We used these three solutions respectively: in 2012-2013 for Aweber, in 2016-2017 for MailerLite, and since 2018 for GetResponse. Our feedback on these autoresponders is topical, so we suggest you decide better based on your needs.
Before we get to the heart of the matter, we'll show you the good reasons to have a newsletter system in place.
Why set up a newsletter?
When running an online business, having a mailing list is almost as important as having a website. The mailing list will make it possible to inform and exchange directly with its subscribers, prospects, and customers.
In addition, having a newsletter allows you to forge a stronger bond with your subscribers, work on your brand image, build loyalty, and better convert.
With a newsletter, you will be able to generate recurring traffic, inform your subscribers of your latest publications, your new products, your special offers, your news…
You will also be less dependent on other traffic vectors in the event of a drop in traffic.
What is an autoresponder used for?
The autoresponder, also called as email automation tool for email marketing, will allow you to:
collect and store email addresses
manage custom lists
create opt-in forms or landing pages
use and customize email templates
have an analytics follow-up of its mailings and subscribers
automate the sending of email for a new publication
schedule a series of emails with the autoresponder
And many more.
Top 3 most popular autoresponders
So, here are the top 3 of the most used autoresponders among email marketers, online business owners and bloggers.
Founded in 1998 by Simon Grabowski, GetResponse was founded in Poland and had more than 350,000 users worldwide.
With a team spread over the four corners of the globe (Poland, United States, Canada, Malaysia, and Russia) and a tool translated into 27 languages, we can say that GetResponse is the most international autoresponder!
GetResponse defines itself as the simplest email marketing platform globally; let's see what's under the hood.
Signing up on GetResponse is as easy as it is on MailerLite and Aweber. But unlike the latter, GetResponse does not ask for a credit card to start using it. You will be able to use the tool free of charge for a period of 30 days. At the end of this period, payment will have to be made to continue to use it.
Getresponse can send three types of messages:
Newsletters: write to your subscribers
Autoresponders: program a predefined sequence of emails
RSS to Email: share blog articles automatically
Creating a classic newsletter is very simple, with two options to choose from:
Drag & Drop visual editor
Before selecting your newsletter editor, you will need to enter the title of your email, as well as the sender's email address.
Just below, you can activate optional options:
Statistics: click-through rate, Google Analytics, A / B Testing
Social shares: Twitter, Facebook
Like Aweber, GetResponse provides a slew of pre-designed templates that you can use for your newsletters. There are over 600!
If there isn't one right for you, you can even order a custom template from the GetResponse design team.
Otherwise, you can build your own template from A to Z:
Starting from scratch can be a great idea. You can thus create the email format that suits you best by placing the necessary elements with drag & drop.
We would always recommend that you go for something fairly simple.
The important thing is that your emails are visible enough for everyone and on all media (responsive).
Your emails should not be too loaded; we are thinking about the images that can impact the rate of deliverability.
Precisely, GetResponse provides a mobile screen view mode to see what its template looks like on mobile.
With the HTML editor of GetResponse, we get straight to the point. If you need to make a fast and super minimalist email (just text), this is the ideal option.
Very similar to Aweber, the HTML editor integrates WYSIWYG options to facilitate text formatting.
If you want to use a newsletter template with a minimum of customization, you should use the visual editor.
When you have finished writing your newsletter, you can choose to save it for later, send it immediately, or schedule it.
Like Aweber and MailerLite, GetResponse provides an A / B Testing function, which will allow us to compare the results between:
the sending periods
This function allows you to test between 2 and 5 proposals.
Once you have chosen the type of test to perform, you will select the test conditions.
A / B Testing is very easy to set up with GetResponse, and the results are clear.
The newsletter can be sent immediately, later at a time T, or you can also use one of these advanced functions:
Perfect Timing: the newsletter is sent individually when the subscriber is most likely to open their emails (based on data from GetResponse)
Time Travel: the newsletter is sent at the exact time you want according to the subscriber's time zone
These scheduling options are very convenient and can even be used with the autoresponder.
