Why I Left Aweber and the Problem With Most Email Providers
First off, let me say that I LOVE Aweber. They were a pioneer in the world of affordable email marketing platforms for startup entrepreneurs such as myself and using their email marketing platform is probably one of the top 3 things I can point to for my current success.
Having said that, there have been lots of changes to email marketing and marketing automation over the past couple of years and now I think there is problem with most email providers and better tools out there for some people. In this article I will share my current favorite in the space and why.
I previously wrote about why you need to think beyond just a “newsletter” when it comes to emailing HERE! In that article I talked about segmenting your email list according to their interests or behaviors. For example if you have 2 separate target markets you should send them different messaging. Also, you should have buyers list for every program so you don’t try to keep pitching the same stuff to the same people. When I wrote this article the only way to do this in lower tier email systems like Aweber, Get Response and Mail Chimp was to set up separate lists for each segment.
This poses several problems, the main one being cost. In a system such as Aweber, if you have 1 person on 3 different lists, they count as 3 subscribers for billing purposes. This starts to become a major issue as your email list grows. There are also a couple of other major problems. This setup does not allow you to link an email address to a person, like a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) would, which makes it nearly impossible to track what any individual person has done from within your email analytics and this leads to often sending the same or repeat emails to the same subscriber, which is annoying from their end.
There have been a couple of higher end solutions that some of my friends use that are not list based and can be used much more like a CRM would and allow for much more automation and tags to be applied to contacts instead of “lists”. The two big players in this space are Infusionsoft and Ontraport. These systems also have their problems (nothing is perfect), but I will stick to the problems as related to our discussion and not dive down too many rabbit holes.
I know quite a few people that use both these systems and they are pretty good if you need to run affiliate programs and need an all in one solution to manage that, along with your email, shopping cart and CRM. The first major problem is price. Unless you are generating significant income, committing to $300 or more per month is not a smart move for most health coaches I talk to. A couple of the other problems stem from the additional complexity of these systems since they do allow for so much automation.
Infusionsoft has an amazing visual campaign builder and allows for all sorts of crazy automation rules, but unless you are very tech savvy, you will likely have to hire someone to help you get this all setup. Even once it is all setup, it is still quite cumbersome to go in and change email sequences and move things around on the fly. It is affectionately called “confusionsoft” by many users.
Ontraport has similar issues with complexity and difficulty in getting setup. I usually don’t recommend these systems until you are really ready for them and the commitment. It is not that easy to switch from platform to platform, but lots of people do outgrow the entry level solutions.
In the past couple of years there have been some new systems to come online that are built with marketing automation in mind without the high end functionality of an Infusionsoft like program. These have a leg up on Aweber et al, since any automation features that have been added to older systems have been placed “on top of” current systems, and typically have not been a very easy thing to navigate.
For example, I am a long time Aweber user. For years, I have been using a tool called AW Pro Tools, which is yet another tool whose purpose is to help do some of the Aweber automation, moving from list to list and tagging. Aweber is now rolling out some of these features, but I find them pretty clunky and hard to use, and I am a very technical person.
So before this article drags out to 2,000 words, let me tell you about my current favorite tool. It is called Drip, and I think it is the perfect solution for anyone that does not need things like high-end affiliate tracking inside of their email system (and even if you do this may still be the solution for you), which in my experience is 99+% of the people I talk to on a regular basis. I have been testing this tool out for about 3 months and I thought it was great, but they just totally upped the game with a visual campaign builder, which they are calling workflows.
This takes marketing automation to a whole new level if you are used to using a system like Aweber of Mail Chimp. With Drip you can do things like apply a tag, send an email or an entire campaign, wait for 2 days until the following Tuesday at 11am, branch with if-then logic, and do about 30 other things…all defined visually using the power of Drip’s automation engine.
Some examples of this might be you have an introductory email sequence that you send everyone that signs up for your free opt-in offer. When they click a link in email 3 to go look at your low priced cleanse that is coming up, you can tag them as interested, then when they sign up for the cleanse you can tag them as a cleanse customer. This can remove them from the email sequence that they had been on for your free offer and then when they finish your cleanse sequence you can automatically put them into a new sequence that starts talking about your higher tier offerings, like individual coaching or whatever you offer. Really, the sky is the limit with automation but everyone should do at least a little basic automation.
Another great example is when someone clicks a link to schedule a call with you, you can tag them and then send a few follow-up emails to make sure they follow through.
These different actions allow you almost unlimited marketing automation and now with their visual interface, it makes the whole process much more intuitive.
Another thing I love that they did with this was they left the email campaign in table format. This, in my opinion, is one of the clunkiest things about the Infusionsoft visual campaign builder, there is no simple way to just reorder or remove emails. This is much more easily done in table format.
Here are a few more highlights from the Drip website.
Exits — a Drip original
|New and existing Drip users who have tried Workflows get up to speed in a few minutes, rather than the days of training and thousands of dollars required by other automation tools.||Want to exit a Workflow when certain conditions are met? For this, we invented Exits. They are surprisingly powerful and make it much easier to build simple, clean, and readable diagrams.||Unlike a few of the tools we tried, we believe scrolling works best when it’s top-to-bottom (rather than left-to-right), the way the web intended.||See how many subscribers are in the current step, and how many have passed through it. A single click shows the list of subscribers.|
No matter if you are just starting out, or looking to up your email marketing game, Drip is a great solution at a very competitive price.
Drip was recently purchased by my friends over at Lead Pages (Which is my all time favorite online tool and is fully integrated with Drip) so there will be massive and continual improvements with Drip in the future. They also have a FREE subscription level for your first 100 subscribers so you can really take the time to build this out and start using it without spending an arm and a leg.