Ever wondered how Drip really stacks up against Constant Contact? This is a no-holds-barred comparison of two platforms that were both built to help your business boom. But what does that mean, exactly?
It means we aren’t going to add esoteric fluff to this comparison. We won’t plug in weird labels that don’t mean anything to you, fill the page with clunky jargon, and it means we won’t stack the deck in our favor (even though we are the ones putting on this riveting review). We also won’t let this review sit stagnant when either Constant Contact or we reveal new features and functionality.
After all, we want the same thing you do; success for your ecommerce business so you can live the life you’ve always wanted. This means helping you pick the tools that will help you the most, even if that’s not us.
This comparison features nine ecommerce email marketing software essentials that should be considered when choosing your next platform. See how Drip and Constant Contact meet each must-have, then make the best decision for you.
1. Plays Nice with Facebook
Us: Drip integrates with Facebook in a couple different ways; one way is for pure, slick lead generation, and one is for retargeting customers (and soon-to-be customers) with relevant Facebook ads.
Facebook Lead Ads let you create forms that collect a lead’s information. It’s pretty cool, but it gets even cooler when you can sync the information collected with Lead Ads in Drip. You can also create time-saving automations, like if someone submits information in exchange for a discount, you can make a rule that will send each new lead that coupon without you lifting a finger.
Our Facebook Custom Audiences integration is primo for precisely retargeting customers with ads that are related to actions they just took. For example, you can show someone ads for an item related to what they just bought, or even advertise a similar event to the one they just attended.
The real beauty in this integration is that Drip can automatically add and remove people from various custom audiences automatically based on what actions they take. Did they buy the thing you were showing them in Facebook ads? Awesome! Drip knows this happened and will automatically remove that person from that custom audience so they don’t feel bombarded.
Drip is all about helping your ecommerce business engage with all people, not just subscribers. For whatever reason, some people just aren’t into email—but that’s okay! With Drip, you now have the opportunity to reach customers beyond the inbox. Engage through multichannel workflows, SMS, direct mail, and social media retargeting.
Constant Contact: Constant Contact made a free Facebook integration dubbed the Facebook – Join My Mailing List app. It’s an easy solution to collecting leads from your Facebook business page (it’s not currently available for personal profiles).
You can add a personal message and a logo to your signup forms, then decide which list you want leads to be added to once they submit. This is a great way to collect contact information like names and email addresses, however you can’t yet create your own custom fields on the form.
If you’re only looking to collect these basics on a lead generation form—great! Adding the Join My List app to your business page might be the right solution for you. However, if you were hoping to automatically add and remove leads from custom audiences for retargeting purposes, Constant Contact doesn’t have the capability to do so.
Winner: If you’re looking for an easy way to align your Facebook messaging with the rest of every customer’s journey, Drip takes the cake. The multiple Facebook integrations makes automating tasks in Facebook easy and ensures your customers will always be seeing the right message from you at the right time on their favorite social media platform.
2. Automation Capabilities
Us: Drip, as you may know, started as a simple, automated email opt-in widget. With automation as our cornerstone, it’s no wonder it’s in our blood. Drip is capable of creating both if-this, then-that Basic Rules as well as fully automated Workflows and email Campaigns.
This means your business keeps cranking in the background long after you clock out.
Basic Rules can be built to automatically react when a customer does something. Any rule can be fired by multiple triggers and result in multiple actions across Drip and your integrated tools.
A Campaign is an email series that, when someone triggers one, automatically deploys any number of emails at times you determine. For instance, you might want to set up a New Customer campaign. When someone becomes a new customer, they’ll trigger this campaign that will continue to send them five emails stuffed with “Hellos” and coupons every four days.
Lastly, a Workflow is an entirely automated path people are guided down depending on what they do. Workflows can incorporate any integration, Campaign, Facebook ad, and beyond. The sheer versatility let’s you be as creative as you want.
Constant Contact: Autoresponder is the name of Constant Contact’s automated email sequences feature. When someone is added to an email list, whether they sign up for it or are added manually, an Autoresponder series of emails can be triggered.
