What You Need To Know About The New Aweber Autoresponder System
Any internet market worthy of the name knows that, whilst it is possible for almost anyone to earn a few dollars online, the people that make the really big money are those that automate their online marketing businesses.
In essence, the most successful marketers use autoresponder systems to handle as many of the mundane, day-to-day tasks as they possibly can, because they understand that even the most humdrum tasks are an integral part of running a successful marketing business. By doing so, they free up a great deal more time which they can then use to focus their attention and efforts on the money making side of that business.
No business on earth, whether it operates principally on the internet, or in the offline ‘real’ business world, can ever be entirely free of administrative tasks and duties, that’s a given. Fulfilling or completing these tasks and duties is an extremely important ‘cog’ in the machine that keeps the business running smoothly.
In other words, they are jobs that need to be done, and somebody or something must do them.
This is where people who operate their business mainly or entirely by using the internet have a significant advantage, because, by using on autoresponder service, it is possible to automate almost all of their business systems and activities.
For example, most leading internet marketing experts and ‘gurus’ will tell you that it is critically important to the long-term success of your business that you build a mailing list.
By building such a list, you create a ‘captive audience’ of prospects (and eventually customers) to whom you can send details of all the latest offers and products which you are promoting. Some of these prospects will occasionally buy the products that you recommend, and therefore, your mailing list will generate additional income for you as a result.
In order to send the details of the offers or products that you are currently promoting to your mailing list members, you could, of course, send out an e-mail every two or three days through your own e-mail account manually.
However, to do so would probably take you all day to send just one e-mail to everyone on your list. That is, therefore, a day completely wasted.
If you were using an autoresponder system, however, you would load up a series of e-mails which would automatically be sent to prospects, one after another at pre-set intervals. Once the prospect adds themselves into the preloaded e-mailing series by subscribing to your list, every individual e-mail message that is sent to them thereafter will be delivered entirely automatically.
From just this simple and relatively basic example, it should be very easy to recognize the value of automating your own online business. In order to do so, you need an autoresponder.
Whilst every individual marketer will have their own favorite autoresponder system, for the majority of experienced and serious internet marketers, the choice has traditionally come down to one of a handful of autoresponder operators who are widely recognized as being the best in the business.
In the past couple of months, Aweber have made significant changes to both their website and to the features and benefits that they are providing to their autoresponder customers. At the same time, they have also made large scale changes to their pricing structure, with the price that many marketers will now have to pay being noticeably higher.
This free course will, therefore, look at two aspects of the recent upgrades that Aweber have instigated.
Firstly, we will take an in-depth look at the upgraded features and benefits that Aweber are now providing for their customers, and how they can be used in order to improve the profitability of your online business.
Secondly, we will look at the new pricing structure, before asking and answering the question of whether Aweber still represents good value for money for a new subscriber.
Why Was Aweber Already a Favorite?
Before beginning to look at the new features and benefits, however, it is a good idea to consider what made the ‘old style’ Aweber system such a favorite with the internet marketing community.
By doing so, it will probably become easier to understand and appreciate the reasons behind the decision to make the recent changes that Aweber made.
A Google search for the word autoresponders reveals 2.43 million results:
Whilst not every one of these results represents a different autoresponder system, program or website, nevertheless, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different autoresponder systems available.
Some of these systems are based on software programs that you download and install on your own web hosting account, so that all of your incoming and outgoing e-mails are handled through your own domain name and e-mail account.
Other systems are broadly similar to that offered by Aweber in that they are entirely internet browser based, and operate from a website outside your own hosting or e-mail accounts. In this scenario, when someone decides that they want to join your mailing list, and they add themselves into your preloaded e-mail series by signing up, all that activity takes place on the servers of the external autoresponder system rather than on your own.
The fact that the majority of marketers choose to use the services of a company like Aweber may, therefore, seem slightly odd.
For example, looked at logically, it might appear to be a far more sensible idea to collect all this information from your new subscriber yourself, rather than allowing an independent third party to do so on your behalf. After all, if your autoresponder operated through your own web hosting account, then you would retain a significantly higher degree of control.
However, the most successful marketers do not, in general, do this. They continue to use the services of companies and sites like Aweber, and in most cases, would never consider doing anything other than continuing to do so.
Obviously, there must be a reason why they choose to spend money on a monthly basis to use an external autoresponder account when they could buy and install software on their own servers and never pay another cent thereafter.
That reason can be summed up in one word – deliverability.
