Email marketing can expand the reach of your marketing efforts, and iContact, AWeber, and Constant Contact offer three different services with which to carry out these campaigns. Through email newsletters with clean, fresh templates and integration with social media, your company news, coupons, promotions, blog posts, and so on can further engage your customers with the interactivity of your brand.
Covered in this report
Provides easy-to-use tools for keeping track of interactions with each email contact.
Offers the least expensive services.
Best for: New businesses needing assistance with keeping their emails out of spam folders.
You can set up automatic blog updates for sending out new posts.
Autoresponders make managing new clients easier.
Best for: Businesses who don't need social media integration.
Offers more than 400 email templates.
You can develop and launch full social media campaigns to extend your message to new and existing clients.
Best for: Businesses who want to thoroughly integrate their email and social media efforts.
It’s the cornerstone question of any business: “How can you been build a business while looking for new ways to find customers?” The internet is a bastion of new website-readers and potential clients, but it takes work to reach them. There was once a time when simply a building a website itself could draw visitors, but in the digital age, the abundance of websites has made that harder than one might imagine, even with skillful SEO techniques.
One way to combat this inability to attract customers is to provide relevant information via an email newsletter that includes answers to solving your general customers’ basic issues. Whether this is where to find the best cooking app to how to best operate a table saw, an email newsletter may be your best bet for casting a net for interested readers and turning those readers into paying customers.
Email marketing—via regular newsletters, promotions, contests, and the like—has proliferated the marketing sphere and has become a viable option for growing and established businesses alike. iContact, AWeber, and Constant Contact are three companies who provide these services with easy-to-customize templates and comparable prices.
How Can My Business Benefit from Email Marketing?
Businesses of all stripes can benefit from quality email marketing campaigns, particularly when they are integrated with social media, which we will explore more later on. Don’t underestimate the power of emails; even in the age of social media, email is still a primary form of communication and is one that's checked regularly by most people these days.
Maybe you are a large-scale solar corporation, and you want to keep your clients and investors up-to-date with company news. An email newsletter allows you to regularly communicate company news, new business and clients, and any other information you deem relevant. These newsletters can also add nuggets of valuable information for your email recipients, such as articles or blog posts covering recent trends in your industry or new ideas for marketing solar power.
Say you are a retail clothing store looking to reach and engage new customers. A regular email newsletter to everyone on your email list can be beneficial by sharing articles you write about fashion in general or coupons you’re promoting for your store. With a clean, fashionable template and sharing capabilities via Facebook and Twitter, you can end up spreading those messages—and thus spread word of your business—much farther than without these email campaigns.
Perhaps the most important aspect of email marketing providers is the rate of deliverability to prospect and current customers. Deliverability means the rate at which emails sent are delivered to inboxes rather than spam folders. This can vary between service providers based on their parameters for deliverance and level of spam bot avoidance.
iContact employs a team of dedicated email delivery specialists who regularly monitor their servers. Their SpamCheck service assigns a score to each email, and if your score is high, they’ll explain why it has been flagged and provide an opportunity for editing before you send it out. The company has also developed relationships with several major internet service providers to stay “whitelisted” and keep their customers off of any “blacklists.”
AWeber helps to increase deliverability by enforcing a strict anti-spam policy, authenticating all email campaigns, and automatically removing unsubscribers and undeliverable addresses. They even proactively seek out and resolve potential delivery issues before they become an issue. The service also helps you to avoid filters by checking each of your emails for any spam-like content.
Constant Contact quotes their email delivery rate at consistently above 97 percent, the only service that readily reports such information. Their Anti-Spam Checker determines if there are any potential problems in your emails and suggests changes to fix them. The templates they employ are format-tested for most email programs so that your customers, whether they read in HTML or text, will be able to see the actual email that you send.
Social Media Integration
As internet marketing continues to expand its outlets, the impact of social media on modern promotions and information-sharing cannot be overlooked. The importance of being "a part of the online social conversation" is more crucial than ever for businesses of all types and sizes.
