How Aweber is Losing You Customers: The Big Picture of Aweber vs Infusionsoft

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I’m often asked by people that are unfamiliar with Infusionsoft if they should pick it, or Aweber for their email marketing. What these people fail to understand is the magnitude of the differences between these two applications.

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Aweber VS Infusionsoft: It’s Not Even Close

Comparing the two is like comparing a Porsche to a tricycle. With Aweber, you can do very basic email auto-responders, and nothing more, whereas with Infusionsoft, you can run your entire business; marketing, email, CRM, online shopping cart, affiliate program, and so much more.

So, with all that said, let me begin by giving you my opinion: Infusionsoft is a game changing application, and, by comparison, Aweber is just one tiny piece of the overall picture.

So, with that said, here we go…

Back when I first started my business with a list of subscribers, I chose a company called Aweber for my email marketing provider. They are well known and it only costs $1 to get started on a trial. If you like the software, you have to pay only $19 a month for up to 500 subscribers.

If you are just starting out with email marketing, Aweber is as good a choice as any; however, as your business grows, you are going to eventually run into some serious limitations and then, if you decide to change providers, the pain of change can be quite a burden.

In this post, I’m going to compare the two applications as well as to take a deep dive into why I made the switch from Aweber to Infusionsoft.

Aweber

Aweber’s product has been designed with a single goal: broadcasting and automated email follow up.

They are not a CRM tool, they don’t offer a shopping cart, or anything else that Infusionsoft provides. They just do automated email follow up, so if that is all you need, Aweber will work just fine.

Pros

  • Low cost ($19/month for up to 500 subscribers)

Cons

  • Limited features (no functionality beyond sending emails)
  • Limited customization (you have to use double opt in and you are forced to have a named list for each of your segments, which as you will see when I explain how Infusionsoft works, really sucks)
  • List segmentation is hard (segmenting your list is extremely important and the way that Aweber does this is really a challenge because the only way to get a subscriber onto more than one list is to get them to opt in again which causes extra work for your subscriber)

The Biggest Drawback of Aweber: Multiple System Chaos

Aweber is a very simple application that does one thing very well – hence the short list of pros and cons. However, I have saved the biggest drawback of Aweber for last…and that is this: If you use Aweber, you will suffer from Multiple System Chaos.

As Aweber only does one thing, you are definitely going to need other systems to handle the other parts of your business that are shown in the image below. Do you really want to have to deal with that? I sure don’t!

With Aweber, you will be forced into using multiple systems and the more you have to use, the more complex your business will be

With Aweber, you will be forced into using multiple systems, and the more systems you have to use, the more complex your business will be

Infusionsoft: The Solution to Multiple System Chaos

In preparing for this post, I came across a number of other reviews that restricted themselves to comparing these two (extremely) different applications on a feature by feature basis, and in doing so, they completely missed the (very important) bigger picture!

I am a talented marketer, however, I am not the most technical person in the world and couldn’t write a line of code to save my life. For people like me, this means that using multiple systems will either result in lots of manual work (lame!) or the need for developers to write lots of code which can be a huge challenge as it requires a talented developer and a budget to pay for them.

Infusionsoft eliminates the need for multiple systems because not only does it do email marketing, but it is also my CRM system, my online shopping cart, and my affiliate program – all in one. As you are going to see in the remainder of this post, the integration of these 4 pieces is absolutely critical to your success.

Stop and Look at the Big Picture

Before I dive into all the reasons why I am such a fan of Infusionsoft, I’d like to draw your attention to the bigger picture. No matter what type of business you are in, there are some pretty important things that all businesses have in common. These things include:

  1. Attracting interest
  2. Capturing leads
  3. Nurturing prospects
  4. Converting prospects to customers
  5. Delivering your product
  6. Upselling and repeat sales
  7. Getting referrals
Infusionsoft was designed to support every step of Lifecycle marketing

Infusionsoft was designed to support every step of Lifecycle marketing

In a nutshell, this 7 step process can be referred to as lifecycle marketing and Infusionsoft has been designed from the ground up to support you in every single step, whereas Aweber at best will only support you with steps 2 and 3.

