iContact vs Aweber

If you have clients or prospects you have to followup with them via email. You don't have several choices, either you use your own email client to send them emails now and then, or you use an online email marketing software. The disadvantage of using your own email client is that you have a limit on how many emails you can send at once (Microsoft Outlook should have a limit of about 50 email sent at a time) and you have to do a mail merge, plus you cannot set up automatic email follow-ups. So if you have quite a few clients to contact, the solution is using an online email marketing software. The advantage of an online service is that you can send emails in bulk, you can set automatic follow-ups, and the delivery rate is usually as high as 99%. The disadvantage though is the price, as you have to pay a monthly fee, unlike owning a license for a program where you pay only once and own it. If you want to work professionally and avoid hassles with your email client, use an online email marketing service. There are quite a few email marketing companies, and given that once you sign-up with them you will continue using them for a while, it's important to choose right and pick the best email marketing software. Some of the most popular in this branch are: iContact, Aweber, ConstantContact, Vertical Response, Get Response, Bronto and Mailchimp. I've already covered an article about iContact vs ConstantContact, so this time I wanted to compare iContact vs Aweber. I decided this time to take another approach in comparing iContact and Aweber.

Pricing

Both seem to offer slightly different pricing structures, so I've kept only the common intervals.

iContact

  • 0-250 contacts, $10/month
  • 251-500 contacts, $14/month
  • 501-1000 contacts, $19/month 
  • 1001-2500 contacts, $29/month
  • 2501-5000 contacts. $47/month
  • 5001-10000 contacts. $74/month
  • 10001-15000 contacts. $109/month

Aweber

  • 0-500 contacts. $19/month.
  • 501-2500 contacts. $10/month.
  • 2501-5000 contacts. $30/month
  • 5001-10000 contacts. $50/month
  • 10001-25000 contacts. $130/month

iContact offers more pricing structure options than Aweber, so in their list the first price is for the start of the interval, other price is for the upper margin. Overall it does seem that Aweber is a bit cheaper than iContact, though for some intervals their prices are very close. So iContact vs Aweber 0-1.

Trial

The best option any company can offer for its possible users is the trial run. Meaning letting you test their system for a bit before deciding if it's for you or not. Both iContact and Aweber offer these, though in a slightly different way

iContact. They offer a free trial run for 15 days, and to sign-up for this trial you don't have to give your credit card. If at a point you decide to go ahead and use them you have to upgrade and enter your payment details. During the free trial you may send 500 messages to up to 250 subscribers. You can sign-up for a trial account with iContact by clicking on the image below:

Aweber. They don't offer a free trial in the true meaning of the word. They let you test their system for one month by paying $1 for that month, which means you have to give them your credit card details. When the month goes by you will be charged $19/month if you don't switch to a different plan, or you can give up using them (they offer a 30-day money back guarantee). During this trial run you can send unlimited emails to up to 500 subscribers. You can sign-up for a trial account with Aweber by clicking on the image below:

AWeber - Email Marketing Made Easy

Since iContact doesn't ask for credit card details during the trial, they get this point. iContact vs Aweber: 1-1

Support

Support is very important too, as sometimes when something doesn't make sense or it's difficult to find the quickest solution is to contact support. In this area both iContact and Aweber come fully equipped with support solutions, from live chat to a forum, it's unlikely your questions will remain unanswered.

iContact. iContact displays in a highly visible spot both the support and sales phone, if you have a quick question and you're the phone type of guy. They also offer a live chat option, prominently shown too, and when they're offline you can send them an email. An online knowledgebase/faq system is available too, and if you want to engage with other iContact users you can join the iContact forum. So phone, email, live chat, address (if you feel like paying a visit), knowledgebase and forum - that's very impressive, as I mentioned above it will be unlikely to have your question ignored. I've tested the phone, live chat and email system, and didn't have to wait to get my answer (luckily they also are native English speakers).

Aweber. As impressive as iContact's support sounds, Aweber stands quite well up to that too. They display phone numbers and live chat options, plus you can contact them via email too. Where iContact offers a phone number for all clients, Aweber split that into a toll free number and an international one. What Aweber offers extra in terms of support is the webinars, and also social networking options (twitter, facebook). However, I'm going to give this point to iContact, even though they're almost equal, but Aweber doesn't have a discussion forum like iContact does. I'm giving this to iContact because the forum is the first place I look to see what other users are saying, if they complain about something or the search function to find a quick answer to my question. So, iContact vs Aweber: 2-1

Deliverability

It's no use writing the perfect email if it doesn't reach your clients. That's why deliverability is for email marketing services as air is for life. They know that too and that's why both make efforts to offer excellent delivery rates. iContact mentions that their deliverability is audited by a third party called "Pivotal Veracity", which scores their email deliverability rates between 98%-99% - furthermore they mention to have agreements with all major ISPs to avoid any delivery problems. Aweber mentions that they have 100% inbox deliverability at all ISP's monitored by DeliveryMonitor.com, and internally their tests show that they have a deliverability above 99%. The truth is with both you'll have no problem in getting your email to your clients, as they're both established and reliable companies in the field of email marketing. So in terms of email deliverability rates I give them one point each, meaning iContact vs Aweber: 3-2

Features

It's not only about the features they offer, but also about the way their control panel looks like, as you'll be working online via your browser when scheduling your email campaigns. So you want to do the basics quick and without feature compromises. You'll be able to decide which one fits your needs best by testing them, as everyone has their own learning curve.

iContact. I bolded the features that iContact has and Aweber lacks. Of course I haven't compared all the features that these email marketing companies offer, only those that I came in contact with and needed.

  • Email newsletter templates (250)
  • Add signup forms to your website
  • Unlimited email lists
  • Set up autoresponder messages
  • Free customer support
  • Send Blog Newsletters (RSS to Email)
  • Open and clickthrough tracking
  • Schedule emails to be sent in the future
  • WYSIWYG Editor for your custom html emails
  • Spamcheck your newsletters
  • Manage your online contacts
  • Image hosting
  • Create and send surveys
  • Public newsletter archive

Aweber. The bolded feature lacks in iContact, and I must admit it sounds quite tempting. It all depends if you need it or not to consider it valuable enough to incline the balance on the Aweber side.

  • Email newsletter templates (103)
  • Add signup forms to your website
  • Unlimited email lists
  • Set up autoresponder messages
  • Free customer support
  • Send Blog Newsletters (RSS to Email)
  • Open and clickthrough tracking
  • Schedule emails to be sent in the future
  • WYSIWYG Editor for your custom html emails
  • Spamcheck your newsletters
  • Manage your online contacts
  • Shopping cart integration (Integrate with shopping carts like PayPal to automate digital product delivery and post-purchase email campaigns.)

The most important features are present in both email services, so I say it's a tie in here too, with a final score in iContact vs Aweber of 4-3. This comparison between iContact and Aweber is based on my opinion with these email marketing services, and it's meant to give you an idea on what to focus on when testing them. Because my final recommendation is to test an email marketing service before deciding to go one way or the other. And if you're really into email marketing comparisons, check out this other too: iContact vs Constant Contact.