People who have not had my personal experience with AWeber as an affiliate and a customer (AWeber’s affiliate and email services) may take the company’s assertion that they are the best email service provider as self-endorsement.
When I started blogging back in 2013, my only idea of making money online was affiliate marketing. So I signed up to TrafficWave and AWeber as an affiliate. And I concentrated on recruiting affiliates. But when the monthly payments proved killing and the commissions not forthcoming, I cancelled my accounts.
Later, when I learnt the phrase “the money is in the list”, I decided to build one.
AWeber receives the most positive review
My Google search results for an email services provider privileged GetResponse, MailChimp, ConstantContact and AWeber. But AWeber received the most positive reviews. My choice was easy to make.
MY EXPERIENCES WITH AWEBER
With Sign Up and Support Team
My first unforgettable experience was with sign up and AWeber’s support team.
When I tried to sign up using my former username, the platform said that name already existed. It therefore offered alternatives like akolipenoukou1. I didn’t fancy that at all. So I contacted support to claim my former username. In no time at all, they replied, advising me to sign up using one of the username suggested. So I settled on akolipenoukou1.
With Site Navigation and Support Team
AWeber certainly have their reason for not making it obvious for one to navigate their site from the customer side to the affiliate and vice versa. And this, without logging out from one and logging into the other. This made me break my head and stretch my patience trying to figure it out.
Finally, I contacted support. They asked me to sign up separately. And my username or affiliate ID became a number.
I was used to Supports replying “within 24 hours” to my queries, but AWeber’s do so in the minutes following a request. Wonderful!
As an Affiliate
My other surprise from AWeber was the number of resources available to me as an affiliate. There are test drive ads, badges and banner ads, an overview of my affiliate sales, video ads, sales tracking, guides, as well as a wide variety of blog posts, how-to articles, and webinars. These helped me write incisive blog posts which bring me affiliates.
As an Email Marketer
My aim in building email lists was to send them offers and make money. I did not even know that I could do something else with my account.
The first step to collecting new email subscribers is to create a sign up form.
Although AWeber had assured that their web form generator was as easy as breeze to use, I couldn’t muster the courage to try it. Again, support helped me.
While designing my form, I found other options such as how to make it a pop up or lightbox to display over the content on my page. Or, to consider a form that slides in from the side of the screen on individual blog posts. But I didn’t want to “trouble” myself, so I stuck to my very simple form.
This was not eye-catching to attract people so my list building suffered. Sadly I didn’t reach out to support for help!
Now, I had to install the form on my website. The fact that it lives in the header or sidebar of a web page gave me the jitters again. Fortunately Google research helped me out.
Concerning what I should write in my sign up form, the information available in AWeber’s designer helped a lot. So I learnt to tell my blog readers what they’ll get on signing up to receive my emails (which were affiliate marketing training materials and blog post). I also learnt to ask a subscriber to submit only their name and email address (since nobody likes furnishing too many details just to join a list). Finally I got to know to offer people a valuable incentive to get them to sign up to my email list.
Then I left my list alone, thinking it’ll grow by itself.
WHY MY LIST BUILDING SUCKS
If I had been reading AWeber’s great information, including following the webinars to continue learning about email and digital marketing, I’d have been able to use that knowledge and got started on the right foot and advanced.
For also ignoring the fact that slow is sure and haste was not synonymous with speed, I overlooked:
This would have expanded my blogger network and made me reach new audiences.
- I did not include at the end of each of my emails social share buttons. Missing were also text such as “Kindly share with friends.” This would have enabled my subscribers to share my email content on social platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, or forward to specific contacts in their email list;
- I did not reach out to my social followers on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with a link to a web-hosted version of my sign up form at the end of a post. Furthermore, I did not connect my email list to my Facebook account and use Twitter cards to encourage sign ups to my email list.
Leveraging networking opportunities
This would have allowed me to download a mobile email sign up form to my mobile device to help me easily collect new email subscribers at conferences or local meetups.
Comprehensive Email Contents
As a published writer and a blogger, I already knew how to write for my audience. But did I carefully craft my message and adapt it slightly for email just as I had done it for my blog and readers?
