Last year I talked a bit about blog subscriptions. At the time, anyone subscribing to my email list did so through the FeedBurner service — bought by Google in 2007 but left to stagnate ever since. FeedBurner’s free to use, but it’s very limited, there’s no support, and it might disappear and take my email list with it, so about six months ago I switched to AWeber.
Here are a few AWeber benefits.
Boosting subscribers by 1,000%
During the first two months with AWeber I was getting two or three new email subscribers each day — the same as with FeedBurner. But with AWeber I’m able to change things slightly, offering a free chapter from my book that’s automatically sent to subscribers after they confirm their subscription. Four months after implementing the free download I now get about 20 daily sign-ups. Over the course of a year that’s the difference between 700 new subscribers and 7,000, so offering an incentive definitely works. With your own mailing list you could give away a free ebook, a free font download, useful resources, etc., and all taken care of automatically after some straightforward setup through AWeber’s admin panel.
Setting a schedule
I’m now able to choose how often newsletters are sent, on what days, and at what time. FeedBurner can only send updates as soon as a blog post is published, so if you post once a day, your readers are emailed daily. I think that’s too often. I’ve set my current broadcast to send every two weeks, regardless of how many posts are published in that timeframe. There’s also an option to send a newsletter after a specific amount of new posts are published, where subscribers get an email as soon as there are five or ten or however many blog updates. It’s a nice alternative and I’ll probably change to that, meaning less frequent emails but with more content.
Creating follow-ups and tracking what readers do
I’ve thought about using AWeber’s autoresponders to create a class for students. I’d prepare the content in advance (text, images, video), choose the delivery schedule, then let it run automatically. Something to plan.
Another advantage over FeedBurner is the ability to customise the welcome message, so I can signpost a few pieces of popular content from my archives that are unlikely to have been seen by new visitors.
The analytics are a great feature, giving reports on things like these:
- Track where on your website readers go after they click a link
- Track what time of day readers open emails and click links
- Send emails to specific subscribers based on what they’ve clicked in the past
- Split test different versions of your newsletter to see which works best
- See how different sign up forms are performing to maximise subscriptions
Tracking the clicks tells me what content subscribers are most interested in, and that can help give direction for future content.
I wasn’t too keen on the template sign-up forms provided by AWeber, but this guide helped a lot with the styling.
There are other companies that handle email marketing. MailChimp for example. It offers a free option if you have a small amount of subscribers, but you can’t use MailChimp autoresponders unless you become a paying customer, and it’s the autoresponders that gave me a ten-fold increase in subscribers.
AWeber’s competitors could be just as good, but I’m more than happy with my choice.
It’s $1 for the first month, and you can cancel any time. More info on the AWeber website.