Why After Three Years I Dropped Mailchimp as My Newsletter Service for Aweber

email newsletter

Last week in what was just an honest moment of recognition… Recognition that I had found a newsletter product (aweber) that I really enjoyed using and could see being a serious asset to my online business… I sent out a tweet:

aweber over mailchimp

But Alex wasn’t the only one who wanted to know why I chose to move my newsletter business from Mailchimp, a provider I had used for almost three years, to Aweber, so I decided to write about it.

In full disclosure, I’ve been using the free version of Mailchimp all this time.  Aweber is not free.  And in double full disclosure the aweber links are affiliate links in case you want to subscribe to the service.

From Free to Not Free

So for all you business minded types out there you have to say to yourself, “Why would someone give up a Free solution for a paid solution that performs the same function?”

I’m willing to give up a free service and pay for another because saying Mailchimp performs the same function as Aweber is like saying your Ford Escort performs the save function as my Maserati… 

Yes both cars get you from home to work, but the ride there is a little different.

Yes both email services will send an email newsletter to your subscriber list, but the experience for both you the information distributor and your subscribers as the information consumers is drastically different.

But again this comes back to a common theme I try pull through this blog.  

Are we just trying to get by or Kick-Ass at this blogging thing?

Say it together with me people (if you’re in an office you can loud whisper) “KICK-ASS!”

Together, you and me, we’re trying to find the best process… the best procedure… the theory… the best workflow… and the best tools and resources to help our businesses thrive online.

Aweber is one of those resources…

And Here is Why

For a long time I’ve had a huge beef with MailChimp’s Sign-Up form.  It’s hard to customize and it looks like a 5th grader designed it in 1995 HTML code.  That doesn’t make it classic it makes it crappy.

I actually have gone so far as to use Wufoo Forms for my Newsletter Subscriber Sign-up on the website to make it look a little more professional.  Which means I’m managing two different platforms to perform one function.

But this was bearable… I mean I’m just signing people up for my Newsletter… WAIT!!!

Just signing people up for my Newsletter?  Haven’t we discussed on this blog that subscribers (of any form really RSS Feed, Social Media, etc) to your Newsletter are more valuable than Gold Coins?

People, listen to me, the way our blog looks means a lot.  Your societal beliefs aside, whether you like it or not everyone judges you based on your outward appearance and no more so than the first impression.

If your email newsletter sign-up form looks like crap no one is going to stick their email address in there and click submit.  So why then would I use a free service with crappy looking forms?

Free isn’t free if it’s not getting the job done…

In addition, with Aweber I can create multiple sign-up forms each with a unique design built to fit a specific need on my blog and have each point to the same List if I want.  Aweber will track how many subscriptions I get from each form so that I know what’s working and what isn’t.

Check it out:

Homepage Aweber Form

homepage aweber

Blog Post Aweber Form

blog post aweber

Landing Page Aweber Form

ebook landing page aweber

I’m honestly not trying to crush on Mailchimp as I did use Mailchimp for three years and for a Free service it is a good product.

If you choose to use MailChimp that is fine.  I’m not hating, I’m just saying the product has limitations and if you’re aware of those limitations and can navigate around them then it’s all good.

The Rub

The forms, the tracking, and the auto-responder (I’ll get into Auto-responders in a future post) are the three main reasons I’ve made the switch to Aweber.  Your newsletter subscribers are so valuable.  These people have let you into their world by giving you permission to fill their inbox.  I respect that relationship and I want to utilize the best tools on the market to deliver the value I have promised.

That is why I chose Aweber and if you think Aweber is the product for Your Newsletter Click Here.

If you have questions or thoughts or experiences with other products let everyone know in the comments below.

Thank you.

I am Ryan Hanley

The Newsletter

Join over 3,800 other businesses and marketers around the globe, by registering for occasional subscriber-only content and strategies.

The Podcast

Subscribe to one of the most popular content marketing podcasts on iTunes.

Subscribe

Google Plus Kit

Everything you need to know on getting started with the best social network in the world.

Dominate Google+
About Ryan Hanley

This blog was created to help brands grow their audience, to grow their business. When I'm not writing, podcasting or creating the videos you'll find on this site, you'll usually find me watching baseball with my son Duke and a cold beer in my hand.

  • Pingback: 8 Methods to Turn Email Subscribers into Renewable Traffic

  • Pingback: OptinSkin, Blog Success and Capturing More Email Subscribers

  • http://graniteandmarbleworks.hpage.com/ Manchester United

    Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

    My webpage :: Manchester United

  • http://cournod.blogspot.com/2011/05/short-message-service.html Antonia

    When someone writes an paragraph he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her brain that how a user
    can understand it. Thus that’s why this post is outstdanding.

