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Autoresponder explained, it’s easy to choose the right one.

Do you know the difference between a newsletter and autoresponder?

Maybe you have already heard about it around or you are using it every day, but if you don’t know the answer to this question then I can help you to understand what is the difference and which one to choose.

What you will learn in this article?

  1. What an autoresponder is and why you need it
  2. The difference between an autoresponder and a newsletter
  3. How to choose the right service for you
  4. Price comparison

I will compare 5 of the most known services and try to help you to figure out what features you need and how to find them:

So, let’s get started with this video: How an autoresponder works.

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I think that this video is quite clear and understandable. I know my English is not so good, but this is because I wasn’t under the influence of alcohol,
so if you want to hear me speak better English buy me a beer!

However if the video has not been clear enough, an autoresponder is different from a newsletter because a newsletter is an email to all your subscribers sent at the same time.

Because of this, if you have written content in the past that you want to drop to your new subscribers, they will be sent again and again to your old ones.

And doing it too many times will make your communication fail fast.

An autoresponder will resolve this issue sending a list of emails to every person only once per person.

It will send a precise list of emails to each.

This means that you will set up the timing and a list of emails and they will be automatically sent out to each new subscriber from the very first moment they will subscribe.

And the process will follow until the end of your email set.

You can still send out Newsletters to promote specific offers or provide useful communication though.

Sound great? It is!

Imagine that you want to sell your product.

If you were in a real shop you would show your client all of the product’s benefits.

So what if you don’t have this person’s attention for one hour?

You can split all those benefits into 10 emails that would take about 6 minutes each to read.

Which Service Do I Choose?

I have always wondered how I could substitute a monthly fee service with a one-time payment service in my WordPress installation.

Sadly, although you can find many good plugins around, I have searched and tested many and have never found one that satisfies me as completely as my GetResponse.

What’s the difference between the two?

Time Is Money

When you are working on your projects you don’t have time to deal with many issues.

  • Server Issue
  • Installation Issues
  • Setup Issues
  • Email configuration Issues
  • Traffic issues
  • Deliverability

And many others!

Deliverability

The second reason to choose a reliable service is because it doesn’t make sense to have a list of emails and still be unsure as to whether your emails are reaching the client’s inbox.

All of the problems you can get whilst working with free and installed services will disappear like magic when you go with a reliable one.

Those services also support you while you grow and this is seriously important, because the more you grow in your business the less time you have to waste fixing problems.

You will not hit a spam folder with a reliable service but you may risk hitting many spam folders if you use a non-reliable service.

This is fundamental for your brand. Would you buy things out of your junkbox?

 

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Can You Get The Same Features Everywhere?

Sadly no!

To be completely honest it’s not uncommon to find new clients already using an autoresponder.

In these cases I’m usually not satisfied by the service.

There are many services out there, and every day I learn of a new one.

Despite my expectations, every day I find people using the wrong one, and they are always unhappy of the service.

Most of the offline or proprietary services you can buy are complicated and many do not work at all.

They always need server and client set up, html knowledge and hard work to design in order to reach a decent newsletter quality.

So to get rid of all those time wasting tasks, knowing how choose the right service is fundamental if you want to succeed in your business.

 

What Is The Best Weapon You Can Have For Your Marketing?

Have you ever heard the saying: “the money is in the list”?

Yes! Your list is the best money-making weapon that you have in your arsenal.

If your autoresponder service is not working, good luck with your business!

If 30 visitors per day subscribe to your email, you will have a list of more than 10,000 subscribers in one year.

This means that your offer can be spread to 10,000 readers in just a click of a button.

Now let’s get down to some comparisons.

 

What Do We Want From Our Service?

I think that simple things are often the most difficult to get.

If it is a reliable service this will be already a great result.

Before you decide which one is the best, let’s take a look at what the audience searches for.

In this chart I will compare the search trend in Google for all of the main services around.

I think that to understand how many people use it, a good indicator can be to compare the search trends of their domain names.

Let’s get started with Aweber.com CostantContact.com Getresponse.com iContact.com and Mailchimp.com

 

Pretty neat now, Aweber and iContact have been the real winners in past, and they are still being used a lot although they are clearly dropping down.

CostantContact doesn’t seem to be used a lot, and when we analyze the features I think it will be easy to understand why.

The winner for the audience’s most searched seems to be Mailchimp, but why? Is Mailchimp really so good?

Should you choose Mailchimp? Let’s investigate a little.

