AWeber vs Constant Contact vs MailChimp Review

Updated 6/5/2015

Note: This post has had a lot of great discussion since it was published last year, and I truly appreciate all of the feedback. However, I realize that email subscription services are constantly rolling out enhancements and updates to their systems. For that reason, in order to keep this information fresh and relevant for my readers, I will need to revisit each of these services and “re-review” them as time permits.

In addition, some of our readers have left comments about other services that are not reviewed here such as Mad Mimi and CampaignMonitor, which may be great solutions for your business. I want to make sure the information posted here is accurate and helpful to you.

So please take time to do a little research of your own to make sure you are getting the best service for your business. Maybe some of the issues I encountered are non-issues by now.

AWeber vs Constant Contact vs MailChimp


WOnline Marketing Puzzle Shows Websites, Blogs, Social Media And Emailshether you’re a newbie or a veteran to internet marketing, choosing an email subscription plan can be overwhelming and confusing.

And if you’re a small business owner who wears many (if not all the hats), you want to find a reliable service that is easy to learn and won’t break the bank.

Maybe you are wondering why you even need  an e-mail subscription service.

Or why you need an e-mail sign-up form on your website.

Wherever you are in your decision-making process, remember that email marketing is just one piece of the online marketing puzzle. And any internet marketer will tell you, there’s “money in the list.”

Why? Because each subscriber has shown an interest in your brand and wants to hear from you in the future. So in addition to providing valuable information, tips, and advice to your subscribers, you’ll also be able to start promoting some of your services and/or products.

Leads Start with Content Marketing

If you have a website or a blog, your goal is to reach potential customers. The way to attract people to your website is by promoting your business through your content marketing efforts. And once you attract someone to your site, you’ll want to do something that makes them remember your brand and come back.

Content drives inbound traffic. More traffic means more leads. So you might offer a visitor something free like an eBook or white paper in exchange for their sign-up to your email list.

So you see that you don’t want to just give away your freebie without finding out who showed the interest. That’s why you ask them to sign up to your mailing list first. Once done, they will  have access to your freebie. And you’re on your way to building your list.

AWeber vs Constant Contact vs MailChimp Review

We’ll take a look at the similarities between the services first. Then we’ll review the differences and why I moved on.

AWeber vs Constant Contact vs MailChimp – The Similarities

Over the past 18 months I’ve tried three commercial email subscription services: AWeber, Constant Contact,  and MailChimp ~ in that order. (Please note: these are not affiliate links)

I’m not going into price comparisons here. Rather, you can click on the links I’ve provided above to get pricing plans for each of the respective services. You have the option, too, of test driving each service for the first month. I highly recommend you do so.

Video Tutorial Library

Each service I tried had an extensive tutorial library with short, helpful how-to videos.

Permission-Based Email Services

And each of these services is a permission-based service, which means a new subscriber must agree to being added to your list. This is accomplished through a confirmation email a new subscriber receives.

If they neglect to click the link, they will not be subscribed to your list:

MailChimp Subscriber Confirmation Notice

A word of caution: You cannot just add people to your email list without their permission. There are mechanisms in place that protect subscribers from receiving unwanted spam. And if you add whoever you want to your list, that’s considered spamming, my friend.  So please don’t do it! You will get caught and banned from using permission-based services if you spam.

Top-Notch Customer Service

I found customer support to be equally helpful with all three services. Whether I chose live chat or telephone support, I always got my questions answered immediately.

A Learning Curve

I want to add my own little disclaimer here: there is definitely a learning curve when setting up any type of email subscription service especially if you use an autoresponder.

You need to be patient with yourself and set aside a good chunk of non-interrupted time when you first get started.

That being said, let’s move on and compare services! The remainder of this post will focus on my experience with each of these subscription services and why I switched.

AWeber

AWeber was my first email subscription service because it was widely recommended by many internet marketers I knew and trusted. I signed up for the $1 one-month trial. After that, I opted for the quarterly payment plan.

The Pros

  • I liked the fact that AWeber could take my RSS blog feed and automatically push out the most recent two posts as a blog newsletter. Quite a time-saver when it’s time to get that next newsletter out!
  • The interface was fairly easy to use, but because this was my first experience with an email subscription, it took me awhile to get through setting everything up.
  • AWeber also holds regularly scheduled webinars to help newbies get a handle on how to get started.
  • Quarterly plan makes it more affordable than Constant Contact month-to-month.

