Constant Contact Enters The Online Event Registration And Marketing Arena

There are hundreds of companies small businesses can turn to for tools that facilitate their e-mail marketing campaigns, some of which operate solely on the Web.

One of the largest such providers, Constant Contact, is actually much bigger than most people think.

Launched back in 1998, the company is now publicly traded on NASDAQ and boasts a market cap of nearly half a billion dollars, and the company caters to hundreds of thousands of small businesses and organizations who use its software to spam connect with their customers and members. So if such an e-mail newsletter juggernaut launches a new service that is bound to be a competitor to a host of Internet startups, we take notice.

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Some time today, Constant Contact is launching an event marketing tool, which will enable customers to promote and manage registrations and RSVPs for their meetings, seminars, parties and other events. Users will be able to enter details for their events, communicate them with their contacts via e-mail and an optional custom homepage, and receive payments for events that require attendees to pay in advance.

The tool also lets users track campaigns in real-time and get extensive, automated reports on the e-mail marketing performance, payments, venue capacity and much more.

I gained access to a preview version of the software, and found it had quite a robust set of features. See some screenshots below to get an idea of what it’s going to look like.

Startups, take note

Considering the company’s already vast customer base, I think it’s a logical step for Constant Contact to take and one that will likely provide them with another steady revenue stream. For Internet startups who operate in this field, the announcement of the new feature isn’t exactly going to be the best of news.

Not that Constant Contact’s newest endeavor will effectively kill any of them outright, but it certainly limits the amount of small businesses they’ll be able to convince to use their tools for event marketing. After all, there’s now a large, public company with a big track record in handling large-scale campaigns offering a combination of e-mail marketing, online survey and event marketing tools all-in-one.

Pricing for Constant Contact’s Event Marketing service will be based exclusively on the number of active events – not on the number of registrants – nor are there any additional charges based on revenue collected for events. A set-up fee will not be charged either. Pricing starts at $15 per month for up to five concurrent events.

Some of the startups that will no doubt be analyzing this pricing strategy today: Meetup, Eventbrite, Evite, Cocodot, Amiando – and there’s plenty more where that came from.