What Features Are We Searching For?

If we consider all those services as reliable ones because of online stable services, I think that everyone will be searching for different needs.

Here are some basic features that you should consider.

  1. Easy to setup
  2. Good interface
  3. Additional features
  4. Autoresponder and Newsletter quality

Let’s explore a bit:

 

DASHBOARD:

Mailchimp Dashboard:

First let’s analyze the Mailchimp dashboard. Once logged in what you will find is a GetStarted page that tells you what to do to follow with the right setup.

There is no webform setup link and nothing really important while you are working, so the first action you should do is to click on the “Create a Campaign Button”.

I don’t find it particularly useful because it sends you to this page.

The real button you should click first is Lists, where you create your list.

Clicking on the lists button will drive you to this page where you can see your lists.

From here you need one more click to create your webform.

This means that you should click 3 times before getting to the Webform creation tool and from there you should select which kind of webform you want to create.

Also the Dashboard is not giving any useful information, so my score for the Mailchimp dashboard is going to be really low:

Score: 3

MailChimp Dashboard
30 %

 

Aweber Dashboard:

The Aweber Dashboard is completely different.

In one single overview you can see how many subscribers you get to your lists each day, and so if you are working with a campaign you can keep monitoring your marketing effort in a second.

The dashboard also gives you all the options you need in the same page, you can create a fast Webform, setup a list of messages, or a Broadcast (Newsletter) just with one click.

I think that it is quite clear that this is a better user interface.

My score for the Aweber dashboard is quite good even if there is something that, in my opinion, can be adjusted a little.

Score: 8

Aweber Dashboard
80 %

 

GetResponse Dashboard

No lies, I love GetResponse, I have used it for almost 6 years and I must be honest, I have seen it grow from the very first step to what it is today, and if you are still with me you will understand why I will never change.

The Dashboard gives you an overview on everything. You can setup some widgets to see how each single campaign is running.

From the top menu in one click you can go everywhere and it is quite simple to understand what you are going to do.

I think I don’t need to say more, you will understand if I give this interface a great evaluation.

Score: 10

GetResponse Dashboard
100 %

 

iContact Dashboard:

This dashboard is not as bad as the Mailchimp one, however there are two things that worried me.

This is a free account so if you want to understand all the features like the statistics box you should try for yourself.

However I don’t see anything on the menu that convinces me like in Aweber and Getresponse, just something that worries me; the Image Library!

iContact give you a limited image space to upload your images, I don’t like it at all. It isn’t comparable to GetResponse which, for example, also gives you FREE high quality stock images to use in your newsletter.

If you want to create a webform you should first click on contacts and once on the page you can select signup forms. This takes you to another page where you choose which kind of webform you want to create.

In this first step we will analyze the dashboard, and it is not a bad dashboard in my opinion although there are many things I personally don’t like. It also isn’t so clear where to create a webform, for which you should click more times to get to the point.

So my score for this one cannot be so high.

Score: 6

iContact Dashboard
60 %

 

CostantContact Dashboard:

The CostantContact interface is poor, much like the Mailchimp one. It is perhaps a bit better because you can jump straight to the Webform creation, but it still doesn’t give us any useful information.

I am interested by the EventSpot and I must say that the Social Campaigns and EventSpot both attract my attention.

Again in this case I cannot give a great evaluation to the dashboard.

Score: 6

CostantContact
60 %

 

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WEBFORM EDITOR

This is something I consider really important because one of the most time consuming activities is to setup your webform on your website. Make them fit your design especially if you don’t want to deal with HTML and CSS.

 

Mailchimp WebForm editor

As you can see the interface is quite strange. Everything is in English but on the top I have an Italian message. I am working on an Italian account so this is understandable, but this message is unhelpful, it is not clickable and I couldn’t understand what was meant for.

Clicking on the number 3 on the message takes me to the previous page, so I don’t understand why all this space used.

Analyzing the list of Webform available it appears quite interesting and promising.


First form designer:

It is just a webform that you can reach via a given URL.

It doesn’t sound very different to the second one where an embedding code is given:

And the third one is only a page where it seems to have many incredible features:

Curious about the WordPress signup form, I have clicked the Learn more button, to discover that it is just a plugin, like the GetResponse and the Aweber one you can find for free on the WordPress website.

Mailchimp sounds much too complicated to me, I don’t like the webform limited design and to perform basic tasks like embed a webform somewhere I need to click on a thousand pages.

