails, Mortgage Loans, Mortgage Refinancing)

      Grant services

      * Government grants

      Trading

      * Online Trading (Stock tips, day trading, etc)

      These types of emails have historically been so highly linked to abuse in our system we can no longer allow this type of content to be sent through our service.

      Unfortunately we are unable to reverse this decision. Please note that this has nothing to do with the legitimacy of your business, we simply have fairly strict policies about what can be mailed though our service.

      VerticalResponse reserves the right to close accounts that are determined too high of a risk to send mail through our network.

      Don’t think about using these guys for any serious business venture.

  • Anonymous

    I run a consultancy business and recognize the value as I grow of creating quality lists. I have been researching for a couple of months and am still going round in circles.

    I need to be able to be able to send a free report/newsletter/series of free tips etc.I note that with Constant Contact that I would be able to manage the workshops I run. My website developers seem to be somewhat in the dark over email marketing services and how easy it is to integrate the services – from what I have read, it is not that difficult.

    I also want to be able to have my own brand on the various emails templates.

    Any advice would be really appreciated.

    I have enjoyed the thread.

  • Frank

    I love the update you’ve done to your email comparison article! And the comparison table makes it so much easier to view the pricing at a glance. The only problem I face now is that there’s so many darn ESP’s to choose from.

    It seems like there hasn’t been much chatter about Vertical Response recently, but from what I’ve read elsewhere they’re still a pretty solid choice overall.

  • Anonymous

    Great comparison, I agree with most of it, my personal preference is iContact, purely for the API and integrations out there. On some of my sites I’ve started to use fb2icontact.com which lets users add themselves to my iContact lists by clicking a Facebook Connect button, very useful script!

  • Anonymous

    I can get help from Constant Contact 24-7. Vertical Response closes on the weekends. Hmmm. Lots of my customers get their email campaigns written in the off hours. You talk about that higher cost going for advertising, but it seems to me that you get more service with Constant Contact.

    • Anonymous

      Hello, I just tried calling Constant Contact this Saturday afternoon, and they were closed.

  • Anonymous

    Between poor customer service and delayed mailings because of their paranoia with spam, I wouldn’t recommend Vertical Response to my worst enemy. Just down right sorry company!!

  • Anonymous

    We purchased 100,000 Email credits for $750 in order to promote our company without having to constantly repurchase email credits. In the first year, we used fewer than 20,000 of these credits and BAM, we were informed our credits were expired. This was NEVER mentioned in the purchase agreement when we bought the credits. We have filed a complaint with the BBB. We recommend you find someone else to do your business with.

    • Anonymous

      I used VR and have always gotten an expiration date on my credits. Look a little harder next time you spend $750.

    • Anonymous

      Pinpointe offers a pay-as-you-go plan that is less expensive than Vertical Response and MailChimp. The company also caters to B2B Email Marketing companies.

      Pay-as-you-go plan – pricing info: Email Marketing Prices

  • Anonymous

    I use Mailchimp and their customer service is slow to respond. Also, if your list size doesn’t fit into their predefined buckets (ie. 25k or 50k) they don’t have flexible pay as you go options. They’ve also started charging for services that used to be free (tracking metrics, etc).

    • Anonymous

      They have a pay as you go plan now!

    • Anonymous

      I don’t understand your comment about pre-defined buckets. I originally chose MailChimp precisely because of the pay-as-you-go option – perfect for organizations that don’t send every month, since you only pay when you send an e-mail.

      I am looking at their payment chart right now and you can purchase as few as 300 credits or as many as 500,000 (the price per e-mail goes down the more you buy.) So I’m not sure what you mean by needing your list to be a certain size.

      As for support, have you tried the online chat? I’ve never had to wait more than a minute or so for a response using chat. I recently has an issue escalated to the developers, and then I agree the support was slow.

      So there’s room for improvement, but the pay-as-you-go price plan, in my opinion, is awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s my situation. I have many different websites where my customers are usually members of at least a few of them, as they are related. Currently, I send out bulk mailings through the website’s interface…which means that the customers that are members of several of the websites are receiving it more than once. Often times, my server times out on me before all the messages are sent so I have to complete the process again. So my subscribers are receiving duplicate messages and from each site they are a member of.

    I liked the way Constant Contact had the option for the subscriber to choose the groups they wished to subscribe to, all in one form. I have also tried Vertical Response. While I did enjoy the option to do a pay as you go plan by email instead of a monthly fee, I didn’t see a way for my subscribers to choose multiple lists. If they wanted to subscribe to 3 of my lists, for example, they would have to sign up with the same email address 3 separate times from the various opt-in forms. (This is to my own knowledge, I could be wrong…and hope I am) I found this to be way too tedious. I would like my subscribers to be able to select all of the lists they are interested in joining all in one sign up…and with the ability to change these groups later on, if possible.

    Is there an email marketing program out there that charges by emails sent (pay as you need them type of thing) and allows subscribers to pick from a list of interest groups during a single sign up?

  • Anonymous

    Super rundown on several email marketing platforms! Very thorough and fair.

    Would love to have you give BombBomb a try (yes, I work there). It’s an email marketing platform designed to support video since day one. Video, of course, makes your message more personal and more powerful. Pricing is kin to Constant Contact. We build two custom templates for every new customer at no cost.

    I won’t belabor it or sell it any further here in this comment – would love to have you fire up a free trial (bombbomb.com).

    Thanks! And thanks again for the great rundown on all these ESPs.

    • Anonymous

      We are in an agency. After setting one of our clients up on Constant Contact we tested the platform and found that 30% of the time connection requests by various ISP’s to the Constant Contact image library failed. The most problematic was Gmail. This resulted in all the images of falling out of the test campaign.

      Google’s Gmail team reported issues with the vendor. In fact currently there is no way from the Gmail side to enable automated delivery of content with images. Google has removed the add to safe senders list menu option for all content generated from Constant Contact’s domain. During our test Constant Contacts failure was elevated to a tier 2 support level to fix their coding error.

      While waiting for support to fix this problem the account was flagged for delivery issues then locked down by yet another division freezing our list. In summary if you have a lot of time to waste, want to deal with a bureaucracy equal to the federal government and like talking to yourself this is the vendor of choice.

      Good luck !

      • Anonymous

        I agree and have had similar experiences. We bring them a contact list in their upper pricing table and they still manage to waste our time with really poor and rude support.

  • Anonymous

    People on my list say that when they get emails via Constant Contact, there is a spike in the spam they get from Nigerian scammers. Does anyone have a similar experience?

  • Anonymous

    Nice article, I have been using Captivate Mail for my email marketing software. They are really good too.

  • Anonymous

    My power company seemingly sent me an email asking to update my information. The usual phishing plea. What tipped me off is that the email was from the wrong state, not where I live. It was also hooked into Facebook, so I checked out the websites there. On the surface, they looked OK and connected through to the real website. What I as a customer do not like is the attempt to get my personal information through an update of a profile that I have never entered. How did Bronto get my info? Apparently from another company that uses them for their email newsletter mailings. So I am going to cancel that newsletter and tell that company too that they are being ripped off by an unscrupulous scammer.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry to hear about what happened. However, Bronto has a strict permission based email policy and any clients found to be violating that policy are terminated.

      Would be happy to investigate if you could email me to discuss.

      Caroline Riddle

      Community Marketing Manager at Bronto

      Caroline [AT] Bronto.com

  • Anonymous

    I signed up for the free non-profit program with Vertical Response. Free is good. Unfortunately, after investing almost a week and trying several different templates in attempting to build a newsletter, I find that the program locks up frequently, doesn’t reliably save changes, and has problems with its cut-and-paste-from-Word feature(among other things). I don’t have this kind of time to waste, doing and redoing!

    Do other people have this same experience?

    Will now try Benchmark. Would love to know what anyone has to say about the Benchmark system – so far it looks promising.

  • http://fsdi.com james

    I’m contemplating using a service called Jibbio (jibbio.com). It has not only an ESP, but also online scheduling (with Paypal connection), Form generation, and 3 or 4 other services all for a flat $20/month with unlimited email subscribers. Sounds too good to be true. Is it?

  • Anonymous

    I find that the people at constant contact are not customer support driven and arrogant! I have a small business where I pre-purchased 6 months of use for the service. After the 6 months they kept on billing me and told me to go pound salt!!! Our marketing plan and strategy was changing where we were not using the service on a consistent basis. I asked if it could be suspended or credit for the months we didn’t use. Too Bad! They keep on billing. They also don’t provide a link on their site where you can cancel your service. It’s obvious to me – make it so difficult that once you sign-up make it impossible to cancel the service and keep billing the revenue stream. If you call the support number they use a line system and script lines like the teleco’s do so that you get frustrated and hang-up. They will keep on billing you! Often I find that many of the sites will change the legal language to screw the customer while they keep pump highing revenue streams into their profit pits.

    There is also technical problems with the templates and html. The site doesn’t support a good HTML editor to change and edit your news letter. The programmers are typical arrogant types where they just re-create the page with fix your newsletter. This can only be done on line with a pop-up messenger texting back and forth. While some people may like this approach I prefer to know what changed and how to better use the tool. What companies need to remember is that customer support drives sales and revenue. There is also a cost to our business beyond the service. Companies need to get back to driving great customer support that is personalized with a service attitude and touch points that lead to a great experience. This will lead to more referrals and business at the end of the day. Bleeding the customer only drives frustration and anger that only hurts the provider’s service business will lose market share and cut profitability. It seems this is only way to get them to change. I know I am not the only one who this has happened too. How unfortunate :(

  • Anonymous

    Hi,

    I’ve been using Vertical Response for three years now, and I’m concerned about the deliverability. Reporting doesn’t include hard or soft bounces, and my business’s open rates seem very low. Yes, it could be due to multiple reasons, but I can’t help but wonder about Vertical Response deliverability.

    Is anyone else concerned? Anyone have insights?

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Omnistar Mailer is the best priced email marketing software around.

    • Anonymous

      This is essentially a spam message. See the same ad below.

  • Anonymous

    One of the best email marketing tools around is Omnistar Mailer. I used it for a week, and I seen my sales increase by about 8% which is pretty good. The features are very powerful and it is priced right.

