A Review of AWeber Email Marketing with Tom Tate: One Last Tool Ep. 2.9
George: Hey ladies and gentlemen, it’s George B. Thomas here, and you know what I’m about to say. Yep, I’m excited because it’s time for another episode of One Last Tool. One Last Tool viewers and listeners, this one’s gonna be good because we’re gonna talk about all things nerdy, all things webby, all things a-er. Anyway, maybe you’ll put it together. But, I’m sure, once you see who we have today … hey, why don’t you go ahead, let’s get out of suspense mode, and explain to the listeners and viewers, Tom, who you are, what you do, and who you do it for?
Tom: You got it. So, my name is Tom Tate, I am the product marketing manager here at AWeber. So, I work for AWeber, we are an email service provider, and know we’re gonna get into the tool in greater detail so, I’ll leave the questions up to you. But, I’ve been here for about three and a half years, so I’ve gotten a full master class in email marketing, while I’ve been working here. I just fell in love with email as a marketing channel so, I’m really excited to talk about the tool, but also more importantly, just talk about email marketing.
George: Yeah, I’m excited to talk about email marketing too but, I’ll tell you what else I’m excited to talk about, Tom. Viewers, if you have been a viewer for a while, like all the episodes or a few of the episodes, you will agree with me, that today, we have two things on the show that are absolutely cool. One is Tom’s background and setup in general. Two, and I gotta switch to Tom when I say this, that hat people. That hat is awesome.
Tom: Thank you so much. Yeah, I appreciate that. You know it’s funny, I actually probably had like a six to eight-inch beard, and I just shaved it prior to this so, I had to put on a hat because I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel like I need to hide behind a hat or something. But yeah, thank you. I appreciate that.
George: Well folks, you were this close to a ZZ Top edition of AWeber. Okay. Let’s go ahead and get into the content. Tom, I always love to start the show at a 50,000-foot view, where people can kind of wrap their arms around. If maybe they’re living under a rock and don’t know what AWeber is, why don’t you go ahead and take the time, just to explain really, what is AWeber?
What is AWeber?
Tom: Yeah, totally. So, I host our podcast so, I’m so used to giving this pitch, over and over again. But, I like to basically start by saying, “AWeber is an email service provider, first and foremost. We were founded in 1998, so I think that’s kind of important, the legacy behind it. In addition to providing the best in class email automation email marketing toolset, we also really pride ourselves in delivering award-winning customer service, some of the best educational resources to help you be a better email marketer.”
That’s the pitch I give on the podcast but, I really do feel like it’s more than just the software, just the tool. It is the heritage, the customer service, the team here. We have such an awesome team. We have over 100 employees here, right outside of Philadelphia, PA. Everyone here is just really dedicated to the success of our customers, but also the email marketing community. We do a lot, even outside of our customer base. But yeah, it’s all about our love for connecting you with your audience and helping you grow your business through email marketing, and through the inbox.
George: Now Tom, on this next question … And, by the way, folks, I just want you to realize the word legacy, like some of you have email service providers that started like, almost yesterday, which is probably not a good idea. Having somebody that knows what they’re doing is a good piece on this but, let’s dive a little deeper than the 50,000 foot view, and Tom, if I’m a consumer, and I know I should be doing this email marketing, there’s some people who watch us that are already doing like mass email marketing, but talk me through – How does AWeber work?
How does AWeber work?
Tom: Yeah, totally. So, if you’re brand new to email marketing, or if you’ve begun to grow your email list using another email service provider, it’s really quite simple. You’ll use AWeber to manage your subscribers, manage your contacts. You can set up multiple lists to manage those subscribers, or you can have one list, and use what we call, “tags”, which I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with, to manage subscribers and preferences, based on tags. So, you have a bit of option there. First and foremost, it’s collecting and managing subscribers, but then, you can also leverage our core toolset, which is basically the autoresponder, or the automated email campaign sequence, you can develop campaigns, that’s what we call them here, to send automated emails out to those subscribers. Either fired off of tags, so they can trigger off of tags, they can trigger off of just the new subscriber being added to your list.