I don’t feel that it is a tool I can work with, not even if it is free for the newsletter service.

Webform design score: 4

MailChimp Webform Editor
40 %

 

Aweber WebForm editor

It doesn’t need to be presented; it is one of the best webform editors on the market. Hundreds of Webform Templates.

It is easy to manage and you can reach it with one click.


In step 2 you can easily setup your subscribers destination pages with your own pages.

It is easy to understand and in the next step you will be given the code to install it everywhere.

If you want a WordPress plugin to easily embed your webform in wordpress there are thousands to choose from.

Aweber webform editor score: 9

Aweber webform editor score
90 %

 

GetResponse WebForm editor

Can GetResponse beat Aweber in the Webform Editor?

Well, it seems that it can, and then some.

The GetResponse Webform editor is wider that the Aweber one. There are also many great designs.

There isn’t as many as the Aweber one but the editor allows you to manipulate your design a bit better so you can easily customize your webform.


Like Aweber, in three clicks you can get straight to the Webform Publish page and here you have all the same options as you would get from Aweber.

Like in Aweber you can select your destination pages, personalize your messages, integrate them in Facebook and also pass some more data to the page if you are doing an advanced campaign.

Aweber and GetResponse really have the best editors I have seen online and I love each as much as the other, so I must give the same score to both:

GetResponse Webform Editor Score: 9

GetResponse webform editor score
90 %

 

iContact WebForm editor

If you want to create a good webform, sadly you shouldn’t do it in iContact.

The first page allows you to choose colors and the second one fields, that’s it.

You can decide on your thank you page and error page. This is what you can get:

They give you the HTML to embed the form so when working via CSS and HTML you can create the design you want.

I feel the need to give a bad score to this editor.

iContact webform editor score: 3

iContact webform editor score
30 %

 

CostantContact WebForm editor

Once subscribed Costantcontact already gives you a webform setup up to use in your campaign which you can personalize.

Once you enter in the panel you will find the webform, let’s see how the editor is.


If we click on the ready webform we will be directed to the editor:

It is made on three pages like the Aweber and the GetResponse one, but unfortunately the quality is nowhere near the same.

In the second page you can decide which field to add to your form

And in the third, add a logo and font color:

And finally, if we preview our webform this is what we can get.

As you can see for yourself, this editor again is not comparable to the good ones we saw earlier so again my verdict is low.

CostantContact webform editor score: 3

CostantContact webform editor score
30 %

 

It is easy to see that I give a lot of weight to the Webform editor.

If you are working on your website you will sometimes need to change your webform, sometimes to test new sentences or because it is Christmas, a holiday, or there are offers. For this reason, if your editor is not easy to work with, you will spend hours if not days to make small changes.

So it’s better to be able to make sure you can make these edits yourself than to pay someone else.

 

 

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EMAIL EDITOR

Something more important than webform editor is having a good email editor, especially if you want to setup a weekly newsletter and work on your autoresponder.

So let’s see how our service performs with their editors.

Mailchimp Email editor

Ok, it is not a secret I don’t like to deal with mailchimp, and the email editor is still not the kind of editor I like working with.

However it isn’t impossible to work with in a basic situation.

What you can get is a normal email, most of them can be simple text and you can also create some simple design templates.

Do I love this editor? No

Can I deal with it? Maybe, but only for a really simple campaign.

So again I cannot give a great vote to Mailchimp.

MailChimp email editor score: 6

MailChimp email editor score
60 %

 

Aweber Email editor

The Aweber email editor is quite different.

It allows you many customizations of your message in the basic form but it can be integrated with many templates, so I must consider it a very good investment.


Again Aweber appears to be one of the best deals when you are choosing your email software.

You can also manage your email set via an easy drag and drop list of emails that allows you to move which one to send first and later.

Aweber email edito score: 8

Aweber email edito score
80 %

 

GetResponse Email Editor

I want start with an overview of the Calendar, where you can organize your autoresponder email.

Simple, easy to setup and the best I have ever seen around. If you want to organize an autoresponer this is the editor you want to deal with.

And the editor?

It allows you to setup blocks of text and images, arranging them as you prefer inside the editor.

You can easily use the template and there are many great templates.

It allows you to deal easily with some automated actions, like setting up an autoresponder once the user performs an action like opening a specific email, or subscribe to a specific list etc…

I am only giving you 50% of what this editor can do for you, so if you want to know which one is the top of my list, here goes.