The integration of social media with email marketing takes these newsletters one step further as it allows for more sharability on social networks. Sharability means reaching more current and potential clients and getting them talking about your company, products, services, and information you share through articles and blog posts.
iContact wants to help you move beyond your inbox and maximize the reach and depth of your business’ messages using social media. They’ll help with Facebook and Twitter campaigns as well as sign-up forms, social media tracking, and seamless email-to-social-media integration.
AWeber does not offer social media integration or services with its email marketing.
Constant Contact offers a Social Campaigns service that allows you to use social media to reach your email list and social networks in new ways, such as via coupons, contests, exclusive content, and videos. Their features are easy to use, like templates, custom landing pages, email scheduling, and measurement.
Another important aspect of email marketing campaigns is tracking your results as you go along. Tracking what works (and what didn’t) can help you determine your best courses of action as your marketing efforts progress. Each of the three companies offers different tracking plans, all of which can be crucial to your overall plan for moving forward.
Below are listings of each service's offerings for tracking and analytics. The three are similar but may offer specific services that best fit your business.
For example, all three offer ways to determine if your emails are being opened, spam-filtered, or have click-through rates for links within your newsletter. iContact provides social media post and impact analytics, while Constant Contact lets you compare your results with other Constant Contact clients for ideas about how you might improve your marketing campaign.
- Free trial
- Up to 500 subscribers - $14/month
- Up to 1,000 subscribers $19/month
- Up to 2,500 subscribers - $29/month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers - $47/month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers - $74/month
- Up to 15,000 subscribers - $109/month
- Up to 25,000 subscribers - $149/month
- Up to 35,000 subscribers - $239/month
- More than 35,000 subscribers – Call for more information
Instead of monthly, you can prepay annually for a 15% discount. iContact also provides a 20% discount to all nonprofit organizations out of North Carolina, and free accounts for nonprofits based in North Carolina.
- $1 trial – First month
- Up to 500 subscribers - $19/month, $49/quarter, $194/year
- Up to 2,500 subscribers - + $10
- Up to 5,000 subscribers - +$30
- Up to 10,000 subscribers - $50
- Up to 25,000 subscribers - + $140
- More than 25,000 subscribers – Call for more information
AWeber provides a 15% discount for annual prepaid plans.
- Free trial for 60 days
- Up to 500 subscribers - $15/month
- Up to 2,500 subscribers - $30/month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers - $50/month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers - $75/month
- Up to 25,000 subscribers - $150/month
- More than 25,000 subscribers – Call for more information
Prepaying for Constant Contact’s services for six months will reduce these fees by 10% for each level of subscribers and 15% for 12 months prepaid. Nonprofits also receive a discount of 20% for six months prepaid and 30% for 12 months.
All three services cost about the same for each month, regardless of level of subscribers, though iContact is still slightly less—anywhere from an average of $1-$4/month. AWeber is more expensive in the first month, but its prices begin to even out in the 2,500 and 5,000-subscriber levels and are even cheaper at the 10,000-subscriber level. Then at the 25,000-subscriber level AWeber is about $10 more expensive than the other two.
If you prepay for a quarter, six months, or a year, the prices and best offers begin to change. Annual plans are the best deal, and all three services include a 15% discount for these 12-month plans. Because iContact’s services are already technically the least expensive, they have the least expensive annual plan as well. AWeber allows you to prepay per quarter, and Constant Contact allows prepay for six months of use.
Though AWeber is a little pricier, the service does not offer social media integration. If this is something that is important to your marketing campaign, you may want to look into the other two companies.
The three services are very similar in price and features, though each brings something different to the table in terms of benefits specific to your business’ needs. If you’re looking for integration between your emails and social media—which is surging in importance—then iContact or Constant Contact can help, but Constant Contact can help you develop an entire Social Campaign to help launch your latest marketing efforts. They all offer free trials, so see which one works best for you and your business.