Most website owners would agree that email lists are one of their most valuable online assets. An email list represents a website’s loyal visitors, accumulated over a period of time mostly through the owner’s hardwork and determination, that have chosen to engage with you on a more deeper level than most site visitors. And since email is one of the more cost-effective way of promoting your website and its contents, effectively making use of your email list is a sure-fire way of monetization.
Given such importance, the selection of an email marketing provider is one of the more important decisions any website owner or IT manager should make. A number of providers are currently available, with offerings that seem to be generally similar to each other except from price, ease of use, and level of customization available. Here we take a look at three of the dominant email marketing providers: MailChimp, Aweber and GetResponse and see which among them will be best suited for your needs.
First up is MailChimp, arguably one of the most popular email marketing services out there today. Out of the box, MailChimp offers a free tier for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. It has over 300 email templates to choose from, has built-in A/B split testing, and time-based and action-based autoresponders (although you would have to pay for the latter).
MailChimp also offers Send Time optimization, which basically means the service will work out the best time to send your emails. Migration from other services is also a tad easier with MailChimp, because uploading subscribers is allowed without them having to opt in again.
Unfortunately though, MailChimp is less intuitive than other providers. Topics such as making money online, working from home, and affiliate marketing are not allowed. The service’s support staff is also not that easy to reach.
Next is Aweber, another popular service especially among internet marketers. Most reviews regarding the service rave about how it is very straightforward to use, with a very responsive and accommodating live chat support. Time-based auto responders are also available, as well as A/B testing, 600 email templates, and deliver attachments in emails. A single account may also be used for multiple lists across multiple sites.
However, Aweber does not come with a free account option to try out the service, although the first month may be had for as low as $1. Aweber is also quite expensive especially when you are just starting out, although the prices start to even out once you have more subscribers already. Moving between lists also require opting in again, and during billing, people who have not confirmed their subscription and people in multiple lists are counted as individual subscribers. Lastly, Aweber seem to have lesser features compared to other services in its category.
The last email marketing service we look at here is GetResponse. A long time personal favorite of mine, GetResponse, just like Aweber, is very intuitive to use. Their support team is available 24/7 for any concerns regarding the service, and from my experience is very capable and helpful in addressing any issues or inquiries.
Time-based and action-based autoresponders are available out of the box, as well as single account support for multiple lists across multiple sites. Similar to Aweber and MailChimp, A/B split testing is also available in GetResponse.
An easy to use email creator is also available for use by both novice and experienced marketers, with over 500 email templates to choose from. As an added bonus, GetResponse comes with access to over 1,000 stock images from iStock, a welcome addition especially for me since I always like adding images to my emails for added flair. Changing from another service is also a breeze with the capability to upload subscribers without the need to opt in again. A mobile app for both iOS and Android is also available, which means you can manage your email campaigns anytime, anywhere.
Okay, so given the above advantages and disadvantages of MailChimp, Aweber and GetResponse, which one should you get? Personally, I believe everything just boils down to your needs and your budget. Set your preferred email marketing provider budget, list the must have and nice to have features you are looking for, and do a side-by-side comparison. All three mentioned here offer free to very minimal starting costs anyway, so you shouldn’t really go wrong in choosing one or the other.
But if I would have to choose one to recommend, I’d be sticking to GetResponse. Of course I would be biased because I have been using their service for a while. But maybe the exact same reason would be enough to justify my choice: I have been using their service for a while, hence they should be doing something really great to warrant my loyalty. Then again, it will be up to you to find out for sure.