iContact is an easy-to-use email marketing software for small and medium businesses. It’s built by email marketing experts with more than 19 years of experience. That’s a good starting point, right?
Established in 2003, now over 25,000 companies use iContact to generate new subscribers, build email campaigns, and automate their emails.
In this iContact review, you’ll find everything you need to know: services & features, advantages & disadvantages, pricing, and a sweet discount.
iContact’s most important features
Overall iContact (formerly IntelliContact) has a good feature set and reasonable price — an attractive combination for a small business email marketing service. Unless you’re looking for really advanced marketing automation.
Let’s take a closer look at iContact features:
- Drag and drop email editor: drag and design content blocks to create custom templates.
- Email Templates: Over 35 good-looking, responsive email templates. And 40 email themes with different color and font combinations that you can apply to any message.
- Lead Generation: Landing pages and forms are simple to create and publish.
- Marketing Automation: Automate welcome, follow-up, and date-based sequences.
- Smart Sending: iContact can deliver your emails when subscribers are most likely to open them based on previous opens and clicks.
- Integrations: Over 35 direct integrations, Zapier and Leadsbridge to connect with other apps.
- Customer Support: The team is quick and helpful. They have lots of help articles, and video tutorials.
Something interesting happened, every time I logged in, I liked the platform more. It is easy to navigate. Small touches like when you hover on an email template, the whole template will show up. This makes it much easier than going back and forth with preview windows. All the buttons and layouts are consistent, I never felt lost.
iContact’s email builder and templates make it quick to create on-brand emails. Smart sending helps to increase your open and click rates. And the automation builder works well for the sequences a small business needs.
This makes iContact a good option for small and medium businesses looking for simple email marketing software.
Detailed iContact Review: is it really the easiest email marketing software for small businesses?
All I needed was a quick look around when I first landed in iContact to feel comfortable. The user-friendly interface is clean without unnecessary bells and whistles. This makes navigating the software quick and simple. Each click made sense and got me closer to my goal. This goes for all main email marketing tasks like sending an email, publishing a landing page, or creating a welcome automation. Let’s get into the details of each.
Create and send a newsletter with the iContact email editor
Working on email design with the iContact drag-and-drop editor is like being in a friendly little town where all the locals are glad to help.
After signing up to iContact, I started exploring the design possibilities. The “Create Message” button is front and center immediately. After clicking it, you are greeted with the email templates.
The templates are organized into goal categories:
- Promote (on a Special occasion)
- Request (for Feedback)
- Celebrate (with Welcome emails)
- Connect (Event invitation)
- Remind (about Booking)
I pick an email template from Promote, and directly land in the email builder.
All parts of the email editor look simple. At the top, you’ll fill in the sender’s name, subject line, and preview text.
The content blocks are on the right side of the screen. In iContact, you’ll find blocks for text, images (Image, Caption, Collage), videos, buttons, dividers, and social icons.
Dragging and dropping blocks into the right place is a breeze. When you click on a content block, the settings for that block appear. Let’s go through the text, images, and videos in detail.
For Text blocks, you’ll see all options for text editing above the template: size, fonts, alignment, and lists. This is convenient. Everything I was looking for was easy to find.
The Image block is as simple as dragging it to the template and uploading an image. You can set the alt text and link for the image. The builder has settings for borders and padding to make sure the image is shown in the right place.
The Collage block is a great way to spice up your emails with visuals. Add up to 4 images into a Collage block and set up spacing, stacking, and order.
Use Video block to add videos to your emails. You give the URL of the video, and it picks it up by itself. It works with YouTube and Vimeo links. iContact pulls the thumbnail image and adds a play button over it.
I love videos, and there’s no better way to showcase or explain your product to potential customers.
Personalization works like in other email editors. Click on [ ] inside the text editing options, and add your merge tags. When you send your campaign, these merge tags will be replaced with contact data.
For multi-column layouts, go to “Rows”. You can add rows with a maximum of 4 columns and select the ratio between columns.
The next tab in the right sidebar is Theme. There are more than 40 font and color combinations to start. Here you can choose another email theme, or customize colors and fonts and save as your own theme.
Click on Preview at the top to check how your email design looks on different devices. Like how it looks? Send test emails to yourself or others to have a look. For further email testing, check out these standalone email testing tools.
Inside Tools, you’ll also find:
- Spell check: Detect spelling mistakes and suggest changes.
- Spam check: See if your messages contain any text that can trigger spam filters.
- Create a Split Test: Set up AB tests in iContact. You can test subject lines and email content with 2 variations.
- Save as New Template: Save your current email design for reuse .
- Export HTML: Export your email template as an HTML file.
Email Templates in iContact
You have 35 email templates to choose from. The templates are organized into these goal-based categories: Inform, Promote, Request, Celebrate, Connect, and Remind.