The Cons

  • At the time of my subscription, images had to be hosted on my server, which was a pain. Now you can store your images in a library with your AWeber account. This makes image uploads much easier to manage.
  • Sometimes the service would go down or be unavailable on the weekends, which was when I typically wrote my newsletters. Very inconvenient.
  • Some sort of glitch would put garbage characters in my text. Almost always. So I had to be vigilant about finding and deleting such text.
  • I started having intermittent delivery issues, but I think that is a problem with most of these types of services.
  • The biggest issue was when my AWeber e-mail signup form began throwing mixed content warnings from my SSL website. AWeber did not have a solution to help eliminate this warning, so I jumped ship to Constant Contact, who did. Update 6/5/2014:  I received a comment on another blog post from an AWeber employee who said that AWeber now supports SSL. This was great news to get, and I appreciate that he took the time to let me know.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact was my second choice. When I contacted pre-sales support about my SSL dilemma, they were very helpful and assured me that by embedding their email link on my site I would be able to keep a secure connection and not confuse visitors with the mixed content warning. It worked as they promised.

The Pros

  • Constant Contact set up a customized e-mail template as part of a promotion.
  • The interface was very intuitive and the easiest to use.
  • The email link worked seamlessly under an SSL environment.
  • I found email delivery to be the quickest for both test and live emails.
  • The Simple Share tool allowed me to publish my newsletter to any social platform I chose.

The Cons

  • This was the most expensive monthly solution. (AWeber per month fee is higher, but their quarterly plan cuts the cost.)
  • You can only upload 5 images to the image library for free. After that you have to upgrade.
  • In order to build a custom form, you need to purchase a subscription to Formstack, a partner service of Constant Contact.

MailChimp

I decided not to renew with Constant Contact and to give MailChimp a try. Ultimately, MailChimp was the most economical choice for my business. That being said, I also found it a little more difficult to learn.

The Pros

  • MailChimp provided the best value for me.
  • MailChimp has free image hosting with no limits at all. You can upload images as large as 10MB, but they recommend a 1MB max so that it delivers easily to a recipient’s inbox.
  • It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. And it does take awhile to build a list of 2,000 subscribers.
  • It’s very scalable as your business grows because of the “pay-as-you-go” plan which charges just pennies per email. So you’re not locked into a monthly fee, which gets expensive when you’re first starting out.

The Cons

  • For me MailChimp had the steepest learning curve. But we all learn differently so it may be a breeze for you!
  • You have to upgrade your account if you want an autoresponder. And let’s face it, you probably will. You’ll want to thank your new subscribers and send them a link to your free download.

One final note about MailChimp: one of my clients heard that you could not  include affiliate links in MailChimp emails. That, however, is just a rumor. As long as that affiliate link is not blacklisted, you can include it. And that’s just common sense and an ethical business practice for any email subscription service you use.

AWeber vs Constant Contact vs MailChimp: The Verdict

If you’ve read this far, you probably want a recommendation, right? 🙂 Remember, this is a high-level review based on personal experience with each service. You’ll want to dig deeper into the features each service has to offer and make sure you get exactly what you need.

That being said I think MailChimp is the best choice for a small business just getting started with email marketing. The price is right and so far I’ve been very happy with it.

Are you using permission-based email services? If so, what other services would you recommend?

newest oldest most voted
wojtekB
Guest
wojtekB

Hi Michelle

The problem is the invisible part of service… Looking at the naked features you
can choose technically better solution. But the better way is to listen
the experienced user, and they for instance say that ConstantContact (http://conta.cc/1ej4QUE) provides the best dedicated support for the newbies but having real urgent email marketing needs.

Alleah
Guest
Alleah

HI! Was it easy to move your subscriber list? I have build a permission list but not with a software. Will people need to re-approve? Thanks!

danial Struat
Guest
danial Struat

I am a business man and I regularly updated for market and all day to day useful tools to improve my business. Last month I found AwebDesk email marketing software and it really works very well for our email marketing needs. check about it here: http://awebdesk.com/emailmarketing-software/

joseph canady
Guest

The helping one is Tigerbuz

joseph canady
Guest

I love to browse through out net in search for marketing my business and meanwhile i found the tigerbuz email marketing services as the best option. Tigerbuz is reliable and cost effective and really the system is dammm!! good and workable for every business owner. I surprisingly shocked when i found all my emails goes to inbox of my subscribers. You can find more here: http://tigerbuz.com

Magon Flintoph
Guest

Yes joseph tigerbuz is a good option. I too use it for my bakery marketing and its simple and quite affordable

joseph canady
Guest

Yeahh they r giving a new year bonus charm – create a custom plan as we need and pay for it only 🙂 🙂 It is reallly helping me …

Charles Tenant
Guest
Charles Tenant

Constant Contact can be a pain if you use paper to sign people up (like from a training or presentation). Sometimes they want to review your list and will put a hold on your account which is really frustrating until you can prove how you got the email addresses. They might be okay at first, but their policies can be hard to deal with once you start to grow.

