So you know you need a email list.
Where do you start?
With a good long-term email autoresponder.
What do I mean by “long-term”?
Autoresponder, my list builder, is probably the most important component, the glue that keeps my business together.
It'd better be gorilla glue.
Aweber Autoresponder – Why I Use It
5 Reasons I Chose Aweber
- My company used it and I was told to use it.
- Many “gurus” and “experts” I was receiving emails from used Aweber.
- It got great reviews on forums and blogs.
- It was affordable.
- From all my research, it seemed to be the de facto standard email autoresponder, which only happens when the customers are truly happy with the product.
5 Reasons I Stayed with Aweber
1. Easy to Set Up
I knew nothing about list building when I first started.
The task of creating and somehow maintaining a list was daunting enough, and now I needed to learn about autoresponders?
However, that was the first reason I liked Aweber – it was quite easy to figure it out.
I got step by step instructions on how to set up a list and schedule emails – took me about an hour all in all, from what I remember.
Aweber let me set up unlimited lists – at no additional charge (not always the case with other autoresponders).
Since I didn't know what I was doing initially, I ended up needing this feature as I was tweaking everything and finding better ways to organize my “clientele”.
Oh, yes, they don't limit you on the number emails you can send out either – huge plus for an introverted talker like me (yes, I am an introvert by nature – go figure how I ever got into blogging and even became good at it.)
This is a huge one!
Don't you hate it when your emails end up in spam? Goes without saying…
This autoresponder boast something like 98% deliverability rate.
Now that I've used their services for a couple of years, I can attest to that.
Aweber has a few ways to ensure that your email ends up where it should – in your subscribers' inbox:
- They authenticate all email campaigns using SPF and DomainKeys – I have no idea what it means, but it works.
- They put your emails through content filters similar to the ones email providers use to determine the likelihood of that particular email to be caught in spam. So you have a chance to edit your email BEFORE it gets out.
- TIP: did you know that sending an email in text format vs HTML format reduces your chances to be caught in spam DRAMATICALLY. With Aweber, you have a choice to write your email both ways – I strongly suggest you use it. After all, what is copy and paste for? 🙂
To many “techies” this is a boring day to day stuff –
- being able to track your email,
- do split testing to see which headline works best or what time of day you need to send out an email to get the best open rate,
- see how many subscribers opened your emails or even clicked on the links,
- AND being able to resend the same email to only those subscribers who haven't opened it to begin with.
Everyone deserves a second chance, right?
Aweber makes it so incredibly easy to:
- design your forms (with a ton of cool templates and customizations)
- have a form for every occasion (I've used Valentine's day popup opt-in form once – it was a huge success! Forgot to do it this year…)
- embed it into your blog/website anywhere you wish to, including giving you an option of a popup form (who needs PopUp Domination!)
- by embed, I mean add a simple string of code to your sidebar, for instance, and it's so easy that if you want to change the form, you do it in your Aweber dashboard and it automatically updates everywhere you added it to.
Aweber Features I Should Be Using
Of course there's more. A lot more.
And yes, I do use some of these features and should be using the rest – maybe writing about them will find prompt me to sit down and make my great autoresponder even better.
However, at this point let me take a moment to tell you to just GO GET IT! I could be reviewing this forever, but the bottom line is this: you need one, this is the best one – get it now.
For those of you who would like to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt, here are more cool Aweber features:
- huge library of email templates (which I choose not to use; I like to keep things simple)
- Facebook and Twitter integration – you can choose to publish the link to your email broadcast to any of your chosen networks.
- advanced scheduling – naturally
- split testing – very important, very simple to do
- automatically email your blog posts to your subscribers the minute a new one is published (since I promise my email subscribers only live broadcast, I don't use this feature, but I noticed many A-list bloggers do).
- great customer support – the reason they have such loyal customer base
- LOVE their blog – incredible info on how to improve your email marketing in all respects
- intergrateable with all kinds of shopping carts and check-outs
|0 – 500||$19|
|501 – 2,500||$29|
|2,501 – 5,000||$49|
|5,001 – 10,000||$69|
|10,001 – 25,000||$149|
Aweber Wish List
There are not too many things I wish Aweber had that they don't.
Coming to think of it, there's only one: social media button sharing right in the email.
You know, you sent out an email, it's opened and possibly even read, but your subscribers don't have / don't take time to click on the link and check out whatever important stuff you want them to see.
However, had they had a little button that says “tweet me” right there in the email, they might actually do it – takes all but a couple of seconds on their part.
So, no social media buttons.
I did come up with a solution of my own though: http://clicktotweet.com/
It's rather simple, really – you write a tweet the way you'd like to, include your shortened link and your @Mention and click “Generate Link!”
And voila – you now have a link you can add to your Aweber email and all your subscribers have to do is click on it to retweet.
Let me show you how simple it is: just click on this link to see it at work (and don't forget to actually RT this article, please 🙂 )
Update: I now have a great way to add social media sharing buttons – it's all explained in my post about creating a customized email newsletter template.
Other Email Autoresponders
Of course, this is America, the country of a thousand and one choices, and it's no different when it comes down to autoresponders.
Since I am in love with Aweber “till death do us part”, I'll tell you what I know about others.
- MailChimp – don't see it used a lot, but I do know that you can get it free for the first 2000 subscribers. Sounds great, but do you really want only 2000 subscribers? (I know it sounds like a great number if you haven't started your list yet, but come on… let's shoot for the stars!). After that, it gets much more expensive than Aweber. Plus, have you seen emails from MailChimp? I wouldn't choose this autoresponder for that reason alone.
Note from Ana: In the spirit of being aware of the downsides of any product, one of my commentators below, George Fourie from ThatMLMBeat.com, wrote the following comment about MailChimp:
For those that have checked out Mailchimp and you’re either an affiliate or network marketer, stay away!
They closed my account stating that they do not support network and affiliate marketers.
It’s been painful to get my list back.
I imported them all into Aweber, but they had to re confirm their subscription (Only downside) and lost about 70% of my list.
The remainder I imported into Icontact and being used to Aweber, I am ready to sacrifice those that I lost and close my account with Icontact.
Aweber simply rocks.
- IContact – this is the only one I tried besides Aweber (as an experiment, really) and although I don't remember EXACTLY why, I decided to stick with Aweber, I think it was because I found it harder to set up and nothing that set it apart from others.
- GetResponse – again, don't see this one used a lot, but I do know who uses it. Lisa from TheFriendlyBlogger.com. So go asked her how she likes it if you really want to know.
- Marketer's Choice (aka 1ShoppingCart.com) – this one is actually a great choice. However, it's not a simple email autoresponder; it comes with a bunch of bells and whistles you probably don't need just yet. Things like shopping cart, merchant account, affiliate platform, etc. For now, I suggest we stick with simple list building through an email autoresponder, shall we?
I am sure there are more, but I don't know about them since they are not widely used by most bloggers I know and read.