Choosing the right email list services provider is critical to any business. Such a service provides valuable targeted visitors to a business’ website, a constant source of traffic, repeat traffic and sales of the services and products of the business. Since this service is a mainstay for any successful business, you should choose an auto-responder service after carefully considering the features offered and those you require for your business. The following guidelines should help you towards that end.
MailChimp offers a free subscription option of their service, for an indefinite period of time, but only as long as you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers and you send out fewer than 12,000 emails a month. While this may sound enticing, you do not have access to their full suite of features and services. Excluded from the free subscription are features such as delivery doctor (this tests your campaigns at the click of a button to identify potential problems with consumer ISPs and spam filters), inbox inspector (this ensures your email looks great in major email clients), time warp (ensures email delivery and times of delivery), and the full auto-responder capabilities is not included.
Aweber however, charges $1 for the first month of service and although this trial service provides for only 500 subscribers, it allows unlimited email sending, a 30-day money back guarantee and access to their full-featured service. Following the trial month, Aweber charges $19.99 for the first 500 subscribers.
In both Aweber and MailChimp the user interface provides many features, tools and functions to learn so the learning curve may be steep for some. Aweber provides many how-to videos for practically everything so you are never at a loss trying to figure anything out. Aweber’s interface may not be as user friendly but it certainly is powerful. MailChimp provides guides and videos as well as a colorful, user friendly interface. The two services seem equally matched as far as their interface is concerned.
Form Design Tools
Aweber offers a large variety of custom form designs for your opt-in forms. A wizard allows you to customize the size, wording, font and color elements of the designs. The process focuses more on inbuilt opt-in forms, and although it may be a little slow, you will not run out of design ideas. You may also use these forms to create a mini website and host it on Aweber’s site.
MailChimp provides external opt-in forms that can be used as opt-in pages hosted on MailChimp’s site. A skilled web designer could make his own forms from scratch using MailChimp’s design tools. The GUI tool can be used even by novices to create designs including pop-ups. The service provides only three templates for onsite forms and they are known as Naked, Classic and Super Slim.
Drafting and Email Design
Although Aweber provides a good choice of email templates to choose from, it does not have very sophisticated text editing software. Care should be taken when text is copied and pasted into the email templates. Aweber has advised they will be releasing a new version of the text editor that will be more user-friendly and will fix current problems experienced by the current editor.
MailChimp however, supplies a large number of email templates, ranging from highly stylized to very basic. The interface for designing HTML emails is very flexible and you may even host images on their site. The site runs much slower however, and that is possibly because of the loaded images used by its user interface.
Aweber provides a sophisticated tracking system that tells which links a subscriber clicked on, when they were clicked and when emails were opened. MailChimp provides no such tracking, and only uses a rudimentary system of placing a star next to a subscriber who opens an email. Conversion tracking is provided by Aweber for those who sell products on their websites, and users of the sites can be traced from the email links to the websites.
Another distinction between the two services is that your domain links in an email are emailed in the exact format with Aweber emails, whereas with MailChimp the links are converted to very long and strange looking links that many subscribers are wary of clicking. The links in the Aweber emails do not look suspicious to readers and using them result in high click through rates.
Auto Responder Efficiency
Aweber and MailChimp manage their email lists differently. Aweber manages its email follow up sequence by assigning a number to each message that goes to its subscribers, and each message is spaced by a certain number of days from the last message. It is always possible to tell which messages were sent to which subscribers. In the MailChimp system, it is possible to send emails to just a few subscribers of a list based on specific criteria. The same is not possible in the Aweber system. Both systems are equally effective in their follow-up methods.
Aweber certainly has the edge over MailChimp in the area of support. Live customer support is available with Aweber Monday through Sundays at specified times by telephone and through live chat, and international customer support is possible with a special number. Support can also be reached through email. The only support available with MailChimp is email, and customers may wait up to 24 hours before they receive a response to their queries.
In the end, when considering MailChimp or Aweber, Aweber’s powerful email follow-up and tracking system, as well as their high email delivery rate, by far outweighs that of MailChimp. In its favor, MailChimp allows greater form design flexibility, but once the form is designed, deliverability and tracking become features for daily monitoring and concern, and that is the strong point for the Aweber system.
MailChimp’s terms of service does not let you to promote affiliate products whereas Aweber does, so an online marketer will need to carefully scrutinize the TOS of the auto-responder he is considering before he makes a decision to purchase.
Aweber’s introductory $1 price for the first month makes it easily affordable for any marketer now starting out, especially as access is given to all resources of the service. When all features and services are considered, Aweber offers a better and more powerful auto-responder service than MailChimp.
I have made my first sale with commission of $97 with only 9 subscribers in my list.
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