Let's face it, running an online store requires a considerable amount of work when it comes to marketing. You have to engage with customers through social media, blog posts, up-sells throughout the sales process, coupons and all the other elements that come along with pushing people to your website. However in this AWeber review we talk about the one marketing tactic that seems to stand above the rest: email marketing.
Not only do you get a chance to connect with customers through their own personal inboxes, but services like AWeber make it easy with automated campaigns, beautiful templates and reports to understand how well you're doing.
If you're looking for an email marketing app/service for your ecommerce store, we recommend reading through this AWeber review as we discuss this established player that should be consider among other, competing services.
Editor's note: This post was originally published on August 12, 2016 and has completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
AWeber Review: Overview
AWeber is easily one of the most popular tools for email marketing available.
It's been around for years, offering over 100 email template options to choose from, along with excellent customer service, state of the art solutions for automation, and opportunities for segmentation too.
If you're looking for something simple and straightforward that will allow you to design a fantastic strategy for lead nurturing and conversions, then AWeber can definitely help. This easy-to-use software is great for beginners and pros alike.
AWeber is compelling because it truly focuses on being the premier choice for email marketing on the current marketplace. Designed specifically for entrepreneurs and small businesses, AWeber transforms the marketing experience and continually delivers updates to ensure that it remains competitive in this cluttered marketplace.
Although AWeber originally joined the email marketing race in 1998, it hasn't become out-of-date yet. The company is always working on giving users the next best things to boost deliverability and email performance.
Here's what you need to know to decide if AWeber is right for you.
AWeber Review: Features
Campaign Management – The biggest question you should have when opting for an email marketing platform is, how easy is it to make a professional email and send it out? Thankfully, the campaign manager with AWeber is run with a drag and drop editor. This means you don't need to know anything about coding.
In addition, you have the opportunity to develop automated campaigns that go out at certain periods of time. So, if you'd like to send out an automated email to every new ecommerce customer, it only takes a moment to setup.
Automated Follow Ups – One of my favorite features is all about sending out automated follow up emails based on customer activity. For example, if a customer comes to your website and buys a product, you may want to send them a thank you message. If after two months they don't come back, AWeber has tools for sending out coupons for bringing people back to the store.
Solid Signup Forms – Integrating with most ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce is no problem, and the signup forms you place on your ecommerce store are quickly configured and beautifully branded. This assists with growing your list fast, and it also allows for A/B testing.
Subscriber Segmenting – Anyone who runs an online store knows the importance of customer segmentation. Sending out broad emails to everyone is going to return fewer conversions. So, AWeber has comprehensive tools for segmenting the people on your list. Maybe you have some people who you consider VIPs. Maybe you like shooting emails to people who haven't been to your shop in awhile. Regardless, the features are there for making this segmentation happen.
Wonderful Ecommerce Integrations – From PayPal to Etsy, and Shopify to WooCommerce, AWeber has an onslaught of integrations with tools that are bound to come up on your ecommerce journey. For example, you may want to get an email signup form on your WordPress site powered by WooCommerce. Not only is there a plugin for this, but it only takes a moment to get it combined and placed on certain parts of your website.
Tracking – Click-throughs and opens are all included with email analytics. View which products people are most interested in, and in turn, segment your lists based on the reports that come in after sending out email newsletters.
AWeber Review: Email Campaign Creation
One of the most important features provided by any email marketing tool, is a simple strategy for broadcast creation. Fortunately, AWeber happens to provide one of the largest selection of templates for e newsletters and announcements on the market. In fact, there are hundreds available, including HTML templates that can be customized according to your needs.
If a wide selection of email templates (over 150) wasn't enough to impress, then AWeber also provides more than 700 different sign-up forms to help you build your email list to begin with too. These forms are available to place on your social media platforms, blog page, website and more.
So, how good are the email templates exactly?
Well, obviously not all of them will suit your personal style.
There's a good chance that you'll find some templates on AWeber that seem pretty outdates. However, you can always customize the templates that you don't like with the intuitive email editor tools provided. These features give you the option to upload images to your template, add a logo and more.
Email Template Fonts
One particularly compelling thing about AWeber email templates, is that you get a lot of control over your font options – more than you'd usually get from most email marketing solutions including GetResponse.
The opportunity to access web fonts in AWeber means that you can provide an experience that's very different to the basic one-size-fits-all options provided by most email options. Most software solutions come with a handful of “safe fonts” to choose from, and that's it. Which makes it difficult to stand out in a cluttered inbox.
Another great thing about being able to use customizable fonts, is the fact that you can achieve more consistency by using the same typefaces as the ones on your websites and blogs.