  • Anonymous

    Only used Constant Contact so far, and have been looking at changing recently. My main problem is with the composing of the mailer. The interface is clunky and does unexpected things. Yesterday, I was trying to change a paragraph’s font from size 10 to size 12. Instead, selecting 12 jumped it to size 18. I had to select the paragraph minus the first and last letter, change it to size 12, then re-insert the left out bits. Another time, attempting to delete an empty line caused the cursor to jump up the screen about two paragraphs and change the style of the intervening text (this has happened more than once).

    There’s a yellow bar that creates a header area in the e-mail, and it is apparently impossible to remove (tech support said so after three days, the first two people didn’t know whether it could be done).

    • Anonymous

      This is exactly the problem I’ve been having with CC. The formatting problems are inexcusably rampant. I’m opting out by the end of the month.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been using Constant Contact since March 2008, and have the very same complaint. I will continue to use it because I like mostly all of the other features. But when it comes to creating and formatting your emails, Constant Contact has a mind of its own.

      • Anonymous

        What is your opinion of CC’s new editor? It’s the reason I’m looking around right now. Completely maddening, and way worse than what it replaced. Wish they gave me an option – other than cash or charge that is!

      • Anonymous

        I just started using Constant Contact, and I’m having a lot of trouble creating and formatting my emails. I am researching other email marketing options to see if there is another company that has templates that are easier to customize.

        • Anonymous

          Any body wants to try our campaign platform please call Vincent at 512-904-8236 or vin.picker at pioneermails dot com and I shall take you to our ecampaigner demo at no cost. USP’s of our campaigns Dedicated Manager for your help execute any campaigns no matter whether it is opt in or permission based. Template creation at no cost and create as per your choice, many more.

  • http://www.elevatingyourbusiness.com Coach Maria

    Thank you for the review.

    As someone who has been using ezines, as a subscriber and then created my own back in 1998, of course, there is no such thing as a perfect service. Especially for the price that most small business owners are seeking.

    I remember using one-group and egroup, the predecessors to YahooGroups as well as Topica. You had very few options — discussion group or broadcast, and everyone marveled about their abilities. :)

    There are also hosting companies that offer an ecommerce solution that some of my clients have used. And if your hosting company offers either Fantastico or QuickInstall (they’d be in your online control pannel), you can quickly add very basic programs (a good way to start) like DADA, PHPList, and a few others.

    The problem with ESPs (email service providers) is that as soon as you start using them, you realize that you’d like to do “x” or “y”. You can suggest those changes to the company of course, but some are quicker to add features than others.

    And as one of your commentors mentioned, getting your list from the company may be a difficult thing. However, you need to research and make sure that YOU can download your list, and all the information you’re compiling weekly so that you don’t lose such valuable real estate. Why weekly? In some cases (read the fine print) if someone complains that you are a spammer, even though you are of course not, they will close your account and YOU WILL LOSE EVERYTHING you spent your time building.

    Customer service is a big key to using the program you use. There is nothing worse than having a problem and NOT getting an answer on time, or getting an answer at all.

    For most, ease of use is very important, too.

    Besides the online systems mentioned, there are many other oldies and goodies out there that people may want to try — simpler programs. And there are program you may want to purchase (own) if your hosting company allows you to do that. (Some do, some don’t, and some have very specific rules on how many emails can go out an hour, or at all in one time)

    We’ve come very far with the options offered, and I’m sure things will look different 5 years from now. I look forward to watching the changes.

  • Anonymous

    I am seriously challenged when it comes to technology. I am finalizing my website and have been told that Aweber is the better solution for delivering my opt in– special report that will be on my wordpress site. I have also been told that constant contact is much easier/user friendly for the non-techie like me. I don’t want to have two different services — one to deliver my “special report” and other freebies from my website and another for email marketing. Any thoughts or help on even describing my concern in the right language would be helpful! Thanks

    • Anonymous

      The last thing CC is is user friendly. I am fairly literate, and their program is a nightmare. Image library awful as well. And those are compliments compared to what I have to say about their tech support. The worst.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, I’m a co-founder of MailChimp, and your review popped up in my Google Alerts. Some things you reported about MailChimp aren’t correct. I know you probably just couldn’t find this info on our website. So I thought I’d provide some links to what you were looking for…

    ———–

    MailChimp – Con’s

    * It’s not quite as feature packed as some of its competitors.

    Actually, we have more features than most in our segment:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/features/power_features

    not to mention more integrations than most:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/extras/

    and an extremely thorough, well-documented and well-supported API:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/api/

    * For one, it doesn’t have the comprehensive reporting options some other email newsletter providers do.

    We have a *lot* more reporting options than most, as you can see here:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/reports

    our A/B testing reports (mailchimp.com/ab/) are patent-pending-yet-often-copied, we were the first to launch the one-click-inbox-inspector, we offer click heatmaps, worldmaps for opens, domain/ISP performance charts, and we even track tweets and re-tweets about your campaigns (mailchimp.com/twitter).

    We were given beta access to the Google Analytics API, and are the only ESP listed at – http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/gdata/gdataGallery.html

    what reporting feature were you looking for?

    * Importing of contact lists could be easier – the columns have to match up perfectly for the import to work.

    Database columns really do need to match in order for data to be correct. I’m not aware of any email marketing service that would allow you to *not* perfectly match columns. If you’re importing columns that you don’t plan to use in MailChimp, you can skip them in our importing tool.

    Additionally, you can just use other dB systems and import to MailChimp: Salesforce, Highrise, Batchbook, WuFoo, Formspring, Pearl CRM, and on and on.

    * Importing templates based on existing website layouts would be a great add-on.

    Actually, import-email-by-URL (and a ton of other email import options) are covered in this post:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/guide-to-all-the-email-template-options-in-mailchimp/

    Grandma can even use Outlook to send a message to MailChimp, and we’ll convert it into a proper HTML email with inlined CSS and host her images (free) on our CDN.

    * It takes some work to get your email template looking like you want it to.

    If you’re not a coder, then yes, it’s going to take a little work. Unless you want to just use our template gallery, and plop in your content.

    You can also try our automagic email designer, where we import design and content from your website:
    http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/tag/automagic-email-designer/

    or, if you’re a web developer, just code your own template:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/resources/email-template-language/

    then import it to MailChimp.

    * Lack of campaign segmentation –

    We have unbelievable segmentation options!

    Because we integrate with so many e-commerce carts, you can segment by purchase activity:

    http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/target-emails-by-purchase-activity/

    Segment by ZIP code proximity:
    http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/segment-your-list-by-zip-code/

    You can even segment by subscriber activity and engagement level:
    http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/segmenting-your-email-campaign-based-on-subscriber-engagement/

    * …each time you mail a different campaign to the same list you need to start over. At the time of this writing campaign segmentations were not saved.

    Mailing a different campaign to the same list is actually easy. Just replicate your last campaign. It’s true that we don’t store your list segments under the “Lists” tab like others might, but when you replicate campaigns, the segments are replicated too.

    A comprehensive, unbiased ESP review is sorely needed, and if you guys can post a review that’s accurate and thorough, it would be extremely useful. You’re off to a great start here, but I think you should go back and revise some of the information on MailChimp.

    Regards,
    Ben C.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been looking at MailChimp, iContact, Vertical Response and Benchmark. There are a lot of comparison charts out there and sometimes MailChimp is near the top and sometimes near the bottom. This is very confusing. One reviewer says your templates are easy to use, the next says they are not.

      One of the reasons you seem to end up near the bottom is no phone support and chat and email are only available during certain hours. Maybe you should consider a pay per phone call service for emergencies. It seems to be hurting your rankings. I also have a question. We want to get moving quickly. and don’t have time to testdrive every single service we are considering.

      If we have an outside agency — perhaps one of your experts — design a custom html template using your service, and say we decide MailChimp isn’t for us later, can we reuse that template in another service or is it sunk work/cost? I know you wouldn’t want us to switch, but being able to easily switch is one of our business requirements. Hopefully MailChimp would be so great we wouldn’t want to.

  • Anonymous

    All great providers. But I use Pure360 and since then I haven’t looked back, their customer service is awesome.

  • http://signalhq.com Julian

    My company, Signal, offers a painless solution for email, mobile and social marketing. It’s free to try, so there’s nothing to lose!

  • Anonymous

    You might want to look at Contactology. We have a lot of people coming over to us from Constant Contact. We are a smaller company, and we emphasize good service – dedicated account managers and no call queues. Plus all the features, deliverability, and autoresponders features.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the suggestion. We have been looking for an email marketing service for our company. Vertical Response had gotten hold of our email somehow and so we contacted them to ask for more information. Not a peep. We even tried to use their live chat customer help on their site and it never loaded. After those initial encounters, we were turned off. Many of our clients use Constant Contact, but since reading the bad things here and on other sites, we decided to give them a miss.

      We just checked out Contactology on your suggestion, and if you guys live up to your description and info on your site, I think we will be quite happy to use it. If not, people here will be hearing about it ;)

      K. Cunningham

  • Anonymous

    What benefit do the above have over free services like Yahoo groups and Google groups?

    Thanks

    David

    • Anonymous

      I have been having such a tough time deciding which email newsletter company to use. Thanks for the tips and all the pros and cons. I think I will try GetResponse and see how it goes. Wish me well!!

    • We Rock Your Web

      Yahoo and Google groups are more about creating mailing lists for a group that is centered around a common activity. The above services are specifically for sending newsletters to a list of subscribers about your product or service.

      While Yahoo and Google groups encourage list user participation, newsletter services exist simply to bring readers up to speed on new website content and to bring them back to your website.

      The advantage of the above services is that you can create newsletters using graphic templates, add and subtract subscribers at any time, and get advanced reporting on how many people opened your newsletter, how many did not, what the probability of your newsletter getting spammed is, etc.

      Many of the above services also offer surveys and other email marketing functionality.

    • Annie

      I’ve been a graphic artist artist for over 13 years now. I’m just seriously unfamiliar with managing a blog and came across your site while looking for design blogs. I want to point out how happy I am with all your material along with the over-all top quality of your site. I’m hoping I can setup a blog just like your site and will pay attention to your blog posts with great eagerness. Thanks heaps for that encouragement mate.

  • Anonymous

    Omnistar Mailer has helped increase my click-throughs because I can check for spam before I send.

  • Anonymous

    Researching email marketing systems can be a pain, I really appreciate all the feedback!

