(It’s Now FREE!)
Worth it, Or Not?
Every business on the face of the earth needs a digital marketing strategy! While the ‘need’ part is clear, finding the best marketing tools and channels is a whole nother beast. There are tons of possible marketing solutions floating around on the internet.
If you’ve sought to implement an email marketing strategy for your business, then you’ve probably been bombarded with a near-endless list of email autoresponders—each claiming to be the best in the industry.
And as informed consumers, taking a company for their word is not in our nature. We need tangible evidence to differentiate between marketing ploys and actual capabilities of the email marketing solutions. This brings us to the core purpose of this post.
In an attempt to ensure you make the most of your marketing budget, I’ll go through the nitty-gritty of what is AWeber, AWeber pricing, AWeber affiliate program, and a comparison of the AWeber Autoresponder with other email marketing software.
Why Do you Even Need an Email
With the proliferation of social media, AI, chatbots, and other contemporary communication methods, businesses have more opportunities to reach target audiences than ever before. In such a digital marketing landscape, it might be tempting to write off the ol’ reliable email marketing as obsolete—but that would be a grave mistake as far as your business’s marketing efforts are concerned.
“Email has the virtue – sounds like a bad thing, but it’s the virtue of being the lowest common denominator messaging protocol. Everyone can have it. It can cross organizational boundaries. No one owns it. It’s not some particular company’s platform.”
Email marketing has always been—and still is—one of the most effective/important digital marketing channels. But don’t take my word for it, consider the following statistics:
Perhaps one of the main perks of email marketing is its return on investment (ROI) – i.e., every business wants maximum value for its buck. Believe it or not, email marketing has an ROI of…wait for it…4,200% (no kidding). According to statistics, every $1 spent on email marketing generates $42.
According to Statista, over 280 billion emails were sent daily to around 3.9 billion users in 2018—and this number is expected to grow to 347 billion daily emails sent to nearly 4.5 billion global email users.
Recent HubSpot Research shows that 8 out of every 10 marketers reported an increase in email engagement in the last year. Not so obsolete now, is it?
Email marketing is one of the best ways to increase customer retention – according to 80% of experts.
Email is great – that’s been established! But you’re not out of the jungle just yet. You still need to find email marketing software to drive your marketing campaign. The best email autoresponders allow you to:
Capture random site visitors into subscribers—and hopefully loyal customers.
Send messages automatically and help nurture/build relationships with minimal effort.
Reduce costs that would have otherwise been spent in hiring a team.
Ensure optimal coverage. With an email autoresponder, you don’t run the risk of missing a prospect or sending the wrong message.
Facilitate constant communication that helps drive sales.
Help drive traffic to your website, blog posts, or social media accounts automatically.
Autoresponders keep track of progress and offer measurable results—allowing you to ‘fine-tune’ your efforts or duplicate the strategies that work.
In every industry, there’s that one company that stands out as the veteran or pioneer of the game. When it comes to email marketing or autoresponders, that ‘veteran’ is AWeber. The Pennsylvania-based company was founded by Tom Kulzer as far as 1998—when email marketing software was still viewed as a novel technology.
Over two decades down the line, AWeber is still one of the players—riding on its head start and experience in the industry. According to their website, the email marketing software has “helped over 1,000,000 small businesses around the world grow their businesses by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to connect with their prospects and customers.”
In a nutshell, AWeber allows you to:
Create a mailing list that acts as the foundation for your email marketing efforts.
Leverage their superior autoresponders to automate your email marketing campaign.
Design email newsletters and distribute them to your subscribers.
Analyze statistics and reports with regard to the performance of your email marketing campaign.
First things first; how much is AWeber? This is the single most important determiner when shopping for an autoresponder—or anything for that matter. The importance of comparing the price to the level of services offered cannot be understated.
In the words of William A. Ward, “Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.”
Here are the AWeber pricing plans:
As of July 2020, AWeber now offers a FREE pricing plan for small businesses who are not willing—or able—to deduct $19 from their marketing budgets every month. This is a huge move by the email responder—which initially only offered a 30-day FREE trial for its Pro plan.
In a post published on the company’s official blog, Rob Patterson (AWeber’s Chief Marketing Officer) wrote: “If you’re just getting started with your small business or kicking off a passion project, AWeber Free is designed to give you everything you need to start building your audience today.”
The move was partly motivated by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that has crippled or severely destabilized countless small businesses around the world. In fact, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes that 67% of small business owners are concerned about slow business—with another 71% fearing financial hardships. From the perspective of a humanitarian and a small business owner, this is a welcome move. So, big thumbs up to AWeber!
