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 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.
Before diving into Constant Contact alternatives and how they compare to 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 the standpoint established above, here’s the framework for what you need for successful email marketing:
The takeaway here is that email marketing that is beneficial to your business (yields an ROI of your time and money) doesn’t work on its own, but rather as a part of a larger marketing system that requires specific tools.
So what specific tools are we referring to? For any business to succeed with email marketing, here are the tools needed:
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. A proper email marketing strategy involves having many ways to collect email addresses, and therefore many different types of landing pages.
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. That being said, your landing pages don’t just have forms; they also describe the offer people are getting when they input their email address into that form.
Even still, landing pages that describe an offer and contain a form are not enough for successful email marketing. Why? Because people don’t know your landing pages even exist. Landing pages are not found on their own, but are arrived at (or landed on) from other sources, so your audience needs you to direct them to those pages. To get a sufficient quantity of quality email address sign-ups, you need to be directing people to your email-capturing landing pages through your social media posts and profiles.
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.
As mentioned in the first section of this post, your goal with email marketing is not to simply send emails. It’s to send quality emails that get opened, read, and engaged with so that your time and money spent on emails gets translated into paying customers. That being said, to send quality emails that get read, 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
Sending quality emails that get read also requires 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 that makes people more receptive to your emails and more secure in engaging with them. Plus, having your domain name, which is your business name or something close to it, in your email address promotes brand awareness.
A productivity suite is what you’ll use to produce the content for your website, landing pages, emails, blog posts, social media posts, and email-capturing offers. Examples of productivity suites include Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) and Apple’s iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote). 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 essential.
A website is a must-have for the above six email marketing tools. Your website:
What do you need to get a website?
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.
Simply having all of the above tools is still not enough for effective email marketing. After all, what good are they 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 exists to help you identify exactly what you wish to accomplish for your business with email marketing, how to use the tools to get there, and most importantly, how to do it all in a way that maximizes your time and resources and yields a return.
Guidance will lead the way for you, but what happens if you make a mistake, can’t figure something out, or encounter a platform bug? 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.
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 Platform with respect to these tools.
|Tools You Need for
Effective Email Marketing
|Average Price||Constant Contact||ThriveHive|
(Domain, Host, CMS)
| Landing Page Tool
(provided you have a website)
| Blogging Tool
(provided you have a website)
|Social Media Tool||$0-$100/mo.||for $10|
|Cloud-Based Productivity Suite||$0-20./mo|
(based on 1 hour/mo. of marketing consultant)
|What you get for that price|
As you can see from the above table, 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.
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.
ThriveHive built the Guided Marketing Platform to address these gaps that exist in other email and marketing solutions. Not only does the platform give you guidance around setting your goals, but it also provides all of the tools you need to achieve those goals under one account, as well as one centralized location to complete those goals and see the results.
Our affordable platform saves you time—not just from working more efficiently, but also from doing the right work—which also saves you money (and your sanity too). Most importantly, your work will yield a return on the time and money you’re putting into email marketing. In other words, you’ll see your business grow.
Remember, 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. By employing all of the above tools in right manner, you will be equipped with the knowledge of who to target and how to target them in a way that satisfies your audience and fulfills your business goals.