  • Anonymous

    Hi.

    Thank you for the reviews.

    It looks like Vertical Response does indeed charge separately for surveys with a monthly fee based on the number of responses.

    We just spoke with them and confirmed it. Bummer!

    – The Purple Store Staff

  • http://www.infusionsoft.com a web rocker

    I’ve heard good things about everyone that uses Infusionsoft to send email. It looks like there’s a lot more to it too.

    • Paul

      …Infusionsoft is the whole car.

  • Anonymous

    I know how fast things change, but Constant Contact DOES offer free trails, and has offered an auto responder for some time now. Thanks for these helpful comparisons.

    • Web Rocker

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your feedback. The Constant Contact “free plan” we mention that was discontinued is different from a free trial, which just about all email newsletter providers offer. The auto responder feature has indeed been added, thanks for pointing that out :)

  • Anonymous

    We send out e-newswires with advertising and news content (and promos from time to time) no less than five days a week with our biggest list at 17,000.

    We’ve been using Constant Contact for a long time and while the ease of use and relatively low cost has been a plus given we’re a small b2b media company, there are limitations and we’re wondering what else is out there and if this group has any recommendations for the following:

    * An email marketing provider that provides downloadable (or related) metrics reporting that is easily translatable to advertisers (meaning, a week’s or month’s worth, not just each day, and in a more ready-made report format)
    * An email marketing solution that plays well with ad servers
    * Nicer-looking, more professional banner-ad friendly templates than Constant Contact. We don’t want our daily newswires to be in our own customized HTML format because that would than require a non-editorial staff member to have to post the new content each day in the newswire template and we’d like to avoid that due to staff time constraints

    Many thanks for any insight on the preceding!

  • Anonymous

    Please, please, please think twice about Vertical Response. We have been with this company for years, spending thousands of dollars. We are considered to be in their Platinum Circle. I don’t know what happened but in the last 6 months the technical issues are through the roof and all I’ve been offered is useless apologies. The issues were so severe that the CEO sent out an email addressing the issues and thanking us for our patience. 2 months since that email and I am still experiencing issues that delay my work an hour or more, depending on the day. I am officially in the market for a new email delivery system.

    • Anonymous

      Looking for a place to jump in. For the past 15 years, Dundee Internet List Hosting services with Lyris ListManager, has successfully hosting lists world wide. They have an answer for every issue brought up on this board, from lack of security to segments, reports, no refunds and so on.

      Cost effective, does everything and great personal support. And if they don’t do something you need, they’ll find a way to do it or recommend a company that can.

      Azaliagirl

      • Anonymous

        You should tell Lyris to put a price on the website for their software. I can only assume since they don’t, that it costs way too much.

        • http://mailinglistservices.com a web rocker

          I don’t work for lyris, we’re an ESP and our pricing is on our site. mailinglistservices.com/pricing/index.htm. We also have live support, free customer templates and been around for 16+ years.

          Azaliagirl

  • Anonymous

    Constant Contact does a great job of the very basic Add and Delete functions — but that’s comparable to having a heartbeat, so it is not a differentiator.

    What Constant Contact does not do at all – nada, zilch — is provide any facility for subscribers to Change their email address or any of the other contact information that Constant Contact can collect.

    In a competitive ISP environment and an economy in which people move often, this comparison would have been much valuable if you had included the ability, or lack thereof, for the subscriber to change their own contact information.

    • Anonymous

      I think you’re mistaken. Every email has an Update link so the user can change information.

  • Anonymous

    Many people are into social media for marketing, but this really isn’t the only way to keep in contact with your audience, and it’s also not the only way to gain new customers. I actually think of the woman behind the whole “Hungry Girl,” franchise when I discuss these things.

    I mean she has literally built an empire on designing low calorie recipe swaps for the types of foods you enjoy at restaurants and comfort foods that you usually can’t eat on a diet. She has been sending out this stylish, well copy written newsletter for at least 7 years that I know of. That’s when I first signed up for it, and I still get it today.

    I’ve taken some of her recommendations and tried some of her foods. I have always been in shape, but I want to maintain it my whole life. Now also, I want to also lose about 5 to 10 pounds of baby weight, or maybe just somewhere around 7 pounds. I made sure that the newsletter stopped going to my junk folder and that I started reading it again several months ago. She built a whole business on her website and newsletter.

  • Anonymous

    As a fledgling online presence building a new list, I have used Constant Contact in the past and now use Aweber. There is one comment above about using Google Groups and it dismisses this option for not having much for Analytics nor page design.

    But you really can’t argue with free.

    I have gone a few months in lapse on my emails and perhaps this would signify that I need to really step up my business (no argument) but it is extremely frustrating to spend $20 a month on a service not being used.

    So for people just getting started or if you are not sure you want to commit to $20 a month ($240 a year), I recommend Google Groups. You CAN do just newsletters.

    Interested in your feedback.

    • We Rock Your Web

      That’s a good point. If you’re just starting out and don’t have any mission critical newsletters or lists to cater to, it’s never a bad idea to try a free or low cost service first. All depends on the amount of time you have to test a particular service and see how it may help meet your business needs.

      • Anonymous

        The only downside I can see is that the sign up process for people without Google groups accounts (or at least a Google account) could turn some people off. You are essentially forcing people to signup with Google.

        • We Rock Your Web

          We agree. This is a similar issue in the e-commerce realm, where Paypal provides one of the simplest payment solutions, but forces guests to create a Paypal account upon checkout, which you then have to remember the credentials to when purchasing again using the same email address or credit card.

          Google is known for not having the best account/user access control. In their Adsense publishing system for example, there is no way to add a second authorized user to an account. If you want to give an employee access, they’ll need to login with your Google account, and if you’re subscribed to any other Google services (Gmail, Adwords, Analytics, Groups, Calendar, etc.), they will have access to these as well.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the info. Now I’m more confused as ever though! Why not try a ranking method?

  • Anonymous

    I recently found a new ESP named NewPanda and they have some pretty interesting stuff.

    Pros: large number of customizable templates, several “auto-pilot” choices (like auto birthday and customer anniversary), integration of email, mobile tools (SMS) and social networking. So, you can create one message and have it emailed as a template, sent to an SMS subscriber base (with a short URL to an auto-created online page) and posted to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

    Cons: while their editor provides a lot more flexibility than the other “drag & drops,” it can get a little confusing if you want to get into detailed customizing.

    Overall, I’d say check ‘em out. They seem eager to respond and help with questions.

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thanks for the feedback on NewPanda! We’ll check them out in more detail and see if we can write up a detailed review.

  • Anonymous

    Wow…thanks for such a comprehensive overview. I’m a graphic designer and was in the middle of writing something up for my clients about all the variables to consider in selecting an email provider. This is a great thread. I was surprised not to see myEmma on here. I hear they’re very good though they appear to be a little more money then some. They’d be worth checking out too. I’m quite impressed with Mail Chimp and really like the reseller options at Campaign Monitor. As a designer one of my criteria is that I can add custom HTML easily. CM is the best from that standpoint & Constant Contact is the worst. I’ve worked in several of the tools mentioned and will be checking out several more. It’d be super to see this summarized in a huge grid format!

    • Anonymous

      I used Constant Contact for years. It takes me literally a few seconds to implement a custom design in Constant Contact. If you do all your work in Dreamweaver and copy the code over to Constant Contact that’s basically as hard as it gets.

  • Anonymous

    Why is AWeber not mentioned?

    • Web Rocker

      Glad you asked. We just finished our AWeber review, which has been added to the article above. Enjoy :)

  • Anonymous

    I was just about to get a MailChimp account, and they sent the confirmation email directly to my junk mail account. Fail.

    • Anonymous

      As if that’s MailChimp’s fault somehow? Lets keep the relevant comments going.

      • Anonymous

        How is this not Mailchimp’s fault? This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t use it. If their confirmation email is spam how is everything you send with them going to be taken as anything different. This site must be blacklisted and standard spam filters, ISP’s and everything in between recognize that anything coming from Chimp is crap.

      • Anonymous

        Email cannot target a “junk folder” on a machine. That the email wound up in your junk folder would likely be due to settings in your email client/spam filter/ISP. So, your comment = fail.

        • Anonymous

          If their email is getting caught in the default settings for what the email client considers “junk mail”, and MailChimp employ the same technique when sending email blasts, then those blasted emails stand a chance of being considered “junk mail” by others simply because of their default email client/spam filter/ISP settings.

          If an email was incompatible with Outlook’s default “email client/spam filter/ISP” settings that would obviously be bad. This is the same thing.

          Anyone who doesn’t pay attention to things like this should stop clogging up junk email boxes with your unread email blasts.

      • Anonymous

        Just found out about them reading this article. I sign up. Mail Chimp doesn’t recognize my login name or password. I click reset password, it sends to my email…so it does recognize my email!! Problem is, it took close to an hour for them to send it. I reset the password, try to log in… nope, doesn’t recognize my name or password.

        Bottom line, if they can’t handle a simple thing like accommodating a new customer’s sign in…how can they be trusted with my company?

        Geesh!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for telling us about Google Groups. I had no idea this service even existed, and it’s free?! Well, at least it’s free right now. I actually did the Constant Contact free trial, but really did not have much of a list to market to at the time; I just wanted to see if the system would work for me after I completed my whole marketing campaign.

    I wanted a free option, but could not find one. Google Groups probably was not available at that time though, so this is great. I’m so glad that I stumbled onto this post because I am a small business. I only have a small opt in list. I hope it grows, but to be honest, that might take a few years. This is only my side business. I have a real world job, and not a lot of money to invest in my business, so this is going to just work so much better for me.

    The only thing that is a little bit challenging is the fact that everyone must have a Google account. So many people do these days that it might be workable though.

  • Anonymous

    One of the email tools that I recommend is Omnistar Mailer because it will automatically manage every aspect of your email marketing.

  • Anonymous

    Hi We Rock Your Web,

    First, this is a killer review; even the comments are informative! According to this review, I’ll be deciding between Vertical Response and StreamSend.

    Second, any chance you might add AWeber and GetResponse to your review? GetResponse, I hear, is pretty good. AWeber, on the other hand, is popular but blocked by major e-mail providers, such as AOL, Yahoo! and HotMail. This is common knowledge. But an in depth review here would be awesome.

