AWEBER VS GETRESPONSE (2017) – A DETAILED COMPARISON OF TWO LEADING E-NEWSLETTER CREATION TOOLS
Detailed third party autoresponder review:
In this post we look at Aweber vs Getresponse, so that you can make an informed decision on which of these email creation and sending tools is best for your business.
Read on for an overview of what both tools do; a comparison of their pricing and key features; and a summary of why you might choose one over the other.
WHAT DO AWEBER AND GETRESPONSE DO?
Aweber and Getresponse are tools for hosting your mailing list, creating attractive e-newsletter templates and sending e-newsletters out to your subscribers. They also allow you automate your communications to subscribers via ‘autoresponders’. These are used to provide subscribers with e-newsletters from you at pre-defined intervals – for example, immediately after they sign up, a subscriber might receive a simple welcome message from your business; a week later they could receive a discount voucher for some of your goods; three weeks later they could receive an encouragement to follow you on social media etc. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though: e-newsletter tools like these allow you to do a lot of other funky stuff, some of which will be discussed in more depth below.
GETRESPONSE PRICING VS AWEBER PRICING
It can be a little bit confusing working out which Getresponse plan to pick, as there are three tiers of plans – “Email”, “Pro” and “Max” – and within each tier, several different plans to choose from.
- Up to 1,000 subscribers: $15 (‘Email’)
- 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers: $25 (‘Email’)
- 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $45 (‘Email’)
- 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $65 (‘Email’)/ $75 (‘Pro’) / $ 165 (‘Max’)
- 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $145 (‘Email’) / $165 (‘Pro’) / $255 (‘Max’)
- 25,001 to 50,000 subscribers: $250 (‘Email’) / $280 (‘Pro’) / $370 (‘Max’)
- 50,001 to 100,000 subscribers: $450 (‘Email’) / $490 (‘Pro’) / $580 (‘Max’)
If you have a list larger than 100,000 subscribers, you can get a quotation from Getresponse for your needs. There are also separate pricing plans available for not-for-profit organisations, but you will need to contact Getresponse directly about those.
The key differences between the Getresponse plans involve the addition of landing pages and webinars as you go up the pricing ladder (more on all these anon). But when comparing Aweber vs Getresponse, the Getresponse ‘Email’ plans are the ones to focus on as they are similar in nature to the Aweber offering. With these plans, Getresponse is generally a winner over Aweber when it comes to pricing, particularly if you are operating a list with between 500 and 1000 email addresses on it.
There are 5 Aweber plans to choose from:
- Up to 500 subscribers: $19 per month
- 501 to 2,500 subscribers: $29 per month
- 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $49 per month
- 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $69 per month
- 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $149 per month
If you have a list larger than 25,000 subscribers, you will need to get a quote from Aweber regarding your requirements.
WHO WINS ON PRICE?
Well, at the starter end of things, Getresponse is definitely the most cost-effective solution: if you have a list with 500 to 1,000 subscribers on it, you’re looking at a not-inconsiderable $14 per month saving by using the Getresponse ‘Email’ plan instead of Aweber‘s equivalent.
For lists of 1,000 subscribers in size, each Getresponse ‘Email’ plan effectively comes in at $4 per month cheaper than the equivalent Aweber plan. Additionally, Getresponse offers a sizeable discount – 18% – if you pay upfront for a year, and 30% if you pay upfront for 2 years. There are discounting options available with Aweber too, but they are not as generous – if you pay quarterly, Aweber will discount your plan by 14%, and if you pay annually, the saving will be 14.9%.
But pricing, as we shall see below, is not the only thing you should base your decision on here.
OVERVIEW OF KEY FEATURES
- Ability to capture data and host mailing lists (you get a little bit of HTML code that you can insert on your site or social media profiles to capture email addresses)
- A wide range of pre-designed e-newsletter templates
- Autoresponder functionality which allows you to send automated e-newsletters at pre-defined intervals to subscribers after they sign up
- Statistics on the percentage of subscribers that are opening your emails, clicking links or unsubscribing
- RSS to e-newsletter functionality (useful for automatically sending your blog posts to subscribers on your mailing list)
- Easy-to-use message builders that allow you to create and edit e-newsletters without coding
- Integration with various third-party sites/tools (for example, online shopping services such as Amazon Payments, Paypal and Google Checkout or CRM tools like Capsule and Salesforce) – this allows you to add customers to mailing lists at the point of sale, for example, or use Aweber and Getresponse to send e-newsletters to customers on your CRM system.
- Responsive email templates.
This is a pretty subjective area, but for me, Aweber’s templates look a bit better than Getresponse’s. And there are more of them (about 700 vs 500 respectively). Getresponse’s templates look fine – and are fairly easily editable – but they’re just, well, a bit boring and slightly dated-looking; Aweber’s templates are slightly more visually appealing and, for my money, usable for a wider range of marketing applications. All that said, the gap in quality is by no means huge and unless there is an Aweber template that you are mad about, you should be able to find something similar enough in Getresponse’s arsenal which you can then tweak to bring it up to date a bit.
