By David Holland

January 23, 2020


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What is Aweber?

Aweber (https://www.aweber.com/) is web-based email marketing automation software that allows you to stay in contact with potential leads and existing customers.  You can import customer information or you can create forms where customers can input their information. You can also use an application for your smartphone to allow customers or potential customers to input their information while you are on the go. Not only can you create forms to capture email addresses of current and future customers, you can also use the autoresponder to send automated emails on specific dates and times. So while you are off doing other tasks for your business (or even taking some time off), the software is still working hard for you to build customer relationships. The next paragraph states a great Aweber alternative.

Alternative to Aweber

As the internet grows, so does internet related industries. More and more people have smartphones and computers available to them. These devices allow connection to the internet, meaning a cheap and easy way for companies to reach out and stay in contact with potential leads and existing customers. Because the industry is so large, it means there are many industry players trying to grow their market share. One company, I feel, is a great competitor to Aweber. The name is Keap. What is Keap? It comes in two versions, Keap Grow and Keap Pro. It offers all the capabilities you would expect from a basic marketing automation system. But the reason Keap isn’t just a basic marketing automation system, but a great one, is all the extra functions included. The reason I think it's a great competitor is all the additional functionalities it offers. The only way you can unlock capabilities like appointments, quotes, invoices and payments in Aweber is to pay for third party applications. These can be expensive. All these functions come ready made out of the box, meaning you won’t need to waste time and money finding the right solutions.

Aweber Marketing Automation

My opinion on the Awebers marketing automation is that it’s fairly easy to use, but the aspects of setting up automations are restricted. There are just two ways to set up an automation with Aweber. One is when you apply a tag to the contact, the other is when somebody subscribes to a list. You cannot create triggers based on certain behaviour, like the buying of a service or product. There are no integrations of branching and running parallel automations and sales funnels. In contrast to a lot of other competitors, they are severely lacking with automation. As shown below, the campaign builder is very basic.

aweber campaign

When talking about Marketing Automation, Keap opens many doors which will allow you to do some pretty cool stuff. In contrast to Aweber, Keap allows you to trigger automation based on many different triggers. Some of these include paying for a certain product, failed purchase, pipeline staged moved and quote status.. A cool thing you could do with product purchase goal is send follow up emails about that certain product. If you have many different products, Keap allows you to customise a unique email to each unique product. If the product requires more support, you can add more emails and support. If the product is simple or easy to use, then it allows you to tailor a campaign especially to that product. It saves you sending generic emails or spending time writing and sending unique emails, allowing you to look professional and a real expert on that product or service.

campaign example

Aweber Landing Pages

What are landing pages and why are they so important? A landing page is a web page that lets you capture a visitor's information through a lead-capture form. A good landing page will target a particular audience, such as traffic from an email campaign promoting a particular ebook, or visitors who click on a pay-per-click ad promoting your webinar. The reason they are so important is that they are great at generating leads. Potential leads fill in their details on these pages, giving your sales team's potential sales.

Unfortunately Aweber does not have built in Landing Pages capability, so to access this function you would need to pay for a third party application. Unbounce is one of the most popular landing page editors out there, but because it's not already included in the package, you would need to pay $99 (£75.85) per month to use this software. It is a good piece of software, but the high price may steer away small businesses from using Aweber.

Keap offers a landing page builder within the application. They’ve made it easier to create gorgeous custom landing pages that will help you capture more leads. It’s free, easy to use, and comes with a gallery of templates to achieve your goal. New Landing Pages works in tandem with your email campaigns and paid ads to generate interest and easily manage the new leads you capture. 

landing page

Aweber as a CRM

CRM is an abbreviation for customer relationship management, which is a piece of software that not only allows you store data of all your potential leads and customers; it also allows you to keep track of all the dealings that you have made with them, alongside helping you manage follow-ups. 

AWeber offers the same kind of functions as a CRM in terms of contact management, but it does not have the lead generation and sales functionality that you find in most CRM systems. It lacks functionality like appointments, quotes, invoices and appointments. All functions that enable your business to make sales. To gain access to these functions, you will need to pay external companies for these services. 

