By: AWeber Communications
AWeber is an email marketing tool which can help you take care of email automation and other aspects of the field. There are enough features that you can entrust the service to take care of all your marketing emails. It will not only send out the email but help you take care of a lot of processes around email marketing such as generating leads, sorting contacts, monitoring campaigns, setting up autoresponders, etc.
Marketing is one of the essentials for any successful business or brand. Among different techniques and modes of marketing, there is one very special niche called email marketing. For some, it is inarguably the best way to promote a business or service.
If someone is implementing sound strategies and following the best practices, then he can easily achieve great results with just a little bit of effort.
There are a lot of tools and platforms which help users with all the aspects of email marketing. AWeber is one of the veterans of the field and has been helping out users take care of email marketing campaigns for a long time now.
AWeber has tried to keep up with newer email marketing tools and improved upon the tool by introducing new features. They have clearly outranked other tools in a few sections, while things are not so bright for other sections.
In this review, we will analyze all the aspects of this tool and measure them against other popular tools. We will find out if AWeber is still among the more preferred email marketing tools or if it lacks some of the modern features.
Along with features and efficiency, we will also keep a close eye on the ease of use. After all, there is no point of having a tool which you find difficult to use.
By the end of this review, you will know if AWeber is the marketing tool you were looking for. And if you are new to the world of email marketing, then this review will help you learn more about this field.
Let us start with the most vital element of any email marketing campaign, that is, subscribers. These are going to be the recipients of your emails, and their actions will determine the success of your online marketing campaign.
There are going to be two kinds of users starting on AWeber; first ones will be those who already have got a mailing list and the other ones who are looking forward to creating mailing lists.
The first kind of users would want to incorporate their existing email list into AWeber, and they will have two ways to do that. They can either import the email contacts or add them manually.
One can add up to 10 emails manually while starting up on the platform. For more than ten mails, there is the option to import contacts.
For importing contacts in bulk, there are once again two options. The first option is to import contacts from a file. The allowed file formats are XLS, XLSX, TSV, CSV, and TXT. The other way of importing the contacts in bulk is to paste them or add them manually.
Those users who are still supposed to create mailing lists can link the tool to their subscription pages. We will discuss more of sign-up pages in later sections of this review.
During the process of adding contacts, AWeber may have a few questions for you relating to the methods you use to collect email contacts. They do this to ensure that spammers and illicit groups do not misuse the platform.
In some cases, AWeber might need to verify the information you provide them. It may take some time for them to confirm the inclusion of email contacts in such cases.
The process may be inconvenient for a fraction of users, but it benefits AWeber as well as its customers. The step also helps prevent a lot of online frauds and make sure other users on the platform experience high deliverability of their emails.
You should not come across any roadblocks while adding email contacts.
Email marketing tools are not just about having a big list of email contacts and sending out emails to all of them. There will be categories, types, and a lot of sorting.
You can create multiple mailing lists to keep the contacts separated. It is up to you how you when it comes to choosing the parameter for separation of these contacts. It can be the source from where they got into your mailing list, the time duration for which they have been a subscriber, location, etc.
AWeber follows the CAN-SPAM Act, which is a US law directing every email to have a valid postal address. You will have to provide some physical address while creating an email list because of this act.
You can enter the intended sender name and address, name the list, and describe the kind of emails your subscribers may get.
You will then be redirected to the confirmation page setup. New subscribers will be sent a confirmation message on signing up on the service. You can modify the confirmation message on this screen. You can edit the subject line and content of the email.
The content editor is elementary. It lets you modify header and footer text and choose the button text. You get a new list once you approve this confirmation page.
There is one more way of classifying users. You can put them into different segments. Segments are created from with mailing lists when you sort contacts based on various fields.
In a list, you can filter contacts by setting up attributes for fields. When you search for a result, you can save it as a segment, and use in your future campaigns.
There is another way of creating a segment. You can create segments based on how users responded to your emails. You can have a segment for those who did not open the mail, the ones who opened the email and clicked on the link, etc.
