TopTenREVIEWS - Gold Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

iContact provides you with the tools you'll need whether you know everything about email marketing and HTML or you're just starting to design campaigns for the internet and have no web-design experience. While other email marketing services can be overwhelming, iContact keeps things intuitive and simple. This email marketing service gives you the option to create a marketing piece using a template or on your own. You can use the design format or jump into the HTML coding. Once your message is ready to go, you can spell check it, see if it passes spam tests and then send an email campaign to an email address you choose to see what it'll look like to your recipients.

With iContact, you can combine your social networking efforts with your marketing goals. Add Tweet, Like, LinkedIn Share and Google+ buttons to your emails so your customers can easily share coupons, updates and news from your company. In addition to this, you can connect to your iContact email marketing services account via your iPhone, iPod Touch and Android mobile devices. For all of these reasons and more, iContact is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner.

Feature Set
Compare
10/10
iContact
Benchmark Email
Constant Contact
Pinpointe
GetResponse
Mailigen
Vertical Response
Mad Mimi
GraphicMail
Campaigner
10
9.4
9.4
8.8
8.5
8.1
8.1
8.1
8.1
8.1

A host of features helps define iContact as the best email marketing tool for creating email campaigns and tracking their progress. One impressive feature within this email marketing service is the ability to create, send and manage custom surveys. This is an excellent way of getting important feedback, and it encourages two-way communication between you and your customers.

Before you send any marketing email, you must have a list of recipients. iContact can help you with this too. This email marketing service assists you in adding a sign-up form to your professional webpage in order to convert one-time or frequent visitors into solidified subscribers. If you already have a list of subscribers saved in an Excel or CSV file, you can easily import these contacts into your iContact subscriber list.

Now that you have your list of contacts, you need to define your target market, which is usually one of the first steps you should take when creating any marketing campaign. iContact allows you to create aliases and send emails based on established demographics or filters. For example, if you want to send an email from iContact only to people between the ages of 25 and 35, you can separate these people into a segment and send a personalized campaign to them. You can manage and filter your list of message receivers based on all sorts of criteria, including 13 standard fields and any other custom fields you wish to segment by.

Social media is becoming one of the more prevalent modes of marketing to the masses. iContact has embraced this growing trend by integrating features geared toward Twitter and Facebook users. These iContact tools allow you to publish messages to your wall, create newsletter sign-up forms and send tweets for each email you send as part of your marketing campaigns.

There is also an autoresponder feature in iContact that sends out automatic messages at pre-determined times or when specific events happen. For example, if someone signs up for your newsletter, the autoresponder will send a short email to welcome that person. You might also set it up to send customers an email coupon on their birthdays as well.

The iContact spam-test feature is an excellent way to check and evaluate your email campaign's subject line and content to make sure your messages are free from elements that could send it to your customers' junk mail folders instead of their inboxes. With iContact, you can also spell check your messages so you can send them out error free. Once you're done preparing your message, you can send a test email to view what it will look like when your customers open it.

iContact's email marketing service offers extensive support for third-party add-ons. These include email sign-up support for WordPress and Joomla websites; the ability to create and track campaigns from your iPhone, iPod Touch or Android device; Appointment Plus integration and other features.

Email Campaign Creation
Compare
10/10
iContact
Benchmark Email
Constant Contact
Pinpointe
GetResponse
Mailigen
Vertical Response
Mad Mimi
GraphicMail
Campaigner
10
9.4
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.5
8.1
8.1
8.1

Creating an email marketing campaign is simple with iContact's step-by-step process. After logging in to your account, select the Create tab. Next, choose how you want to create your email or survey. You can use a webpage, HTML, plain text or utilize one of the pre-made, professionally designed templates. The iContact process is user friendly, and you can preview your message after it is completed. Plus, you can save the template for future use.

In recent product updates, iContact has made significant changes to its message-creation tools. One such change is iContact's MessageCoder, a fully functional WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that allows you to achieve even greater levels of customization in the emails you send.

You can also easily switch between the iContact WYSIWYG design and HTML screens, so if you want to edit the HTML code directly, it's easy to adjust the appearance of your email quickly and see the results instantly. While the WYSIWYG editor is ideal for individuals who have little to no experience in website coding, iContact's HTML-editing functionality will please the savvy programmers out there.

