The other day my wife and I were going through our business expenses. While this is a regular activity, this time we were challenging assumptions and looking for creative ways to cut costs while maintaining (or improving) our level of service.
One area that came up was our monthly payments to Aweber. When we first started out it seemed like an easy way to get started. One month for free. Only $20 per month until you really got things going. And compared to the other options we looked at it was a bargain. Heck, the autoresponders we looked at ranged from $497 to $1500. Ouch!
We looked to the “gurus” for advice, and the consistent answer we saw was “go with Aweber.” Let’s see…it’s cheaper, it’s easier, and the experts say use it…It seemed like a no brainer.
Flash forward two years
After a couple years we are reexamining our decision. First, it didn’t take us long to bump up against the lower cost ($20 per money) limits of 1000 subscribers. Since the 1000 subscribers is based on all of your lists combined (and we have quite a few), it didn’t take us long before our monthly fee went up significantly. Even if you were able to stay below the 1000 subscriber limit, your costs are $240 per year. At this rate, stand alone options start looking pretty good.
We started searching for stand alone options and examining the major services. We initially thought this would take a few hours, but boy were we wrong. It took us tens of hours, and could have easily expanded if we checked every program and script out there.
As this unraveled, we started to look at if from multiple angles. In our personal case, we had two business models that needed to be addressed. And as a service to our readers we expanded our review to other business models as well.
- Small / personal bloggers
- Business bloggers
- Hybrid blog / internet marketer
- Internet marketing
- Offline businesses with an online presence
Each has it’s own needs, and unless you spend a ton of money, not any one product works. In our case we needed two separate tools (I’m doing our final test with this blog post).
Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing up complete reviews on each product and service. In most cases I’ve actually installed and tested the product. We are also looking at packaging specific products with tools to make implementation easy.