The striking feature of segments is that they are dynamic in nature. Since you create segments based on fields, the contact stays in the segment as long as it satisfies the fields. The entries in a segment keep getting modified as contact satisfy or dissatisfy the fields.
The only issue with segments on AWeber is that you will find it challenging to create one which contains contacts from different lists. Since the option of sorting contacts and then creating segments based on search results are available only when someone is browsing a list.
Creating mailing lists and collecting new contacts is an easy enough task on this platform. There should not be any roadblocks while managing subscribers.
Email marketing encompasses various kind of emails. They vary by reason, type, and timing. Some emails will be one-time events with you informing the subscriber about something. Some will be triggered by the user’s action, such as a user clicking on a link or subscribing to a service.
You can manage all the possible kinds of emails on AWeber. But let us first discuss a bit about the standard process for all these kinds of emails, that is, creating an email.
Just like other email marketing tools, AWeber provides you multiple ways to create an email. When you click on the option to create a new message, you get three choices. You can use the drag and drop editor on the tool, create an email with plain text, or use the HTML editor to design something on your own.
While the latter two options are pretty much same across all the tools, let us discuss the one which can be one of the critical factors when it comes to a user choosing an email marketing tool.
The drag and drop editor, in this case, provides the classic three-panel interface. You get all the integrable elements on the left panel, canvas in the middle, and setting options for the selected element on the right panel.
There is nothing too exciting about it but nothing for one to get grumpy, as well. The editor comes with all the necessary options, and one can create beautiful templates using it.
There is no categorization of the elements which points towards the fact that there aren’t too many elements for one to play. You get basic building blocks, which you need to utilize well.
AWeber compensates for fewer options in the editor by providing the user with a lot of premade templates. By lots, we mean more than what we have seen on other tools in the category.
Unlike the editor, there is categorization and sorting when it comes to templates. You can sort them by the kind of email you are creating or by the topic around which you are creating the email.
So, you can specifically look for newsletters, event notifications, product info, etc. or you can go search for themes such as holiday, home, food and wine, etc.
AWeber has been around for a long time now, and somehow, you can feel that everywhere on this platform. The user interface is not as modern as you may be used to and there isn’t a ‘wow-factor’ about the way options are presented.
A significant number of templates present in the gallery may also make you feel the same. The designs are not as modern as we would have liked. However, the good part is that there are a lot of templates and a good portion of them have impressive designs.
You may have to dig just a little bit deeper, and you will find a template of your liking. Once you have found the right template for your email, you can modify the content in it. You can remove and add elements as you wish.
The share of people using mobile devices to browse emails is a significant one. It can vary from one userbase to another, but it is worth considering in all these cases. Since you need to take of care of the audience which might access email on such devices, you need to ensure that your email is responsive.
Sadly, you don’t get a live preview of the mail for mobile devices. You will have to send the email to check its responsiveness. It is the only way to make sure that the email will not glitch out when someone tries to view it on a mobile device.
There are only one or two shortcomings in this section, depending on the needs of a user. The bright side is that you don’t need to be a geek to use the editor or other tools for creating emails on AWeber.
Let us now move to the part where we send out messages. You will get plenty of options when it comes to the way you want to send out messages. We should begin with the most basic one.
Broadcasts are one-time messages that you want to send out to a group of users. It can be to inform users about offers, tell them about a new feature on the tool, seasonal message or anything else.
You can either create a new template on the editor or choose one from the draft if you have already got it ready. It’s a straightforward process after that. You will have to add an appropriate subject line, and then take care of the settings related to the email.
You can publish the broadcast online or share it on Twitter and Facebook as you broadcast the email. It will help one further improve upon the reach of the message.
You get to choose the list or the segment to which you want to send out the email. AWeber allows you to broadcast the email to multiple lists at a time, as well.
