Since we are talking about list building and list marketing this week, I thought I’d show you how to do a couple of different things in Aweber today. Let’s start with the basics:

How To Set Up A New List

Setting up a new list is a pretty straight forward process. Start by logging into your Aweber account. At the top, right below the Aweber Logo, you’ll see your current list and next to it a link to “(Create and Manage Lists) as you can see in the screen shot below.

Click on the “Create and Manage Lists” link. You will see a list of any current lists you have. In the upper right-right hand corner of your screen you’ll see a green link to create a new list. It’s a bold green link. Click on it.

You’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:

You’ll start by entering some of the most essential information, starting with the list name. This name is so you can tell all your various list apart, so use something meaningful. It has to be 15 characters or less and is a name that can’t be used by anyone else for their aweber list.

Next you’ll enter a sort description that your subscribers will see when they unsubscribe. Next is the “From” and email address that the emails will be coming from. When someone receives your email update or newsletter, it won’t show up as being sent from Aweber, instead it will show whatever information you enter here. If one of your readers hits reply, the email will go to the email address you specify here.

Last but not least is the contact information field with is required by ICANN laws. I recommend you use a PO box or company address. This address will be displayed at the end of each email you send out. I recommend  you DO NOT use your home address unless you want to risk some of your subscribers showing up on your door step.

The next step is company branding. It’ll be on the same page, just a little further down. The section is pretty self-explanatory. You can see an example in the picture below. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

To get the logo url, I went to my site, right-clicked on the logo image and chose “copy image location”. I then pasted that image url into the field above.

You’ll also see social media sharing information in this section of the List setup page. You can choose from any twitter and facebook accounts you have currently connected to your Aweber account. If you don’t have any or need to add a new one, you can do so as well.

Last but not least, you can change the broadcast archive settings (I usually leave them on default) and turn on notifications. If you add a name and email address in this field, you will receive a notification email there each time someone subscribes to or unsubscribes from your list. It’s interesting to see when you’re first starting out, but I find it more distracting than anything. I have mine turned off and just log into my Aweber account to see how many signups I have gotten recently.

Here’s what this last portion of the list creation page looks like:

Last but not least, save your list settings and then click on the Go To Step 2 button.

During step two, we’ll determine if our lists should be single or double optin. I highly recommend you use the double optin method. This simply means that afters someone signs up for your list via a webform, they receive an email asking them to click a link to confirm the signup. I keep this option turned on at all times to make sure my subscribers actually want to hear from me.

Here’s what this section looks like.

Next it’s time to customize the email your subscribers will receive asking them to confirm their signup.

Here’s what the default email looks like:

You can edit the subject line, intro and closing or signature fields by clicking on the edit tab on the side of each. For the subject line you can choose from several pre-done versions or create your own. Your own subject lines have to be approved by Aweber before they become active.

Last but not least you can determine a custom success page. This is the page your subscriber will be redirected to after they confirm. If you promised them a short report or the likes for signing up, you should provide the download link on that page, otherwise, just thank them for signing up.

Make your changes and then don’t forget to save .

Your list is now all set up and it’s time to create a signup form for your website or blog.

How To Create A Webform

Creating a webform is a 3 step proccess, but each step shouldn’t take you more than a minute.

Start by clicking on the “Webforms” tab in Aweber, then click on the “Create Web Form” button. The new Aweber Web Form Generator will load. (Make sure you don’t have any popup blockers turned on or it will not work properly).

Step 1 – Design

Choose a form you like from the template section. Next you can customize the form with some Header text, add new fields if you need them (though I recommend sticking with Name (or First Name) and email address) and you can customize the footer section. I like to keep some sort of privacy statement in place, but usually remove the “Powered by Aweber” link from the form. You can also re-size the width of the form as needed. Don’t forget to save your changes.

Step Two – Settings

Start by giving your form a name. This will be helpful down the road when you start to split test forms or use more than one form on your site. Just use something that makes sense to you. It doesn’t have to be unique and nobody else is going to see it.

Next it’s time to choose a Thank You Page. You can use one of the three versions Aweber provides for you (Basic, audio and video) or you can create your own custom page on your site and then enter the link here. If you create your own link be sure to include some information about how to confirm the optin on that page.

Lastly choose an already subscribed page. Like the thank you page, you can choose from pre-done versions or create your own and provide the URL.

Make your changes, save your form and click on “Go To Step 3″

Step Three – Publish

Last but not least it’s time to publish the form on your website or blog.  You can

  • Install the form yourself.
  • Email it to your webdesigner.
  • Use a page Aweber creates and hosts for you.

For now, let’s assume that you will install the form yourself. It’s pretty easy and I’ll walk you right through it.

Click on the “I Will Install My Form” graphic. By default you will receive a java code snipet for your form. I recommend you use this. There is also a html version that you can hand edit, but to keep things simple and to make it easy to change our form later directly in the Aweber interface let’s use the java script option.

