UPDATE: Several of the comments on this page appear to have be duplicitously written by Constant Contact staff. See this page for more details.
Over at Capulet, we do email newsletters for several of our clients. I’m know, very old-school, but they’re still a useful tool for plenty of companies.
A couple of years ago, we completed an exhaustive assessment of the email newsletter options available and went with Constant Contact. They’re web-based, provide the functionality and reporting we require, and are very affordable. The app has an incredibly Web 1.0 interface (constant page reloads, pop-up windows and animated status bars), but it does the job. We recently had a recommendation for Campaign Monitor, so we may give that a try too.
I signed up for another Constant Contact account today, for a new client. I received the standard welcome and verify your address email. I also received a short email from Constant Contact support, reminding me to verify my address. They came simultaneously, which was puzzling.
I verified my email address. A few minutes later, I got a phone call from Constant Contact. A phone call! Just checking to make sure that everything was going smoothly. I blew off the ‘Campaign Consultant’, explaining that I was very familiar with their app. And then I got another email from the same guy.
That’s three emails and a phone call when I sign up for a bake-your-own newsletter service that starts at all of US $15/month. Maybe I’m just hermetic and the exception that proves the rule, but when I sign up for a self-serve service (heh), I want to serve myself. I don’t want to talk to anybody.
Leave me alone, Constant Contact. I’ll call if I want to chat.
Speaking of animated status bars, I copied a link for one off the Constant Contact site (link removed, as it was broken) in passing. Amusingly, the cheeky designer has named the file pacifier.gif.
UPDATE: They emailed me again today!
UPDATE #2: I also like Campaign Monitor’s pricing model, which is favourable for small businesses. For each email campaign, you pay US $5 plus one cent per recipient. So, if you’ve got 400 recipients, that’s $9 for the campaign.
Compare that with CC’s US $15/month (down to $12.75 if you subscribe for a year) for up to 500 recipients. Lots of businesses don’t send out a newsletter every month.
We’re lucky if we can send more than six newsletters a year. Based on 400 subscribers, that’s $153 for Constant Contact and $54 for Campaign Monitor.
UPDATE #3: One final beef about Constant Contact–they don’t let you cancel online. You have to call them or submit a support request. Why can I sign up online, agree to give them money online, but when I choose to cancel my service, I have to do so manually? It’s typical dumb company behaviour, but that’s no excuse.
UPDATE #4: Rebecca over at Xconomy discussed this post in a story about the Constant Contact IPO.