The free AWeber pricing plan includes the following features:
Weber’s sign up forms are available for free users—but rather limited. Your subscriber list and monthly emails are capped at 500 and 3000, respectively. Although this is great for small businesses that are starting out, you’ll soon outgrow the limits. Oh, and the free plan does not support sign up form split testing.
24/7 Customer Support:
As we discuss later in detail, AWeber has cemented an enviable rapport in the industry for its top-of-the-range customer service support. Heck, they’ve even won multiple awards. Interestingly, this award-winning customer support is at your disposal even with the free AWeber pricing plan. As the ‘doubting Thomas’ I am, I have my reservations regarding this offer. Sure, they might be available 24/7—but expect your issues to be tossed down the pile under Pro users.
ssuming you’re email list is hosted by another email service provider, the free AWeber pricing plan allows you to migrate to the Pennsylvania-based autoresponder seamlessly at no cost.
Access to the Integration Library:
You get unlimited access to AWeber’s extensive list of integrations—same as paying users.
Unlimited Landing Pages:
The only caveat to this offer is the fact that you’ll have to contend with AWeber branding on your landing pages.
Access to Content Creation Tools:
From a library of high-quality images, a truckload of email templates, to the drag-and-drop email builder—you have all the necessary tools to create automated emails that your audience will love. But keep in mind that emails have AWeber branding.
Similar to the Pro AWeber pricing plan, the autoresponder account is available to an unlimited number of users.
Integration of eCommerce solutions is available with the free plan—but it lacks cart abandonment tagging and sales tracking.
Please Note: AWeber no longer offers a FREE 30-day Trial for its Pro plans.
AWeber PRO Plan
AWeber offers a list-based pricing plan that gets bumped up as your subscriber list grows. From a basic price of $19 for up to 500 subscribers—the monthly cost can increase to $149 for 10,000-25,000 subscribers.
But regardless of the PRO plan you qualify for, you get to enjoy all the features. In other words, the only distinguishing factor between the Pro AWeber pricing plans is the number of subscribers (size of mailing list)—all other factors and features are held content. This is a major perk—considering most alternative autoresponders require users to pay extra in order to unlock certain ‘premium’ functionality.
You also have an option to choose your preferred billing cycle. Taking the basic Pro plan (0-500 subscribers) as an example; you’d have to pay $19 for the monthly billing cycle. If you opt for the quarterly cycle, your monthly payments will average at $16.33. But the real cost-saving happens when you pay your subscription annually. In this case, your monthly payments will average $16.15. This translates to reduced costs of $34.20 or 14.9% savings.
Ensuring maximum value for your investment is a two-way affair. The first piece of the puzzle is Aweber’s pricing structure. The second part is the value offers by its features. Do the functionalities, offerings, features, or services of Aweber warrant the email marketing software’s price tag?
For an email autoresponder that was created before the turn of the 21st century, AWeber was clearly ahead of its time. As an ‘early bird’ in the industry, it’s safe to assume that they’ve had the time to perfect their offering and fine-tune their features to meet the needs of their target audience. With this in mind, here are some of the key features of AWeber.
Whether you’re on a free or pro plan, importing your email database from another email service provider is a straightforward process. AWeber allows you to either add subscribers manually or upload TXT, CSV, TSV, XLSX, and XLS file types. But brace yourself for a few questions as part of the email marketing software’s anti-spam policies—which are quite strict (not that we’re complaining).
Drag & Drop Email Creation
Do you even code? No? Well, with AWeber you don’t need any advanced technical skills to work your way around creating awesome-looking emails. All you have to do is drag and drop—as simple as that. This is a great feature for business owners who don’t have the time to design emails from scratch.
Extensive Template Library
Templates to the right. Templates to the left. Templates everywhere! AWeber gives you access to more templates than you could ever dream of using. To put it into perspective, you’d have to scroll through over 70 pages if each page contained 10 templates. Sure, some may seem outdated or even offensive to contemporary web designers—but the sheer volume of options means that you’re likely to find a gem in the haystack. Plus, you always have the option to customize or flex your coding skills.
Do complicated interfaces just put you off? AWeber strikes a sweet spot between functionality and ease of use. It offers several awesome features—yet navigation is seamless and intuitive. Although tutorials and other resources are readily available and informative, you’ll barely need them since performing some of the basic tasks is a straightforward process.
