Bryan: What does Constant Contact do?
Gail: Constant Contact helps small businesses and organizations find success by creating and growing relationships with current and prospective customers. When we first launched in 1998, we offered email marketing tools. Over the years, we’ve expanded to include event marketing, social media marketing, and online survey tools, coupled with know-how, personalized coaching, and support. Together, our tools and services have helped our more than 400,000 customers find success. And at the end of the day, our success is truly about their success.
Bryan: How does Constant Contact differentiate itself from the other email marketing firms? What makes you stand above the others?
Gail: At Constant Contact, we’ve literally made it our business to understand our customers – their needs, wants, and challenges. From that knowledge, we’ve developed tools and services that really work for our customers. What sets us apart from other email marketing firms is two-fold: first, our products are designed for the small business – very intuitive and easy to use. Then we go beyond the tools, providing world-class education and coaching with a personal touch to make sure our customers have not only the tools they need, but also the know-how to use those tools in the best ways possible. Second, Constant Contact provides a full suite of marketing tools for small businesses and organization. This includes not just email marketing, but also event marketing, social media marketing, and online survey tools – everything that our customers need to build relationships with current and potential customers, making Constant Contact a true one-stop shop for all their customer marketing needs.
Bryan: Why should online businesses use email marketing?
Gail: It’s simple, really: Out of sight, out of mind. Email marketing gives businesses an easy, cost-effective way to stay in touch with current and prospective customers. Whether your email recipients are ready to buy today or not, staying in front of them with relevant, compelling content will ensure that they think of you when they are ready to buy. For an online company, this is even more important as these companies don’t have the opportunity to engage with customers one on one inside their stores. Even better, today’s tools allow organizations to stay focused on their core business, while the email provider takes care of the email marketing. It’s as easy as selecting a template, adding compelling content, and hitting “send.”
Bryan: How does Constant Contact help build a responsive following?
Gail: We are all about making email marketing easy – and successful – for our customers. It starts with great education about the best ways to use our tools. That means everything from how to build your email list and who your email should come from, to how to write the best subject line and how to create relevant content that drives action. We do this through a variety of channels: webinars, coaching with a personal touch, live group educational seminars, how-to guides, and case studies of other customers’ success, just to name a few.
Next, we offer features to help our customers build their following everywhere they connect with people – online, offline, social, mobile – you name it! For instance, users can easily embed social media “sharing” buttons right into their email campaigns so that recipients can share the content of the email with their network. Right there, your reader has interacted with your email and exposed your content to his or her network, extending your reach to a whole new audience. Another example is our “Join My Mailing List” application, which allows our customers to easily collect email addresses on their website, on their Facebook page, or from their email campaign. We also have tons of integrations (Outlook, Gmail, QuickBooks, for examples) to make it easy to bring together your connections from multiple sources. And, our customers can easily build custom forms that integrate through our Web Services.
Bryan: Everyone hates spam. How does your company prevent your users from becoming “spammers”?
Gail: We have a very strict, no-tolerance spam policy to prevent our users from becoming spammers – not only because it would give Constant Contact a “bad name,” but also because it would impact our ability to get email delivered for other, non-offending customers. We require all of our customers to use permission-based email lists, and our customer support group actively monitors large import lists and emails going to a large number of contacts. And, yes, we have “fired” customers for violating our policies.
We also make sure all our customers understand permission best practices. We deliver this know-how in a wide variety of ways from the checklist they need to review before uploading a list to our webinars and seminars to our great personal coaches on the phone. We want to make sure all the mail our customers send is welcomed and enjoyed.