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 generally a winner over Aweber when it comes to pricing, particularly if you are operating a list with less than 1000 email addresses on it. At the ‘starter’ plan end of the spectrum, using a mailing list of up to 1000 email addresses costs $15 with Getresponse, as opposed to $29 with Aweber; at the more expensive end, there is less of a difference: hosting 25,000 email addresses with Getresponse will set you back $145 while Aweber charge $149 for the same quantity. The intermediate plans generally work out cheaper with Getresponse.
Various - and significant - 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 will generally work out a bit cheaper to pick Getresponse (at least until you have 25k subscibers).
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 and slightly dated-looking; 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).
Up until recently Getresponse had an important edge over Aweber when it came to the technical aspect of their email templates because they were responsive (i.e., adjusted themselves automatically to display nicely on any device) whereas Aweber's weren't. Fortunately Aweber have now rectified this situation and you can enjoy responsive templates on 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.
- Responsive email templates.
Up until recently Getresponse was a much better option for those wishing to create email marketing campaigns using an existing list, because when you imported your own mailing list to Aweber, your subscribers could not join a list without reconfirming their subscription – with predictable results. Thankfully they've now changed their approach and Aweber customers can import their own data (albeit after they've answered quite a lot of questions about its source).
Integration with other systems
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.
Split tests allow you to try out different versions of your emails on segments of your data and send the best performing one out to the rest of your database. Getresponse comes out slightly ahead when it comes to split testing - it allows you to test up to 5 variants of e-newsletters to Aweber's 4. Both Getresponse and Aweber offer more comprehensive split testing functionality than their rival Mailchimp, which essentially only allows you to do a one simple A/B test and only involving subject header, sender, or send time - Aweber and Getresponse don't have any such restrictions, allow you to test entirely different versions of your email out on your data.
Support for both Aweber and Getresponse is comprehensive. Both services offer phone support, live chat and email support. Getresponse has a strong edge when it comes to the live chat support - it is available for 24 hour on working days (Aweber's is available from 8am to 8pm ET on Monday to Friday / 9am-5pm ET on Saturdays and Sundays). It's not clear what hours Aweber operate their phone or email support; Getresponse's phone support hours are 9am-5pm ET, but they too neglect to mention the hours that email support is available during. Aweber offer toll free phone support in the US, which could be important if you are going to be making long technical support calls (it's not clear what Getresponse's phone charges, if any, are).
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.
Up until quite recently I was recommending Getresponse over Aweber, because it was offering responsive email design and straightforward importing of contacts and Aweber wasn't; however, recent changes to Aweber have made it much harder to recommend one product over the other because both now offer a very similar feature set. The main reasons to pick Getresponse over Aweber are:
- the fact that you can sign up to a free trial (it infuriates me that Aweber require you to enter credit card details and charge you to try out their product)
- it is more competitively priced
- it offers better split testing
The main reasons to pick Aweber over Getresponse would be that the templates are arguably a bit more attractive and it integrates with a wider range of third party tools.
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!) is Mad Mimi - it is cheaper than both Aweber and Getresponse (but not as functional). You can read our Mad Mimi review here. You may also like to read our full Getresponse review.