Up until relatively recently, Getresponse had an important edge over Aweber when it came to the technical aspects of their email templates because they were responsive and Aweber’s weren’t (responsive templates adjust themselves automatically to suit the device they are being viewed on). Fortunately, Aweber has now rectified this situation and you can enjoy responsive templates on both platforms.
However, Getresponse has a significant edge when it comes to previewing what your email will look like on a smartphone. As you build your email using the drag-and-drop builder provided, you see a preview of what it will look like on a mobile device on the right-hand side of the editor. This is great because you can simultaneously see, in real-time, the desktop and mobile versions of your e-newsletter – as you build it. With Aweber, I couldn’t see an easy way to preview the mobile version of my email at all – I may be missing something, but I ended up having to send myself a test email and open it on a phone to view the mobile version. So a win for Getresponse here.
Autoresponders are emails that are sent automatically to your subscribers at intervals that you define – for example, you could create a programme of autoresponders so that 10 minutes after somebody signs up to your list, they receive a welcome message; exactly one week later they receive a discount code; three weeks later they receive an email showcasing a particular product – and so on. Both Aweber and Getresponse provide good autoresponder functionality, allowing you to automatically send particular e-newsletters based on time intervals (as in the example above) or trigger them based on user actions (joining a particular list, making a purchase etc.). For me, Getresponse’s basic autoresponder functionality is a bit stronger, because the range of actions you can use to trigger the sending of a particular e-newsletter is more comprehensive, and it’s easier to set up these action-based triggers in the first place.
Additionally, Getresponse has now introduced a new feature called ‘Marketing Automation’ which takes autoresponders to a much more sophisticated level. This allows you to create automation workflows using a drag and drop builder – you basically set up an ‘automation flowchart’ that tells Getresponse what to do if a user opens a particular offer, clicks on a certain link etc. The video below gives you an idea of how it works.
Aweber is planning something similar with their ‘Campaigns’ tool – which should when completed, enhance the trigger-based send options and general workflow design process considerably. But for now, Getresponse is significantly ahead in the area of workflow based automation.
Up until recently, Getresponse was a much better option for those wishing to create email marketing campaigns using an existing list, because when you imported your own mailing list to Aweber, your subscribers could not join a list without reconfirming their subscription – with predictable results. Thankfully they’ve now changed their approach and Aweber customers can import their own data (albeit after they’ve answered quite a lot of questions about its source).
In terms of the types of files that Aweber lets you import, you can bring in data from the following types of files:
Getresponse lets you import from the following file types:
In addition to allowing you to import the above file types, Getresponse also allows you to import from email clients (Gmail, Outlook etc.) and various third-party services such as Salesforce, LinkedIn and Google Apps.
Finally, Aweber and Getresponse allow you to add users to a particular autoresponder cycle when you import them, which is not the case with competing systems. So a thumbs up for both platforms here when it comes to imports, but overall Getresponse offers more import options.
INTEGRATION WITH OTHER SYSTEMS
One area where Aweber arguably has an advantage over Getresponse is in its integration with third party sites – whereas both tools offer a wide range of integrations – over 130 each – with other sites (Paypal, Amazon Payments etc.), Aweber seems to integrate with better-known products more easily; additionally, a lot of the Getresponse integrations involve setting up a Zapier ‘zap’ to make them work. This is not madly complicated, but I feel that less technically minded users may appreciate that Aweber is slightly better supported as an e-marketing solution by some web applications. And whilst I love Zapier, sync errors can occasionally occur, which could interfere with how Getresponse plays with other applications.
Split tests allow you to try out different versions of your emails on segments of your data and send the best performing one out to the rest of your database. Getresponse comes out ahead when it comes to split testing – it allows you to test up to 5 variants of e-newsletters to Aweber‘s 4.
LANDING PAGE CREATION
Another area where Getresponse currently has an edge over Aweber involves landing pages. Landing pages or ‘squeeze pages’ are web pages that are designed with one thing in mind: data capture. They typically contain a form, some attractive images and a small amount of text spelling out the benefit of submitting your email address – it’s generally better to use landing pages for online ad campaigns over a form that sits on your website, simply because they are optimised for capturing data (as they contain less content to distract users).
With Getresponse you get a landing page creator out of the box, which allows you to make use of various templates and a drag and drop editor to create a strong landing page. By default each type of Getresponse account (‘Email’ / ‘Pro’ / ‘Max’ / ‘Enterprise’) has the landing page editor available, but unless you pay for a Pro, Max or Enterprise account you get limited functionality: you can only create one landing page, it doesn’t provide A/B testing and only 1000 views per month of it are permitted.
Purchasing a plan featuring the fully-featured Getresponse landing page creator however allows you to create an unlimited number of landing pages, display them to an unlimited number of viewers and crucially, do A/B testing too, where you can try out different versions of your landing page with the system automatically rolling out the best performing one to the majority of your site visitors (thus maximising the number of signups).