The option to exclude lists can sometimes turn out to be beneficial. You can choose a list so that none of the contacts in the list receive the email. It will make sure that contacts do not receive the email even if they are present in the selected mailing list.
You can choose if you want to send out the email right at the moment or if you want to schedule it for later. Unlike other email marketing services, one doesn’t get many scheduling options on this platform.
All you can do is select the date and time. You get the option of sending the email according to recipient’s local time on some platforms, while others figure out the best time to send out the email to a user and do the job for you. A similar feature on the tool could’ve made the case a lot better for AWeber.
Moving forward, you can add some automation for the email. You can add or remove tags from users based on some triggers such as opening the email and clicking on the link.
It will help you sort out users and conduct better analysis. The feature can also help in future campaigns as you would know which users have interacted with the links you sent or at least opened up the email.
Finally, there are checkboxes for you to enable/disable click tracking and email notifications for QuickStats. We will throw some more light on QuickStats in later sections of the review.
Email marketing requires one to continually evolve to stay at the top of her game. It includes taking cues from how the audience is reacting to the various strategies you are employing. It will help you refine your processes and create more impactful campaigns.
The possible downside of learning this way is that you will always be left one step behind the current trends. You will depend on the feedback from the audience, which would help you for the next campaign or round, but there would be nothing much that you can do for the current one.
However, email automation has a solution to this problem. You can test out what strategy works best for you. It involves you sending out variants of the same email randomly to a portion of your audience. Depending on the kind of response you get for those emails, you can decide which one is best for business and send that variant to the rest of the audience.
This method is commonly referred to as split testing, and it is a common feature on email automation tools. However, automation tools differ how split testing is implied on them.
Tools such as MailerLite allow one to send two variants and call it A/B split testing, while on GetResponse you get the option to differentiate between emails based on four parameters.
Split testing on AWeber is different from these tools. You get to send out three separate emails under the test. You also get the option to choose the percentage distribution of subscribers receiving these emails.
During split testing, the primary focus should be to find out the attribute which has a significant impact on the success of a campaign. In order to achieve that, the variants should have everything in common except one feature.
Most email automation tools allow only the user to vary only one field of an email during split testing. It can be anything ranging from the subject of the email to the content to the time at which it is sent out.
However, AWeber is not so strict when it comes to variations. It allows one to create entirely different emails for testing. While it might be tempting for a lot of users to change everything detail possible, it would be almost impossible for them to determine the reason for the success or failure of an email.
We would suggest our readers vary only one element at a time to move towards sound newsletter marketing strategies.
You can send out three different variants as AWeber allows for it, or you can send only two of them.
Another limitation of split testing on this tool is that it isn’t fully automated. The emails are sent to all the selected contacts, and you assess the results later. On other tools, the emails are sent to a fraction of contacts. And the email which performs better is then sent out to the rest of the audience.
On AWeber, you need to analyze the results, and then send out the winning newsletter type to the next contact group. However, you can still benefit a lot from the feature.
In the ‘broadcast’ section, we dealt with one-time emails, which need to be sent out to users. The follow-up series is quite similar to it, but the catch is that instead of a single email, it involves sending out a series of emails separated by a fixed time interval.
One can use it to welcome new users onboard, to inform recipients about an ongoing sale, to cater out an online course, etc. AWeber starts sending out the emails as soon as someone is added to the list or the series is created.
The subsequent emails follow after the decided time. Creating a follow-up series is a lot similar to creating a broadcast. The user needs to create a suitable email template using the drag and drop editor or custom HTML editor.
You can then proceed to add the email in the follow-up series. There won’t be any option to choose the time and date for the first email of the series. It will be sent as soon as someone new is added to the list.
To create the next newsletter of the series, you need to follow the same steps of creating a new email. You can then add it to the series. This time you get to decide the gap between the two emails in terms of days.
The same procedure can be followed for the subsequent emails. You can vary the gap for all the emails.
Follow up series can be a good automation for a lot of cases. For instance, if you get a new subscriber, you can start with a welcome email. You can then follow it up an email informing the subscriber about the service and community after a few days.
