If you are subscribed to my newsletter you might have noticed that I am using Aweber as my email marketing service.
If you are not subscribed yet, what are you waiting for, there are two e-books waiting for you.
I started building my email list with MailChimp and I’ve switched to Aweber along the way. I love to share all my tests and what I learn and these are just some of the reasons why I want to talk about this change. Recommending a great service like Aweber is another one.
I have used MailChimp for months and I was satisfied for the most part, but the more I educated myself, the more I learned about both Aweber and MailChimp, the more I wanted to leave MailChimp.
Why did I move from Mailchimp to Aweber?
The thing that got me thinking the first time are the tracking possibilities. That is what made me decide to try Aweber for $1 for the first month. But as soon as I logged in for the first time, I was sold and I knew I won’t be leaving them.
After signing up, I realized there are many more reasons I was liking Aweber over MailChimp.
Aweber or MailChimp, what I “lost”
There are two things that make MailChimp better than Aweber:
- It is free for up to 2.000 subscribers
- It has great looking email templates
Note: Since first publishing this information, Aweber has updated their email templates and created an amazing design tool where you can create a template by adding titles, images and other objects with a click of a button. So I can safely say that point number 2 above, isn’t applicable any more
And that is it! Sure, the money might be an issue for a lot of us, but below I explain why sometimes free is more expensive.
As far as the templates go, I used less and less of those in MailChimp because I was trying to get my newsletter to look as clean as possible. Now, for the most part, I use a simple white email in Aweber and that is exactly the type I like to receive from other people.
One thing that really sucks about MailChimp
There is one thing about MailChimp that makes it, to say the least, tricky to be used by most bloggers and most of my readers.
MailChimp does not allow affiliate marketers to use their service (read their TOS). You have Amazon links on your blog? Guess what that makes you!
Most people say “MailChimp doesn’t allow affiliate links in their campaigns” but there is so much more to it. Yes, you know I am going to tell you all
First of all, obviously it isn’t just affiliate links in the campaigns. Being an affiliate marketer disqualifies you as their user. That actually disqualifies a lot of the bloggers using it (me included).
But wait. They have special rules for some people!
There is one blogger whose blog I love and read, that uses MailChimp and has 5 direct affiliate links in every newsletter as a “sponsors” section. So, does that mean you CAN use affiliate links?
I asked MC support about that. They said NO. But then I asked again after a few weeks and they said YES. As long as the sole purpose of the newsletter isn’t the affiliate link.
So they have this policy that is obviously not implemented equally towards everyone, but then when you ask for clarification, even their support team members give you different answers.
However, the best part is this – if they do decide that you did something wrong, you are done. They close your account and you lose your list. I have read numerous posts on this, from people who lost their lists. I do know some managed to save their lists though.
Wow. So how do you know what is the right thing to do? I guess you don’t, you can never be 100% sure.
Oh, and the funny thing about their templates I mentioned… they have some of them made perfect for affiliate marketers. If I am not mistaking, one of them is even called Amazon. Tempting, isn’t it.
This is the main reason I moved to Aweber, I don’t want to risk losing my list over some rules that work differently for everyone. I also didn’t want to be paying more in the long run (losing the list) for a free service.
More reasons Aweber is better than MailChimp
I haven’t been digging too deep yet, but I saw many more reasons Aweber is better.
I mentioned tracking at the very beginning of the post. I kept reading Steve’s posts and he often mentioned how he uses Aweber. Tracking was intriguing, especially the part about creating different forms and then seeing exactly how they convert.
That was the first thing I did. I created different forms for home page, sidebar, footer and few other spots I want to track.
Side note: I created the footer form per Derek H. advice (Social Triggers blog). He says footer form converts great because people are looking for something to do after they scroll down to the comments area. See how it is converting for me. It isn’t That is the power of tracking and seeing how something applies to your own blog.
Here is a screenshot of some of the forms I created (there are many more I use, I am completely addicted to this tracking).
I restart the stats every 7-10 days to have a fresh look at them and see if they change for any of the forms. That also makes it easier for me to follow up if there is a spike in sign up rate after some of the marketing tactics I might use.
Someone recently showed me a post on how you can track MC in similar way (can’t find the link now). It just made me more sure of moving to Aweber. The tracking was harder to set up and then you would have to go to individual emails to see which form each person used to subscribe.
I think this little table is exactly what I need and it is exactly the overview I need. I don’t care how John Doe signed up for my newsletter, but I do want to know how many Johns used each form.
Ease of use
I have to say that creating forms in Aweber is way easier than in MC. There are a lot of templates for the forms and you can customize them even more.
What I love about Aweber forms is that I can make the background transparent and include a form anywhere while at the same time making the button look great.
I could never do this with MC. I would design the form in MC and get the code and it would look completely different. I tried getting the code with and without CSS but it would always look pretty lame.
Aweber makes forms look better than I could ever design one.
Errors with emails
When you enter an email into a form with MC, if you are already subscribed, you will get a red error message saying you are already subscribed. With Aweber, you can set up a custom page for that (I haven’t done that yet). You can even send subscribed people to a page of your choice (for example a money making page).
Both Aweber and MC have segmentation option, although I read often that MC is lacking it. No, MC has it, it is just not as precise and it is a bit more complicated to use.
So even though MC has it, I vote for Aweber’s because of the simplicity and speed.
There were times when I was very unsatisfied with MC and their campaign sending.
Sometimes, their system would be too busy and you never knew when is the newsletter actually going to be sent. So at times I wanted to send out a time sensitive information, but I would give up, because I would not know if it would reach people in time.
On other occasions, I would try to send myself a test email before sending it to the whole list, to check if everything looks good. Last time this happened, I sent 4 test emails to myself, didn’t get them for 30 minutes and decided to risk it and just send out the newsletter.
I got the test emails 4-5 hours later. I can only hope everyone on the list got my email.
Bounces and unsubscribes
In MC, I could only see if someone unsubscribes directly but I never saw bounces or other errors. When we moved my list to Aweber, I had 4 bounces after the first message.
That means I have been sending newsletter to those 4 people for months without them ever getting them. Great example of emails to remove from the list. I just wish I saw that in MC before.
MC does have some bounce tracker but the only bounce I ever had was from a blogger friend and it was a valid email.
Disclaimer: I know there can be many reasons for bounces, I am just saying how quick Aweber picked up on some of these.
If you are ready to move to Aweber, here is how to move your list from Mailchimp to Aweber without losing it.
Complete email marketing guide
I also wrote a very detailed page on autoresponders you can use with Aweber, how to set them and up and why should you use them, I highly recommend reading it to learn more not only about this service, but also about email marketing in general. Read this detailed Aweber review and guide.
When you are ready to move even further, read about 21 email marketing lessons you really don’t want to miss. Most of them are advanced tips you can use to grow your list and get higher open rates.