The people at Aweber pride themselves on being able to achieve the highest levels of deliverability of any autoresponder system in the business.
What this means in practical terms is best illustrated with a simple example.
Imagine that you decide to buy an autoresponder script or software program (or obtain a free one) which you proceed to download and install on your own web hosting account.
You then create a subscription form from which visitors to your site can join your mailing list. As soon as they input their name and e-mail address to this form and hit the ‘subscribe’ button, that information is sent to your own e-mail account.
If you are a cautious and sensible marketer, then you will set your system up so that, in order to be officially subscribed to your mailing list, people have to go through the ‘double opt-in’ process.
They send their request to join your mailing list, but, instead of your autoresponder sending them the first e-mail of your preloaded series, it instead sends a mail asking them to confirm that they really want to join your mailing list.
So, in summary, they complete a subscription form which sends a request to your own e-mail system (which is probably attached to the same website from where they are subscribing) to join your list. You then send an e-mail to the e-mail address that they added to the subscription form, asking them (in effect) ‘are you sure?’
This is where the question of deliverability becomes important. If that confirmation e-mail does not arrive in their inbox, then they will never complete the process of joining your list.
And, unfortunately, if you are using an autoresponder system attached to your own domain name URL and e-mail account, the chances of that e-mail actually landing in their inbox are next to zero.
In a business like internet marketing that relies so heavily on sending promotional e-mails to voluntary mailing list subscribers as a primary method of generating income, e-mails that do not arrive represent a massive problem.
At the same time, however, due to the ever increasing tide of spam e-mail, it is becoming harder by the day to ensure that e-mails that you send out actually get through. And, if your e-mails do not get through, then you cannot possibly ever make any money from the information that they contained.
Simply put, Aweber are one of the best in the business for ensuring that any e-mails you send out to your prospects or customers actually arrive in their inboxes as you intended.
The company claim achieved deliverability rates of in excess of 95%, and, whilst only Aweber themselves have access to the detailed information on which they base these claims, I have seen no particular reason to doubt that this is factually true.
The relevance of this information to the recent changes is based on the fact that, in order to make these claims, Aweber have had to collect certain information about the e-mails that they have delivered. How have they been capable of collecting this data?
The answer to this question is that Aweber have long been able to track which e-mails actually arrive in the intended recipients in box, and those that did not get through because they were ‘captured’ (and then destroyed) by over-intrusive incoming e-mail filter programs.
Indeed, even using the ‘old style’ Aweber system, it was possible to see how many of your mails actually got through, and, once they landed in the recipients inbox, how many were actually opened (as long as you were sending e-mails formatted in HTML).
What Aweber have now done is extended that ability to analyze what happens to your mail after you send it.
This has been done simply because the more you know about what recipients do when they see your e-mail, the more effectively you can create effective promotional campaigns, and increase your profits by doing so.
Is Email Marketing Still Viable?
This is a question that will be of singular importance to any serious internet marketer, because such a marketer is likely to rely on e-mail for a significant percentage of their income.
They still send out two or three e-mails every week that promote a product or service, and make a very nice income from the sales that these (free) e-mail messages manage to generate.
If, therefore, e-mail marketing was no longer viable, then this would represent a huge hurdle that the internet marketing industry as a whole would have to overcome extremely quickly.
The fact that that has not happened yet indicates that e-mail marketing is, indeed, still a viable and profitable way of getting your marketing message out to your prospects and customers.
At the same time, however, it is important to understand that e-mail marketing does not stand still either, and that it is constantly evolving to keep up with the latest market trends and developments.
As an example, it was not all that long ago that sending HTML (as opposed to plain text) e-mails was the thing to do. By doing so, you could include active hyperlinks in your mails, as well as adding attractive formatting features such as different colors and text styles, graphics and the like.
All of these factors represented significant potential improvements for internet marketers, and it therefore appeared very likely that e-mail marketing would move away from using text-only e-mails pretty quickly.
For instance, the ability to include an active hyperlink in an HTML e-mail enabled a marketer to send their e-mail reader directly to their sales page, rather than having to ask the reader to copy and paste a URL from a text e-mail, which was (and is) far less convenient, and therefore considerably less effective as a marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, however, it very quickly became apparent that creating e-mail messages using HTML meant that there was a far higher chance of those messages being blocked by ISP-run incoming e-mail filters. In other words, whilst the HTML e-mail was far more effective if it managed to get through to the intended recipient, a far low percentage of messages actually managed to do so.