Keep reading, and I will, by way of example, show you why this is such a big deal.

Attracting Interest

Here at BrightIdeas.co, we attract interest with our content – which normally consists of blog posts, videos, and podcasts. Neither Infusionsoft or Aweber really play a part in this step, so, while the concepts are extremely important, for the purposes of this post, we don’t need to talk much about it.

If you would like to learn more about how to attract interest, check out our Lifecycle Marketing Guide.

Capturing Leads

Capturing leads is generally done with what is called a lead magnet, which, most often is a free piece of content that is given away in exchange for someone’s email address.

In my case, the lead magnet is the Conversion Tactics Toolkit, which is a 4-part video series on how to maximize conversions.

Both Infusionsoft and Aweber make building a web form (the thing that goes on your website to collect their name and email) pretty darn easy as they both have form building wizards that don’t require any technical skill at all. Just drag and drop form elements until you have a form that looks how you want. Below is a screenshot of a form that I use to begin segmenting my list.

the form below the video was built in the Infusionsoft form builder. Aweber can do the same.

the form below the video was built in the Infusionsoft form builder. Aweber can do the same. Want to see my segmenting in action? Subscribe to my list at BrightIdeas.co

Nurturing Prospects

Once you’ve captured a lead, what you do next is going to make a massive difference to your results, and it’s where most people really screw up.

Here’s what most people do: they begin sending the exact same sequence of emails to every single person that subscribes. Bad Dog!!!

I literally cannot stress enough the importance of segmenting your list. Why on earth would you send the same content to everyone? The needs of each of your subscribers differs greatly, so why would you send everyone the exact same content? You wouldn’t!

If you don’t segment your list, your email open rates will suffer and your unsubscribe rate will be much higher. From a marketing perspective, creating a Youtube video of your cat would be more effective 🙂

Infusionsoft Makes List Segmentation Easy. Aweber Makes is Really F$%@# Hard!

With Aweber, you must have a completely different list for each series of emails that you want to send. There are a number of challenges with this.

First, each list has to be a unique name that is not used by any other Aweber customer! (read that sentence twice to ensure that you really understand it)

That is just crazy…plus it makes naming your lists much more challenging than it need be.

Second…and this is even worse than the above, is that to get a subscriber from one list to another, you must get them to opt in again and that is going to mean more work for your subscribers.

Guess what that will mean for you? Fewer of them will bother, and as a result, your list will not be as well segmented as it could be.

Lack of Segmentation = Lack of Profits

With Infusionsoft, I don’t need to have separate lists; each with unique and hard to decipher names. Instead, all I need to do is apply something called a tag to a contact record…and, I can name that tag anything I like so that when I look at it later, it will be extremely easy for me to remember what it’s for.

Here’s a few examples of some of the tags I use (I have hundreds of them)

  • Clicked link to MobiLead Method sales page
  • Clicked link to [name of guest] interview
  • Bought [name of product]
  • Registered for [name of webinar]
  • Attended [name of webinar]
  • etc…

Essentially, a tag is like a little sticky note that I use to “stick” to anyone based upon something they click, watch, buy, or do.

Applying a tag is done automatically and can be applied in any of the following ways:

  • Subscriber clicks a link in an email
  • Subscriber fills out a web form
  • Subscriber buys a product
  • Subscriber flows through a campaign sequence

Tagging is unbelievably powerful and I could devote an entire post to it. The thing that I want you to understand here is that a tag can be applied without the need for a user to fill out another web form, so that means that I can make it extremely easy for a subscriber to be tagged based on their actions, or in the case of applying a tag as a part of a campaign sequence, I can apply a tag without my subscriber doing anything at all.

And yes, I can remove tags in the exact same way.

Tags in Action: A Practical Example

Ok…just in case this whole tagging thing isn’t really making sense, it’s so important that I want to give you an example as it pertains to nurturing a prospect.

When I capture a lead via a web form, I can tell Infusionsoft to apply as many tags as I like. At a minimum, I apply a tag that adds them to my newsletter list. I also apply a tag for the date they subscribed.

