Aweber or Mailchimp? – Isn’t this the biggest question when it comes to choosing the best email autoresponder? That makes you read every Aweber review out there, right?
Email autoresponder plays a crucial role in every internet marketers’ business. It helps them to stay in regular touch with their customers. This doesn’t mean that email autoresponder has to be used to send canned spam mails.
Email autoresponder in fact can be (and has to be) used to provide value to subscribers.
Building up your subscriber list is a continuous process that needs effective planning. Retaining those subscribers by providing quality content is another vital part of the story.
Don’t even think about doing it all by yourself (but sending quality emails). Email autoresponder is just for the purpose.
Here is a brief look on the features of both Aweber and Mailchimp to help you select the best email autoresponder for your blogging needs.
Why the question arises in the first place?
Well, you should be wondering. Why should someone should think about comparing two services – one that has a free plan and one that is not free.
Well, Mailchimp has a free option. The free plan lets you have 2000 subscribers in your list and send them 12000 emails (note that a single email newsletter sent out to 2000 subscribers will count as 2000 and not as 1).
But Mailchimp does have a free option that lets you test it out for quite some time. Very small business owners who have very small lists and don’t send out newsletters very frequently can dwell on that option for quite a while, until their list grows big.
On the other hand, Aweber does not have the free plan but it does let you to try out its service for $1 for the first month. Aweber’s starter plan is $19 per month for 500 subscribers and unlimited emails. We’ll talk about pricing later.
But the point is, even though Mailchimp has a free plan I am sure any growing business will have to upgrade in due course – so if you are drawn towards Mailchimp just because it is free, you have to think beyond that. Let’s break down the rest of the aspects in this post.
The user interface (Aweber or Mailchimp?)
User interface is a crucial factor for any email autoresponder. If the UI is difficult to use or confusing there is no point in having all the fabulous features.
I don’t want to be spending hours together figuring out the best template for my emails. Or I don’t want to be spending hours on figuring out how to create a new newsletter email. I want things to be simple.
Both Aweber and Mailchimp guarantee that this will not be a problem. Both email autoresponders have a considerably efficient, yet simple user interface. Aweber, however, provides a more professional outlook for optin forms and emails.
It is not hard for you to customize your forms as much as you like – you could add in custom colors, custom text, change the width etc. for the optin forms and there are LOADS of templates.
It has a source view and preview tabs at the bottom of the page. You can add your own stamp and even digital signatures to your emails.
Mailchimp has a fun, intuitive, and graphical interface. You can set out equally professional designs through this interface. It provides a GUI editor, which does your work and all you have to do is, feed in your choices.
While the look will appeal everyone, I find Aweber to be less confusing and much simpler.
You can also upload custom graphics (like header background, button graphics, etc.). Initially Mailchimp had a edge on offering image hosting. Now Aweber too has this feature. You can upload unlimited images to their server and use them on your forms, templates etc.
Personally, I found editing and customizing very simple and efficient with Aweber. Also I find Aweber to be less confusing when I navigate in the backend to do my newsletter related job.
Email autoresponder tracking rate and other analytics
You cannot simply send out newsletters and then sit and pray. You have to be able to see how your newsletter performed. How many people actually got your newsletter (email deliverability, a separate story), how many people opened it, who clicked on what links and so on.
I can say without a second thought that Aweber does this job in an excellent manner. It has a built-in tracker that gets you real time data.
Mailchimp used to suck at this where you just can see a few stars against each of your subscribers to rate their activity. Now, Mailchimp has improved on this area but still its analytics does not compare to what Aweber offers.
However, Mailchip comes with SiteAnalytics360, which in collaboration with Google Analytics, can give you a reasonably efficient tracking service.
Deciding if a subscriber is responsive or not is very effective with Aweber. Mailchimp just puts some stars next to each subscriber which makes it difficult to decide (you may want to regularly clean up your list).
