Email Marketing for Small Businesses
Creating a personal connection between your business and customers is a smart marketing strategy that allows you to build loyalty with your customers. You’ll also be able to inform current and prospective customers about the latest company deals and news as events unfold.
Additionally, a personal connection with customers enables you to get real-time feedback from your customers, which in turn will put you in a better position to improve your business.
Email is one of the best ways of establishing and maintaining this personal connection with customers – existing and prospective. And research shows it generates the highest amount of ROI – return on investment – of all marketing disciplines.
Unfortunately, manually creating and sending individual emails to your entire client list can be time-consuming. This is where autoresponder tools email marketing software such as Aweber step in.
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What Does AWeber Do? Feature Overview
Aweber is a popular email marketing service with autoresponder capability. It helps small businesses create effective email marketing campaigns that boost engagement, loyalty, and sales.
The company not only offers over 150 customizable email template options, but it also provides a great deal of freedom to decide when, how, and where these emails will be sent.
Overview of Top Features
Some of the most popular features of AWeber include:
- Dozens of integrations to make using your favorite tools even easier
- API for third-party apps
- Top-notch customer service by phone, live chat, and email
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor
- Over 100 customizable templates
- Robust autoresponder features
- Ability to tag emails to create triggers
- Trackable analytics so you can see what is working
- High deliverability rates
Sending Communications that are Relevant to the Individual: Autoresponder Function
One of the most popular features of AWeber is the ability to send automatic emails.
For instance, you can create a sequence of emails, timed to be delivered at set intervals, that gets automatically sent to site visitors who take certain actions, such as:
- Downloading a free e-book, research report, or white paper
- Registering for, or completing, a webinar
- Signing up for an email newsletter
- Purchasing a product
Examples include a welcome email sent as soon as a new client signs up to your list of contacts, followed a few days later by an informatory email discussing the products and services you offer, then an email informing on current offers, and so on. You could also create different series of post-purchase emails, based on the type of product the individual purchased.
Alternatively, you can create automatic emails that go out to all customers whenever there’s a change, special offer, or new product in your company. All in all, Aweber’s autoresponder emails allow you to really engage with your customers by sending them personalized, timely, and targeted, emails that keep your company on their minds.
Versatility: Do More with Sales and Marketing Integrations
Another great feature of Aweber is the ability to integrate your email marketing account with various aspects of your business.
The integration options are vast (over 100) and range from simple call-to-action tactics such as posting email subscription forms on the website and social media platforms of your business, to integrating your account with favorite online shopping tools such as PayPal.
Some of the most popular integrations are:
- GoTo Webinar
Create Your Own Email Marketing App
There’s also the inclusion of AWeber Labs, a flexible programming interface that features several powerful functions that allow you to create your very own customized email-marketing apps that help you fully optimize your marketing strategies.
This API programming interface also doubles up as a managing tool, which provides you access to Aweber data.
What Can I Do with Contact List Management?
AWeber provides you with an essential list segmentation feature that makes it easier for you to manage your contact list.
Sort and Categorize Customers to Market to them Better
This feature allows you to separate customers into various categories depending on various factors such as their value in your company, their shopping habits, or how long they been with your business.
You can create segments for new customers, VIP clients, customers who source your service/products repetitively, etc. Separation of customers into various segments makes it easier to send relevant and targeted emails that they will respond to.
From the integration capabilities to the list segmentation feature to the provided analytics, Aweber pulls out all the stops to ensure you have the smoothest experience possible when managing your contacts. You are given a straightforward dashboard that allows you to easily make changes to your campaigns whenever you want.
Try Before You Buy: Free Trial
If you’re not sure whether Aweber would make a good fit for you, the company allows you to find out firsthand through an affordable tester plan. The free trial lets you have up to 500 email subscribers and allows you to send unlimited emails.
A non-commitment package, Aweber allows you to cancel after your free trial if the company’s services do not match your email marketing needs.
Templates and Forms
Don’t have any experience when it comes to creating emails? No worries about that since Aweber allows you to create some fantastic looking emails from the built-in 150+ templates, which can be customized to your liking.
Aweber also allows you to build up your email database with over 700 different signup forms. The forms provide you with access to thousands of potential clients as they can be placed on your company’s website, blog page, and social media platforms.