Anne-Marie Ronsen
Guest

When you start an online business and your business begins to grow, you may find that using an autoresponder is essential. …

http://i-Autoresponder.com/
is another email marketing service I think worth mentioning. Many
features, easy to use, good deliverability, excellent, personal help
whenever you need it, and above all, prices are 5-6 times cheaper than
others… You will get immediate access to all the features, including
unlimited autoresponders with unlimited follow up messages.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Thank you Michelle. Great review. Makes sense you’re from the Mitten. Very helpful.

Tom Murphy
Guest
Tom Murphy

Great review… did you have an opportunity to review CampaignMonitor? I’ve been using them on an as-needed basis, but now the volume of emails and addressees is making me consider a monthly plan. I don’t know whether to switch to their monthly plan … or to MailChimp. Your thoughts?

Angel Delerme
Guest
Angel Delerme

This is a big help. I was leaning towards Mail Chimp myself… I’m just starting my list w/ 4 sites of different niches. I don’t have the time to sit for hours to learn so good cust serv is vital. So is affordability…
http://www.AtlasBizNow.com

Joe Graisbery
Guest

Thank you so much for the helpful information e.g. Mail Chimp being free up to 2,000 subscribers. Trying it out and will let you know how it goes! 🙂

Renee Vaughn
Guest

This was incredibly helpful. I’m wondering about transferring email addresses between services. I like the idea of building a list with mailchimp but really want an auto responder service like Aweber (which I’ve heard is great for writers). What can you tell me about that process? Are they easy to transfer?

Also wondering if you’ve researched Gumroad for selling online. http://help.gumroad.com/

Thank you so much for making life simpler so I can focus on doing what I do!

HodgeyBoy
Guest
HodgeyBoy

Thanks for the Blog post, Michelle; very informative.

Steve Rashid
Guest
Steve Rashid

Great review – thanks for doing our research for us! ; )
I am considering using one of these services (have been looking at both CC and MC) but have been concerned about the privacy of my list. I currently have 400+ names I send to once a week regarding a concert series, and as I have collected people’s addresses I have given my commitment to them that I will never sell nor share my list. Understanding that I must upload my list to the service’s server, how secure is it? Any concerns there? Thanks much.

Mike Eide
Guest

Great review Michelle. In my past work place we used Constant Contact and it was an easy program to learn. Now in my own business venture I am looking at using MailChimp for my newsletters. Your insight in all three was greatly appreciated.

Troy Corp
Guest
Troy Corp

Michelle thank you for the informative post. With the helpful advice your article shares, I for one would have no problem supporting your efforts through an affiliate link. Cheers!

Anna
Guest
Anna

Great read Michelle,thank you. I’ve recently started with Aweber, and find it quit hard to figure out.
Like now I’ve updated a little content of the Follow Up email, which was meant to be sent after you sign up & it actually sent updated version to people who have been on the list already.
It’s a pain to figure it out. Wonder if MailChips is easier.

Alejandra Castellano
Guest

Great review! You can find useful this infography with many of the email marketing tools available nowadays. It includes tools for retargeting, triggered emails, etc. It’s in spanish, but it’s quite visual 🙂 http://www.digitalresponse.es/guia-de-herramientas-de-email-marketing-infografia

Keith
Guest
Keith

Hi Michelle,

Your reviews of Aweber and Constant Contact discussed uploading images but your review of Mailchimp doesn’t mention images at all.

What is the Mailchimp policy for uploading images?

RuthEsther Fine
Guest
RuthEsther Fine

Hi Michelle. Thank you for your detailed review. What seems to be eluding me as I do my research is downloading products on MailChimp. Can MailChimp be triggered to download a product based on a purchase or free offer link on your website or Facebook? I just can’t seem to nail down an answer on this.

David Mercer
Guest
David Mercer

Awesome review… thanks so much. I am ready to start putting out a newsletter and have been looking at different options. Have red reviews about all three you reviewed, but your was more informative and down to earth. Thanks again, I’m going to start my free review with Mail Chimp!!

jayceegrey
Guest
jayceegrey

Thanks for the review! I’m a church secretary, and we’ve used Constant Contact for years. But recently, I’ve been having major server issues with them while trying to build an email, and am seriously considering Mail Chimp.

Erika @ VA Creatively.com
Guest
Erika @ VA Creatively.com

Thank you so much for this review, Michelle. I’m in research mode, trying to figure out which option is best for my situations (2 hobby blogs and a business blog). Thanks again!

Robin Strohmaier
Guest
Robin Strohmaier

What a fantastic review, Michelle! Over the last year, I have been reviewing all three, but never actually used AWeber for my business, although I have used it for clients. Many of our clients love that MailChimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers, but as you pointed out, the autoresponder is a very attractive feature in the paid version. Thank you for such a thorough and comprehensive review!

Nancy Babcock
Guest
Nancy Babcock

Excellent comparison information, Michelle. It is confusing understanding the Pros and Cons of each service, your article really gives us a good idea of what to expect from each service and the cost involved. Thank you!

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