If you’re looking into Constant Contact or its alternatives, chances are you’re trying to find the best email marketing platform for your business. Chances also are, you’re taking the following approach: learn about the various features out there and then determine which ones you need.
The problem with this approach is, knowing what exists out there
doesn’t help you determine whether you need it.
The better approach is to first determine your email marketing requirements so you can then find the platform that meets them in the most cost-effective manner. This post was written to help you understand exactly what you need for effective email marketing so that you can find a platform that works for you—whether that ends up being ThriveHive, Constant Contact, or any of its alternatives.
First, define successful email marketing.
Before diving into Constant Contact vs ThriveHive specifically, it’s important to first understand what you need for successful email marketing, which first requires you to understand exactly what successful email marketing is.
Your goal with email marketing is not to send emails. It’s to use email as a way to convert readers into customers and customers into loyal advocates. It’s not to find the cheapest platform out there. It’s to get a return on whatever time and money you do invest in writing and sending emails. From this standpoint, here’s the framework for successful email marketing:
- To send emails, you need a way to collet email addresses and a tool for creating and sending them.
- For people to open and engage with your emails, you need to collect the right email addresses and send the right content.
- To turn email readers into customers, you need to be continually refining your email content and sending your readers to a website optimized for conversion.
The takeaway here is, email marketing that is beneficial to your business
doesn’t work on its own, but rather as a part of a larger marketing system
that requires specific tools.
Next, identify the tools you need.
So what specific tools are we referring to? For any business to succeed with email marketing, here are the tools needed:
Landing Page Tool
To collect email addresses for your email marketing, you need a place where people can provide their email address. This place is a landing page with a form.
To get people to actually submit their email address through the forms on your landing pages, they need a reason to do so, such as to download a free piece of content, register for an event, obtain a discount code, start a free trial, or sign up for a newsletter with valuable information. Your landing page with the form will be focused on obtaining this offer.
Social Media Tool
Landing pages are not found on their own but are arrived at ( landed on) from other sources. Therefore, to get a sufficient quantity of quality email address sign-ups, you need to be directing people to your email-capturing landing pages through social media posts and profile links.
Social media isn’t the only means by which you will direct people to your email-capturing landing pages. You’ll also want to include links to those pages in your blog posts—or even include lead capture forms directly in your posts. You can drive traffic to your blog posts through social media or by optimizing your blog posts to show up in search engines.
To send quality emails that translate your time and money spent into paying customers, you need an email marketing platform that allows you to
• Create and send professional, branded emails
• Track email engagement and view analytics
• Manage your contacts and organize/segment lists
Domain-Based Email Address
Quality emails come from a domain-based email address (email@example.com, for example, instead of firstname.lastname@example.org). Domain-based emails give your business the professional look it needs and make people more receptive to and secure in engaging with your emails.
A website is a must-have for the above five email marketing tools. Your website:
• Allows you to have custom URLs for your email-capturing landing pages.
• Contains buttons that link to your email-capturing landing pages.
• Gives you the domain for your domain-based email address.
• Houses the content you use to incentivize email signups (such as eBooks and blog posts).
• Is the place where email readers are ultimately directed back to, where they can convert into customers
To get a website, you need:
• Domain: your unique website address, registered in your name.
• Content Management System (CMS): how you populate your website with appealing, lead-generating content without having to be a programmer.
• Website Host: gives your website a place to live online so users can actually access it.
Cloud-Based Productivity Suite
A productivity suite (like Microsoft Office of Apple’s iWork) is what you’ll use to produce the content for your website, landing pages, emails, blog posts, social media posts, and email-capturing offers. Since you’re working across multiple devices and with other teammates, a cloud-based productivity suite (like Office 365 or Google’s G Suite) is best.
Link Tracking and Website Analytics
While your email marketing platform analytics will help you to see which emails are working best to obtain customers, a link tracking and website analytics tool will show you which email capture methods are working best, and which types of content are driving the most traffic to your email-capturing destinations. This way you can continue doing what works and eliminate what is wasting time and money.
What good are all of the above tools if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with them? What good are analytics if you don’t know how to make sense of them? Guidance helps you identify exactly what you wish to accomplish for your business with email marketing, how to efficiently use the tools to get there, and most importantly, how to do it all in a way that yields a return.
In addition to guidance in front of you, you also need support behind you, to push you through bugs, mistakes, unfamiliar processes, and other barriers in the path that guidance laid out for you.
Now, compare ThriveHive to Constant Contact.
At this point, we hope you have a better understanding of the point we’re trying to make here: that email marketing that yields results doesn’t work on its own, but rather as a part of a larger marketing system that requires specific tools. Now that you are aware of them, it’s time to compare Constant Contact to ThriveHive’s Guided Marketing services with respect to these tools. Constant Contact and ThriveHive are both viable email marketing solutions but have many differences when viewed in light of the bigger marketing picture.
ThriveHive and Constant Contact both provide tools for business owners to build and send marketing emails, but the difference is in the reach and effectiveness of those emails. With Constant Contact alone, you’ll have an easy-to-use tool to create beautiful emails as well as top-notch support to help you, but without a list-building system (social media, blog, website, landing pages), you won’t have many people to send them to; and without any specific guidance, you won’t really know what to write. (Note: Constant Contact does offer some email list-building tools, but these tools require you to have a website or to attend events where people can sign up via text or tablet.)
ThriveHive and Constant Contact also both provide excellent email analytics capabilities, but the difference is in how those analytics can be used. With Constant Contact, you’ll have analytics, but without a sufficient list (from your list-building system) and without engaging content (from guidance), you’re not likely to have enough meaningful engagement from which to gather insights and further improve your campaigns.
Investment of Time and Money
If you decide to go with Constant Contact and want to be able to get a return on your email investment, you’ll need to equip yourself with a website and the other tools necessary for capturing quality leads, but each will come from a different provider and you’re likely to spend more time switching back and forth, syncing up, and keeping track of everything than actually generating results.