So, the automated email campaigns is a big part of it, but then, of course, you can send your one-time email broadcasts. So, one-time email newsletters, some people do that weekly, monthly, whatever cadence you prefer. Some people do it daily, to be honest. So, you can use AWeber, both as your automated email platform, and then also your one-time email sending platform as well. We have a couple mobile apps, that help support all of those functions. We also have web forms that you can create, put on your site to get subscribers, and a ton of integrations. So, if you want to integrate with your landing page provider, like an Unbounce, you can do that easily.
George: All right so, One Last Tool viewers and listeners, there was integrations there was marketing automation, drip campaigns, there’s tagging, which equals segmentation, there are newsletters and one-offs, and hopefully, hopefully, listeners and viewers, you’re not sitting there going, “Hey, maybe I should do that someday.” No, you should probably have started to put forms on your site and generate an email list, I don’t know, as soon as you opened the doors to your digital business. But, we’re not judging you, we’re just giving you the information today on this podcast.
If they are sitting out there, the viewers, the listeners, and they’re wondering to themselves, “Well, is AWeber a good fit for me?” Tom, how would you answer that? Like, who is the best fit for the AWeber services.
Who is a good fit for AWeber?
Tom: Yeah, that’s a great question. So, to be absolutely and totally transparent with your listeners and your viewers, I think, if you’re ready to start growing your list, and you have absolutely zero idea of how or if you’ll ever make any money whatsoever, AWeber may not be the best fit for you because we are a paid service. So, we have a free trial but after that, the base price is $19 a month. So, if you’re comfortable with using our Best In Class Tool Set, and paying $19 a month, by all means, that’s fantastic and you’ll reap the benefits of that. But, if you have no way of generating income through your marketing, on the back end, you might not see a return on your investment, if you’re not making at least $19 a month. I hope that your marketing efforts are generating at least $19 a month but, if you’re a hobbyist, if you’re just starting a blog, or starting a podcast for fun, and you want to connect with your audience, there are free tools and free ESPs, email service providers out there, that are totally competent, and will help you grow your list.
When you are ready to take advantage of email automation, and take advantage of some of the segmentation tools that AWeber has, then I think it’s definitely a great opportunity to pay that $19 a month, and to get into what some of those can offer, to help you monetize your hobby, or monetize your passion, or monetize the beginnings of your business. So I’d say that’s who we’re not for. We are also not for you know, if you are looking for an enterprise CRM or enterprise marketing automation suite, something that can handle billions and billions of subscribers, and multiple automation triggers and flows, and these complex funnels that people like to build, those tool sets tend to quickly get a little confusing to the average marketer, who isn’t ready for that.
So, we occupy this really beautiful sweet spot, of people who know exactly what they need to do with their email marketing, they’re either just getting started or they’ve gotten started, and they began to grow their list. They really just need a very basic, sometimes complex, but they need a basic way to create complex automated sequences. Our customers have found a ton of success using AWeber for that. So, we’re that nice sweet spot between free hobbyist email platform, and then super sophisticated, complex enterprise platform.
George: So Tom, what I love about that, and viewers and listeners, what I love about that is, Tom went with the “Who we’re not a good fit for”, to explain to you, who they are a good fit for. I will also throw in, just a side … This is free, this is free. A side piece of information to you. If you are not generating $19 a month, go get a job. Like, stop this podcast right now and just go get a job. I’m kidding, we love you, viewers and listeners, you know I’m just joking. So Tom, let’s go ahead and talk about, and usually, I ask this, and companies that we interview, it’s probably one problem that they solve. I don’t think that’s the case for AWeber so, if you want to do a problem or problems, it’s totally up to you, but what problem does AWeber help the folks out there solve in their business?
What major problem does AWeber help solve?
Tom: So, I think you’ll definitely agree in your experience, that if you’re not emailing your fans, your subscribers and your customers, and your prospects, you’re just leaving so much on the table. So much opportunity, so much money on the table. I think that basically the problem that AWeber solves is really the problem that email solves. Which is, providing you with a way to … Our Director of Products says this, and I think it’s a really great phrase, “Email is intimacy at scale.”, because, I think if someone is going to give you permission, give you the privilege to send email to them, and to be in their inbox, because nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “I can’t wait to receive more email today.”
