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Aweber Vs. Hosted Solutions (e.g. ARP)

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asokas1
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Joined: 03 Nov 08
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Aweber Vs. Hosted Solutions (e.g. ARP)

Hello,

I have an old Aweber account that goes up to 10,000 contacts without being too costly, unlike their recent pricing policy.

I am wondering if anyone has ever done tests on email deliverability from Aweber vs. one's own server-installed solution like Autoresponse Plus (ARP)?

The reason I ask is because, given the relatively high cost these days of Aweber, it is arguably becoming prohibitively costly compared with a hosted solution. Here's what I mean...

(1) When you host multiple lists with the same email addresses on them at Aweber, those get counted as DIFFERENT contacts. If I subscribe to 10 of your product lists with the same email address, Aweber treats that as 10 separate contacts. Autoresponse Plus does not. After all, it's the same person and the same email address! This means that you do not approach a price threshold with ARP where the maintenance cost per contact rises as your list grows AND as they subscribe to your sub-lists time over and over again with the same email address.

(2) Even if Aweber's deliverability is higher than a hosted solution, surely one has to also factor in the cost of retaining that lead/contact? With a single payment solution like ARP, you can have as many contacts as you like and it costs you nothing more. Not so with Aweber where the costs rise (now quite steeply with their new payment scheme) with the number of contacts, even if there are multiple instances of the same, as discussed above.

In other words, for point of argument, let's imagine that Aweber's deliverability was two times higher than that of ARP, but the cost of maintaining that lead on Aweber is ten times the cost of maintaining it on ARP. There is surely an equation here - incorporating the deliverability AND the cost of maintaining the contact on the system itself - in order to determine the cost effectiveness of one against the other.

In the example above, if the deliverability was indeed at Aweber twice that of ARP, then you effectively have a list that is twice as large on Aweber as it would be on ARP since twice as many actually get delivered. However, if it costs you ten times as much to maintain that double size list, you might argue that you are better off with half the list at just one tenth the price!

Do you understand my argument? This is particularly true if the list is NOT all composed of customers, but rather of prospects many of whom have signed up multiple times with the same email address to your various squeeze page promotions.

Actually, when I began this example, I thought that "ten times" the price was kind of absurd. However, as I think about it, it actually might be much higher. Let's remember that ARP is a ONE-TIME payment of a couple of hundred dollars. Aweber is an ongoing subscription forever that actually RISES with the number of contacts.

Hence, in truth, the real number might be way higher than ten times the cost of ARP. For how much increased deliverability? Twice? Three times? In fact, the real question is, how much higher DOES their deliverability have to be to make them far more cost effective than a one-time system payment like ARP? You might get twice the sales from twice the effective list size, in this example above, but does it really offset ten times the price or more? That is the question!

Anyway, I would value your thoughts and feedback on this. Thank you.

Asoka
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dougbarr
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That's a well laid out post. I haven't yet had hosting, or well known Autoresponders so I'm keen to know advantages/disadvantages of the various well known Autoresponders. There are a couple, that purely as a user I like because of how it handles unsubscribes.

The only one I ever played with was TrafficWave. I never used my 1 month free trial, other than I participated in a Webinar after which a guy really well versed in both autoresponders, and a lot of successful websites spent well over an hour walking me through it while I did screen sharing. It sure has a lot in it. I found it daunting just how much user control there is available in campaign tracking overview and management. One feature I recall him stressing, is it's the highest rated autoresponder by virtue of its least number of rejections as Spam, with good reason. It forces a double opt-in. It's also an unlimited solution where as you've pointed out is an issue with Aweber.

By no means am I doing a selling. I haven't used it. You don't have to join through affiliates. Go to trafficwave.net/login to check it out direct.
Just a suggestion.

Anybody? Comparisons of some Autoresponders including Hosting account solutions?
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jmpruitt
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My only experience is with AWebber, however, the deliverability is a huge issue. the reason fort that list is to make money, If you go with Aweber, then the higher deliverability will ensure MORE SALES. that means, even after paying for their service, you make more money.
You have to rember as well, Aweber is more than just an autoresponder, it is a service.
Does your auto responder give you the tracking that Aweber does? does it allow you to segment and split test your market the way Aweber does?
Can you see demographics of where your subscribers come from? these all need to be taken into account. look at everything Aweber gives you when chosing not just one aspect of their business.
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Your Focus Determines Your Reality
 
dougbarr
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As someone that hasn't yet used an Autoresponder or service, Aweber is a name I trust for the job. Their prices are hard to swallow with what else is out there though.

I can easily see, but again don't know, how autoresponders on your hosting isn't the same service. I'd assume some of these services offered a do it yourselfer could do, if you understand "Autoresponder Systems".

I've heard keeping your lists with Aweber if you transfer is an issue. Is this so?
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asokas1
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Hello,

Although I titled this thread "Aweber Vs. Hosted Solutions (e.g. ARP)", my post was not supposed to be about Aweber as such, nor a criticism of them. I merely used them as an example of one of the many companies that offer a subscription service with a tiered structure that rises as the number of contacts rise. It just so happens that their pricing policy changed recently and is far higher than it used to be, and way higher than a hosted one-time payment software solution. Likewise, I am not married to ARP either, but just use it as an example of something I know that works well. So please let's try to stay on the main intent of this topic, if we may.

I agree that the product price IS absolutely a critical part of the equation. It might be that if you are selling high-ticket items, the commissions generated far exceed the cost of maintaining the list on any subscription service. In that specific instance, it may not matter. And since you can have up to 25,000 contacts on (again, just for the example) Aweber for a cost of $1560 per year, this might be trivial in comparison to the profits you generate.

However, again, it is important to remember that this $1560 per year is to be compared to a one-off payment of just a couple of hundred dollars for the hosted software solution. And again, we have to remember that those 25,000 (or whatever) emails are not unique email addresses: a good proportion of them will be the SAME emails two, three, four times or more depending on how many times they opted into your sub-lists.

There is an interplay here between cost, deliverability and overall list profitability and I don't think it has been very well thought out in the IM community up to now.

One might also argue that this whole line of reasoning is unimportant to someone whose profitability is very high relative to the costs concerned. Yet, to someone earlier in the game - which might be a lot of people - the question of how much extra deliverability you actually get for the substantial additional costs involved might be a very relevant one.

Asoka
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This topic was started on Dec 10, 2009 and has been closed due to inactivity. If you want to discuss this topic further, please create a new forum topic.