Aweber is a great all-round Email Service Provider with many features to help you communicate effectively with your subscriber list. BUT, there are some game-changing features many people don’t even know about – so here’s my ‘Top 10 Power Feature’ checklist, just for you…
"My Deliverability Sucks - I'm Thinking of Changing My Email Provider!"
You’d be surprised how often I hear people say this or ask me a question about their poor email deliverability rates and lack of subscriber engagement; so this would seem a great place to start this article!
There can be many reasons your email isn’t performing as well as expected and It seems to be the prevailing idea that simply changing your Email Service Provider (ESP) will instantly fix your issues…and to keep doing so until you find an ESP that can finally land your emails in the subscriber Inbox!
In reality, by switching ESP you may simply be chasing the error; perhaps the problem was YOU all along and you never really set yourself up for success?
So, in an article where I’m going to tell you why I think Aweber is a great ESP you should consider using, I’m also recommending you firstly take time with your current provider to make sure the problem isn’t YOU!
Let’s now jump straight in and look at some of the ‘power features’ I think make Aweber a stand-out option…I’m going to state upfront, and ask you to ‘take for granted’, that as a long-standing ESP provider, Aweber has fantastic 24/7 support, a great email editor, a ton of email templates, email autoresponder, broadcast, tagging, segmentation and campaign features too – this post is about all the OTHER things…
1 - WordPress Integration
I don’t just mean using the Aweber WordPress Plugin to add a sign-up Form as a page ‘pop-up’ or page embed – that’s nothing new…
However, Aweber also integrates seamlessly with some of the most popular page builders and themes, such as Elementor (Free and Pro), Divi Theme, Beaver Builder, Clickfunnels, Lead Pages, OptimizePress, Builderall and more!
Now not only can you can import one of your Aweber forms but developers and designers can create a custom form using your page-builder of choice and simply connect your preferred Aweber list and assign action tags during the design phase – no need for a Zapier Zap to connect the two!
Note, the free ‘Aweber For WordPress’ plugin is required to enable all features.
2 - Smart Designer
I wasn’t sure about this feature at first – but if you want to custom-brand your email appearance then this is a great way to quickly generate your own template. Forget browsing through the vast Aweber template library of over 700 templates. Using Smart Designer and their AI-powered intelligent design assistant, you simply drop your website URL and the software will read your site and extract key features (such as your site’s logo) and present you with several style options, which you can customize even further.
Let me show you in this quick demo:
3 - Are You Split Testing?
The email Subject Line is probably the most important part of any email – the first thing your subscribers will see. Are you testing yours?
If not, why not? This is the very least you could be split testing!
With an Aweber Pro account (the level above ‘free trial’) you can split test any content variable using up to three different versions as shown below (you can also control the distribution of each version):
Need ideas for split tests?
I started by mentioning the subject line, so you could test:
- Short vs long subject line;
- More urgent language/power words;
- Try an emoji 🙂
- All lowercase vs sentence case;
- With and without punctuation marks (used sparingly);
- Statement vs question
- Personalised or generic (i.e. “Hey Nigel, here’s 10 tips for great email deliverability..”
Other ideas for testing include:
- The use of a ‘Pre Header’;
- Call to action – text or button (and think colours too);
- Image vs no image;
- Email message length;
- Soft sell vs hard sell;
- GIF vs no GIF (also see item #4 below);
- Body copy Personalization vs no personalization;
Learn what works best with your audience by split-testing different email variants. Remember to test one variable at a time so you know exactly what is making the difference in your results (sounds obvious I know) – this is a powerful feature which is often overlooked or ignored. Test, test, test is the mantra here and Aweber does the heavy work for you.
4 - Custom Code (boost open rates with a little 'html' spice)
Still here? Awesome 🙂
Usually the very mention of code sends people running for the hills. BUT…rather than ask “can you write code?” what if I simply ask “can you copy and paste?”
This is a genuinely great way to serve your subscribers in a highly-engaging and rather unique way. It will require a little effort on your part – but they’re your subscribers after all and you want to build a strong ‘know-like-trust’ relationship and so they are most definitely worth it.
Here’s one method I like to use:
5 - DKIM and SPF
Stick with me here – this is important stuff and goes right back to my opening remarks about setting yourself up for success.
I fully understand that the moment I mention something like ‘CNAME Records’, ‘DKIM’, “SPF’, ‘TXT Records’ etc that you might think this is just crazy techno-babble and way too difficult. But there are very good reasons why we should take this setup seriously; to quote Aweber:
“It is best practice to also authenticate your own domain name to build the best email sending reputation possible.
We recommend creating custom DKIM and SPF records through your domain provider as those records tell the world that the emails you send from AWeber are valid and authorized.”
Again though, setting this up is really just about ‘copy and paste’…knowing what to copy and where to paste it!
So you would need to copy something like this from Aweber:
…to your own domain settings (replacing ‘example.com’ with your own domain name of course). The screenshot below shows my ‘DNS Zone Editor’ from inside my Siteground hosting account. It shows how my CNAME records have been modified by adding the records above to my own domain.
I have also added the Aweber ‘SPF Txt Record’ to my domain records for my email address (SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework). Aweber provides these records – though please note you should only have one SPF entry within your DNS records (use the ‘includes’ function to have multiple entries within the one SPF record as described in this Aweber ‘DKIM and SPF’ article).
This is a really important part of ‘setup for success’ – I would strongly advise you take a little time to master this if you are using (or intend to use) Aweber and if you are using a different ESP maybe ask their support the question about DKIM and SPF.