Landing Page Builder
Landing pages are a key part of any online business. They are designed to capture leads and squeeze them down the sales funnel. AWeber allows you to create attractive and optimized landing pages to complement your digital marketing campaign.
Using the landing page builder is rather straightforward and beginner-friendly. You have the option to add Google Analytics or a Facebook Pixel tracking code to monitor your campaigns.
In the simplest form, autoresponders are emails that are triggered by user action or time. For example, if some opt-in to your mailing list, this action triggers an onboarding email that’s sent immediately to the new subscriber’s email. For the next few weeks, scheduled emails are sent to nurture the leads.
Interestingly, AWeber is touted to be the brains behind the idea of autoresponders. True or not, the company does a relatively good job with the feature. Setting up a series of automatic emails is a walk in the park—even for beginners. However, it seems that Aweber went for simplicity/usability at the cost of functionality – i.e., it lacks the same advanced automation features offered by competitors such as GetResponse.
AWeber Campaigns is a marketing automation tool that determines the when, who, and what of emails—based on complex user actions such as purchases made, site visits, link clicks, and emails opened. It looks at the user’s journey and sends highly targeted emails. Other email autoresponders such as Mailchimp and GetResponse also offer a similar feature.
Integration with Third-Party Systems
AWeber is compatible with a long list of Software as a Service (SaaS) apps. Some of the app categories include webinars, video, survey, social, CRM, content management, lead generation, membership, eCommerce, landing pages, shopping carts, and productivity tools. This facilitates a seamless marketing campaign. Although Mailchimp is widely recognized as the go-to autoresponder as far as third-party integrations are concerned, AWeber does a great job as well.
AMP for Email
Emails are typically static and relatively unengaging. AMP for email looks to change this narrative by making e-newsletters dynamic. In a nutshell, emails that adopt the technology can insert interactive content such as football scores, weather updates, survey results, or even RSVP-ing directly from the email. AWeber is one of the first email marketing software to adopt the technology created by Google.
Split-Testing (A/B Testing)
Split-testing is the process of sending different variations of an email to some of your subscribers and monitoring their responses to guide your future actions. The variation that offers the best results is adopted for the remainder of the mailing list. AWeber’s A/B testing allows you to send 3 different versions of your newsletter.
Please note that split-testing is only available for Pro users.
According to Statista, the number of global mobile users is expected to reach 7.33 billion by 2023. In line with this trend, AWeber offers three mobile app solutions for its users. This includes:
which allows you to create a sign-up form and build your mailing list on the go.
for sending e-newsletters easily and quickly from your mobile device.
to analyze and report statistics from your email marketing campaign while on the go.
AWeber allows you to deliver tailored content by segmenting lists based on certain criteria such as location, links clicked, emails opened, products bought, and birthdays, to name a few.
As awesome as this feature is for lead nurturing, AWeber doesn’t do it justice. In particular, the autoresponder does not allow you to simultaneously broadcast emails to different segments.
For example, let’s assume you have a mailing list on ‘marketing software’—and you’ve segmented it into ‘email marketing’, ‘social media marketing’, ‘SMS marketing’, and ‘SEO’. If you have an offer that’s only relevant to ‘email marketing’, ‘social media marketing’, and ‘SMS marketing’, the logical move would be to select these three segments into a group and send the emails in one go.
But the reality of AWeber is that you’ll have to either create a new segment field for ‘email marketing OR social media marketing OR SMS marketing’ or send the messages individually. This is a tedious process and counteractive to the whole idea of having an autoresponder.
When it comes to handling the opt-in process, AWeber is arguably one of the most flexible email marketing software available. It allows you either go for double or single opt-in. With the latter, a user only has to sign up to your mail list—and that’s it, the emails can start ‘rolling’ in. On the other hand, a double opt-in sneak in an extra step into the process – i.e., users must first sign up, then confirm their subscription. If you’re wondering why it’s necessary to add an extra hurdle for users, double opt-in promote valid emails and higher conversions.
AWeber maintains comprehensive and transparent security policies, which is a nice touch. Some commendable measures by the company include:
Privacy: AWeber complies with US-EU & US-Swiss Safe Harbor and frameworks. It’s also approved by TRUSTe as a testament to their efforts towards safeguarding the privacy of users.
Anti-Spam Policies: The company maintains high anti-spam standards that must be met by all users upon signing up for any plan. The autoresponder also requires contacts in your mailing list to confirm their subscriptions before the initial email is sent.
Uptime Data: You can check the most recent uptime—which often ranges above 97%.
