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9 min read

Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp: Which is best for you?

By Shea Stevens · September 25, 2023
Hero image with the Constant Contact and Mailchimp logos

There's enough to deal with on the human side of email marketing—from building out content to brainstorming subject lines that warrant a click—that you want to be sure your email marketing software is dealing with the rest.

I've used a bunch of email marketing tools in my time as a marketer, but for this article, I spent time testing Constant Contact and Mailchimp to see how they stack up. Here's what I found.

Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp at a glance

Here's the quick version:

  • Constant Contact: Best for email marketing beginners who need simple features, ready-to-send templates, and phone support

  • Mailchimp: Best for skilled email marketers looking for access to advanced reporting and A/B testing capabilities 

Constant Contact 

Mailchimp

Price

⭐⭐⭐ 60-day free trial but no free plans; cost of paid plans depends on the number of contacts

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Free plan up to 500 contacts; cost of paid plans depends on the number of contacts 

A/B testing

⭐⭐ Ability to test subject lines 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Ability to test subject lines, content, send name, and send time 

Customer support

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Live chat Monday-Friday and phone support Monday-Saturday for all plans

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mailchimp assistant and email support for all plans; 24/7 chat support for paid plans only; phone support for highest-tier plan 

Automation

⭐⭐⭐ Automates welcome, birthday, anniversary, and resending emails as well as workflows for eCommerce websites

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Automation features include

visual journeys, custom triggers, scheduling tools, 40+ pre-built automations, and more

Templates and design

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 200+very detailed templates for nearly every occasion

⭐⭐⭐ 100+ templates

Email builder 

⭐⭐⭐ Easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ New builder lets you edit content directly within the email itself; traditional editor is still available

Reporting

⭐⭐⭐ Reporting tab allows you to see your email opens, clicks, bounces, and conversion rates

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reporting suite shows email opens, clicks, bounces, conversion rates, click maps, and comparative reports

List management

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Organize audience using lists, segments, and tags

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Organize audience using lists, segments, tags, and one extra layer: groups

AI

⭐⭐ AI Content Generator is available for all plans; very basic and limited customization options

⭐⭐⭐⭐ More AI features beyond generative AI; email content generator and Intuit Assist coming soon for all plans

Mailchimp offers more affordable pricing—especially if you have smaller lists 

Constant Contact and Mailchimp offer fairly different pricing structures. For starters, Constant Contact doesn't have a free plan (it offers a 60-day free trial, regardless of the number of subscribers or emails sent). Mailchimp, on the other hand, remains free up to 500 contacts and 1,000 sends per month.

After the free introduction, both Mailchimp and Constant Contact break pricing down by number of contacts. Here's how they compare for their basic plans:

Number of contacts 

Mailchimp Essentials 

Constant Contact Lite

500 

Free

$12/mo

2,500

$39.50/mo

$50/mo

10,000

$100/mo

$120/mo

25,000

$260/mo

$280/mo

50,000

$350/mo

$430/mo

Each app also offers more advanced plans with extra features: 

Mailchimp Standard

Mailchimp Premium 

Constant Contact Premium

- Journey automations

- Retargeting ads

- Custom-coded email templates

- Advanced audience insights

- Advanced segmentation

- Multivariate testing

- Multi-user access

- Phone support

- More customer list growth tools

- Automated emails

- Auto-generated segments 

- Conversion and sales reporting

- New customer kickoff calls

Here are the price breakdowns of each of these upgraded plans.

Number of contacts 

Mailchimp Standard

Mailchimp Premium

Constant Contact Premium

10,000

$135/mo

$350/mo

$275/mo

50,000

$410/mo

$815/mo

$575/mo

150,000

Contact limit exceeded 

$1,220/mo

$975/mo

Constant Contact's advanced plan lands somewhere between Mailchimp Standard and Mailchimp Premium in terms of pricing.

Head spinning yet? Here's the gist: overall, Mailchimp offers better pricing for users starting from scratch, but Constant Contact is slightly cheaper in some instances as you scale. Overall, pricing won't be a differentiator until you know exactly which plan and features you need. 

Mailchimp offers a more intuitive and user-friendly way to customize emails

Mailchimp's new email builder makes designing incredibly easy: you can edit everything simply by clicking on each content block, which I found to be much easier and faster than the classic editor, where you click on a block and then edit in the sidebar.

Another much-needed feature in the new builder is undo and redo buttons, which are perfect for indecisive and mistake-prone designers like myself. 

Screenshot of Mailchimp's new email builder

Meanwhile, the Constant Contact email builder is comparable to the traditional Mailchimp one, with a similar drag-and-drop design interface. To build your email, you'll drag your desired text blocks, images, buttons, tables, and so on from the sidebar on the left. After dragging in your desired blocks, you can edit them directly within the email itself. 

