Look as far as autoresponder solutions, i cannot claim to be an expert. But i do have some very valuable experience to share.
In my earliest days of owning a business online, i picked an autoresponder solution arbitrarily based on some recommendations –
1shoppingcart was the name and it was ok.
problem was, after a few broadcasts, i noticed the deliverability of my promotional messages declined over time.
another big marketer who tested several solutions decreed iContact as the second coming. so i migrated a 2,000-some contact list over to iContact and continued mailing uninterrupted.
soon after switching to iContact, everyone started saying aweber had the best deliverability. i considered changing autoresponders again, but decided not to because aWeber have some strange conditions about importing contacts.
basically, you have to ask your current list of contacts to “confirm” joining the new mailing system.
effectively, half the list will never confirm and there goes half your business asset.
A mailing list is no joke.
I recently gave up a 30,000-some subscriber list to an ex-business partner and lost a multi-million dollar income source.
The list continues to make my ex-partner tens of thousands of dollars per broadcast!
Make no mistake about it, your mailing list, no matter how tiny is your MOST VALUABLE asset in online business.
Anyway, after spending several tens of thousand of dollars building my blog list on iContact it seemed a bad idea to switch again.
iContact’s deliverability was fine.
unfortunately, it was after years of marketing to that list when i realised the odd limitations of iContact.
They only allow you to send 6 emails a month to the list-size package you buy.
anything extra is billed at $25/broadcast!
It gets pretty expensive when you’re sending daily emails – 24 over the limit is $600/month in overage charges.
seemed hardly worth it to continue with iContact.
i mailed out a new campaign to my iContact list where they needed to optin for a cool bribe. that new optin joined the most active subscribers on aWeber.
Now, i maintain TWO lists – one on aWeber and one on iContact as a result. Paying two separate subscriptions. But i only send 6 emails a month to iContact and mail daily to aWeber.
After doing all these migrations and incurring all the costs, i’d like to pass onto you a few critical lessons.
First of all, you must always favour deliverability over everything else.
aWeber has superior deliverability.
They are annoying at times, because you can’t move subscribers to a different list within your aweber account – unless you’re ok with asking for a second confirmation. Which you should avoid anyway.
but it’s a small price to pay to make sure your messages get into the inbox of your prospects.
after all, you make money ONLY when subscribers can read your sales and promo messages. if they’re hitting their spam box instead of the inbox, the messages aren’t read and you make nothing.
Secondly, keep expansion in mind.
If you are actively building your business, you have to know that your list will increase in size over time.
Is it expensive to upgrade?
Is it inconvenient?
Will you lose subscribers?
Good questions to ask early on.
Better to make a good choice in the beginning when you have little to lose – than to have to switch halfway through.
Again, aWeber is superior to iContact as far as scalability.
You are able to maintain a list of upto 10,000 subscribers at the most basic package size, without paying overage charges. Better yet, you can email as frequently as you wish.
iContact may be cheaper to begin with, because they offer several small subscriber size packages. And they may seem a good idea if you only have a tiny list.
But as your list grows, you have to take into account that you’ll need to upgrade your package and pay much more than aWeber.
if you want to email more frequently than 6 times a month, you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger package too.
Between me and you, 6 emails a month is buggerall.
You can’t really sell anything worth a crap with 6 follow-ups a month.
So again, the most scalable contact management solution ifound has been aWeber.
What do you do if you’re already stuck in another autoresponder?
Not all is lost.
Stick with it until it becomes absolutely necessary to change.
When you do change to a new autoresponder, make sure you make a life-time choice.
Oh one more thing —
a lot of people think it might be better to self-host your autoresponder.
i’ve done this before, and getting past the spam filters is a full-time job in itself.
aWeber take care of this for you and it’s included in their basic $29/month package. They maintain excellent relations with ISPs so that all your mail is delivered to the inbox of major email providers.
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