Three names come up more than others when discussing email newsletters: MailChimp, TinyLetter, and Constant Contact. While there are a dozen or more other services, those three have established themselves as the go-to brands for small businesses, individuals and nonprofits needing an easy-to-manage solution for email outreach.

The service that’s best for you will depend on your needs. Some organizations will need to run multiple campaigns against segmented lists, optimizing for conversion on donation call-to-actions while timing email blasts for large events. Others may simply need to relay occasional community notes or maintain group email lists for regular conversation.

So, which should you use?


Constant Contact

Constant Contact might be the most established name in the industry, with a record of providing solid email solutions going back almost ten years. They do a great job managing spam filters, providing custom templates, keeping the price point low, and providing great back-end campaign analytics.

Recently they’ve even begun to integrate template-able social widgets and back-end social insight through their SocialStats service.
 
The biggest complaint you’ll hear about Constant Contact is that they can be difficult to use. Their interface is older than MailChimp’s, and so are their templates. This makes managing and designing your newsletters more of a chore than it is with MailChimp’s clean, modern design.

However, they do offer free support and advice, helping to solve your problems quickly and even coaching you on running a more successful newsletter. They also offer deeper analytics for understanding your campaign's success. 

What does it cost?
- Free 60 day trial
- $15 up to 500 subscribers, unlimited e-mails


MailChimp

MailChimp is the recent winner in the email newsletter space, having built its reputation in only a few years as being everything Constant Contact is, but better. 

While this is not entirely true - for the most hardcore coders Constant Contact offers somewhat better ground-up template customization and also provides a somewhat more insightful analytics section without the up-sell. 

Their biggest advantage is that MailChimp’s templates look like websites built today, not emails from four years ago. Likewise, using MailChimp is more akin to using Tumblr than Wordpress - a quick, intuitive experience for those needing to manage their email campaigns in the least amount of time possible. Plus, even though Constant Contact provides somewhat better analytics, MailChimp’s default offerings are rich enough to suit the needs of most nonprofits and small businesses.

They also do a comparable job of dealing with spam, and offer similar low-level surveying and social tools - but their social widgets are much easier for your designers to implement.

What does it cost?
- Free up to 12,000 e-mails a month
- $10 Up to 500 subscribers, unlimited e-mails



TinyLetter

So, what if you don’t even need something as complicated as a “campaign?" What if you just have a group of people you want to email regularly?

TinyLetter, which has been acquired by MailChimp, nicely steps in to the lowest end of the email newsletter market. As simple as possible, you just sign up, create a letter, add your recipients and you’re good to go.

TinyLetter also lets you respond to your recipients directly, turning your newsletter in to more of a private communications channel rather than a robust marketing and outreach program.

What does it cost?
Free


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