This blog post is the third installment of our new series, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing. For eight weeks, we’re featuring a new article that covers a specific area of focus in email marketing! Last week, we wrote about planning your email marketing strategy. This week, it’s all about list growth! Want a sneak peek into the content? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing.

AWeber is an easy-to-use email marketing tool that allows business owners and entrepreneurs to cultivate relationships with their customers. Since 1998, AWeber has been the email engine powering the growth of organizations around the world, including leading sites like Social Media Examiner and ProBlogger and industry influencers such as Peter Shankman and Ann Handley.
There are hundreds of millions of users on social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google, LinkedIn just to name a few. Many of these people are looking for exactly what you offer. And unlike traditional marketing where you must pay huge monies upfront for advertising in print, radio, television and outdoor the digital marketing world has changed the game. You can get started online advertising with daily budgets as low as $1. Then optimize and scale up based on research. You can even boost your free content to increase views and conversions.
Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms. Writing copy for emails or landing pages is different than writing the academic research paper. Marketers should cut down on flowery language wherever possible. Use a conversational tone. Check your text with the Hemingway App. Don’t worry; replacing big words with common synonyms won’t make you look uneducated. Most people in the United States read at a 7th-8th-grade level.
With that said, I’d like to offer up perhaps the most useful piece of advice that I think can really help you to create great content. It is simply this – be personable. You shouldn’t manufacture a personality (we can’t all be Johnny B. Truant or Ashley Ambirge), but don’t be afraid to let your true character shine through. Draw from personal experiences – use stories to bring your posts to life.
A low open rate means that people have started to either ignore your messages, or delete them as soon as they receive them. (Or, what I do, is mark them as “read” and just leave them there – probably never to be actually read!) If your open rates are low, you need to work on your email marketing game. Take a look at the previous emails you’ve sent them, or at your subject lines. Something about those emails has deterred your subscriber from opening them up, so tweak and test until you get higher open rates.

You can build a large following of targeted people who are also interested in your niche. Put you niche into the search bar on Twitter and check out the results. You will find out who is posting right now. What videos are out there. Who are some of the industry influencers. Questions that people are asking. And even who are some of the competitors.
I was diligently serving my small (but growing) list with useful advice, information and excellent articles. I had great response from people in my list and I was extremely careful to send useful information related to my niche. Why do they think I am a risk ? I don’t know as the Chimp wouldn’t say ! Maybe they are doing too well and they need to cut down the number of their customers
Focus on design is what sets Campaign Monitor apart from other email marketing tools. With their tagline Your design is guaranteed to look amazing in every inbox on every device, their professionally-designed email templates will surely get your emails noticed and clicked by subscribers. Campaign Monitor also allows for conditional content in emails to customize the information for each of your contacts. Users love how it's a breeze to add contacts via bulk import, forms, and social networks through this email marketing software.
Great article comparison and review! Man I wished I had read this before getting in bed with mailchimp.com – You are correct they have the WORST customer service there is… I have been waiting for more than 24 hours now for a resolution as to why they suspend my account – turns out I didnt answer some questions in a lengthy email they send out. I could not call them because they do not have a phone number.
When choosing a theme, focus on something that is clean and uncluttered. Please refrain from going for anything particularly striking or “flashy” – it’ll typically result in a blog design that is not conducive to reader retention. Social Triggers is a great example of how a clean and simple design with plenty of whitespace offers an experience that is easy on the eye.
Note: it needs to be said that Aweber has *just* rolled out a new beta upgrade called Campaigns which I would assume, aims to do some of these features. I received my invite just as I was making the switch to ConvertKit, so I haven’t tried it. It may do the trick. That said, some of the other features I dislike about Aweber are still relevant, so regardless of this new feature, I’m staying put with ConvertKit.
MailChimp does not allow content that references the terms “make money at home”, ‘get rich quick’, or other similar terms. These keywords overlap keywords used by ISPs and SpamCop organizations to block content associated with spammers from those industries. This generates too much risk for us to encounter automated spam filter blocks for all of our customers.
The key is when visitors hit your blog it needs to look like something. This will lure visitors to want to sign up for your mailing list in exchange for something of value that you offer. This could be a special report, an ebook or some other free gift. Marketers call these “lead magnets” because you’re attracting leads that you can eventually convert as you sell them products and services.
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.)

Your products have always impress me, especially how you took a product, completely redesign and repackage to make it look unique and professional. Your products have helped me build a huge mailing list, generate sales and even set up membership sites to conduct e-courses. Please continue to keep up your good work and quality of your products. Take care! - Eric Tan