As a consequence, the concept of sending the HTML e-mails came onto the internet marketing scene with a big bang, but then left almost as quickly with hardly a whimper.
The fact that HTML e-mails are far more likely to be blocked by incoming spam filters created a significant problem for Aweber, because they needed e-mails to be sent using HTML so that they could track the arrival of those e-mails and whether they were opened or not.
Hence, whilst e-mail marketing is still extremely viable and profitable, it never stands still either and, time and again, Aweber is at the forefront of market developments and advances.
At the same time, the fundamentals of what you need to do in order to achieve success using e-mail marketing never actually change a great deal.
Now, just as much as it ever was in the past, your job as an internet marketer who uses e-mail as an integral and important part of your promotional system is to:
• Understand the wants and needs of your prospects and customers and
• Successfully tailor the information that you send to those prospects and customers to address those wants and needs as accurately as possible.
The more the information that you send to your list subscribers is matched to their own desires, objectives and beliefs, the more those subscribers will take the action that you want them to take.
In other words, the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing efforts will depend, to a large extent, on how relevant you can make the message that you send to the individual subscriber who receives that message.
It therefore follows that the more you know about what each individual subscriber does when they see your message arrive in their inbox, the better you will be able to tailor the information that you send to that individual e-mail recipient. Viewed from this perspective, the recent changes instigated by Aweber make a great deal of sense, as you are just about to find out.
Aweber E-mail Web Analytics
Both HTML and text messages are fine
The first important thing to understand about the new Aweber analytical tools is that they work equally as well if you send HTML e-mail or a text only message.
As suggested earlier, this is exactly as you would want it to be, because using HTML in your e-mails is generally speaking a pretty bad idea, due to their much poorer deliverability rates.
However, using the new Aweber system, you can track text only messages just as effectively as you can track those created using HTML.
Link to a site that you control
The second thing to understand about the new Aweber system is that it operates by combining the e-mail that you sent out with your website.
In other words, the analytical tools that Aweber have added to all new autoresponder accounts are designed to work most effectively when you are sending your e-mail reader via a link in your message to a webpage which you control.
In comparison, if you were to send that same e-mail reader to a page that you do not have direct control over, then the analytical tools that Aweber provides will not give you nearly so much information.
As an example, if you are promoting a product or service as an affiliate marketer, and you include a link in your outgoing e-mail message that will take the reader directly to the product vendor’s sales letter, then by doing so, you have lost the ability to track what that site visitor does when they land on the vendor’s sales page.
Of course, if they buy the product from that sales page, that will be reflected in your affiliate program statistics and earnings. Nevertheless, because you ‘lost contact’ with the prospect as soon as they went to the vendor’s sales letter, you have very little additional information about them.
In other words, if you want to get the maximum benefits out of the new Aweber analytical tools, you must ensure that any links you include in your outgoing e-mail messages will take anyone who clicks on them to one of your own pages. In the example shown above, for instance, you would create a page on your own site where you featured a review of the affiliate product that you’re promoting and link your e-mail message there, rather than directly to the original product vendor’s sales page.
In this way, you can get the maximum benefit from the analytical tools that Aweber is now providing.
Previously, it was possible to see how many of the recipients of your e-mail actually opened that e-mail. Using the new system, however, it is possible to see the exact time that the recipient clicks on the link in your message.
Of course, this information from one individual e-mail recipient is relatively worthless, but the value of this information will increase with every new click that the link in your e-mail message generates.
Over a period time, you should gradually see some kind of pattern emerging of what time of the day or night you manage to draw the most clicks on a particular link from members of one specific niche mailing list.
What this is indicating is the time of the day that the members of that particular mailing list want to receive the information that you are sending them. They are giving you a clear indication of when they are at their most receptive.
Thus, it would obviously make sense to target those list members with future promotional messages at around the same time of the day, as they have already indicated that this is when they must appreciate receiving this kind of information from you.
Finessing your broadcasts
When you are using a professional quality autoresponder system like Aweber, there are generally two slightly different scenarios where you might send e-mail to your prospects or customers.
Before you start to build any new mailing list, you will pre-load a series of e-mail messages that will be sent out automatically on a regular basis to anyone who subscribes to that list. Although there is no specific e-mailing frequency that works best for every business, market or niche, the chances are that you will set your account to send a message to your list members every three or four days.
