“As my list has grown, I’ve just remained focused on the next metric right ahead of me. First it was just to hit 200 subscribers, then 300 subscribers, then 400 subscribes. Eventually the goal was 1,000 subscribers, then 2,000 etc. etc. As I’ve gone past 10,000 and 20,000 and beyond I’ve actually started to focus more not on the sheer number but on engagement.” – John Corcoran, Smart Business Revolution
With Aweber, it is very easy to sort through your list to find out who hasn’t confirmed. But as far as I can tell, there’s no way to send out an automatic reminder. However, you can do this manually since you have their email address. Plus I believe you can tell if they’ve even looked at the confirmation email so you can sort out who you want to remind vs someone who is truly not interested anymore.
Basic: Each week I send out an email about my latest podcast episode. Now, I create a rule that says that if they click on the link inside my email (sending them to my show notes page), they get tagged as Interest: Podcast. That means, should I ever want to send an email to those that I know are interested in my podcast, I can just select this tag. Easy.
One thing that one must not forget is also integration with your existing website. If your running on Joomla, WordPress, Drupal or such likes, better you find how the user integration will go with your CMS and one of those email services. You don’t want the client to have to register for your autoresponder on one form and then have to register a second time for your website! You may find that plug-ins to do such things might restrict your choice, check it out first or consult with your webmaster!
Just in case you’re new to the whole email marketing landscape, Aweber (along with MailChimp, ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, Ontraport and countless others) are email marketing systems designed to allow you to capture subscriber emails and then send them direct messages straight to their inbox. Some are very basic doing only email marketing, and some are full service systems that also include commerce and CRM capabilities.
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But in this guide you have a blueprint, practical tips and actual real world working tools that you can put in practice right now. So just get started where you can and take action. There is a term called “analysis paralysis” where some do so much analyzing they become overwhelmed and fail to get the real work done. It is easy to happen in this internet space where we are literally in the information business.
I’m sure you have heard it many times but providing the value to your readers should be a priority. Don’t send them an email full of ads. Any advertisement should be relevant to the content. Remember that content comes first, ads come second. Talk about the benefits, not features. If you have a product you want to promote, think what value it can bring and add relevant info.
Advanced: When people subscribe to my list, I can create a main course and then invite people to self-select into the various interest areas that are relevant to them. For example, if you are tired of spinning your wheels and don’t know what to do next in your business, and you click a link related to that, you’d then get tagged as “Nurture: focus and planning” and that would then automatically unsubscribe you from the main course, and put you into a new course designed to provide you with value that could help you figure out your next steps and get focused.
With the rapid pace of change you don’t have to know everything there is to know in your niche to get started. If you’re only a few steps ahead of your audience then you’re the leader. As you apply your knowledge and follow your passion you learn even more. This becomes valuable information which you can package and pass to your audience. So how do you get paid?
I use Ratepoint because they also offer a review (testimonial) widget I have posted on my site. Ratepoint has a promotion that offers free mailing list service forever if your list is 125 or less. Obviously most of us will want more than 125 folks reading our newsletters but it’s a good start. Good templates, tracking and definitely awesome support.
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.)
To start, you’ll have 700+ templates to choose from. There are some very nice layout customization options here, once you learn how to use them. AWeber uses both “sections” and “blocks” in its organization. Blocks are elements like text boxes, images, etc. Sections are the frameworks in which they exist. Most programs use similar organization, though they may use different terminology. The difference comes in your ability to edit or customize the sections themselves. In previous versions, the ability to customize elements like buttons was limited–you couldn’t change the text of buttons–but you now have the ability to easily customize those elements.
Let me say right out of the gate, that I would still recommend Aweber to business owners. It’s a great solution and is well regarded in the industry, particularly for their rigour of asking for the double opt-in to minimize spammers and assure permission (this is where a subscriber has to confirm via email that they do in fact want to receive information). It’s reasonably priced, and has many of the basic features needed to do good email marketing. MailChimp is comparable too – however, despite my love for their awesome branding, it lacks features that even Aweber has down. It’s great for a basic business owner.
“Mailchimp was great when I just had a blog. Now that I have my book, I’m starting to have products, it’s more of a business. I didn’t think that Mailchimp could handle me. I needed something a little more versatile that could target the people that I sent things to depending on what list they were on or what they clicked. It needed to be a little more sophisticated for me. That’s why I needed to switch over.”