Marketing, Design, Writing & More

Email Like a Boss With Sendy for Pennies

Email Like a Boss With Sendy for PenniesSendy is a self-hosted newsletter solution that utilizes Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) & Simple Notification Service (SNS) to push communications to your subscribers through email. Simply put, you pay $59 for Sendy and then setup the script on your own hosting service. Once you finish setting it up, you signup with Amazon by going through the process of setting up SES & SNS and tying it with your Sendy installation. This could be super easy for some people and a few weeks of a learning curve for others. I am somewhere in the middle because I can install it and follow directions easy. The part that makes it tough is using or finding email templates and customizing it to include your message. Sendy is not as polished or simplistic as the competitors.

Crafting each newsletter is a difficult part of the process, but I already spent time discussing email marketing in a previous post. Instead, I want to run through my own experiences that I can share since I have been using Sendy for the past 10 months. I have sent many campaigns (newsletters) to my subscribers resulting in a 10-30% open rate. Those rates are the best you can get when compared to other solutions like social media ads, banner ads, or other ads that might get people to your site. Those open rates are low still and learning what attracts them versus what turns them off from opening my emails is still being assessed. I firmly believe I can reach a 25-60% open rate with enough practice.

I struggle to email my subscribers just for the sake of sending something. Emailing high quality content that matters to the audience is more important than spamming my list any day of the week. There are plenty of people that will tell you to email everyday, weekly, or something crazy to stay in constant contact. I don’t want to be emailed that much so why in the world would I do it to my list? You have to decide what works for you and what your audience expects.

Before diving into the comparisons it’s important to recognize the double opt-in portion of adding people to the list. This means that they signup, receive an email with a link to confirm they signed up, and then they have said yes twice making it double. Single opt-in solutions are not good because anyone can add false information which hurts your lists by sending emails to people that bounces (fake emails), being marked as spam, or getting angry emails from people that didn’t sign up. It’s not necessarily illegal, but too many kickbacks through Amazon will close your account. I absolutely recommend double opt-in as a standard practice. I never consider single opt-in regardless of reason(s).

Let’s jump into some positives & negatives of using the self-hosted solution versus the non-hosted players that I had originally mentioned in the opening. Please keep in mind that I am not providing an in depth comparison chart of either, however, I might later on.

My Argument for Sendy

Save With Sendy Versus MailChimpMany might just brush this off because they use Gmail, or their local mailer on a VPS hosting solution, or something else to connect with their user base. I did the same thing years ago thinking it was a good method because sometimes I received feedback from people so I assumed people were getting it. The issue is that we can’t see the other end. I have no idea where the email goes or even if it’s blocked. It could go into their inbox, spam folder, promotion box or some folder someone set up for emails like mine. I had a server I rented that was blocked by major email companies like Yahoo and had no idea. I learned a year later that another account using the shared IP address was blocked. So much effort for nothing. I no longer use the default mailing option in my hosting package to send information out.

I could keep sending email with my server and hope for the best, or use Sendy to send email through Amazon because it’s a “trusted source”. The difference is that in the world of servers connecting millions of people each day, only some are trusted. The big players that enforce good habits for emailing are companies like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon to mention a few. My server is not in that elite group and neither is yours. Trustworthy is a huge benefit even if you never thought about this aspect. You want those emails sent from the most trusted servers you can find.

Note: I want to note before going to the next paragraph that you use a free tier that allows you to send 10-12K emails per month at Mailchimp and other commercial platforms.

To the right you will see the comparison of Sendy versus Mailchimp for the cost of sending 200,000 emails to subscribers. This tool is available on Sendy’s homepage as well if you want to see how much you will save. Some people might think that 200K is a lot and that they will never need that much. If you have a small list of say 500 people and you only send them something weekly then it’s only 2K emails. You probably don’t need Sendy right now. There are a lot of companies or websites that need high volume processing. Everyone is trying to grow their mail list and one of mine is at almost 4,700 and growing right now. If I do a weekly newsletter with that list it will total almost 20K emails. To reach the 200K I would need to send about 42 newsletters in a month. I have no plans on sending that many newsletters.