    Thanks!

  • Lucy

    I am actually at the point where I would say I hate mailchimp. Mailchimp was recommended to me and I blindly followed…..big mistake.

    1. I cannot get over the fact that they will do nothing to resolve the display issues in outlook, I am looking at my subscribers list and subscriber after subscriber says preferred email client “outlook” so sadly I cannot send these people beautiful emails, why? because mailchimp cannot be bothered doing anything about it.

    2. I am finding this to be the norm across many sites, but I resent the fact that if one person is subscribed to multiple lists (which is the case on my mailchimp account) they are classed as multiple subscribers. I actually have around 900 subscribers but because they receive more than one of my newsletters I am told I have 5000.

    3. It really isn’t that easy to build beautiful emails, I find their templates to be difficult to work with, and sadly I am not that up to speed with coding and therefore cannot code my own :(

    Rant over, just needed to say my bit

  • Pingback: Torque, Digital Marketing and Knowing When to Downshift {Letter #9}

  • Pingback: Insurance Ecosystem Website Updates | Insurance Ecosystem

  • http://thedsmgroup.com Jason Diller

    Mailchimp has got to get the sign up form right for non developers. It’s just crazy.

    Less time posting monkey videos from youtube, more time worrying about the top of my funnel.

    grrr.

    Nice post Ryan.

  • Pingback: Pat Alexander Website Updates | Pat Alexander

  • Stanford Griffith

    Can you talk more about the tracking? That’s one of the main limitations we have with MailChimp, and I’d like to know why tracking with Aweber is better.

    Thank you.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Stanford,

      That does not seem like an unreasonable request… I’ll work on a post.

      Thanks!

  • Pingback: OptinSkin, Blog Success and Capturing More Email Subscribers

  • Pingback: Feedburner vs Aweber for Email List Building

  • Pingback: Why I Publish My Best Content in a Newsletter

  • Pingback: Why Offering a Free eBook Can Destroy Your Email List

  • Mark N.

    We use Wufoo for “get more information/questionnaire” forms which also have a checkbox to sign up for a newsletter (or not) – any info on integrating Wufoo with AWeber? It looks like a service called Zapier can do it, but would hate to add yet another per-month service to my already too-long list… thanks for the great article!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Mark,

      I haven’t heard of Zapier. This program connects with Wufoo? I’ll have to check it out.

  • http://www.ancientwisdom-modernlife.org Phoebe Haupt

    Hey – Doing some research for a client. This was so helpful. I love your writing style. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep up the good work my friend! Best, Phoebe

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Hi Phoebe,

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Ryan H.

  • http://avgjoegeek.net Jason Mathes

    Mail Chimp is a nightmare to setup and use. It isn’t at all intuitive. And I’ve been using, designing, Q&A software for over 20 years now (yikes!) Don’t get me wrong though – I think they are awesome for their free service.

    But if I were to start paying for a service Aweber it is going to have to be. The

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jason,

      Mailchimp has it’s limitations but I certainly did enjoy their free product.

      Thanks!!

  • Pingback: My Homepage

  • http://www.brianfidler.com brian fidler

    Aweber was one of the first, or the first, email service provider that provided true autoresponder capability as a feature offering. MailChimp has also offered autoresponders for a number of years now. The last I checked services like ConstantContact (which, btw, I used 2 years ago with a client that already had an account and I really didn’t like it) does not offer autoresponders.

    In every instance where I’ve used MailChimp I’ve customized and written the forms myself and have never encountered any limitations. Most of my forms tend to be unique and often use CSS and Javascript for various styling and validation rules. Since I’ve never used MailChimp’s ready-made forms I can’t comment on them. MailChimp also has a great API allows a developer to integrate a number of different MailChimp features into their site. My recommendation would be to first understand the HTML in the underlying form so that you can make it do what you want it to do, and not be limited by the vendors’ ready-made forms.

    I’ve never used Aweber but have only heard good things about it. It really started out as a hard core internet marketer tool, if you happen to be on an internet marketer’s list you’ll know what I mean. That’s actually a positive as it demonstrates that the folks that want to constantly keep a presence in your in-box trust Aweber to do so. That is the power of autoresponders which (a totally separate issue) should always be a feature of your email marketing/newsletter service provider.

    Ultimately whatever works best for you and your clients is a good choice, I just don’t think that MailChimp should get painted as a “limited” option because I think it has virtually no limitations (at least for the paid version). That likely means you should be familiar with both and be ready to jump back and forth between the two as the situation dictates.

    Good luck.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Brian,

      I completely love your breakdown dude. Thank you… I agree with pretty everything you said. I guess the limitation with Mailchimp is if you don’t have the expertise or time to figure out the HTML and CSS necessary to make Mailchimp look and integrate the way you’d like.