Keap Grow and Pro provides a really great quote function already included. When leads request a quote, you can immediately send them a personalised quote specifying your services and costs. Instant quoting makes it simple for clients to choose you for the job. If using Aweber, you would need to pay an external company to access this function. Quoteroller is a good choice, however, you will be paying £40 a month for this additional service.

quote example

Keap Grow and Pro already have a great appointment function built in. This works by sending a link to your customer, that allows them to see when you’re available and then book in at a time convenient to them. It automatically connects with your Google Calendar, and Keap takes into account the times you are unavailable. When your lead books in, your Google calendar automatically updates. You do not need to have long conversations about availability, allowing you to spend the extra time improving your business. An appointment function is not included with Aweber. A good application named Acuity is available, but to gain access to this, you would need to pay a monthly fee of £20.

appointments example

Keap invoice function works a lot like the quotes function, and is available for both Grow and Pro. Is it very simple to use and looks great. It allows you to build a personalised invoice quickly and easily. These are just a few of the extra capabilities available. These features are available to Aweber users, but only through external software, not Aweber itself. Invoice Ninja can be used, which costs £7 a month to run.

invoice example

Lets Compare the Costs

How much will you be looking to pay? Unfortunately Aweber only has pricing in US dollars, but I will convert the price into GBP on the day I write this article (16/01/2020) and put the result in brackets next to it. So, the first option they have is the option that allows you up to 500 contacts. The price for this is $19 (£14.55) per month. Their next option is up to 2,500, and you will be looking to pay around $29 (£22.21) per month. The middle tier is up to 5,000 contacts, and the pricing for this is $49 (£37.52) per month. To get up to 10,000 contacts, you will be paying $69 (£52.84) per month. Their last option available on their website is up to 25,000 contacts, costing you $149 (£114.10) per month. If you have more than 25,000 contacts, you would need to contact Aweber for a quote. These are the prices just for Aweber, it does not include all the additional integrations you will need to have a really great CRM and marketing automation system.

Let's assume you are a business coach with 3500 contacts. What you need is a solution that allows you to market to existing and new customers. You need a great landing page which attracts new leads. You need the ability to set up appointments with new leads or existing customers. You need the ability to send quotes and invoices to hot leads. You also need a sales pipeline, to see where all your sales opportunities are. And you also need to be able to take payment for your services or products if they are accepted. You will need the middle tier option which is $49 (£37.52) a month. The first thing you need is landing pages. Aweber does not have these included, but Unbounce is a good solution, costing £75 a month. Now, you need to set up appointments, meaning you need to pay for Acuity - £20 a month. So the appointment went great, and you need to draw up a quote to send to the customer. Quoteroller is needed, therefore a payment of £40 a month to them is needed. The customer then accepts the quote, meaning an invoice is needed. Invoice Ninja can be used for £7 a month. Because you have many quotes and invoices out, you need to keep track of these. Pipedrive is a good choice, but you will need to pay £25 a month for this. The final price for the whole package monthly, it will cost around the £200 mark. It also means you will be dealing with six different companies, which can get quite confusing. As you can see, it is possible.  Keap Pro would be a sufficient application in this scenario, costing £79. 

An important aspect of Awebers pricing strategy is that every subscriber on your lists counts toward your subscriber quota. Though it makes sense that active subscribers count toward this maximum, people who have unsubscribed from your lists also count toward this limit as well. Not only that, but Aweber also counts duplicate subscribers (the same subscriber on multiple lists) towards your limit. For example, if you have one subscriber who is subscribed to six lists, that subscribe counts as six subscribers instead of one. Both of these would be very annoying to any business owner and it means you constantly have to work at pruning your lists of unsubscribers and duplicates which can take valuable time and effort.

The pricing of Keap depends which kind you want. There are two editions, Keap Grow and Keap Pro. Keap Pro is the higher priced package with a few extra capabilities like sales pipeline, campaign builder and recurring billing. Keap Grow is £39 per month, whereas Keap Pro is £79 per month.  If you need additional contacts, up to 1000 is £19 per month. Up to 5,000 is £99 per month. Up to 10,000 is £149 per month and then up 25,000 is £189 per month. In our scenario of the business coach needing 3500 contacts Keap Pro would cost £99.

Conclusion

To conclude, there are a few things the business owner will need to take into account when deciding between the two. How advanced do you need your automations to be? Do you need any other capabilities other than email sending? If all your business needs to do is send out generic emails based on basic goals like subscribe to list or email opened, then Aweber would be a good choice, as these are the only two options available. Also, if all you need is to send emails and nothing else, then again, Aweber would be a good choice. However, if you need more advanced automation, or other features like appointments, invoices, quotes or payments, then Keap would be more suited to your business needs.

About the author

Nice bloke with practical ideas. Former Procter & Gamble, Kraft and IBM sales and marketing executive. Became a business owner 20 years ago. Started multiple businesses including EXELA which is the most successful Keap® & Infusionsoft™ reseller in the EMEA region.

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