As small business owners, we work very hard to maintain and grow our customer base to hopefully increase our profit and increase the return on investment of not only our money, but our time as well.
As outlined throughout this site, email marketing programs can help in this area by converting passive store or website “visitors” into active “purchasers” when they are ready and then on to “repeat customers”. Aweber is an email marketing program that may be able to help you do just that.
What is Aweber?
Aweber Communications (Wikipedia) has been a player in the email marketing game since 1998 and claims to have over 115,000 customers with average deliverability and volume of email deliveries that far exceed their competition. They make the further claim that getting your email delivered to your subscribers as their top priority.
Much more than a simple Autoresponder, Aweber is a complete Email Marketing Program. What I mean by this is that it will not only simply automatically send a reply to your customer or potential customer, but help you in every step of the email marketing function.
What Does Aweber Do?
Try AWeber free for 30 days! – AWeber Communications
It is difficult to list all of Aweber’s email marketing functions is this review, but I can certainly give you a good start.
If you are completely new to email marketing, Aweber provides resources to learn about it by providing tips, sharing success stories, through free live webinars and video tutorials, and through their ‘knowledge base’ , which is like an archive of frequently asked questions. There is also a lot of related content available in their Blog.
To help you capture the information of your website visitors, you need to start with a good sign up (or opt in) form. Aweber provides templates for professional looking sign up forms as well as information on how to incorporate them into your website.
Once you have people voluntarily providing you with their contact information (subscribers), Aweber can help you collect and manage your subscribers. This is beneficial because it allows you to segment or categorize your subscribers based on certain criteria. For example, if you know that one of your subscribers just purchased a particular item of yours, you can make them aware of a related product that they may be interested in or make them aware of an upcoming sale on that item. Aweber helps you with this.
To keep in regular contact with your subscribers, Aweber provides newsletter and email templates to stream line that process. No need to be tech-savvy, just follow the instructions and enter the text that you want to tailor those emails for you and your company message.
Once you have written a few standard emails, Aweber can help you start an email follow up campaign. For example, a simple sequence of emails might be something like a ‘thank you for subscribing’ email, followed by a ‘here is a little bit about our company/industry’ email, followed by ‘some tips on how to best benefit from something related to your products’ email. Once you have a few of these emails saved, Aweber can help you set up a sequence for those emails that automatically goes out to your subscribers when they sign up. Email #1 might go out immediately after signing up, email #2 four days after that and then email #3, another 5 days after that. You set which emails will be sent and when and Aweber takes care of the rest.
Often overlooked is proper tracking. In email marketing you need to be able to track what is working and what is not working as this allows you to target certain areas of your emails or campaigns so that you can improve your conversions. Aweber’s Email Analytics provides you with data on how many emails are getting opened, which ones, which of your links are being clicked, which ones aren’t etc. This information is critical, as it allows you to make small changes that can have huge results.
If you hit a snag, Aweber support is there for you. Speak to a live person by phone or text chat, contact them by email, or browse their extensive video tutorials or quickly find answers through their ‘knowledge base” (like an archive of Frequently Asked Questions).
Best Email Deliverability. Really?
From my research and personal experience, I know that spam blockers sometimes mistakenly lump some legitimate emails in with some spammy ones. They are getting better and better at catching junk- which is a good thing.
I agree with Aweber’s comment on their site that, “there’s no point in sending a message that isn’t delivered.” They go further and make the claim about having the “best email deliverability”. Of course they are going to say they are the best and their service can’t be beat. They all say that.
However, I like that Aweber takes it a step further on their website and explains the methodology used to determine what is a good delivery rate and invite you to check out test results for yourself and suggests asking other companies to share their same data. Pretty bold.
They claim to accomplish this by automatically anaylzing your emails before sending, and scoring them based on their content, so you can make changes before the filters mistakenly block your messages. After running your own test on their deliverability, you can verify for yourself that this function alone is hugely beneficial.
Is Aweber the Best Email Autoresponder out there?
That’s like asking a broad question like ‘what is the best car out there?’ My answer, it depends on the specific requirements of the individual or company. The features I think are important may not be ones that you find are necessary for your business. The purpose of this review is lay out the facts and sprinkle in my personal experience and then leave it up to you to decide.
When I was looking for an autoresponder a few years ago for my business I ultimately just went with the one that most people seemed to use.
A little tip: A good way to improve your email marketing is to study how other successful small businesses or marketers are doing their email marketing.
So, I subscribed to a lot of ‘lists’. I found that a vast majority of the time the Autoresponder the ‘professsional marketers’ used was Aweber.
I’m not saying that is the best way to do it, after all, just because a lot of people do something, doesn’t make it the best for you. I’m just saying that that is what I did. For the record, I don’t regret my decision and I’m still a subscriber to this day.
The point I’m trying to make, is it has to work for YOU.
If I was new to email marketing and was going to start the process all over again of choosing an Email Autoresponder, to find out which one works for me, this is what I would do:
- Get a good understanding of the benefits of email marketing before you sign up for anything that costs money (we will be putting together a free video series shortly titled: “Email Marketing 101”, so check back with this site regularly). Know what it is that you are trying to accomplish. This way you can get the most out of any free trial offer that you decide to take.
- Go to the official company website of the Autoresponder you are interested in and look into their free resources to make yourself comfortable with working with their interface. You need to be comfortable that if you were to purchase a subscription in the future, that you will be able to easily use the product and get it to do what you want it to. If I could make a suggestion, to get a good understanding of working with Aweber, sign up for the Free Live Email Marketing Webinars. To check out the topics covered in the webinars, click here.
