4. Affordable: I was willing to pay more money for better features, but wasn’t convinced I needed to be paying $200-$300/month for those. I know many, many, entrepreneurs who pay those fees and like I say above, use a fraction of its capabilities. I didn’t feel that was necessary for my business – at the point of consideration, I didn’t have a complex business with numerous products or sales funnels. For the past couple of years while my kids are home on crazy-small school schedules (right now I have 2.5 hours per day), I have been primarily working 1:1 with clients and offering My PRO Plan. This will change in Fall 2016 when both kids are in school full time (I can’t even imagine!?!) and I have more time to execute on my ideas, but for now, the big shot services weren’t needed.
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.
Let’s say you run a blog about dog training. You give away a free eBook called Teach Your Dog to Sit to anyone who signs on to your list. You then head into your Aweber dashboard and set up a few follow ups. The first follow up is another free dog training lesson, perhaps about how to get your dog to stay. Make sure it is packed full of value. Then a few days later send out another free lesson. A day later send out another email with another dog training guide, this time priced at $49. It could be your complete guide or another must have product.
I’m not sure but as far as I can remember (or at least about 2 years ago) I found a function to activate the subscribers without their needing to opt-in (even though a warning from Aweber would pop up). I lost about 70% of my subscribers in my very small list back then when I changed, but I’ve been able to grow it ten-fold since. And I used opt-in, because I didn’t want anyone to complain to me later.
The Smart Passive Income Blog started in October 2008 simply as a place for me to report and talk about everything that was happening with my business at GreenExamAcademy.com. Starting an online business changed my life and saved my butt after getting laid off, and it was the least I could do to pay it forward and hopefully help others that had met struggles during the recession, too.
As you can see, these emails are scheduled to be sent to our subscribers after a certain amount of days of them being subscribed to us. We’ve more emails that are sent during this period too, and it means that once someone subscribes to our newsletter, they’ll receive consistent messages from us (but not excessively, or too little) from the very beginning.
Upon signing up there’s a skippable introductory video. AWeber has a bit more of a setup procedure than most ESPs; to get started, you’ll need to fill out information including the business address you want to feature on the bottom of emails, as well as any customizations you want to make to AWeber’s standard opt-in confirmation message. Once you’ve finished those basic configurations, you’ll be free to explore the program.
Linking campaigns can also come in handy if you want to do things like nurture prospects into loyal customers. If you host a contest to raise awareness of your brand and supercharge your list growth, you’ll then need to tell them more about yourself. After your welcome series, try leading them into an educational series about your business and product offerings.

Don’t sell sand in the desert. Even if you use an award-winning design and have the best deals on the market, you won’t be successful if you don’t get the right offers to the right people. One-size-fits-all messages are not effective or profitable. Imagine that you provide a free trial of your software although your subscribers are already your clients. Or, that you want to sell sausages to vegans.
There were a lot of other options on the table for higher-level email marketing too, such as Ontarport (formerly known as Office Autopilot), but I remembered an Infusionsoft “sister” conference where I gave the keynote presentation in 2014 called PartnerCON and I met a lot of the staff over at Infusionsoft, which left me with a great impression of the company, so I decided to roll with it.
The primary thing to keep in mind, the supermagic key, is that HTML is used for meaning and CSS is used for presentation. HTML is nothing more than fancy structured content and the visual formatting of that content will come later when we tackle CSS. You might find different approaches elsewhere on the web but HTML Dog focuses on best practice from the outset and getting into the frame of mind of doing things the right way from the start will lead to much better results in the end.
My book, Will It Fly?, will help you choose and test your next business idea. If you’ve already got a business and are struggling to keep up with the workload, I highly recommend my friend Chris Ducker’s book, Virtual Freedom. Chris teaches you how to work with virtual staff to free up your time to focus on the important tasks in your life. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase Virtual Freedom through the link to the right.]
In my opinion, Aweber is The Best email autoresponder on the market today. As someone who is a HUGE FAN of Aweber, I find it sad that you left them without calling customers support OR MYSELF, JUPITER JIM, (on skype, of course) to help walk you through things. It is so easy, breezy when they just walk you through everything step-by-step over the phone.
I actually use both services today so I can keep this review up to date. Overall, I think Aweber has a better deliverability rate which is a huge reason to use them. Furthermore, i like the way they do autoresponders much better than MC. On the flip side, MC has a much easier to use API if you are into coding and manipulating your lists programmatically.
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 Autoresponder 2.0 is probably the most advanced feature that GetResponse launched a couple of months ago. With their new autoresponder feature we can now create message cycles that are timely and relevant — all adjusted precisely to subscriber needs and expectations and send them automatically. As a result the open and click are higher and hence lead to more conversions. - Ram Shengale
Let’s say you run a blog about dog training. You give away a free eBook called Teach Your Dog to Sit to anyone who signs on to your list. You then head into your Aweber dashboard and set up a few follow ups. The first follow up is another free dog training lesson, perhaps about how to get your dog to stay. Make sure it is packed full of value. Then a few days later send out another free lesson. A day later send out another email with another dog training guide, this time priced at $49. It could be your complete guide or another must have product.
On the Baltimore Fishbowl today: A long read and data dive by @EMcLeod_BFB @skinny412 and I about weed possession arrests in Baltimore since decriminalization / SPOILER ALERT: 96% of those arrests were Black Baltimoreans https://baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/structural-racism-and-cannabis-black-baltimoreans-still-disproportionately-arrested-for-weed-after-decriminalization/ …pic.twitter.com/jwPNnqB3in
A very informative post. I really liked the offer of the free guide to e-mail marketing near the beginning of the article. I’ve already downloaded it and plan to study it at first opportunity. The overall review was concise and to the point. Great information about Aweber. By not giving them a 10/10 and pointing out the flaws, it makes me want give them a try when I’m ready for e-mail marketing.
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.