Internal Security: AWeber operates multiple mail services, a RAID-enabled database, and other dedicated hardware resources located in highly-secured data centers.
AWeber is supported by a wide range of browsers and operating systems—including Microsoft Windows (7, 8.1, and 10), MacOS X, and Ubuntu/Linux. As for browsers, the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge work fine. It’s also worth noting that the mobile apps highlighted earlier (Atom App, AWeber Stats, and Curate) are available for Android and iOS.
Reporting and Analytics
How is your email marketing campaign performing? Are you flushing your marketing budget down the drain or are there actionable results? AWeber offers comprehensive analytics—including clickthrough, open rate, growth of lists, bounces, sign up methods, user location, and a user’s historical data, among other metrics.
They also have an AWeber stats app that allows users to monitor the progress of their email marketing campaigns on the go. All factors considered, AWeber’s reporting interface more than holds its own against other autoresponders in the market.
The crowning jewel of AWeber has to be its customer support. Help is readily available through live chat, email support, social media, and phone support. This is a key feature—especially for new users or businesses that have a lot at stake if their email marketing campaigns hit a brick wall.
Live chat and email support is available 24/7 while phone support is accessible during business hours (but factoring in challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic). As a testament to their services, the company’s trophy cabinet boasts of several coveted Stevie Awards.
Alternatively, AWeber offers a massive knowledge base of tutorials, webinars, videos, blog posts—which cover a wide range of topics from the features, troubleshooting, to onboarding.
At this point, AWeber sounds like a good buy—but is it the best deal for your hard-earned money? Is this the best way to invest your marketing funds?
As highlighted earlier, the email autoresponder market is relatively crowded. There seems to be a company that selling their services at every corner you take online. But for what it’s worth, this was an expected development—judging from the lucrative nature of the email automation industry.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best email marketing software today. The list includes the most notable players and alternatives to AWeber.
GetResponse is a digital marketing platform that’s primarily known for its powerful email automation functionality. Due to its similarity with AWeber, the two email marketing platforms are often pitted against each other.
But choosing a winner in an AWeber Vs GetResponse comparison is not a straightforward endeavor. It depends on several variables—including user preferences. Both autoresponders offer a rich arsenal of tools to create and maintain an email database.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one marketing solution, GetResponse is an easy choice. It offers more tools than AWeber—including a more sophisticated marketing automation feature and landing page builder. GetResponse is also relatively more affordable (paid plans only) than AWeber.
But in areas such as integration with third-party systems, customer support, AMP for email, and the template library, AWeber shines bright. The autoresponder also offers a FREE plan—unlike GetResponse, which starts at $19/month. To conclude the AWeber vs GetResponse, the choice between the two depends on your unique business needs and preferences.
Mailchimp is easily the most popular autoresponder available—and for good reason. The email marketing tool is free to start and it’s simple to use – i.e., the entry barrier is low. A quick look at Google Trends shows a huge contrast in the popularity of Mailchimp and other autoresponders—including AWeber.
In comparison to AWeber, Mailchimp offers a wider range of integration, better marketing automation functionality, a visually-appealing interface, and a much more generous free plan. Mailchimp’s free plan allows up to 2,000 contacts—compared to AWeber’s 500 subscribers.
Making a case for AWeber, the email marketing software is easier to use, offers way more templates, and better support options. AWeber is also cheaper ($149/month) for heavy users in comparison to Mailchimp ($299/month).
Constant Contact is a fully-featured email marketing platform that offers a ton of useful email automation capabilities. The relatively popular tool is easy to use and simple enough for all users. Some of its key features include autoresponder sequences, a drag and drop editor, list building tools, and templates. Constant Contact has two pricing plans—starting at $20 (Email) and $45 (Email Plus).
The main selling points of Constant Contact in comparison to AWeber are its beginner-friendliness, collection of templates, and its ability to adapt to the theme/branding of your website. The only drawbacks to the email marketing tool are the pricing plans (lacks a forever free plan and the paid plans are costly) and some underwhelming features such as segmentation, split testing, and reporting.
From Facebook Ads, CRM, SMS, to email marketing—Sendinblue is a comprehensive digital marketing solution for small and medium-sized businesses. It integrates seamlessly with several leasing apps such as WooCommerce, WordPress, Shopify, Zapier, Magento, and OptinMonster, to name a few.
But while other email autoresponders such as Mailchimp and AWeber base their pricing plans on the number of contacts, Sendinblue plays the ‘black sheep in the flock’ by basing its pricing structure on the emails sent.