Delivery effectiveness – Aweber wins
Your complete email marketing campaign depends upon the timely delivery of your emails to the subscribers. Of course, the whole effort will be lost if the email autoresponder fails to deal with the spam filters and the emails are stranded in the spam folder for eternity.
Aweber has definitely proved its merit in this regard. Aweber promises a delivery rate of almost 99%.
Mailchimp gets a set back due to its manual subscribers’ list adding feature. Due to this feature, it fails to send in confirmation mails to the clients and recedes in spam filter efficiency.
Aweber sharply catches bounces and spam complaints (and reports that with every email campaign) but Mailchimp is blunt at this.
Email autoresponder list building feature (Aweber or Mailchimp?)
Both Aweber and Mailchimp have excellent list building features. There are loads of forms and designs available with both email autoresponder services. But when it comes to flexibility and professionalism, Aweber wins.
In case of Aweber, double optin confirmation is a must.
Both Aweber and Mailchimp allow you to manage multiple lists.
Categorizing the lists is easier with Aweber. Aweber forms the category based on clients’ activity tracks. Mailchimp categorizes the lists according to clients’ interests. However, this can sometimes lead to confusion when there are multiple coinciding interests and you can end up with some fake accounts in your list.
The price factor
This factor finds Mailchimp as the contender with an edge. It offers a free account feature. You can have up to 2000 subscribers in your list and send in up to 12000 mails per month via this free account.
Aweber does not offer any free services. You can take the trial service for 30 days with a money back guarantee. The trial service is activated with a $1 deposit to the email autoresponder account.
Mailchimp’s premium service and Aweber’s regular service after the trial period will cost you money. But Aweber becomes cheaper when we compare number of subscribers, features and other benefits.
If you want to make money with your list, Aweber MUST be your choice
Money is in the list. Email marketing is powerful and if you have a responsive list you can make money from it by promoting your own products/services or affiliate products.
If you want to do this, you need Aweber because Mailchimp’s terms doesn’t allow this feature. The sad thing is that Mailchimp doesn’t spill the beans and it is not clear if you can include affiliate links in your email campaigns or not.
I once emailed them to clear this up and their support said that if affiliate promotion is not my sole reason to send an email, I can include a link. But I know people whose accounts have been closed by Mailchimp (and they lost their list as well) for sending out affiliate links in their emails (on sidebar or footer).
I don’t think anyone can afford to lose their list for a term that’s not clear and I don’t think anyone can afford not to send any affiliate links in their email marketing campaigns.
My take on choosing the right email autoresponder serive – Aweber
I know, I know, its never easy to choose between the options available (and one is for free!). But I’ve given you the features of both Aweber and Mailchimp here. I don’t talk about other email autoresponders, coz I haven’t tried them.
I used Mailchimp first (just because it was free up to 2000 subscribers) but then when I wanted to professionalize my blog and everything, Mailchimp really couldn’t serve the purpose. Although, I personally love Mailchimp for what it does for free.
BUT I made my choice to go for Aweber after having used Mailchimp for about 6 months. And I strongly feel that I made the right decision.
If you think you’re on a tight budget you will tempted to go for Mailchimp but trust me, when your subscriber limit goes past 2000 (which soon or eventually will happen), then you’ll be paying more than Aweber and will be enjoying much lesser features.
I suggest you start using Aweber right from the beginning. Or if you’re thinking about moving now, there’s no better time than NOW to move to Aweber.
If you move from Mailchimp (or other email autoresponder service) to Aweber, you can seek support to export your list without going through the double optin again.
PS: The links to Aweber and Mailchimp are my affiliate links which means I will make a commission if you purchase through my link (and you will never pay extra for that). But my opinion given in this post is NOT based on this. I’ve tried both and I have given a review based on my experience with both the email autoresponder services.
PPS: BONUS – If you buy Aweber through my link, you can get my ebook (Problogging Action Plan) FREE as a thank you (valid after you pass the trial period; fill out the contact form to ask me about it. I will need your transaction details).