For I did not use the different types of content to include in my emails. I was sending autoresponder emails to my email lists alright but I never bothered to follow up with broadcast emails, and others like:
- Blog Post Newsletter
I learned in an AWeber newsletter that sending a blog newsletter could bring my audience back to my blog to engage with the content. I started this right away for my list to stay top of mind.
However, at the end of every week or month, I could have sent out an email too with my most recent or most popular blog posts. This way, subscribers who did not check my site would have got my latest posts.
- Educational Course
As I had a certain level of expertise in writing, I could have used it to educate and engage my old and new fans.
True, many people struggle with aspects of blogging and affiliate marketing. I could therefore have developed an educational email course using an autoresponder email series that they could have signed up for and gone through.
Even a 101-level crash course on earning online could also have helped me expand the reach of my blog and attract new loyal readers.
I could even have monetized my email and content efforts by offering paid educational courses. And why not offer a discount off the course as an incentive to encourage people to sign up?
Instead, I left money on the table!
- Industry News
I never sent my subscribers news related to my niche that could have come from other sources than me or my blog.
For example, scoop.it sends me curated content that I could share with them. Or right now I could send them information on EU data protection laws to keep my readers in-the-know about matters that can affect them in their daily lives.
- Blog News
I never thought of things like sending out updates and announcements from my blog. Or, telling my list about a milestone in subscribers or readers that I had reached. Also, never did I remotely think of teaming up with another blog or company to do something like co-host a webinar or swap blog posts and let my subscribers know so they can check it out. I had even released free eBooks but did not invite my subscribers to sign up for them!
Seeing such low open rates of my blog newsletters made me wonder what my blog newsletter readers wanted to learn more about, still I never thought of sending them a survey in a broadcast email asking them for more information.
Yet collecting this kind of insight from my readers was vital to the success of my blog and business.
- Testing my Content
Akin to the above point was to run an A/B split test. This, by creating two different emails (one with my original content and the other a new content) when sending new content to my subscribers, but aren’t sure if it’s going to appeal to them.
Another technique was to test one small content tweak at a time such as testing the subject lines of one email and the use of video content in another. But no!
Those were not the only reasons why my email marketing efforts produced meagre results.
EMAIL BEST PRACTICES
To successfully use email marketing to grow and engage a blog audience requires awareness of some key email practices without which one could be marked as spam, which would damage one’s email reputation and reduce deliverability.
How did I perform in each of the four best email practices in sending emails to my audience?
- Set Clear Expectations
I think I was clear in my sign up forms what my subscribers will receive and also delivered on that promise. However, I wonder if anyone marked my messages as spam since I had a high unsubscribe rate.
- Send Valuable Information
Did I send subscribers the valuable content that they expected to receive from me? The high unsubscribe rate made me wonder if the information I sent came up fully to their expectations.
- Use a Company-Based Domain
When I set up my email marketing account, I added firstname.lastname@example.org as the email address from which to send my emails.
Later I learnt in my account to use a company-based email address. So, I changed it to email@example.com.
However AWeber advises that the best addresses to have a higher chance of getting your messages delivered are those with a person’s name and a company-based email address. Therefore, a few days ago I changed it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AWsome guide stresses that using a person’s name is preferable to a company’s. This is because it adds a more personalized touch and creates a better experience for subscribers.
- Maintain a Healthy List
I never reviewed my subscriber list to remove inactive subscribers, which was vital to my email success.
Feeling great at seeing all those numbers on my subscribers account kept me from removing inactive subscribers. Yet that only hurts my email performance in the long run. Why did I think someone who hasn’t opened email from me in months would suddenly do so?
So now I’m going to clean my list to ensure sending emails only to people who really want to hear from me and who may therefore do business with me in the future.
Since I’m going to be watching the analytics now, that will also ensure that I get really accurate reports. These will tell me how my emails are performing since inactive subscribers will no longer be around to distort my data.
TO KEEP GOING
The amount of work needed to connect with readers via email sometimes seems herculean and discouraging to newbies. But since the money (or the value?) is in the list, I can’t but stay motivated and keep on keeping on.
So I will heed AWeber’s advice to devote at least 30 minutes a day to nurturing my email list until it becomes routine. Promised!
If you read up to this point, it means you liked this article. Chances are that you will also like 10 Ways to Improve The Customer Journey.
Now, it’s time for me to hear what you have to say about this post. What has been your experience with AWeber or another email services provider? Thaks for letting us know.
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