- Free plan
- Well-designed templates
- Numerous integrations
- Good customer support
- Easy to use
- Cost increases with list size
- Features limited by plan
iContact is an email marketing platform with a strong core offering that’s built with ease of use in mind. The company is generally well regarded and praised among its user base, according to comments on major review sites. Their solid reputation is due, in part, to its accommodating customer service, which you simply won’t find with many other email marketing software companies.
Furthermore, iContact’s focus on small businesses sets it apart from the more complex automated programs built with career internet marketers in mind. iContact is aimed not necessarily at professional marketers but at business owners who need a simple yet effective way to reach customers and prospects. With a slew of professionally designed templates, the software makes it easy to communicate with personalized email messages. There’s even a free plan for users who are just getting started, as well as a custom API for those who want more advanced options.
So, does iContact have something for everyone? In this iContact review, we’ll help you decide if this email marketing software is best for your business or if you should keep shopping.
Table of Contents
iContact price is based on the number of contacts a user’s business has. There are three plans to choose from, billed monthly, quarterly, or annually. iContact pricing includes a 20% discount for nonprofits. It’s relatively easy to cancel or to move up/down in service level. However, if you decide to drop down or cancel, don’t expect a refund of any prepaid fees. Users can test the iContact software with a free trial, no credit card required.
Let’s take a look at the three iContact plans:
The Free plan costs $0/month and includes:
- Up to 500 contacts
- One user
- Up to 2,000 sends each month
- Drag & Drop email designer
- HTML editor
- Template library
- Stock image library
- In-line photo editing
- A/B split testing
- Automation editor
- Targeted automation followups
- One hosted landing page
- One welcome series automation
- Email reporting
- Automation reporting
- One list segmentation
- Custom API
- Integrations directory
- Email support
The Standard plan starts at $15/month and includes everything in the Free plan, plus:
- Up to 1,500 contacts
- Multiple users
- Unlimited sending
- A/B split testing
- Sign-up forms
- Client folders
- Live chat and email support
The iContact Pro plan starts at $30/month for up to 1,500 subscribers and includes everything on the Pro plan, plus:
- Smart sending
- Birthday/anniversary series
- Event promotion series
- Subscriber-specific date series
- Segment qualification series
- Audience segmentation Contact record updates
- Specific link engagement followups
- Landing page engagement followups
- Unlimited landing pages
- List segmentation
- Rolling non-opener segmentation
iContact price can be customized, depending on your needs. Here are some options:
- Additional Subscribers: The base costs of the plan you choose will increase with the number of contacts in your email list. The increases are tied to round numbers, starting at 1,500 contacts for the base prices referenced above. For 2,500 contacts, the rates rise to $25/month for Standard and $50/month for Pro. The costs rise incrementally with the number of subscribers, topping off at 50,000 contacts and $350/month for Standard and $700/month for Pro.
- High-Volume Plan: Though the iContact website does not detail a price, it does offer a high-volume plan with a custom quote.
- Salesforce Integration: If you run your business through salesforce, this may be a necessary add-on for you. Starting at $99/month, it is not exactly cheap, but it is billed as a “seamless, native integration,” so that is good.
- Strategic Advisors: For an additional, unnamed fee, iContact can provide advisory services for you, including a dedicated strategic advisor and email marketing strategy advice.
Cloud-Based Or Locally Installed
iContact is cloud-based, so you won’t have to download or install anything to use the software.
Hardware & Software Requirements
The recommended browsers for iContact are Firefox and Google Chrome, but Safari and Internet Explorer are also supported.
Specific Size Of Business
iContact price and features are structured to scale with your subscriber list and features. Plans are created for small businesses as well as mid-sized and enterprise clients. However, as your business and your subscriber list grow, the automatic pricing increases may become a pain point.
Ease Of Use
My overall impression of the iContact service is, first and foremost, that it is easy to understand and follow. The user dashboard is quite simple, providing a quick overview of your latest email statistics, contact lists, and social sharing sites as well as links to the iContact blog and tabs to access more comprehensive information such as reports.
The flip side to this, however, is that there is a general lack of information and tools available for more advanced email marketing functions in the Base version. Unfortunately, you can’t test out the more advanced features of the Pro without scheduling a demo, which seems unnecessarily cumbersome given the 30-day trial.
When you start an email campaign, you’ll have your choice of two designers: a WYSIWYG editor called MessageBuilder and MessageCoder, which requires HTML coding. MessageBuilder presents a selection of more than 600 templates, and I was quite impressed by the variety. While that number may seem like overkill, it means that most designers will be able to find a template that will require few, if any, modifications to give them the layout they want.
I found the editor itself a little disappointing. iContact’s image editing is rudimentary, allowing for resizing, word-wrapping, and little else. There’s no way to simply copy page elements such as a text block, image block, or spacer, and there’s no easy way to create buttons. There are some nice options for wrapping text around images. While the editor is easy to use, it’s limited and sometimes buggy.
