Aweber Review: Our experience as customers
Does this sound like you?
You’re new-ish online
You’ve seen a lot of websites offering interesting sounding reports in exchange for leaving your details
You’d like to offer that same thing yourself on your new website
BUT – you don’t know how to go about it.
Well, I know how you feel.
That is exactly how we felt 12 months ago, when me and my sister were just embarking on our on-line adventure.
What we found out was that to be able to do this, you need to use an email marketing programme/service (this is the term I suggest you Google if you are doing your research).
Aweber is such an example of this type of programme, and an email programme should form the foundation of your on-line business. It’s that important. I definitely recommend making the investment in a good email system as it is your means to easily and regularly communicate with your customers about things that they are interested in.
It allows you to send out mass Newsletters, send different information to certain sections of your customers ( aka ‘segmentation’), use auto-responder follow up messages and manage subscribers – that is, communicate on a regular basis with all the people who have an interest in what you do.
Now then, before we go any further, let us just define 2 terms – it took me ages to understand what they meant.
An Opt in Form
This is a form that is found on a web page, that asks for your details, in return for subscribing to information of value (well, hopefully you’ll find it valuable!). It looks a little bit like this:
This is a programme that allows email to be sent to a list of subscribers on a scheduled basis.
Email messages can be written once and then delivered to each person who subscribes on a schedule you decide.
Oh, and whilst I know this a little bit off-topic for us, we believe that it’s such a vital element of being on-line that we wanted to give you our view on it. Okay, so let’s get going..
Photo Credit: Aweber Template
So why did we choose Aweber?
- The person we started learning about on-line marketing used Aweber and strongly recommended it!
- It seemed that everyone who sent us an email from a service we had signed up for, used Aweber. I’m sure they didn’t, but it seemed that way.
- It got great reviews on forums and blogs that we checked out.
- From all the research that we did, it appeared to be the ‘industry benchmark’ and a company doesn’t stay that way if it’s no good.
- It was affordable.
Why do we still use it?
1. Responsive Customer Support
- This is a biggie for us. We knew absolutely nothing about this type of service when we started – we didn’t even really understand some of the terms used. However, we did know that it was important to start to develop a list of interested subscribers.
- Also there is a huge amount of information on their website and lots of 90 second videos showing you how do a task.
- There are so many different ways to contact the support desk (phone, Text Chat, email) and whilst the ‘Live support’ isn’t quite 24 hours (as none of the services are), you can email them outside of that time, of course.
- We live in the UK and we’ve had many a conversation on Skype to get a quick answer. By the way, using Skype to call them in USA, is really cheap. I’m talking something like 8 pence for 40 minutes, type of cheap.
2. Lots of unlimited things at no extra charge
- Aweber permit you to set up unlimited numbers of lists, which is a good thing, at no additional cost. (which isn’t always the case with other email marketing programmes, particularly the free ones). This means that you can easily segment subscribers into their different area of interest, from the start.
- It was certainly good for us because we didn’t really know what we were doing at the start and set up quite a few lists which we then tweaked and fiddled around with.
- Also, there’s no limit to the number of emails you can send out either. I think that it would be quite limiting (not to say expensive) if you could only send out say 10 emails before you had to pay more.
3. It’s reliable
This is a really important one. What I mean here is that you can rely on it to consistently deliver your emails into your recipient’s inbox and not their spam folder.
Aweber boasts a deliver-ability rate of 98% – that is 98% of the emails sent using their service go into the receiver’s inbox.
They are hot on this and have several ways in which they ensure the deliver-ability is high. We like the following 2:
- Sending an email in both html format (those that have pictures and links) and plain text (no pictures or links) SIGNIFICANTLY reduces your chances of being labelled as spam. Aweber automatically converts your email to plain text before you send it out, if you toggle this option, which I recommend you do. This is a relatively new feature and it saves a lot of time.
- They put your emails through a process of assessing the likelihood of the email being caught in spam BEFORE you send your email out. This means you have a chance to edit it before it becomes a problem.
4. Responsive and flexible
Aweber have made it really easy for your Newsletter or Op-tin box to look really good, even if you are ‘graphically challenged’.
- Lots of Newsletter templates based around topical subjects such as Valentine’s Day and market sectors such as Bakers, Florists and so on.
