iContact is an email and social media marketing platform that has the power to increase your company’s revenues. In fact, according to the site’s customer testimonials, some report a marketing expenditure ROI of more than 50%. In this iContact review I explore my experiences with the platform.
iContact touts its user-friendly interface. They claim that users can “go from signing up to sending your first message in minutes. No marketing experience required, no strings attached.” True to their claims, the interface is easy to use, although the dashboard is extremely “clunky” and unattractive. It requires a lot of scrolling and the navigation lacks the intuitive feel that many similar sites feature. The dashboard does feature full social media integration, with easy access that enables you to post directly to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
iContact does offer all the typical features, including an image library, an auto-responder feature and even a fun survey tool. For the actual email message creation, users can select from the Message Builder tool, which enables you to select from a number of professionally-designed email templates, with drag-and-drop elements for easy message composition. There’s also a Message Coder tool, which enables you to utilize your own custom HTML template. The iContact Message Coder tool is ideal for more advanced users. Users can also generate a text-only email blast or you can even generate an email newsletter using a webpage as the basis.
When it comes to sending out messages to your email mailing list recipients, iContact does require recipients to opt-in. You’ll have access to an array of different statistics and data concerning your mailings. So if you’re trialing a number of different content types and varied strategies for your email marketing campaign, these analytics make it easy to determine which approach is most effective. Fine-tuning your marketing campaign is relatively simple.
The social media campaign management feature is apparently new and it does show, as it appears a bit less developed compared to iContact’s email campaign management tools and offerings. Though users can achieve all the basics: posting messages, scheduling posts and there’s also an analytics feature for social media campaigns, making it fairly easy to monitor the effectiveness of your approach.
Customer Service, technical support and free webinars
In a virtual world where an increasing number of platforms are opting to replace customer service staff with forums, iContact does maintain a robust customer support team – a fact that is quite refreshing. Their support staff are quite responsive, which is always a bonus.
iContact also maintains a so-called “Advisory Services” team, which exists to provide companies with advice and recommendations concerning their social media and email marketing campaigns. The Advisory Services staff provide recommendations that enable entrepreneurs to refine their marketing strategy and improve results. Few platforms of this kind offer this sort of comprehensive (and very practical!) support, so it’s a definite bonus point for iContact.
Another bonus point? iContact offers free weekly webinars, which are a great way to learn about the various features and to ask questions. New members also have access to a host of easy-to-understand educational materials, including FAQs, full-length articles, video tutorials and recorded webinars.
iContact does offer a full-featured free trial period, which is always a bonus. The sign-up process did not require a credit card, which is relatively rare in the world of free trials. You only need to input some basic information such as your name, company name, phone number, email address, password, estimated annual revenue and the approximate list of your mailing list. Once you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Once confirmed, your free trial account will be valid for a total of 30 days.
If you fail to confirm your account, you’ll be limited to a subscriber limit of ten; once confirmed, you’ll be able to expand your subscriber list to 100. There is no subscriber limit for paid accounts. In all, the subscriber limit that’s applied to free trial accounts is iContact’s primary and most significant drawback. It makes it rather difficult to accurately determine whether the platform is suitable for you and your mailing list recipients.
But overall, iContact is a robust email marketing platform; one that’s user-friendly and up to date with everything you would expect in an online solution. There are a variety of plans tailored depending on your customer base.
If you are looking for an all in one email marketing solution with advanced social media management capability, this may be the solution for you. I hope this iContact review provided some value to you.
If you want to check out some of my other reviews or perhaps you are looking to create a shopping cart, please read my bigcommerce review