The next email can contain a tour of the website, and the one after that can have the items listed in the web store.
It was just one of the many possible use cases for a follow-up series.
If you have a blogging website or some website along the same lines which keeps generating content constantly, then this is just the right section for you. It helps you integrate the RSS feed of your site or blog to email newsletters.
The name of this section contains the word ‘RSS’ in case of most of the email automation tools. It is just to signify that you can have any RSS feed integrated to the emails since it’s not just blogging websites which RSS feeds.
With blog broadcasts, you can have the tool automatically send out emails to your subscribers informing them about the new posts on the website. Setting up a blog broadcast is a straightforward task.
You can go to the blog broadcast section and opt for creating a new one. You will then have to integrate the RSS feed URL for which you want to send out emails. AWeber will then prompt you to name the broadcast.
For all the previous cases, you had the option to create emails using the drag and drop editor on the platform, but not this time. The editor you get this time does not come with a lot of flexibility, and you will have to rely a lot on the templates this time if you are going to use the editor to create the email.
Instead of a dedicated window for the editor, you get one section this time. The platform presents to you a lot of template options, but you need to click on them individually to check how they look. The one thing common on all these templates is the RSS feed section.
You may have to spend some time going through the different templates, but things will get easier once you find the appropriate one. You can create a template on your own using the custom HTML builder as well.
Once you have taken care of the template design, you can manage the sending details.
AWeber allows you to send out the emails as soon as a new blog is published, or you can set a fixed time at which the emails will go out. The slightly annoying part about this section is that there is no option to set the time manually. One needs to pick the time from the available options.
You can choose if you want the emails to go out for every post or you want to have a certain number of posts in the pipeline after which the subscribers should be notified about the new blogs.
You can set the emails to go out on a single date of every month, or you can pick days of the week when subscribers will get notifications about your blogs.
Finally, you can enable and disable trackers, have the tool to send out emails automatically or choose to do that manually, etc.
This is a good time for online marketers to live. There are so many tools to assist them. One can make these tools use logic and then take an appropriate action based on that logic.
We are referring to the automation available on email marketing tools these days. One can create a whole series of tasks for the software. The series will be based on user actions, and since everything will be automatic, there will be no human errors.
If it is a user subscribing to your newsletters, you can automate processes such as sending welcome emails and adding tags to the new email contact.
Majority of the popular email marketing tools come with this feature when the user can create such automated workflows. ‘Campaign’ on AWeber is one such section.
You can create a campaign to take care of a variety of tasks at once. It becomes even more crucial when there are too many contacts to handle, and it is not possible to take care of them manually.
The campaigns start with a trigger event. The triggers start a chain reaction which leads to other actions in the campaign.
AWeber provides two trigger actions to choose from; it will be either when someone subscribes to the mailing list or when a contact is tagged. We have more to say on this and other sections of a campaign but let us first go through the entire process of creating a new one.
After choosing the trigger, you will be redirected to the campaign creation page. It is a drag and drop one, with elements on the left and customization options on the right. It is quite similar to the editor on the tool.
Since you have already chosen the trigger, you need to decide the second step of the workflow. There are three options when it comes to taking actions. You can send an email, add a tag on the subscriber, and choose a waiting time.
There can be multiple scenarios with a lot of possible strategies, and therefore, possible actions. You can either drag and drop one of the action slides on the canvas or simply double click on one to add it as the next step of the workflow.
You can create a new mail or choose one from the drafts for sending mails. You can add more automations depending on how the user responds to the email. You can get two triggers out of an email you send in the campaign. You can use the opening of the email as a trigger, and if there are links in the email, you can consider clicking on them as a trigger too.
Based on these triggers, you can either add a new tag to the contact or remove the user from the campaign.
In case the action was adding a tag to the subscriber, you can use it as a trigger to remove the subscriber from the campaign.