    Thanks We Rock Your Web and cheers to those who shared their experiences!

    To Your Freedom,

    –Dave

    • Anonymous

      Hey We Rock Your Web,

      Great review, extremely informative but there is no doubt in my mind that you’ve forgotten to add Aweber and GetResponse to your Review Arsenal. Those 2 e-mail marketing services are extremely well known and; recommended in the Internet marketing industry. It would be nice for folks to get some insight of the pros & cons of those 2 services.

      But great review, hope to be able to come back on here sometime in the future and see you’ve added the two. Take care!

      -Brandon

      • We Rock Your Web

        Hi Brandon,

        Thanks for your suggestion. It’s getting tough keeping up with all the newsletter services popping up (and those that have already been around for a while). We’ll have one of our writers check out these two services and post reviews.

        Cheers,

        – Web Rockers

  • Anonymous

    Hi, thanks for the great article – most useful!

    My organization is spread internationally, and I would need to give permissions to the contact point in each country to send out mails only to their designated portion of the global mailing list.

    I’ve tried Constant Contact and iContact, but those two don’t seem to support this. I wonder if any of the others are able to provide flexible delegation of permissions to multiple user accounts at all? (We currently achieve this with a custom PHPList installation, which we’d like to replace.)

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      I’m looking for the same thing as you….that is, multiple logins for the same account. seeing no replies to your inquiry I’m assuming no one can do this? If this has changed, someone please let us know! I am a satisfied Constant Contact user with the exception of multiple logins/security per account and also their bounce management needs improvement.

    • Anonymous

      I have the EXACT same issue – I see your post is pretty old, did you ever find a solution?!?!?! Thanks

  • marla

    Am familiar with MailChimp and used it with another company. This small business I work for now is a manufacturer sales rep company for several manufacturers and the business revolves around using ACT. Does anyone know EXPERIENTIALLY how well ACT works with MailChimp? What about using the e-mail marketing service associated with ACT? Is that more limited?

    I’ve also been looking at VistaPrint, as the company uses them for business cards and VistaPrint has an e-mail marketing resource. I am looking for working with what I know/very simple integration of brand image across website, e-mail campaigns and working with ACT.

    Anyone help on this?

  • Anonymous

    I first used Constant Contact about three or four years ago when I started collecting emails from my customers at my small business that specialized in catering to parents. It seems like this generation of parents are the first real full generation of individuals that are fully engrossed in the email technology and they use it for so many different applications you literally cannot put a number on the possible uses for it.

    When I amassed about three or four hundred emails, I decided to get more organized with my email marketing efforts. Constant Contact was one of the first service providers that I came across for doing what I wanted to do. I obtained a free trial and simply took off from there.

    Almost overnight, my emails went from looking hokey and amateurish to very professional and it seemed to get better and better every week. It provided me all the tools I needed to develop a list of customers and see what they responded to in order to streamline my efforts and get more efficient with each email.

  • Anonymous

    Trying to decide between MailChimp and Constant Contact. Does anyone have any experience or recos to share on which one if the best for email newsletters?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for all the great info on email marketing newsletters and also for the price comparisons paired with features. This can help me choose the best email newsletter for me.

  • Anonymous

    Our work in stream and wetland mitigation is very “state” specific – information I send to prospective purchasers in one state is not the same information I will use in another state. So I need a system to set up lists by state.

    In your first review on Constant Contact, you stated they have one sign up form for the entire account and if you needed more than one group, you would need to open multiple accounts. You didn’t address that in reviewing the other companies. Do any of the others have a way to create separate email groups?

    Thanks – Mary

    • We Rock Your Web

      Hi Mary, Yes, most other services allow this. Vertical Response, for example, lets you segment your lists into groups. iContact takes this a step further and lets you specify drop-downs on individual sign-up forms to create sub-groups within individual mailing lists. For example, you might have a group “West Coast,” and within that, they’ll be able to subscribe to the “CA” newsletter, or “NV” newsletter, etc. Thanks for the suggestion – I’m going to add this to our article.

  • Anonymous

    There is a relatively new Vertical Response module that can be used with Drupal. It looks like one can generate a newsletter from within their Drupal site and then launch it through Vertical Response.

  • Anonymous

    The first impression that I get from this information is that the author is really trying to help and simply give some good advice. It seems as if the writer(s) actually care about their audience and want to protect them from making any kind of mistake. I love the idea of including a list of terms to keep people from being confused or intimidated into a provider who may not really be the best choice for their business or situation.

    The various categories are also very helpful. The author has taken the time to actually review each company on the basis of whether they would be a good entry level provider. It seems that they certainly really understand their audience and want to answer their common questions.

    Yet, they do not stop there. If you are already using a provider, then you may be interested in switching to someone else. They include a number of helpful tips to make this transition easier and less painful. For example, using a content management system can help. They also point out that many users have added comments and other information about providers which have not been specifically reviewed.

  • rachel clarke

    This article just popped up when I asked for a comparison. Helped me greatly in making a decision. Great work :)

  • Anonymous

    Hi!

    Great article. I’ve been trying to get information about different email marketing companies and this was the perfect place to find a comprehensive list of pro’s and con’s.

    I do have a question, though. When they say your contacts have to opt-in, how will they know if you upload an excel file with contact information if those contacts opt’ed in or not?

    Thanks!
    Amanda

    • We Rock Your Web

      They’re assuming you have gotten permission from those customers (ie. that they’ve already opted-in with you or asked to receive your newsletter). If they haven’t, the newsletter contains an unsubscribe button. Worse, if they’re not opted in and you receive enough complaints from non opted in users, your account may be closed.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been with Constant Contact for four years and tried to upload an email list from one of our other storefront websites and provided with a complete list showing that these people have received and reviewed other emails from our website and had to sign into the website in order to have an email sent to them. They said that they would not send the email blast to these people and have put them on a Do Not Mail List – so we can’t even add them in the future even though we have started a relationship with them – they told me the only way they can get future email blasts from us is by going into the Constant Contact Website and specifically opting in.

    So in essence we are losing about 25% of our customer base if we continue to use them. If you don’t want to have the same problems. DON’T use Constant Contact – I have learned my lesson – also there templates are not very user friendly. Thanks to this website I will be looking at iContact or one of the other services. Hopefully, all of their marketing efforts will be for naught as people begin moving away from them to other better options.

    • Anonymous

      A respectful organization had a very similar experience with Constant Contact and also left them to not lose a portion of their mailing list. The move took hours upon hours of time. Constant Contact is a poor quality company to many.

  • Anonymous

    Something no one has talked about is integrating your database. The only reason I’m looking at Vertical Response is that they have a partnership with our database company. Supposedly this will make it a lot easier to clean my list and manage bounces.

    Does anyone else have experience with this?

    • Anonymous

      One company that was not mentioned is Swiftpage. It is fully integrated into ACT! by Sage, SageCRM and Sage Saleslogix. This way all reporting and tracking are automatically entered into your database and saved in one place. I am not sure what database company you use but feel free to take a look at Swiftpage.

  • Anonymous

    Omnistar Mailer is the best email marketing software around. I increased sales by 15%.

  • Anonymous

    Try Omnistar Mailer because it has the best autoresponder function around.

  • Anonymous

    Not affiliated in any with the monkey, just have to use Constant Contact & iContact for many clients and the process is painful compared to MailChimp. They make it simple for our nontechnical clients to use, feature packed for our web dev team, and they offer integration with everybody. Plus, they have a great sense of humor.

  • David

    Just to share my experience:

    I used to use mailchimp but I’ve found Market Mailer to be much much cheaper. Personally I prefer their email marketing system as well – their editor just seems more intuitive.

    • Derrick

      I agree market mailer has the edge at the moment. But they are new on the scene and pretty small as a business. So they can afford to have efficient customer service, etc. At the moment they are offering ridiculous undercuts, and they’ve obviously put in a lot of cash and work for their editor which is as good as any I’ve seen. Judging by their prices I would guess they are looking to undercut the market. Whether it will stay that way is anybodies guess. But for now I’m sticking to MM while they’re in that sweet spot of development. bang tidy.

  • Anonymous

    A July post asked about MailChimp. Would also like to hear your reviews. Nudging!

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thanks for the nudge! And we apologize for slacking ;) I’ll get someone on the MailChimp review asap.

      • We Rock Your Web

        Our MailChimp review is live. Enjoy!

  • Jessica Moretti

    What an amazingly thorough review of the big names in email marketing. You should consider doing a review of SnapRetail. If you haven’t heard of Snap, it is an online marketing solution specific to the retail marketing and offers some truly unique product features, like ready-to-use content and a drag-and-drop planning calendar. (disclosure: this commenter works for SnapRetail)

  • Anonymous

    Since someone who is new to the world of email marketing may not understand all of the jargon used it is a nice touch for this site to include a list of terminology used. The definitions and explanations offered are all given in plain English, so even a newcomer will be able to clearly understand everything going on here.

    I also liked the fact that they provided a good explanation for the way they choose to organize this information. By explaining the fact that they have left off most of the common features that each provider offers make things a lot clearer. It also goes a long way towards adding to their credibility and honesty. For example, when the author says that all of these providers basically have the same types of relationships with the major ISP’s this shows that they care more for you. It also helps to clear up some confusion, since many providers advertise the fact that they have the best relationships.

    The advice about archiving and SEO is also really good. I would imagine most folks have never thought about the implications of archiving their old newsletters and emails on the provider site.

  • Anonymous

    Have a number of issues with iContact lately. First a number of months ago, they “upgraded” their HTML editor. I know this has been touted as a benefit over Constant Contact, but we’ve had nothing but trouble with the editor. I’ve had support tell me recently that I needed to completely recreate my newsletter from scratch as “errors accumulate over time when editing.” I’d rather use the HTML editor I have on my workstation and which I use for website creation than the hassle I currently have.

    We have also had an issue with contacts being automatically classified as “DO NOT CONTACT.” I was told by iContact that they are having an issue with certain e-mail provider/hosts and contacts using those hosts were automatically being changed to DNC. When I asked what process could be used to restore the contacts mailing status as they neither requested it nor did we, I was told “you cannot change the status once they are made DNC. You’ll have to ask them to change e-mail addresses or provide a different one.” After looking into Constant Contact I discovered they already have a procedure in place where you work with the contact to change their status, pretty much the process I laid out to iContact.