GetResponse offers a very interesting autoresponder solution, which can activate according to the trigger of your choice:
Time-based: the email is sent at the desired time; this is the most popular option
Clicked: the email is sent when the subscriber has clicked on a link
Opened: the email is sent when a message has been opened
Goal reached: the email is sent when a goal has been reached
Here's what you see when you select the Time-based option :
You can then select a message found in your drafts or create a new message.
Once you've built your email series, GetResponse will present you with a preview schedule. This is where you will see the planned messages and adjust the calendar by drag & drop.
GetResponse recently added a visual marketing automation module with intuitive if / then logic (if…, then…).
GetResponse's marketing automation tool will provide you with conditions, filters, and actions to take with great precision.
We will be able to build an automation workflow from blocks ready to be used:
Conditions: create an automated event from a user's action (e.g., clicked link, abandoned cart, purchased product, etc.)
Actions: apply an action based on a chosen condition (e.g., send an email, apply a tag to a subscriber, a score, etc.)
Filters: apply filters to target better and boost conversions (e.g., send a promo code to specific subscribers, etc.)
Once you have built your visual automation flow, it will be very easy for you to adjust it effortlessly, thanks to its drag & drop elements.
Creating an Automation Flow with GetResponse
Recently, GetResponse even integrated a new feature called Auto Funnel. This will allow us to set up complete sales funnels in a few clicks, including exit intention popups, payment pages, and more.
Another interesting point about GetResponse is that it is one of the only players in the market to provide an integrated webinar solution. Indeed, a specialized webinar solution can quickly cost an arm and a leg:
GoToMeeting: from $14 / month (150 participants max)
Zoom: from $14.99 / month (100 participants max)
WebinarJam: starting at $41.59 / month (year-round, 500 participants max)
GoToWebinar: from $59 / month (100 participants max)
Preparing for a webinar with GetResponse
If you were already planning to organize webinars, it is much more profitable to opt for the Plus or Professional plan of GetResponse. This saves an additional tool, and there is no necessary connection between several tools.
Promoting a webinar with GetResponse
GetResponse is a complete and attractive emailing tool for its quality/price ratio; however, it has some limits.
First of all, the user interface is not as straightforward and obvious to learn as Aweber and MailerLite.
On the other hand, GetResponse does not use the most intuitive terminology: for example, a list is called a campaign, and a subscriber is called a contact. You get used to it over time, but the terms used don't follow the standards and can be confusing at first.
Finally, we found the interface of GetResponse quite slow to load, unlike MailerLite and Aweber. Sometimes it takes more than 10 seconds for a page to load, particularly for preparing a newsletter and automation workflows.
Regarding its rates, GetResponse is one of the most attractive autoresponders on the market. 3 main offers distinguish GetResponse:
Unlimited automation models
1 sale funnel
Tunnels to generate leads
All the advantages of Basic
5 automation flows ( Automation builder )
Organize free webinars (100 participants max)
Attribution of scores and tags to subscribers
5 sales tunnels
5 webinar sales funnels
All the advantages of the Plus
Unlimited automation flows
Organize free or paid webinars (300 participants max)
Unlimited sales tunnels
Unlimited webinar tunnels
On-demand webinars (they remain accessible)
GetResponse prices are decreasing according to the volume of subscribers and the duration of the subscription:
1000 subscribers: $15 / month
2,500 subscribers: $25 / month
5,000 subscribers: $45 / month
10,000 subscribers: $65 / month
25,000 subscribers: $145 / month
1000 subscribers: $49 / month
2,500 subscribers: $59 / month
5,000 subscribers: $79 / month
10,000 subscribers: $95 / month
25,000 subscribers: $179 / month
1000 subscribers: $99 / month
2,500 subscribers: $119 / month
5,000 subscribers: $139 / month
10,000 subscribers: $165 / month
25,000 subscribers: $255 / month
This pricing corresponds month by month. For example, a year-round subscription will save you -18%, and a two-year subscription will save you -30%.
If you need the basic functions of an email marketing tool, GetResponse's Basic plan will do the trick. However, if you want to set up some automation workflows and run a webinar now and then, the Plus plan will be the best fit.
Finally, if you take your marketing very seriously and want to set up a plethora of sales funnels, automation flows, and regularly run public and private webinars, then the Professional plan is timely.
