Send new subscribers a “welcome” sequence. This is the message that you send to people right after they subscribe to your email list. It could contain a link to your lead magnet for an easy download, a thank you for subscribing, or maybe a call-to-action to check out your most popular blog posts. Every email list needs a welcome series: don’t miss this chance to “woo” your new subscribers and turn them into loyal fans!
We’ve changed email marketing from iContact to MailChimp and, just now, Aweber. We changed from iContact to MailChimp to cut costs. We then switched to Aweber because Mailchimp will not allow you to start an Autoresponder series on an imported list PLUS, as you mentioned, Aweber has much more robust measuring/management tools. However, people should be aware that Aweber requires imported subscribers to opt-in all over again.
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).
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.
Email marketing is such a critical component of business for most companies (with the rare exception) because you able to communicate with your audience in the place they spend a good chunk of time (their inboxes). You also have the added benefit of building an asset (an email list) that no external platform (I’m talking to you Facebook) can mess with.
The newsletter is something you can offer in addition to the normal follow ups. You can write a number of very short posts on news in the industry, summarise and provide links to the best articles over the past month, year and then add short mentions of products eg use your aweber and Bluehost affiliate links under a products I use section at the bottom.
Their Follow Up feature is the perfect way to send introductory emails to new subscribers (say you want to introduce them to your most popular posts or send in a 5-series email campaign covering your latest project) before they receive your usual newsletters. Many users prefer AWeber for its comprehensive phone support and ability to integrate seamlessly with other web apps.
I have used Aweber for years, but wondered is I should try another service. One thing I do not like about Aweber is they don’t allow you to upload a list of contacts. I know that some of the other companies do. So, I appreciate your comparison. It makes Aweber a little more comfortable. If anyone is interested I do have a free booklet on “71 Ways to Get Free Traffic” that can be found here http://trafficmadeeasy.net/71-ways. Thanks for the article.
Click through rates. Once your subscribers have opened your email, are they actually taking the action you need them to take? If you think that you have a low click-through rate, perhaps your body copy is not as effective as it needs to be. Consider the following: Is the copy of your email relevant to the subject line? Did you offer real value to your subscribers in the email? Is your call-to-action clear enough? Is the link easy to find?
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.
What I was trying to get across (and perhaps I didn’t make myself clear here, my fault), is that there are also other equally excellent services. I mentioned MailChimp as someone mentioned they’d like a mail list manager but couldn’t afford AW. MC is free for the first 1000 subscribers, and I think for a large proportion of entrepreneurs, that is enough to get started (more than enough, probably).
I have so many people reach out and tell me that they feel discouraged with their small email lists. But, since we’ve already established that these are actual human beings, I like to take a much more visual approach. When you think about the 50 or 100 people on your list, think about having that many people in a single room to hear you speak. They’ve all shown up to hear whatever it is you have to say.
That’s it, and now you have successfully created your first Email list using MailChimp, and you are officially in the way of becoming an Email-marketer. The good thing about Mailchimp is; it’s design and every field is interactive, so even if you are new, you will never be lost. More over, you can always ping their support for any help, or search for tutorials like this to learn more. You can take advantage of any of these WordPress Email marketing plugins to quickly integrate MailChimp on your blog.
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.)
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.
I love Aweber! Have been using them for about a year now. I still use Feedburner for subscribers but I use Aweber for my newsletter and five-part drip campaign. It’s worked well for me and my readers are highly engaged. In 2010 I did a short e-course and that worked well. The next step for me is to find ways to create more ever-green content and build it into the newsletter and think about another ebook for sale (as in the process you described) or another e-course.