(Or… “DAP vs MailChimp”, “DAP vs. GetResponse”, …. “DAP vs 3rd-Party-List-Service”)
We often get asked why use Aweber (or other third-party list service) when DAP itself has a built-in Autoresponder system as well as an Email Broadcast system. So here’s a brief overview of when and why it makes sense to use DAP – or Aweber.
Why DAP Rocks
[UPDATE 1 on 05/20/2012: Starting v4.3.1, DAP now integrates with Amazon SES (Simple Email Service), which allows you to send out tens of thousands of emails a day using DAP. Which means that it will only cost you pennies to send out a large volume of email via DAP (just $0.10 per 1000 emails!). So imagine the power of DAP and the deliverability of Amazon in one sweet integrated system!
UPDATE 2: DAP can also send out emails via Gmail's servers - all you need is a Gmail account]
Until quite recently, it used to be that the biggest advantage of using a third-party service like Aweber was their deliverability rate. But with the onslaught of high-powered, high-deliverability but-still-inexpensive services like Amazon SES, the advantage now shifts more towards DAP.
But first, some basics…
DAP is not an email service like Aweber.
DAP is just a tool – like Outlook or Thunderbird – that simply sends out email using your web host’s email server.
If your inexpensive shared web host is hosting a large number of sites on one server, and one of them sends out spam (or mistakenly gets flagged for spam), that will put the email deliverability of every web site on that server, in jeopardy, because your site now shares the same IP address as that of an “alleged” spammer. So your emails could get sent to junk/spam folder by Gmail and Yahoo. Or worse, they just totally disappear into the ether. Some customers won’t get your emails. This won’t happen with Aweber (for the most part).
Aweber (and other premier email service providers) have staff on hand just for this purpose. Their core business is about email deliverability. They spend a lot of time, money and resources dealing with regular ISP’s (like AOL and SBC) to make sure their lists – and their reputation – remain clean. Which is also probably why they shut down large lists without much of a warning to you, and do other similar crazy stuff.
I guess it works for them – and the other Aweber users, because when you send out an email through your Aweber list, it almost always gets there in your recipient’s inbox. Which is very cool. And which is why they also charge so much for their service.
And that’s where DAP comes in.
You can use DAP’s built-in email autoresponder and broadcast system, and send out emails through your web host. But that normally means that the deliverability of those emails is only as good as your web host’s deliverability. And if you’re not on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a Dedicated server, then relying on your cheap, shared web host to safely deliver your email to your members is totally unrealistic and naive – just ain’t gonna happen.
And that’s where the 3rd-Party SMTP feature of DAP comes in real handy – this is one of the un-sung features of DAP that makes it so much more powerful than almost all other competing WordPress membership plugins, and just doesn’t get talked about enough.
You can use DAP as an “Email-Sending Tool” and hook it up to an external SMTP service provider – like Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), Fusemail.com or AuthSMTP.com – to send out bulk-mail through DAP – while completely bypassing your web host’s email system.
Which means your deliverability goes through the roof, thanks to a 3rd party SMTP provider like Amazon SES that practically guarantees you sky-high deliverability rates and rock-bottom rates, because now you can host hundreds of thousands of emails in DAP for no extra charge (it’s after all just disk-space in your database), and send emails through Amazon SES (costs just 10 cents for every 1000 emails you send).
Don’t wish to pay even those few pennies? Then simply use DAP on a decent web host.
DAP also has a built-in job queue to schedule outgoing emails, with the ability to throttle the number to make sure that you don’t exceed your web host’s hourly email sending limits (most web hosts limit you to 300 outgoing emails/hour).
You can even use multiple SMTP servers from your own other lesser-used web sites, all combined together in a round-robin fashion, be able to send thousands of emails an hour right from your web host for absolutely free!
So, to summarize, here’s what DAP can and can-not do when compared to more expensive, dedicated email services like Aweber and GetResponse.
- Aweber and similar services cost several hundred dollars a year (see Aweber.com – it could cost you about $794 a year – based on an annual fee of $194/year + another $600/year for maintaining a list size of just 5,000 subscribers). But all emails sent via DAP are essentially FREE! You don’t pay anything to send out thousands of emails and have a list with tens of thousands of members. The Autoresponder & Broadcast features are built right into the core DAP software.
- Don’t trust your web host to deliver the emails? Simply hook up DAP to an external email system like Amazon SES and send thousands of emails for mere pennies! Takes all of 5 minutes to set up!
- Unlimited Autoresponders
- Store Unlimited email id’s for free (no limit on how large your list can grow – so it’s practically free, since you’ve already paid for DAP and your web hosting)
- Full control over your list. You can make the sign-ups single opt-in. You can add your buyers to your list without forcing double opt-in on them. Services like Aweber will force double opt-in even when it’s a paid member who just purchased your product or service. And there’s no way around it. And you have to play by their rules, even if they don’t make sense sometimes. But since you control the DAP software, you get to decide who to send out broadcast or autoresponder emails to. Bring them all in as single-optin if you want. Or move them from one list to another. Or add them to multiple lists. Whatever you want.
- Import any CSV list (just need an email) and broadcast to them or add them to your autoresponder. You don’t even have to add them to your database at all – do on-the-fly mailings without storing any of the emails or subscriber data (imagine sending out a quick email blast to your mastermind group – or soccer team parents!). A very powerful tool – so don’t abuse it (i.e., don’t use it to spam!)
- Add same email to multiple Autoresponders (unique to DAP)
- Email throttling included, so as to not exceed your web host’s hourly email sending limits
- DAP has a stunning-looking “Lightbox” plugin with several built-in templates, to show your DAP signup form as a popup. See List Builder Popup for DAP
- Ability to merge member data – like password or affiliate link or user id – right into the emails (DAP only). Third-party email services won’t know as much about your members as DAP does, and won’t be able to (say) send members their personalized affiliate link (like DAP can).
- International-friendly: Using DAP, you can send out autoresponder and broadcast emails in multiple languages. Not restricted to just English. DAP now supports Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Danish, French, Italian, and Hindi – and that’s just what we know! DAP will surely work with any language that is UTF-8 based. We don’t think any of the big third-party email marketing services – like Aweber or GetResponse – support non-English emails. This in itself is a HUGE plus for DAP.
Advantage: Aweber and the others
- Ability to track open rates and click-through rates (coming in a future version in DAP)
- Ability to automatically send out your newly published blog posts as a broadcast (also coming in a future version in DAP)
So given a choice, here’s what we recommend, in the order listed below:
1) DAP + 3rd Party List Service like Amazon SES: Best option that we use ourselves
2) DAP + Aweber: If you already have an Aweber account, then this is a great option, especially if you want advanced email analytics that DAP itself doesn’t offer (yet).
3) DAP + Your Web Host: Very usable and workable option as long as you are hosting with a decent web host.
Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.