First, what is Constant Contact? Constant Contact offers marketing tools such as email drip campaigns and newsletters, a series of informative emails sent in spaced out times such as every month or every week. The software sets up promotions and offers to promote current products or announce new ones and develop feedback tools and surveys so that businesses can get an idea how they are doing. Constant Contact also gives businesses the tools to produce registrations and online events.
The email communication industry has grown to a multi-million-pound industry. Constant Contact holds a good percentage of market share, all for good reason, because they provide simple functions at a good price. They share the market with competitors like Keap, MailChimp and Aweber. However, recently more business owners are needing more capabilities from their marketing automation. For example, things like appointments, payments, quotes, invoices and pipelines are needed as the industry is changing. These things are available, but mainly through third party applications, which can come at a hefty price. Imagine if one single application contained all these? One does, and it isn’t MailChimp or Aweber. The name is Keap, which comes in two editions, Grow and Pro and it provides all the things needed to build an efficient and time saving marketing automation system and CRM. Over the next few paragraphs I will take you through a few comparisons of the two pieces of software.
Constant Contact Email and Marketing Automation
The automation from Constant Contact is quite basic. You can make some sort of campaign, but this can be gimmicky and quite confusing. It allows for email automation but no other kind of automation. However, they did recently introduce automations based on contact triggers (e.g. email opens, clicks). It’s worth noting that the automations aren’t the most flexible, though – you can’t really combine conditions and actions as you can in many other tools. The website https://www.emaildrips.com/constant-contact-review/#top-summary confirms this, quoting “Constant Contact is very limited in setting up automations. There is no visual workflow builder, you can only send very basic autoresponders, and everything takes too many clicks to set up. Really one of the worst tools we’ve reviewed in the automation department.” So, it’s clear that Constant Contact doesn’t score highly in marketing automation. They only really provide basic autoresponders.
“Constant Contact is very limited in setting up automations. There is no visual workflow builder, you can only send very basic autoresponders, and everything takes too many clicks to set up. Really one of the worst tools we’ve reviewed in the automation department.”
On the other hand, Keap has excellent marketing automation capabilities. Keaps marketing automation comes to fruition because of their campaign builder. Keap has a flowchart-style campaign builder which makes building email campaigns more enjoyable than you might imagine, and it’s extremely satisfying to know that on any given day thousands of consumers are all being interacted with in a custom-made way, while you focus on more important matters. Its elegant drag-and-drop interface is perfect for pulling together complex marketing workflows that would otherwise need drop-down menus and tabs. Campaign workflows are created in graphical form so you can clearly see each step and branch. Communication and action methods have symbols (e.g., an envelope for email and a phone for click-to-call) that you can drag and drop into position along the marketing funnel. To link one step of the chain to another, you draw a line with your mouse from one icon to the next, which tells the system that the previous step’s completion triggers the following action. You can double-click any icon to explore or alter the stage of the campaign should you need to make on-the-fly changes.
The good thing about campaign builders is that its ‘goal oriented’, which urges business owners to think less about what cool automation they can run, and more about what they are trying to get their prospects and customers to do. This type of thinking is important when you’re using complicated tools to map things out.
Constant Contact as a CRM
A CRM system offers a central hub that retains all the data for your business contacts. This most probably be your prospects and your customers. Over time, the system will build up a record of your dealings with each contact. This might include sales, calls, emails, and sales. The great thing about a CRM is that everything you need is in one place, giving you good visibility of your sales pipeline.
Unfortunately Constant Contact does not include a CRM, meaning to access these functions you would need to pay for a third party application. A good application named Pipeliner (https://www.pipelinersales.com/) can offer you all these capabilities, but you will need to pay £50 a month for their business version.
Keap Pro offers its own CRM functionality and pipeline function, free of charge. The Keap pipeline feature is an interactive way for you to manage and track your clients and leads throughout your sales process all in a single view. It allows you to trigger email sequences automatically when you move a lead from one sales stage to another. Never miss a step in your sales process.
What is Constant Contact missing?
Yes, Constant Contact has all the things you would expect a good marketing automation system would have, email marketing, websites, social ads and third-party integrations being a few. However, I do believe they lack the necessary tools to turn this good system into a great system. For example, how would you send quotes to potential clients? Set up appointments with potential customers? Send invoices to current customers? These are all capable with third party applications, but these said applications can prove costly.