    At this point, although a little more expensive, with the added capabilities of Event Management which we were also looking into, it looks like we’ll be moving to Constant Contact.

    • Anonymous

      I switched from Constant Contact to iContact about a year ago. I maintained my account at Constant Contact because I have all of the emails archived and linked to from my website.

      I agree 100 percent with you regarding the new (and improved) iContact editor. It is horrible to work with. You simply cannot even copy a successfully sent previous email to spring board off, without text issues like suddenly your Verdana text is now 20pt times new roman… Also, compatibility issues with Outlook. You have to manually go in to the HTML to add image align text, so your word wrap around an image will actually work for outlook… (hey, it’s the largest email client out there)

      So, I find myself ready to export my HTML template to Constant Contact, or, simply paying someone to input my copy and images and meet my objects of correct display on the web, in outlook 2003 to 2010 etc.

      • Anonymous

        The hours of my life and speaking to no less than 5 customer service people to make my standard email template consistently formatted from month to month has been a nightmare. I’ve had to factor in at least twice as much time to do my monthly email since the HTML editor “update.”

        I hate and rue IContact. Looking into switching to Vertical Response.

  • Anonymous

    Any reviews on Campaigner?

    • alex

      Our Campaigner Review is now published, enjoy. Next up: we’re working on pricing charts for each provider that will make it easier to eye-ball pricing for different plans based on provider.

  • Anonymous

    How do these reviewed products compare with Kmailer?

  • Email Marketer

    Here are some recommendations of which vendors to use: (1 = bad; 10 = best)

    Cheetahmail = 9

    Responys = 10

    Exacttarget = 7

    Vertical Response = 3

    Mail Chimp = 5

    Silverpop = 8

    E-dialog = 6

  • http://rentini.com Rentini Travel

    This is a great email newsletter comparison review! Thanks for helping us choose, trying out iContact as it looks to suit our needs best!

  • Anonymous

    Bottom line: Stay away….looks can be deceiving.

    I spent a week designing a fancy email newsletter on their service. I thought the features and the price were great. I had been doing my own designs on software that allowed me to design a newsletter and do bulk mailing.

    I thought that for the price & features that Vertical Response would be a better choice. Understand, I am not a computer illiterate. I design websites, work in Photoshop, etc. so I know my way around this arena.

    I found their design templates to be bulky and non intuitive and although they have pretty good basic phone support , they rely heavily on web based tutorials and videos to get you up to speed. That’s all great if you have the time to spend watching web videos but I need to get my newsletter out on time and want to spend time designing and NOT watch their tutorials to get answers to simple questions that might take one minute of a tech support persons time.

    There system allows you to preview your emails easily and even send test emails to yourself for no extra charge BUT….and this is HUGE…if you have customized your recipients salutation, like Hi Joe, you have to use a merge field code. No biggie. You just insert the proper merge field info in the design template….BUT when you send the test email you can’t see if the system picked up the code properly. You have to send out a real email to confirm this.

    Big mistake on my part. I sent out my whole 3000+ list and the merge field custom salutation was not picked up. So each recipient received an email that said:

    Hi {FIRST_NAME},

    Very embarrassing I must say. Tech support told me that the merge field had been improperly formatted but I had used the one inserted from their design program. Thinking that it was fixed I sent out some more emails the next day but…nope…same problem.

    I called tech support, asked to speak to a supervisor, and, you guessed it, he was in a meeting.

    So overall bad service, email tech requests went unanswered, the interface is clunky and unintuitive, and basically I got the feeling that no one there really cared.

    I guess that’s why people pay the big bucks for Constant Contact.

    • Anonymous

      I have a list of email addresses, all mine, for different providers. Beside the usual test Vertical Response sends, I send a real email to my test list to make sure the merges, font sizes, etc. look good across all providers. Call me paranoid, but it works. I do have to make a copy of my actual email to accomplish this, because once it’s sent the email is posted as “sent” and I can’t edit it.

    • Anonymous

      Come on man. It’s two curly braces {{ whatever }}. You should be ashamed of yourself for cut and pasting their malarky and escalate the situation to your own supervisor.

      Asking for a supervisor is really lame too. The adult equivalent of lying to a teacher about someone else to deflect your inability to assume responsibility.

      This comment posting makes me think a lot less of you.

      Good day.

  • Anonymous

    Many people who are looking for a good email marketing service provider could certainly use some help in answering this question. There seems to be an ever expanding number of potential choices. Combine this together with the fact that not all of these companies actually even offer the same services and it can quickly result in either confusion, information overload or both!

    The article actually provides both rankings and fairly detailed profiles on each individual provider. This makes it real easy to determine which are the most important factors and features for your situation and then simply choose the best options.

    Of course, there are a number of other sites that give some good information and a few details. One of the things which really separate this from the pack is the fact that they actually give some solid pros and cons for each of the companies. In some cases, knowing the limitations of a provider are even more important, and that is definitely something you will get here.

    This would be an excellent review to recommend for anyone looking. If you are truly serious about finding an email marketing service provider, than this is the place to look.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve tried them all. MyNewsletterBuilder is the best for my projects. I highly recommend it.

    Some of the distinguishing features:

    * One of the best interfaces for building dynamic newsletters from a large selection of templates. Late in 2009 they upgraded their tools. The new approach to building newsletters is slick!
    * I am charged for the number of subscribers instead of the number of newsletters I send out. This value proposition is much more beneficial to me.
    * Integration of Google Analytics allows me to compile my newsletter click-throughs with my website analytics.
    * One click to post my newsletters to an archive page so that viewers can easily see the previous newsletters I’ve sent.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to know how the quality is on getresponse, vertical response, and icontact, would anyone know?

    I work with a small business and i need something easy to use, with high quality pictures and templates.

    I’m looking into getresponse, vertical response and icontact. Which do you guys prefer?

  • http://huntersclub.com HuntersClub.com

    This was a good review but I think the answer is different for everyone based on your company/subscribers/marketing strategy.

    I have 7,000 subscribers and use Constant Contact. They are a little expensive but compare very well when you start getting bigger numbers of subscribers.

    That said, I think the entire email marketing landscape will change once UserFox comes out. They are going to use smart triggers to send out emails.

  • Anonymous

    Profollow is a less expensive private label of aweber, as I understand it, but without the analytics. Anybody know about it? If aweber is blocked (I only heard it on this blog), will Profollow also be blocked, could they have different IP addresses, etc.?

  • Anonymous

    My small business went the email marketing and newsletter route through our web provider, who put us on MailChimp. Because our business was still relatively small and our network was not incredibly well-developed yet, we had few enough members for MailChimp to be free.

    Embedding the email archives on our website is one of the best features of the plan, since it allows our users to look up information that was sent out in earlier mailers, and we have a file of all the campaigns we sent out. Unlimited image hosting is another perk for our business, since we can upload everything we need right through the service.

    The winning part of the service that helped us the most was the Google Analytics integration. Using this tool, we were able to see which campaigns were the most helpful and most popular as far as bringing in web traffic (and thus, ultimately, new customers). Through the work that we put into it, we now have a much larger network and business is growing. And although we now have to pay for email service because we have too many contacts, we still opted to stay with MailChimp.

  • Anonymous

    For small to medium sized businesses that are looking at launching email marketing campaigns, selecting the right service to get themselves started is crucial. Often times, these companies are either borrowing a budget from some other location or starting completely from scratch and require the campaign to ultimately pay for itself. For this reason, business owners often default to the best deal they can get and take the lowest number they can find. This ranking of email marketing services shows that thinking, as it usually is, is fatally flawed.

    No matter how good the service is or how effective it can be, it will not make any difference whatsoever if the end user does not know how to make the most of it. This is where customer service and support comes in as perhaps the single most valuable component when measuring these providers against one another. A more simplistic service that provides a free manner of learning how to use it will be far more valuable in the short term to a small business owner that is just getting started. Spend the extra money on the people in the know, it just works.

  • a web rocker

    2nd place for iContact?

    I guess you have not tried their email customization. It has a major flaw that other providers don’t have: in the email they correctly insert the first name of the recipient (e.g. “Dear Mary”), but when Mary clicks on the link that says “click here to view email as a web page” they can’t do the customization, they insert “John” for everyone, so Mary sees “Dear John”.

  • Anonymous

    I am the Director of Administration for a nonprofit. We currently use Constant Contact (and it has been a good relationship). However, I just found out that Vertical Response offers 10,000 email credits per month for free to nonprofits, which is why I was looking up reviews of their service and came across this site. I signed up with them and then submitted our 501c3 status and, within the day, we were approved and had 10,000 email credits in our account. I’m feeling warm and fuzzy.

    • Anonymous

      Are you happy with Vertical Response? I am looking into their service for a nonprofit (dog rescue). Thanks!

      • Anonymous

        Free is nice but we are moving from Vertical Marketing because it is a pain to define and maintain segments. Also it has limited design options and we have difficulty in receiving html for certain email addresses. I have spent time with their online chat (which is a nice feature) but they often say ‘they don’t offer that feature’. I have used Constant Contact for some other clients but feel they are over priced. Their archive is way too difficult to maintain. I am using MailChimp for my newer clients – it doesn’t appear to have the drag and drop block option that constant contact has but placing horizontal lines helps to separate articles. The archive is simple to set up and maintain!

  • Anonymous

    We’ve used vertical response for over 3 years now; however, last week we’ve had an issue with our account being unavailable for “scheduled maintenance” for over 48 hours, which totally puzzled their tech support.

    Their follow through was non-existent, and I personally had to spend well over 3 hours in an attempt to get them to correct the problem. Timing of this mail blast had been critical, but all involved (including supervisors) seemed completely apathetic.

    We’re definitely not going to go back to Vertical Response!

  • Dave Burton

    Does anyone know anything about bluehornet.com?

  • Anonymous

    I was a Constant Contact user and stopped after my account was frozen due to unpaid months because I was over the limit (50 contacts??????????). I actually went to MailChimp after reading the comment by the guy who says he’s a co-founder and I’m glad I did, very easy to use, nice features and it’s cool enough for me! I just have about 200 subscribers so it’s perfect! Thanks for the review by the way it was VERY helpful!

  • client

    I hope you will post this! This is about iContact’s outrageous behavior.