Entering contacts into iContact is simple. There are three basic ways to do it: fill out a long form with information about each contact, upload a CSV or XLS file, or copy and paste email addresses into a text block. You will, of course, need to certify that all your email contacts have given you permission to email them.
As you set up your list, you’ll see an option to set up an autoresponder welcome email to new subscribers joining the list. iContact also gives you an option for double opt-in: an automatic message confirming each new subscriber’s subscription to your newsletter. Taking this step legitimizes your list and lowers the chances of spam complaints or account suspensions because of spam.
Sending a message is quite straightforward. iContact provides you with the opportunity to run your message through a spam check to scan for potential red flags that could trigger spam filters. Once you’re satisfied with it, you can select the list you wish to use. You can also immediately post the email to linked social media networks via a series of checkboxes. You’ll need to confirm that the email addresses on the list were permission-based (see “Anti-Spam Policy & Protection” below); at that point, you can either send your message immediately or schedule it for a future date and time.
iContact offers a fairly basic core feature set, with a few nice perks where social media is concerned. Key features include:
- Message Builder: iContact features a handy toolbar and drag-and-drop editing blocks, which integrate smoothly with the 600+ email templates included with each subscription. Templates are organized into a variety of categories, such as travel, children, non-profit, technology, and so on. The program also offers basic templates without any theme that provide a simple layout for users to follow.
- Message Coder: This feature lets those comfortable using HTML personalize their email messages through the use of its design views, message previews, and tables.
- Email Delivery: iContact employs several measures to make sure that its users’ emails reach inboxes, including a dedicated email delivery team that monitors the company’s servers to optimize send rates. There is also a built-in spam checker, and every iContact user can access a personally tailored deliverability report card.
- Reporting & Analytics: Users receive a variety of basic reporting metrics from each email they send. Though only Pro Account members have access to the Google Analytics integration, users on the Base Plan still see a breakdown of opens, clicks, forwards, spam reports, and unsubscribes. All users can segment their lists, track email effectiveness by subscribers, or utilize social media metrics from Facebook and Twitter.
- Segmentation: In what is rapidly becoming standard in the email marketing world, iContact offers email segmentation. Basically, you create different versions of your messages, tailored to different demographic groups in your audience. Through a process I can only describe as black magic, iContact’s software works out exactly which version each subscriber will most appreciate. Pretty handy if used effectively.
- Signup Forms: Users can customize iContact signup form templates and have the option of adding these forms to their websites or Facebook pages.
- Autoresponders: The autoresponder service comes with every iContact subscription; this means users can set up their email marketing programs to send automatic messages to users based on those users’ actions. Such messages might include welcome messages, coupons, and the like.
- Workflow Automation: These tools help users time and target their email campaigns to individual contacts.
- In-depth Reporting: This feature adds some much-needed reporting features to iContact, including social media monitoring and engagement tracking.
Customer Service & Support
iContact price plans determine customer support options. Users on the Free plan are limited to email support and self-help resources, while users on the Standard and Pro plans can add live chat or email. My own experiences with the company were great; my email inquiry received a telephone response within the hour, and when I called the company concerning a different issue, I was immediately connected with a representative. In both cases, I found the staff friendly and willing to help.
iContact also makes an effort to remain transparent with published satisfaction reports and statistics. The company presents potential users with a lot of data about email marketing in general, and there are several resources available even before you sign up for the service, including a glossary of terms and a step-by-step guide for using the iContact application. I would like to see a bit more detail regarding actual program requirements here; browser compatibility is listed in the resources section but, again, you have to search for it.
The company’s support resources are as follows. Note that not all options will be available on all plans.
- Live Support: Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 7 PM EST.
- Email: This form of support is available to all users, even those on the free plan.
- Support Form: If you’ve tried self-help options and can’t or don’t want to call, submit a technical support form through the website.
- Live Chat: It’s available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 7 PM EST
- In-Software Help: The in-program help area includes an interactive, searchable guide that covers all the basics of running iContact. I particularly liked the fact that this guide appears as a pop-up; you can continue to run the iContact program while you read it.
- Guides: iContact offers guides for new users and several guides on topics ranging from metrics to social media marketing. Each presents a series of topics with tips, takeaways, and actionable items, and includes additional, downloadable materials in the form of printable PDFs and links to other sources within the iContact resource section.
- Videos: There are dozens of video tutorials that provide visual guidance in navigating the software.
- Webinars: Choose from live and recorded webinars that cover the program’s operation as well as general email marketing topics. Some webinars run weekly, and others have pre-recorded versions available for viewing anytime.
- Extra Resources: They’re hard to categorize but worth looking into. Under the Resources tab on the iContact website, you can find a range of interesting items. From an email design lookbook to an email content idea calendar, from a downloadable subject line guide with 501 real-life examples to a holiday-themed subject line PDF, you’ll find some cool resources you maybe didn’t know you needed.
