A Fine ESP Option for Beginners
November 22, 2013

A Fine ESP Option for Beginners

Malarie Knox | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction

  • Segmenting Lists: iContact makes it very easy to segment contact lists into subsegments, so you can better target your audience with specific email communication.
  • Customer Service: All email service providers give the best customer service in the beginning of your contract. iContact provides excellent customer service for the entire extent of your contract.
  • Creating and Editing Email Templates: I've used a few ESPs in my experience, and iContact was the easiest to use when creating and editing emails in both visual and html modes.
  • Email Automation: iContact provides many options for setting up triggers that automatically add contacts to lists and allows you to email them a series of timed emails - minimal coding required.
  • Email Automation Customization - you can't dictate what time of day the emails go out. Also, once you automatically add users to a list, you can't automatically remove them (for example - you may want to remove contacts from a list after they have been converted).
  • Site Speed - My company used iContact extensively, and it was very slow at times, which was frustrating.
  • Deliverability Testing - iContact doesn't have the best deliverability testing, which can be harmful for your domain's reputation.
  • Increased Employee Efficiency - once a template is created, it is very easy to edit the content within the template with minimal or no assistance from developers.
  • Domain Reputation - if you aren't careful, it is very easy to hurt your domain reputation when using iContact. Make sure the person in charge of email marketing knows the risks of email marketing or is willing to closely work with iContact's customer service to follow best practices.
  • Increased Lead Conversion - through the use of automated email functionality, you can stay in the forefront of your customer's minds. This increases conversions by reminding customers that you are there to provide the goods or services that they may need periodically or in the future.
iContact is great for bloggers, events, and micro businesses, but if you are a small business that will be using email marketing extensively, you may want to consider other ESPs.
iContact is better than a lot of the other ESPs out there, but it's not the best, and I don't believe it's always the cheapest. The good thing about iContact is that they are committed to constant improvement of their product/service. When searching for an ESP you should have an estimate of how many contacts you expect to accumulate and how many emails you plan on sending because this will help you save a lot of money (different ESPs have different pricing structures) and time in the future (you don't want to have to switch ESPs if your business outgrows iContact).

Evaluation and Selection

I didn't have a say in the decision because I wasn't with the company at the time. I listed HubSpot here because I know we used it in conjunction with iContact for email automation, but HubSpot Email was only recently built-out to the point where it is today. Now, iContact and HubSpot are no longer integrated.
  • Price
  • Prior Experience with the Product
I didn't make the decision to purchase iContact, but I assume that price was most likely the largest factor when purchasing. Also, an early email marketing consultant may have been behind the decision to establish the company with iContact.
Look at companies that are comparable to your size and audience, or even better, look at companies that you want to follow in growth and business model. See what ESPs they are using, and weigh them heavily in your decision process. After all, those other companies already went through the selection process and selected that ESP for a good reason.