A Comparison of 3 Email Newsletter Services

If you’re looking for a service provider for email newsletters, here are my 3 personal comparisons for Constant Contact, Vertical Response and MailChip. I have elected not to mention a service I have not personally used, as I cannot speak from experience on those services. 

Each service has customer support, but I feel that Constant Contact does this best. They all provide email templates, but allow you to customize your email brand to your personal look. You can include photos, videos and social media links to all of them. Unfortunately, Vertical Response’s video service is a little lacking. Whenever I send an email with a video, the option is there, it looks great in my work space and preview, but does not always follow through on the delivery. Some of my subscribers have replied that they couldn’t view the video in my email and they had HTML selected. I started including a link to my YouTube channel, but it doesn’t have the same effect. If I send an email with video, I prefer MailChimp or Constant Contact.
The rest of your decision will come down to pricing and personal tastes. Additionally, all 3 provide ways to upload, download, and convert your existing database, website coding that allows people to subscribe to your email newsletter on websites and blogs, and spam filters to make sure fewer of your emails land in people’s spam folders.

 

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(You can click on the images below to get a better view of the charts.)

Constant Contact
This is one of the most popular services, but it is also one of the most expensive for small businesses and nonprofits that may be on limited budgets. They require a monthly fee whether or not you use their service each month. I use Constant Contact for our company emails as we send out monthly e-newsletters and other segmented correspondence. Their prices are tiered, depending on how many contacts you have. The more you have, the more expensive it gets.

For these prices, you get great customer support by phone, by email, and they hold free online webinars and face-to-face workshops in several places. I attended one of their workshops in Charlotte and learned some interesting things. They have more templates to choose from than the other two services, but they limit your photo usage to 5 photos, and you will have to pay an extra fee to host more images in Constant Contact. One way around this is to host your images on your personal site and/or Google Picasa or some other hosting service and link them. They provide excellent reporting as to how many emails bounced, were opened, unsubscribes, new subscribes, links clicked on, and other detailed analytic info you might find helpful, including social media sites.
Constant Contact Prices
Vertical Response
This is the one I use for my personal quarterly newsletters since they allow you to pay as you go. They also provide a monthly service fee that is conveniently priced a couple of dollars less than Constant Contact. There isn’t a limit of 5 photos. I’ve been allowed to use as many photos as I wanted without having to pay extra. However, unlike Constant Contact, I have run into a problem with reaching a limited number of words in my email and was forced to scale back. I haven’t had this problem recently, so they may have fixed it or increased the limit. They have a good number of templates to choose from.
Vertical Response Prices
MailChimp
This is a great plan to get started with until you build up a large subscriber base. Why? Because it is free. They call it the Forever Free Plan. For up to 2,000 subscribers you can send out up to 12,000 emails each month. Few of us send out that many emails. We would drive people nuts! You do miss out on a few perks and they list them on the site, but for the most part, you get most of everything you need.While I use Vertical Response for my quarterly newsletters, I use MailChimp to send out emails to small segmented lists for specific things. It’s perfect if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee because you don’t typically send out an e-newsletter each month, but may have a few special announcements between your quarterly newsletters.If you want more of the bells and whistles through MailChimp, below is their pricing fee for Pay As You Go service, as well as a monthly service. When you compare the number of emails and subscribers vs Vertical Response, the latter is less expensive, but you may have to deal with the embedded video issue.

(MailChimp Monthly Fees and Pay As You Go Credits)
MailChimp Monthly Subscriber Rates
MailChimp Pay As You Go Credits
For a comprehensive comparison of standard features of these three services, 
see the table below. 
Email Newsletter Price Comparison