Recently, I decided to upgrade my email marketing platform. I currently use Mailchimp. I felt that I needed more features to better serve you with great content. I was wrong.
I decided to try GetResponse.
Why in the world I decided to learn a new system while doing a launch at the same time is beyond me.
I’ve learned several personal lessons in the last year, one of those being that you should treat the client that pays you $13 an hour the exact same as the one who pays you $60 an hour.
I mean it was something I kind of knew, but really understood as my business began to take off. It’s the same with trial offers…or it should be. I didn’t find that to be the case with either of the services I tried. They just didn’t seem eager to earn my business.
My Experience With GetResponse
I decided to go with GetResponse because it came recommended by several marketers, and I’ve actually noticed the GetResponse brand appearing more out in the marketplace.
GetResponse also brings an exclusive tool to the Internet Marketing table: landing pages.
With other services, you either need to know how to make your own landing pages, or use an expensive service to handle it for you. By expensive I mean $29 and up per month. My thoughts on this are another post altogether.
Anyway, I found this feature, the potential to create an autoresponder series, and the low pricing ($15 a month-ish for my list size) appealing. Plus, I’d been there, done that with Aweber and Mailchimp. I wanted something new.
The Problem With GetResponse
Keep in mind that I’m completely happy with my Mailchimp experience, I just wanted more features, and GetResponse seemed to offer plenty.
The interface was simple enough. I imported my list from Mailchimp seamlessly. I could have easily began running campaigns and my readers wouldn’t have to be bothered because I moved.
First task: let’s slap their form on my site, so I can continue to build my list.
I ran through the wizard. I created an amazing-looking form. Things couldn’t be going better.
I headed to my WordPress Dashboard to search for and install the GetResponse plugin for my sign-up form. I did that without a hitch. This was going to look great! My updated email marketing future flashed before my eyes. GetResponse was going to help me crush it!
My mind was running through a wildflower field of bliss jumping from landing pages to email campaigns to custom templates to thousands of subscribers.
I set up my new form in a widget in my sidebar…nothing.
After a couple hours of fidgeting and refreshing and trying different widget types to no avail, I contacted GetResponse’s 24/7 chat support.
Wow, so convenient! I was confident the problem was a minor common issue and my form would capturing leads in no time.
My chat agent was Alex. He informed me that the GetResponse WordPress plugin and widgets only worked on the default WordPress theme.
Yeah, the ones that no one really uses.
He went on to tell me that support didn’t provide instructions on how to install the sign-up forms on WordPress using other means and abruptly ended the chat.
About that chat:
- It was 10pm-ish on a Sunday night – shouldn’t matter, but could be a factor
- I can understand why they wouldn’t provide instructions since that might open up a whole can of worms with them having to provide support for WordPress or different WordPress products like themes, etc.
- Alex never asked if I was done or needed anything else, he just simply ended the chat
- There was no option to email myself the chat transcript
- It pissed me off
I won’t bore you with a bunch of stats as to why GetResponse should ensure their plugin works.
A WordPress plugin that only works with the default theme is like an Android app that only works with one specific wallpaper.
I finally gave up and sent their support email some strong correspondence about Alex. Yes, I’m passive aggressive.
I broke up with GetResponse telling them that surely Aweber could do better.
My Experience With Aweber
Now, I’ve used Aweber twice before, and I’ve even reviewed their server here before. <<< Disclaimer: I undervalue list-building in that review, and have since learned my lesson. I didn’t say it was a good review. 😛
The advantages of services like GetResponse and Aweber are that you can create nice-looking forms with these services. They both have decent drag and drop editors for form creation which is something Mailchimp lacks. However, I have found that custom forms aren’t everything.
The first 2 times I had Aweber, I never built a list bigger than a couple subscribers. The reason was partially because I was a list-building infant. I really had no idea what I was doing. However, as a returning customer, this is significant.
Since Aweber was pretty much the email marketing standard (maybe it still is…just not for me) for a long while, I was confident in my most recent attempt that I would be able to accomplish great things using them.
The Problem With Aweber
Heck, I didn’t even make it to form building this time.
I hit a snag. When you import your existing list into Aweber, they have to manually review and approve it. This usually happens in one business day. No sweat.
I was certain my list would be approved and I would be a hardcore Aweber customer from here on out.
Sure enough, in one business day I received my results.
43 leads were not added.
Reason: It appears that the addresses contained pose a significant risk of bounced messages and multiple spam complaints. In cases where the addresses are of a poor quality, ISPs can take steps to limit your ability to send – even to those that truly want your information. This would have an effect on not only your account, but all accounts in the system and for this reason, we have rejected this import.
Now, I know 43 subscribers isn’t a lot, but it’s all I have. A list of 43 is way better than 0. 20% of them open the emails I send out. Sure there’s room for improvement, but that’s what I was trying to work on here.
About that list:
- Every email was an opt-in from StackingBenjis.com
- Subscribers either opted in via the form over there >>> or via Hello Bar up there ^^^
- Most of them are gmail addresses
- Some of them are actual friends
- They are all readable names and handles and look to me like regular email addresses
Their reason doesn’t really make sense to me.
How do they determine that email addresses are at risk for bounced messages? Can they ping them? I never get messages bounced back to me when I send out a campaign.
How do they classify an address as a poor quality address?
I emailed support to see if I had any recourse, and they suggested that I submit a smaller group from the same list of emails for approval to see if that made a difference and go through the waiting process again.
I also explained that I was a returning customer and that I’d never been able to really build a list with Aweber with my prior attempts.
Zero craps were given.
Hello, Mailchimp, My Old Friend
I went through a solid 48 hours of trial and error only to realize I should have remained where I started. Hey, it makes great blog fodder.
In the process, I realized that Mailchimp had what I was looking for all along, and that is the ability to send out an autoresponder series.
A Couple of CONS with Mailchimp
There are a couple of CONS with Mailchimp that need to be discussed.
— ProWebWriter (@pr0webwriter) June 21, 2016
- They don’t have an affiliate program. They have a referral program called Monkey Rewards, but how it works is a little convoluted. Anyway, so I won’t make a dime off this post, but that’s okay! If it helps you, we’ll call it good
Mailchimp Has Some Stellar PROs Though
First and foremost, if you’re a beginner, you can start building your list with Mailchimp today free of charge, and it’s not just a dumb 30-day trial.
They have a free plan that allows you to send 2000 emails per month.
Their WordPress plugin works!!! – OR – I can just paste their code in a regular ol’ widget and that works too!
They integrate with all kinds of things I already use including IFTTT!
Mailchimp has robust tracking and analytics including A/B testing. Get a rundown of all the features. They are very generous and there really isn’t much they reserve for just premium accounts. I think people mostly upgrade because they outgrow the free plan and need to send more emails.
I used to recommend Mailchimp on the grounds that you could always export your list to a different platform when you outgrew them, but obviously I personally found that to be much more difficult than expected.
Now I recommend them based on my own experience and success in being able to build a list with them and use their service to market my blogs and content.
I think Mailchimp earned themselves a loyal customer just by being better than the other guys.
If you found this review helpful or you’ve had a similar experience, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.