Screenshot of Constant Contact's drag-and-drop email builder

Ultimately, both provide all the nuts and bolts you'll need to get your emails off the ground, but I found Mailchimp's new builder to be the most intuitive option. 

Constant Contact's wide variety of fully designed templates require little effort

If you're ok with a slightly cookie-cutter feel, Constant Contact has hundreds of ready-to-send templates that are perfect for beginners or small businesses without in-house designers. As someone with little to no design ability, I can sleep soundly knowing there's a themed template for just about any occasion I could think of, from National Dog Day and Friday the 13th to Small Business Week and Labor Day.

Screenshot of Constant Contact's Labor Day templates

Mailchimp's themes are also pretty, but they're not as specific as Constant Contact's when it comes to particular holidays and events (and there are about half as many of them).

Screenshot of Mailchimp's email templates

Keep in mind that there are different templates for the new and classic builder, and they can only be used in their respective builder. The new builder doesn't have any holiday templates, but it makes up for it with much more modern-looking templates.

Screenshot of some templates in the new Mailchimp builder

Both platforms also give you the option to code your own template. 

Mailchimp offers more robust list management 

Audience segmentation is important for any email marketer, allowing for precise targeting and personalization. Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact let you organize your audience at a few levels: Lists, Segments, and Tags. These tools allow for some powerful testing and customization of your audience. 

The main difference is that Mailchimp also allows you to segment customers into Groups based on their interests and preferences. This segmentation usually occurs as customers are filling out a form. For example, if you're a meal kit delivery company and a customer checks the gluten-free box on your signup form, you could then send them emails with helpful gluten-free cooking tips. 

Screenshot of Mailchimp's "Groups" segmentation

Heads up: you can only create advanced segments with a Standard or Premium plan. Otherwise, you're limited to regular segments—you can still set criteria, but you can't nest them within each other.

Of course, with great segmentation power comes great complexity, and managing users within Mailchimp can be a bit overwhelming due to the multiple setup steps, especially for beginners. Constant Contact, on the other hand, keeps things simple by only using Segments and Tags showcased in a simple, easy-to-use interface:

Screenshot of Constant Contact's "Contacts" dashboard

In the end, Mailchimp's segmentation system allows for a bit more flexibility and customization, as long as you're ok with a slightly steeper learning curve. 

Constant Contact's simple reporting is more straightforward, while Mailchimp offers extensive features

Email marketing attracts analytics-obsessed folks. Why? Because the variables are fairly limited, and almost everything is trackable.

Mailchimp boasts a slick reporting interface with an intuitive chart, along with list-wide or campaign-specific graphs. Their new Content Optimizer, available with the Standard plan, analyzes your content and provides recommendations based on industry best practices, which some might find helpful. 

Screenshot of Mailchimp's reporting dashboard showing that 51 contacts opened the email

With its Standard and Premium plans, Mailchimp offers Comparative Reports, which let you track and compare campaigns at a deeper level. These reports could be helpful for a marketer without much analytics experience, but with the higher price tag, it's a tough sell.

Meanwhile, I found Constant Contact's reporting interface simple and intuitive—especially for beginners. Their bar charts provide all of the most important stats in an easily comprehensible way. 

Screenshot of Constant Contact's reporting dashboard showing an overview using bar charts

Overall, Constant Contact takes a straightforward approach to reporting, while Mailchimp provides you with the tools needed to dive deep.

Mailchimp offers more A/B testing variations 

Constant Contact only supports subject line testing. And while subject lines are important for optimizing open rate, savvy marketers will want more. Mailchimp's A/B tool lets you test subject lines, send name, send time, body content, or any combination of the above.

A couple of other features that set Mailchimp apart: their Send Time Optimizer will calculate the time your users engage most often based on previous campaigns, and their paid Timewarp feature lets you send a campaign at the same local time for different time zones.

Mailchimp's advanced automation sets it apart from Constant Contact

Constant Contact offers three single-step automations (welcome, birthday, anniversary) as well as multi-step automations when a customer opens an email, clicks a link, or joins a list. Additionally, you can connect your eCommerce platform in order to send abandoned cart reminder emails. You need the Standard plan for most single-step automations and the Premium plan for custom automations. 

Screenshot of Constant Contact's automated email page

Mailchimp offers the same options, along with 40+ pre-built journeys. For example, you can provide shipping confirmations, schedule emails over time using a drip campaign, send split test emails, or learn why an order was canceled—almost anything you can think of, Mailchimp can do. 

