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Aweber Introduces More Sophisticated Timing Options to Autoresponder Messages

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of June 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

logo.gifOne of the tools that has become central in my own blogging is Aweber. I won’t rehash all of the reasons that I use Aweber but essentially it’s a tool that enables you to allow readers of your blog subscribe to it via email. I use it mainly as a tool to deliver weekly newsletters on my photography blog (I outline some of the benefits of newsletters for blogs here).

Aweber allows you to deliver three kinds of email updates to readers:

1. Broadcasts – this is the tool I use to deliver my newsletters. They require you to manually write up a newsletter and then select a time for it to be delivered.

2. Blog Broadcasts – I don’t use this but it’s a handy tool for allowing you to send automated emails to subscribers based upon your latest posts. Essentially it takes your RSS feed and turns it into email. You can set it to go off automatically at certain times of the week or when a certain number of posts tick over.

3. Follow Up Messages – these are essentially autoresponders or sequences of messages that you send out at predetermined intervals after a subscriber signs up. This is what I used to deliver the free/beta version of 31 Days to Build a Better blog. People signed up and then I set up a sequence of 31 emails to go off every day after they subscribed until they got to the end of the 31 days. I also use this on my photography site to send out periodic special newsletters (see this post on how these drive a lot of traffic to my blog).

A New Feature for Follow Up Messages

Over the weekend Aweber announced an update to their Follow Up message service that makes it a heap more useful.

Previously with Follow Up messages you could only set them to go off at daily intervals. You could choose to send emails at any interval you had no control over the times that they went or over whether they went on certain days of the week. That’s now all changed.

Now you can set daily intervals but you can also set other conditions including times and days of the week.

For example – you can choose that emails will be delivered between 9am – 3pm but only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. There are quite a few ways that this can be handy. Aweber list a few examples:

  • Look at when subscribers are opening your emails and/or clicking your links (the Opens over Time and Clicks Over Time reports will show you this) and adjust your send windows so your messages stand out at the top of the inbox during those times!
  • Run a weekend sale – schedule one of your follow ups to only send on Friday mornings!
  • Are there certain days and/or times that you know are bad for your subscribers? Use send windows to avoid sending during those days/times!

Another one that I am loving is that when you send two types of emails to readers (ie a weekly newsletter and some autoresponder messages) you ideally don’t want them to hit your subscribers inbox on the same day of the week. Now I can make sure that the autoresponder messages only go out on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and leave Thursdays and Fridays for the newsletters.
This extra feature won’t be useful for those of you not using auto-responders but for those that do it’s a very handy feature from Aweber.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Great to see Aweber improving their customization options. I use them for my newsletters, too, but wish that they would improve the templates available in the Blog Broadcast tool you mentioned.
    Thanks for the update, Darren.

  • Very smart yet simple additions to their offerings. I’ve often wondered why those weren’t just common features. It just seems like a simple idea. I’m no programmer, so I could be wrong about that.

  • This is amazing yet simple. The thought about running sales and promotions was a possibility I hadn’t considered. It will definitely help in promotion and marketing for our network. Thanks for such an awesome post!

  • Hi Darren,

    I have heard about Aweber from John Chow. HE’s passionate about in promoting in one of his posts. And Now with you promoting it as well, I really think it’s the best choice out there.

    Thanks for the confirmation!

  • Yep. I think for professionals, I think Aweber seems the best product out there. Even I, hobby-bloogger, feel comfortable promoting them. If I decided to build my email lists, I know where to turn to. Thanks. I better subscribe to your other blog to see how you use this effectively. :-)

  • Good tool that has more features than feedburner mail subscribing.

  • What do you think of the wordpress list management plugins? They have similar functionality plus, you know. Free.

  • Aweber is probably the best tool out there! Very good features!!!!!

  • Aweber is a great tool. I love how the CEO sends actual letter to you after you sign up. They have a great business model too, every time someone signs up and starts growing their list, every email they send is an advertisement for aweber, they can’t help but grow. I’m gald to see them adding features.

  • Darren, you have a newsletter for DPS but not for ProBlogger. Is there a reason for this?

  • Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

  • I’m feeling great when using aweber

  • Really cool thing they have added.

    I think it will be one of the major
    benefits that will convert people from
    other autoresponders.