You can add a waiting period of days, weeks, hours, months, and minutes, but you cannot make a trigger out of it.
It is up to the user how he chooses to use these elements and create a dynamic campaign. AWeber doesn’t allow branching of the workflow. It would have made the complete process a lot more flexible. Since other tools allow branching of the automated workflow, AWeber should get a bit more serious about adding the feature on the platform.
When it comes to comparing AWeber’s campaign with the automated workflow on other tools, it lacks a lot of features.
You can find far too many triggers and actions on other tools. It helps the user take care of as many processes as he wants and negates the need to create multiple workflows.
For instance, if one wants to use one of the actions as triggers, then the user has got either very limited options, or they need to create a new campaign for the task.
AWeber needs to take an example from some of its competitors and try to make the ‘Campaign’ section much more eventful and useful. So far, it has been the most disappointing feature on the platform.
AWeber is an email marketing tool. Its primary function is to send out emails so that you don’t need to go through the hassle of doing it all manually.
If one keeps just the primary function of this tool in mind, then the fact there is a section on the tool which allows the user to create sign-up forms, can be considered a huge bonus. But when you realize that other platforms are allowing one to create not just sign-up forms but landing pages and popups as well, then things may not remain so merry all of a sudden.
Creating a sign-up form is not a difficult task at all. First, you need to design it using the few templates and the editor available on AWeber.
The next step would be to take care of a few basic settings, such as taking care of the thank you page and ad tracking. Finally, you can publish the sign-up form and streamline the whole process of adding a new contact to your mailing list using AWeber.
We have no complaints from the sign-up form, but we would have loved to see the inclusion of more elements such as popups.
It is tough to neglect the fact that one can create surveys and landing pages on other tools, and there is only one option when it comes to forms on AWeber.
Monitoring is critical to the success of any campaign, project, or mission. You get an idea if everything is going as per the plan, and if not, then you make some amendments to get things back on track. And if things start going south, one can even reduce some of the collateral damage using the reports.
AWeber has a dedicated reports section, where you get complete analytics for every section of the tool. You can have reports based on the timeline, based on the performance of individual campaigns, for growth as well degradation of subscribers, etc.
The dashboard on AWeber gives you the first peek into some of the stats for your account. It will provide you with some subscribers stats such as how many of them joined today, how many of them subscribed yesterday, and how many of them unsubscribed that day, as well.
It consists of similar stats for recent broadcasts and lists in the account. If you want to get deeper into the details of what’s happening, then you can check out the reports section.
There are options to check out different kinds of reports, and they have been categorized into two categories. One is for reports which encompass the whole account. The reports in this category include opens, clicks, and revenues over time.
The reports include the breakdown of data or emails into different categories, such as followups, broadcasts, and reviews.
The second category of reports is about lists. You will find a lot of reports on this one. There is one for any filter you can think of. You can check lists for growth, subscription, users from a particular region, etc.
The reports can be helpful to analyze trends and create new strategies. There can be nothing more concrete than actual numbers when monitoring progress.
AWeber allows the user to export the reports, making it easier for one to share the report with others. You can even add the report on the dashboard. It can help you keep a close eye on the parameter you are more interested in following.
The reports section has to be one of the most impressive on this tool. Not many tools provide such an in-depth analytics section. When it comes to taking advantage of these reports, it comes down to the user’s aptitude.
If you are one of those people who like relying on numbers or like to base strategies of cold hard facts and analytics, then AWeber will provide all the necessary information for the purpose.
Since most of the reports are in the form of infographics, one can easily notice the trends and identify the subtle variations.
One uses a variety of applications to take care of different tasks. Most of these apps are great at their jobs, and over time, users get dependent on these applications so much that it becomes difficult for one to function without the app.
While there is nothing wrong with an application being so good that one starts relying on it, the problem arises when it starts conflicting with the other applications that the user has employed.
However, most of the applications these days try to make sure that they are integrable with other tools that their customers might be using. It helps the user save time by bypassing the steps needed to create syn between the two applications.