Acuity scheduling is a good automatic appointment booker that syncs with any calendar of your choice; however, you need to pay for this. You can buy the business version of Acuity for £20 a month, on top of your normal Constant Contact bill. Keap Grow and Pro both have an amazing appointment system included, which allows you to send a link to the potential customer, they can then book into your calendar at a time that fits both of your schedules.
The ability to send quotes to potential customers is another function that is completely necessary for any business to be efficient and professional. Unfortunately, Constant Contact does not have the in-house capabilities to provide this. A piece of software like quoteroller is needed to provide this service, but again, at a cost. The monthly price to use quoteroller is around £40 a month, on top of your normal Constant Contact bill. Keap Grow and Pro both include a great quote function, allowing you to quickly and simply create personalised quotes to send to your customers.
Invoices are also very important to the success of the business, because in effect, this is how you will be paid. A business needs to get paid to run. Unfortunately, Constant Contact does not offer this capability out of the box, therefore meaning you will need to go elsewhere to be able to unlock this function. Keap Grow and Pro both include an invoice function, allowing you to send invoices quickly and easily. If you did need to look elsewhere for your invoicing software, QuickBooks is a great example, amongst other things. But again, it comes at a cost, roughly £20 a month. As I’ve stated, these functions are achievable, but only using third-party applications. Just these three functions would increase your monthly bill nearly £70. Now why am I talking about this? Good question.
Well, what if I told you there is an application that has all these functions built in, ready to go out of the box? Well you already know there is, the name is Keap Pro. Using Keap Pro means there is no need for you to fork out extra costs for these additional services, as the functions are already built in ready to go. Also, another great thing regarding the pre-built functions is that it’s all on the home page, making it easy to navigate to and from, whereas if you have many different integrations, it could get confusing jumping from website to website pursuing the right function.
Lets Compare Costs
Let's assume you are a business coach with 3500 contacts, and you are having problems with your marketing and customer communication methods. What you need is a piece of software that lets you market your products or services to potential clients or existing clients. You also need the ability to set up appointments with potential clients and existing clients. You need to be able to send quotes and invoices to potential and existing clients. You need to be able to take payment for these quotes and invoices.
Constant contact pricing comes in two formats, email and email plus. To unlock basic email automation, you would need the email plus option, which would cost you £30 a month. However, the price rises the more contacts you have. The £30 option allows you to have up to 500 contacts. 501 to 2500 comes in at £50 a month, 2,501 to 5,000 comes in at £75 a month and 5,001 to 10,000 comes in at £90 a month. You can find more information here at https://www.constantcontact.com/uk/price-plans. So going by our business coach scenario, you will need to pay £75 a month just for the basic email system. Then, to have access to quotes, invoices, appointments, sales pipeline, you will need to pay an additional £130 a month on top of the £75 a month, taking the total value to £205 a month.
Keap has two different editions - Keap Grow and Pro. Keap Grow is priced at £39, whereas Keap Pro is priced at £79. Grow comes with a default 500 contacts, whereas Pro comes with 2500 contacts and if you need more contacts, you will need to pay. Keap Grow includes email broadcasts, appointments, tasks, quotes, invoices and Keap payments. Keap Pro includes everything that Keap Grow does, and also sales pipeline, campaign builder, recurring billing, internal forms and user roles. Yes, the price is more, but Keap Grow and Pro includes many additional functions that businesses need to pay external companies for. Additional contacts compare similarly with Constant Contact - 1000 contacts comes in at an additional £20 per month. 1001-5000 contacts comes in at an additional £100 per month. Then up to 10,000 contacts comes in at £150. So regarding the business coach scenario, the cost for Keap Pro will be £99.
So, Constant Contact is a good piece of software, granted. It provides all the functionality a basic email system should, but lacks other important features businesses need to become really automated and professional. To acquire these missing functionalities, the payment of external software is needed. These functionalities together could cost over £100 extra a month, and that is on top of your normal Constant Contact bill. The great thing about Keap is that all these capabilities come included ready to go out of the box. Things like appointments, invoices and quotes come already included, meaning there is no need for you to spend time and money finding external pieces of software. If you are looking for a basic email system, then Constant Contact is a good choice, but if you are looking for a all in one piece of software, then Keap would be an excellent choice.