It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
This week I asked our panel of experts…
“In the past weeks, we've talked about which web hosting providers
and webinar services you use in your own businesses.
So, today, let's all share which autoresponders we use to mail our lists.”
I think you'll enjoy this look under the hoods.
Tiffany Dow of The Guide to Shiny Object Syndrome says:
When I was first starting out in Internet Marketing, I wanted to do things right. All of my guru ghostwriting clients told me they used Aweber, so I went with them and have never once regretted that decision.
Now, they have a $1 trial for your first month, but I don’t remember getting that when I first signed up. You pay $19 a month for the first 500 subscribers and then it increases as your numbers go up.
Aweber has so many features – I don’t even begin to use them all, because I’m a simple girl. But what I love about the service is that the people behind it are helpful and truly want you to see success with it.
They could have just set up the service and charged for it, period. But they go above and beyond. They actually teach you email marketing if you’re unclear on how something works.
They have a really good knowledge base, live webinars, and video tutorials. Even when you start a new list, the system walks you through the set-up with step-by-step prompts. They have specific email marketing guides for different business types – photographers, restaurants, real estate agents, etc.
Customer service is excellent. They’re friendly, personable, and fast with their responses. They, along with Host Gator and Sam at Download Guard are in my top three when it comes to taking care of customers.
I feel comfortable with them and in this business, when you can wake up one morning and panic because something technical has gone haywire, that peace of mind is very crucial to my success.
Felicia Slattery of Signature Speech Secrets says:
The best auto-responder I've used is Aweber. Hands down they still have the best deliverability of all the big names.
I love Aweber because they give you the ability to split test quickly and easily, and they listen to their customers. A while back they did a major “improvement” to their online interface and the way they allow users to create and customize emails to subscribers. The problem was that many of us “legacy” users – that is folks who have used the service for 5+ years were used to our old ways. When we en masse complained that we liked things the way they were, just like the Coca-Cola company did when they introduced new Coke in the 1980s, Aweber did a quick fix and allowed for the Classic Coca-Cola version of their site to be used by those of us who liked it that way.
Aweber customer service is second to none. Even with all the options today, I still recommend Aweber.
Connie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Case Studies says:
Aweber is primarily comprised of people who have purchased from me, but I also have people there who wish to be notified about my upcoming live event and are still prospects until they sign up.
Because I started out with 1 Shopping Cart, I have 90% of my prospects and customers on lists there, segmented according to where they signed up originally or what they purchased for me.
This may sound confusing, but I feel better knowing that I have two different companies housing my database. Both of these companies can have ‘down time' on a regular basis, which can be very scary for a new entrepreneur. Our list is our most valuable asset and I like the peace of mind I have knowing I can reach the people who wish to hear from me whenever the need arises.
Kevin Riley of Maximum E-Mail Marketing Profits In 2013 says:
I've been using Aweber since 2006. Mainly, I've been happy with the service. It was easy to use (until they created their new editing sequence, which I avoid by copying older e-mails already in my system, and editing them via the old editor).
It was very reasonable in price back in 2006; however, they changed their pricing structure a few years later and that made it less of a good deal (fortunately, those of us who got it early were grandfathered in at the old pricing structure) but I still think it's one of the most affordable autoresponder services (I think it and Get Response are close in pricing).
Still, even at a slightly higher cost, there is no better investment for your online business than a good autoresponder service. Of the somewhat-budget services, I would recommend Aweber, Get Response, or Imnica – all three provide good service and have a good team behind them to ensure e-mail deliverability.
Now, for a more robust system (but quite a bit costlier) I'm about to start using Office Autopilot for my new business (opening in October). After months of research and a long talk with an OAP rep (who becomes my rep when I join OAP, and is always there to provide support) I decided that OAP is perfect for running a truly effective online business. Not only an autoresponder, it is a full customer management system – and tracks customers from when they first come to your website. Definitely more expensive than the aforementioned autoresponders, and a little more complex to use (although the learning curve doesn't look too bad, even for a technodolt like me), but well worth it for building a great online business. It handles autoresponder service, tracking, memberships, etc.