Each of these regular e-mails will recommend or suggest a particular product to the e-mail recipient. As the e-mail series is preloaded into your autoresponder account, it stands to reason that the products or services that you recommend are all likely to be tried and trusted favorites.
From time to time, however, you may see a ‘hot’ new product for example, something that you really want to promote to your list members right now.
You would do this by sending a ‘broadcast’ to all of the appropriate members of whichever list you feel the product is relevant to.
With the new Aweber analytical tools collection, it is now possible to be far more accurate and precise with your targeting of any broadcasts of this nature that you might like to make.
Imagine, for example, that you decided to send out a broadcast e-mail about product XYZ. Once that broadcast mail has been sent, you obviously do not want to send the same message again to people who have already read it and either bought the product, or decided not to do so after reading the mail or even the sales page.
On the other hand, it will clearly make a lot of sense to send the same or a very similar broadcast message to any of your list subscribers who did not open the message the first time that you sent it.
Because the new Aweber analytical tools will show you which of your previous broadcasts were opened, you will in future be able to target a broadcast at only those who did not open that message, or click on the link contained therein.
In this way, you will be able to ensure that a far higher percentage of your broadcasts are (eventually) opened by your list subscribers, and that one factor will inevitably increase the sales of the product you are promoting.
In fact, Aweber have managed to develop their analytical system to such an extent that you can even send a broadcast to only those e-mail readers who did click on the link that took them to your own sales or promotional page, but who decided, for whatever reason, not to complete the purchase.
In this scenario, it is obvious that anyone who clicked on the link and visited your sales page were demonstrating a significant degree of interest in what you have to offer. However, something stopped them buying.
There are other ways of using the tools in the Aweber E-mail Web analytical package that may give you some indication of why the visitor decided not to buy, and we will consider those little later.
As a general observation, however, the reason that most people do not buy after they have made the effort to visit a sales letter is usually one of two things:
• They realize after reading the sales letter that the product does not do what they wanted it to do, or perhaps what they believed it would do from reading your e-mail, or
• At the price that is being charged for the product, it does not offer sufficient value to convince the visitor that it is worth buying. It is, in short, not worth the money as far as they see it.
Thus, what you would now do is create an e-mail for broadcast to this particular group of individuals in which you try to address both of these possible objections. The primary focus of this mail would be on price and perceived value, because that is usually the most common reason why people decide not to buy after visiting a sales letter.
You could, for example, send a ‘secret’ broadcast to only these people offering them an additional bonus product or products if they change their mind and decide to buy.
By offering additional bonuses that in themselves offer significant additional perceived value, you are increasing the total value of the complete ‘package’ (including the original product) by a appreciable margin.
As long as your bonus product is a very close ‘fit’ or complementary match for the original product, then I have little doubt that this strategy, allied to the ability to laser target your broadcast e-mail, would generate additional sales.
Following your subscribers
Using the Aweber analytical tools, you can track pretty much everything that your list members do whilst they are still working with your mail in their e-mail inbox. You can see which subscribers are opening which e-mails, and which are proving to be the most popular. You also know the time that people are clicking on your links as well.
So, for example, if you have a visitor who reads your sales letter but does not make a purchase, you will be able to track exactly what other pages they visited after they left that sales letter. Knowing what your visitors do whilst they are on your site is, in itself, extremely valuable information.
They may, for example, have visited a landing page on your site, and signed up for your mailing list. In this case, although you did not manage to land the sale, you still got their name and e-mail address, which is far better than nothing.
They may have visited several of your pages after they left the sales letter, which would indicate that they are very interested in the product that you are offering for sale. Thus, this might suggest that you should go back to them with some additional offer that will increase the perceived value of your ‘initial product plus bonus’ package. This would give you another opportunity of grabbing the sale from this particular visitor.
You may have pages on your site that you have monetized with paid advertising materials, such as Google AdSense.
In each advertising ‘block’ that you create using AdSense, you can include a unique tracking code (known as a ‘channel’ in Google terminology) so you will know where your advertising income is coming from.
If, therefore, you see a sudden surge in visitors to a particular page from your Aweber reports, whilst at the same time your advertising income also increasing from that page, that would give you a pretty clear indication of where your additional revenues are coming from, and why.
The New Aweber Pricing Structure
Until Aweber recently upgraded by introducing the new analytical tools, they had only one pricing level, set at $19.95 as a regular monthly subscription. As their closest market rival was charging $17.95 per month, it seemed that the two leading companies in the autoresponder market were pretty much of a muchness when it came to how much you had to pay to use their services.