We now come to Aweber, the autoresponder we have been using since March 2018. Tom Kulzer founded it in 1998 to create the simplest and most profitable email marketing solution.
For small businesses. Over time, Aweber quickly established itself as one of the leaders in its market, particularly in the United States.
With over a million paying customers worldwide, Aweber is the second most used autoresponder, primarily by entrepreneurs, bloggers, and SMEs.
What we appreciate most about Aweber is its simplicity. Registration is done very quickly with just a few clicks. In addition, you can start using Aweber for free with its Free plan.
Once registered, you will be able to create your first list and customize your confirmation email.
Plus, Aweber's user interface is simple and efficient:
So how to communicate with its subscribers?
You can write to your subscribers in four ways:
Broadcast Messages: the classic method to send emails manually
Blog Broadcasts: automatic sharing as soon as a blog article is online (RSS feed)
Legacy Followup Series: Sending a series of emails for new subscribers
Campaigns: organizing campaigns with segmentation and automation
With Aweber, we have the possibility of sending emails with a simple or elaborate design. However, when you launch the mail editor, Aweber offers the simplest thing: text on a white background. And this is no coincidence because it is what works best in terms of deliverability.
In fact, the more elements an email is loaded with (lots of CSS, images, links, etc.), the more likely it is to spam. The simpler and lighter an email, the better the deliverability. The other advantage of a simple email is that it is easy to read, regardless of the medium and the email service used.
Aweber has a nice catalog of lightweight and responsive templates (over 700), and there is bound to be something for everyone. You can get a little preview here.
A / B Testing with Aweber
Like MailerLite and GetResponse, Aweber provides an A / B Testing tool to send emails or different titles to 2 or 3 segments of its audience. This allows you to know which title or message has the most impact on its readers.
Segmentation and automation with Aweber
Aweber is the first autoresponder to have integrated the one-click automation function in March 2018, and this is partly what made us switch to him.
Thus, we have the possibility of:
add a tag to a subscriber when they click on a link
remove a tag when clicking on a link
add a tag as soon as an email is opened
remove a tag when an email is opened
It may seem trivial, but it is THE ultimate functionality desired by all email marketers. The use of tags will allow us to segment subscribers with (great) precision.
For example, we have a “generalist” campaign dedicated to all Web & SEO subscribers in our personal case. However, as we have a lot of information to share on various themes that are not likely to please everyone (SEO, productivity, monetization, content, conversion...), we created several separate campaigns to join if they wish.
In an email, we can tell them: “If you would like to receive more SEO advice, then click on this link. We will send you our best advice, tips, and questions/answers on SEO ”.
Once the subscriber has clicked on the link, it will be automatically added to our email campaign dedicated to SEO (will assign an "SEO" tag to it).
Conversely, we can also mark at the end of each SEO campaign email, “If you want to stop receiving SEO advice, then click here.” This link will ensure that the “SEO” tag is no longer attributed to the subscriber.
There is no limit on the tags that can assign to a subscriber. Thus, a subscriber interested in all topics (SEO, SEA, content, conversion, productivity, WordPress…) will receive all emails.
But if a person is only interested in WordPress and improving their conversions, they will receive only messages on those specific topics.
Beyond the themes, you can also ask your subscribers questions to find out more about their habits and needs and thus assign them specific tags.
For example, an e-commerce clothing store could easily categorize its subscribers: male or female, single or in a relationship, popular styles, etc.
We can thus define everyone's needs, adapt their copywriting, and offer relevant products/services, which correspond to their subscribers' expectations.
Normally, registering a subscriber to a campaign requires double consent (which often results in an abandonment). Still, thanks to this tagging system, everything is done automatically with one click.
Finally, we were pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of setting up this tagging system.
Aweber and email deliverability
With its 20 years of experience, Aweber has maintained an excellent reputation for email deliverability. Good deliverability consists of sending the vast majority of emails to your subscribers' inbox and avoiding the Spam box.
An emailing solution that does not perform at this level is a very bad autoresponder because it is the basis of its business. When using email marketing software, this aspect is expected to be flawless. Moreover, we tend to no longer pay attention to it, so it goes without saying.