Compared with the other email marketing services we reviewed, iContact includes the largest and best selection of email templates. With more than 500 template options, you'll be able to find and customize a professional email marketing campaign, newsletter or survey to suit your own tastes.

The iContact email marketing service will also let you create an email with an appearance that matches your website. You can customize the page by inserting images, hyperlinks, tables, lines and other basic formatting features. This is a great way to maintain your brand between the website and emails to customers, which will, in turn, increase brand loyalty.

Campaign Reporting
Compare
9.4/10
iContact
Benchmark Email
Constant Contact
Pinpointe
GetResponse
Mailigen
Vertical Response
Mad Mimi
GraphicMail
Campaigner
9.4
8.8
8.1
8.8
8.8
8.8
8
8.1
8.3
8.1

The email marketing services reporting features in iContact are conveniently located under the tab labeled Track. iContact reports on the messages sent, forwarded, bounced and delivered. It also tracks unsubscribed emails along with actual click-throughs.

You will be able to effectively track and report a variety of statistics, complete with easy-to-read tables and charts through iContact. You can easily export the data into other forms to track the effectiveness of your work and the success of each email campaign.

The social network integration portion of this email marketing service by iContact extends your reporting capabilities even further. You can track click-backs from Twitter and Facebook posts, which gives you the necessary data to evaluate the reach and effect of your marketing campaigns via social media and iContact.

While the reporting is fairly thorough, certain data elements are missing from iContact. Most notably, we did not find anything that provides statistics regarding conversion outside of the Salesforce application. Salesforce is a company that helps you manage your customer relations. In order to use the Salesforce application through iContact, you must sign up for a Salesforce account.

Ease of Use
Compare
10/10
iContact
Benchmark Email
Constant Contact
Pinpointe
GetResponse
Mailigen
Vertical Response
Mad Mimi
GraphicMail
Campaigner
10
10
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.5
8.8
8.1
8.1
7.5

iContact makes it very easy to set up an effective email marketing campaign without requiring you to have a degree in web design or marketing. The iContact user interface is simple to navigate. Once you're logged in, you'll see a set of tabs prominently displayed at the top of the screen that allow you to easily create an email campaign and access the results. Simply choose the tab that corresponds to what you want to accomplish, and iContact's set-up wizard will direct you through each step of the process.

The entire procedure is straightforward and logical, making this email marketing service great for beginners. For those with more marketing or web experience, iContact provides numerous cutting-edge features to accommodate advanced users, including the ability to customize HTML code.

Help & Support
Compare
9.4/10
iContact
Benchmark Email
Constant Contact
Pinpointe
GetResponse
Mailigen
Vertical Response
Mad Mimi
GraphicMail
Campaigner
9.4
10
8.8
8.1
8.3
8.8
8
8.1
7.5
8.1

iContact's email marketing service has a comprehensive set of help and support options. These include video tutorials, a knowledge base, a user manual, articles, live and recorded webinars, and additional resources such as a company blog and newsletter. Live support is available over the phone, by email and even via online live chat.

A nice addition to the help and support options is the email marketing guide created by iContact's experts in email marketing campaigns. The iContact guide gives step-by-step instructions and resources on the best practices of email marketing and discusses several topics, including setting goals, developing a contacts list and basic rules of an email campaign.

iContact also features an impressive user community. This unique email marketing service's feature allows you get your content out to even more people. You can publish your blog posts or newsletters within the iContact community and increase your potential viewers and subscribers.

iContact Summary:
9.8/10

iContact is an excellent email marketing service that allows you to easily create and track a professional and effective email campaign complete with surveys, autoresponders and more. In addition, there are plenty of help features to get your campaign off to a great start, and iContact tech support is available if you need it. With a complete lineup of tools, an easy-to-use interface and several innovative features, iContact is the best email marketing service available today.

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iContact

Pros
Whether you're a web designer, marketing guru or a beginner, iContact has the tools you'll need to succeed.

Cons
If you are looking for statistics regarding conversion rates, you'll have to use the Salesforce application.

The Verdict
: 9.83/10

iContact has a broad list of features and reports that will help you increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.