    They did not answer my emails with bugs for a long period. I canceled my subscription and requested that they send me my email list. They didn’t. Now, 4 months after canceling my subscription, they bill me, for nothing! My account is closed and canceled after all. This is outrageous!

    Stay away from this site! You will lose a lot of money with them as I did, and unfortunately until my bank solves this problem, I am still loosing money (doing nothing!)!!!

    • eArt

      Apparently they don’t think it is necessary to reply either….

      • We Rock Your Web

        Hi eArt,

        We are a tech community who reviews Email Service Providers (ESPs) but we do not represent iContact directly so we cannot reply to this complaint. If you or any of our readers have feedback that can help us form better reviews and opinions for the community, please submit them. In fact, we welcome them! But, if you wish for a response from the service provider company, you should contact them directly for resolution. We wish you well and keep us posted on your tech software ventures.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with the companies covered in this comparison is that they send millions of emails per month which inevitably leads to blocking problems. I use a small company out of Atlanta called EmailEvation (EmailEvation.com). They’re strictly full-service (I send them my content and they do everything else), have a delivery rate of around 98%, and have never been blacklisted (low volume sender). EmailEvation has the best customer service I’ve ever encountered and makes me fill like I’m their only customer.

    • Anonymous

      You might be their only customer.

      • Joel

        I had to respond after the “You may be their only customer” comment. I’ve used this company for over a year to send out around 60,000 emails per month and I agree with a previous poster about Emailevation offering the best customer service I’ve ever experienced. I’ve used various email companies in the past and none come close to Emailevation. They respond to any problems I’ve had within an hour or less and I especially like not having to deal with building the emails or managing my lists. I send them my content, they send me tests and send the email after I approve it.

        The problem with most of the companies reviewed is their size. If you’re considered a smaller customer, as I am, and you’re using one of these companies reviewed, be ready to have your project deferred while they work on a bigger customer project.

      • Anonymous

        I’m an Account Rep for Emailevation and our customer list includes Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Texas Ear Nose and Throat and Wickers Performance Wear plus about 10 smaller customers. We’ve picked up companies who were unhappy with Constant Contact, Vertical Response and Mail Chimp and our prices beat all of the ESP’s reviewed in this article.

  • Anonymous

    I have read all these reviews and i am very impressed!

    I work for a jewelry company and we are currently using constant contact. We do not like it AT ALL!
    I would like to know which one of these services are good with high quality photos? Also, which has the best customer service because the people in the office are not computer savvy!

    So far, my favorites are Get Response and Mailchimp.

    Please give me the best advice!!

  • Anonymous

    Watch out for constant contact strange billing practices. I paid for a year in advance and 9 months in, I had run out of money! What? They bill you based on the number of email addresses you have loaded. We would load a list, use it once and just leave it in the system. Next month we’d load a new list, use it once and leave it. They ripped me off big time. It is extremely confusing billing…so watch out for Constant contact billing.

  • Judy

    Mail chimp may have a great service but not being able to get in touch with them is a huge problem. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to fix a problem and was so frustrated. I am looking for another service to try.

    Customer Service and connection is important.

    • Jessica Moretti

      Hi Judy,

      You might consider SnapRetail. It’s an email marketing solution that provides you with a dedicated marketing consultant with your subscription. Customer service and support is a top priority.

    • Matt

      I’ve been using e-blasting and they are great over the phone. They even gave me some marketing ideas to use for my next mailing. I had signed up for a trial account first, so it’s worth a shot. Hope that helps.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed reading this article since I am currently looking for an email service provider for my business. There is certainly a lot of information given here. I especially like the fact that there is a rather in depth review of each individual company, rather than just a 10 word blurb about why each company is so great.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone heard of Mail Chimp? A friend of mine uses them and can’t stop raving about how much they like their service over Constant Contact. Apparently they’re cheaper too. Any chance you’ve had, or will have, time to review Mail Chimp?

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thanks for the gentle nudge – we need it! We’ve been meaning to post a Mail Chimp review for weeks now and keep putting it off. I’ll make it a point to get to it soon. If you don’t see it up in the next week or so feel free to contact us and give us another nudge.

  • Jerry

    Horrible experience with Vertical Response, site worked great but exceptionally poor customer service. I would not recommend this company to anyone. Try any of the others on the list.

  • Anonymous

    As a business owner marketing online, one of the most valuable investments you can make is choosing an email service provider. This is basically a service that can help you to put all of your email marketing, subscriber acquisition and follow up on automatic pilot. It is truly a very powerful service and great way to harness the power of technology.

    This article attempts to make this decision much easier for you. There are a number of individual company reviews that give you an excellent overview of the email marketing service provider climate. Lest you think that these will all be glowing reviews just aimed at driving you to their individual sales page, no! There are positives and negatives listed, as well as what types of services they offer.

    The best way to use this article is to start with the terminology. Learning this will give you a better handle on things. You will then be more familiar with how powerful these services are. Then, identify which features are the most important for you and your business.

  • http://gardeningtools.eco-rama.net best garden

    Hi to all, The email newsletter content existing on this web page is truly awesome. StreamSend is my favorite. Keep up the good work fellows.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so after demo’ing I’ve decided Vertical Response is just as good if not better than Constant Contact – and of course, it’s less expensive, or I probably wouldn’t be switching. I was able to cancel my Constant Contact email archive product by logging into my account, but in order to actually cancel the email marketing service ($15/ month) I had to call their support number, and was on hold for 20 minutes!

    The one plus was when I finally got through to a rep she was courteous and got my account canceled without hassling me or trying to convince me to stay (but that may be because the reason I gave was that I simply don’t use the service, who knows). At this point I had been signed up with them and had not sent out a newsletter in months, so $20/ month was simply going down the drain.

  • Anonymous

    Which one lets you use large opt-in lists without asking for proof of how you got them?

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, I was kind of shocked to find out that Constant Contact was not your top choice. I guess, I’ve seen them around for so long that they seem like the authority to me. When they first came out, I did do a trial offer and I found the system easy to use. But I was not very business savvy at the time and did not really have a list. I bought a list, but We all know that good lists are usually organically grown, not bought.

    It seems like GetResponse is a solid modern choice since it integrates social networking and such. The autoresponder is a given, but I think being able to conduct surveys is a really nice option.

    I have to say that I never heard of iContact or Campaigner before now and they both even outranked Constant Contact. With icontact, the custom html and design features are a great plus. In fact, I kind of wondered why Constant Contact did not have it at the time I did their free trial. Campaigner is also worth a try at such a bargain. Whenever I see $10 for something, I always take a second look.

  • Anonymous

    Look at SilverPop. Nuff said.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve used them all… Constant Contact, iContact and Vertical Response.

    I started off using Constant Contact. I received A LOT of complaints and I got blacklisted. Maybe because all my email was ending up in my contact’s junk mail. I had to handle the situation and get my company removed from the list. They kept charging me even after they shut down my account. I have to call them to get a refund.

    Next was iContact. I loved how they worked. Liked it much better than Constant Contact. It was even cheaper! The thing is, AOL is very strict with them. You can’t receive more than 3% bounced emails from AOL. They had to shut down my account. Too bad. They were perfect… I guess not perfect enough.

    Then I moved to Vertical Response, which is the company I currently use. ALL my emails go directly into my contact’s Inbox. It is a little more expensive than the previous 2, but I’m satisfied. Well worth the extra $ to know your emails are getting where they need to.

    • Anonymous

      I use SuddenValues.com. Not only do they have a 99.9% delivery, they have the necessary agreements with Yahoo, AOL etc. They do all the work for me, I do not have to create the database with tedious entries of addresses. Saves me hours per week.

      They also send out my coupons 2X a month, no limit on how many. They also send out a weekly update to all other merchants customers where I have picked up several new clients. They have a 90 day plan, I get to see the the marketing manager every 90days and plan my attack for the next three months. I can see how individual campaigns have succeeded, know how many of my coupons were printed etc.

      Service is amazing and employees are friendly. Take a look at their website and find out who the person is to contact under locations. This far outweighs anything I have done in the past. I had a mini website the first year, but now they are building a 14 page custom website which I can take with me if i choose to cancel.

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thanks for the informative review! I’m sure that will help our users :)

      You mention that Vertical Response is more expensive. It’s actually cheaper than Constant Contact, especially if you take into account that you don’t pay extra for Surveys. Constant Contact is one of the priciest of the bunch.

  • Anonymous

    Omnistar Mailer is the best email marketing software around. I increased by sales by 15 %

  • Anonymous

    I am planning on starting an Email Newsletter and had two issues that I wanted clarification on before signing up. I called both Constant Contact and Vertical Response’s Customer Support, to ask these two questions:

    1. Email Form – do I create it or do they provide the code for me to customize?

    2. After opt-in confirmation, how can I get my subscriber to get a pdf?

    CONSTANT CONTACT:
    Got through to Customer Support department straight away. Knew both answers right off the bat. Impressed.

    VERTICAL RESPONSE:
    Person who picked up, didn’t know … she was on the front desk. She transferred me to customer support who were busy, so I hung on, and on … and on while music played. In the end gave up. Called them again, and the same thing happened. And … upon inquiry at the front desk, was told that the Customer Support team is often busy, so the best time to call is early in the morning. Right … next time, I’ll make sure that any problem I have occurs at that time!

    Obviously, my one individual experience is not the basis for a sound conclusion, but I would be most interested (and grateful!) for other people’s experience(s).

    Thanks,
    Ray

    • Anonymous

      I agree, even the customer support by email is not helpful at all. It took 3-4 days until we got a response to an error that has happened sending out our first survey. In fact, the link that did work in test did not work in live.

      So, this is a 100% loss of the send out. Besides the 3-4 days it took, they were not looking into the issue and blamed the user making failures, without saying what failure. Another issue came up with the csv download of a survey report. The fields were not accurate in columns so everything got mixed up. After 3 days we got an email that we should clean up the csv file and upload it. So they did not even read our email. As a result, we are not very satisfied with the support.