Many email platforms claim to have professionally designed templates but give you ‘meh’. That’s not the case for iContact templates. Scrolling through the templates, I couldn’t find any I didn’t like. And that is saying a lot.
I saw there are also 8 layout templates without any content. These work great with themes to quickly create a branded template in the right colors and fonts. The layout templates have tips on designing emails for certain goals.
I’ve seen way more templates offered on other email marketing platforms. But if you combine the 35 templates and the 40 themes, you get hundreds of templates. All themes have different color and font combinations you can apply to any email. All templates in iContact are mobile responsive, so that’s another thing you don’t have to worry about.
Based on an iContact template, you’ll have a design ready to send in 10 minutes. That’s without any coding. If you have your copy written already, I don’t know if you are a fast writer. 😀
Save time with Email Automation
To test automations in iContact, I’m setting up a welcome automation for new subscribers. Start by giving it a name and choosing a trigger.
In the free plan, you’ll have the Subscribe Event trigger. Upgrading to paid will unlock the rest of the triggers:
- Segment Qualification: you can set up conditions, and the automation will trigger whenever someone matches that.
- Specific Date: trigger automations based on any date. Great for webinar automations.
- Custom Date Field: trigger based on a date in a custom field. This works well for birthday and anniversary emails.
Subscribe Event is right for my welcome automation. Once I selected the email list I wanted to use as the trigger, I can start adding emails and actions in the automation builder.
There is an option for ASAP, which sends the email within minutes. A bit disappointing that you can only delay emails and actions by days, weeks, or months. I guess this is because of the Smart Sending feature.
Smart Sending is a feature in iContact that will deliver your emails when subscribers are in their inboxes. The emails will be sent on the day you define in the automation. But the timing will be based on previous opens and clicks. A pretty nifty feature to increase your email engagement!
Adding emails is simple. Just pick a template or email and customize the automated message with the email editor. iContact will spam check each email you add to your automation. This is a nice feature you won’t find in every email marketing platform.
A thing I missed was tagging. A workaround is to use custom fields to label your contacts, but tagging would be better.
The visual automation builder is a timeline that shows every email. The logic is clear, you can add a condition that will apply to the Message or Action to the right.
These are the conditions to choose from:
- Contact Field
- List Subscription
- Message Engagement
- Landing Page Engagement
- Date Added to Account
- Date of Last Open
- Date of Last Click
These should be more than enough for small business email automation. I chose Message Engagement for clicked on a previous email.
The automation builder in iContact is good for small businesses. The visual builder is logical and it’s easy to add steps. It isn’t as refined as marketing automation tools, but you can easily set up basic sequences like a welcome email flow for subscribers. And even some pretty advanced automations for webinars.
Managing contacts in iContact
Adding and managing contacts in iContact is as easy as everything else on the platform.
There are 4 ways to import contacts to iContact:
- Copy and paste email addresses into a text block
- Upload a CSV or XLS/XLSX file
- Add email addresses manually on a form
- Via signup forms
All Contacts view, gives you a quick overview. The colored boxes show the contact number, subscribed contacts, list, and bounce statuses.
The next 2 options at the top are for lists and segments. Let’s create a segment. I type in the name and then select the source. Sources can be All Subscribers, Lists, or Sent Message. Sent Message lets you filter for Message Engagement.
I’ll select All Subscribers for the test because I want to filter everyone on my list with a Gmail email. After clicking on Add Segment Criteria, this window popped up to select the segment criteria.
I set my filter up, clicked on Save and View Matching contacts, and that’s it. My segment is ready.
Contact Profiles contain all the basic information like name, emails, and standard, and custom fields. And you can dive really deep with the View Contact History. Check all historical data about your subscribers, like when they subscribed, opened or clicked an email, and much more.
Just like most of iContact, managing contacts is intuitive. It’s easy to create and find different lists and segments. Checking and editing contact data is a breeze, too.
Get new leads with iContact forms
In iContact, you can grow your subscriber list with landing pages and sign-up forms. You’ll find Landing Pages in the main menu, but let’s start with creating a signup form.
The form editor isn’t drag and drop like the email and landing page editors. You can add standard fields and your own custom fields.
There are 4 minimal themes to choose from. Then switch fonts, colors, field and button design to tune the look further.
The wizard offers options to include captcha, confirmation messages, success and error URLs.
To embed the form on your site Just copy and paste the code snippet to where you want the form to appear on your site. Or download the full html, to embed, which can be further customized and have custom CSS.
There’s a nifty little social media integration inside the Social tab. So your form can be added to a Facebook page by clicking on “Enable Facebook” and following the steps.
The form editor is lightweight and does the job perfectly.
iContact Landing Pages
iContact also includes a landing page builder. Click on Create a new landing page button to get started. The first time, you’ll get a quick tour showing how to design your first page.
The landing page builder is the same as the email builder. You’ll see 3 tabs on the right: Content, Rows, and Theme.