      Thanks so much for the breakdown…

  • http://www.ebooksfreeweekly.com Lonn T

    Hey nice post…I just want to call attention to something I’ve read a lot about regarding MailChimp, that in their TOS they can suspend your account without notice for using affiliate links in your email. It is so they don’t have a high bounce auto responder service.

    I don’t know if it is completely true as I haven’t implemented them on any websites, but if that is the case then that’s a bit of a point loss with them.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      That is true… Absolutely…

      Thanks for the comment!!

  • Pingback: 32 Plugins That Drive a Successful Wordpress Blog - RYAN HANLEY

  • Pingback: Blog For You

  • http://www.cws-thailand.com Content Web Solutions

    I’m using Mailchimp (both free and paid version) and very happy with it. Lots of integrations for different systems already, a great API and very useful and detailed visitor statistics.
    Used Aweber also for a client, but for me Mailchimp is by far the better system, especially cause of it’s great API.
    Aweber might be more interesting for technical rookies, for programmers Mailchimp is choice No.1

  • Pingback: It’s Not the Blog… It’s the Blogger

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com Matt Cheuvront

    I’ll preface by saying I’m in no way affiliated with MailChimp. 

    I’ve been through the ringer with email marketing services for my own use and with clients (Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, Aweber, MailChimp, Emma) and MailChimp still, hands down, is the best I’ve found. Previously, the form designer was clunky and their autoresponders were a bit of a mess, but they have REALLY cleaned things up a lot an the new simple form they offer allows you to customize via CSS/HTML to your hearts content. 

    To each his own, of course, but I’ve found MailChimp to be ahead of the game in many levels – not to mention it’s one of the most intuitive, approachable interfaces (a big plus for my clients who don’t have a dev background). They also continue to stay ahead of the pack with API integrations, etc.

    Bottom line – as long as you stay away from Constant Contact, you’re doing something right. :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

      Matt,

      Thank you, it’s great to get the MailChimp perspective.  I will say their API integration is something I will miss.

      Thanks!!

  • http://www.ranashahbaz.com/ Rana Shahbaz

    I have been using Aweber and so far so good. There was few issues when trying to contact the chat support couple of months ago. Did any one have any long waits when trying to contact Aweber chat support? 

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

      Rana,

      I haven’t had to use the Online chat feature yet.  I have emailed them and within 24 hours got a pretty detailed response to my questions which I thought was great.  It wasn’t anything time sensitive though.

      Thanks for bringing that up though!

  • http://twitter.com/GemLThompson Gemma Thompson

    Glad you’ve found a product that suits your needs – and well done for giving us full disclosure about the affiliate links – honesty pays :) 

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Gemma… I’m not trying to scam people into buying something just make people aware of a product I really like.

  • Pingback: 2/1/12 Small Business News: T-Mobile Caters to Small Business, 5 Small Biz 2012 Tech Trends, Accounting Tips & Tricks | Bizjama

  • http://twitter.com/mrBenWan Ben Wan

    I’ve used several autoresponders, namely Aweber, getResponse, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, and some free ones. I just got a check from getResponse yesterday, a payment from Aweber today.

    It’s clear Aweber pays more commission, and I’ve never received any money from Mailchimp because people I’ve referred are still on their free service.

    When you think about it, which autoresponder service you rather promote? Would it be the one that is pays the most commission, or the one that is the most appropriate to your client’s need?

    Now Mailchimp’s forms are really no good for non designers.

    One thing I’ve hear of Aweber, if they do decide to close your account they will not give you access to your list ever again.. so download a backup of your list regularly.

    Ben Wan

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Ben,

      That’s a great a head’s up.  I hadn’t heard that about Aweber but it’s something I’ll certainly keep in the back of my mind.  Hopefully I won’t get bounced.

      However, I didn’t endorse Aweber because of the commissions, affiliate income isn’t a revenue focus for me.

      I just really like the product.

      Thanks!!

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

    Timo,

    I really think you could.  Then you’re only managing one tool too… I’ve heard good things about MaxBlogPress but I’m completely enamored by Aweber right now.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

    Kitty… I’ve had a couple other people ask so I’m working on a follow up article with some info on the conversion as well… Thanks!

  • http://www.deblogacademie.nl/ Kitty Kilian

    So the forms are better. Now I want to know the rest as well, c’mon, don’t hold back! I am having  some problems with Mail Chimp – tell me ALL about Aweber now.

  • http://twitter.com/timokiander Timo Kiander

    Ryan,

    Great post about the differences between those two!

    I haven’t used MailChimp at all – only AWeber (and I haven’t had any complaints).