RSS to Email Templates
Another great feature about AWeber is that it comes with access to software that can transform the RSS feed on your website into newsletters that you can deliver to your audience according to a specific schedule. This is known as a “Blog broadcast” on AWeber, but you don't have to focus on just using it for your blog.
This ability to make the most of RSS feeds is particularly beneficial for bloggers who want the subscribers on their mailing list to automatically get updates with newsletters containing the latest information that they share online. If you generally update your website with blogs and news quite frequently, and you want to share that information with your subscribers, AWeber can help you save a lot of time.
One important thing to note is that you won't be able to use the same templates on AWeber for your RSS content as you would for your other emails. There are specific templates for RSS mails that you need to stick to. However, AWeber does provide you with quite a lot of choice here.
Autoresponder Email Creation
While any email template might be important to your overall communication strategy for customers, there are few things more appealing to today's businesses than an autoresponder feature. Autoresponders in your email marketing tools allow you to automate the way that you reach out to your target market based on specific triggers.
For instance, when you set up an autoresponder series, you can make sure that your customers always get an email when they leave something in their cart or finish a transaction. AWeber actually claims to be the first company to have created the autoresponder in 1998 – which is a big point in their favor if its true.
Since AWeber tells people that they were the inventors of the original autoresponder, you'd probably assume that their automated emails would be phenomenal. However, it's mostly just okay. You don't get some of the more advanced features that you get in GetResponse or ActiveCampaign for instance – but you do get a relatively straightforward strategy for establishing emails based on triggers.
For instance, you can automatically send all of your subscribers an instant onboarding email from the moment they sign up to your list. If you want to boost your chances of success you can also follow up with an opportunity for them to follow you on social media sent via email, plus a promotional code to get them buying quickly.
Typical autoresponders are very easy to create and great for beginners in the email marketing space. However, triggering your autoresponder based on user purchases and actions isn't as simple as it would be with a competitor like GetResponse or Mailchimp.
Sure, you can create goals or link automation rules to send emails in specific ways – but you're not going to get the full strategy solution for building unique connections with your audience that you'd get from other competitors. For instance, there's no CRM functionality to let you include crucial data about your customers in your email campaign like you'd get with GetResponse.
AWeber Review: Integrations
Usually, when features (like autoresponders) are limited on a certain email marketing tool, one of the best ways to upgrade your functionality is with integrations. A wide range of integrations gives businesses more opportunities to expand on the capabilities of their email marketing tools. What's more, now that today's companies are using a huge selection of software for marketing, including things like CRMs and blog creation tools – it makes sense to invest in email marketing services that play well with others.
AWeber connects to a huge variety of other cloud-based tools, such as web builders like WordPress and Wix, CRM solutions like Salesforce, tools for landing pages like Instapage and beyond. Depending on the integrations you choose, the offerings from AWeber can be pretty advanced. For instance, some come with a snippet of code that you can add into a website, and others feature unique widgets.
AWeber's integrations are far reaching, and there's even a handy search function on the website to help you find the options that are right for you. For instance, you can flick through available integrations according to categories like CRM, content management, landing pages, lead generation, memberships and more.
However, AWeber isn't quite as seamless and straightforward when it comes to plugging into other software as some of the other alternatives on the web, such as MailChimp. You shouldn't have a problem getting this solution to work with other software as a service (SaaS) apps, but you might find that the integrations aren't quite as in-depth as you'd get elsewhere.
AWeber Review: Automation
As mentioned above, there are few things more important in email software these days, than the right solution for automation. AWeber is pretty good when it comes to taking some of the headache of email marketing off your shoulders. You can go beyond the basics of your typical drip campaigns (mentioned above), with complex workflows that include if-this-then-that logic.
AWeber gives you the option to design your own sales and marketing flowcharts where emails and interactions happen according to user actions, email opens, site visits, link clicks and so much more.
Overall, the automation solutions on AWeber go quite a bit further than your email autoresponders, which is a great thing. There's even the option to access functionality through AWeber “campaigns”. This allows you to initiate specific user actions, specifically clickthrough's and opens. There's also the chance to add specific tags to your segments to determine what kind of content should be sent to which customers.
AWeber recently introduced a host of new marketing automations in their “Campaigns” feature set. It's not advanced as the kind of campaigns you can create with things like GetResponse, MailChimp, or even Klaviyo. However, AWeber will make sure that you have everything you need to really get a jump start on your email strategy.
AWeber Review: Optimization
The more you work on your email marketing plan, the more you'll learn about your customers, and how they respond to specific emails.
An important part of upgrading your email strategy, is to make sure that you regularly optimize and enhance your messages. You can do this in a number of ways with AWeber, including:
AWeber Split Testing
Split testing or A/B testing is one of the easiest ways to update and enhance your optimization strategy. With A/B testing, you simply send separate variants of your newsletters to a specific portion of your mailing list. By monitoring what happens when you change something like a CTA or an email image, you can improve your chances of conversions and lead nurturing.
