High prices and a rigid structure had me looking for GetResponse alternatives right off the bat. I would say that the decision to transfer to GetResponse was a hopeful one – but I was quickly deflated by the box I had painted myself into.
Therefore, I needed to investigate the benefits of GetResponse Alternatives and how I would evaluate each side-by-side.
The simplest way for me to compare options was to establish the 5 Best Practices for GetResponse alternatives. In this quest, I researched, purchased, and downloaded a lot of options.
These options included
Below, I’ve highlighted the features I was looking for – all for a price I could stomach.
Best Practice 1: Double-Opt In
I believe in privacy & I hate spam in my inbox. My reputation as a businessman is always at stake when I send out email. That’s why – although there are times when it isn’t necessary – I was looking for an alternative that included a double opt-in process.
This process requires the subscriber to confirm their subscription in a follow-up email. By using this process, we significantly reduce the email complaints & junk mail flagging. We need to keep it this way to preserve our MX Records and keep them off black lists.
As I was reviewing GetResponse alternatives – double opt-in was high on my list of features. However, I wanted to have the flexibility to choose either way. What I found was that GetResponse – ConstantContact & Mailchimp all restricted me from making my own decision – forcing me to always double opt-in.
While this is helpful for their reputation – my list suffered when I tried to import specific lists. Confirmations were sent only once, leaving me at the mercy of someone re-confirming that they wanted to hear from me. With these GetResponse alternatives no response meant these subscribers were lost forever.
The services that allowed me to choose were phplist – Mailpoet & RapidMailer. This was only the first of these best practices that I was challenging GetResponse against.
Best Practice 2: Email Segmentation
No matter how you slice it, we need to have features that allow us to segment a current list. While it seems that most services provide some mechanism, I found that every time I could automate segmentation based on a choice made by my email recipient, the better I could respond to their needs and interests.
By having to do individual analysis on a large list – I was wasting valuable time in getting relevant information to my list. That’s why I needed each of the GetResponse alternatives to have an automatic feature to segment.
I may be talking a bit out of school here – if you don’t know what segmenting is – let me explain it. By segmenting a list we can compartmentalize individuals to increase the relevance of information they receive.
For instance, if I sell basketballs and I have a large list of email recipients, it might be helpful for me to know if they play indoors or outdoors – what age bracket they are in or what type of basketball they play (competitive or recreational). Each of these choices they make (by clicking on a link) allows me to know more about them and about their needs.
This means that I can market leather – high quality balls to indoor competitive players & inexpensive rubber balls to outdoor recreational players under the age of 12. See how powerful this is?
As we understand more about the best practice of segmentation, let’s discuss which GetResponse alternatives performed well and which didn’t. Segmentation is now available in ConstantContact – MailChimp & RapidMailer.
There is a loose segmentation capability in Mailpoet – you can segment on opened & clicked, but you need to be a Pro subscriber to get link analytics (a major downfall for this solution). Segmentation, if done well will allow us to do even more with Autoresponders – it allows us to send specific messages to the list automatically based on their own choices – a goldmine from a marketing automation platform and conversion rate optimization standpoint.
Best Practice 3: Autoresponders
Autoresponders are the lifeblood of email marketing. This process of automated email messages that provide both relevant information and opportune offers allow you to make the most of your list. When you couple high-conversion copywriting and regular targeted messages – the system works by itself and allows you to help more people faster.
With this in mind – one feature that must be present in my GetResponse alternatives is an autoresponder. This technology is powerful & usually costs a bundle when done right. I tried to set up phpList with very limited success – so there went the completely free version. The others in my list to review had mixed reviews. AWeber’s autoresponder stinks!
As the administrator of various lists – you have to set up separate messages for each list and it becomes very confusing when you want add existing members to a new autoresponder campaign – I frankly gave up!
MailChimp & ConstantContact both do well with autoresponders – but they require an upgrade to your account – which means more money.
So, if you can stomach the increase in membership fees and the restrictions that are already placed on those accounts – go for it. However, there are two solutions that outshine the others… MailPoet & RapidMail.
Both of these solutions provide a simplified approach to autoresponders and allow you to quickly move your subscribers from one list to another – with a flag that allows you to send the campaign to existing members or only new members. This is a strong plus for both!
Best Practice 4: Comparative Testing
Comparative testing is where we separate the men from the boys – allowing us to really draw a stark contrast between the different GetResponse alternatives that I’ve tested. Success in online work has a lot to do with analytics – the more the better! From this standpoint phpList & MailPoet are laggards.
The other GetResponse alternatives of AWeber – ConstantContact & MailChimp do a reasonable job. However, if you want robust analytics without extra fees – RapidMail is the solution for you! You can do A/B testing in most of these platforms to examine the success of one campaign over the other – whether it is just a new subject line or an entire layout. By refining your campaigns, you can significantly increase your conversions – helping you make more money with the same size list (no worry about having to pile on more at the top of your funnel to grow your bottom line).
Best Practice 5: Conversion Rate Optimization
This brings us to the primary focus of any email campaign – you have to sell something to make it all worthwhile. I would be remiss if we talked about all these options and left out the most important element in the GetResponse alternatives analysis. This is more of an art than a process. However, it is important to remember that you need flexibility – reliability & easy of use as you are refining your campaigns.
Most of the solutions we’ve looked at here do a reasonable job of hitting the mark – except two. The two that miss the mark are AWeber & phpList. Both of these GetResponse alternatives are cumbersome to use and only caused me more frustration. I’d rather work on my campaign than trying to figure out how to get the software to work right.
Of All the GetResponse Alternatives – RapidMail Wins My Vote!
All-in-all, while RapidMail isn’t a silver bullet – it provides me with a simple interface – true WordPress integration & all the features that I need to take charge of my list and deliver great results to my customers. Rest assured – I’m a believer because I’m a user! I have installed RapidMail and I was up and running in a very short time. While there are others out there that will do – the bang for the buck for me is RapidMail.