Aweber How To Build An Email List & Step By Step Free Tutorial


In this Aweber review, we take an in-depth look at one of the most popular solutions for designing and sending HTML e-newsletters. We’ll go through the pros and cons of Aweber and discuss its pricing, features, templates, interface and more.

Our overall rating: 3.5/5

Aweber pricing

There are 5 Aweber plans on offer — the pricing structure is as follows:

  • Hosting and emailing a list containing up to 500 subscribers: $19 per month
  • 501 to 2,500 subscribers: $29 per month
  • 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $49 per month
  • 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $69 per month
  • 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $149 per month

If you have 25,000+ subscribers on your mailing list, you will need to call Aweber for a quotation.

A 14% discount is available if you pay quarterly; a 15% discount is available if you pay annually. There are also some discounts available for students and not-for-profit organisations.

One aspect of Aweber’s pricing Structure that potential users might like is that all features are available on all plans — unlike some competing products, you don’t have to be on more expensive plans to unlock certain functionality. The differences in pricing are to do with mailing list size only.

That said, the functionality available on Aweber — as we’ll see below — not necessarily as extensive as you might find in competing for email marketing solutions.

How does Aweber’s pricing compare to that of its competitors?

Aweber is, in general,

  • significantly cheaper than Campaign Monitor
  • considerably cheaper than iContact
  • roughly the same price as Mailchimp
  • marginally more expensive than Getresponse
  • considerably more expensive than Mad Mimi (note: Mad Mimi’s feature set is much more basic, however).
  • In some cases of course we are comparing apples with oranges, however — all these competing products have different feature sets on each plan, and subscriber limits that will occasionally make Aweber cheaper, occasionally more expensive.But generally I’d say Aweber is priced roughly in the middle of the e-marketing solution scale.Of course, pricing is not the only factor you should base your decision on…the more important thing to work out is what bang you get for your buck.So, let’s look at some Aweber features

Key features of Aweber

Aweber provides you with the following key features:

  • the ability to import / host an email database
  • a wide range of templates
  • autoresponders
  • some (basic) marketing automation functionality
  • responsive email designs
  • reporting
  • split testing
  • RSS / blog to-email functionality
  • list segmentation options
  • phone, email, and live chat support
  • integrations with third-party apps

Importing data into Aweber

Importing an existing database Into Aweber is a pretty straightforward affair.

You can upload the following file types:

  • XLS
  • XLSX
  • TSV
  • CSV
  • TXT

Alternatively, you can add individual subscribers manually, or copy and paste rows of subscribers into Aweber.

As you import your data, you are given the option to add your subscribers to a particular set of autoresponders and tag them.

Not all competing products permit the addition of imported data directly into autoresponder cycles, so this is a nice feature to have.

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For anti-spam reasons, you will have to answer some questions about how you collected the data you’re importing.

And, if your list is on the larger side (over 10,000 records), you may also have to wait until it is reviewed by Aweber’s anti-spam compliance team (as is the case with other email marketing tools).  This can take up to one business day.

In short, Aweber’s importing functionality is good — no complaints here.


By comparison to its Competitors, Aweber provides one of the largest sets of e-newsletters templates available: there are over 700 available.

To provide a bit of context, there are around 500 templates available for Getresponse, around 80 for Mailchimp and around 50 for Campaign Monitor.

Toe be honest, I don’t love all of the designs – some of them look slightly dated. I would consider them to be slightly better than the Getresponse ones, but not quite as good as Mailchimp’s or Campaign Monitor’s.

However, the sheer volume of templates available means that with a little bit of tweaking you should be able to find a suitable one for your e-newsletters. There is, of course, always the option of coding your own too

Responsive email designs

Aweber’s email templates are all ‘responsive’.

This means that they automatically resize themselves to suit the device they’re being viewed on. In this day and age of smartphones and tablets, this is an essential feature.

You can also see a preview of the mobile version of your email easily within Aweber — you just click a preview button and toggle a ‘mobile preview’ switch to see how your e-newsletter is likely to look on a smartphone. (It’s still a good idea to send some test emails, however, and check them on a mobile phone or tablet).

Using web fonts in Aweber templates

Unlike many other competing email marketing solutions, you can use web fonts in Aweber.