After they complete the web form, I direct them to another page with a video and another web form (shown in the screenshot further up in this post) and then more tags are applied to tell me that they have segmented themselves and what their occupation is.

Now they might, depending on which segment they are in, begin to receive a series of emails inviting them to a webinar. For this example, let’s say that there are 3 emails to be sent. If they click the registration link in the fist email, they do not receive the second and third email. If they don’t click the link in email #1, they will receive email #2, etc…

With Aweber, this is impossible. With Aweber, if someone is added to a list, they receive every single email that is a part of that list’s sequence unless your subscriber goes and fills out another web form, in which case you can remove them from list #1 and add them to list #2, or, you can have them on both lists.

With Infusionsoft, I might ask them to fill out a web form to apply/remove a tag, but I don’t have to as I could just as easily use any of the other methods that I have described above.

This one bit of functionality is incredibly powerful and it would take me far more than just this blog post to point out all the ways that this can be used.

To show tagging in action, let’s continue with this example…

Converting Prospects into Customers

Now that my subscriber has told me their occupation, Infusionsoft will send them a sequence of emails with links to product offers and content that are highly relevant to that occupation.

More Relevant Content/Offers = More Profits

Let’s suppose that this product offer sequence has 10 emails in it. If my subscriber clicks the link to the sales page in email #4 and buys the product, Infusionsoft will apply a tag that says something like “bought product A” and Infusionsoft will then immediately stop the 10 email sequence and will now start another sequence of emails that was designed specifically for buyers of product A (assuming I created a campaign to follow this logic).

Key Take Away: most people need to be reminded a few times to register for a webinar or buy a product, so with Infusionsoft, I can create multiple email sequences that will stop as soon as the user takes that action that I want them to…even if there are more “reminder” emails in that sequence. This one feature alone is hugely valuable as it increases revenue while avoiding sending too many emails to people who’ve already taken the desired action.

In the product A buyer sequence, I can do anything I want. Here’s a few examples:

  • Ask how they like the product
  • Ask for referrals
  • Send upsell offers
  • Automatically register them for a webinar
  • Start another campaign

Focus On Your Hottest Leads

Lead Scoring is another feature of Infusionsoft that is incredibly powerful because with lead scoring, you will always know who your hottest leads are at any given time, simply based upon which tags have been applied.

So, supposed a subscriber clicked on a link to a sales page from an email that they received as part of a campaign they are in. When that link is clicked, the tag is applied, and then, as you can see below, a lead score can be increased (or decreased) for a given period of time.

A contact's lead score can be automatically adjusted whenever a tag is applied.

A contact’s lead score can be automatically adjusted whenever a tag is applied.

Within Infusionsoft, leads a scored using a simple scale of 1 to 5 flames and, if you are creative in how you build your campaigns, you can trigger further automation that is starts when a lead score moves from 1 to 2 flames, or from 2 to 3 flames, etc…

Why do this? Don’t you think people with 5 flames should be paid attention to? I sure do!

This cannot be done with Aweber.

Create Lists on the Fly

From time to time, most businesses want to offer some kind of special promotion or discount on one of their products. Thanks to all the tagging that I do with my subscribers (remember, I apply tags for virtually everything my subscribers do/see/click/attend), I can very easily create a list of potential buyers based upon any criteria that I like. For example, I can easily create a list of invitees for a webinar that would appeal to only a portion of my entire audience and then send invites to only these people.

In both cases, all I would need to do is to run a query against my database that looking something like this:

Show me all the contacts who:

  • Subscribed between this date and that date
  • Have clicked the link to my MobiLead Magnet sales page
  • Have attended at a particular webinar
  • Who are not yet MobiLead Magnet customers

Hopefully, you get the idea. With tags, I have unlimited power to create a list of suitable contacts and then send them an offer anytime I want.

This is impossible to do with Aweber.

As I hope you are starting to realize, applying tags is an incredibly powerful and easy way to segment your list and Aweber simply cannot do this. It’s just not built that way…plus, it won’t tie into your online shopping cart unless you buy more software or hire a programmer.