All factors considered, Sendinblue is a more complete solution for your marketing needs than AWeber – i.e., it offers significantly more tools to bolster your marketing campaign. But when it comes to emails, AWeber’s specializations give them an edge over Sendinblue.
Looking to earn some passive income? There’s more to AWeber than service offerings designed to help users leverage the best of email marketing. You can also make a few dollars while driving your business’s digital marketing strategy – i.e., it’s a win-win situation. How so? Three words; AWeber advocate program.
AWeber affiliate program goes by the catchier and seemingly more sophisticated moniker, advocate program. It offers successful affiliates a juicy 30% commission on a recurring basis. This means that 30% of all current and future purchases made through your affiliate link will be credited to your account.
For example, if a new user qualifies for the basic $19 plan, you’ll earn $5.70 every month as long as the user keeps subscribing to the email marketing tool. And based on the fact that most users look for a long-term commitment, the earnings can quickly add up—especially since your referral is likely to be bumped up the pricing tiers are his or her mailing list grows.
If you sign up 20 people for the $49/month plan, this translates to at least $294 every month. Now make it 100 sales and it’s easy to see why the AWeber affiliate offering is ranked among the most lucrative programs.
Signing up as an AWeber affiliate is completely free! The onboarding process is quite straight forward and quick. All you have to do is visit the “AWeber advocate” page and follow the steps (PS: Ensure you read the terms and conditions). After a successful application, AWeber will provide a unique ID that will serve as your point of referral. The cookie remains active for up to a year.
As an AWeber affiliate, you gain access to a free eBook, video ads, AWeber promotion banners, custom links, email swipes, video/sales statistics, and other resources to bolsters your selling efforts. If you make a sale, you’ll be notified by email.
But before promoting AWeber or any other product, it’s highly recommended to use it yourself – i.e., don’t preach water and drink wine. Always ensure whatever you’re selling is something you’d comfortably use as a consumer.
Pros and cons of AWeber
What’s to like?
Support services are second to none. You’d be hard-pressed to find an email marketing tool with better customer support.
The autoresponder now offers a FREE plan—which is rare in the industry.
AWeber’s interface is intuitive and easy to use.
The collection of templates is quite extensive in comparison to other email marketing solutions. Even better, the templates are designed to be responsive.
AWeber’s integration with several third-party apps helps streamline your digital marketing efforts.
The AWeber pricing plan is reasonable—not noteworthy, but reasonable.
The import functionality is straightforward and easy for new users to migrate from another service.
AMP for email is a feature that set’s AWeber apart in the industry.
What’s not to like?
The FREE AWeber pricing plan is significantly dialed down. The 500-subscriber limit is unflattering. The free plans of its alternative email autoresponders such as Mailchimp allow up to 2,000 contacts.
Split-testing is only available for paying users.
Deactivated lists, subscribers on several lists, and unsubscribed addresses all factor into the total number of contacts in your mailing list—hence the amount payable.
There’s a pressing need to update some of the templates in their collection.
AWeber Reviews and Testimonials – From Real Users
User reports and testimonials on their experience with AWeber are mixed. While some enthusiastically root for the email autoresponder, claiming it’s the best tool in the market—other bemoan of their unpleasant experience with AWeber. Here are some user reviews captured form Capterra, Trustpilot, Software Advice, and G2.
Positive Reviews – Above 4 Stars
Most of the positive AWeber reviews draw attention to the email marketing software’s mailing list importation feature, the “great email templates,” a ton of useful features, and a professional customer service.
A few users complained about nagging challenges with the onboarding process. Others claimed that the email autoresponder no longer met their needs as they scaled. There’s also a recurring complaint about hidden fees that are not openly highlighted in the AWeber pricing page. Surprisingly, one user even pointed out inefficiencies with AWeber’s customer service.
Based on the in-depth AWeber review, it’s safe to conclude that it’s a solid autoresponder. Sure, it’s not unequivocally the best product in the market but it ranks up there among the best. AWeber is reasonably priced for the level of functionality it provides—hence it’s good value for your bucks.
My favorite aspect of the email service provider has to be the ease of use, comprehensive customer support, and a surprisingly generous free plan. It’s a great option for users who are looking to test the waters before settling for a long-term email marketing solution.
As long as you can see past relatively basic automation features and outdated templates, AWeber is a great buy!
Please note that this AWeber review contains affiliate links. I am an independent affiliate of AWeber products and not an employee. The review and opinion highlighted in this article are my own and they are in no way official statements by eBusiness4us or AWeber.