Aweber vs iContact Autoresponder Review

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So what do you really want from an autoresponder?

Wiki Definition:
An autoresponder is a computer program that automatically answers e-mail sent to it. They can be very simple or quite complex.

The main purpose of using an autoresponder is to keep in contact with your List. Your list consists of people who trust and follow you and respect you as a leader.

As they say "The money is in the List".

So it is vital that your autoresponder can do a couple of things very well.

  1. Gets the e-mails to your List (spam filters are an issue and might prevent some messages to getting to their destination)
  2. Manage the List (being able to filter who is on your list and the health of the List)
  3. Easy of Use
  4. Cost as List grows
  5. Tracking
  6. Affiliate program

I have moved to Aweber and the main reason was because it is tightly integrated into my marketing page which teachs anyone HOW to build ANY Network Marketing (MLM) Business.

I wasn't sure how I would like it since I first started with iContact which was recommended by the Magnetic Sponsoring group (Mike Dillard). I thought iContact was pretty powerful and was really low cost to use.

Comparison between Aweber vs iContact

  1. Cost - $20/month (0-500 subscribers) vs $10/month (0-250 subscribers), $14 (500 subscribers) = Price is close but iContact barely wins
  2. Popularity Alexa - 256 vs 3,197 = Aweber for sure
  3. Ease of Use - Both are similar as both allow both HTML and TXT messages but converting a HTML to a TXT in iContact sometimes requires additional editing as words get merged. Very annoying. Also Aweber shows you the standard width so you can sentance wrap lines for smaller screens which most people have.
  4. Tracking - I like iContacts method of tracking as it breakes it down per message sent and you can see the sent, opens, bounces, spams. Aweber also does it but take a bit longer to adjust to. Aweber seems to have more information and seems to focus more on a larger audience as each subscriber has more unique information tied to them. I also really enjoy how the autoresponder list is managed in Aweber. In iContact you specify how many days after a subscriber joins to send the message. Aweber has how many days AFTER the message before. This makes total sense. If you have 100 autoresponder emails then you don't want to have to edit each iContact email and have to adjust how many dates from entry to send the email. The drag and drop order and how many days the next email should be released after the previous one is Aweber is much easier to handle.
  5. Affiliate - 20% personal and 10% from 2nd level vs 25% on all sales. Aweber raising commissions from 20% to 30%, take effect today, April 8th, 2009.
  6. Spam - I have to give it to Aweber. Their system seems much easier to pinpoint what is making your message a "spammy" message. iContact also has this feature but doesn't seem as integrated into the who editing process of a message. I find I can take a look and see which of my e-mails is more "spammy". This is important and Aweber stresses that by making sure we understand if one of my messages is on the border of being marked.
  7. Global Fields - I haven't use global fields much in iContact but Aweber it just "feels" right. I have a couple customer global fields like a domain and brand name. Makes it easier to copy and past certain aspect of my e-mail and reconstruct another e-mail quickly. Changes can be done very quickly by NOT having to manually change each and every e-mail that has a domain/e-mail change. Trust me. When you start getting a ton of pre-written e-mails you DO NOT want to edit each for a silly domain change.
  8. Signature - I don't remember having issues with iContact and the signature common field but.... YOU MUST KNOW THIS FOR AWEBER. The Text e-mail will automatically attach your signature data you specifiy in your list options. The HTML WILL NOT. You must manually put "{!signature} " after your message. I thought that was odd that it wasn't automatically placed like in the Text version.

I do have to add that both will be able to send from YOUR e-mail. This is vitally important if you want to be able to stay out people's Spam Box.

I have ran across another autoresponder, Isoresponder that didn't have this for some reason. I'm not sure if it was an option but every time the sender sends me a message it is from some generic e-mail from isoresponder. So every time I open the e-mail I'm asked if this message is from someone I know. I know them but if their e-mail keeps changing then what is the use of adding their e-mail into my address book?

Use an autoresponder like iContact or Aweber that sends from YOUR e-mail and not not generated e-mail.

Pricing

I believe most people only have an issue with Aweber due to initial start up price. Mostly because they don't really have a $1 trial. They basically give you a month free and if you don't like it they refund your money.

Aweber states: "If you are not satisfied with the results you see, contact us for a full, hassle-free refund."

You might be thinking that $20/month isn't a good deal considering many others are around $10/month. The Aweber $20/month goes to the next price point after 500. I figured I would hit that 500 pretty quick so I wanted to know if Leads who don't confirm will be counted as subscribers. Here is what Aweber support replied that same day:

"There are two types of leads (subscribers) that counts towards your pricing.  1.  Active Leads which are leads subscribed to your list receiving messages.  2.  Inactive leads which are leads that are unsubscribed.   Although they are not receiving messages from you, their records still remain on your account but you can delete them whenever you want.  Unconfirmed leads do not count towards pricing.  These are subscribers that were sent the confirmation message but never clicked the link.  They are automatically deleted from the system after 30 days since the confirmation link has an active period of 30 days you would not be charged for them."

So Which One?

In terms of which to chose, it really depends on your personal needs. I had to use Aweber with my marketing system as it integrates an autoresponder series into it.

Both are great programs and if your list is small the only difference would be price until you go over 250 subscribers. If your goal is 250 subscribers then your thinking too small. Personally, I was fed up with iContacts HTML email copy to TEXT and having to correct the mistakes of that conversion.

I did find it odd that iContact wanted me to CALL them to cancel my subscription. Really? In the digital age I have to actually call someone to quit their digital service? I can understand why they would want to try to retain their business but it just seems so 90s to try and force customers to wait on the line to speak with a customer rep to see if they can retain you as a customer.