This is a good thing because web fonts are usually more attractive than the standard ‘safe fonts’ (Times New Roman, Arial etc.) that email marketing apps often restrict you to; judiciously used, they can enhance the appearance of an email considerably.

Additionally, depending on the typefaces you use on your website, they can also help you achieve more brand consistency between your site and e-newsletters.

Aweber currently allows you to use the following fonts in your emails:

  • Arvo
  • Lato
  • Lora
  • Merriweather
  • Merriweather sans
  • Noticia Text
  • Open Sans
  • Playfair Display
  • Roboto
  • Source Sans Pro
  • Permanent Marker

In general, it’s a thumbs up for Aweber’s templates, with extra brownie points awarded for the inclusion of web fonts.

RSS to email templates

Like similar e-marketing products, Aweber can take your site’s RSS feed and turn it in to e-newsletters that get sent out according to a schedule that you define. In Aweber, this is called ‘Blog broadcasts’, although technically you can use this feature with any content that has an RSS feed.

This functionality is Particularly handy for bloggers who want subscribers on their mailing lists to automatically receive e-newsletters containing their latest posts (or, indeed, a monthly digest of blog posts). In essence, it means that you can power your newsletters from your website – this can be a big time-saver.

It’s worth noting however that you can’t use the standard Aweber template designs for RSS-to-email purposes — you have to choose from a set of templates that are specifically designed for this purpose.

On the plus side, there are quite a few of these to choose from — more than most other e-marketing solutions I’ve tried.

On the downside, many of them look pretty awful! And annoyingly, you can’t use the standard Aweber email drag-and-drop interface to edit them — you have to make use of another editor (one which isn’t as user-friendly).

With a bit of tweaking, you’ll probably be able to find something that works ok, but I think there is definitely some room for improvement here.


Autoresponders — a series of follow-up emails that are automatically triggered by either time or user actions — are a key part of any e-marketing solution.

Aweber claims to have Invented autoresponders back in 1998 and as such, you’d expect their autoresponder functionality to be mind-blowingly good. Oddly, it’s just ‘okay.

On the plus side, it is very easy to set up follow up mails based on time interval — for example, automatically sending subscribers an onboarding email immediately after sign up, a promo code 2 days later and a ‘follow us on social media’ email a week later is extremely easy. This is a typical use of autoresponders and it’s a breeze with Aweber.

On the downside, the options available to trigger autoresponders based on user actions and purchases are less extensive than you’d find in competing products.

Using Aweber, you can create ‘goals’ or combine automation rules with tagging to make autoresponders behave in reasonably sophisticated ways…but if you want to make use of autoresponders in really advanced ways, you’ll probably need to look at other products, particularly Getresponse, which provides extensive ‘marketing automation functionality.

And speaking of marketing automation…

Marketing automation

Marketing automation is a feature That is increasingly offered by email marketing solutions like Aweber.

I tend to think of it as ‘Autoresponders 2.0’ — where you go beyond traditional ‘drip’ campaigns and create complex user journeys using ‘IFTT’ – if this, then that — style workflows.

With marketing automation, you typically design a flowchart where mails are sent based on user actions: email opens, link clicks, site visits, purchases made and so on.

Aweber recently introduced a new marketing automation feature which to a degree provides this functionality: ‘Aweber Campaigns.’

With this feature, you can use certain user actions — namely opens and clickthroughs — along with the application of tags to determine what should be sent to whom and when (see above).

However, I think this functionality needs to go much further really – tools like Getresponse and Mailchimp provide considerably more flexibility when it comes to which types of user behaviour can trigger mailouts.

For example, in Getresponse, you can use triggers such as purchase, specific page visits, subscriber ‘score’ and sales pipeline stage to send messages.

So Aweber is definitely playing a bit of catch up with its competitors here.

AMP for email in Aweber

An area where Aweber has an edge over most other email marketing platforms involves a new technology called AMP for email.

Traditionally, e-newsletters have been very static affairs — a simple combination of text and images. AMP for Email changes all that by making it possible for recipients to take simple actions (such as making an appointment or RSVP-ing to an event) directly within an email — i.e., without leaving their email program or visiting a website.

It also allows the senders of an email to insert dynamic content into it — for example, live survey results, weather updates, football scores and so on.

This ‘dynamic’ nature of AMP emails gives recipients a reason to return to them periodically — and turns e-newsletters into considerably more powerful, engaging pieces of content.

