“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


Split testing is one of those tasks that I’ve always hated because of how complicated and time consuming it is. I knew it was important but man, was it difficult to get right…that is, until now. Like all of Promote Labs software Split Test Monkey takes a really complex task and makes it “point and… “Split Test Monkey takes a really complex task and makes it “point and click” easy.”

Great timing. My billing info on mailchimp needs updating so now is a good time to switch to aweber. When I had to decide between the two a few years ago I picked mailchimp because their template system is way cooler. Aweber’s stuff looks like teenagers’ homework assignments in the 90’s. In contrast to an all male engineering team mailchimp seems to have a few girls on board to spruce things up. But as you said the functionality behind the email is more important than the look so I’m jumping ship. Oh, I’ll also be saving $20 pm.
I asked him several other questions and he took me deeper into the software to show me some cool automation tools and how tagging and segmentation worked. He also took me into the analytics and even some of the early integrations ConvertKit has with companies like Gumroad, which make it incredibly easy for me to new link customers of The Smart Podcast Player to a “course” in ConvertKit to send them a pre-written autoresponder series.
I have used both, and I agree with your analysis. The great thing about MailChimp is that it lets you see the email in different clients. That is really the hardest thing about sending emails. However, you can use that service without doing everything else through MailChimp. Also, once you get the hang of it and develop templates, it no longer is much of an issue.

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


For creating and delivering surveys, I’m a fan of both Survey Monkey and Typeform. They both allow you to create in-depth surveys to ask questions of your audience. When you’re ready to create surveys, be sure to read the book I mentioned in Video #2, Ask by Ryan Levesque. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through the Survey Monkey or Typeform links to the right.]
On the other hand, you have pointed out a problem that Aweber should address and that is their training and instruction materials. They should definitely have better video and written tutorials on how to use everything. And while I found the ‘get started’ webinar extremely helpful, years ago, you shouldn’t have to get on a webinar to learn about the product. At the very least, they should record one of those webinars so you can just click and watch any time you want!
The fundamental idea is to give people something that aligns with the type of subscriber you seek. For example, if you wish to have a list of SciFi readers, a free SFF short story, book, or character dossier would be very appetizing to the sort of people you wish to attract. It can’t be something they can get from anywhere (like an Amazon gift card) but instead something genuine that you have created.
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.
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.
Now don't tell Aweber, but I signed up to every one of the lists I created in my account. I signed up with disposable email accounts. I signed up with Yahoo mail.  I signed up with Gmail. I signed up with abut half a dozen different accounts. Guess what?  Every email hit the inbox. Every. single. one.  When you are building your list, you HAVE to KNOW that the emails are going to stand every chance of being seen and opened by your subscribers.  Why else would you send emails right?

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.
Personally, product creation is something I've always enjoyed. Still, it can be hard at times to come up with ideas for new products that are unique, or have a unique twist to them. Even an experienced and creative individual can learn a lot from this video series. I know I did. I especially appreciated the lessons on product pricing, how to get testimonials, and creating multimedia packages. Not to forget the sources for ideas, which are priceless! Once again you've knocked it out of the ballpark with this one! Thanks! - Karen Denning
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.
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
Email marketing tools offer a wide selection of ready-to-use templates. They can save lots of your time, and you won’t need to worry about how your email will display across different devices. You can also use a drag-and-drop editor in your email system to design your template. Add blocks like images, social media buttons or text blocks, customize styles and other elements.
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.
Thanks for all this wonderful information. I write both fiction and nonfiction. I’m wondering if I need to create two lists that people could sign up for. Or should I just have one? The audiences have some overlap but are mostly different. How do I handle this, short of having two websites (which I don’t want to do)–I currently have one author website. Thanks for any advice.

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.

Here at ShoutMeLoud, I use a combination of Aweber + Feedburner to maintain my Emailing list. Aweber is paid, and Feedburner one the other hand is free. Though, I prefer a paid auto-responder service, as it gives me more control and more features. There are many other popular Email autoresponder services for bloggers out there, for example, GetResponse, MailChimp. I landed with Aweber because it’s one of the highly recommended services, and after using it for almost a year, I still in love with it.


The TRIBE Breakfast Series will explore what drives mission-based challenger brands. We want to bring together a group of challenger brands and marketing and PR professionals at TRIBE HQ, to share ideas and hear from a number of inspiring voices, so we can learn how to discover and articulate our purpose and better connect with our tribes. All over a (free) delicious, healthy breakfast; granola yoghurt pots, pastries and TRIBE breakfast Shakes.

The first fifteen minutes of our in-person conversation was purely catching up and discussing upcoming family vacations, but then we dove right into the conversation about email marketing. It was not a pitch to join his platform at all. In fact, there was none of that except for a small but expected, “Hey, if Infusionsoft doesn’t work out for you, let me know, and we can see how you might be able to use ConvertKit.”
ashley.. try benchmark as well. the differences i can see, for me anyway are we have 3 products, so want a different company name to show for each, and if they opt out i wanted the option of which list they want to opt out of, even if i send them letter A from list A, but maybe they are also in B and C, they might still want letters from b and c just not A, benchmark and i believe aweber does this. benchmark also allows you to set up a whole load of detailed surveys as well which is cool. mail chimp, if someone opts out of one list the lists are not linked in anyway so then you have to manually check them out of the other lists, and have to assume they want out of all with out giving them the option to chose in and out of what lists.
Use personalization. Personalizing the content of your emails (depending on your segment from Chapter 3) will make it so much more relevant and valuable to them. Personalization goes beyond sticking your subscriber’s first name into the email. You need to tailor the actual content of the email to address their needs. For instance, an online retailer will find it much more valuable to read an email with the subject line, “How to build backlinks to your eCommerce store” than just a generic subject line, “How to build backlinks.”
As a software developer protecting your hard work is an important aspect of selling digital products. You want a licensing system that does what you need, is flexible and not get in your way. ProductDyno does that and more. Other licensing systems make you jump through hoops integrating their services, not so with ProductDyno, it… “Protecting Your Hard Work Is Important”

Very nice comparison of Mailchimp and Aweber. It looks like both Aweber and Mailchimp will suspend you without notice for seemingly trivial reasons. I think it is always good to have a backup system of your own. I use autoresponderplus and 12all scripts and have backups of my campaigns. Aweber is a great service you just never no when you might offend them. It seems like Mailchimp is even touchier. I think the best solution is not to rely completely on any one service. Nice post!

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.

You need to add few details like, Name of your list, Sender name for the list, reply-to email, default subject and few more details. Most of the fields are self-explanatory, so you will not find yourself lost at any moment. There are few fields which are mandatory, for example, Address of your company (In the case of bloggers, you can add your home address). You can leave the default subject field empty, as this will be used when you are sending your first email campaign.
There are drawbacks, however, and they are threefold: first, the program seems to be falling behind on the social media front. Second, AWeber is a little on the pricey side, especially for businesses with very small lists (1000 and under). Once you hit the 2500-subscriber mark, costs are more in line with industry averages. The company has no send-based subscription plan, which means if you have a large list but send infrequent emails, there are probably better choices for you. Third, the company makes its free trial unnecessarily burdensome by requiring a credit card. This would be a minor issue if not for the fact that customers have reported complications with canceling the service.
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