Easy Email Creation
Up to 150+ templates are provided, which makes email creation easy and quick by eliminating the need for you to create your campaign messages from scratch. All you have to do when creating emails is customize the chosen template using intuitive tools in the email editor.
The available editing tools allow you to upload images to the template, add your company logo, move content around, and change the color scheme of templates.
Opting-in to Email Subscription Lists
When it comes time for your users to subscribe to your email list, there is more to the process than just collecting their information. One decision you have to make is whether you want to implement a single opt-in process or a double opt-in process.
With a single opt-in process, your user signs up for your email list. That is it. The user can opt-in in any number of ways, including using a custom opt-in form that you build and provide on your website.
After they sign up, there is nothing more the user has to do before they can receive your emails. This means that the whole sign-up process is fairly easy for all parties involved.
Double opt-in adds an additional step to the process of signing up for your email list. Your user will opt-in to your list, but then, you will ask the user to confirm their subscription.
This is typically done via a welcome email that asks the user to acknowledge that a) they have provided their information to you and b) they are choosing to receive additional communication from you.
Which option is best for you?
There are upsides and downsides no matter which opt-in process you choose.
Single opt-in is easier for your users, which means that you are more likely to garner a higher total number of email addresses.
Double opt-in, however, ensures the emails you receive are valid and are not being used by bots and the like (remember, sending too many emails to dead email addresses is a sign of a spammer, and you do not want to be mistaken for a spammer). However, you can use tools like BriteVerify which automatically screen out fake addresses or mistakes at the point where the individual is signing up.
Research generally shows that you’ll get a larger email list via single opt-in, and higher opens, clicks, and conversions, whereas with double opt-in you’ll get a higher rate (as a percentage against the whole) of opens, clicks and conversions.
Regardless of which option you choose, AWeber supports easy implementation of either opt-in process.
Improve Results with Split Testing
It is nice to know what works and what does not when it comes to your email marketing efforts, and one way you can gather such information is with split testing (sometimes referred to as A/B testing).
The concept of split testing is simple: you create two emails, and you randomly send one email to one group of customers and the other email to another group of customers. Then, you compare the success rates of either email by looking at metrics like:
- Delivery Rate: how many emails successfully reached a valid inbox?
- Open Rate: how many people opened your emails?
- Click-Through Rates: how many people clicked the links you included in your email?
As you can imagine, the success rates decline as you move from delivery rate to open rate to click-through rate.
Nevertheless, such numbers, especially when you are working with two emails you are testing side-by-side will give you insight into what works and what does not.
While AWeber does not ship with a dedicated feature called “split testing,” it is fairly easy to create your segments (groups of customers) and send out customized emails.
What Type of Help and Support Will I Get?
Aweber is known for their quality support, which is given by helpful and friendly representatives who respond to queries and problems promptly. Customer support is delivered through several channels including live one-on-one support through email, phone, and chat.
Email lines are open 24/7 while phone and live chat support are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Aweber Live chat support is also provided on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
Online Resources to Improve Your Email Marketing
Also included in the help and support department are:
- Video tutorials on a variety of topics ranging from account setup to integrating your Aweber account with various tools.
- Live webinars that focus on educating users on all matters related to email marketing.
- A knowledge base with hundreds of articles on email marketing software, troubleshooting, among others.
- Weekly blogs offering email marketing advice and general tips.
- Email marketing guides that can be downloaded as pdf documents.
- Social media platforms where you can post questions.
Analyze and Act: Reporting and Analytics
The reporting tools Aweber provides are one step ahead of many other email marketing service providers. Reports generated are vast, thorough, and include key performance metrics such as new subscribers, email opens, clicks over time, ad tracking, subscriber location, subscriber growth, follow-up statistics, and so much more.
The data can be accessed at any given time through the company’s email dashboard. What’s more, you’re provided with the freedom of selecting a default report format with options ranging from standard raw numbers, to percentages, to charts.
Whatever format you choose Aweber provides you with detailed information that will enable you to create better and more effective campaigns.
AWeber vs. GetResponse
If you are looking into AWeber, chances are that you have come across a competing email marketing platform called GetResponse. How do these two options compare? Which one is the better fit for you?
There are some major differences between AWeber and GetResponse, but both companies offer all of the functionality you need to plan, create, launch, manage, and maintain your email campaigns. The following sections will cover some of the differences we noticed between the two products.