These email series are typically things like welcome campaigns, follow-up emails, or several emails offering discounts and encouraging a lead to become a customer. Then, you can segment contacts based on the content they click to create even more targeted lists.
This feature is only available with Constant Contact’s Email Plus package. Autoresponder is most similar to Campaigns within Drip, but isn’t nearly as robust when it comes to what can trigger an automated email sequence. Additionally, Constant Contact doesn’t have a true comparison against Drip’s fully automated Workflows or Rules features.
If you’re looking for simple automation that follows a formula of “If a person joins List A, then send them email series B,” Constant Contact might work for you.
Winner: Without automation features like Rules and Workflows, Constant Contact just isn’t able to scale with your growing online store. Drip is able to automatically react and respond to whatever your customers are up to, making it a clear winner in the automation arena.
3. Visual Builder
Us: A picture speaks 1,000 words and so does our visual workflow and email builders.
Trying to organize the huge variety of paths each customer could take in your Workflows is a daunting job, especially if you’re trying to keep it all straight up in your noggin’.
We’ve removed the huge mental task of tracing and retracing customer steps when building effective Workflows thanks to a clean and clear visual builder. Mapping out what you want to happen and when is as easy as drawing it out on a piece of paper. Plus, visual cues like color-coded steps and clear pathways come standard so you can always see right where you’re leading your customers.
And when it comes to emails, opt for our image-driven point-and-click email creator that requires zero coding on your end. Talk about a clear and visual dream come true.
Constant Contact: The visual builder inside of Constant Contact extends to their drag-and-drop email builder and creating an Autoresponder sequence. There is no equivalent to automated Workflows inside of the app.
The drag-and-drop email builder is pleasantly straightforward and easy to use within seconds of jumping inside your account. When it comes to planning your Autoresponder series of emails, you begin by naming it, then choosing what list people need to be added to in order to trigger Autoresponder.
Looking at and adding to Autoresponder sequences is relatively simple. From the Autoresponder dashboard, you can see where emails fall in the sequence (first, second, third, etc.) and when they’re scheduled to send. Metrics for each email in a sequence are also readily available on that screen.
Winner: Constant Contact’s Autoresponder sequence builder has virtually zero learning curve, but if you want the easiest way to build workflows that are more complex than an autoresponder, Drip is the answer.
4. Individual Customer Journeys
Us: We don’t want you to ever have to guess which customers are engaging with your store the most. Drip has visual customer timelines and a points-based system of keeping track of every action, visit, purchase, and LTV called Lead Scoring.
When you first sign up for Drip, there are some pre-assigned points already in place. For example, every time someone opens an email, they earn one point. When they click in an email, they earn three points. You can assign different point values for different events. For example, a purchase might be worth 20 points and canceling an item might be worth -20.
Set a point threshold for when someone turns from a prospect to a hot lead and get notified when that happens, or even use that score to trigger a coupon workflow, or a campaign of emails. Your highest scorers are your most engaged customers who have proven they love interacting with your brand. Use this information to create specials for VIP customers, make phone calls, and beyond.
Split Testing in Workflows is another handy-dandy Drip feature that lets you zero in on which experiences drive the most revenue, highest average order value, most conversions, and total site visits. Test an entire workflow or just bits and pieces to discover which paths are bringing home the most bacon.
Lead Scoring, visual customer timelines, segmenting by “# of clicks over X amount of time,” and more are all features you can use to identify your most engaged customers (and your least engaged customers) so you can communicate with them as meaningfully as possible.
Constant Contact: Aside from individual people who have high engagement with emails and Autoresponders, there is no true lead scoring feature inside the app. This isn’t the most efficient and automatic way to track people who are visiting your website, clicking in emails, making a purchase, and more. In order to truly manage people by level of engagement, you’ll have to integrate with a CRM or another lead scoring app through third-party middleware sites like Zapier.
Winner: Drip’s Lead Score feature plus the ability to see pretty much everything you’d ever want to know about your customers makes it the clear victor here.