Check out the below video from Google for an introduction to the world of AMP for email.

Opt in processes

A nice feature of Aweber is the flexibility it gives you around how you want to handle the opt-in process.

You can choose to subscribe your users on either a single opt-in or a double opt-in basis (single opt-in is when a user is subscribed immediately after completing a form; double opt-in is when they have to click on a link in a confirmation email to complete their subscription).

Both approaches have their merits, so it’s good to see Aweber being flexible in this regard — not all competing solutions (examples including Zoho and  Email Campaigns) provide their customers with this choice.

Split testing

Split testing (also known as A/B testing) involves sending variants of your e-newsletters to some of your mailing list, monitoring the performance of each, and sending the ‘best’ version to the remainder of your list.

Most e-marketing tools handle this automatically for you: you create a few different versions of your email (using either differing content or subject headers), send them to a sample of your data, and your e-marketing solution will roll out the best performing version automatically to the rest of your mailing list.

With Aweber, you can send up to three variants of your e-newsletter when split testing. This compares reasonably well with other email marketing tools: Mad Mimi doesn’t facilitate split testing at all; Campaign Monitor only allows you to use two variants; and Mailchimp, like Aweber allows three.

Getresponse is a bit more flexible however, allowing you to test up to five variants against each other.

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Email analytics in Aweber are good. In addition to being able to monitor key stats such as open rate, clickthroughs and bounces, you can also look at a lot of other useful analytics / information, including

  • the growth of lists over time
  • an overview of sign up methods
  • where people are opening your email (i.e., geographical location)
  • the history of an individual’s activity – you can view past opens and clicks etc. at a per-subscriber level

and much else besides.

In terms of how this compares with competing products, I would say that Aweber’s reporting is more comprehensive than that which is available in Campaign Monitor or Mad Mimi; however, I would argue that Mailchimp and Getresponse both provide better reporting interfaces.

With the latter two products you seem to be able to get more of an overview of information in one place, particularly when looking at the performance of individual e-newsletters.

By contrast, with Aweber you’ve got to flick between three sections — “Broadcasts”, “Subscribers” and “Reports” to get an overall picture of analytics, whereas Getresponse and Mailchimp present most of their reporting information on one dashboard (which you can then use to drill down to specifics).

That said, Aweber are working on a new, cleaner reporting interface at the moment — a BETA version is currently available. This new version is considerably easier to navigate and use.

Segmenting data in Aweber

Segmenting data in Aweber is pretty straightforward. You can create segments not only based on the contents of any field in your database, but also on user activity too – emails opened, web pages visited, links clicked, products bought and so on. It’s all very flexible and easy to use.

It’s a little bit tricky however to work out how to get to the screen where you create the segments — you basically have to go to a ‘manage subscribers’ section, search for some subscribers and then save the search as a segment.

To be fair, some solutions (such as Getresponse) use a similar approach to segment creation — but others (such as Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp) provide a more obvious ‘segments’ section.

Unfortunately Aweber doesn’t let you broadcast emails to multiple segments at once, however. This will cause problems for some users who have a need to ‘pick and mix’ segments in mailouts on a regular basis.

For example, say you’re a car dealer with a mailing list containing a field called ‘car model.’ You’ve used this field to segment your mailing list into owners of VW Polos, Golfs, Passats, Tiguans and Touregs.

You now have an offer which is specifically relevant to Polo, Golf and Passat owners, and you want to send a message about it to those three segments in one go.

In an ideal world you’d just be able to select the relevant segments and send the message to those three groups. With Aweber though — this isn’t possible. You’d have to either send three individual messages or create a brand new segment targeting ‘Polo OR Golf OR Passat.’

You’ll have a similar problem if you want to exclude certain segments from the broadcast; so ultimately it’s a bit of thumbs-down for the segmenting functionality in Aweber.

On the plus side, Aweber now lets you send emails to multiple lists — something that is prohibited by key competitor Mailchimp.

Ultimately however other email marketing tools, especially Getresponse and Campaign Monitor, handle segmentation in a much better way.

Integrations with third party apps

Aweber offers a decent range of integrations with other solutions. There are hundreds of integrations available which allow you to connect Aweber to various types of cloud-based software — web builders like Wix or WordPress; CRM tools like Salesforce; landing pages like Instapage and so on.