It’s quite the opposite so, if you can get somebody to actually give them their email address, and say, “I give you permission to send me that really cool e-book, or that really cool checklist, or that really cool thing that you have, and then you can continue to send email, and I will read it, and I will enjoy it.” That’s a really great opportunity that I think a lot of marketers don’t take full advantage of. I think a lot of marketers really rely on the push, the Facebook ads, the blog content, the podcasts. I love all that stuff, and I do all that stuff too, but I think there’s something intimate, something special about creating a really strong bond between the emailer and the email reader, and I think the marketers who crack that code, really see a lot of success.
So, that’s the problem we try to solve. We try to really help you, not just develop a strong email strategy, but give you all the tools and the deliverability to help you get in the inbox. Get in the regular tab, not just the promotions tab. So, I think all those things, we really try to help people with.
George: Yeah, I don’t know about you, One Last Tool viewers and listeners, and Tom, I don’t know about you either but, my inbox and I, we have a love-hate relationship. That is, that I love to hate it. So, when I finally let you in my inbox, there is a very good reason that I have that e-book, that checklist, that guide, that webinar. Because otherwise, I’m like, “No, no, no, no. No, we don’t need that.” It’s just how we are so, we dumped out a little bit ago, $19 a month as kind of the starting plan but, are there more? Are there branches to that? Talk me through, how much AWeber’s going to cost me if I’m just starting out to if I’m a super advanced user with several thousand contacts in my database.
How much does AWeber cost?
Tom: Yeah so, the two most popular prices that we see is, $19 a month, which we talked about earlier. That’s gonna cover you up to 500 subscribers. Then, the next popular tier is $29 a month, which will cover you up to 2500 subscribers. It scales based on a number of subscribers that you have after that. So, those are kind of our cost to entry pricing tiers that we have. One of the really nice things that I appreciate working here at AWeber, it certainly makes conversations a lot easier, is that all of our services, and all of our tools, are offered for everyone. There’s no tiers based on features and based on the toolset.
It’s really just pricing based on a number of subscribers that you send to monthly. Then, we also have a quarterly and annual, where you can take a little bit of a discount off, if you prepay in advance. But, I really appreciate that customer service, the suite of automation tools, that’s all covered. So, whether you’re paying $19 a month or $149 a month, it’s really gonna be included. You’re gonna have access to all those tools.
George: That’s sweet so, we’re about to play a game.
George: Okay? We’re gonna play a game of, “Interview Volley Ball”, and what I’m about to do is, I’m gonna set the ball up and then you’re gonna spike it. Okay? There are two questions, and I don’t want to take a break in between them. I’m just gonna give you the two questions and then you roll with it. We’re gonna be like Top Gun Maverick and Goose, we’re gonna be high-fiving because we’re gonna win the game here. That’s simply this, “When you look at the space, who is AWeber’s competitors?”, and then the spike for you is, “What in the world makes AWeber better than them?”
Who are AWeber’s major competitors?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m not gonna list all of our competitors. I think most people know who the most popular email service provers are out there. A few of them have been around as long as we have been, right? So, I think most people will know who those competitors are so, I’m not gonna dump a bunch of names. What you mentioned earlier, I thought was a good point, is that some email service providers that you’ve might have just begun using, they were practically created yesterday so, this is a very competitive space where there are new players popping up, it seems almost every six months. Also, a lot of tools that you might use, they bolt on an email component so, there’ll be a tool that provides this feature or functionality and then they’ll say, “Oh by the way, we’re gonna start doing email so you can use our tool to send emails as well.” Even WordPress, there are WordPress plugins that let you basically do some form of email marketing using your WordPress host. Like, whatever you’re using to host with WordPress. All of those solutions have pros and cons. What I would recommend when evaluating AWeber, what you’re gonna get is, somebody who is fully dedicated to just email.
So, I’m very transparent when I tell people as well that, we don’t don’t have a landing page service. We don’t create landing pages because that’s not our focus. Our focus is just email. We are focused on giving you the best tools and resources to send amazing, beautiful email automated or one time broadcasts, and we integrate with 50 fantastic landing page providers, who will do it better than we will do it anyways. I think that you’ll get transparency, you’ll get a company that focuses on doing what we do really, really well, and not trying to bolt on or do too, too much outside of that, customer service is fantastic. We have live customer service outside of Philly. Everyone here is in the same office, so we talk together, we hang out, they know our product really, really well, the marketers here know our product really, really well, and then education.
