- Top customer service
- Easy set-up
- Full features at all price points
- Poor opt-in forms
- Value for money compromised by poor opt-in forms
Building your email list should be your number one priority if you want to market and monetize your blog. An email list is the best way to build a relationship with your audience and, let’s be honest, an email is so much more personal than a tweet or Facebook post. To build and manage your email list you need an opt-in email marketing service. AWeber is one of the biggest names in the business. This AWeber review will put their product, and reputation, to the test.
Opt-in Email Marketing Service: AWeber Review
How Much Does AWeber Cost?
One of the great things about AWeber is you have access to the entire arsenal of features whatever your price-point. This keeps there pricing simple; your monthly price increases with your number of subscribers.
What Do You Get With AWeber?
With AWeber, you get a complete email management service. You can add opt-in forms to your website and start acquiring subscribers. AWeber collects your subscribers’ details and gives you full control over what emails are sent out when and to whom. You can send unlimited emails manually or set up an automated welcome series or educational resource. AWeber allows you to segment your subscribers based on their behavior and target content to groups of subscribers. For example, subscribers who subscribe with opt-in for A receive a different set of emails to subscribers who subscribe with opt-in form B. Form A and B could be on different pages of your website devoted to different topics. Being able to tailor your campaigns based on your subscribers’ interests is a guaranteed way to increase engagement with your readers and improve you conversion rate.
How Does AWeber Work?
AWeber is a web-based application with a user friendly interface. Once you’ve signed up for an account (don’t forget to take advantage of the 30-day free trial), you can set up your first list. First, you set the name and email address you want your messages to appear to come from. Then, you assign a name and description to the list. Subscribers will see the description if they ever try to unsubscribe from the list. Finally, you set up the confirmation message subscribers will receive after signup to your list. Now you are ready to start building your list.
You can insert opt-in forms on your site where your readers give you their email address in exchange for newsletters or free products such as an ebook guide. If your content is awesome enough, your readers will want more of it and will sign up just to receive your newsletter, which of course must also be awesome.
Once you have email subscribers, you can use AWeber to send an automatic series of messages, broadcast newsletters, coupons, and special offers by email, or notify your blog readers of newly published posts or breaking news.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started with AWeber. Go to the AWeber registration page to start your free trial, and then follow the slideshow below:
- To start a free trial, you first need to enter your contact details.
- You need to enter a credit card to access the free trial. Don’t worry, you won’t be billed until after thirty days and you can cancel anytime and still take advantage of any time remaining on your free trial!
- Finally, choose your plan. If you are just interested in the free trial, click the top option. If you want to save money in the long run, select a quarterly or annual plan. Click start my free trial.
- The welcome screen tells you to check your email for your password.
- Copy your password from the email.
- Then login to your brand new AWeber account!
- Watch the short video then click to get started.
- You’re ready to set up your first list. Enter your blog name and URL.
- All the emails you send out must include a physical mailing address. It can be your home address, business address or a PO Box. Enter the details here.
- Enter the from name and email address. The email address should be from your domain, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Give your list a name and a description. Subscribers will see the description if they ever try to unsubscribe. Make it good and you might just hold on to a few unsubscribers.
- A Confirmation message is optional, but it will help prevent your emails being marked as spam. AWeber does not like your emails being marked as spam. Select a subject line from the drop-down and customize the message.
- Now you’re ready to add a sign-up form to your blog. Click create your first sign up form.
- There are many templates you can choose from and you can customize some of the features. Select the kind of form you want, pop-up, in-line etc. Save your form and then go to step 2.
- Give your form a name. Select a thank you page. I recommend creating a custom page on your blog and using that to further promote your blog, but for now the basic version will do.
- Of course you will install the form yourself! Click the top option.
AWeber Review Criteria
AWeber is packed with features and includes everything you need to get started with your email marketing campaign. Here are just some of the features:
- Autoresponders: Automatically deliver a sequence of messages to new subscribers.
- Email deliverability: AWeber helps you reach your subscribers inbox and avoid the dreaded spam folder.
- Opt-in forms: Build your list quickly with the sign-up form templates. You can select in-line, pop-over, lightbox, and pop-up styles. The opt-in forms are very easy to set up but are a little uninspiring.
- Email newsletters: Easy to create for beginners with advanced options for experts.
- Mobile app: The comprehensive dashboard lets you view schedule broadcasts, subscriber stats, open and click rates, and sent messages.
- Drag and drop editor: Create and send professional email newsletters in minutes.