My free Aweber course (coming soon – stay tuned) will cover this and these 10 power features in more detail…but for now, a successful setup should look something like this in your Aweber account:
6 - Internal Re-Targeting Using 'Page Hit Automation'
You are probably wondering just what, exactly, is a Page Hit Automation?
Well, you may already be familiar with the concept of email analytics which track subscriber activity such as opening your emails and the specific links they click on.
With Aweber we can go one step further by adding a short ‘snippet’ of code to your website (don’t worry, it’s only ‘copy and paste’ again) which allows you to track (and tag) the individual web-pages your subscribers visit beyond the initial click-through, including any product sales, for example.
With page hit automations enabled you can add and remove tags to your subscribers as and when they view specific pages on your tracked websites.
This feature allows you to:
- Track your subscribers’ on-site actions using tags;
- Create dynamic segments, or groups of subscribers, based on their activity, site interests and tags applied;
- Use on-site actions to trigger automated email campaigns, such as viewing a specific post, page or product.
- Identify ‘cart abandonment’.
- Track sales by assigning a $$ value to a page, such as an order completion page.
This is a really great way of re-targeting your most valuable traffic (those subscribers who are already part of your internal ‘warm’ audience).
7 - Aweber Landing Pages
Let’s now look at a really great feature of the Aweber For WordPress plugin, Landing Pages!
Aweber has a growing library of Landing Page templates which can be edited to meet your needs, or even start with a blank page and get creative with your own design.
This is a great option if you are looking for a simple solution to create landing pages – perhaps you’re not ready or sure about purchasing dedicated landing page design software, well, this is one way you can get started without any additional expense.
Your page can be integrated into your website through a very simple interface provided by the plugin, it literally takes seconds to ‘drop’ a landing page into your site, inheriting the root domain name, in a format like this:
The page(s) can then be added to your site’s menu, sitemap or simply used as a custom domain URL for sharing.
8 - The 'Smart Content' Widget
Landing Pages also have a cool feature called the ‘Smart Content Widget’ – simply put, it’s a quick way of pulling audio/video/visual content into your landing page by inserting a URL to create a dynamic content link…it’s a nice tool to have at your disposal when designing a landing page and most folks don’t even know it’s there!
Using this page widget you can transform hyperlinks into embedded rich media — polls, slideshows, music, live video, forms, gifs, infographics, RSS feeds, audio playlists, products and so much more!
9 - Does Aweber Support Affiliates?
In a word, Yes!
There’s also a really important point I want to make here!
Warning: I’ve seen this go horribly wrong, whereby users fall foul of the rules as they try to run, say, an affiliate promotion to their list. Some ESPs expressly forbid this and clearly name ‘affiliate promotions’ among their exclusions (along with Network Marketing, Make Money Online (MMO), Multi-Level marketing (MLM) and more) – it’s your responsibility to check this before you purchase an account and start building your list (which you may lose completely when they close your account without warning).
So, YES, Aweber is friendly towards affiliates and actually has an integration with Clickbank and JVZoo, allowing product vendors to integrate their Clickbank product sales with Aweber.
Oh, don’t forget Aweber also has its own affiliate program too, whereby affiliates can earn a small commission for referring sales. You may see Aweber banners on this page, if so, they incorporate my ‘special’ affiliate link and if you were to purchase an Aweber subscription using my unique link I would receive a small commission from Aweber (you pay the regular price after the free 30-day trial period).
Thank you in anticipation for helping to keep the ‘Click Smart’ lights on (you also get a little extra support from me as a thank you)!
10 - Get Started With Workflow Templates
Staring at a blank screen wondering what to write in your emails?
Aweber can get you started with a series of ‘Workflow Templates’, which are basically short email sequences you can add to your list and then customize to your own brand/style – no more writers’ block!
Simply create a new campaign within your Aweber account and choose whether to start from scratch, import from another source or us one of the Aweber provided sequences such as ‘Welcome Series’, ‘Lead Magnet’, ‘Blogger Series’ or ‘Mini Course’.
Definitely a welcome helping-hand to get your campaign up and running.
DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that in the spirit of true transparency some of our pages and posts may contain affiliate links. You won’t pay a penny more, but if you purchase any of our recommended products or services we may earn a small commission as a result -which helps to keep the Click Smart lights on!
11 - Bonus Feature (Beta Release) - Web Push Notifications
Web Push Notifications offer a great way to connect with your site’s visitors. Notifications can be used to complement your email strategy and help increase content engagement.
After an agreeing to opt-in to receive notifications (a one-click process), your subscribers will see notifications you send, right on their desktop, without needing to be on your site’s web page. They simply need to have a web browser open.
Web Push Notifications are ideal for time-sensitive content and can drive traffic back to your site. You might use them to let people know about:
- Discounts and sales;
- Announcing new content you recently published (blogs, podcasts, etc.);
- Lead magnet offers to encourage email signups;
- Registration reminders for events and webinars, and more…
12 - BONUS TIP (how to test your email)
Not really an Aweber feature but I think you should run your campaign emails through a testing application and see how they are rated against a common standard, including spam score.
I use ‘mail tester‘, a free to use software service which will analyze your message sequence, your mail server, your sending IP… and show you a detailed report (including analytics provided by SpamAssassin) of what’s configured properly and what’s not.
Here’s an example of the Mail Tester results page, each category receives a score and can be explored further by clicking on the score icon.
See what’s working…
Did you take care of DKIM and SPF (remember item #5)?
…and see what needs attention: