Most of us are aware of the powerhouse email service provider that is Aweber. However, some may not be aware of their recently released campaigns feature which adds some much needed marketing automation to its list of features.
It’s something that Aweber lacked and that other email service providers like Active Campaign and Convert Kit, have had for a while now. Being that it was just recently released, how does it hold up – Is it as good as, better than, or worse than the competition?
Let’s Take a Run Through the Process
Before we compare it to others, let’s run through the campaign creation process and review its parts before the whole.
Creating Your First Campaign
Under the messages tab, you’ll see the campaigns with a beta sign next to it. It will prompt you to create a campaign, and you’ll see the box above. Just enter a name and create your campaign.
The first choice Aweber gives you is between “On Subscribe” or “Tag Applied”. You can manually apply tags to your subscribers to set this off.
For simplicity purposes, I’ll be using “On Subscribe” for this run-through.
If you click on the first trigger, Aweber gives you three options to filter which subscribers are added to your new campaign (shown above). You can filter by source, ad tracking, or country. You can also apply multiple layers of filters (i.e. only people who live in the U.S. and subscribed via your email link.)
You then have 3 actions to choose from to drag & drop into the campaign sequence:
- Send a Message – Just as it says, you can send one of your pre-created emails to the subscriber.
- Wait – A powerful, and often under-utilized tool. You can wait a set number of minutes to days to even months. Or you can set a schedule.
- Apply Tag – Applies or removes tags from subscribers when they reach this step in the campaign. For example, you could apply the tag “finished-xyz-campaign” when they complete it.
Let’s take a look at my example campaign:
The campaign does this:
- Only sends to subscribers from my email list who live in the U.S.
- Sends them my pre-created welcome email.
- Tags them to show they’ve been sent the welcome email.
- Waits 1 days to do anything else.
- Sends an email to give value and create interest.
- Waits 1 day.
- Sends an email trying to sell something.
- Tags them with the “completed campaign” tag.
Once you’ve completed your campaign sequence, simply press “Save & Exit” and Aweber takes you to your campaign manager page. You have to activate your campaign before it will start, however.
One thing I really like about their campaign manager is the display for campaign stats. It shows you how many people have opened and clicked on your emails in real time.
Overall, this was a really easy, quick, painless process. It took me no more than 5 minutes to set up the triggers the way I wanted them. Creating the emails themselves takes a little more time, but that’s the same with any creative process.
Overall, Aweber’s campaign function is easy to use and intuitive.
How does it compare with Active Campaign and Convert Kit?
So you can see that this new campaigns function adds a new level of marketing automation to Aweber. But how does it compare to the marketing automation capabilities of ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit?
Active Campaign is an email marketing service similar to Aweber which Kinley has talked about extensively in her review.
Creating a campaign starts similarly to Aweber – just name it and go. After you name your campaign, Active Campaign asks you how a contact will enter your automation:
Wow – they have a lot of options. This can make for a higher learning curve, but these options are REALLY nice to have. Compare this to Aweber who only allows you two choices: subscribed or tagged.
I picked Subscribes which sent me to this page:
You can send them an email or an SMS! That’s a step above Aweber. They also give you options for conditions & workflow, contacts, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The conditions and workflow is rather extensive as well.
Again, tons of options. Much more flexibility than Aweber. Contacts and CRM also have a slew of options, but for space-saving purposes I’ll leave the pictures out.
At first glance, Active Campaign’s automation builder look a little more intricate and involved than Aweber’s. Let’s take a look:
Right away you see they have more options as well as really amazing workflows. You can use “if, else” conditions. For example, if a user viewed a certain video you can send them an email follow-up about the video. If not, you can send them an email reminding them to watch the video.
Overall, I really like Active Campaign. While there is more of a learning curve to it, it’s incredibly flexible and has some powerful automation options. That brings us to…
ConvertKit is another email marketing provider that offers marketing automation.
Instead of an automation builder like ActiveCampaign, you create marketing automations by creating a set of rules to push users through your campaigns.
To create a rule, you first choose from a set of triggers and then run an action from them.
ConvertKit has a decent set of triggers, although not as extensive as ActiveCampaign. For example you can trigger an action when your subscriber purchases a product (if you use GumRoad or Shopify) or when they click a link in your email.
Combined with tags, you can do some pretty cool things with ConvertKit’s rules in a very simple way.
Aweber has been one of the most popular autoresponders for years now, but it’s been awhile since they have introduced any new significant improvements. So it’s nice to see that they are making a move to add some new marketing automation features into their service with campaigns.
I would love for Aweber to at least add the ability to tag people who click on your email links. That would at least open up a whole new set of email segmentation opportunities. This has been one of the main benefits of using AW Pro Tools, and I don’t see why Aweber can’t add this in.
That said, Aweber campaigns is still quite new, so perhaps more advanced capabilities are coming in the future.
If you are currently aa Aweber customer, let us know what you think of the new Aweber campaigns in the comments below.