AWeber is one of the top-ranked email newsletter tools, known for its high deliverability rates. Setting up a new email newsletter with AWeber is a little less friendly than some other email newsletter tools out there, but, in exchange, you have a lot more flexibility and opportunities to customize the emails you publish.
This tutorial will focus on getting your first email list up and running, along with equipping you with the necessary know-how to send out both standalone emails and automated emails (known as auto-responders). While AWeber has plenty more features, these are the basics you need to know for any email list you operate.
To complete the tutorial you will need an AWeber account. AWeber has a trial version that you can use for one month for just one dollar. Beyond the trial account, a subscription to AWeber’s software starts at $19 per month.
1. Create a New Email List
In order to do anything in AWeber — like send out a newsletter update — you need to first have a list in place. Each new account comes with one list already pre-populated, but such a list requires you to do some additional set up work. You can also create an entirely new list by clicking the Create and Manage Lists link on your dashboard and then clicking the Create a List button.
AWeber keeps track of how completely you’ve set up your new list: just creating a list moves you seventeen percent along the setup completion track.
To complete the new list set up process, click on the name of your list within the list management dashboard. By default, your list’s name will be the word default plus a string of numbers. You can change that name as the first step in setting up your list. However, the name does need to be unique, so there are worse options than sticking with the default. You should also set a list description. This information will show up on unsubscribe pages to help recipients of your email decide whether they want to remain subscribed.
You’re also required to choose an email address to send your emails from, as well as to set a physical contact address (due to spam laws). This address will be visible to recipients of your emails. If you’re uncomfortable with giving out your address, such as if you work out of a home office, you might consider renting a post office box.
If you wish to be emailed every time someone new subscribes to your list, you can also add that notification. The email address you used to set up your AWeber account will receive notifications by default.
Beyond the basic settings, you can also add some personalization to your list. In fact, AWeber recommends adding that personalization to improve the quality of your list and individual emails. Consider adding these elements:
- Company Branding: You can add your logo and an email signature, as well as details like a company name and a website URL.
- Social Media: AWeber lets you integrate your Twitter and Facebook accounts with your newsletters.
- Global Text Snippets: You can set global text blocks and make them available for multiple messages, rather than having to copy and paste details across messages.
For each list you set up through AWeber, you need to create a confirmation message to automatically send to new subscribers. AWeber makes a basic template available, but you’ll want to write your own intro and closing that will convince a recipient to confirm their subscription. You’ll be able to come back and improve on this message as you see what works for your own email newsletters.
On the same settings page, you can choose whether to require a confirmed opt-in. AWeber highly prefers that you require confirmed opt-ins, because it protects you against being black-listed as a spammer. Unless you have a good reason not to, require a confirmed opt-in.
If you choose to create a success page on your website to send email recipients to when they confirm signing up for your list, you can add a URL for that page as well.
2. Send a Message
AWeber has multiple options for sending emails to your list subscribers. To just send a one time email, click the Messages tab on the dashboard and choose Broadcasts from the drop down menu. If you’ve sent broadcasts in the past, they’ll be listed below and you’ll be able to click the button to send a broadcast. Otherwise, AWeber will direct you to a button that reads Create Your First Broadcast. The button will have a drop down menu, offering you the options of using a Drag & Drop Email Builder which uses templates to help you design a message, a Plain Test Message or to Code Your Own HTML.
For this first message, try a Plain Text Message.
You can add a subject line and your email message to the two fields that appear. You’re given three buttons, in addition to the standard Save button: Personalize, Wrap Lines, and Test. You can personalize each message with information from your subscriber’s list, like a subscriber’s name, as well as with your global text snippets. Wrapping lines is a matter of keeping line length short enough to display well on most email apps. You can test your message by sending it to yourself, which is a best practice: that way, you can make sure links direct readers to the right place before sending out an email to your entire list.
When your message is ready, click Next. The Second screen will give you options for sharing your message through your AWeber archive and your social media accounts. Click Next again and you can set the time and date your broadcast will go out on.
In addition to sending out one-time broadcasts with AWeber, you can also schedule a series of messages to go out to new subscribers. To set up a new message to be sent automatically, choose the Messages tab on the dashboard and then select Follow Up Messages from the drop down menu.
You can create your first follow-up message by clicking the green button. However, if you’re planning to add a whole series of emails, consider writing them as a group to make sure that they’re consistent. Then, when you’re ready to add them to AWeber, you can do so in a row and ensure that your emails all look similar. You’ll also avoid the risk of losing work in a browser crash. If you write your emails in AWeber’s system, it’s a little harder to be sure that nothing will go wrong during the writing process.
Adding an individual email to an automated series is just like adding a new broadcast, although the setting for sending out your follow-up messages are slightly different: rather than setting a time and date, you’ll choose an interval after which to send your message.
You can also create broadcasts automatically from your blog. Choose the Messages tab on the dashboard and then opt for Blog Broadcasts. From there, click the green button to set up a new Blog Broadcast.
You’ll need to add an RSS feed for the blog broadcast to draw from. You can add a standard subject or even a message to accompany your blog post, but before you do so, choose your template and click the Load Template button. Doing so will ensure that the RSS text blocks will appear in your template and you’ll be able to work around them.
You can also configure the following settings:
- when your blog broadcast should be sent (based on the time of day)
- how often your blog broadcasts should be sent (based on either how many new posts have been published or on a day of the month)
- track clicks on website links included in the message
- social media integration
3. Set Up a Sign Up Form
Having great content in your email newsletter isn’t enough. You need to make sure that people can actually sign up to your list and receive it. AWeber makes it easy to generate sign up forms that you can add to your website. Choose the Sign Up Forms tab on the dashboard. From there, click the button to create a new form.
You can actually use the form that shows up immediately; you might recognize the standardized template from websites you’ve visited in the past. You can also choose from a variety of templates or create an entirely individualized form, using HTML. Once you’re happy with the appearance of your sign up form, click the Save Your Form button and then the Go to Step 2 button.
Choose your settings for your web form. While there are also advanced settings that you can consider, the key settings are:
- the name of the form
- whether you’ll accept Facebook registrations
- your thank you page
- your already subscribed page
You’ll need to save your form again after deciding on your settings. Click the Save Your Form button and then the Go to Step 3 button.
Continue Growing Your Email List with Aweber
AWeber scales as your email list grows. Pricing is based on the number of subscribers you have to your newsletter. As long as you have fewer than 500 subscribers, your cost will be $19, which is the base rate for an AWeber account. As your subscriber base grows, you’ll be charged an additional fee, based on a tiered system reflecting the number of people receiving your emails. If you reach the point of dealing with more than 25,000 subscribers, you’ll need to contact Aweber for further pricing information.
Beyond pricing, however, little will change for you in dealing with your Aweber-based newsletters, even as your subscriber numbers grow. The base pricing gets you access to all the features Aweber provides, right out the box. There are plenty more of those features than this tutorial covers. Be sure to experiment with how you might improve on a basic newsletter. Track your results and improve with each iteration.
AWeber has a one month trial that you can use for just $1.