Businesses that choose to make email offers, usually belong to the e-commerce industry. The benefit for those who are on the mailing list is specific offers that they can get from your company. This kind of approach provides value for both parties. The business can increase the number of sold items, whereas the customer is in a special position as a result of being subscribed to your business.
The funds you deposit with a futures commission merchant may be invested by the futures commission merchant in certain types of financial instruments that have been approved by the Commission for the purpose of such investments. Permitted investments are listed in Commission Regulation 1.25 and include: U.S. government securities; municipal securities; money market mutual funds; and certain corporate notes and bonds. The futures commission merchant may retain the interest and other earnings realized from its investment of customer funds. You should be familiar with the types of financial instruments that a futures commission merchant may invest customer funds in.
In this next section we’re going to get more detailed about setting up your blog. Whenever I ask an audience “how many of you have a blog?” I’m always amazed at how few people raise their hand and say yes. I’ve asked business owners of all types. Hair salons, HVAC, chiropractors, not-for-profits, freight forwarders, crypto and the majority are missing this tool.
I have tried just about every membership platform out there. The are either buggy, cumbersome or WAY too expensive – especially if you are just getting started. ProductDyno fills a much needed void. It’s easy affordable and they have thought of everything. This thing has so many integrations and features you might think you are… “Finally The Perfect Solution Made Affordable”
I’ve worked with Promote Labs now for over 11 years. Year after year Jeremy and Simon have landed at the top of my leaderboards for Internet Marketing products with a strong emphasis on Video Marketing. These are VERY competitive leaderboards with sales hitting both six and seven figures. The additional effort that they put into… “Solid Killer Promotions Year After Year”
Wherever your one person is, that’s where you want to be. Focus your time and energy on developing a following on just one or two sites. Otherwise you’ll spread yourself too thin. Share other people’s content along with your original content while you’re building up your blog. Determine the best posting frequency for each site and then automate scheduling and posting. Feedly, IFTT and Buffer are great for scheduling other people’s content and Hootsuite and Meet Edgar are great for scheduling original content.
This was all possible with Aweber, with some drawbacks (and one of the reasons I switched to ConvertKit). While you could set up an autoresponder sequence in Aweber, it was not easy or convenient to segment out those users who were in the sequence from getting your main newsletter or blog broadcasts. So, it was possible that people were getting multiple emails from me a week.
However, if you are willing to invest some money in your learning, I would heartily recommend that you stop reading immediately and grab yourself a copy of Start a Blog that Matters. This is an online course developed by the aforementioned Corbett Barr, and I cannot recommend it enough. I have been running through the course material over the last couple of months, and it has revolutionized my approach to blogging (which some of you may well have observed with interest).
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.
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.
For example, if a particular subscriber’s message number is 4, that means that that subscriber has already received follow-up emails 1,2 and 3. So if I have a 7 part follow up message sequence and I write a brand new followup email (message 8 in the sequence), there is no real way for me to prevent this subscriber from receiving message 8 unless I make his or her message number higher than 8. But if I do this, then that subscriber will never receive messages 4,5,6 or 7.
Another thing about your list. Don’t worry when people unsubscribe — because they will. There are a variety of reasons so don’t take it personal. Maybe they’re just reducing the size of their inbox. Or perhaps they were just interested in your freebie offer. Chance are they were not going to buy from you anyway. Just keep providing quality content and those who join will far exceed those who choose to unsubscribe.
Overall, our impression and experiences show that Aweber is easy to use, they have a great reputation, and they’ve been around for a long time. We have quite a few subscribers with Aweber since this is one of the first autoresponders we started using. Since we’ve been with them for a long time, we’ve also noticed their delivery can be iffy at times.
So with these factors in mind, I had been staying put with Aweber because they met a number of these criteria. But I knew that I really wanted to up level my email marketing and put more customized sequences and automation into place so that the user experience could be much better, and I would have a clearer picture of my audience and what they want from me.

I don’t know. I’ve been building it for 5 years and only ever added an address when a reader expressly asked me by email to add him (I kept the proof). Gave aWeber my login details and apparently that wasn’t good enough. They waffled that their spam rate is below 0.1% industry standard and mine is slightly above. All I can think is that a handful of readers have been too dumb, lazy or spiteful to just unsubscribe and instead just report me for spam. 🙁 All I know is that my conscience is clear.
Variations of “Hello {!firstname_fix}” have become the norm in email marketing, not the outlier. Because of that, it’s losing its effectiveness. You can still use name personalization, but you also want to think about going a step further. At AWeber, we recommend segmenting your audience and sending each segment tailored messages with unique subject lines.
Enter the autoresponder. The autoreposnder (or as ConvertKit calls it, a Course), is a series of messages that get sent in succession automatically. You write them once, determine the frequency, and then subscribers get these same messages no matter when they join your list. It’s a fabulous strategy because you build it once and then you can rest knowing that even if you can’t send something in real-time, they are still getting these carefully crafted emails.
I have tried just about every membership platform out there. The are either buggy, cumbersome or WAY too expensive – especially if you are just getting started. ProductDyno fills a much needed void. It’s easy affordable and they have thought of everything. This thing has so many integrations and features you might think you are… “Finally The Perfect Solution Made Affordable”
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.
I am a consultant in the Home Based Business Industry. My passion for helping others succeed in there business is what I love... The huge value you bring with your professional products is incredible. I recommend and share your products and training with my team and other serious Business owners. It has helped my business and affiliates take it to the next level. Your customer for life! - Dale Copenhaver
Your material is easy to follow, easy to read, professional. Where do you get the creative juices to do all this stuff? I come back to your sites often and check out all the others as well. I don’t want to miss any new product that you put out there. Keep up the excellent work, keep on providing exceptional value for your customers’ buck, and may fortune smile upon you as you go about your life. - Danny Fortune
Let your recipients know what you want them to do (sign up for a trial, claim a discount, etc.). An ideal call to action should draw attention, be clear and, of course, be clickable. Design a big button, so it’s easy to click on mobile devices. If your email is long, add another call to action, so your subscribers don’t have to scroll to find it. Make a CTA copy compelling.

Sign up for free trials to see which email marketing tool you consider easy to use. Their prices vary. MailChimp and MoonMail are the great ones to start with if you don’t have a big mailing list. They offer a forever free trial if you have up to 2000 contacts. Some of the other popular brands are GetResponse, Active Campaign, AWeber, Constant Contact, and many more.
Six tabs along the top of the screen direct you to Home, Messages, Subscribers, Sign Up Forms, Reports, and List Options. Some of these have drop-down options. Links to My Lists, My Apps, and Help, along with My Account, can be found in the upper right-hand corner. Your home page is an account overview which displays new subscribers, scheduled and recently sent messages and list stats.
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