Aweber has a team dedicated to deliverability, which monitors sent emails in real-time to detect potential abuses and act as quickly as possible. For an autoresponder, blocking a problem account quickly avoids having a blocklisted mail server and ensures excellent deliverability (find out more).
Reporting and analysis of results with Aweber
Aweber provides simplified or advanced reports of the results of its campaigns. Thus, we find its email open rate, click rate on links, the evolution of new subscriptions and unsubscriptions, etc.
You can, if you wish, receive an express report by email to notify you of the number of openings in the hours following the sending of your newsletter (Broadcast). You can also be notified by “Push Notification” on your browser or the Aweber mobile application (Android and iOS).
INTEGRATIONS / APPLICATIONS
Aweber is most definitely the champion when it comes to integrating with other applications.
Here are just the top third-party apps, sorted by category:
Creating a landing page or a popup is a great way to capture emails effectively.
Aweber provides registration forms that can be easily integrated on any site (WordPress, Shopify, Wix ...) and, recently, a landing page creation tool.
The landing page fulfills one goal: to convert. However, it can be more common to sell a product or more simply to acquire an email.
Aweber provides several templates.
Landing pages that we can use and modify according to our needs.
Although the landing page's personalization is done in a few clicks, we can also integrate a video, images, blocks of text, call to action buttons (CTA), a form...
If you prefer to use an external solution to create a more successful landing page, you can easily link Aweber with the most popular tools on the market: LeadPages, ThriveLeads, Instapage, Unbounce, OptinMonster, Bloom...
You will be able to capture emails more easily than ever.
Here are some examples of landing pages:
WP Subscribe Pro
Create an opt-in form with Aweber
The easiest way to invite readers of your site to subscribe to your newsletter is to display a registration form like this:
Join the private web & SEO club
We'll tell you all about creating passive income through niche sites.
Niche site, Affiliate, SEO, Conversion, Productivity and more
Free subscription. Zero spam.
By subscribing here, you will receive our best tips and tricks on building a passive income through niche sites, monetization, SEO, content creation, WordPress, and productivity.
Aweber allows you to integrate this type of form anywhere on your site by copying/pasting a piece of HTML + JS code.
You will be able to customize this form using the template of your choice:
Create a form with a WordPress plugin
If you are not a fan of the templates offered by Aweber, you can also go through a dedicated plugin that will allow you to create and integrate a nice personalized form with ease.
The AWeber Forms by Optin Cat freemium plugin offers several choices of integrations: in the content, in the sidebar, or the popup.
Here's a quick glimpse of Optin Cat in action:
You will have to opt for the premium offer at $39 / year for more options and templates.
We also have Optin Forms which we used for a while on Web & SEO. We have the choice between 6 customizable templates; we personally had opted for something very simple:
Then, we can choose the location where we will locate the opt-in form:
Finally, you will note the possibility of using a shortcode to place the opt-in form where you want it in the content.
Aweber presents two limits to us. The first is the implementation of an A / B Testing action. At the same time, it is very easy to set up on MailerLite and GetResponse when sending your newsletter. With Aweber, this is not clearly put forward.
Instead, you have to divide your list into segments (for example, 2 or 3) and send a different newsletter to each segment: you can vary the title or the content of the email, for example.
The second limitation concerns the counting of subscribers. Indeed, Aweber will consider the subscribers present in several lists as subscribers, and the same goes for unsubscribed people.
So basically, if a subscriber is in 3 separate lists, that counts as 3 subscribers. Also, as long as an unsubscribed person is not deleted from the base, they are counted as subscribers.
We must therefore be vigilant on this point; the important thing is to know it. In short, it is better to use tags than to create separate lists systematically.
And it will be necessary to remember to do cleaning from time to time to keep only active subscribers (valid for all autoresponders) and delete unsubscribed people.
Aweber prices and plans
Update 08/01/21: Aweber has just restructured its pricing by offering more attractive quarterly / annual pricing, as well as a new plan that is 100% free… for life!
Aweber's new free plan is much less limited than those offered by MailerLite and ActiveCampaign (the latter have blocked the autoresponder feature, which is essential).
The limits of Aweber's free plan are:
the number of subscribers: 500 max
the number of emails: 3,000 / month
the number of subscriber lists: 1
limited analytics and tracking
no split test
Which is great to start with! Aweber Free is thus presented as the best emailing service with a 100% free autoresponder.