- Blog: iContact’s blog presents content-based tips for email marketing as well as information about software updates and new features.
- Social Media: You’ll find helpful posts from iContact on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Overall, iContact is well regarded by those who use it. Here’s a snapshot of iContact reviews:
- G2: 4/5 stars with 1,146 customer reviews
- TrustRadius: 7.9/10 stars with 90 reviews and ratings
- Capterra: 4.5/5 stars with 532 reviews
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Criticisms of iContact include:
- Cost: Some users who like the service overall also site the pricing as a con. That’s likely because features that some other platforms have from the get-go are behind a higher paywall, or require additional services. The way that the cost jumps with subscribers also is a noted issue.
- Formatting: A few people cited issues with reformatting templates, limited options, and some quirks with “clunky” editing or trouble redesigning an email.
- Email list: While we found praise for ease of use, we also found some complaints from users who found it hard to adjust or add contacts where they needed them.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
iContact is BBB-accredited and earns an A+ rating there, with just two complaints in the past three years. The company offers a testimonials page with praise from customers, and as we said, you’ll also find some very satisfied users on online review sites. The positive highlights we found in iContact reviews include:
- Great support: Support gets a lot of praise. Representatives are, for the most part, deemed helpful and easy to work with, and the response times are considered quite reasonable.
- Award-winning native Salesforce integration: While some programs have issues playing well with Salesforce, this is not the case with iContact.
- Super-simple navigation: iContact’s emphasis on small to medium-sized businesses with little to no email marketing experience shines through in every aspect of their program, from the dashboard’s simple set-up to the variety of templates and step-by-step process of sending emails. Users who really nervous about the nuts and bolts of email marketing, especially those with little experience working online or on computers in general, will really appreciate how simple iContact makes the entire experience.
- Price: Several users say they find iContact to be a low-cost solution, though some feel that the low price is balanced by the lack of features.
iContact Integrations & Add-ons
You can connect more than 100 apps and external software to your iContact account. The list of integrations is searchable by name, or you can browse categories such as CMS, CRM, eCommerce, events, lead generation, social, and forms/surveys. Zapier is one of the options, and you can use that to connect your iContact account to 1,000+ external apps. If you need something else to meet your needs, you can use iContact’s API to create applications for custom requirements. Build an app or plugin, and iContact will help you share it with other users.
Under each category, iContact offers a satisfying number of integrations for download. Under CRM, for example, you’ll find six options: Pipedrive, HubSpot, Salesforce, Nimble, Copper, and Zoho. Look under eCommerce, and you’ll find some of the best eCommerce platforms, like BigCommerce, Shopify, and more as well as payment options PayPal and Stripe. It’s probably safe to say you’ll find the integrations you’re looking for with iContact.
iContact databases are hosted among several servers and have multiple backup and redundancy checks to protect your contact lists. Additionally, iContact uses SSL protocol with all forms on their site, to ensure that users’ data is kept safe.
Like all legit email marketing services, iContact has a strict Anti-Spam Policy. All iContact customers, even those just registering for a free trial, must agree to the company’s End User Service Agreement (EUSA) which includes the Anti-Spam Policy. Users must certify that all emails entered into iContact are opt-in or permission-based, and they must agree to accept the company’s definition of spam. iContact automatically authenticates email using both SPF and DKIM.
iContact monitors large list imports and uses an MD5 hash record to screen the content of emails for common spam wording and trends. It also maintains archives of all unique messages sent through the iContact server and requires customers to acknowledge the following before sending each email: “I certify with my initials that all recipients granted their permission to be sent this message.” Company personnel reviews any message sent to more than 5,000 recipients (or 500 recipients in your first two months with iContact).
Final Verdict Of iContact Email Marketing
After a thorough iContact review, we think this email marketing software provides a well-thought-out platform with an easy-to-use design, thorough help center, and excellent customer service. These features are great for first-time email marketers, especially those who need to send a lot of emails per subscriber. At the same time, we believe that larger companies that rely on serious email marketing will start to incur substantial additional fees that make the iContact price less than ideal, especially for smaller campaigns. In that case, you may benefit from looking into one of the other top-rated email marketing software options.
Overall, iContact is a good program, but its ROI may not meet every company’s needs. If you land within the fiscal sweet spot for the plans — or even better, if you are running a non-profit and can take advantage of the generous discount — you’ll find an easy-to-use, well-designed program that’s ready to go.
On the other hand, if you want to explore more and try before you buy, check out some email marketing options that offer a generous free starter plan in our post The Best Free Email Marketing Software Programs. Once you’ve settled on the right program for your company, be sure that you’re getting the most out of your email marketing efforts by taking time to brush up on the best email marketing strategies. Done right, email marketing can have an astonishingly high ROI, so it’s worth your while to make sure you’re doing it right!
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.