5. Segmentation Capabilities
Us: At Drip, we make it possible for your ecommerce business to segment everyone on your list by tags, actions customers have (or haven’t) taken, custom fields like names, locations, tailored identifiers, and more. Filter people by one criteria or by dozens—it’s totally up to you.
Every one of your customers has a unique experience, coming from different sources, taking different customer paths, and having interests in a variety of different products or services. With Drip, though, you can segment by each of those characteristics to create the most efficient and meaningful communications possible with your customers.
Drip’s new Shopper Activity API takes segmenting one step further. Now your business can segment its customers based on the products they’ve purchased as well as the brands they’ve purchased.
Constant Contact: Inside of Constant Contact, you can segment people by lists or tags. Lists could be something like New Customers or Loyal Customers or Inactive Customers—all of which are segments that require different messaging at different times in their lifespans.
Tags let you store additional information about each person so you can send even more targeted emails based on unique tags, e.g., birthdays, occupations, sources of origin, special interests, etc. While adding tags to each person adds another layer of information about them you can use when emailing, it’s a relatively time-consuming process.
There is no feature that truly automates the entire tagging process. For example, if you want to tag everyone on a list, you will have to do that manually (then keep doing it as people keep joining the list). Or if you want to tag everyone who engaged with your latest email, you have to go into that report and identify who engaged before tagging.
As your list grows into tens (or hundreds) of thousands, this could quickly become a process that eats into the time you need to spend running the rest of your business.
Winner: Since Constant Contact is missing any sort of automated tagging functionality, tagging every single person (and remembering to do it every time new people are added or do something new) can become messy and inaccurate—fast. Which also means your segmentation could end up with a lot of missing pieces. Don’t risk and rest-assured your segmentation is spot-on with Drip.
6. Fit Your Stack
Us: No matter how fat the rest of your marketing stack is, there’s always a place for Drip. We integrate with nearly 100 of our fellow marketing tools—with more integrations being dreamt up regularly—which means no matter what other tools you’re using, odds are good we’ll fit right in.
And if we don’t integrate? Well, that’s right where our best-in-the-biz API comes in. Our robust and well-documented API helps you connect Drip to your other tools. Or alternative integrations are possible through sites like Zapier. The more you integrate, the closer you can get to your customers, so ensuring your email software can freely interact with your other tools is critical.
Constant Contact: Constant Contact’s Marketplace offers hundreds of apps and integrations to help you collect leads and sync leads and customers across other tools in your marketing stack. From Salesforce and WordPress to Facebook and Shopify, Constant Contact integrates with big names. And if Constant Contact hasn’t built a bridge between the app and another one, third-party integration sites like Zapier and PieSync will most likely be able to make the connection you’re looking for.
Winner: We're calling this one a draw. Since both platforms have ties to Zapier, you can make any connection you could ever really want between your online marketing tools.
7. Ease of Implementation
Us: Many times, the only thing holding busy business-owners back from choosing better alternatives to tools and platforms is the hassle of switching. And isn’t that how it goes for a lot of things in life?
Switching to a cheaper gas station means having to drive across town. Buying a better car means selling the one you have, setting up a lease, and choosing your next ride. And moving homes means you have to endure, well, the uphill arduous battle of physically moving everything you own.
We hate those feelings, which is why we made sure getting started with Drip is easy. With how-to videos, our learning hub MyDrip, blog articles, an intuitive interface, and beyond, you can start sending on the same day you sign up.
But if you'd rather we lend a hand, our ECRM customer success team is on-board to offer dedicated help and implementation with variety of consultation options you can choose from.
Of course, you can do all of this on your own if you’d like, but if at any time you hit a snag or have a question, feel free to chat into our support team or submit a ticket 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Constant Contact: There’s a clear and understandable grid of FAQs and help resources inside of Constant Contact that can help you get started. You can easily import existing email lists you have in other email marketing platforms.
There is also a live 30-minute Getting Started webinar that new customers can go to, so they can ask specific questions directly with a Constant Contact Email Marketing Expert. You can also manually import HTML code you might have from email templates you’ve used in prior platforms.
