First Impressions

Before starting my blog, I played around with sending mass emails through self-hosted email marketing software. The experience of using this software was very different from the double opt-in, inbound marketing I’m running right now. Although the goal is the same: increasing sales; my mindset has changed.

At first, I read in digital marketing forums the following phrase often: “The money is on the list.” I also acquainted myself with some email service providers (ESPs) and some of the problems marketers were having with their daily business.

It wasn’t until I paid for a product that I understood the power of inbound email marketing. This course taught me how an email service such as Aweber could be part of a funnel and key to an online business and blog.

My experiences with the product

After careful research, I decided to use Aweber for this online business, Eagle Blogging. Why did I do this? First, it had all the features I was looking for:

  • List creation
  • Sign up forms
  • Option to send HTML or Text-based emails
  • Email automation
  • Tagging subscribers
  • Dynamic content
  • Simple message analytics

That’s it. That’s all I need. If you check Aweber’s pricing page you can read many, many other features. For setting up my blogging business, the list is all I need. Maybe in the future, or for other ventures, I’ll need other specs. In the meantime, I’m more than happy to have a working, and extensible, funnel at a great price.

When I began researching, few competitors offered what Aweber offered. There was a problem. I didn’t know how long it would take me to dedicate more time to my blogging pursuits. I thought that paying a subscription month after month until I could afford more time, was a waste of money. When Aweber switched from offering a one-month trial to a free tier, I made up my mind immediately because it seems fair that until I began monetizing my business, I could begin to pay for a Pro plan.

That’s not the whole story. Part of my motivation was to begin my blogging business. As I acted, I realized I could not only sell my eBook, but I could also profit greatly from selling affiliate products. Word is on the street that many email service provider vendors are not happy with users adding affiliate links in their emails.

I believe everyone should be free by choosing the best course of action they deem beneficial. Aweber is more than happy to accommodate their services to your business model. This means if you want to sell your products, you can do it; if you want to sell products from other companies, you’re also free to do so.

Pros and Cons

Pro:

  • You can set up landing pages inside the tool
  • Web Push notifications are a fantastic way to communicate with your audience
  • Build emails with the drag & drop tool
  • Lots of templates to choose from
  • Sign up forms are critical to building your funnels
  • Sell products
  • Free migration

Cons:

  • The free tier has a 500-subscriber limit
  • The free tier doesn’t allow to save and send to custom segments
  • More modern and advanced capabilities may be missing
  • It’s not the cheapest option

Who is Aweber aimed at?

Aweber is a leader in the autoresponder market. This email marketing tool allows you to create an email list and populate it with information. It’s suited for companies and individuals who would like to create and manage a law-compliant email list. Bloggers, entrepreneurs, businesses of all sizes, creators, and managers of content marketing campaigns benefit from Aweber’s offer.

According to Enlyft, a large portion of companies using Aweber is located in the USA, in the marketing and advertising industry, also in the health, fitness & wellness industries, professional training, coaching, internet, computer software, retail, financial services, education management, among other categories.

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Quality

You can expect reliability. It’s hard to believe that Aweber has been serving the public since the late ’90s. You can find that they have had a long time to polish their offer. There is an evident truth regarding American software: it just works.

My experience has been positive. The admin section has worked every single time I logged in. When it comes to campaigns, my emails have been delivered without exception. With a bit of training, you will find most features are intuitive. Although different vendors use different terminology, Aweber email software is easy to use. Even if you haven’t used another email software, you’ll find yourself getting comfortable with it.

User-friendliness

When it comes to user-friendliness, it’s all relative. If you’ve used another email newsletter software, you will find your way through the interface quickly. If you are new to the mighty world of email marketing, Aweber provides you with a series of welcome emails where you can get up to speed quickly.

The interface is where you will find yourself spending most of your time. With practice, you will click through menus as second nature. When you log in to Aweber, your dashboard provides you with an overview of your subscribers and sales.

You then can handle everything related to messages in the Messages subsection. Then everything related to Subscribers. After subscribers, you will find the menu for Landing Pages. After landing pages, you’ll see the List Options. Next is Web Push, then reports. Finally, in the menu, you can see Integrations and Help.

If the email welcome series and the help menu aren’t enough, and if you use Google or YouTube you can search for tutorials and up-to-date information about just about anything you want to do with your Aweber account. Chances are, someone else has had this problem, has solved it, and has documented it on text or video.

Potential pain points

Not everything is easy, especially at first. When you’re just beginning it may be a bit difficult to wrap your mind around how to use the email tools at hand. Some guidance and experimentation may be necessary to get the most out of Aweber.

If you’re using the free tier, you won’t have access to every tool you would have if you had a Pro account, but the free tools may be just enough to get you started. The feature you’ll miss the most is Save and Send to Custom Segments.

Also, if your business is mature or if you have a large list, you will find that Aweber is slowly but surely adding new important features that you may find in the competition.

Alternatives

Before choosing Aweber, and when it comes to the competition, I made a list, detailing the features of many tools created by competing companies. You’ll find a list of strong contenders next:

  • Mailchimp
  • Active Campaign
  • Kartra
  • Keap (formerly InfusionSoft)
  • ConverKit
  • GetResponse
  • Sendlane
  • Clickfunnels
  • Mailer Lite

Conclusion

If you’re just beginning your blogging adventure, whether for yourself, your company, or a customer, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than Aweber. If you’re just like me, and you like to have your options open, including how you monetize your business, then a service provider in the email field should not only allow you but should encourage you to do what’s best for your business.

The free tier allows you to run your business with a tight budget and allows you to migrate to a Pro tier once you’re monetizing your website or when it reaches a certain size. This flexibility can be a no-brainer if you’re planning to succeed, by providing you not only with a budget-conscious tool but with access to one of the best tools on the market.