Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
Receive this blog by e-mail!  Enter your e-mail address:   

Friday, February 15, 2013

Why I Changed My Mailing List Service from YMLP to Aweber

Email Marketing $19/Month!
I'm slightly off topic today. But as many of you will have an online presence yourselves, I hope you will find the topic of mailing list services of at least some interest!

My story starts about ten years ago - before the days of this blog - when I set up an email service called E-Writer to provide a means of keeping in touch with my readers and clients.

E-Writer was irregular at first, but eventually it settled into a monthly e-newsletter, and I kept it running like that till the start of this year. You could subscribe via my homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk and ultimately it had around 1200 subscribers.

One of my resolutions for 2013 was to look again at how I communicate with my readers - and where the newsletter was concerned, I soon realised it was time for a change.

It seemed to me that in this fast-moving world the whole concept of a monthly newsletter was looking a bit dated. I wanted a way of contacting readers as soon as I had something interesting to tell them, rather than wait till the end of the month and send a lengthy digest, some of which would likely be out of date already.

For E-Writer I had always used the mailing list service YMLP (which stands for Your Mailing List Provider). They had always provided a good service, but for the new E-Writer Updates service I envisaged, I could see that they would be less suitable.

For one thing, while YMLP allow you to mail lists of up to 1000 free, each time you send out a mailing the total number is added to your monthly usage.

So if you had 600 subscribers, you could mail them free once a month, but if you wanted to mail them twice that would put you on 1200, above the free allowance, meaning you had to pay to upgrade. YMLP's charges are not extortionate, but if you were mailing two or three times a week, you would swiftly have to upgrade your account to a much more expensive tier.

YMLP is also relatively limited in the range of features it offers. While you can use it to send out newsletters, for example, you can't really set it up as an autoresponder. So after some investigation I decided to switch to the most popular service in online marketing circles, AWeber.

Aweber doesn't offer a free starter service, but one big attraction of going with them is that charging is based purely on the size of your list. That means even if you mail your subscribers every day, it will cost no more than if you mail them once a month (incidentally, this is one reason why if you join an AWeber list, you are likely to hear from the list owner quite frequently!).

Aweber offers many other features as well. As mentioned above, you can set up autoreponders. For example, when someone first signs up to your list, you can arrange to send them a series of messages at pre-set intervals (your choice) perhaps going into more detail about the products and services you offer. I haven't actually done this myself yet, but it's certainly on my 'to do' list.

Like all such services, Aweber provide the means for people to sign up to your list using the industry-standard (and spam-proof) double opt-in process. They also offer a wide range of sign-up boxes which you can add to your blog or website by copying and pasting a bit of HTML. And, of course, they ensure that subscribers can change the email address at which they receive your mailings - or unsubscribe - by automatically adding such links at the foot of every mailing.

One lesser-known feature of Aweber that I really like is that any time you do a mailing, an archive page containing the message is created (and hosted) by Aweber, and you can also set it up to share these pages via Twitter and Facebook.

These pages are indexed by the search engines, and several times recently I have seen them high up in Google results. You can see the Aweber page for my latest update here if you like. And, as you will notice, readers are invited to sign up to my mailing list at the same time. Please feel free!

If you promote yourself or your books or writing services online, you really should have a list to keep in touch with your readers and prospects. In my view, Aweber is a good choice, and possibly the best.

In any event, if you fancy giving it a try, I've arranged for readers of my blog to test-drive it free of charge (and without obligation). Just fill in your details in the form below and click on Free Test Drive. Aweber will then send you some emails so that you can learn more about what they offer and experience the service first-hand.

Multiply Profits AND Automate Your Business
AWeber's email marketing software makes it easy.

Learn how they can do it for you, too.


Incidentally, if you're looking for a low-cost (or free) service that will work with less frequent mailouts - such as a monthly newsletter - I do still recommend YMLP. If you wish to try it for yourself, just visit http://ymlp.com/psignup_promo and enter the promo code 266CJ1. You will then receive a 15% discount on their normal pricing for as long as you remain a member. For non-profit organisations in particular, I reckon that YMLP would be a good choice.

I hope you find this article helpful and will consider setting up a mailing list of your own (and sign up for mine, of course!). If you have any comments or questions about AWeber, YMLP or mailing list services generally, please do post them below.

Labels: , ,

-->

6 Comments:

Anonymous Rohi Shetty said...

Hi Nick,
Thanks a lot for this useful information.

How did you transition your subscribers from your old list to AWeber?

Also would you recommend that new writers start with a free service like Mailchimp or Feedburner and use AWeber when they have more subscribers?

Thanks again.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

No problem, Rohi. Thank you for some interesting questions.

I didn't transition my subscribers directly, as that would likely be regarded as spamming. E-Writer Updates is a different animal from the old E-Writer monthly newsletter, and I quite understand that it might not appeal to all of my old subscribers.

I did mention several times in the old E-Writer newsletter that subscribers would need to resubscribe to the new service to continue receiving my updates. I publicized it quite heavily via my blog, Facebook page, Google Plus, and so on, as well.

In the end I did lose quite a few subscribers, but I'm not too surprised about that It's quite likely that some people who subscribed to the old E-Writer up to 10 years ago were no longer really interested in hearing from me any more. C'est la vie.

All the free services have some attractions and some drawbacks. As I understand it, MailChimp bans affiliate marketers, including Amazon Associates. So if you want to promote your own book using your Amazon Associates link, you'd be out of luck. I don't know so much about Feedburner, but I understand that it's not really a full-featured mailing list/autoresponder service.

More follows/...

10:30 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I would not advise anyone to start with a free service and migrate to AWeber later. As I indicated above, there are both moral and practical reasons why you may not be able to transfer subscribers directly from one mailing service to another. And if you do what I did, you will inevitably lose some people!

AWeber isn't terribly expensive. AFAIK, they are currently offering the first month for $1, then $19 a month for up to 500 subscribers. If you are marketing products or services to your list, you would expect to cover that without too much difficulty.

I think it's really a matter of thinking about what you want to achieve with your list and then deciding which service will help you do this best. If you're planning to market to your list, I would recommend starting with AWeber. If it's really a non-profit venture, and you're not planning to mail more than once or twice a month, a free service like MailChimp or YMLP (up to 1000) might fit the bill. But, like I say, I really wouldn't advise starting with a free service and planning to migrate to AWeber (or another paid service)later.

Phew. Long answer, but I hope that covers your questions, more or less!

10:42 PM  
Anonymous John Yeoman said...

Rohi, in fact you can transfer your existing list to an AWeber list. I did it last year. But you have to follow a very strict protocol, in which AWeber will investigate your list, how you built it, how you've invited people to opt out, etc. It feels like a tax audit!

But if you're kosher, it will - eventually - let you add that list.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, John. That's useful to know.

I didn't do this myself as I felt it would be unfair to automatically transfer existing subscribers to my new service, as I always planned the new updates to be different in both style and frequency. But I did pay a price in losing some subscribers!

I still think it's better to try to avoid changing horses in mid-stream, but at least your example shows that it may be possible if you're prepared to jump through a few hoops!

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Dan Hodgins, TinyLever.com said...

There are so many ideas for growing a mailing list and capturing emails it's mind boggling.

For a few dozen more ideas check out this post: http://www.tinylever.com/email-list-growth-capture-emails

5:46 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home