update: After writing this post I’ve since decided to go with GetResponse. The reason is that GetResponse has mentioned they will make it possible to change the submit button in the future – a must have feature. So take this post as my experience in choosing an autoresponder, hope it helps you in making a decision.
If you don’t know, choosing an autoresponder (newsletter) service is a crucial part of online marketing, to be able to communicate regularly and consistently with your audience. It’s fine to be on the 1st page of Google search results, but this is never a consistent thing, so you have to make sure to build a list of people that are interested in your information, which you can later provide useful information and updates to.
What should you consider?
This is probably one of the most difficult questions. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to pay extra for some timesaving features, or are you willing to put some effort and time into this yourself?
If you are new to this online marketing business, you might say “I don’t need the bells and whistles” and you might go for the cheap option. I went this route myself and went for a relatively cheap service, compared to Aweber.
That autoresponder service was ImnicaMail. I tried them for 2 weeks and I REALLY tried to like this cheap but decent autoresponder service, but I realised this wasn’t for me. They aren’t the size of some of the other services, which is pretty obvious when you start using them. My support ticket wasn’t answered in several days and there is no chat support either. Furthermore they only have 3 web signup forms.
The 3 singup templates at ImnicaMail
I must say however, they did have some server side issues recently, because of the popularity of their service, so it’s not all their fault. In the end, my biggest disappointment was the the lack of options compared to Aweber and GetResponse.
The GetResponse option
I really needed something different after ImnicaMail, something which was easy to use and straight forward. GetReponse provided these things for me. They are an excellent autoresponder service and have lots of signup forms as well. One of the great things they have is an online storage of 1GB for each account. You can store your files here, when you need to share some documents with your list. This is very useful, as you don’t have to attach or store them on your own server. I also like the 1000 free iStock images you get, which would be useful in your newsletters. As if this wasn’t enough, you are also able to send surveys to your list!
Multimedia options at GetResponse - click for larger version
All in all a great autoresponder, but there was one thing I didn’t like about GetResponse. Their signup forms are lacking in design and creativity. I might have chosen them if you could easily change the signup button, to an image of you choose yourself. But unfortunately this isn’t an option, you have to use their plain and boring signup buttons.
Why is this important you ask? Well, over the past 7 years of web development, if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s this: design matters. When you present a stylish and cool looking button to your visitors, they’ll feel more compelled to click on it and sign up. I know this from myself, and I’m sure you think the same when visiting web sites. This has also been tested and proven numerous times with splittesting. It is a crucial aspect of web design and how people interact when using websites. Have a look at this book for further reading on this topic.
Some Aweber forms
So I decided to go for Aweber in the end. The decision was based on a few factors. Let me list the pros and cons here:
- They have lots of web signup forms
- CRUCIALLY you can easily customise the signup button with your own image
- They have great word-of-mouth going for them, there must be a reason
- It’s easy to setup and use, much like GetResponse
- Integration with lots of 3rd party software
- No online storage space like GetResponse
- The user interface is lacking and in need of a refresh, GetResponse looks very modern compared to them
- The Price
For me this was a very close race between GetResponse and Aweber. Especially when you get 100 free subscribes with GetResponse and they are cheaper as well. But as I had to choose an autoresponder soon, I went for Aweber. Especially as so many online marketers are happy with them. But I don’t think Aweber is that much in the lead as you might think, GetResponse could easily be the superior service soon.
I hope my experience has provided you with some useful information, when choosing your autoresponder service. This is NOT my way of saying you SHOULD choose Aweber. Your might love to spend time in a HTML editor to customize your web forms, I like the easy approach. This is just my experience of how it all played out, after having spent some time experimenting with these autoresponders. I just hope I might have helped you a little, when making this important decision in your online marketing journey.