Technology: E-Mail Marketing
MailChimp vs. Constant Contact
Monthly e-mail marketing is a must for a studio of any size to announce new classes, limited-time discounts and recital reminders. Two major platforms, MailChimp and Constant Contact, offer similar services with slightly different approaches.
Both have a clean drag-and-drop e-mail–building format, with options for HTML coding: MailChimp’s system is smooth for the marketing novice, while Constant Contact is more involved and sometimes finicky, but it allows for more customization. The systems’ newsletters are automatically refitted for mobile devices and easily shareable on social media. The companies also monitor traffic, so you can see who opened the e-mails at what time, as well as what links they clicked on, to help you decide how to best reach your potential and current customers.
We recommend MailChimp for small studio owners, freelance teachers and choreographers because of its pricing and sleek and simple system. If you have fewer than 2,000 total e-mail contacts, the service is free. Monthly fees apply if you wish to expand your contact list or add features like autoresponders (e-mails automatically sent on a person’s birthday, for instance, or after newsletter sign-up) and spam filter testing. A downside is that customer support is limited to an online form.
Constant Contact may be a better choice for large studios with a dancewear store or multiple locations because of its pricing tiers, bonus features (like survey and polling systems) and ability to manage many contacts. After a 60-day free trial, fees vary depending on your number of contacts and desired features (at its most basic, $15 per month for 500 contacts to $75 for 10,000). And its online and over-the-phone customer support trumps MailChimp.
Regardless of platform choice, if you run a nonprofit school, be sure to ask for their discounted rate.