To have all the features of Aweber, without any limit, you will have to opt for the Pro plan. The Aweber basic offer is $19 / month.
It gives access to all the tool's features and a maximum capacity of 500 subscribers, which is perfect for starting your emailing activity confidently.
Like GetResponse, Aweber only allows you to pay for your subscription with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress).
Here are the Aweber rates per tier:
By opting for a Quarterly or Annual plan, you will be able to benefit from a significant discount of -14.90%.
The company was founded in 2005 but started as a web design agency. Quite quickly, developers are interested in e-marketing and think they can provide solutions different from those already existing at more advantageous rates. This is how MailerLite software came into being in 2010. It is a simple but powerful messaging solution that should help businesses grow.
The first year begins very slowly with a turnover that does not exceed $2,500. However, thanks to an aggressive offer, word of mouth works, and it will take 3 years to reach the first million dollars in turnover. Today MailerLite remains a small structure, with only 36 employees, but has a client portfolio of more than 400,000 names all over the planet.
Registering on MailerLite is very quick and easy. In addition, you can start using MailerLite for free without having to enter a payment method.
Unlike other popular email marketing software mentioned in this article, MailerLite is the only one that offers a free lifetime account. However, this is naturally limited, and templates are not available in the Free plan. Still, it does offer the autoresponder function if you are looking for that.
Once registered, you will be able to create a campaign, create a list of subscribers, verify a domain, and more:
The user interface is very easy to use; we get to the point.
There are 4 types of campaigns:
Regular Campaign: you can create and personalize the content of your newsletter; you can send it immediately or schedule it for later
Auto resend (to send an email again to people who didn't open/click your previous email)
A / B Testing Campaign: this campaign will allow you to do A / B testing on elements such as the title of the newsletter, the content, and the date of dispatch
RSS Campaign: you can automate the sending of an email when a new article is published (RSS feed)
There are three steps to creating a newsletter:
Choice of title and sender
When you create a classic campaign, you can choose between several template options:
Basic: this minimalist template can be customized using a drag & drop editor
Themes: several pre-designed templates are available: Newsletters, Holiday, Sports, Coupons, Music...
Custom: you can code your own newsletter template in HTML / CSS
Using the Basic template is preferable to maximize its impact. This will allow a personalized, simple, and efficient structure.
You can even preview your newsletter on desktop and mobile:
At the bottom of the email, we always find the legal information concerning the sender.
Once you have selected your template, you can edit it by adding your own message. You can, if you wish, add drag & drop blocks with images or icons from social networks, for example.
As soon as you are satisfied with the rendering, you can save the template you can use for your future newsletters. This will save you a lot of time and avoid doing repetitive tasks.
Just before your newsletter is sent, you can check that everything is OK:
Once you are sure that everything is good, you can click on the Submit button!
With MailerLite's free plan, you will be able to send your email immediately. With a paid plan, you will have two interesting planning options:
Deliver by time zone: you send the newsletter at the time you want, based on the time zone of your subscriber.
Auto resend: here it is MailerLite that decides the optimal time to send the email, to maximize the open rate
Marketers will be delighted to use the A / B testing feature to compare results between multiple titles, sender names, contents, and end dates/times.
The A / B Testing function is interesting to use when you have a sufficiently large subscriber base. However, you can consider that less than 500 subscribers are far from being enough to have precise results.
However, let's say you have a list of 4000 subscribers: you can test version A on 1000 subscribers, version B on 1000 subscribers and see which version works best. You can then send the best version to the remaining 2000 subscribers.
To select this winning version, you can base your choice on the open rate, the click rate, and the income generated with each version (possible if you do a tracking).
MailerLite will allow you to segment your subscribers. This will allow you to send personalized and relevant messages to the right people.
On MailerLite, we distinguish between lists, groups, and segments.
A list is a pre-defined group of subscribers.
A group is a list of subscribers based on interests, for example:
A segment is a list of subscribers based on activity or location, and it could be, for example:
People who opened the last 5 newsletters
People who did not click on the CTA of our last newsletter
People who have recently purchased a product
People who are in such and such a city, or such country
Subscribers can be subscribed to your newsletter in different ways:
via a form on your site
via your Facebook page
via manual import
MailerLite offers the full autoresponder system to its paying customers (starting at $10 / month).