With Infusionsoft, this is all done via the visual campaign builder. Below is a screenshot of a campaign created to recover an abandoned shopping cart. Tags and automation are the key to making this work.

This is a screenshot of a campaign created in Infusionsoft's campaign builder to recover an abandoned shopping cart. Tags are the key to making this work.

This is a screenshot of a campaign created in Infusionsoft’s campaign builder to recover an abandoned shopping cart. Tags are the key to making this work.

As I said earlier, Aweber does not have a shopping cart, so, without hiring a programmer, this type of integration will be impossible to do.

Delivering Your Product

So, now that you’ve collected the money via Infusionsoft’s online shopping cart, you actually have to deliver the product or service.

If your product is digital, you can have Infusionsoft automatically send out an email with a download link. This is easy as pie.

If your product is physical and is shipped by a fulfillment partner, you can have your campaign send a message to your fulfillment partner’s server and the order will be fulfilled automatically after the order is placed. This means you don’t have to do order fulfillment and and instead can be off doing something else…like say…sipping a margarita on your patio or playing with your kids 🙂

If your product is shipped by you or your staff, or you have sold a service of some kind, you can tell Infusionsoft to assign tasks to you are anyone else on your team. You are only limited by your imagination.

Did I mention that Infusionsoft has a CRM component? Well, it does, it’s a fantastic tool!

You can pull up any customer record you like and see a summary of all their tags, their orders, the campaigns that are running, the emails they’ve opened, and anything else you could ever want….and it’s all in one place…which means no more wasting time searching through multiple systems for the data you need!

This is the summary view. Clicking the icons provides much more detailed information about each contact.

This is the summary view. Clicking the icons provides much more detailed information about each contact.

Upselling and Repeat Sales

Unless you have only one product, or you like to continually look for new customers, upselling your customers to generate repeat business is a very good idea.

The reason for this is obvious: you don’t have to incur the expense of finding a new customer, so your net profit per transaction will be much higher than if you did.

With Infusionsoft, you can put product upsells on auto-pilot, and when you do, it will make a massive difference to your bottom line.

For example, 26% of the people the buy The MobiLead Method (now the Best Buyer Formula) decided to buy the first upsell, which is a bundle of done-for-you content. In addition to that, 6% of the people that bought The MobiLead Method also decided to buy the MobiLead Magnet, which is a WordPress plugin that I built to be used with the course.

If, during the checkout process (which is handled by Infusionsoft), someone doesn’t purchase one of the upsells, I could very easily create additional sequences to make additional offers down the road, and it would all happen on auto-pilot.

You cannot do this with Aweber.

Getting Referrals

Back when I ran my last company, Dyrand Systems, we got a lot of business from referrals from our existing customers. This happened because we did two things right: we delivered a premium service that our customers loved, and then we asked them to refer us to other people.

Back then, the asking part was a manual process that was done by our account managers.

Thanks to automation, identifying your happiest customers and then asking them for referrals can now be done completely on autopilot.

The NPS survey tells Infusionsoft who is most happy and then sends them an email with a request for a referral.

The NPS survey tells Infusionsoft who is most happy and then sends them an email with a request for a referral.

With Aweber, you cannot do this on auto-pilot.

Final Thoughts

While extremely capable, Infusionsoft does have a few draw backs.

First, it is much more expensive that Aweber. Depending on what promotions Infusionsoft is running at any given time, the software requires an up front investment of $1,500 to $2,000 and then costs between $219 and $379 per month. Aweber starts at just $19/month. But remember…do you want a tricycle or a Porsche?

If you are struggling with justifying the price, I would encourage you to check out the many Infusionsoft success stories and tutorials that I have published. In each, you will hear an entrepreneur describe how Infusionsoft has had a huge impact on their business.

The other drawback with Infusionsoft is that the application, due to its much vaster array of capabilities, requires more learning to attain proficiency. The good news is that Infusionsoft’s free training material is excellent, as is their support department. Plus, their new visual campaign builder has dramatically simplified the user experience. When people see the campaign builder for the first time, their response is generally something like “wow!” or “that is totally awesome!!”.