If you want to learn more about me and how I make money to pay for all of these cool toys then hit me up on my Hubpages Profile Here.

Engineering Your Success,
Lawrence Tam

Comments 25 comments

pkoson profile image

pkoson 7 years ago

Aweber vs iContact Autoresponders

Good point. I hope the rest of the Asteroidea class welcome me with five arms wide open


Alicia Andersen 7 years ago

Can you expand more on choosing Aweber in regards to the integration of the autoresponder in your marketing plan? From what I gather, this and the HTML loading are your main reasons for prefering it.

Are you simply refering to the method of sending messages to follow the one before, or is there something more?

Thank you for posting this. I've been having a hard time assessing from the outside which one better suits my system.

Put me on the right track and I'll ask for your affiliate link ;)


Thomas T profile image

Thomas T 7 years ago from Malaysia

Excellent content here and a nice writing style too - keep up the great work!


Joao 7 years ago

Hi

Great hub

I`ve seen ny aweber account canceled for some reason.

The problem is that they dont even bother to info me about the reason to cancel my aweber account.

At least they should informed me the reason, but no, they just canceled ... and that's all

So i`m interested icontact, i`ll try the trial, just to see if they are as good as aweber. I`ll come back to say how it went ...

Cumps and keep up with the good work.


Mark 7 years ago

Great review.

I've reached a point in which I have to choose an email auto responder.

One of the things that did turn me off about Aweber is the "forced-in" email. I am leaning towards using Aweber b/c you noted it can be turned off. I'd like to know how it can be turned off - before I sign up with Aweber.

thanks,

Mark H.


spooon profile image

spooon 7 years ago from Texas Author

Mark,

You going to use my link ;)

You just go into the backoffice and there will be a HUGE green button with "ON". click it and it will go red and turn off.

my list - confirmed opt-in


Mark 7 years ago

Spoon,

thanks for the feedback. I'll use your link if I choose to use Aweber.

Thanks again..


spooon profile image

spooon 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for considering.


Email autoresponder reviewer 6 years ago

great review thanks a lot for the information


Sarah Horth profile image

Sarah Horth 6 years ago from Seattle

Thanks for the great review - I've been looking at the two and thinking about aweber, you've made my mind up for me.


Blogger911.com 6 years ago

Nice review. I have signed up for aweber and then icontact to see both. icontact has the added survey feature without using google docs. Price is what mattered most to me.


Clive 6 years ago

I think you missed one of the BIG differences between iContact and Aweber and that is the ability to upload an existing list.

If you starting from scratch this is not a big issue. If you have any type of existing list and you go with Aweber everyone on that list will have to opt-in again! This is a deal breaker in many cases.

With iContact they do not have to opt in again.

I actually use both and it is a horses for courses situation.


spooon profile image

spooon 6 years ago from Texas Author

I started with icontact so never had to import a list. I moved my list to aweber so yes, the double opt in sucked.

I didn't realize icontact didn't require another opt in for mass import. interesting.


hallowfever profile image

hallowfever 6 years ago from San Diego

thanks.. I was trying to pick between these 2 and now i'll go with aweber


John-Scott Dixon 6 years ago

Point of Information: If you are importing a list to Aweber - you CANNOT turn off the opt-in requirement for that list. I have provided an alternate method for Aweber to confirm the legitimacy of an existing list (combination of a threshold of campaigns sent to list, avg. bounce rate, avg. spam complaints, and review of email campaigns) as an alternative to sending a productive list a "triple opt-in". Especially after they've been receiving email from you for months or years. They are reviewing my approach, but for now - there is no way around that.

Now if you are building a list using an Aweber form, you can turn off the opt-in requirement. This is because they physically saw the list get built via their systems.

Hope this helps!


Ken 6 years ago

I reviewed quite a few autoresponders including aweber and icontact. Aside from the comments above, it seems that many internet marketing courses and affiliate systems use aweber in their training videos. In addition, if you purchase a program with pre-made emails that you can just plug in to an autoresponder, again, it's with aweber in mind and you have to manually change (rewrite) areas of the email to accommodate another autoresponder provider. Also, it seems like if you build the list with aweber it's not hard to transfer over to another email provider at some later point where as coming from another provider to aweber requires your list to opt-in again.


freeautoresponder 6 years ago

Thanks for the review. I reviewed a doezn of free autoresponders, but the feature syou talk about are even cooler than the ones offered by free auto responders.


howiquitsmokign 5 years ago

Great post. I vouch for aweber too! It has nice web form builders


Bandorah 5 years ago

I used both but I have recently switched to SimplyCast.com All-in-one solution, I really like the unlimited Free package it has helped my small business a lot.

Bandorah


jpbersier profile image

jpbersier 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

hi,

very nice post.

Thanks a lot.

Anyone has an update? After all, this is 2 years old. Did the autoresponders reviewed here have done updates that changes the cards? I still see Mike Dillard and the Association for Better Networkers using icontact, and their lists are not a small one!

Any one, any data?

thanks a lot

:-)


fiona westby 5 years ago

actually when i spoke to aweber if i move over my list to them, they said they can check my website and a few others things and then can actually import the list without them having to opt in again.


spooon profile image

spooon 5 years ago from Texas Author

wow, didn't even know you could mass import to aweber without another opt in. Thanks Fiona!

I haven't used iContact in awhile and have used Aweber. My list has grown and I continue to trust them in it.


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ylluminate 4 years ago

We were really disappointed with their API and the additional opt-in issue when importing via the API was a deal breaker. If you need any programming facilities MailChimp is the way to go.


Johne372 2 years ago

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