When you’re running an online business, blog, or website, getting traffic to your website is the highest priority. After all, you can’t add subscribers or new customers if people can’t find you.
Many website owners believe they are doing everything they can for marketing; they hired a SEO company to get them to the top of Google, took out Facebook ads, and are still not seeing the traffic numbers they need to justify the cost of all this advertising. What gives?
The truth is that marketing is a many-headed beast that requires more than just 1 or 2 avenues to be successful (especially pay-per-click). Success in marketing is all about finding the right combination of tools and methods to maximize the return on your marketing, and one incredibly cost-effective solution is often forgotten: email marketing.
Why Use an Email Marketing Service?
Email marketing involves sending advertisements out to potential or existing customers/subscribers of your website in an attempt to get them to do something. Chances are that your email is full of them right now (does “Lose 10 lbs. in 1 Week” sound familiar?). When done correctly, Email marketing can be one of the most cost-effective methods of increasing traffic, sales, or members. Email marketing is:
With a few clicks, you can send Emails to thousands of people in just a few seconds. No preparing direct mail or driving to the post office.
Once you know who to send to, your emails can be sent for free. You simply pay for additional tools like email builders or analysis tools.
Because they are totally digital, you can easily monitor responses, site visits, and refine your strategy based on feedback through analytical tools.
Comparing Mailchimp and AWeber
While you can technically do email marketing on your own, there are incredible tools available that make it a little foolish not to take advantage of the benefits they offer. Two of the titans of the email marketing world are Mailchimp and AWeber.
Mailchimp and AWeber are both email marketing services that offer tools to make email marketing easier than ever before. Through a combination of easy-to-use interfaces, email builders, list-management tools, and more, they allow even the newest website owners to take advantage of email marketing.
Below are 4 of the major points that are important to any email marketing services and how Mailchimp and AWeber stack up against each other.
A successful business is all about limiting costs and achieving the best return on investment possible. As we stated before, Email marketing is pretty much free. This means that the price you pay for these services will make up most of your expenses, making it important that you consider the best option for your budget.
Mailchimp has very newbie-friendly pricing. They offer a lifetime free membership for any user who sends less than 12,000 emails per month and has less than 2,000 users on their mailing lists. This is great for smaller sites and new startups who want to get their campaigns started without paying. However, the free option doesn’t offer all the same tools you would get if you paid – but chances are small sites won’t need them yet anyway.
If you’re a little more established with larger subscriber lists or plan to send more than 12,000 emails per month, they also offer monthly subscriptions based on your list size with unlimited emails allowed for a single fee. With their price checker, you can see just how much a list of your size will cost.
AWeber is a bit different in that they don’t offer anything for free – their smallest package is $19/mo. However, they have no limitations on emails you can send per month on any plan, which can be a benefit depending on your business. They also don’t limit their features based on your plan – everything (including premium support) is available in even their smallest package.
Verdict: If you’re a smaller site who is just trying to build up your subscriber list and don’t want to pay to get your email marketing started, Mailchimp’s free account is perfect for you. However, if you’re willing to pay more for better tools and incredible support from day 1, AWeber may be the better choice for you.
Your email messages that you send are the biggest contributor to the success of your campaign. A well-designed message looks more professional, adds merit to your site, and is more likely to convert than a basic message. Thankfully, both of these solutions have design tools to make better messages.
Mailchimp offers 4 primary types of messages (campaigns in their interface): Regular, Plain Text, A/B Testing, and RSS.
- Regular campaigns are the most common type of message to send. These are fully customizable and contain graphics, text, formatting, code, and more to create something unique
- Plain text campaigns are regular campaigns without graphics or formatting. They are similar to standard text emails you’d send to a friend or co-worker. They don’t look too great, but they’re simple and easy to make
- A/B testing campaigns allow variable options for different parts of your regular campaign. You can vary your delivery time, name, message, and more to send to subscribers to gauge which converts better
- RSS campaigns allow you to share content from your website or blog directly in an email. This is good for sharing new blog posts or additions to your site.
If you choose a regular campaign, you are able to use the drag and drop tool to design your mail. After selecting a basic template, you can add, edit, and remove different pieces to make the mail your own and get your message across. Add your social media links, custom images, and more with just a click and drag.
The preview option allows you to see exactly how the mail will look, so no worrying about mistakes during customization. Once you’re happy, you can save the template for future use or start fresh next time.
AWeber also offers multiple campaign types, including custom, plain text, and HTML messages. Custom messages take advantage of AWeber’s own drag and drop customizer, with hundreds of templates to choose from or the ability to make your own.
You can also use text without formatting or images, or custom code your own (for advanced users only). AWeber doesn’t have specific A/B testing like Mailchimp, so you’ll have to do your own analytics if you want to refine your marketing.
Verdict: When it comes to message options and customization, Mailchimp seems like the winner. Their builder is more user-friendly than AWeber’s, and the ability to A/B test directly from your campaign is incredibly convenient.
Once you’ve collected some subscribers, you’ll want to organize your lists. This can be based off of a variety of factors like what they chose to receive, if they’ve clicked links in the past, where they subscribed from, and more. This way you can see who should receive what message and who is real or a bot.
Mailchimp offers the ability to create groups within your subscriber base. With it, you can organize people by their location, subscription location, and more to target people more directly with A/B testing or geo-specific ads. You can also further refine them into segments based on user behavior or other more specific group organization.
When it comes to modifying your subscriber base, Mailchimp can be integrate with Zendesk and other third-party services. It will also allow you to upload directly from a text or CSV file, or from a spreadsheet file to make it easy.
AWeber offers many of the same importing tools for managing your lists, including manual additions as well. They provide a variety of filters to apply to an unlimited number of lists in your account, including sorting by collected IP, if they clicked an ad or came directly to your site, where they opted-in from, and more.
These lists can also be automated to add or remove subscribers based on new actions (unsubscribing, buying a product, etc.) and can create segments for easier management later.
Verdict: The two services offer similar subscriber management, with neither really separating themselves. Each offers the necessary tools to make managing your lists easy.
Automation is one of the biggest perks of using an email marketing solution. Automation allows for hands-off interaction, follow-ups, and more to keep your subscriber base up to date on your site.
Mailchimp offers automation in 2 primary ways: sending messages and A/B testing. With Mailchimp, you can set up a variety of campaigns to be sent when a user performs an action. For example, new subscribers get a welcome email and promotional code; an old customer gets a special offer, or you simply send out your weekly blog at a specific time rather than right away. Premium users can also have Mailchimp optimize their sending times based on time zone.
Mailchimp will also automatically track your A/B testing campaigns for you as well as dispersing the different formats to your subscribers automatically based on what you choose in the campaign settings. Talk about convenient.
AWeber doesn’t offer the same A/B testing automation that Mailchimp does, but it also allows you to schedule your campaigns. You can send automatic follow-ups based on a specific amount of time between actions, such as a special offer after a week of subscribing. You can also send it to a specific time zone’s list at their ideal time, but they don’t offer optimized send times like Mailchimp does.
Verdict: Mailchimp has another slight edge over AWeber thanks to their additional automation tools.
Overall, when it comes to the sheer number of tools and services available, Mailchimp seems to have the advantage. They have more automation, a better message creation system, and can be used for free. However, to take advantage of the additional perks, you’ll need to be a paying customer. AWeber is not far behind, and it is definitely possible to make either option work for you based on your personal preference.