Landing pages are available on the Pro plan (and up), which means the cost of obtaining this functionality can be pretty high for some users. For example, if you plan to host a list with 1000 contacts on Getresponse, it will cost you an additional $34 per month to avail of the landing page functionality (because you’ll need to upgrade from an ‘Email’ plan to a ‘Pro’ one). Users planning to host 5,000 records on Getresponse, however, will be faced with a difference of just $4 between the ‘Email’ and ‘Pro’ plans. Under Getresponse’s previous pricing structure, getting the landing page creator add-on simply involved paying an additional $15 on your plan – the new regime is a bit confusing and means some customers are getting much better deals than others.
You can also make use of landing pages with Aweber, using a variety of third-party tools or by manually coding your landing page and inserting an Aweber form. You can also split test individual Aweber sign-up forms, so that may provide some sort of a workaround too. It’s just not as straightforward as with Getresponse, and if you rely on third party software, it can all get rather expensive (for example, using landing page creators Unbounce or Instapage to create your landing pages for Aweber can set you back anything from $29 to $199 per month).
A new feature of Getresponse is ‘Getresponse Webinars’, and this is something you’re not going to find as a feature of any of Getresponse’s competing products – Aweber, MailChimp, Mad Mimi et al. are all yet to offer this service.
Basically, by purchasing a Getresponse plan (Pro or higher) you gain the ability to run webinars directly from within your Getresponse account. Since webinars are typically used as a lead generation tool, integrating them closely with your email marketing application is potentially a very good idea. I have yet to try out this functionality in depth, but I like the idea of keeping everything in one place – see the ‘Getresponse Webinars’ video on this page for more details (which of course being a promotional video will portray it in as good a light as possible, but does spell out the basic features clearly).
If you wanted to run webinars with Aweber, you’d need to use a third-party tool such as Gotowebinar.
SEND TIME OPTIMISATION
Recently Getresponse rolled out an interesting new feature, ‘send time optimization’, which is not yet available in Aweber. Send time optimization automatically sends your email at the time of which it’s most likely to be opened – Getresponse looks at your subscriber list and their email checking habits and makes this call on your behalf. If you can live with using this big-brother sort of technology then according to Getresponse, you can expect a 23% median improvement in open rates and a 20% median improvement in click-through rates.
Aweber do offer a feature called ‘send windows’ which allows you to limit the time you send your automated emails out to a particular time slot – but it’s not as sophisticated as send time optimisation, and also requires you to do a bit of legwork and stats-eyeballing in finding out when the best time (in general) is to send emails to your list.
Support for both Aweber and Getresponse is comprehensive. Unlike competitors MailChimp, Mad Mimi and Campaign Monitor, both companies offer phone support (and toll-free to boot, if you live in the US). Email and live chat support are also available.
Getresponse’s phone support hours are 9am-5pm ET, Monday to Friday; Aweber‘s hours are 8am-8pm ET from Monday to Friday and 9 am to 5 pm ET at the weekend (Aweber’s live support, in general, operates during these hours).
So all in all Aweber’s support offering is a bit better than the Getresponse equivalent – there’s more phone / live support available. To boot, Aweber recently won a ‘Stevie’ award for customer service, which obviously says good things about the quality thereof.
Both Aweber and Getresponse offer a free one-month trial. If you want a free trial of Aweber, you should note however that you’ll need to enter credit card details before you can avail of it. The free trial of Getresponse, on the other hand, doesn’t require your card details in advance (I much prefer the latter approach because the risk of getting charged for a product you don’t want after a free trial expires is much lower).
WHICH IS BETTER, AWEBER OR GETRESPONSE?
Both Aweber and Getresponse offer a good range of tools to help you create, maintain and communicate with an email database; even if you’re not all that technically minded, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty using either to manage your e-communications. As they are very similarly priced, similarly featured tools, it is hard to declare a clear winner here; however, I think that on balance, Getresponse is the better value product. Here’s a lowdown of why you might pick one over the other.
REASONS TO PICK GETRESPONSE OVER AWEBER
- You can sign up for a free trial without entering credit card details.
- Getresponse is slightly more competitively priced (particularly if your subscriber list contains between 500 and 1000 records).
- An 18% discount is available if you pay for the product on an annual rather than monthly basis, and a 30% discount is available if you pay for two years upfront.
- Getresponse offers more comprehensive split testing options.
- Getresponse comes with a built-in landing page creator, albeit one you have to pay extra for to unlock. The pricing plan is confusing and could be improved, but it’s still cheaper to use the Getresponse option than combining Aweber with a tool like Instapage or Unbounce.
- Getresponse’s ‘Marketing Automation’ features currently trounce similar workflow-based automation tools offered by Aweber.
- Getresponse’s new ‘send time optimization’ feature has the potential to significantly improve your open and clickthrough rates.
- The new webinars functionality is potentially fantastic for any business that uses webinars for lead generation.
REASONS TO PICK AWEBER OVER GETRESPONSE
- The Aweber templates are a bit more attractive than the Getresponse equivalents, and there is a greater selection of them available.
- Aweber integrates a bit more easily with other web apps than Getresponse.
- The support is more comprehensive.
Finally, with all my comparison reviews, I always advise potential users to try both products before they buy, simply because free trials of the products under discussion are readily available and you may find that one tool has particular features that suit your business needs which you can’t find in the other. You’ll find links to the Getresponse and Aweber free trials below.