In the next 12-months I think that the same list could reach 20K people or more. With an increase like that it will take only 10 newsletters to hit that 200K mark. If I do this with Mailchimp my bill will be $2K, and that would suck. Some are saying, “Well if your newsletter makes enough money to cover it then you are good”. That doesn’t need to be a part of the conversation though. With Sendy and Amazon the same 200K is $20 USD. Not all newsletters are for making money as well.

Wrapping up my thoughts on Sendy, this is the basic recap in a small list, but don’t forget to visit their page to see more features.

  • Amazon’s servers are trusted and delivery is much more likely.
  • It’s yours and not a third-party service.
  • You can customize all templates easily.
  • Full reporting with lots of information.
  • Amazon charges $.10USD/1,000 emails sent.
  • It will pay for itself quickly.
  • WordPress integration with plugins. I developed this one just for my podcast network.
  • and the rest of the features here.

My Argument for the Other Choices

It’s important to note that I am comparing Mailchimp and not the others because I have not personally used Aweber, Mailgun, or any other similar services. I don’t write about things that I haven’t personally used and would never do so. I also have no financial interest, affiliate links, or anything like that with Mailchimp. This should be noted before we cruise along to the second half of this post so you know that this isn’t some gimmick so I can make a buck.

Believe it or not, I do believe the other managed-newsletter services offer a solid product. I do support the other choices because there are reasons to use one tool versus another to do a job. You can’t always use a hammer for everything either. You really have to consider the full package of reasons why you would use one now and another later on.

Even my mother uses Mailchimp! I even help her navigate the website so she can send information out to her customers. Please note that I could easily add her to my Sendy installation, but I don’t think it’s needed for several reasons. Her list is small and won’t even come close to the ceiling of the free account. This is mostly due to knowing that she hates typing emails so she won’t send them daily or weekly. She will send them when she needs to so I have little reason to pursued her to come over to the Sendy side.

Switching not only wouldn’t matter due to size, but it would also be too complicated for her to adjust to right away. This means that I would have to teach her and I just don’t have the time to do so. Sendy is not as polished as Mailchimp and simply doesn’t provide that hand-holding experience. This linear process of working your way through a site to send a campaign out  is perfect for people like my mom. She doesn’t have the interest to learn something technical because she has other things to do. Mailchimp is perfect for these situations.

I strongly believe that we need Mailchimp and others as a choice in business. It allows people to understand email campaigns quickly and how to build a list fast without the cumbersome learning curve. I often think about these service providers as training wheels on a bicycle. That’s said that with respect to them because we all have to start somewhere. This is the safe option that you can learn with. Another solid point is that there is no hosting, configuration on the server and with Amazon, and no updating to newer versions. Just eliminating those few points alone is worth staying on a managed service. Spend your time making money and not learning and not sharpening your system admin skills on a Linux box.

Below is a quick run through of points that make Mailchimp the right choice for your lists.:

  • Polished and very user friendly.
  • Offers free tier for the first 10-12K emails sent.
  • Gives you time to learn email marketing (newsletters).
  • Import/Export lists and offers double-opt in (same as Sendy).
  • Lots of integration with so many platforms.
  • No server to manage.
  • No updates to think about.
  • A lot more features here on Mailchimp’s page.

Final Judgement

If you need simplicity and can stay within the free tier (10-12K emails per month) to communicate with your list(s) then stay with Mailchimp or their competitors. If you have the ability & need to install Sendy, learn Amazon AWS a little bit, and love a non-polished hosted solution then buy Sendy and install it right now! It’s not wrong to choose one or the other in order to communicate with your members. You have to use the calculator, consider your email frequency, and then decide what is the right mix. If you can start small and then move to a Sendy solution then that is a solid path to work with.

Starting on a commercial platform to learn, grow, and understand your user base is a very intelligent decision to make if this is unknown territory. Start small and outgrow your tools so you can continue to be in communication and growing your list(s). This gives you time to get familiar with their platform and make it difficult for you to leave when things get very expensive, but you can leave! So when you are ready I hope you will try out Sendy as a solution to your growing business or organization.


If you want to check out Sendy to see if it fits your needs then click here. (<- My Affiliate Link) I also and going to try to help others by offering them a spot on my Sendy installation. Here is the product in the store.

Just Sendy

If you want to check out Sendy to see if it fits your needs then click here. (<- Not An Affiliate Link)

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