MailerLite Automation will allow you to create series of emails and launch them when an event is triggered, corresponding to a date or an action. This enables the right information to be communicated to the right people at the right time to maximize its impact.
To make things easier, MailerLite provides pre-designed automation workflows, such as E-Commerce Automation:
In e-commerce, this will notably make it possible to promote products similar to a customer's order, contact a customer following his purchase to encourage him to leave a review, send a reduction coupon to his best customers, etc.
There are also handy automation flows in education, music, software, associations, and more.
MailerLite gives us the ability to create our own automation feeds; however, they are not visual as they may be on GetResponse. This makes it more difficult to create new custom automation workflows without the visual appeal.
On the other hand, MailerLite does not offer the possibility of sending a newsletter to several lists at the same time:
This necessarily represents a waste of time because you have to repeat the operation for each list to which you want to send an email.
Therefore, we would recommend that you use groups instead, rather than lists on MailerLite.
MailerLite has a very good reputation for its deliverability; however, it tends to be classified consistently under the “Promotions” tab on Gmail, affecting the open rate.
On the price side, MailerLite offers 4 plans:
Free Plan ($0)
up to 1,000 subscribers
MailerLite branding highlighted
limited autoresponder functionality
limited to 12,000 emails per month
A/B Testing is available
no access to all templates
Premium Plan (starting from $10 / m)
up to 650,000 subscribers
Will remove MailerLite branding
Deliver by time zone
Access to all features
Access to all templates
A/B split testing for landing pages
Click heatmap analytics for landing pages
Unlimited domains for landing pages
MailerLite is an interesting option for just getting started on a limited budget and needs basic functions: segmenting their subscribers and sending emails manually.
If you want to exploit almost the full potential of MailerLite, you will have to opt for the Premium Plan, which is quite comfortable and attractive for its quality/price ratio. For $10 / month, you can accommodate up to 650,000 subscribers and send unlimited emails per month. Also, you can pay the payments by credit card or PayPal.
GetResponse vs Aweber vs MailerLite: Which autoresponder to choose?
MailerLite, GetResponse, and Aweber clearly deserve their place at the top of the most used autoresponders in France and worldwide. No matter what choice you make, you can rest assured that you have a great email marketing tool available.
But as you can see, there are subtle differences between each solution, so rather than picking a random autoresponder, we suggest you list all the functions you need and assess the size of your email database.
If you start from scratch, you can assume that a 500-subscriber plan is more than enough and will take a while to reach that quota.
If, like us, you want to set up automation, here is an overview of the plans that allow it:
MailerLite Premium: $10 / month
GetResponse Plus: $49 / month
Aweber: $19 / month
It can be noted that GetResponse becomes much more expensive at this level, and it will be better to favor MailerLite or Aweber.
However, this GetResponse plan will allow you to organize webinars very easily, unlike other solutions.
Therefore, if you are planning to do some, then GetResponse is the autoresponder you absolutely need.
If you need a simple email tool to send occasional newsletters, MailerLite's free plan is the best option.
If you are looking for simplicity above all else, MailerLite and Aweber are the options of choice.
If you want to perform A / B tests regularly, GetResponse and MailerLite will save you more time.
From our personal experience and from what we have read elsewhere, Aweber and GetResponse supports are more responsive than at MailerLite.
The essential point in an autoresponder: deliverability. The annoying factor at MailerLite is that emails are delivered in the “Promotions” tab on Gmail.
The emails are sent well anyway, but we still prefer to end up in the main inbox with GetResponse or Aweber.
On the e-commerce side, MailerLite has a head start with its dedicated automation flow ( E-Commerce Automation ).
Finally, one-click automation and the attribution of tags to its subscribers is child's play with Aweber; it is, in our eyes, the best tool to properly segment your audience and have more impact.
FINAL COMPARISON'S SUMMARY: GetResponse vs Aweber vs MailerLite
Here is a complete and simplified recap between these three autoresponders:
$19 / m
Free for life with an autoresponder (500 subscribers)