Here’s some terminology that confuses even seasoned business owners: Aweber’s follow-up and broadcast messages. They’re both emails, and they both go out to your entire list, so why the distinction?
It has to do with when the email is sent. Follow-up messages are sent to every subscriber on the designated day. So if you have a message set as a follow-up and it’s scheduled to go out 7 days after the first, every subscriber will receive it 7 days after he or she receives the first message.
A broadcast, on the other hand, goes out on the time and day you set, but only to those who are currently subscribed. If you send a broadcast today, and someone new signs up tomorrow, that person will not receive your message.
Follow-up messages are best for sending evergreen information, such as a weekly tip or a 5-part ecourse, or even a series of emails designed to help new users navigate your site.
Broadcast messages are typically more time-sensitive. They need to be read today, but will be meaningless in a few weeks or months or next year, so having them in your follow-up sequence wouldn’t make sense.
Blog broadcasts are a separate type of broadcast message. They’re created from the RSS feed of your website, so they’re automatic, but they aren’t placed into your follow-up sequence. Instead, they go out as a regular broadcast, either automatically or only upon your approval, depending how the account is set up.
Checking Who Has Received Your Messages
You can see where in your follow-up series each subscriber is, and what broadcasts he or she has received by selecting the correct list from the dropdown at the top of your Aweber admin panel and clicking the “Subscribers” tab.
A list of all subscribers will appear, with columns indicating name, email address, confirmation status, and other important information. In the “Last Message” column you’ll see the number of the last follow-up message each subscriber has received. It will be different for each person, because each one has signed up at a different time.
Clicking on a subscriber’s email address brings up even more information, like the time and date of each message, if and when it was opened, and how they were subscribed to your list – either via “api” which means through a third-party script, or through which of your opt-in forms.
There’s also a place where you can leave a note – such as if a subscriber contacts you directly to unsubscribe, or if he or she is having trouble receiving your emails.
Adjusting your Autoresponder (Follow-Up) Schedule
Your follow-up messages are sent out in order on the day you specify. Each message is assigned a numerical value beginning with number 1 (which is sent out first). Your number 1 email goes out immediately upon signup. When you add message number 2 to your sequence, you will choose the day that message should be sent. The number of days is based on when the previous message was mailed. So if you set this number to 4, for example, message number 2 will go out 4 days after message number 1.
To change the interval, open the message editor and navigate to the “settings” page. Here you can set the interval, and also select if you want this message to only be sent on certain days/times. For example, if your message is going out on the second day, but you know your list will miss emails sent on the weekend, you can tell Aweber not to send this particular message on Saturday or Sunday. If day 2 falls on a weekend, Aweber will wait until Monday to send the message.
You can also rearrange the order of your emails by dragging and dropping them in the follow-up list shown above. Just click and hold, and drag the message up or down to change the send order. The interval will remain the same.
Mix and Match Emails
Your mailing list will consist of a combination of both follow-up and broadcast messages, since every mailing list should have at least one follow-up. Your subscribers expect to get something immediately to acknowledge their subscription.
Future follow-up messages allow you to stay in touch with your mailing list automatically, while broadcasts offer a way to contact them immediately with time-sensitive information. Just remember – that broadcast you send out today will not be seen by anyone who signs up later. You should never send the same message as both a broadcast and a follow-up, however. Doing that will mean everyone currently on your list will get the same email twice, and will likely result in a few complaints.
Still not clear on whether to use follow-up messages or broadcasts? Leave a comment below and I’ll help you clarify.