AWeber: New editor for newsletters and autoresponders

Finally, this spring, AWeber released its WYSIWYG editor (which decodes as what-you-see-is-what-you-get), also called a click-and-edit editor or drag-and-drop editor. Basically, in plain language, it means that now each small part of your newsletter is represented by its own editable area. To add content to an article, headline, introduction or image, click on a relevant area which opens a small edit box (with options very similar to MS Word) and create your awesome content. Then you can drag and drop content areas around the newsletter.

No messing around with HTML, no worrying about accidentally deleting template code… Sounds great, right? Not quite.

We’ve done our extensive testing. As we were quite excited about this development, it would have taken a lot of pain away from our internet marketing clients and ourselves if we had to check and fix their newsletters before they go out. And we’ve found that there are still a few issues that will limit much of your internet marketing efforts with email marketing, but overall it’ll probably help if you’re using AWeber now.

That’s how it works.

To use the editor login as usual for your AWeber account, select the list and go to Broadcast Messages. You will see that the options are now toggled. So if you want to use the old editor and your old template, choose the option below. Otherwise, press the big button to experience the new feature.

Next you will see the new message editor. It has a few key features:

  • You can still add your own HTML newsletter code or send a message as plain text;
  • You can choose from a number of pre-designed templates formatted to work with the new editing features;
  • You can filter templates by color or keyword;
  • and you can create your own template (in a separate HTML editor), use the code in the template editor window, add new AWeber tags, then save and use in the list.
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Once you’ve selected your template and loaded it into the editor, you can start creating your newsletter. AWeber default templates come with predefined areas to edit and some content from Lorem Ipsum to show you how it will look like in the end. You can then click on different regions in the newsletter to start editing.

The downside here: you can’t edit default templates. You either like them and use them as is, or create something different yourself. Although you can use different content widgets within the newsletter, they must fit within the standard structure and settings. Image hosting still needs to be done elsewhere – your own website, Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google, etc.

One could say: didn’t we have these opportunities earlier? What has changed? Well, the main change is the way the message editor works. If you previously worked on the Design tab and added or edited your newsletter content, you could actually format, add or remove HTML code behind the scenes. That changed your newsletter layout and presentation. Now the code is protected – even if you copy content from Word, you won’t suddenly get a lot of “funny styles” in the newsletter.

You can now add the following widgets to the newsletter:

  • Headings – large headings that separate sections in the newsletter or serve as the title of the newsletter;
  • Article – text and image combination with an optional read more link for your website;
  • Paragraph – plain text option;
  • Image – large image that can be as wide as your newsletter;
  • button – image button with a call to action;
  • Follow Me – adds icons and links for social media (Twitter and Facebook) if you have already linked your accounts to AWeber;
  • Products – narrow tall combination of image + title + description + price. Works best in sidebars.
  • Coupon – a small area where you can add your special offer. Usually bolder, no image, center aligned.
  • Logo – adds your logo image to the newsletter. You can resize it to be quite wide and act as a newsletter header.
  • Signature – Section with your photo, name and email address.
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You can still add attachments (bottom of message editor), save for later, test & preview. Autoresponder creation (follow-up message editor) works the same way.

When you’re done editing your newsletter, click Next to review and edit your sharing and archiving options, then click Next again to choose which lists to send to and schedule.

Another big issue from our design perspective: very limited functionality for custom template creation. In fact, you need to create a template that has a basic structural design without going into too much detail per article/section. You then need to add AWeber content tags which will give you 6 editable areas for your newsletter: header, footer, content, sidebar 1, sidebar 2, sidebar 3. Content tag is required (where you will place your widgets in the message Editor), the rest is up to you if you need it. This means you can’t reliably define styles and formatting for widgets, and when you load your template you won’t get any Lorem Ipsum content there.

So a solution to this problem would be to load your custom email template, add the tags, save, create a newsletter draft with all the widgets and configure how you will use them in the required places. Save this draft as your TEMPLATE DRAFT and do not edit with actual content or submit. Then, every time you need to create a newsletter, copy that draft and fill your widgets with content to send.

I hope this was helpful – comment below and ask your questions! Also see this blog by AWeber for more information: new editor is here.