App integrations have primarily two functions. The most obvious advantage is that one gets to use excellent resources to manage their tasks. It negates all the complications which arise when the two apps are not compatible, and one needs to go looking for options to somehow make things work.
The second advantage, which also happens to be the most relevant for AWeber, is that app integrations help enhance the features of the involved application.
Let us suppose that you are using an application which has been there for quite some time now and is working very well for you. But now you feel that there is a need for one more feature which happens to be missing on the tool. Without any app integration option, you might have to switch to some other app just because of that one feature.
However, with integrations, you can negate that need to switch to a different app use one complimentary tool to take care of the feature.
AWeber also seems to be missing a lot of features which are available on other email marketing tools. If you think that you can still make it work with AWeber by using some applications in conjunction, then app integrations are there to help you out.
AWeber comes with hundreds of integration options. You can use them to fill some of the voids present on AWeber such as landing pages or other forms. You can also use app integrations to make AWeber more efficient and make the best out of it.
One can use other apps to create and integrate landing pages, add trackers, to make get more leads, to connect payments gateways, etc.
You will find applications for any category that you want. One can also say that there are enough to take care of most of the shortcomings that we pointed out in this review.
Some of the tools will have direct integration options while the other ones will need a mediator such as Zapier or Apiant. You will need to first integrate these mediator applications to create a link between two applications of your choice.
It is needless to mention that AWeber transforms into a much better and efficient email automation tool with all the useful integrations in place. One can enjoy the simplicity of AWeber and yet have all the tricks up their sleeves to make it as efficient as technically advanced email automation tools.
AWeber is one of the heavyweights of email automation tools. It has been around there for a long time, helping users take care of email management and marketing.
It might have been one of the more advanced products back in the day, but it doesn’t seem so potent when compared to some of the tools available these days. It is extremely difficult to ignore the fact that AWeber hasn’t done a good job in keeping the platform up to date.
However, there are still a lot of people who are using this product to take care of email marketing. And these people have some strong arguments to make in favor of AWeber.
The most gravitating feature of AWeber is the ease with which one can use it. There is not much of a learning curve here, and since all the available options are not so technically advanced, one can easily hit the ground running on this platform.
If you want an email automation software only for primary purposes like sending out newsletters and don’t see yourself creating landing pages or sending out forms, then AWeber can be the one tool you are looking for.
One notable advantage of being on this platform is that you can experience higher deliverability for your emails. The service providers take care of the fact that their product is not being used by people to send out spams.
It ensures that servers around the world perceive it as friendly service, and therefore, allow emails to reach the inbox of a user.
Coming to the not-so-good parts, one may feel that AWeber’s arsenal misses some very important tools. The automation feature is not as good as it is supposed to be. There are too few options for triggers and action, which makes the feature very inefficient.
One cannot create dynamic forms such as popups and landing pages. One needs to rely on other sources and tools to take care of these actions.
The user-interface on AWeber is again not the best which you will experience. They haven’t changed it for a very long time, and one can almost get a vintage vibe while using the product.
There were so many crests and troughs during the whole review that it is not possible to give a general statement about the tool.
However, we can help you decide if you are considering using AWeber. The only way to answer the question is to think about what is it that you require from the tool. If you need the tool just for a few basic functions, then you can opt for AWeber. It is simply the best email marketing tool for those purposes.
If you are looking for a product, which does more than just email marketing, then you need to look beyond this one. There are a lot of email automation tools which provide an array of features when it comes to email automation.
Pratik | Submitted On: December 31, 2015, 9:27 pm
I sell info products and Aweber is exactly what you need for such a business. It captures leads and have fantastic toolset to regularly followup with your subscribers with advanced auto responders. Very easy to use.
No pay as you go plan. Require credit card to sign up with free trial. Costly compared to competitors.
I am happy with them overall despite a bit higher pricing. Their auto responder system is way too easy to setup and even very novice friendly.