    Untill now Aweber, GetResponse and others
    were pretty much the same. But the game is changing…


  • What amazes me is that it took this long for this feature to make its way into their software. As you pointed out, it’s a HUGE adjustment and will give us much more effective tools to use when reaching out to our subscribers.

    I’ve been using Aweber for a little while now and know that it’s a key promotional tool. Thanks for the heads up, as I’ll certainly be utilizing this new feature in the days to come.

    ~ Eric

  • Hi,

    Yes. Aweber is the best Autoresponder service i ever used. There followup and delivery rate is best in the industry.

    I got there email about updates few days ago, and i see same updates on your blog. but, thanks for posting this info as many of us would be unaware of this info.

    I had also subscribed to your Blog and you had got a regular reader too :)


  • Everyone tells me to start using a AWeber. I need to stop using my crappy free email version and step up to give my subscribers the value they deserve.

  • Thanks Darren….I appreciate your insights about Aweber….we have also found it to be a great tool!

  • Which is better between aweber and getresponse? I never use autoresponder but I’m looking forward to use it later.

  • Salman

    Hi Darren
    Really awesome post I like reading the reviews.


  • wow. now I’m thinking of using Aweber!

    I’m currently using regular PHP autoresponder. not bad, but I’m searching for a better one.

    Thanks Darren!

  • Darren: I use Constant Contact for my monthly newsletters. I have been very happy with their service and analytics, but they don’t support RSS to email. I have been considering the switch to AWeber for this reason. I’m currently using FeedBurner for RSS to email, but as you know, FeedBurner has some limitations. Since I subscribe to all your blogs, I will pay more attention to how I receive notice and newsletters from you now that I know you are using AWeber. Thanks for the information.

  • Darren:I really appreciate it. Hope to know more important things regarding design from it

  • Great improvement and it’ll increase “click through rate” if we can select the email delivery day especially on Friday to Sunday.

    To your success,
    Bryan Hee

  • is Aweber free to use ?

    If not do u have ne free alternative ?

  • Despite the improvements I still think $19 a month is a bit much for me to fork out right now.

  • Appreciate the recommendation for using AWeber. I too have a 30 day autoresponder series. I’d been using Feedblitz to manage my subscribers, without problems. So I decided to use Feedblitz to run the autoresponder. BIG MISTAKE. I spent many hours creating the “articles” in the Feedblitz auto responder module because I wanted to make changes to my blog posts for the autoresponder series.

    I have had nothing but problems with disruptions to deliverability from Feedblitz. I have 3 test email accounts set up to receive the autoresponder. Emails regularly stop being sent for a few days at a time and then resume for no appraent reason.

    It took 3 emails and 5 voicemails to tech support over the course of 4 days to resolve this set of problems. The CEO, Phil Hollows seems to be the only one providing support. He is quite nice when you get him on the phone, but doesn’t return phone calls or emails, especially over the weekend (I am a paying subscriber).

    3 days ago I noticed that my emails stopped coming again. I then went to check on my auto responder settings and every one of my 30 articles in the responder were gone/nothing/NO DATA. After emailing and calling tech support, I received an @reply on twitter 48 hours later from Phil asking for more info.

    My autoresponders have now been down for nearly 72 hours with no updates from Feedblitz support. I have no idea if my articles will be retrieved all I know at this point is that I’m having to manually email my list, which is a huge pain because there are about 300 subscribers and they are all at different points of the 30 day cycle.

    I can be forgiving of just about any technology glitch, especially with a low-cost product….provided the company appears to share my sense of urgency in resolving the problem. In this case, I do not sense a shred of urgency from Feeblitz to retrieve my lost data.

  • Maga

    Is any way to tie up the autoresponder sequence to specific months?
    My messages are season related (each month different flowers) I want to set up a sequence that if somebody signs up in May they receive the May issue with gardening tips; if somebody signs up in June – to get June issue.
    Although season related, the content is evergreen – so I do not have to change it from year to year.

    Is broadcasting the only way?

  • Very smart yet simple additions to their offerings

  • I’ve been advised that AWebber is not compatible with Macs. Can anyone speak to this?

  • Very nice feature! I’ve just set it up and will thus avoid sending more than one email a day to my subscribers. Very much appreciated – thanks for the tip Darren!