Some of these involve dedicated widgets; others involve adding a snippet of code into a website; others involve a sync tool like Zapier or Pie Sync.

It’s rare that Aweber will plug into other software quite as seamlessly as Mailchimp (which seems to be the default ‘standard’ email marketing option for a lot of apps), but you shouldn’t have too much difficulty getting Aweber to work with a wide range of other SaaS (software as a service) apps.

Aweber support

Aweber’s support is one of the stand-out features of the product.

Phone support, email support, and live chat support is all available — this compares very favorably with some key competitors including Getresponse, Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, and Mad Mimi, none of which offer phone support.

Additionally, there are no hoops to go through to contact support: relevant phone number and email details can be viewed very easily on the company’s contact page, without any requirement to trawl ‘knowledge bases’ or fill in any forms beforehand.

On top of that, the company has won several Stevie Awards for customer services over the past few years, which augurs pretty well for the quality of the support you’ll receive when you contact them.

If you are a novice to email marketing, then this sort of easy access to good-quality support is a strong argument in favor of using Aweber as your email marketing provider.

In terms of the availability of support, you can contact Aweber’s phone support team from 8 am-8 pm ET Monday to Friday, and their email and live/chat support is available 24/7.

Aweber review: the conclusions

Overall I would say Aweber is a solid email marketing tool.

It’s not the absolute best product of its kind available, but it is reasonably priced, easy to use and contains most of the key features you’d expect from an email marketing solution.

The main aspects of the product that would nudge me in Aweber’s direction are its ease-of-use, web fonts, AMP for email functionality and comprehensive support.

The support aspect may be particularly important for users who are starting out in e-marketing without many technical skills (because problems, should they arise, can be dealt with by talking to a real human being on a real phone line!).

Additionally, Aweber is not too expensive by comparison to some competing products, especially Campaign Monitor and iContact.

The main things that would dissuade me from using Aweber are its relatively basic automation features and the way you can’t broadcast to multiple segments of data at once.

I hope you’ve found this Aweber review helpful so far, but if you haven’t made your mind up on whether this is the e-marketing solution for you, here’s a simple breakdown of the key pros and cons of using it:

Pros of using Aweber

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It comes with a very large range of templates — considerably more than its key competitors.
  • Support options are more extensive than is the case with some key competing products and based on Aweber’s Stevie awards for customer service, should be high.
  • It’s reasonably priced — whilst not the cheapest product of its kind out there, it is cheaper than several similar solutions.
  • It facilitates AMP for email — something of a first for email marketing tools.
  • It lets you choose whether to let people subscribe to your list on a single or double opt-in basis.
  • It has good import functionality, with the option to import a wide range of file types and add the email addresses you’re importing directly to an autoresponder cycle.
  • It integrates with a decent range of third party tools and apps.
  • It makes setting up up simple time-based autoresponders very easy to do.
  • All email templates are responsive.
  • Reporting features are good.
  • You can use web fonts in e-newsletters sent with Aweber.
  • You can try the product free for 30 days.


Cons of using Aweber

  • There are cheaper options out there that offer considerably more features in the marketing automation department — Getresponse being arguably the prime example.
  • Some of the templates look a bit dated.
  • The RSS to email templates are poor and they can’t be edited using Aweber’s standard drag-and-drop email builder.
  • You can’t include or exclude multiple segments at once when sending an e-newsletter.

Alternatives to Aweber

There are many alternatives to Aweber available.

If you’re looking for something a bit more feature-packed, Getresponse or Mailchimp are the obvious contenders (check out our Getresponse vs Mailchimp comparison for more details on both), with Getresponse coming in a bit cheaper than Aweber on price too.

If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, then Mad Mimi is worth investigating (but bear in mind that Mad Mimi is a much more basic solution than Aweber). Check out our Mad Mimi review for details.

If you’ve got loads of money then Campaign Monitor is worth a look too — it’s got a lot of nice features but it’s very expensive by comparison to all the aforementioned products. You can read our Campaign Monitor review here.

Any thoughts on Aweber?

If you’re an Aweber user or thinking about becoming one, we’d love to hear from you — scroll down to add your thoughts or queries on the product in the comments section below! And feel free to share this post if you found it helpful.


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