While full-bellied migration services aren’t offered, the existing resources and community should be able to help should you have questions during the process.
The platform recently launched its Marketing Advisor Program that provides small businesses with one-on-one guidance, tailored strategies to help a business set and reach its goals, and priority customer support. While the program sounds like a great idea, the only drawback is its cost: an extra $50/month.
Winner: Both platforms offer some level of real, live human interaction to help you, but Drip’s 24/7 customer support and option to get help from a dedicated ECRM success team gives it a leg up.
8. Is It Built for Humans?
Us: We’ve cut out extra clicks and confusing language. Our vision includes making it possible for you to get in, plug in your integrations, craft an effective automated workflow, and get out in a matter of hours, or even minutes—not days.
This vision is a reality thanks to our aforementioned visual workflow builder, plain-language rule creator, email campaign and workflow templates, and easy-to-use email builder. After all, we want you to enjoy being in the app instead of feeling trapped in email purgatory.
Because personalized content is a must for any ecommerce business looking to fully connect with its customers, Drip makes it easy as pie to tailor content every unique customer. Email copy is able to automatically update for each customer and show top-selling products, product recommendations, price-drop notifications, and dynamic discounts.
To see how human Drip is, check it out for two free weeks.
Constant Contact: As mentioned earlier, Constant Contact’s drag-and-drop email builder is inherently human. The iconography is clear and understandable, and adding images, text, buttons, and more to emails is easy-peasy.
Constant Contact’s bread and butter lies with making and sending one-off emails or email sequences. The simplicity of the product purpose makes this a very human product to use right out of the box. The fewer options there are, the fewer choices you’re faced with.
While this ease of use is awesome, especially for brand new marketers, it comes at the cost of feature variety and deep marketing automation.
Winner: How Drip distills even its most advanced features into an easy-to-use interface with friendly language makes it super human-friendly (no matter how complex your ecommerce marketing strategy is bound to get).
9. Workflows You Can Set Goals In
Us: What does setting goals in a Workflow even mean?
Imagine you build a cart abandonment Workflow with the goal of getting someone to return to their cart and make a purchase. In Drip, you can physically add that goal of “made a purchase” in your Workflow, so that when your customer meets that goal, they bypass all of the other things you had planned for them, like enticing email campaigns and Facebook retargeting ads.
After all, why keep bugging your customer to buy something after they’ve already been convinced to buy it? Goals make your customer experience smoother, quicker, and more pleasant than if you kept bombarding them with emails telling them about their abandoned cart, or trying to convince them to buy something they already own.
Constant Contact: The most automated feature inside Constant Contact is Autoresponder, which deploys email series automatically when someone meets criteria (like joining a specific list). There are no goals inside of Autoresponder. If someone trips a “Welcome Email” Autoresponder sequence, they’ll receive all of the emails in that series regardless of what actions they take as a result.
You’ll always be sure everyone is receiving an email campaign in its entirety, however, without goals, you risk trying to get someone to take an action they already took or purchase something they already bought.
Winner: Workflows without goals means your marketing could get redundant after your leads and customers do what you want them to do. Don’t be redundant. Drip wins here.
Constant Contact vs. Drip: The Verdict
If you’re looking for a basic email marketing platform that can send a designed email to your list, then Constant Contact can get the job done. The human-friendly email builder in combination with easy-to-understand lists and tags make this an excellent lightweight email marketing software.
However, it is missing the majority of features many ecommerce companies are hunting for so they can understand their customers better and react with deep, meaningful automations. Drip has the power to understand what each customer is doing across integrations like Shopify and Stripe, and then react with just the right messaging, tagging, rule triggering, and more.
If your goal is to send an email newsletter or occasional email series, Constant Contact is a great choice. But if you’re eager to start building workflows, rules, and more smart automations that allow you to see what your customers are all about, Drip is what your ecommerce business is craving.
Want to save this checklist of nine ecommerce essentials as you continue on your journey of exploring Drip or Constant Contact alternatives? Download the whole enchilada here and reference for as long as you need.
Or if you’re ready to try Drip and see how close you can get to your customers, let’s get started.