      Thomas

      • Anonymous

        [Ed – duplicate post moved here]

  • Anonymous

    I first used CC about three years ago when I was merging my business with a new partner to form a new art gallery. We had an email list of approx 5000 people after combining. When we sent out our first emails, some customers were confused by the new business name and spam reported us (even though we sent a newsletter explaining the merge – so many people miss emails or just don’t open them). Because there was an adjustment period, we had an average of 22 spam reports per 5000 emails, which happened twice. Because of that Constant Contact canceled our subscription. After that I signed on to a small company called Digital Street out of Austin Texas.

    After my bad experience with constant contact I was ready for a smaller company who could provide one-on-one attention. I was very happy with them until they began having problems and switching servers multiple times resulting in a loss of my image data (twice) and lots of website downtime. I recently tried to go back to Constant Contact, my only beef with them was the Spam thing and our email list has hardly any ‘unsubscribes’ these days (no spams). I was told ‘sure come on back, no problem, lets set you up an account…’ So I paid, and spent DAYS transferring over data and re-learning their software.

    Once I had that all squared away and my first email designed and ready to go out I hit ‘send’ and got an alert that my account was put on hold. I called and was told the only way to re-activate it would be to place all prior email addresses on a DO NOT MAIL list! I said of course I can’t do that! Those are my customers! If I were a spammer who bought lists and sent out junk mail, then I wouldn’t care, I wouldn’t need them…it made no sense to me. I cannot believe that I was not told this on the first, second or third time I called and before I spent so much time switching over! Also alarming is that they actually saved my contacts from the first time I was signed up with them! So if you use constant contact know that they will keep your contacts on file for YEARS after you no longer use their service.

    • Anonymous

      The key word you used in your comment was YOUR contacts -not Constant Contacts. I had a similar expense and was glad to find MY constant where I left them. And they were very well protected. It made it a whole lot easier to switch and remember whom I was talking to. I downloaded that list? Compare it to my new one, made additions and then uploaded it to Constant Contact. No worries. They don’t share lists, sell lists, or invade my list privacy. Nice to know!

    • Anonymous

      We just experienced the same thing and they put us on hold but still wanted to charge us. Does anyone know or have great experience with another email company?

  • Anonymous

    Do not use Vertical Response. They are a rip off and will not send out emails to addresses on your list. Once you upload the list, they will find a reason to make it invalid and tell you your list is bad. You ask for a refund and will not see one for over a month if any at all.

    So please do not use Vertical Response unless you want to get ripped off. Also a sales person named Christopher Li is not helpful and has no idea what customer service is about.

    • Anonymous

      I have used Vertical Response for many years and on several different companies. I have been happy with the service and never experience the issues that ‘web rocker’ mentions. Just thought I’d let everyone know there is another side to the coin.

  • Anonymous

    Let it be know there is a less expensive email list management system with many of the same features as Constant Contact and others. That service is Ezine Director (ezinedirector.com). There is even a free version, under 250 subscriptions. Full version is $20 a month.

    In full disclosure, I am the founder (Brent L Livingston) of Ezine Director, which has been delivering email for thousands of organizations going on eight years. Visit the site, shoot us an email ([email protected]), or call us 877-258-1983. We will be more than happy to answer your questions.

  • Anonymous

    As far as email marketing is concerned I like Omnistar Email Marketing Software .

    • Anonymous

      Why?

  • Anonymous

    My biggest issue with all the providers is no one is offering an easy way to reuse content. You can copy your email from week to week, but what if you want to use an offer from email #2, text from email #15, text from email #37, and an event from email #7. It’s a lot of time consuming cutting, pasting and reformatting to efficiently reuse content from prior emails.

    Anyone have a suggestion, other than building my own CMS?

    Also, Constant Contact’s image directory is awful. Who has a better interface for managing stored images?

    • Web Rocker

      That’s an excellent point. We’ve been meaning to give this review a much needed facelift/ upgrade. When we do that, we’ll delve into content management capabilities – thanks for bringing this to our attention!

    • Anonymous

      Everything about it is awful.

  • Anonymous

    2008 is over!! It is now 2011. Why would anyone in their right mind PAY anything (above and beyond normal web-hosting fees) for a web-based mail service like these. All of these things can be accomplished from your own web-host with the proper scripts in place to simplify all the repetitive tasks. If your hosting service won’t let you, get into the fine print of your contract and find out why. Then, find a new host that WILL let you use the bandwidth that you are paying dearly for in the first place.

    It’s a crying shame that companies like these mentioned are extracting a profit from an uninformed market. I wonder (and I will look into) how many of these companies are Asian-based entities. Seems like I am seeing a lot of foreign based companies selling free, public technology all over the Internet to anyone willing to pay for it. Maybe I should get in the business too and start selling online html document storage space for $15 a month. (For those who don’t find that hilarious, you deserve to get burned by every online offer you come across).

    Xenospark

    • Anonymous

      Are you joking? Web hosting servers, especially shared servers, are the most unreliable thing out there for sending out newsletters. Not only that, but these email marketing service providers have constructed all kinds of advantages that you can’t get with our own setup. Reporting and analysis, list creation and segmentation, template editors, servers registered with email ISP’s, etc. etc.

      Go ahead, try your own setup for a while – or simply send a newsletter using MS Word and Outlook. And see how your click-throughs and conversion rates are affected. For most people, the monthly fees are paltry compared to the gain in customers we get from a reliable email marketing service provider.

      How do I know? Because I was in your boat at one point, and learned the hard way.

      • Anonymous

        That’s totally ridiculous. Actually you got it reversed. 10 years ago you could have a developer code a site with mailing capabilities. I agree with you there a script, a database and you were on your way. Although maybe for a few hundreds emails but not a few thousands as your script will time out before finishing the job anyway. Now try it again and after a few spam reports from users your server will get blacklisted, I know I did it. From there it’s a nightmare to get off the list…

  • Anonymous

    I am very upset with Constant Contact, as I know others are as well. We have done a dozen newsletters over the past year, and send to currently 5401 contacts a month. Over the past three months the company has been impossible to work with. I received 15 spam reports from a recent mailing, to people who typed their name on my site, opt in, and you guys cancelled my account. Maybe these were competitors looking to shut me down. Well, they succeeded. And Constant Contact helped.

    As your company pushes customers like me away, you will realize the powers that small companies yield. Word travels quickly, and we will together locate another, more customer service focused provider.

    I am trying Vertical Response.

    • Anonymous

      Constant Contact has a really bad opt-in form to put on your website. I received an attack from someone that entered in quite a few bad emails. I received spam reports because of it.

      I told Constant Contact to fix this problem.

      Well – they said I was a spammer, said they were going to cancel my account and hung up on me. Then they charged me for an additional 3 months.

      I’ve never experienced anything like this before.

      Careful on the sign up form on your website.

      I’m still looking for a good provider.

      • Anonymous

        Hello, Q: Have you found a quality email marketing provider for you or your company? I am doing research online for email marketing companies. Because I need an email marketing company to help me with my email campaigns, tracking, hosting, responding and also not to get blacklisted. Please can you point me in the correct direction? Thank you for your time.

  • Anonymous

    This service takes forever to load pictures and WYSINWYG (What you see is not what you get). I’ve spent hours trying to get a mailing to look right and when I send a test email it looks completely different from what it did during editing. I am also not a web designer and find MailChimp to be frustrating to use unless you know all of the HTML codes because their templates have limited options to choose from. I tried to call customer support to help with the issue and they were only able to refer my problem to technical support but unable to provide me with any other assistance(and I still have not seen any results from that).

  • Looking for Follow-Up to: Next Up

    I was wondering what the status was for adding the review / add next section to your comparison table? I love what you’ve done and how you’ve presented the information thus far. Hoping to see Bronto: Caters primarily to the high end market; specializing in email newsletters for e-commerce (No monthly option available – annual only), Benchmark, MyEmma, Boomerang, JangoMail, Big Hip, and mUrgent (a full service outfit). And many more will be reviewed soon! Thank you so much for your extraordinary help!

    • Michelle

      The promised new services will be added in Spring 2013 along with a complete update on this review. Stay tuned and sorry for the delay.

  • Anonymous

    iContact is a horrible service. They have next to no security which opens up your contacts to spam delivered from them with your name on it – so much for email marketing campaign. HORRIBLE SERVICE.

  • ESP masta

    This is a great in-depth review with tons of information and details, but for those of us that don’t have the time to read through all this – could you please just tell us what you consider to be, say, the top 3 email marketing service providers? That would be fantastic and would save me a ton of research time. I think highly of you guys so will most likely trust whatever your opinion is.

    Just something to think about – would sure make some of our lives easier. Thanks web rockers!

    • We Rock Your Web

      Great idea! Our researchers are working away to put together their recommendation of top three email service providers to better serve the needs of you, our readers. Hope to have it up by the end of May so check back soon.

  • Anonymous

    You should take a look at ListRocket. It’s been out there for 5+ years. The feature set is much “deeper” than most other offerings out there. It’s strengths are in team-based campaign management and CRM-like email profile management. I really like it.

  • Anonymous

    Hi,

    I am doing my marketing plan and project my email list to grow from 3000 to 36,000 over five years.

    I would like to start with one service and stick with it. But this does not seem to be the right thing to do because since I am starting out the expensive services are too expensive for startups.

    Vertical Response seems to have poor customer service. I don’t care if this thread has only one negative experience recorded. They still did not fix the problem.

    ConstantContact is now to big to care about a small business like me, so I won’t try them.

    Given the above input information, what path would you recommend for a small, caution startup with an extremely limited budget and a desire to work with one email marketing company in a long term relationship.

    Thank you

    • Anonymous

      Take a look at Swiftpage. Swiftpage’s prices are comparable to Vertical Response. They pride themselves on world class support. The support is in house and on line, but you are always talking to real people with real experience. Their email marketing tools go beyond your ordinary email marketing service provider. They offer lead generation tools across all marketing touches including direct mail and call lists that would be perfect for you to grow your list from 3000 to 36,000.

      Swiftpage is also fully integrated into ACT! by Sage, Sage Saleslogix and SageCRM.

      • Anonymous

        I just downloaded the Act email marketing/swiftpage integration and it looks very promising. Thank you. I will update in a month.

  • Anonymous

    While there are definitely a lot more things to consider than price, it is still helpful to figure out how much your campaign is going to cost. A lot of the services are not priced in the same way and have different ranges for their tiers of service.

  • Anonymous

    I had a dispute with constant contact. They where going to have someone contact me to discuss the matter. Instead I get the following. If you say you are going to have someone call, then have them call. Do not hide behind an e-mail and call the case closed.