Lain Ehmann of Crafting Your Business, Step-by-Step says:
Rachel Rofe of How To Get Every Book You Write Onto The First Page Of Kindle says:
I use Office Autopilot right now to mail to my lists. I'd say I'm a 6 on excitement with them.
I've just signed up for an account with SendReach.com, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes too.
Despite trying a TON of them, I haven't found a “golden mecca” auto responder system yet. 🙂
Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Plan Your Online Business says:
I've actually used just about every autoresponder on the market, but none are perfect. I'm currently beta-testing a new one that I think I will move everything to within the next month. But my history with autoresponders is long and varied. In fact, I did a full webinar on which autoresponders I've used and why I've made the switch several times.
- 1 Shopping Cart offers my favorite interface. It's easy to add someone to a subset and target messages to that smaller group. But it is so-so at best. However, this is currently my main autoresponder.
- AWeber has the best deliverability. But their naming scheme for their autoresponders is network wide so if someone already has the name that makes sense to you, you're out of luck. They are also very restrictive on their rules, so there is no way to manually add someone to a subset list for better targeting. And their pricing gets expensive when you start building a big list. Currently, I use Aweber as a supplementary list for some optin pages and special projects, particularly partner projects.
- ARP is an autoresponder you host yourself, but it is definitely not for new marketers! Plus you need to pay for monitoring services, which run $300 to $500 per month. I used ARP3 for several years and really liked it, in spite of a very out-dated interface. But when they “upgraded” their software to ARP Reach, I went back to 1ShoppingCart. (ARP Reach has some flaws!)
So all in all, there is no single solution for everyone. If this new service works out, I'll be telling everyone about it!
Lynette Chandler of Tech Based Marketing says:
I've been a long time customer of Aweber and at this point, I have no intention nor truly compelling reason to switch. However, sometimes I do get a little irked over the fact we pay for duplicate subscribers.
Recently, Armand Morin launched a new system called Sender.info. While it can do pretty much everything major auto responders can do, what captivates me are the analytics and connectivity with 3rd party systems. So, this is something on my “stuff to test” list.
Besides regular autoresponder, I've also been using Amazon SES which is insanely cheap. The problem with this is, it isn't easy to get up and running and you have to be approved by Amazon in order to obtain sending privileges. Still, it has been really handy when I needed to import and email a bunch of people from a shopping cart.
Shannon Cherry of Learn How I Get *Paid* to Attend Events says:
I've been using Aweber for years now (since 2006) and although there are others with many more bells and whistles, I doubt I'll ever leave. Why? Because I'm grandfathered in on an annual rate that if I switched I would be investing tons more.
Plus, it's deliverability and analytics are awesome…and it can do many of the things the ‘big guys' do.
It's just the industry standard. And I love it.
Nicole Dean of . here! . says:
Like Connie, I have a few systems running.
- I use Aweber to collect leads – like the list here on my blog. I love the ease of use and deliverability it offers.
- I also use 1 Shopping Cart on one of my sites www.EasyPLR.com – which means that customers get put into that system, as do affiliates. So I mail them through that cart.
- I also use Amember (which is a membership site software) for a few other projects like www.CoachGlue.com – so our customers and affiliates also get mailed through that system.
The good news is that we have a bit of diversity of risk. The bad news is that there is no way that I've found to ensure that my readers only get one email from me at a time. (I'm open to suggestions.)
If you do any affiliate marketing at all or are in a “Make Money in any way” niche, go with Aweber or 1ShoppingCart. Many other services aren't friendly with affiliate marketers.
However, don't hold off on making a decision because you don't want to make the wrong decision. You really can't go wrong with either option.
If you have questions about which service is right for your specific situation, please ask in the comments.
PS. If you want to build your list, this challenge is a great resource to have on hand. -> David Perdew is Nuts! <-