    I’m about to relaunch my blog and it was also nice to see your opt-in setup on different pages. 

    One thing that I have been thinking is that I should probably ditch MaxBlogPress Subscribers Magnet on my blog … (all of a sudden I can’t find any reason why I couldn’t achieve the same opt-in functionality with Aweber only …)

    Cheers,
    Timo

  • http://BasicBlogTips.com Ileane

    Good for you Ryan! I signed up with Aweber around the first of the year and I’m pleased with their service. Your form looks great!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Thanks for the sharing Ileane, I really appreciate the tweet!  I know if an social media ninja like yourself is using a tool then it’s a good idea to check it out.

      I’ve found a huge jump in my subscriptions since I started using Aweber and it’s only been 10 days.

  • Pingback: Great Tales of Entrepreneurship | Free Web Design Tucson

  • Denise

    Thanks for the comparison. I agree that you get what you pay for and it’s helpful to hear what people have to say about different options so I can learn the specific pros and cons.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Yeah… I’d certainly rather pay free than not-free but if the quality is effecting your business you have to do what you have to do…

      Thanks!

  • http://affectselling.com/ Peter Sandeen

    Hi Ryan,

    Couldn’t agree more. “Free isn’t free if it’s not getting the job done…” AWeber is great, I’ve used it from day one :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Peter,

      Any little tricks you can share for newbie?

  • Pingback: Great Tales of Entrepreneurship

  • http://ryzeonline.com/ JasonFonceca

    What’s really interesting about this, is on a recent Internet Marketing For Smart People, Sonia Simone got into a discussion about how Brian Clark was a diehard AWeber fan but has now really starting vibing with MailChimp.

    Lol :) To each their own, eh?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      I know, I just got an email from Brian on his Genesis newsletter that was sent through MailChimp.  Makes me think…

      Thanks dude.

      • http://ryzeonline.com/ JasonFonceca

        Well, it’s all phases, right. Brian Clark’s needs for email I imagine are different than yours? :) Perhaps as you grow, you’ll end up back on MC one day, or a new player to the game :D

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

          Yeah… got to keep your head a swivel.

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

          Yeah… got to keep your head a swivel.

  • Anonymous

    Perfect timing Ryan. I’ve been thinking about which newsletter service to sign up with – leaning towards MailChimp because of the freebie aspect, but you’ve persuaded me to head on over to Aweber. Nice one!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      The Free Mailchimp product is not bad, but there is a limit on the number emails you can send.  So if you want to create a product and send a weekly newsletter or have an auto-responder series on new subscriptions that gets used up quick.

      Then apples to apples I obviously think Aweber is superior.

      Thanks!!

  • http://www.AmericasProfessor.com/ Paul Morton

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard of Aweber. Certainly will compare it to our current services at iContact. Appreciate the heads up.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      I’ve heard good things about iContact, but I’ve also heard that Aweber is a little more robust.

      I’ve also heard good things about Vertical Response…

      Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/wiebwieb Cindy Herrmann

    Ryan, why did you choose Aweber rather than Constant Contact?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Cindy,

      From my experience, Constant Contact emails tend to be a bit clunky and I haven’t heard very good things about their Auto-Responder service for programs.

      I’m also not a huge fan of their sign-up forms… Which in my opinion play a big role.

      Lastly, so many small businesses use Constant Contact I didn’t want my emails looking like everyone else’s.

      Really though I didn’t even consider Constant Contact.  I was so enamored with Aweber.

      thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/JasonAGroup Jason Anthony

    I tinkered around with Mailchimp for a bit at first and while I see it being beneficial to some, I went straight over to Aweber.  They’ve got the total package, in my opinion. 

    Anyone thinking about making the change or signing up, show some support and click on Ryan’s link! 

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Great Advice Jason!  Thank you!

    • http://bit.ly/vsjx5m Jeanne Pi

      I went with AWeber from the very beginning. Understanding the importance of building an email list, I wanted the best. I’d thought about using a free service like Mailchimp to start off with until my list got bigger. I mean, why spend the money until you have to, right? 

      But after hearing horror stories about list migration and Mailchimp not playing nice with some internet marketers, I didn’t want to take the chance. There are certain tools in our online business arsenal that we should not skimp on, and an email newsletter/autoresponder service is definitely one of them. A good website hosting company is another.

      • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

        Jeanne,

        Now that I know the difference I completely agree.  What hosting service do you use?

        • http://bit.ly/vsjx5m Jeanne Pi

          I use ServInt VPS (virtual private server). It costs a lot more than shared hosting, but I’ve yet to have any down time (vs. my other sites using shared hosting which regularly goes offline). Wanting to build an authority site, I also did not want to be associated with bad neighborhoods (sharing same IP addresses as spammy sites).