    Hello ***

    My name is Emily. Please find my response to your question in the ‘Response Section’ below.

    If after reading my response you require any further assistance at all, you can either reply between the lines below or click this link to update your question online.

    [===> Please enter your reply below this line <===]

    [===> Please enter your reply above this line <===]

    Subject

    Account Cancellation Notice and Refund Request

    Response Section

    Response (EmilyR) 06/14/2011 10:48 PM

    Hello ***,

    Thank you for contacting us about your account. Your account has been canceled and reviewed to determine if a refund is appropriate. Constant Contact has a no refund policy in our Terms and Conditions, we are unable to honor your request for a refund. Your account will remain open through the end of the payment period, you will have access until 07/5/2011.

    Kind Regards,

    Emily R.

    Billing Support Specialist

    Customer (***) 06/14/2011 01:59 PM

    This is an automatically generated record of your phone call to Constant Contact Customer Care on June 14, 2011 1:59:51 PM EDT

    If you need additional help with this matter, you have 14 days to update the question online by clicking the “Update Question” button below. A member of our Email Support team will be in touch with you. Otherwise, please click the “Help and Support Overview” tab to review our various customer support offerings.

    Thank you for using Constant Contact.

  • a web rocker

    Anyone who is or has been considering using an email marketing service provider understands that this is a decision which should be made only after some very careful consideration. This article takes a very serious look at several of the top programs in this field and offers a lot of helpful information.

    Personally, I found the comparison table to be quite helpful. Anything like this that is large enough to require its own separate page means that there is a lot of information to be had if used properly. Not only does it include all of the pricing and features data which you would expect, but the author also clearly seems to be committed to regular updates.

    Another thing which really makes this article a cut above the rest is the fact that much of the reasoning for what is included in the tables and the reviews are explained in very clear language. To me, this was very helpful. Knowing that all of the providers have certain things in common makes it that much easier to focus on the differences and helps make comparisons quicker and simpler.

  • Anonymous

    What about Campaigner.com?

    • Web Rocker

      We’re currently reviewing their service and will add it to the mix as soon as we’re done :) If you subscribe to our newsletter (top left sidebar) or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be notified when the review is ready.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone have any comments about Send Blaster SMTP?

  • Anonymous

    Any update on the pricing table you guys were going to add that includes an “at a glance” comparison of all these email marketing service providers and their pricing, main features, usability issues, etc.?

    • We Rock Your Web

      We’re proud to announce that our email marketing service provider comparison table is now ready, and we’ve updated the article above with the latest improvements and features ESP’s have recently released. You can see the table on our email marketing service providers comparison table page.

  • Andy Greenhalgh

    Would very much like to see your upcoming review of MyEmma to see how it stacks up in this category of email marketing.

  • a web rocker

    Please review Graphic Mail. They seem to be more robust than any of the email marketing providers you have reviewed to date.

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with most of the comments here: Constant Contact sucks. Yet, there they are, taking over the world with their money and their marketing. I work with nonprofit organizations and most of them are using Constant Contact. Hate it. I’ve got at least five different opt-ins running right now. Couldn’t do that w/ CC.

    I’ve been using iContact for almost three years now with nary a complaint. Oh there have been rare instances of delayed sending. But I have never once contacted their customer service department and not gotten immediate and satisfactory help. Takes some time to navigate – don’t they all?

    Thanks for putting all the pros and cons out there in detail.

    • amyb

      I have experience with using iContact as well and I have to say that overall I was very pleased with their service…that is until I ran across aweber. That isn’t to say that there is anything wong with the iContact service, I never had an issue with them at all, I just found aweber much easier to control and maintain than iContact.

  • Anonymous

    Some important things to consider:

    When a customer opts out, on mail chimp if you have that customer on 3 different lists, then you need to go in manually and take them out from those other lists. The customer does NOT get the option of what list to stay in or out of as each list is totally independent. You can have one list with multiple categories – but then they have to all be from the same company.

    With Aweber and Benchmark, you can have multiple lists, all different companies, yet all linked together. The best thing is, if someone opts out, and they are listed on all 3 lists, it gives them chance to chose, opt out of all the lists or just some of them. We have a doctor news letter and then product lines, one cheaper and one elite – most customers just want 2 out of the 3 lists.

    Aweber on the websign up, address/country the country is a pull down and pick, in Benchmark the country they write in, it took me about 5 hours doing through all my contacts as we mail different news letters per country – but when people signed up on Benchmark they put USA, or United States, or America, US – it was a nightmare. In Aweber they don’t have a choice from the pull down, there is just one United States! (and not a write in option.) This is nice if you segment your lists.

    Benchmark – little easier on the forms creation, easy to have where they can tick multiple answers to the one question. In Aweber it is more set up for just one answer per question. ‘how did you hear about us’ might be two from the list of answers.

    Aweber has a cool feature you can collect a birthday, and then set up auto mailers per month for birthdays in that month to send out a little something to those special people. They cannot set it up to go out on the specific birthday date though.

    With Benchmark, you have the option of them putting in their birthday date, but it only does it the American way, with the month first. So anyone outside of the U.S. would get their birthday email 6 months earlier. (ie. on 12/6 versus 6/12 for Europe).

    If you have a shopping cart, there’s the advantage that Aweber can integrate the contacts and have them put directly in your contacts with a note that they ‘bought.’

    Mailchimp is a great cool system, fun to use, but if you are doing more than just one list you will end up doing so much work and manual labor. Plus, it’s restricting if you want a mail to go out from two different companies or products.

    Benchmark has amazing survey forms which are so easy to put up.

    I have not tried exporting my lists yet back in to my CRM – Batchbook. If anyone else has please let me know.

    Many thanks. Great feedback.

    • Anonymous

      Very cool of you to add so much extra info and experience to this post — it really made it so, so much more helpful than what I’ve been able to find — many thanks, wish you’d left your twitter name at least so I could follow you~!

    • We Rock Your Web

      Wow, this is quite the detailed feedback on these three email newsletter service providers. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and share your experiences with our readers! We are all much obliged :)

      • Anonymous

        my pleasure. just add. constant contact you have only one list.. so if you want to send from different companies you will need different accounts. has a great event planner and surveys though.

        Get response, has a great feature where people can ‘listen’ to your written email, cool. but little clunky for me to work it.

        for me for the whole package, of surveys and mailers, auto responders, and easy of use, it is benchmark – though wish they had a cool a/b testing like icontact or get response.

        Cleaning emails.. how do you do that?

  • Anonymous

    This is indeed a tedious study!

    I have a list of about 5000-6000 subscribers.

    I want most a per subscriber/unlimited email service which has a great, intuitive interface, lots of templates, and the best deliverability. Also, since I’m moving from topica to this next service, I don’t want to have to have my list, which is 15 years old now, to have to re-subscribe. Lots of people neglect to do this, whether because their on vacation or just overwhelmed like many by the volume in their inbox.

    Most services which do the “per subscriber” pricing is about $72-75 for 4-8k or 5-10k subscribers. This includes: Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Newsletter Builder, & Mail Chimp. Get Response was $65 & Contactology was $90 for this volume. There are more intuitive interfaces popping up & the market is becoming more competitive so services should be improving…I’d like to think.

    I found iContact not easy enough to use for their templates, so I am discouraged from continuing with them. It was interesting to learn that aweber was blocked by a lot of isp’s. And the issue of iContact not being able to fix a forwarded newsletter from being unsubscribed was a real eye-opener.

    StreamSend seems to be like Topica & Benchmark, in that they price per email not subscriber. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    So the top contenders for me are:

    * Vertical Response, but I’m concerned about their spam policy & customer service.
    * Constant Contact, but the pricing seems excessive, as well as customer service and spam issues are discouraging.
    * Newsletter Builder may be ok
    * Mail Chimp is ok but didnt’ have great templates
    * Contactology seemed really too expensive
    * but the winner may be Get Response!

    Please keep posting your comments! It’s so challenging to find a service that gives me everything I want:

    * Deliverability – keep my newsletters out of the spam boxes
    * Great templates – wide variety & easy to edit with my pics & text
    * Affordable – less than $70/mo for 5-10K subscribers
    * Auto list editing – bulk adds as well as on-going deletions of repeated hard bounces
    * Analytics – you know this is important
    * Unlimited emails allowed, et al

    If you have any insights, I’m eager to read!

    Good luck!

    • Anonymous

      Which did you choose? I am leaving constant Contact and I need a good service.

      DanO’

      VP sales

      TRALE

      • vinay

        Try Honest mail. I am using this and it seems quite interesting.

    • We Rock Your Web

      Wow, this is quite the comparative analysis. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your learnings with our readers!

  • john blue

    I found the info helpful but was disappointed to see that affiliate links are being used on recommendations. Yes, I finally found your compensation policy but that is below the fold and not fully disclosed at the beginning of the post.

  • Anonymous

    When you wonder which ESP to use, I’d use this formula:

    * Don’t use iContact or Constant Contact.
    * Use Mailchimp if you need free and have less than 2,000 active subscribers.
    * Use Aweber or GetResponse if you want really minimalist, text-only emails, in a cheap and unremarkable but usable interface.
    * Use Bronto or Contactology if you want specific integrations with CRM or your own software.
    * Contactology or CakeMail if you are white-labeling email service.
    * Use MailChimp or Contactology for API integrations, MailChimp on the Free <2000 subscriber end, Contactology on the Paying for Enterprise Edition (lots of email).
    * MyEmma if you are a cat or require a picture of a woman’s face on your interface. Actually, just get a free CakeMail account, and upload the myemma graphic or your own woman’s face.

  • Anonymous

    I just went to their web site and it’s $30.00 a month for 501 subscribers! Bummer …

  • Anonymous

    Just tried to call to ask a few questions before trying them out. Office are closed on a Saturday. Deal breaker.

    • amyb

      Agreed. I find that if I can’t contact someone from any software or resource company during “off hours” or over the weekend or even holidays that I am more reluctant to utilize their services. As a small business owner I don’t often get “breaks” or days off and emergency situations do not know the bounds of a working day. For this reason I always try to go with a company that has the same type of availability that I offer to my clients, if I’m not here to answer a question, someone else is and that is how it should be in the service industry.