Most email marketing software, including AWeber will come with options that allow you to make the most of your A/B testing strategy. Although you don't get the widest range of split-testing options with AWeber, you do get enough to make some changes to your campaigns.
Under the Messages section in your dashboard, there's a feature called “Split Tests” for your broadcast emails. This will allow you to specify who you want to send your test emails to, and more. You can only test 3 variants at a time – compared to 5 for GetResponse, but that's still useful when it comes to figuring out what to do with your emails.
Remember that you generally don't want to test too many variants at once on your split tests anyway, as this can end up making things more confusing.
Additionally, although split testing on AWeber might not be as advanced as it is with GetResponse, it's much better than what you'd find on some other email marketing tools. For instance, you can only use 2 variants on Campaign Monitor.
Many other email marketing tools, including MailChimp, stick with 3 variants at a time as the industry standard.
Another great way to take your email marketing strategy to the next level is with a little bit of reporting and analytics. The email analytics in AWeber are pretty high level. You can monitor a range of fantastic metrics, including open rate, click through, and email bounce.
There's also the option to look at other useful information, such as email list growth over time, sign-up methods, and more. You can also find out where people are opening your emails (geographical location) and what kind of previous actions a contact took. For instance, have they bought items from you before?
AWeber's reporting options are probably a little more in-depth than what you'd usually get with solutions like Campaign Monitor. However, there are certainly better options out there. For instance, Klaviyo provides one of the most immersive reporting solutions on the market today.
AWeber Data Segmentation
One other solution for companies that want to optimize their email marketing strategies, is to tap into segmentation. The more you segment your email marketing data and subscribers, the easier it is to send personalized and custom messages to your audience.
With AWeber, you can create segments based on the contents of various fields in your database, such as emails opened, pages visited, links clicked and so on. It's a little tough to figure out how you get to the screen where you create your segments, as you have to search through your dashboard rather than doing everything directly on your list page.
Some solutions like Campaign Monitor and MailChimp are a little bit more intuitive when it comes to delivering your segmentation features – but you can always figure out how to use AWeber as you go.
One big problem with the segmentation features in AWeber, however, is that you can't broadcast emails to multiple segments at the same time. This can be a little problematic if you have multiple segments that need to overlap to create a more specific marketing strategy. You'll also have issues if you're trying to exclude specific segments from your marketing campaigns.
AWeber Review: Drawbacks
As email marketing tools go, AWeber has a lot to offer.
It's one of the most well-respected tools on the market thanks to it's simplicity and heritage. However, while other tools have evolved drastically over the years, much of the functionality on AWeber remains quite basic. This could be a deliberate move for AWeber, who wanted to create a simple way to get marketing started for their customers. However, some companies will need more advanced functionality.
Some of the most common drawbacks include:
- It's not the best value for money on the market: There are cheaper options available that might be able to give you more functionality for specific things, like automating your marketing campaigns. GetResponse arguably provides a far better solution for autoresponder strategies, for a price that's more affordable.
- Not all of the templates are ideal: While there are plenty of templates to choose from with AWeber, it's important to remember that quality should matter just as much as quantity. Some of the templates just aren't going to appeal to modern companies.
- Segmentation is limited: When it comes to segmenting your campaign lists and excluding specific customers from broadcasts, AWeber doesn't make things easy. If you really want to upgrade your strategy for customized email content, you might need to try a different email provider.
RSS emailing isn't ideal: There are specific templates that you'll need to use if you want to send RSS emails with AWeber – and they aren't exactly the most intuitive in the world. There's no drag-and-drop functionality when it comes to editing your email messages, first of all – and your templates are pretty limited in options.
A 30-day free trial is provided for those who would like to get started and see exactly what it has to offer. This has changed from a shorter $1 trial period in the past, making it far more competitive in the marketplace. What's more is that this app offers six different payment plans, making it much easier for you to save money and get that plan that fits your company the best.
What are the AWeber pricing plans you can choose from?
- $19 per month – Get support for up to 500 subscribers, unlimited emails, automation, segmenting, analytics, customer support, signup forms, integrations, image hosting, over 6,000 stock photos, over 700 templates and educational resources.
- $29 per month – Get support for 501 to 2,500 subscribers, along with all of the features included in the previous plan.
- $49 per month – Get support for 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers, along with all of the features included in the previous plan.
- $69 per month – Get support for 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers, along with all of the features included in the previous plan.
- $149 per month – Get support for 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers, along with all of the features included in the previous plan.
- Get a Quote – You have to talk to them if you need support for over 25,000 subscribers.
