Currently, we're using Constant Contact to send a bi-monthly newsletter to the customer base we've grown through a pretty successful marketing campaign. Now we're interested in starting an online community, much like this one, to help solidify and maintain customer loyalty. The community would include a blog, eNewsletter presence, message boards/forums and social media and email sign-up feature.
Can Constant Contact help with that, or are there other low-cost CRM tools available?
I wanted to jump in here and offer what I know. We do not offer a Community platform. We use Lithium to host our Community. Lithium is more on an enterprise level and that may not be cost-effective for your business. The only community based site I can think of that may be good for you off the top of my head is Ning. I would look into them for more information.
Does anyone else have a Community platform that they recommend?
I've run some very large online communities for more 13 years. My current project has over 100,000 members.
It can be a lot of work and needs to be thought through well before you begin.
There are many that are free and if you are starting a small community I would suggest that route.
Here is a site that is a comprehensive list of what's available.
Constant Contact Solution Provider
We have a popular chat forum and use Vbulletin software. I highly recommend it as it's very user-friendly and there are lotsof extensions for it.
Ning provides some user-friendly setup that is utilized by Writer's Digest, Open mic USA and several other similar organizations. Its add-ons are cool, too. It also offers facebook, Twitter and app integration.