The New Aweber 2 – The Sequel

In my previous post, I was ranting about the steep price increase and asking if you feel the new features are worth the difference in price.  I received a very detailed response from Justin Premick from AWeber.  As promised to Justin I am writing a follow up to his comment.  His points were very well stated and I would like to share them with you here, along with my response.

Here are some excerpts from his comment that I would like to address:

I’d like to state here that we’re not trying to “stuff” you or sneak anything “in through the back door.” AWeber users who joined before May 20th will not be upgraded to the new features and pricing unless they ask us to do so. That’s the reason there was no email about a price increase… because for existing customers, there isn’t an increase. You don’t have to pay any more today for the same AWeber service and features than you did last month. We saw this as a non-issue, and felt that sending an email out about pricing “changes,” when in fact no customer’s pricing has changed, would just serve to confuse and cause undue panic.

I can see the logic in this, but I think the end result was the opposite effect.  It caused an undue panic with many customers because of the surprise.

After receiving Justin’s response, I donned my hip-boots and went trudging into the forum cesspool to see what others had to say about it.  Most of the “panic” that I saw from other subscribers was a result of this not knowing until after the fact.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that missed the email.

With that said, I was shocked to find out how many people dumped AWeber because of it.  Why?!  AWeber didn’t force this on anyone with an existing account.  I, as a current AWeber customer am free to keep my account just the way it is.  This is a good example of that “forum junkie” mentality, which is the very reason I don’t let myself get caught up in these pointless debates.  It must have been a great month for GetResponse though. 😉

“The price increase is pretty steep. When you average out the cost per lead verses the benefits that you get with the analytics package, is it justifiable? These factors may depend on the size & quality of your list, plus the range of products that you have to offer.”

Well said, though I think it has more to do with quality than size, and with how you use the tools available to you – in other words, how much more effective and profitable can you make your email marketing using these tools?

We feel the answer to that is “a lot” (which is why we developed these tools). One example: you’ll know who did and did not respond which emails, and you can segment and deliver appropriate emails to subscribers based on that knowledge. This alone has great potential to increase your sales and profits far beyond the additional cost for these tools.

I have to say that the power of these tools would have to be impressive.  You can compensate for having a small list with the ability to target and test your list with surgical precision.  You can also segment by time zones!

Until now, analytic tools like these were only available to high dollar businesses with the budgets to pay the big fees to their ESPs.  AWeber has now made these available to everyone.  It seems that the segmentation ability alone would more than pay for itself.  After all, quality will outshine quantity.  In terms of traffic conversions, 5,000 untargeted visitors isn’t nearly as good as having 500 highly targeted visitors.  The same applies to your list – quality vs. quantity.

You can now even get rid of those ugly AWeber tracking links from within your emails.  By using a simple javascript on your website, you can put a clean natural link into your emails which look much less threatening to the paranoid.

Justin also pointed out that for those with lists under 500 leads, the monthly price is actually lower.  $19 per month as opposed to $19.95 per month.

Justin also included a link to AWeber’s analytics info page which gives a great explanation of the benefits you can receive after upgrading.

The only flaw that I see at this point is that the tracking features seem to rely on javascript.  This could skew the analytics leaving out the subscribers who have javascript disabled in their browser.  The tracking links in your email messages are also accompanied by an invisible graphic that “talks” to the javascript on your target website.  Many of my own webmail accounts disable the “unsafe” images by default when I view them.  That probably disables this invisible graphic popup as well, thus not allowing the tracking info to get passed along to your stats.

Taking this into consideration, the overall results are still going to give you a pretty accurate assessment of your subscribers, especially as your list gets larger.  If we estimated a very high figure of 10% of your list having javascript disabled or email images blocked, You’d still have about 90% accuracy to work with.

In summary, I think that AWeber’s intention is to offer the very best marketing features possible to their subscribers.  Testing and targeting your campaigns are a must if you want to be successful with your email marketing.  It not only benefits you, but your list members as well.

AWeber has practically dropped this essential element of success right into our laps with this analytics package.  Now there’s simply no excuse not to test and target.  I believe that those who see the value and apply these tools, will be riding the new wave of success using email marketing 2.0.  I plan to catch this wave… how about you? Land lubber, or surfer?