You should always start gathering your list. That’s what everybody says.
And it’s true. Your email list is the perfect way to contact your readers in many different occasional. Be it a contest, a newsletter, a question or an offer, your email list is probably the best way to get targeted people.
I started doing this 6 months ago and my first choice was Feedburner.
Now, I’m not going to create a table and analyze all the pros and cons of each email service. But I’ll tell you my experience in the past 6 months, when I started with Feedburner, then moved to Mailchimp and finally decided to use Aweber.
Perhaps I’ll be able to save you some time in the future, especially if you’re in the internet Marketing niche or any similar niche for where ad networks and affiliates are important.
Feedburner – The free option
I started with Feedburner for many reasons but luckily I’m not using it anymore.
I choose Feedburner because come on! It’s a service from Google. What could be better than that?
It was FREE, and some big companies including SEO MOZ are still using it.
The main advantage of Feedburner is that it allows you to send a newsletter every time you publish something new in your blog without paying for any service. Without creating templates on HTML, selecting titles and all that stuff you usually do on an email autoresponder service.
However, Feedburner is crazy. And here’s why:
- Subscribers change a lot from one day to another. Unless you go directly to the email subscriptions, you’ll see a number that changes every day. Sometimes I had 50 subscribers, sometimes I had20 or even less. And then the next day again more than 30.
- You can’t send personalized emails. Unless you post it publicly on your blog, which doesn’t fit my needs.
- You can’t setup auto responders or create newsletters from other feeds and blogs. Autoresponders are key for many business today.
- There’s no “direct” contact with you and your readers. You can’t send a thank you letter, or an especial offer to make them more exclusive.
What’s up with the Chimp?
So after 4 months, I decided to try Mailchimp. To be honest, I already had a Mailchimp account and I’m used to it because where I work, I normally use it to send Eblasts to our customers about new products or promotions, and it works fine, really.
Another good thing of Mailchimp is that it allows you to import your list without forcing your subscribers to opt in again. That’s great and it was one of the main issued I wanted to avoid. So I took my Feedburner list (I wasn’t sure if it was complete or not, but better move fast) and decided to start using Mailchimp.
Finally, Mailchimp costs $0 (that’s right, a rounded zero) if you have less than 2,000 subscribers and you’re not sending more than 6 broadcasts per month. Again, this one could be very useful for a business starting or with a relatively small list.
The first month I didn’t create any autoresponder and I “forgot” to create a newsletter from my blog, but honestly, this helped me because Mailchimp isn’t really recommended for affiliates or internet marketeers.
How do I know this?
A few weeks ago I was surfing some websites and when I was looking some tweets I came across a discussion about Mailchimp vs. Aweber. Many people were arguing Mailchimp wasn’t good for Internet Marketeers and you should read carefully the TOS.
So I quickly went to my Mailchimp account and opened the TOS just to find there were a few lines that didn’t really confirm this, but I had to be very cautious.
Her’e what they say:
Also, there are some industries that send certain types of content that result in higher than normal bounce rates and abuse complaints, which in turn jeopardize the deliverability of our entire system. No offense intended, but because we must ensure the highest delivery rates possible for all our customers, we do not allow businesses that offer these types of services, products, or content:
- Illegal goods or services
- Escort and dating services
- Pharmaceutical products
- Work from home, Internet Lead-gen, Make money on online opportunities, etc.
- Online trading, day trading tips, or stock market related content
- Gambling services, products or gambling education
- Multi-level marketing
- Affiliate marketers
- Credit repair, get-out-of-debt content
- Mortgages and/or Loans
- Nutritional Supplements, Herbal Supplements or Vitamin Supplements
- Pornography or nudity in content
- Adult novelty items or references in content
- List brokers or List rental services
- Marketing or sending commercial email without proper permission
In fact, Mailchimp is saying that they might not trust you if you’re on some of the following niches, mostly because many people abuse them and they can be marked as SPAM. And nobody wants that, but some people don’t care.
To be honest, this isn’t surprising, because as I’ve told you before, Mailchimp allows you to import a big list without opt in confirmation as long as you explain where did the list come from.
Aweber, how is it doing?
I ended up creating an Aweber account and imported my list of contacts (gathered from Feedburner and Mailchimp).
Of course, some people didn’t opt in again, even though I was careful enough to create an email saying I was moving to Aweber and I was very thankful for having them as subscribers. But I guess that means more targeted readers for me at the end.
But because I’m using Opt In Skin, I was able to quickly increase my list trough Aweber by using the following techniques:
- Use Optin Skin Plugin. I had a hard time deciding whether I should create my Aweber Form or just craft it on CSS, but at the End, I choose Opt In Skin.
- Put a newsletter subscription on the Sidebar
- Put an Opt in form at the end of my posts including a FREE Niche Site Guide (which took me a week to write down)
- Create an Autoresponder Series to make the follow up with my subscribers
- Add a subscription form within my comments
And because Opt In Skin gives me a full report of the impressions and subscriptions, I know which forms are working and which forms aren’t. Opt in Skin is a powerful plugin but by using Feedburner I was cutting it down.
And to be honest, the best thing is that because with Aweber I have a double opt in confirmation setup, I really just get targeted subscribers which are really interested to follow me or at least get the niche guide.
My subscribers list might not be as big as many others (just a few hundreds), but it’s growing every day, and it’s got high quality followers. For every follow up email or newsletter email I send, the open rate is around 70-80% and no SPAM complains until now.
I’m really happy with it, and calm enough to know I won’t lose my list because I break some of the rules from the Mailchimp service.
Also, I’m really happy to see statistics and every subscriber’s follow up information instead of going blind with Feedburner.
Which email service are you using and why?
If you have any other recommendation please let me know. But form what I’ve been reading, Aweber is the best for this niche, and it’s totally worth it.