AWeber: The Basics
AWeber is a popular choice amongst internet marketers. They’ve always had good support for things like autoresponders and easy to use signup forms that can be easily dropped into any page. A quick overview of their pricing and features:
- Free/Trial Plan: $1 / 30 Day Trial
- Basic Plan: 500 subscribers for $19 a month
- 25k Subscribers: $130 a month
- Pay as you go?: Not Available
- Analytics: Yes
- API: Yes
- A/B Testing: Yes
- Multivariate Testing: No
- SPF/DKIM support: Yes
Signing up for AWeber is straightforward enough. The trial plan gives you full access to all the functionality available with no limit on the numbers of mailings you send. Once everything is setup, AWeber greats you with a really nice Setup Wizard which walks you through setting up your first email list:
You’ll setup the basic newsletter settings, enter information about your company, setup links to social media outlets, and then tweak your confirmation message and enter a default confirmation success page. This is simply a page that the user is brought to when they agree to join your mailing list. Speaking of confirmation, the default setting in AWeber (and most ESPs out there) is to have your email lists be double opt in. Double opt in is when you signup for an email list and are first sent a confirmation email with a link that you must click before you are completely signed up. This is now optional and can be disabled, but in general you really want to keep it enabled. You will get fewer email list signups with it enabled, but you should also receive far fewer spam complaints if someone had to confirm their subscription.
After creating an email list, you are guided through creating your first email signup form:
There’s lots of easy to use preset layouts and customizing what info you ask for is pretty simple. You can also specify what Thank You page to send people to, and whether or not to enable Facebook integration. Finally, you can publish the forms or have them host the forms for you.
And now for the more interesting topics:
With split testing, also referred to frequently as A/B testing, you are testing single-variable changes in a process. With email lists, you are frequently testing one of the following:
- Sign up forms
- Landing pages
- Email content
Ideally, the changes between your testing samples is small. A simple example would be changing the text of the Submit button on a form:
You would then run some traffic to each of these signup pages and see which one performs better. One thing you want to be certain of is to send enough traffic to provide a statistically relevant result. Sending ten visitors to each one is not enough. There are a lot of split testing calculators out there, but this is one of the easiest to use.
AWeber supports split testing two things: Web Forms and Email Content. To split test web forms, you just click the Create a New Split Test button, give the split test a name, and then specify the percentage of traffic you wish to send to each web form in the split test. Split testing your mailings is a little more complex, but they have a video covering it here.
AWeber does not support multivariate testing. Multivariate testing allows you to properly test multiple variations of multiple items. An example of this would be changing the signup button of a form to a number of different things while also testing for the best color for that button.
AWeber provides you with lots of stats and information about your lists. Here’s a sample of some of the data they provide to you:
- List Opens Over Time
- List Clicks Over Time
- Daily New Subscribers
- Weekly New Subscribers
- Monthly New Subscribers
- Daily Subscriber Growth
- Weekly Subscriber Growth
- Monthly Subscriber Growth
- Subscribe Method
- Verified Subscribers
- Verification Times
- State, Countries
- City, State, Countries
- Area Code
There’s a lot more there as well, including the ability to segment your list, which is very powerful. With segmentation, you can grab the subscribers who opened your most recent message, or who clicked on a link in your message, or who live in a certain area. AWeber has a little more info here, as well as a nice example.
AWeber supports all the major sender verification methods including SPF, DKIM, and SenderID. All of their email is sent from their own email addresses on the behalf of you. Emails will come from addresses @aweber.com. Some people may not like this, but it does make things a little easier. The @aweber.com email address it is sent from will be whatever you specified your email list name to be, so make sure it is something professional.
AWeber’s API used to be pretty bad, but it’s improved drastically, as has the AWeber Labs site containing the API information. Here’s how they describe their API:
AWeber’s API is a REST-based API that allows developers to construct their own applications for displaying and managing AWeber customer accounts. Our API uses OAuth 1.0 for authentication and returns all requested data in JSON format. Additionally, our API PHP library provides developers with a working foundation on which they can build their new applications.
There are libraries for PHP, Python, and Ruby, all of which are hosted at GitHub.
And that is AWeber.