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 is a clear winner over Aweber when it comes to pricing. At the ‘starter’ plan end of the spectrum, using a mailing list of up to 1000 email addresses costs $12.75 with Getresponse, as opposed to $29 with Aweber; at the more expensive end, hosting 25,000 email addresses with Getresponse will set you back $123 while Aweber charge $149 for the same quantity. The intermediate plans all work out cheaper with Getresponse too.
Various discounts are available with both systems if you pay on a yearly basis (Aweber offer some discounts for quarterly payments too). But ultimately if you are deciding whether to plump for Aweber and Getresponse purely on cost grounds, it’s a no brainer: pick Getresponse.
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 600 vs 500 respectively). Getresponse’s templates look fine – and are fairly easily editable – but they’re just, well, a bit boring; 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 (particularly if you are prepared to tweak the template a little bit).
A crucial point to note is that Getresponse’s templates are designed to work ‘responsively’ both on desktop computers and smartphones (the recipient is served up an optimised version of the e-newsletter for their device) but Aweber e-newsletters look the same across all devices. What’s more, Getresponse users can preview their e-newsletter as a desktop version and a mobile version before sending, meaning that they can they can tweak their content / design to work for both platforms.
- 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 predesigned 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.
Key differences between Getresponse and Aweber
There are two areas where I feel that Getresponse has a significant edge over Aweber: the fact that it provides responsive e-newsletter templates (discussed above) and its more ‘realistic’ approach to contact importing. Aweber’s lack of responsive email design would not necessarily be a dealbreaker for me, because smartphone screens are getting bigger all the time, meaning that a reformatted or cut down version of an email / website is not quite as essential as it might initially sound – but Aweber’s strict approach to contact importing would definitely put me off. Essentially, when you import your own mailing list to Aweber, your subscribers receive an email asking them to reconfirm their subscription – and no data will be added to your list unless your subscribers click the reconfirm link. Getresponse, on the other hand, simply allows you to upload and use your existing contacts.
Aweber’s strict approach to importing contacts is there to ensure that their tools are not being used by spammers who are sending nonsense to ‘scraped’ or bought lists – a laudable aim, but the reality is that a large proportion of subscribers (perhaps the majority) on a genuine business list that you have spent years building elsewhere will simply not resubscribe and you will not be able to use any of Aweber’s functionality to communicate with them. In my book, this renders Aweber suitable as an e-newsletter tool only for users who are starting a mailing list completely from scratch and only using Aweber-provided data capture forms to build it.
One area which Aweber arguably has an advantage over Getresponse is in its integration with third party sites – whereas both tools offer a wide range of integrations with other sites (Paypal, Amazon Payments etc.) a lot of the Getresponse integrations involve seting 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 offers a few more ‘out of the box’ – and slightly easier – ways to integrate your mailing list with third party tools.
If you want a free trial of Aweber, you’re not going to get one: you can pay $1 to use it for a month though before upgrading to a proper plan. Getresponse, on the other hand, give you a 30 day free trial and rather nicely don’t ask for your credit card details in advance.
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 with all my comparison reviews, I always advise potential users to try before they buy, simply because – normally speaking – 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. Sadly Aweber have complicated matters slightly here because they don’t actually offer a free trial…but if you have $1 to spare, and are genuinely interested in seeing how it compares to Getresponse specifically for your needs, it’s worth giving it a whirl.
However, there are a few reasons which I personally would on the whole plump for Getresponse: it’s significantly cheaper than Aweber, it offers responsive email design, and it allows you to import contacts without your subscribers having to opt in to a list all over again.
Alternatives to Aweber and Getresponse
There are quite a few alternatives to Aweber and Getresponse out there, including Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp and iContact. One service which we are fond of (and which we've got round to reviewing!) - primarily because it is a low-cost, feature-rich solution, is Mad Mimi - you can read our Mad Mimi review here. You may also like to read our full Getresponse review.