Keep in mind that quarterly and annual billing cycles are available if you need them.
Ecommerce stores need constant support to ensure that they don't lose any money from broken emails. Luckily, AWeber has one of the best squads in the business, and they offer live customer support through chat or the phone. You also have the ability to send in an email if you'd like.
However, the primary reason I like their support so much is because of the vast number of resources listed on their website. For example, a knowledge base is there for completing your own research, while the free live webinars and video tutorials work well for getting a more visual look into the system. The system status is always displayed in the website, and you can access marketing guides, success stories, infographics and their blog for updates, information and tutorials.
Overall, AWeber touches on just about everything you would expect in terms of support.
AWeber Review: Alternatives to Consider
Ultimately, AWeber is an excellent tool for beginners, but it's not going to be the right option for everyone. If you're looking for more advanced functionality in anything from automation to reporting, then there are some more appealing solutions on the market.
Let's take a look at the alternatives.
SendInBlue is a fantastic, and rapidly evolving tool in the email marketing landscape today. Featuring stand-out solutions for SMS marketing, IP optimization, and more, SendinBlue is excellent for companies who want to improve their deliverability and automate their emails at the same time.
For those who aren't sure if SendinBlue is right for them, the free plan is a great starting point for your experimentation. You can send up to 300 emails per day to countless contacts and access a Lite plan too for only $25 per month if you decide to start paying for your tools. Check out our latest SendinBlue review to find out more.
- SMS marketing for multi-channel advertising
- Automation and transactional email features
- Range of deliverability boosting tools
- Integration options are limited
HubSpot just launched a free version of their email tool. This is fantastic news because you can now combine the power of email marketing with HubSpot’s powerful CRM (read our HubSpot CRM review) so your emails are personalized for each recipient.
The drag-and-drop editor allows you to quickly draft email campaigns that both reflect your brand and feel professional. But even if you aren’t too keen on design or if you’re running low on inspiration, you can easily get started with one of the many goal-based email templates available.
Once you’ve crafted the perfect email, you can insert personalization tokens that will auto-populate using any of the information you have stored in your CRM for each one of your recipients. Personalizing your emails gets you higher open and click-through rates.
The built-in A/B tests and analytics will allow you to measure and maximize the impact of your outreach.
- Send up to 2,000 emails a month for free
- Comes with a free CRM and many list segmentation options
- Powerful personalization features
- Drag and drop editor
- A/B testing and automation are paid features
Klaviyo is one of the most impressive email marketing tools available for companies who want to access state of the art reporting and list segmentation. For advanced and scientific email marketing strategies, Klaviyo is the go-to solution for today's companies – perfect for helping you get the most out of your targeting and reporting experiences.
There are various easy-to-use drag and drop elements and template management features in Klaviyo too, so you don't have to worry about struggling when you start to build your autoresponders. You can find out more about the kind of features that come with Klaviyo in our review here.
- Impressive list segmentation
- Strong marketing automation solutions
- Excellent reporting
- It has a bit of a learning curve
- Data migration isn't easy
For impressive and immersive email marketing, it's hard to go wrong with GetResponse. This is one of the most popular and well-respected solutions for list segmentation, social media marketing, and auto responder features on the market today. GetResponse is even available to integrate with Google analytics for excellent email marketing metrics.
GetResponse comes with a host of special features available, including proprietary apps for your smartphone, QR code generators and more. There's also some pretty low-price options available if you're stuck on a limited budget. Find out more with our GetResponse review here.
- Powerful range of list automation features
- Landing page editor
- Fantastic for autoresponders
- Some templates are a little outdated
Finally, if you're looking for one of the most budget-friendly email marketing solutions available today, then it's difficult to go wrong with MailerLite. One of the more recent additions to the marketplace, MailerLite is a simple and immersive solution for newsletters and autoresponders. There's a range of robust tools available, and more importantly – a free for life plan. That means that you can access various features without spending anything at all.
For smaller companies that don't have a lot to spend on their email efforts, MailerLite is an incredible offering. It's flexible, well-designed, and great for getting started with email autoresponders. However, it's certainly not the most advanced tool on the market.
- Budget and free for life options
- Easy-to-use interface
- Excellent range of tools
- Not very strong for analytics
- Limited email templates
While a strange paid trial and goofy pricing setup used to hold back AWeber, it's clear that the company has worked to rectify these problems. It's now, in my opinion, the most powerful option for email marketing if you're handling an online store. Not only do you receive integrations to your store, but the templates are incredible.
AWeber deserves serious consideration from all ecommerce entrepreneurs, and it only takes a moment to get a feel for what the platform offers with the free trial.
You can start your 30 days free trial by clicking here.
If you have any questions about this AWeber review, feel free to give us a shout in the comment section below.