GetResponse Email Editor score: 10

GetResponse email editor score
100 %

 

iContact Email editor

iContact till now hasn’t given me satisfaction and I really couldn’t understand why it has had all of this success, but in the email editor it is getting a good score.

I cannot consider those templates good enough to beat the GetResponse and Aweber ones but they are good and they can be a good deal.

Same for the editor, that isn’t so bad either.

This time the iContact score is growing and I will give them a better score.

iContact email editor score: 7

iContact email editor score
70 %

 

 

CostantContact Email Editor

We are again closing our list with CostantContact. This doesn’t seem so bad either at first glance.

Templates are professional.

And the editor in some sense seems to have quality enough to challenge the iContact one.

So again CostantContact exceeded my expectations and I must assign a good score to it.

CostantContact email editor score: 7

CostantContact email editor score
70 %

 

PRICES

Here we are at the big deal, which one costs less?

 

MailChimp Prices

The first one I want to deal with is Mailchimp that claims to be Free up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month in the first level if you only use newsletter.

Yes! This is because if you want to add an autoresponder you will have to pay a “small” monthly fee of $10 per month.

From the second level you should buy email credits. Seems like Mailchimp love to complicate things:

This means that if you want to have the real service you would pay a normal quote.

Remember that once you collect 10,000 subscribers it is not so easy to move your list from one service to another. This means that their free offers, which I suppose catch many new entrepreneurs, will leave them stuck with a service they don’t like at some point in the future.

Aweber Prices

Understanding Aweber’s costs is easier than mailchimp.

It starts from $19 per month and grows, but as soon as you start to work with it you realise why it is of good value.


 

GetResponse Prices

Again GetResponse is a winner, because if you compare the 2,500 subscribers it is cheaper than Aweber and the quality you have seen for yourself, so again, if you want to work with a great service, you need to go with it.

 

iContact Prices

iContact is aligned with Aweber and GetResponse for price, but they are not aligned in interface quality.

So it costs from $14 per month in the basic plan, and comparing the 2,500 plans, on a year contract the cost is similar to Aweber. This is why I consider it expensive for the features it offers.

Remember the limited images space? If you pass the 5mb you have to pay more to have more space to stock your images, so be careful when you choose.


CostantContact Prices

Finally CostantContacts leave me dumbstruck, because when I realize that it cost $35 dollars per month on the 2,500 subscriber plan, I’m once again grateful to be with GetResponse.

Here is a fast comparison:

DASHBOARD:

MailChimp Dashboard
30 %

Aweber Dashboard
80 %

GetResponse Dashboard
80 %

iContact Dashboard
60 %

CostantContact
60 %

 

WEBFORM EDITOR

MailChimp Webform Editor
40 %

Aweber webform editor score
90 %

GetResponse webform editor score
90 %

iContact webform editor score
30 %

CostantContact webform editor score
30 %

 

EMAIL EDITOR


MailChimp email editor score
60 %

Aweber email edito score
80 %

GetResponse email editor score
100 %

iContact email editor score
70 %

CostantContact email editor score
70 %

 

And finally the prices:

500/1000 2000/2500 Annual discount Annual for 2500
GetResponse $15 $25 18% $246
Aweber $19 $29 15% $295
iContact $19 $29 15% $295
Mailchimp $15 $25 0 $300
CostantContact $15 $35 20% $336

 

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If you want the best quality service GetResponse is the winner in this competition.

 

Final Words

Well, I was thinking while I was writing this article that I might test the social features of all the services, but it is clear that it isn’t worth the test, because the differences between all of those services are clear.

If I can setup a list of the best quality service in my opinion GetResponse is the winner.

It also gives many more features than all the others giving a great image stock ready to use in the emails. Upload space to upload your own image.

Social connection and publish, a lot of automations that we haven’t had time to analyze.

It also offers a great Landing Page service and more features that you will love day by day as you work with it.

The second place to go is Aweber, but it is far from GetResponse and is also expensive in comparison.

The quality of the editors and interface is great but it would still be a lesser choice.

In third place is Mailchimp, although it is the most searched for, for me it is the most hard to manage. It does however still offer some good features and the free option is a good deal for those who want to play at email marketing for a while.

iContact and CostantContact are really far from the quality of the other services. I thought I would be giving CostantContact the 4th place, but due to the price iContact come first.

So if you want to buy your “forever” email service, in LifestyleUltimatum’s opinion, you should go with GetReponse.

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