3 Reasons to Choose iContact over Constant Contact

First off, let me tell you that I am receiving no compensation from iContact nor do I have a customer service horror story about Constant Contact.  What follows is simply my opinion.

Why I think that non-profits should use iContact instead of Constant Contact for their mass e-mail communications.

1.  iContact is cheaper.

Here is a pretty graphic from their website illustrating this fact:


2.  iContact gives you added features without extra cost.

With iContact, you get lots of other great features without spending extra money.  The two biggies for me are the fact that you can do surveys and have a public newsletter archive.  These are two very powerful tools for non-profits.  We all know how useful a survey can be but have you ever thought about what you could do if you could post a URL to your last e-newsletter?  This is what the public archive allows you to do.  Not only can you send messages to the people on your list, but you can share that same message with your Facebook fans, Twitter follwers, blog readers, etc.

3.  Better control of custom HTML.

Let’s say you have paid a designer to create a custom HTML e-mail template for you.  That is super for the first month when they are sending it out for you.  But what do you do in the upcoming months when you don’t have super HTML skills?  iContact provides three tabs that let you easily access the HTML as well as make edits in a preview fashion that doesn’t require any HTML knowledge.



Are you wondering if they have a non-profit rate?  Yes, they do.  And they have all of the list segmentation tools and stats that you are used to.  If you are using Constant Contact consider saving a lot of money per year and switch to iContact.

More Arts .Orgs on Twitter!

An updated list of arts organizations on Twitter: 


