mail.pngiContact and Constant Contact are web-based email marketing solutions, that allow you to create and track HTML emails sent to a list of (manged) contacts. While both offer a core of the same CRM features, they also have different approaches when it comes to specific offerings. For instance, pricing is different, monthly email volume is different, design is different and so on.

Last year I reviewed Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager, and being somehow disappointed on some lacking features of BCM 2003, I decided to take a look at what Business Contact Manager 2007 has to offer. First of all, Business Contact Manager doesn’t come as a separate product, it is an add-on for Outlook 2007 so you cannot purchase it separately.

Business Contact Manager is an add-in for Outlook (2003, 2007), and comes either as part of Office Professional, Small Business or Ultimate suite, or with an Outlook bundle for $150 (the cost of Microsoft Outlook is about $110, the cost of Outlook with Business Contact Manager is $150). It works only with Outlook and this is why it's not sold separatelly. Though there is a new version of Outlook with BCM, the 2007 suite, this review focuses on the benefits (or headaches) that Outlook 2003 with BCM has. I'm still one of those that didn't update to Office 2007 (they still have to convince me that there's more than the glossy look) and that has no plans on upgrading to Vista. So is it worth to install the Business Contact Manager from a CRM point of view?

If you have clients or prospects you have to followup with them via email. You don't have several choices, either you use your own email client to send them emails now and then, or you use an online email marketing software. The disadvantage of using your own email client is that you have a limit on how many emails you can send at once (Microsoft Outlook should have a limit of about 50 email sent at a time) and you have to do a mail merge, plus you cannot set up automatic email follow-ups. So if you have quite a few clients to contact, the solution is using an online email marketing software. The advantage of an online service is that you can send emails in bulk, you can set automatic follow-ups, and the delivery rate is usually as high as 99%. The disadvantage though is the price, as you have to pay a monthly fee, unlike owning a license for a program where you pay only once and own it. If you want to work professionally and avoid hassles with your email client, use an online email marketing service. There are quite a few email marketing companies, and given that once you sign-up with them you will continue using them for a while, it's important to choose right and pick the best email marketing software. Some of the most popular in this branch are: iContact, Aweber, ConstantContact, Vertical Response, Get Response, Bronto and Mailchimp. I've already covered an article about iContact vs ConstantContact, so this time I wanted to compare iContact vs Aweber. I decided this time to take another approach in comparing iContact and Aweber.