To create an automation in Mailchimp, you can select from one of the pre-built customer journeys below, or use the Customer Journey Builder (available with the Essentials plan) to create your own custom workflow. 

Screenshot of Mailchimp's pre-built journey templates

Constant Contact and Mailchimp are both relatively new to AI, but Mailchimp offers far more AI features

Constant Contact recently rolled out their AI Content Generator, which is basically a wrapper for GPT-created content. It's included in every plan "for now," which is only slightly ominous. 

You can choose from three format options (announcement, product promotion, or newsletter) and five tone options (default, professional, enthusiastic, informative, approachable, or persuasive). And that's it—you can regenerate the copy, but you can't give it any further directions or context to improve it specifically.

While the feature was easy enough to use, I wish it was built into the email builder instead of a separate interface. 

Screenshot of Constant Contact's AI Content Generator showing the product promotion template

At the very least, it's a jumping-off point, but since you have limited options for personalizing the output, I don't see much value in this feature. You're better off using ChatGPT (for free) and then pasting your generated copy into the Constant Contact editing interface. It's the same technology powering it anyway.

Mailchimp, on the other hand, offers 20+ AI features in-app, going beyond content creation and into AI insights for things like send time optimization, predictive segmentation, and product recommendations.

Like with Constant Contact's content generator, I wasn't super impressed with the "Creative Assistant." In theory, it's more powerful: you're supposed to be able to plug in your website and have it generate all your branding, including new designs. But when I plugged in Zapier's website, it took five-ever to load, just to tell me it couldn't find enough content on the website to automatically create a design. 

Screenshot of Constant Contact's Creative Assistant with an illustration of a person looking through binoculars and text that says "Hmm...we don't have designs for you just yet!"

The big thing on the horizon for Mailchimp is Intuit Assist, which will build more AI directly into the platform using a combination of in-house and third-party AI models. It's currently in beta and only available to select users, which didn't include me, so I wasn't able to test these features myself, but the idea is that it'll be an all-in-one AI email marketing assistant.

Screenshot of Mailchimp's Intuit Assist feature showing an example of a coffee soda company called Frothy Jane

Intuit Assist will automatically generate emails and branded designs/templates, analyze campaigns, and offer recommendations. Right now, it's not clear how these features will affect pricing, as Mailchimp only gave a vague explanation in their announcement: "Intuit Assist is currently available at no additional cost to Intuit customers. Access to certain enhancements may be subject to Mailchimp plans." 

What I do know is Mailchimp shouldn't have to do much to beat out Constant Contact's lackluster email generator.

Constant Contact goes above and beyond with customer service

Constant Contact pushes its phone and live chat support, especially for new customers. In fact, I even received a call from them shortly after setting up my account, along with an email featuring helpful marketing ideas. I did start to get a tiny bit annoyed with the multiple follow-up calls I received (unsolicited phone calls give me anxiety, ok?), but if you're new to email marketing, I could see how it might be helpful.

Screenshot of an automated follow-up email from Constant Contact

Meanwhile, Mailchimp highlights its Help Center when first seeking support, and for good reason: I found that their well-written articles and tutorials answered most of my questions. For questions not answered by the Help Center, they offer live chat support on weekdays and email support 24/7 for all paid accounts (as well as free accounts within 30 days of opening).

So the biggest difference is phone support, which Mailchimp only offers with their Premium plan. Although phone support doesn't offer any obvious advantages over live chat, some people much prefer speaking to someone on the phone. Constant Contact is the clear choice if you count yourself in those ranks and don't want to pay extra for it.

Both Constant Contact and Mailchimp offer extra features outside of standard email marketing

  • Landing pages: Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer landing page builders (although Mailchimp's is free to all users). 

  • Social media posting: Mailchimp provides social media tools that allow you to connect your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts; Constant Contact offers those same platforms plus LinkedIn. 

  • Instagram and Facebook ads: Both platforms provide tools to design Facebook and Instagram ads. 

  • Surveys and polls: Both Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer survey tools that allow you to embed customer surveys into emails. 

Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp: Which is best for you?

Ultimately, Constant Contact is a better fit for email marketing novices: their phone support, ready-to-send templates, and intuitive reporting offer a leg up for the less tech-savvy. Mailchimp, on the other hand, has an impressively robust feature set that users with experience in email marketing will benefit from.

Related reading:

  • The best Mailchimp alternatives

  • 6 ways to automate your email marketing with Mailchimp

  • Email marketing best practices: lists, content, testing, and more

  • Constant Contact vs. HubSpot: Which should you use?

This article was originally published in October 2018 by Sam Kemmis and has since been updated with contributions from Cecilia Gillen. The most recent update was in September 2023.

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