While running an online business, it becomes the need of the hour to communicate with customers. There are various forms of initiating a conversation or triggering communication. Among all, email campaigns are one such form. Whether it’s product update or sharing new tips with customers in the form of regular newsletters, emails are needed everywhere, at every step.
We send various updates as newsletters, other than emails that contain several transaction details. As an e-commerce portal, we have a high frequency of email campaigns. We carry out email campaigns almost every alternate day to a subscriber base of around 40,000. Hence, if seen on a monthly basis, we send out approximately 600,000 emails per month. We are only happy to state that our subscriber base is only increasing!
MailChimp and Aweber Days
We have been a long-term user of MailChimp and Aweber, starting from our first attempt to send emails. We used MailChimp for consumer interactions, while Aweber was more for business and clients. We loved both of these email marketing services since each helped us cater to a separate segment.
Our inbound and business development team were using Aweber email marketing solution to be in touch with vendors and sellers. Until now, we did not face any issue with Aweber, as we were paying a nominal amount to handle the email subscribers. Also, compared to the growth and frequency of email volumes, we were growing too fast on Mailchimp account. With this increase in the volume of emails on MailChimp, our per month billing started going above $5000 and observing this spike in 2 quarters, and we started going out on our planned budget expenditure on email marketing.
Search for MailChimp Alternatives began
Left by no choice, we started our search for right email marketing software or service. We started with evaluating email services in bulk through SMTP servers. While searching, we chanced upon Interspire. However, looking at the cost involved and technology required for Interspire, we dropped the idea. Then we came across transitional email gateways, which included MailChimp parent email SMTP Server called Mandrill. Along with this, we also cross-checked the pricing of SendGrid.
All in all, these were cheaper in comparison to MailChimp, but the problem was they all required a separate application to manage email campaigns and subscribers, along with lists and bounce/spam automation to filter emails.
Amazon SES was my next new finding
Meanwhile, during this search for SMTP gateways, we came across Amazon SES, which is widely known as Amazon Simple Email Service. SES is an STMP service provided by Amazon itself and to my knowledge, until now I was not aware of this service. Now doing quick research, I got to know that, Amazon SES has the lowest price email gateway.
SES was way cheaper than Mailchimp solution that we were using until now. Also, compared with other email SMTP services, Amazon SES was available at a damn low price. Comparing the prices of bulk emails where Mailchimp used to charge $1,000.00 for 100,000 emails and Campaign Monitor also costs near about $1,005.00, Amazon SES cost only $10.00! – which was completely unbelievable to us in the first look.
Then we met Sendy
Once we were clear on how well Amazon SES service can help us do our work at a lower price, our whole team decided to start working with it. As we were exploring more options for email marketing, we screeched a halt at Sendy. Sendy needed to be hosted on a server and integrated with Amazon SES API. As a team of marketing people, the entire process looked very geeky!
After a week of deadlock, and some lengthy discussions, we decided to ping the technology team of our company. The tech team agreed to help us with the installation. Hence, we ordered for Sendy online and got everything set up by the following weekend.
Started using Sendy…
Monday started with the trial session of Sendy emailer. Everything was perfect except for the speed of sending emails. On further digging, we got to know Amazon SES puts your account on five emails per second and 10,000 emails per day limit for first few week. But, looking our current requirement, we needed more speed and number of emails.
Contacting SES team, they said that, first we need to start with small campaign sample and to look at the performance of the emails, they will allow us to grow the email sending rate and per day email limit elastically. We followed the instructions. After starting off with small email campaigns and generating a good performance result, the rate at which emails were being sent started increasing. Along with this, our per day email limit also increased gradually.
We were happy with Sendy. It took care of everything- starting with the bounce to spam, email campaigns were now more seamless. Sendy automatically removed those subscribers where bounce was happening. It also handled all unsubscriptions and spams efficiently. We now had a system that was great.
Talking about EasySendy Pro:
After few months, while attending a Marketing event, our team came across another a service called EasySendy Pro. This name popped up when I was discussing saving on email campaigns with few of my fellow marketers. Probing further, I got to know EasySendy Pro is a software-as-a-service solution, which connects with SMTP relay servers of choice to send emails. It connects with Amazon SES for email marketing, Mandrill, SendGrid, Sparkpost, Leadersend, Elasticemail and MailGun.
With a bucket full of new information, the very next day I began checking EasySendy Pro and its features. Everything looked perfect and instantly I contacted their support team, with few queries that had made into my head! The primary motive to see how responsive they were.
And Hola! In 20 minutes, I was reading answers to my queries related to using multiple SMTP relay servers. Here, we also got new information about the concept of micro-delivery of emails, which help in improving email open rate drastically. Finally, I registered a free account with EasySendy Pro, which gave me ability to upload 2,000 email subscribers.
Satisfied with the features and customer support, I headed to discuss on migrating to EasySendy Pro platform with my higher authorities.