Copy and paste this one line of code and go to your own website. If you have a static html website, open your favorite html editor and browse to where you want to display the form. At the top of yours right or left-handed sidebar is usually a good spot to start with.

The same goes for wordpress blogs. You can edit the sidebar php script via the theme editor or if you have widgets enabled, you can simply add a text widget and paste the code in there.

There is also a Aweber wordpress plugin you can use. You will simply integrate aweber and wordpress (following the instructions given in the aweber plugin) . Here’s a great tutorial on using the new Aweber WordPress Plugin.

Once your form is on your site, it’s time to start thinking about what emails we’ll send our new subscribers.

Autoresponder vs. Follow Up Emails

Creating a new broadcast or follow up email works very much the same way. Let’s start by creating an autoresponder message that goes out to each new subscriber as soon as they sign up.

Start by hovering over the Messages Tab in your Aweber account, then click on the “Follow Up” button that will appear.

Click on the green “Add New Follow Up Message” button and here’s what you’ll see:

You simply enter your email subject line and then your email message. This first part of the form is the html editor. You can use fancy templates or create your own html pages, but for now let’s keep it simple. Just type a message to your readers in there and remember to link any hyperlinks using the WYSIWYG editor that’s built in.

One thing I really like about Aweber and other good auto-responder services is that they allow you to personalize your messages. Do you see the {!name} code I used in the message in the screenshot? It’s a piece of code that allows aweber to insert each person’s name in the email. It will use whatever information your subscriber used in the “Name” field. So if I subscribed with “Susanne” the email I receive will read “Hello Susanne, ….”

Since not everyone can receive HTML formatted email, we’ll also create a plain text version, simply by copying and pasting the text from above. Make sure all links in your email are typed out completely including the https:// part.

Last but not least it’s time to save the email.

In this first message you’ll see that the Interval field is already filled out and that the message will go out immediately. You can determine if you want to track how many of your readers click on your links and then preview and save your message.

Now that your first follow-up email is all set up, let’s talk for a minute about follow up vs. broadcast emails. The big difference between the two is timing. Let me give you an example. Let’s say this new list I just set up gets one new subscriber today (Thursday). Let’s call her Jane. Within a few minutes of signing up and confirming her subscription, Jane will get the very first email message that we just set up.

I may have another message set up to go out on day 2. Jane would get this email tomorrow (Friday). Tomorrow Mary signs up. She will get the original follow up email on Friday and message #2 on Saturday. If Tom signs up April 15th, he’ll get the first message that day and the second  message on April 16th.

You can add as many follow up emails as you’d like and have them any amount of days apart.

Broadcast emails on the other hand are send out at a specified time to your entire list. Let’s say I write an email broadcast on Monday. In our example from above the email would go out to Jane and Mary on Monday, but Tom would never see it.

Broadcast emails are used for traditional weekly or monthly newsletters as well as for any messages or offers that you send to your list that are seasonal or can only be used for a certain time-period. For example if the company you are an affiliate for sends you a coupon for free shipping that expires next week, you should send a broadcast email instead of adding another follow-up message.

Creating More Follow Up Messages

You create more follow up emails by clicking the green “Add New Followup Message” under “Messages and Followup” just like we did in the first example. You’ll again enter the subject line and the email messages in html and plain text format as before. The only thing that will be different for the 2nd and each following message is that you can determine how many days Aweber should wait in between messages.

Creating Broadcast Email Messages

To create a broadcast email, hover over the “Messages” tab in your Aweber interface, then click on the “Broadcast” button. Click the green “Create Broadcast Message Button”. The next page will look very similar. You’ll again enter a subject line and your email in both html and plain text format – exactly like you did for the first follow up email.

The bottom portion of your screen will look a little different.

You can choose to have your broadcast go out immediately or determine a date and time. This later feature comes in handy when you’re on vacation or have an appointment that day and need to get your newsletter or email message done ahead of time.

You can also send email messages only to people who signed up in the past few days and once you have created several lists, you can have the same email go out to multiple lists.

Just like in the follow up email you can choose to track what links your readers click on and you can turn on media sharing to share your newsletter broadcast on facebook and twitter.

Preview your message and if everything looks good, save it.

With broadcast messages there is one more step before it will go out. Once you save your message you will go back to the main broadcast screen and you will notice that your email message is now pending.

You can now test your broadcast email. Click on the test link and enter the email address where you would like to receive a preview copy of your email. If everything looks good, click on the green Queue button and Aweber will start sending your email to everyone on your list.

A third option to send messages is via Blog Broadcast. You can learn more about it in this Aweber Blog Broadcast tutorial post.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how you can get more subscribers and later this week I’ll show you how easy it is to split test your optin forms with Aweber and why you want to test in the first place.

For now, get your list set up and start collecting email addresses or if you are already building a list, take a look at your optin form and the email messages you are sending (follow-up emails in particular) and see if there is anything you can do to improve your email marketing.

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