- An easy to use text editor – this has been one of the great improvements over the last few months and it came about due to lots of customers asking for it.
- It’s quite easy to take the code that they give you and put it into the sidebar of your website – let us know if you’d like a bit of help with this.
- They even include one of those ‘Pop-up’ forms that appear when a visitor first comes to your site. (Personally I don’t like them, but there are many people who do like to use them).
Other services we should be using
In fact, we are using some of these services, but not all of them. Whilst I’m writing about our great email service it has reminded me of how comprehensive Aweber’s service is and we do plan to instigate more in the coming weeks – honest – you can check up on us!
But in case you need more convincing, here are more features:
- Tracking & Reporting: You are able to track who has opened your emails, who has clicked the links in the emails, what date a person subscribed, unsubscribed…actually there are about 20 different reports that you can view and they are extremely detailed and specific. No woolly stuff here!
- You can schedule your messages in advance – this is a must have!
- Facebook and Twitter integration – you can choose to publish the link to your email broadcast to any of your chosen networks. You can also add Tweet Me and Follow Me buttons in your email body. Oh, and it integrates with Paypal too!
- Automatically email your blog posts to your subscribers the minute a new one is published. We don’t use this feature, yet, but we know lots of people do.
- You can offer the option to subscribe to your Newsletter to people who comment on your Blog by using the Aweber API. We haven’t used this yet, but it’s on the cards.
- Split testing your emails – which header did more people open, did more people click on the images in the message than text and so on. Again, we haven’t done much of this, but it is easy to set up and it is important to do. What does everyone say – ‘Test and measure’!
- Aweber Blog – there are some really great tips on their Blog and it’s a very easy read too.
- Aweber now host the images that you use in your emails, and this is a very welcome addition.
Aweber Prices Per Month
- First month $1
- Up to 500 subscribers $19
- 501 – 2,500 £29
- 2,501 – 5,000 $49
- 5,001 – 10,000 $69
- 10,001 – 25,000 $149
What are some other things I’d like Aweber to include?
- I think Google has a lot to answer for. Why do I say this? Well, the search function in the Knowledge base within Aweber is not great. Mind you, take a look at Facebook’s search functions. Okay, so we won’t go there.
- Google’s search is now so intuitive that most of the others appear to perform poorly. Of course, there is a way around this. I generally search for things on Aweber using Google search, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!
- I’m not a great user of my mobile phone – I don’t own a smartphone either, so whilst I can’t personally comment on how Aweber performs on anything other than a computer, I did find a blog that gave it less than complimentary comments when using with a mobile device.
- We would like to see a horizontal op-tin form that we could place in our web header. However, I’m sure this will be available in due course.
What about other Email marketing services?
Well, as I said at the start, we have only used Aweber, but we did do a bit of research and can only comment on other services as hearsay, to be honest. But here goes..
We did have a look at this and of course it’s nice that it’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers. However, we didn’t want to limit ourselves to that number as were thinking BIG!
The cost of the service after the 2,000 threshold is a fair bit more expensive than other providers.
The other thing that could be important to you is if you are planning to include affiliate links in your emails, you may be operating outside of their Terms of Service and could have your account shut down as a consequence, so it’s best to check. Aweber permits affiliate links in their emails.
This is possibly Aweber’s main competitor. I don’t personally know anything about the service, but I do have a couple friends who have tried it. Let’s just say that they were less than enthusiastic about their experience. Get in touch with us if you’d like more information on this.
We did take a look at this service a the same time as Aweber, but to be honest I can’t remember much about what we found. I don’t know anyone who uses it, so it’s pretty difficult to make any sort of objective comment here – sorry.
I know that many on-line marketers use this and it seems to be good. However we felt that it was offering much more than we initially needed and therefore was a bit of a waste of money having an affiliate platform, shopping cart etc if we weren’t going to use them for some time, if at all. Your situation might of course, be different.
There are lots more I’m sure, but I hope to have give you our insights into what we have found in using Aweber, and as we are growing we are using more and more of the more advanced services that Aweber offer. However, like with everything, do your due diligence and if you’d like to ask me or Davina anything about our experience using Aweber,, then leave us a comment below.
** Just so you know – this is our Affiliate link which means that if you click on this and purchase Aweber’s service, then we will get a little reward from Aweber. So thank you if you do – it’s much appreciated.