We just did an email marketing master class, it was a six-week class, it was free. It went really, really well. We have a private online Facebook community for all of our customers. You can go in and talk strategy in addition to the technical side of things, and we’re constantly putting out a podcast, new videos, new blog content, new guides. So, we’re dedicated really to, helping serve you as an email marketer, in addition to providing you with that tool or platform. So, I think that’s what we do really, really well. We’re comfortable with it. We try not to go too far outside of that space and try to be someone we’re not. So, I think that’s what you’re gonna get if you go with AWeber, instead of one of our many competitors.
George: So, I love it because this is literally what happened people, is that I set the ball up, and he was gonna spike it, and he kind of tapped it. It hit the top of the net, and he saw that it was wobbling back and forth, I was like, “I’m not sure if we’re gonna win this game.”, and then you said one thing, Tom. And I was like, “He just spiked the ball.” That was, that Tom mentioned education, that they’re always creating content, that they have live support, that they’re there to help, and so that was super awesome. Now, as I’ve traveled through the interwebs, there are two types of people that I’ve found. There are those people who, they just get it. Like, they’re technically savvy. And then there are those folks that well, not so much. So, as a first time user to AWeber, what are some of the problems, or a problem that I might run into that will kind of perplex me, and what have you guys done internally, to try to not have that moment happen?
What problems might an AWeber user run into?
Tom: Yeah so, I think one of the problems that we see with AWeber, is because we are an older piece of software. We’ve been around since ’98. When you log in, there’s so much that you can do, because we have a lot of different features, right? So, you can either draft your first one time email, you can jump right in and set up your automated campaign, you can create your sign up form, you can import your subscribers from another ESP, or if you have another list somewhere else. So, it’s kind of a, “Choose your own adventure” that happens when you first log in and you set up that initial account. So, I think for customers who may be overwhelmed with email marketing and kind of the, “where should I go on the map?”, type of feeling, what we’ve done is, we have basically an onboarding email series that drips out over the course of 30 days during your free trial.
But, what we’ve recently done, which we found some success with, is we give you access to all of those emails, on day one. So, we’ll email you and then we’ll give you access to access all the emails that you will be getting in the future. If you’re just like, “I get that, that’s the first thing you want me to do but, it’s not the first thing I want to do on my AWeber account.” So, we take a very step by step approach for new customers but, we also give you, kind of this ala carte, get access to all the content that you need for onboarding, at once, so that you can choose your own adventure. We can kind of empower you to make those decisions.
George: So that folks, is super smart. So, Tom, it’s amazing. This interview flew by man. Great answers. Like, we’re just clipping away. Here’s my thing. If people want to learn more about you, if they want to learn more about AWeber, and by the way, thanks for taking the time to do this, where can we send them? Where do you want to have them go for you, for AWeber, for whatever interesting things that you might want to share?
Where can I learn more about AWeber?
Tom: Yeah so again, I stand really firmly behind our educational content so, instead of jumping straight to AWeber and looking at our products, if you’re new to email marketing or you just looking to become a better email marketer, it’s probably best to start with our blog. So, blog.aweber.com. So, you’ll check out our blog content, and we have all of our incentives to join our list. So we have, things that you can sign up for. We have courses, we have a fantastic, “what to write in your email” course, that gets you 20+ email templates that are basically fill in the blank. So, you can check that out, over at our blog.
If you’re listening to this in audio on the podcast, I definitely recommend you check out our podcast. I’m the host so, I’ll give a shameless plug there. It’s “Ask Me About Email Marketing” and it started out as kind of a Q&A on email marketing, and it morphed a bit into an interview show, where we interviewed other digital and email marketers about their email marketing strategy, so it’s a great way to learn from the pros. You won’t be learning from me all the time. I try to get as much outside professional stories and experiences as possible. But yeah, if you want to check that out on iTunes or Stitcher, we’re on all the particulars, and if you like it, subscribe. You can reach out to me on Twitter at @TNRT so, that’s probably the best place to start. If you do want to try us out, just aweber.com and take that trial. We’ll be there to help you out along the way.
George: Beautiful. Love it Tom. Again, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Folks, that’s how we roll. No fuss, no mess, just great tools. Until next time. Go out into the world, do great business, and we’ll see you next time on One Last Tool.