In addition to these two resources, there are also an army of Infusionsoft Certified Consultants who would be happy to assist you. My wife being one of them 🙂

Obviously, no system is perfect and prior to choosing which one is right for your business, a thorough investigation must be done. Hopefully, if you are trying to decide if you should choose Infusionsoft or Aweber, this post has been helpful to you.

If you have additional questions, please use the comment form below and I promise to provide you with a prompt answer.

Additional Resources


If you are a marketing consultant or run a marketing agency and are thinking of purchasing Infusionsoft, I’d like to let you know that if you use my affiliate link, I can have Infusionsoft give you a copy of a full campaign that I created just for agencies. You can see this campaign here.

In addition, I have also created an extensive library of tutorial videos and interviews with highly successful Infusionsoft users that you will likely find incredibly valuable.

And finally, if you have questions, please contact me directly.

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  • Henk van der Wijk

    Now I know what I have to pay attention to when selecting a partner to work with!
    Very valuable, thank you Trent!

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Henk,

      You’re very welcome. If you are thinking of getting Infusionsoft, I have a very special bonus package of ‘done for you’ campaigns that I give to people who use my affiliate link.

      Trent

  • I’ve heard from people that infusions off is so difficult to set up that you often have to pay a consultant to do it for you. Have they significantly changed their system over that last 12 months or so?

    Also re: Aweber

    You can create lists that are single opt in. You toggle double opt in off when you are creating a list.

    In any case I’ve just completely avoided Infusionsoft since every person I’ve heard that switches says how hard it is to set up but if they have changed that I’d be interested. Do your Aweber leads need to opt in again if you switch over? For me (or anyone) that’s the killer.

    I’d rather just continue paying $450 per month for Aweber ( I have 50,000+ subscribers) and then sign up for a new service for new lists.

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Chris,

      Infusionsoft is super easy to use now that they have the visual campaign builder. I have created scads of videos on it and they are here.

      If you export you list from Aweber, you will not have to have them all double optin again. Please feel free to contact me directly if you want to see more of how I’m using it. I’ve also queued up a few interviews to send to your inbox that showcase other entrepreneur’s success stories with Infusionsoft. If you are not using it, you are missing out, mate 🙂

  • I’m a former iContact user and the tricycle vs Porche comparison applies as well.

    Infusionsoft is a complete solution and not just a way to automate auto responder sequences.

  • Wilson Barrera

    Hi Trent,

    Many thanks for this deep explanation about the advantages of use infusionsoft.

    Now i have a clear picture of it.

    I have a question because i am newbie with a very short budget. So i would like to know if is possible to have just the autoresponder module without crm, shopping card etc.

    That way i can Begin with something cheap.

    Thanks in advance

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      The pricing starts of at $219/mo for the CRM and Marketing Automation (emails). You can’t get one without the other…but as they work hand in hand, you wouldn’t really want to. If you have more questions, please just send me an email.

      Cheers,
      Trent

  • Yes, Infusionsoft performs like a Porsche – IF you can figure out how to use its many functions, and IF you can figure out its incredibly confusing reporting system.

    There’s a reason Infusionsoft has been nicknamed “Confusionsoft”.

    I’ve been using Infusionsoft for over a year, and its lack of user-friendliness drives me absolutely batty. Why should I have to hire a consultant to set up a system that is explicitly targeted at small businesses?

    The ONLY reason I continue to suffer through it all is Infusionsoft’s segmentation capability. If Aweber had that functionality built in, I would move back to it in a heartbeat.

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Moe,

      Are you using the campaign builder or the legacy features? If you aren’t using the (new) campaign builder, that would likely explain why you find the app confusing. With the campaign builder, everything is very visual and quite easy to use.

