I love using Autoresponders. You can build tens of thousands of relationships and communicate your message over an extended period of time. That’s how people get to know you. And when it comes to sell, the ones who have been reading your emails, clicking your ebook, videos, podcasts — they’re the most receptive.
It’s something that I outsource to a service provider so I spend a fair bit of time finding the “right” one.
What’s best for me won’t necessarily be right for you so it’s best to think about the pros and cons of each provider. If you have time, you should try them out for yourself since they’re not expensive.
To start out, I would highly recommend either Aweber or Mailchimp. Aweber is easier to start out with and savvy marketers still use them when they have hundreds of thousands on their lists. Mailchimp is a bit trickier to start off with but it offers more cutomization options — especially in the form of “rules”.
Mailchimp is free to start out with but with Aweber you must pay $19/month to start (at the time of writing).
This is what I used when I first started out. Well known bloggers such as Neil Patel, Brian Clark, Derek Halpern and other well known bloggers use Aweber.
- Very easy to use and user friendly. Good for beginners
- Nice interface and feels ‘intuitive’
- Easy to design good looking newsletters and emails with lots of templates to choose from
- Nice looking web forms which are very easy to integrate (with or without their styles)
- Great support for basic enquiries
- Really Great Delivery Rates — this is very important since you want your emails to not only be delivered but delivered into your customers inbox
- They are marketing experts themselves — they’re very good at promoting their email services
- Great email analytics which are also intuitive (open rates, clicks, etc.)
- Integrates with a lot of 3rd party platforms because of its popularity
- Aweber captures the user’s location and can send emails based on what time it is in their region. As far as I’m aware, most email service providers don’t have this feature
- Part of the reason they have such good email delivery rates is because they force double opt in despite what you might have heard. This means that when a user first signs up using your form, they must confirm their email
- Cannot move subscribers from List A to List B without API or having the subscriber re-opt in
- Cannot import subscribers from separate email provider without re-opting in
- Crap API Documentation
- Cannot create rules based emails (e.g. if users does x action, then do this)
- Cannot segment users (they just have a field for “Miscellaneous”)
- List focused rather than user focused
- Much, much better API
- Good delivery rates
- Lots of customisation options & great 3rd party integrations
- Ability to create “Groups” — this allows you to segment subscribers into different categories
- Can create rule based autoresponders — e.g. if user clicks this link, send this email after x days
- Easy to add a lot of users onto their list
- Free to start
- Harder to design nice looking emails and no “templates” available. Having said that they are improving
- A bit more difficult to get everything set up right
- Double opt in is also “forced” unless you use their API
- Cannot send emails based on users’ geographic location — Aweber allows you to send time based emails by capturing the user’s timezone.
So which to choose? Well, if you are first starting out with Email Marketing, then both are great. I think that aweber is a lot more user friendly and easier to get started with. If you need flexibility and you want to work with the API, then Mailchimp would be much better.
If you just want to send out an email on set out days with no variations or basic lifecycle email marketing, then both are great.
In other words, if you want to create nice looking emails, then I would go with Aweber. If you want to have any more options than that, I would go with Mailchimp.
What I Use
I spoke a bit about segmentation. That’s very important because not everyone is going to have the same level of interest in what you have to say or sell. Some people will want to hear from you all of the time. Others, every now and then.
OfficeAutoPilot versus InfusionSoft
I have indeed tried both. I chose Infusion in the end.
A lot of people find InfusionSoft very confusing. I can understand their point of view. At first, it’s not very intuitive. In fact, it looks very confusing. But, once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy to use and more importantly, very powerful. There is definitely a learning curve at the start and you need to invest a fair amount of time (and money!) to set up with InfusionSoft. At the time of writing it’s a $2,000 set up fee + the monthly fee which is $200 – $500 per month depending on which plan you’re on. So if you’re just testing the waters with email marketing, you should try an alternative. Then again, if you’re confident that the business will grow and email marketing will be an important part of your business, then you should go with the right provider from the start because the time it takes to transition and relearn a new platform is time consuming and a hassle.
The thing I love about infusion the most is automation.
The more I can automate, the more time I have to spend on marketing or higher value items in the business. By automating, you can scale and leverage the most critical points of your business.
Email marketing is about building trust and a relationship. I can automate what gets sent to whom. You can do this using infusion’s ability to “tag” people. That means if they downloaded my content marketing ebook, they’re marked in my database as “interested in content marketing” and “downloaded ebook.” They can receive a follow up sequence on content marketing which leads them onto my content marketing course as well as other content that I think is relevant. This process builds credibility because I’m giving information the user wants. If they’ve clicked 3 links about Facebook marketing, I know they’re interested in Facebook and I customize my message accordingly for them. The difference between this and the first 2 email providers we looked at (aweber & mailchimp), is that you’re sending the same message to everyone. That’s widely inefficient. That means that your most valuable prospects on your list are not getting what they want. Why?
When you write your sequence, you try to write it for your whole list because you don’t want to piss off everyone else on your list. If you blast your list 3 times a week, you can be sure that a lot of subscribers on your list will start unsubscribing unless you’ve managed to gather an extremely tight list. Certainly there are ways to segment and gather interest in aweber or mailchimp — e.g. you can have them sign up/opt in to another list by way of a form. If you do this and you email them relevant stuff, even daily, your unsubscribe rate should be pretty close to nil.
But I like to automate the process of personalization which leads to more engaged users.
OAP is a lot easier to set up and use. There’s not much of a learning curve if you’ve been email marketing for some time. Some of it will seem quite intuitive also. They don’t have a set up cost either. But in terms of capability, Infusion is definitely further ahead.