As with most ESPs, you’ll need to certify that any list you upload is permission-based and conforms with the provider’s anti-spam policies. AWeber takes this a step farther than some. You will need to enter the source of the email list when you upload it, and AWeber requires confirmed opt-in for all addresses. This means your first email will have to be a request for your subscribers to confirm their subscriptions. Anyone who doesn’t confirm can’t be on your list. (AWeber does allow some exceptions to this rule if you have a list that has already gone through confirmed opt-in with another ESP.)
Make sales on autopilot. Creating a sales funnel out of an email autoresponder sequence is a widely adopted strategy used by information marketers, but it can also be used by software companies, eCommerce businesses, and service providers. For example, it could consist of a series of educational videos, a sales video, and follow-ups to sell your information products. Or, you could create a sequence of free educational emails, and then invite leads to a live or recorded webinar where you make an offer. For eCommerce businesses, your sales sequence could include promo offers for products your subscriber has just viewed on your website.
It’s one of the most effective marketing approaches because a person who decides to share their information with you shows that they are interested in your blog or business and what it is offering. With this in mind, it is clear that the person is also willing to buy your products or services, explaining why email marketing has high conversion rates.
Tagging subscribers allows you to segment your email list based on certain actions your subscribers take, such as signing up from a specific form, downloading or purchasing a certain product, clicking a specific link, etc. Then, you can send emails or run campaigns for specific tags, and on top of all that there are a ton of automation and sequencing logic you can set up to trigger certain events.
AWeber offers three email editors: a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor, a plain text editor, and an HTML editor for those who prefer to code their own emails. The WYSIWYG editor is pretty easy to use and allows for a fair degree of customization, though not quite as much as I would have liked. You can insert a simple “Click here” button, coupon, logo, or signature with the click of a button. Social share buttons are easy to generate once you link AWeber with your Facebook and Twitter account. Drafts are autosaved every two minutes, and you can see a list of previous versions (so that if you accidentally delete something, you can usually retrieve it).
Never send an email without making sure it’s working properly. What looks good in your inbox can look broken or mangled in someone else’s. Use tools that can help you with testing your SPAM score, deliverability and the rendering of your email. There are plenty of free or freemium solutions that provide screenshots of your email in dozens of different email platforms.
One of the challenges I’ve had with email marketing is figuring out exactly what to offer and when. I’ve tried the pretty HTML newsletter, but it felt like overkill at times and a little dated (there are of course a few awesome ones out there, but it just never felt like me). I tried taking an ‘e-letter’ approach but felt overwhelmed with creating original content for the newsletter on top of the blog. And more recently, I’ve simply been sending out broadcasts when a new blog or podcast is published. And this is all fine.
AWeber finds a healthy balance between ease of use and robust functionality. There are some nice features — particularly in the autoresponder realm — but navigation is intuitive enough that I was able to perform basic tasks without looking up tutorials. When I did find myself at a loss and turned to the online help resources, I was quite impressed with the range and scope of guidance available.
Freedom to make decisions is something I allow and trust my team to do on several levels without ever needing my permission. It makes us move much faster. If they know certain decisions help support the main objectives and value of the brand, and it’s not something that could potentially damage the brand or cost more than $500 (this isn’t a hard number, it’s a rule of thumb), then they are free to take the reins and continue moving forward.
Migration can actually be a major pain in the ass. Although according to aWeber my list was “substantially clean” but I still needed to get all my readers to reconfirm their subscriptions. After a week I’m still waiting for 70% of them to reconfirm. NOT happy. If I stuck to mailchimp I wouldn’t have had these problems. (Their support guys are good though.)
You see, the people on your email list are your best customers. They have visited your site and found it interesting enough to subscribe for more content. For that reason alone, they are much more likely to listen to any offers you may send them (affiliate promotions, product sales, discount coupons, etc.). So, having a large email list can actually be quite profitable, which is why bloggers and website owners hold them in such high regard.