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.
But the truth is more complicated. You only have one social media account, Facebook — because “everybody is on it”. And you don’t understand why anyone needs a whole YouTube channel. You’ve never uploaded a video to YouTube. And starting your “own blog” is crazy talk. Your read blogs — like this one, but why start your OWN blog? Sounds scary. Hell, you’re still on the bubble about whether you need a website.
As for email services, well actually there is a limit on how many emails you can send from a free gmail or yahoo account. Sending out mass emails is considered abuse of service by these free email service providers. Your emails will either end up in spam folder of your users, or they will not recieve them at all. It is also possible that your email service can suspend your account for violation of terms of use. This is why you need a third party email service.
As a total beginner to all of this, there is a serious “learning curve” in just getting to this point. If all I want to do is create a mailing list – why do i have to have a third party mailing service if I use yahoo or gmail? Does this mean that I have to sign up with mailchimp or aweber? I find this all a bit confusing as to why i need to do this at all? and then what happens if in the future, i want to add this feature? right now i have no budget to pay additional fee-services, so it is just not an option. I find navigating all of this extremely confusing as a first time user of WP and setting up a site. Many of the plugins break my site and cause serious problems, so i am very leery on downloading additional plugins. most of them have 4-5 – star ratings but only have a few comments that created that rating. If you could consider taking one (or two) step(s) back and try to explain on a more basic level – i think that would really help beginners. I am finding all of this social media, feedburner, etc to be extremely time consuming and the blog comments i am getting are ALL advertisers, so I have marked them as spam and deleted them without displaying on my site.
Aweber is another favorite tool that is aimed at small and mid-sized businesses. It also packs an enormous amount of features, making it an outstanding email management software tool. Automation, tracking and template building are all easy to perform with this tool, earning it a place on this shortlist. It can also be easily integrated into all types of websites.
A cool way to tease your email content is to syndicate your content on a platform like Medium or LinkedIn Pulse. Or, team up with an influencer in your space to help spread the word about the awesome content you’re sending through email. The more you promote yourself to relevant communities and groups, the more likely you are to keep your email list growing and growing.
Perhaps I overshot and started using something that was way beyond what I needed, or maybe it was the way it’s built that didn’t jive with my workflow, but whatever the case may be, I knew I had to look for another solution—a simpler solution—and I needed to find one quickly. My team is close to the point of implementation on a brand new website design, very much inspired by the results of the survey we ran recently here on SPI.

Think about implementing referral links to incentivize your subscribers to spread awareness about your brand, too. Referral links allow your current customers to promote trackable links for your business. In exchange for sending new paying customers your way, you can give them incentives like discounts, coupons, vouchers, cash, prizes or redeemable points.
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