- HTML email templates: Over 700 templates make it easy to create great-looking emails.
- App showcase: Connect your account with other online tools, such as Facebook, to attract more subscribers.
- Manage subscribers: Collecting, managing, and segmenting your subscribers is simple with AWeber.
- Subscriber segmenting: Target subscribers based on their actions with a single click.
- Email analytics: AWeber makes it easy to track your email marketing performance.
- Blog newsletters: Automatically create emails from your newest blog posts.
For more details visit the AWeber features page.
Ease of Use
Once you’ve set up your account and added an opt-in form to your blog, the next thing to do is create your first follow up message or welcome message (a message that is sent automatically once someone has subscribed to your list). AWeber’s drag and drop email builder makes this job very easy. You can design the email yourself or use one of the hundreds of templates provided. Once you’re happy with your email, you can preview and test it using an email address of your choice.
Sending broadcast messages (one off messages sent at a time and date of your choice) is also incredibly easy using the drag and drop email builder. Once you’ve created and tested your email, you can select which segment of your subscribers should receive it, schedule your email for a future date and time, and even share it to your social media accounts.
Managing Your Subscribers
It’s very important to manage your subscriber list and AWeber has a number of tools to help. You can segment your subscribers with various pre-set search criteria, such as how long since they subscribed, allowing you to keep track of and reach out to particular groups of subscribers within a list . You can also create your own segments by adding search criteria such as subscribers who opened one of your follow-up messages.
AWeber also allows you to tag your subscribers to trigger a series of messages. This is a great way to provide more targeted content to your subscribers. For example, AWeber lets you know which page your subscriber signed up on. You can use this information to tag your subscribers based on their interests and send them more targeted emails.
It is good practice to keep your subscriber list clean by removing inactive subscribers. List maintenance will also decrease your number spam complaints. AWeber allows you to see which of your emails each subscriber has opened. If a subscriber has not opened one of your emails for six months, it’s probably time to remove them from your list. When you remove subscribers who are no longer interacting with your content, they will be less likely to mark your messages as spam. Many people boast about the size of their subscriber list, but a small, clean list of engaged subscribers is much better than a large list full of inactive subscribers. Regular pruning will also help keep your costs down by keeping you in a lower AWeber payment bracket.
When you first register for an AWeber account, you’re taken step by step through a quick setup process. First, you enter some basic details about your list: name, description, from name and from email address. You must also enter a mailing address. This is a legal requirement and will be included at the bottom of the emails you send. Next, you can customize your list with a logo, brand name, website and email signature. Finally, you can choose an optional (though highly recommended) confirmation message asking new subscribers to confirm they want to join your list. Once those three steps are complete, you are ready to create opt-in forms, build your list, and start sending emails. What I like about the AWeber setup is how linear it is. Even beginners should find the step-by-step setup process easy to follow.
Before you contact the support system, you should check if there is a resolution for your problem in the knowledge base, which at the time of writing has a staggering 751 articles over 14 different categories! There are also 260 video tutorials and even live webinars you can sign up for. In the unlikely event you can’t find an answer to your question in the knowledge base, you can contact the support team via an email form, toll-free or international phone, or live text chat. If you want to know how good AWeber’s customer service is, check out this article describing how they won the 2016 Stevie Award for Contact Center of the Year. It’s fair to say that AWeber’s support is as good as it gets.
Value for Money
My standard test for calculating the value for money of an email opt-in service is the cost per email of a weekly newsletter campaign. Assuming you have the maximum number of subscribers for each plan and are sending an average of 4.3 emails per month, the cost per email ranges from $0.0088 for the $19 plan to $0.0014 for the $149 plan. Of course, cost per email is only one of the factors contributing to value for money. And it just so happens that, even though AWeber has a higher price per email for the low subscriber plans than some of the competition (GetResponse for example), the quality of the service, and the fact it offers the full range of features at all price points, increases AWeber’s value for money.
One area that sends it tumbling again, however, is the quality of the opt-in form templates. They are terrible and really let down this quality product. The customization options are minimal. There are only a handful of fonts to choose from. The maximum width is 590 pixels so full-width banners are not an option. My advice, if you are dissatisfied with the opt-in forms, is to use a dedicated lead-generation service that knows about these things.
But really, AWeber, sort out your opt-in forms. More customization options would help, and is Google Fonts too much to ask for? This niggle aside, AWeber is an exceptional product. It’s easy to see why AWeber has the reputation as the best name in the opt-in email marketing business.