There are 6 different rows to choose from. These are great for quickly designing the layout of the page before adding content.
After creating the layout, it’s best to move to the Theme tab. You can set your page’s width, background colors, or images. And set the styles for headings, body text, images, links, buttons, form fields, and dividers.
Now drag Content blocks, and customize them further if you’d like. You can change every setting if you don’t like the universal setting you made to make sure it fits the page.
You’ll find Form Blocks at the bottom of the Content tab with Field, Submit, and Saved options. Drag fields and a submit block to the page to create a form. Inside the Submit block, you’ll choose the list you want subscribers to go on. You can only have 1 form per page and the landing page editor doesn’t have multi-step forms.
The iContact landing page editor is as easy to use as the email editor. I really like the logic behind first creating the layout, then setting the universal styles, and finally adding the content blocks. This teaches novice marketers the proper way of designing a page.
iContact directly integrates with 40 tools. Including Zapier and Leadsbridge, which open the doors to another 5000 apps.
iContact Customer Support
The customer support at iContact is excellent. It’s easy to get help from anywhere inside the software. When you get in touch with a team member, they’ll answer and resolve everything quickly. And I’m not alone. This is a review on G2, one of the hundreds that tell the same:
All editors have a Help button that will take you to the relevant page with guides.
Live chat and phone support are available from Monday to Friday during working hours 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM EST.
The email specialists at iContact have built a huge library of support content. You’ll find help articles, video tutorials, webinars, and a glossary. All these make it easy to find answers to most questions without reaching out to the support team.
iContact Pricing and Plans
I love how simple iContact pricing is. They have a Free and an Advanced plan. All the features are included in the Advanced plan. And the more contacts you have, the more you’ll pay.
The free version with 500 contacts and 2000 emails per month is good to get started. It includes the drag and drop email editor, hosting for a landing page, 1 welcome email series, all the templates, and AB testing.
Prices start at $23/month for 1500 contacts and all features. Here are the prices based on the number of contacts:
|Number of Contacts||Monthly Price|
It’s worth signing up for a year, because will get a 15% discount on annual plans.
iContact Pros and Cons
What I liked the most:
- The Free plan has 2000 emails/month, automation tools, and AB testing.
- All the templates look great and require minor customization.
- The whole platform is super easy-to-use.
- Amazing support team and resources.
- Simple and fair pricing: all paid plans have all features, and you only pay more if you have more contacts.
What could be improved:
- Landing page templates would be a good addition. Now there are only design themes.
- The templates look great, but we’d love to see some more.
- Automation is good for basic flows only.
iContact review: Is it the right email marketing platform for you?
iContact is a simple email marketing service great for small businesses. It has all the email marketing features a small company needs. And the support team is excellent, they’ll always have your back.
Here’s how we score iContact:
Ease of Use: 5 / 5
Value for Money: 4 / 5
Email editor and templates: 4 / 5
Functionalities: 4 / 5
Email Automation: 3.5 / 5
Customer service: 5 / 5
Total score: 4.3 / 5
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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iContact vs. MailChimp
MailChimp has more functionality and is a bit harder to use. You can use MailChimp to create websites and stores, run social ads, schedule appointments, and more.
iContact focuses on email marketing and automation and is easy to use. Creating and sending newsletters, building landing pages, and automating emails are all super easy.
Both have free plans, which is great to get started. The prices are also similar. For 1500 contacts, you’ll pay $23/month for iContact and MailChimp Essentials, too.
If you’re looking for a great email marketing tool, sign up for iContact. MailChimp is a decent option if you’d like an all-in-one marketing platform.
iContact vs. AWeber
iContact has stronger email automation with a visual automation builder, automation templates, and conditions. AWeber only has basic autoresponders without a visual builder, templates, or conditions. If you don’t need elaborate automation, but it is still important for you (it should be), then go for iContact.
AWeber has a Smart Designer that creates email templates based on your website. Paste the URL of your website, and AWeber will present a couple of templates. They will use your website’s colors, fonts, and images. If you’re an agency that creates emails for lots of companies, this feature comes in handy.
You can get started for free with both iContact and AWeber. In AWeber, you can have 500 contacts and send 3000 emails monthly. iContact also offers 500 emails but you can only send 2000 emails per month for free. Pricing for 2500 contacts is $36/month in iContact and $29.99 in AWeber.
iContact vs. Constant Contact
Having all these tools might favor Constant Contact, but it’s harder to navigate, and the automations are basic autoresponders.
If you’re looking for a marketing platform with basic automation, go for Constant Contact. If you’re looking for email marketing software with proper email automation, go for iContact.
Constant Contact only offers a free 60-day trial. iContact offers a free version with 500 contacts and 2000 emails per month. Pricing for 2500 contacts is $36/month in iContact and $35/month in Constant Contact.