  • I’ve been using the campaign builder for over a year. I agree that it’s visual orientation makes it easier to structure new campaigns, and Infusionsoft is improving the ease of adding tags, etc. But the reporting is absolutely horrible. I asked Jermaine Griggs (who, as you know, was Infusionsoft’s “Ultimate Marketer of the Year”) about reporting, and he agreed that it’s terrible – to the point where he had to get his own dashboard app custom-made. Why Infusionsoft doesn’t have more user-friendly reporting features is beyond me…

    • Trent Dyrsmid

      Ok, on reporting, I agree. It currently sucks. However, if you are creative with tagging and use widgets on your dashboard, you can get some good info.

  • Robin Phillips

    Trent,

    Have you done a comparison between Infusionsoft and Instant Customer by chance? Looks like other than the CRM in Infusionsoft, Instant Customer has everything plus more including content distribution, Mobile Responsive website builders and more. Just curious if you’ve looked at that service yet.

    Thanks,

    • Hi Robin,

      No, I haven’t. Never heard of it until now.

      • Robin Phillips

        Trent,

        Take a look at it along with Traffic Geyser 2.0 (same platform) and tell me what you think.

        Thanks,

        Robin

        • Anything with a name like “Traffic Geyser” is not something I would consider. There are no shortcuts to generating traffic.

          • Robin Phillips

            If that were the case i would definitely understand. TG is not a short cut for traffic generation but in fact a suite of tools to help generate traffic as well as leads.

          • In that case, I’m sure it’s a fine system; just not one that I have the time/interest to dive into and evaluate.

  • Andrew Seipp

    I have given Infusionsoft a pass due to it’s incredibly poor interface and poor reporting. I’ve used enterprise grade tools like Eloqua, Marketo and Hubspot and they have more features and I could train my mother on how to use them in an afternoon.

    Yes, they cost more, but the fact that Infusionsoft is targeted at small business, but requires a consultant to actually use them is asinine.

    Since 90% of Infusionsoft implementations are using it as a glorified email marketing system, most customers are better off using ActiveCampaign which has a feature set that rivals, if not exceeds, what Infusionsoft can do, all starting at $9 per month.

    I’ve built an entire business getting people OFF Infusionsoft.

    Multiple system chaos? Sorry Infusionsoft, being a jack of all trades, master of none is not what small businesses are looking for.

    • Andrew,

      Based upon the harsh nature of your comments, it seems like you might have a personal issue with Infusionsoft and that has perhaps clouded your judgement?

      I have used the app for a number of years and while it’s not perfect, for the price, it is by far the best at what it does – which is to help small businesses to do more with less.

      Let me give you a few examples…

      #1) The visual campaign builder is excellent. I also use HubSpot and they don’t have a visual campaign builder…which is a huge deficiency, in my opinion.

      #2) Infusionsoft allows me to receive online payments, and then I can trigger automated sequences to fire after receipt of the payment. When it comes to selling my products online, or onboarding new clients, this is HUGELY valuable.

      #3) Infusionsoft has a built-in CRM that is pretty darn good. Are there better CRMs? I’m sure there are; however, they are not tied into marketing automation and eCommerce.

      Could the reporting be better? Definitely. HubSpot, for example, has phenomenal reporting; however, the reporting from HubSpot is primarily around web traffic and social media…two elements that Infusionsoft wasn’t even built to address.

      For additional differences between HubSpot and Infusionsoft, read this: http://brightideas.co/using-hubspot-infusionsoft-run-groove-digital-marketing/

      • Andrew Seipp

        Hi Trent,
        I’m not disputing that Infusionsoft can’t do these things. My issue is how complicated they have needlessly made them for most small businesses.

        1) ActiveCampaign can do this. It’s visual campaign builder is extremely easy to understand and has more features than IS.

        2) AC integrates with every shopping cart system out there including Shopify and even WooCommerce. Rather than redirecting them to an Infusionsoft cart, I can keep them on my own site and I have full control of the design and interface.

        3) ActiveCampaign again has a limited CRM. I personally haven’t used it much, but it plays nice with every tool out there.

        And it can do it all starting from $9 per month.

        The concept of Infusionsoft, having all of the tools integrated into one system, is sound. But the devil is in the details and sadly I don’t think that Infusionsoft is quite there yet.