As part of the recent changes, however, Aweber have significantly revamped their pricing structure, so that the amount you pay for your account is now based on the number of subscribers you have on your various different mailing lists:
See the pricing here…
As you can see, if you have less than 500 subscribers in total, then the cost of using Aweber has gone down fractionally from the previous price, but for everyone else, the cost has risen.
Of course, the assumption behind this price increase is that the larger your mailing list is, the more money you should be making from your members. And that is, to a large extent, exactly what is likely to happen.
In actual fact, it will probably be just as difficult, if not harder, for the very small mailing list owner to find the $19 a month as it will be for someone who has 24,999 subscribers to find the necessary $149 every month, because the larger mailing list owner is probably earning 10 or 20 times what the small list owner is generating.
Incidentally, if you are an existing Aweber customer, you have the choice of sticking with the old pricing structure and not having access to the new account features, or of stepping up to the new pricing structure, and benefiting from those additional features.
There have been several online debates in the last month or two questioning whether Aweber still represents good value for money and whether it would still be the ideal choice of autoresponder for an internet marketing beginner.
Still other marketers have pointed out, quite rightly, that there are other programs offering some of the advanced features that Aweber offer which can be used for free. For example, Google Analytics will enable you to track visitor’s actions as they move around your site, and you can download and install the program entirely without cost.
Such marketers are in effect questioning whether the new features from Aweber represent good value for money, and whether they fully justify the price increases.
As a long-time Aweber user, I genuinely believe that even with the new pricing structure, Aweber still represents outstanding value for money. Furthermore, I would have no hesitation in recommending the new service to anyone looking to open an autoresponder account, irrespective of how much or how little experience they have.
The other primary reason that I still have no hesitation in recommending Aweber to anyone is that, over the years, Aweber have always managed to be at the very forefront of developments in the autoresponder market sector. Whilst they have not always been the very first to introduce every new idea and option, nevertheless, almost without fail, when they do introduce something new, it is inevitably innovative and full of marketing profit potential.
Using an autoresponder account is all about automating your business so that you can make much higher levels of profit. Aweber clearly understand this notion, and in my experience, I have never seen them introduce anything that was not designed to help marketers increase their revenues, and therefore their profits.
In essence, in all the years that I have been working with Aweber, they have always been one step ahead of the game. And, with the latest improvements, they have clearly moved another significant step forward, making it very clear that they are not intent on resting on their laurels.
I also have a strong suspicion that most (if not all) of Aweber’s main competitors are probably working at this very moment on upgrading the features and benefits that they offer to their customers, and, no doubt a price increase will be on the cards when the upgrades are complete.
For that reason, I would suspect that, although Aweber are more expensive than most of their main rivals at the time of writing, it is a situation that is not likely to remain that wayfor very long.
With the relatively recent introduction of a whole raft of new features and benefits, it is fair to say that Aweber have taken a significant step forward as far as autoresponder systems and their usage is concerned.
At the time of writing, this has given them a significant advantage over all of their rivals and direct competitors, but I suspect that this will change over the coming weeks and months.
Nevertheless, the fact that Aweber have gone to the time and trouble of introducing such an innovative range of analytical tools to an autoresponder account is probably indicative of the way that the online business market is moving.
Analysis of what is happening when readers open an e-mail, or a visitor lands on a website is becoming increasingly important. More and more marketers are beginning to appreciate that, by these actions, the e-mail reader or website visitor is very clearly indicating what they want and like. As suggested earlier, the true power of this lies within the fact that, the more you know about what your e-mail recipients or website visitors wants and need, the more accurately you can send them information or product details that will satisfy those requirements.
And without a doubt, over the coming months and years, it will be marketers who know the most about their mailing list members and website visitors who will be able to promote to those people most successfully and profitably. They will be the marketers who most consistently ‘hit the hot spot’ for their prospects and customers, and they will therefore sell the most products and services as a direct result.
The analytical tools that Aweber have introduced to their standard autoresponder account represent a significant and influential step towards the day when, every time you send an e-mail out, or a visitor lands on your webpage, you will know absolutely everything that they do in real time.
It is also a relatively brave step for an autoresponder company to move into an area of the market with which few marketers would naturally associate them. I suspect, however, that Aweber have now started a trend, and that other autoresponder companies are not going to be slow to jump on the band wagon now that it is so obviously starting to roll forward.
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