ldn_snf / London Sinfonietta

Balletmiami / Cuban Ballet Miami

WNYBallet / Western NY Ballet

BoulderBallet / Boulder Ballet

joffreyballet / The Joffrey Ballet

PghBallet / Pittsburgh Ballet

ALSymphony / Alabama Symphony

SanDiegoSymph / San Diego Symphony

HouSymphony / Houston Symphony

fairfaxsymphony / Fairfax Symphony

NYYouthSymphony / NY Youth Symphony

FryeArtMuseum / Frye Art Museum

longbeachopera / Long Beach Opera

KravisCenter / Kravis Center

BocaRatonMusem / BocaRatonMuseum

aspenmusic / Aspen Music Festival

SymphonyNS / Symphony Nova Scotia

CityBalletSD / City Ballet SD

CincyPlay / Cincinnati Playhouse

cincinnatichoir / Cincinnati Choir

nationalballet / national.ballet.ca

DallasSymphony / Dallas Symphony

amaopera / Amarillo Opera

peninsulasymph / Peninsula Symphony

DetroitSymphony / Detroit Symphony

ncsymphony / NC Symphony

PortsSymphOrch / Portsmouth Symphony

CO_Symphony / Colorado Symphony

seattlesymphony / Seattle Symphony

CarolinaBallet / Carolina Ballet

NVBallet / NV Ballet Theatre

BalletDM / Ballet Des Moines

scottishballet / Scottish Ballet

ColoradoBallet / Colorado Ballet

MetOpera / Metropolitan Opera

SeattleOpera / Seattle Opera

LyricOperaSD / Lyric Opera SD

TheAtlantaOpera / The Atlanta Opera

FlaglerMuseum / Flagler Museum

CalgaryOpera / Calgary Opera

HouGrandOpera / Houston Grand Opera

philamuseum / Phila. Museum of Art

Opera_North / Opera North

MarinSymphony / Marin Symphony

spokanesymphony / Spokane Symphony

gvillesymphony / Greenville Symphony

coronasymphony / Corona Symphony

FVSymphony / Fox Valley Symphony

V_S_O / Vancouver Symphony

Indy_Symphony / Indy Symphony

TorontoSymphony / Toronto Symphony

SanFranSymphony / San Fran Symphony

C_S_O / Columbus Symphony

londonsymphony / London Symphony Orch

OrlandoBallet / Orlando Ballet

okcballet / Oklahoma City Ballet

AtlantaBallet / Atlanta Ballet

TBTheater / Texas Ballet Theater

opera_exhibit / OPERA Amsterdam

sarasotaopera / Sarasota Opera

OperasCanadian / Operas Canadian

WNOtweet / Welsh National Opera

OperaColumbus / Opera Columbus

RoyalOperaHouse / Royal Opera House

cincinnatiopera / Cincinnati Opera

VancouverOpera / Vancouver Opera

NashvilleBallet / Nashville Ballet

sfballet / San Francisco Ballet

HoustonBallet / Houston Ballet

BirminghamOpera / Birmingham Opera Co

SacramentoOpera / Sacramento Opera

MNOPERA / The Minnesota Opera

AustinOpera / Austin Lyric Opera

kcopera / Lyric Opera of KC

NashvilleOpera / Nashville Opera

LondonLyric / London Lyric Opera

CanadianOpera / CanadianOperaCompany

ChicagoOpera / ChicagoOperaTheater


BaltSymphony / Baltimore Symphony

chicagosymphony / Chicago Symphony


LACOtweets / LA Chamber Orchestra

operatheater / Center City Opera

vaopera / Virginia Opera

operaboston / Opera Boston

ARSymphony / Arkansas Symphony

nashvillesymph / Nashville Symphony

atlantasymphony / Atlanta Symphony

nwsymphony / New World Symphony

MuseumModernArt / Museum of Modern Art

Non-Profit Marketing with the AMA

I just returned from a killer American Marketing Association event in Delray Beach.  To be honest, the event was my incarnation – but it really came out well.


Rather than having the normal panel discussion with a series of experts, the goal was to establish a dialogue and have one-on-one communication with those experts.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

The result was a fantastic interactive event where all the attendees were engaged and hopefully gained useful knowledge.

Melissa Carter - Director of Marketing at Old School Square -... on TwitPic

Looking for a speaker on non-profit marketing?  Contact me today at info [at] cecicreative [dot] com

Marketing inspiration…

Check out Kivi Leroux-Miller’s site:  http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com

TONS of valuable information for non-profit marketers and group sales folk.  

Check out the cool webinars!


Follow me on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/artsgroupsales

I find myself on Twitter more and more.  It is a great way for me to share bits of information about marketing, group sales, plus other random thoughts.


Have you ever participated in a FAM tour?  You’re CVB probably does them at least a few times per year.  Normally a large travel or tourism organization (like a CVB) will bring in tour operators, travel agents, or other group leader-type people to your city for a week or weekend of fun and frolicking.  How great would it be for you to provide the entertainment!?  Seek out FAM tours and try to get on all that you can.  Actually getting potential group leaders into your theater is the best prospecting measure that you can do.

Does your CVB not really do a lot of FAMs?  You can have your own FAM either just by inviting your own group prospects to a performance or by joining forces with your other group sales contacts.  These mini FAMs can be just as useful and draw on the local crowd.

Do you want more information about planning your own FAM?  Contact me today!

the Forum is open!

Ever wished you could ask other Group Sales Managers a question?  Wanted to share information?  Maybe get feedback?  Well, now you can!

I have just started the only Arts Group Sales Forum on the web:  www.artsgroupsalesforum.com

Check it out.  Sign up.  Share.  Create a community.

Website Content

I can’t stress enough the importance of having a Group Sales presence on your .org’s website.  Even just 3 years ago, it wasn’t all that common to see an entire page of a site dedicated to Group Sales.  Now, it is a necessity. 

I still come across sites that do indeed have a page for Group Sales, but there is only one sentence that goes a little something like this:

Main Street Opera Company offers discounts to groups of 10 or more.  Please e-mail [email protected] for more information.

I know that in the end, all Group Sales Managers want to have personal contact with their group leaders, but it is imperative that more information about your program is provided so that they want to make the call.

Here are some of the necessities for your Group Sales page:

1. Phone Number
2. E-Mail Address
3. Minimum Group #
4. Ticket Discount Amount
5. Payment Options (pay over time, deposit due up front, etc.)

You also probably want to update your page frequently and include any specials or extra discounts that you are offering.  Also, if you have the option, have your website administrator put in a fillable form where a prospective group leader can fill in their name, group name, and contact information for you to get back to them about their inquiry.

Send me your stuff!!!

I am starting a project to collect group sales brochures from as many arts organizations as possible.  If you have a PDF of your brochure, please send it to me at [email protected] as soon as you are able.  I will post them in a little gallery so we all can see them and get ideas from our peers.


‘Tis the Season for Group Sales!

Now is the time to get those group sales in for the 08-09 season.  Group subscription renewals are probably winding down and single tickets are starting up.  Don’t forget to personally contact any groups who haven’t renewed or single ticket groups who haven’t called in yet.

If you have an e-marketing plan for your groups, now is the time to be sending out timely e-blasts about upcoming shows and ticket availability.

Also, if your group brochure hasn’t gone out yet, you might want to make that your first priority.  Even if your brochure normally goes out late, don’t hesitate to send out a postcard or simply a letter to your existing groups and prospects.   Without this kind of reminder, the group leaders won’t have your organization at the front of their mind.