- Sign up for a free trial To sign up for the free 30 day trial, click here.
- If you are happy with the service and it accomplishes what you want, there you go, stay with it. If it doesn’t work for you and your company, cancel your subscription. You haven’t lost anything except a bit of time, but gained valuable knowledge.
What do Real People Say about Aweber?
“I have been an AWeber customer for over 9 years and it’s the only autoresponder I use and recommend to my clients. Their system is easy to set up, powerful enough to manage my large opt-in lists, and mail sent through them has the highest delivery rate of any competitor we have tested. Follow-up is the key to long term revenue and without AWeber, we’d lose a LOT of money!”
Cyberwave Media, Inc. (testimony from company website)
AWeber works for me as “my little salesman,” consistently and accurately following up with my leads and prospects. I cannot tell you enough how much I know autoresponders work, as I get calls weekly from people saying, “Hey Jeff, I have been getting your emails for a few weeks, and I am ready to make a purchase!” Using AWeber’s great tools, opt-in forms, and getting incredible email delivery rates that no other service can provide, I can honestly say your system has added significant revenue to my income, that I would have WORKED HARD to generate myself with phone calls and personal emails, typed by hand. My little “salesman” is a trooper, it never gets tired, sick, hungry, or breaks, and I am grateful for technology that makes it easier to work less and make more money.
Goldmills Marketing, LLC (testimony from company website)
“I think that your service is the best service ever and you are very kind to offer so much help to your customers. Your online videos are excellent and even someone who doesn’t know much about all the techno fiddly bits can work it out with your explaining. So I think that you are just excellent as you are, you don’t need to change anything.”
Gold Tiger Publications, Australia (testimony from company website)
Click the video below to hear what other small business users had to say about Aweber.
What Else Should You Know About Aweber?
If you are planning on purchasing Aweber to help you with your email marketing, here are a few things I think you should know.
I will talk it about it bit more below, but thought it important to mention that if you are interested in trying out the 30 day trial offer that Aweber has, they will take your credit card information before hand. As a marketer myself, I can appreciate why they do this, which is to put the onus on you to cancel your membership should you not wish to proceed. There is nothing wrong with this, just thought I would bring it to your attention as a reminder, that if for any reason you are not satisfied with the product, you must cancel your subscription within 30 days of signing up or you will be charged $19.00 for the next month.
In my research for this article, I came across a complaint by one individual who felt that the subscriber pricing was misleading. As you will see below, pricing increases as your subscribers increase. His claim was that, because he had a few different lists with the same common subscribers signing up in more than one list, that he was unfairly being bumped up to the next price category even though the individual subscriber was really just one subscriber being counted multiple times. For example, John Smith signed up to receive a newsletter from him and then also signed up to receive a free ebook on tips he was offering. I personally don’t think that this is misleading, but I’ll leave that with you to decide. Just know that if you have people signing up for more than one list, each list they subscribe to will be counted as a separate subscriber. Your goal for your lists should be unique visitors.
Aweber is strictly an email marketing program and while it does have the ability to integrate with third party applications, if your site is particularly ‘Ecommerce’ heavy, meaning your principal business is selling products straight from your website without a third party like Amazon, Etsy etc., then you may be more interested in an Ecommerce provider that has email autoresponder functionality like 1ShoppingCart.
Something I didn’t realize when I did my first ‘sign up form’ with Aweber was that Aweber has a WordPress Web Form Plugin to help make incorporating your opt in form onto your website easier. It says so clearly on the website, but I missed it. I do use WordPress and I’m not too web savvy, so thought I would mention it. It just makes your life a little easier.
What is the Price of Aweber’s Email Marketing Program?
Aweber pricing varies depending on the number of subscribers you have. This allows you to start off at a lower based price of $19.00 per month for a subscriber base of under 500, and goes up from there as your number of subscribers increases. The table below lists those categories with the base price for up to 500 subscribers being $19.00 per month and then lists how much above $19.00 it goes depending on the number of subscribers:
Additional Savings for Prepaying:
For example, if you sign up at the base price and pay quarterly, your quarterly price is $49.00 (a savings of $8.00 or about 16%) and if you pay yearly, the price is $194.00 (a savings of $34 or about 18%).
Free Aweber Trial for 30 days
I’m a big fan of ‘try it before you buy it‘. Like I said before, I can’t tell you if it is right for your business – only you can. Aweber gives you the opportunity to try it risk free for 30 days free.
Your Free Trial does not:
Lock you into a contract
Charge you a set up fee
Limit your access to any of the features
You can change your plan at any time and if your are not satisfied with the program for any reason, just contact Aweber at any time within that 30 day trial period for a full hassle-free refund.
If you decide to stay with Aweber after your 30 day trial period, you are still not tied to a contract. You can cancel or change plans at any time.
Based on my research and personal experience (and “yes”, I have actually used Aweber since February 2012, not just say I do), while I think you have to determine if it is right for you, Aweber offers so many all encompassing email marketing functions at such a low price point (with no set up fees) and such strong support that I feel confident in saying that there is an extremely high probability it will accomplish every thing you will need it to – like it has for tens of thousands of other small businesses.
Other than some of your time, there is very little to lose by taking them up on at least their trial offer as this gives you a no hassle money-back guarantee. For these reasons and more, I give Aweber my full recommendation.