EasySendy Pro made everything Smoother
In the next week, I placed an order for For 100,000 Subscribers, 30 Emails / Second Speed and 3 Delivery Servers for $53/ month at EasySendy Pro. Within 10 minutes, I got everything up and running. EasySendy Pro support team helped us to integrate Amazon SES, also contributed to verify our domain name with DKIM records. Earlier we did not have any DKIM record setup on our domain name.
With EasySendy Pro we got to know, why it is important to have DKIM and SPF at the domain name. Having valid DKIM record setup on the domain name, help the emails to land in the inbox with high delivery rate, compared to non-verified domain names.
With EasySendy Pro, delivery server setup completed in the first go, we also activated additional Mandrill delivery server. With growing email subscriptions, EasySendy Pro is making our task quite easy. Also, the biggest advantage of using EasySendy Pro came in the form of savings on our email marketing.
Other features of EasySendy Pro, which we are finding very much useful, are –
Smart Autoresponder and advanced email list segmentation were based on subscriber interactions with the email campaign and templates. We started segmenting our customers based on their email open and link click activity. Micro-segmentation helped to send highly targeted emails which finally showed over 150% improvement.
Delivering email through multiple email delivery relay servers improved our email inbox delivery and enhanced email open rates, which, at last, resulted in an improved ROI on email marketing. For new subscribers, we first used Mandrill for the initial campaigns and after that, we moved to Amazon SES for delivering email campaigns.
Other most used features of EasySendy Pro were re-engagement campaigns, i.e. sending email campaigns to the list of people who did not open previous email campaign. And honestly, it was just a two click thing within EasySendy Pro.
We ended up saving $5000 more per month, which we could have lost while using Mailchimp. *Sigh*
A major update to EasySendy that turned our heads
Ofcourse we loved EasySendy Pro. However, recently EasySendy released two new pricing plans – EasySendy Drip and EasySendy Automate. We quickly scanned the features and found EasySendy Drip just perfect. It’s not that we had to spend a fortune to upgrade. And anyway, when you get quality stuff and proper results, you can actually readjust your budget. Same happened with us. [PS: EasySendy is now powered by its mid-enterprise brand, Aritic PinPoint -which is a comprehensive marketing automation suite for enterprises and SMEs.]
We started using EasySendy Drip. The new embeddable popup forms in EasySendy Drip eased out our email list building process. These forms can be embedded anywhere on your website. You can choose from over 200 templates based on what your business needs, customize them as you wish, and start using to capture new visitors to your website.
These forms also have the option to add social subscription buttons which can speed up the subscription process. We used Facebook and Twitter subscription buttons, and we saw the time to subscribe for our new visitors went down considerably, pushing our subscription rates up. We tried their on-exit and page scroll forms as well. However, for us, on-exit forms worked the best.
We started doing behavior-based contact segmentation (more advanced level) and sending event-based email campaigns to our customers. In other words, our email campaigns became more relevant and targeted. The new campaign builder comes with ample of actions, conditions, and decision triggers – or, to put it simply, creating behavior-based and event-based drip email campaigns are easy and quick. We created welcome drips and onboarding drips for our new subscribers in a few minutes. Oh, before I forget, one amazing feature is that when you use popup forms to capture your new subscribers, these contacts are automatically added to the database with proper segmentation. Hence, all you need to do is place your popup form on your website, and then head to plan your nurturing drip campaign.
As the name suggests, EasySendy Drip is actually designed to make small drip series pretty easily. If you want to build a long drip, you can do that. You can include subscriber score tags, add numerous email tags, and trigger re-engagement campaigns as well. Add to this, you can A/B test your email campaigns and dig in deep into the analytics that will take you beyond email open rates and clicks. The time wrap delivery feature and the added advantage of using more than one email delivery server make EasySendy (Drip) worth every penny.
EasySendy Automate, on the other hand, is more advanced. If you want to have 360-lead profiling, landing pages, dynamic segmentation, website tracking, and more such advanced automation features, you can surely upgrade to this Automate plan.
We are using EasySendy Drip for over a month now, and I can say its a hassle-free email marketing tool. It is GDPR compliant and lets you create double opt-in subscription methods so that you can be extra sure that your subscribers have joined your mailing list by choice. EasySendy team was very clear from the starting that they do not support third party email lists or cold emailing. Rather, they have beautiful popups to help you build an email list from scratch if you need to.
You will get everything you’d need to create, nurture, and monitor your email campaigns. Autoresponders, RSS emails, A/B testing, behavior-based segmentation, email tags, subscriber scores, webhook, time wrap, email filters, reCaptcha forms, Google Analytics UTM Tags; name it and EasySendy Drip has it sorted for you. You can try it for free for first 1,000 subscribers.
PS – These email marketing tips were shared by a marketing team of India’s fastest growing e-commerce portal.