Sign-Up Forms, Landing Pages, and Advanced A/B Testing
Both AWeber and GetResponse enable you to create sign-up forms. However, while AWeber ships with form-creation functionality, GetResponse goes one step further by providing what the company calls its Landing Page Creator.
In addition to creating a visually appealing site that your customers can use to provide their information, GetResponse offers bonus functionality like A/B testing of your design and automatic roll-out of the design that is the most successful at garnering leads.
Email Address Management
Once you have subscription lists, both products allow you to manage and maintain your contacts. You can add, delete, or update at any time while segmenting your users based on factors like geographic location or professional.
If you use some type of customer relationship management (CRM) tool, note that GetResponse offers more in terms of integrations with CRMs.
Advanced Marketing Automation
While AWeber offers automation like adding of tags to segment customers based on their interaction with your email, GetResponse offers a truly modern marketing automation platform that enables advanced behavior-based marketing that is very easy for a newbie to use.
AWeber pricing is simple. All plans come with the exact same features, so you choose the plan that supports the number of users on your email list (for example, if you are reaching out to less than 500 customers, you can opt for the most inexpensive package).
Get Response’s pricing scheme is slightly more complicated. The company offers four different plans, each of which offers a different set of features and functionality. However, the plans are also tiered, which means that you pay more as your subscription lists grow.
For those who want to get started with as little money as possible, GetResponse is cheaper. As your needs grow, however, you will need to make a direct comparison involving the plans that offer the features you need to meet your goals.
Both AWeber and GetResponse offer templates you can use to build your emails. Both companies offer very professional-looking option, but AWeber offers over 700 different options, while GetResponse offers slightly less (around 500 options or so).
Keep in mind that both companies let you edit the templates they provide (though GetResponse offers a better email preview feature than AWeber).
Drag-n-Drop Email Editor
What happens if you run into issues with your email marketing campaigns?
AWeber offers award-winning support via Live Chat 24/7 and telephone support Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM (Eastern Time). The company also offers a robust Support Center that includes a knowledge base, webinars, and video guides.
GetResponse also offers 24/7 Live Chat support, as well as email-based support in seven different languages. The GetResponse team has also won a few awards for its support offerings, and the company offers ample written resources as well.
What are the Pros and Cons of AWeber?
Is AWeber a good email marketing software? It depends on your needs. Below, we outline the most important pros and cons.
Allows you to preview emails before sending them out.
Allows for the creation and editing of company newsletters.
All Aweber packages come with a unique Call Loop feature, which collects the phone numbers of subscribers and enables you to send SMSs (text messages) and voice mail messages to your subscribers. (Be aware that the regulations surrounding SMS messaging are different — and more stringent — than those for email marketing.)
Provides spam protection to ensure all your emails arrive at their assigned destinations.
Does not allow you to import your contact lists from other providers.
Aweber has a strict anti-spam policy that restricts you from adding contacts that have not sent a subscription confirmation. (As this keeps their email deliverability rates high, this could also be seen as a pro.)
In spite of the listed cons, AWeber offers you everything you need to create a successful email marketing campaign. You have an easy-to-use interface and solid support system that allows you to kick off and maintain your email campaign without any difficulties.
The endless list of email and sign-up form templates lessen the work you have to do. Best of all, you’re provided with regular reports that allow you to stay at the top of the email marketing game.
So, if you want to run your email marketing campaign smoothly and effortlessly, Aweber is one of the options that deserve some serious consideration.
Try AWeber for free for 30 days and get all the tools you need to succeed with access to the full set of features AWeber offers.
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Frequently Asked Questions about AWeber
Still have questions about AWeber? We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions about this email platform below.
Does AWeber’s free trial limit access to features?
No, AWeber’s free 30-day trial allows you to access all of their email marketing and autoresponder features for the entire trial. After your trial is up, you will be asked to sign up for a monthly, quarterly, or annual package to continue accessing all the features.
Does AWeber offer good analytics?
Yes, one of the more popular features they offer is their in-depth analytics. This allows you to see things like open rate and click-through rates. It also makes it easy to take action on your stats. For example, you can easily resend a newsletter to anyone who didn’t open the first email or create a segment based on people who clicked a specific link.
Does AWeber offer a drag-and-drop editor?
Yes, they offer both templates (pre-built designs that are customizable) and a drag-and-drop editor so you can quickly create beautiful, functional emails. You won’t need any technical expertise to use the editor. Making changes to logo, images, text, and layout is very easy.