I'm now using Sendy for sending out the newsletters to my blog subscribers. In this post, I'll be presenting my Sendy review, a MailChimp Clone.
Until recently, I've been using MailChimp free version for my blogging needs. The moment I learned the importance of autoresponders, I decided to shift to Getresponse Pro plan. However, after continuing for a few months I felt that my investment for the Getresponse plan is getting me only around 20% ROI.
I began looking for an alternative, that would allow me to send my email newsletters over Amazon SES. After some research, I came across Sendy. I went for it as Thrive Leads also allowed me to easily integrate with it.
Sendy is a self-hosted application like that of WordPress, that you install on your server. It sends emails through Amazon SES SMTP servers. But unlike WordPress, it's not open-source and free. You need to upload the Sendy files on your server manually and install it. As it sends emails through free Amazon SES you need not pay a monthly fee for using this software.
You need to pay a one-time fee of $50 to get Sendy for the lifetime. Once you get it, email marketing will be free for lifetime.
For getting your hands on Sendy, you need to purchase the software by paying $59. You'll be emailed with invoice, license key, and download file. As I told you earlier it's easy to set up Sendy, that too as a blogger and marketer.
If you don't bother to do the installation yourself, the Sendy Team also offers installation services for $79 one-time. That's worth it considering the money you save every month.
After acquiring the software by paying $59, you need to pay for Amazon SES only $0.10 for every 1000 emails you send. Let's see how this pricing stacks up with other email marketing software's pricing.
I personally send over 10,000 emails a month and pay around $1! The monthly price of $1 for Amazon SES is what I'm paying for my email marketing.
As I've said you earlier you can treat Sendy as basically a MailChimp clone. It includes all the features that any popular email softwares have in the market.
There are features like:
- Autoresponders (which MailChimp free plan don't have)
- Automatic bounce and complaint handling
- Import and exporting of email lists
- Statistics (by countries, opens, link clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, mark as spams, etc)
- Scheduled emails
- Campaign builder.
You can also view the list of all those who opened your email, clicked on a link and target them in your separate campaign.
The greatest part is that you can handle email campaigns of multiple brands you manage under a single Sendy installation. Under each brand, there are options to create virtually unlimited lists.
For each list you created, you can either choose the single or double optin. You can also setup the subscription page and also send thank you emails to the subscribers.
Below is how the Campaign builder looks like. You can also create templates for your email campaigns. The only downside is that there are no inbuilt template designs. Personally, I never use design templates. So Sendy covers my needs.
There are also options for you to use the personalization shortcodes, or create some of those using merge fields. Below is the screenshot depicting the personalization tags you can use with Sendy.
For each list, you can setup unlimited autoresponders. Below is the screenshot of the autoresponder which I send to my new subscribers, for downloading the EBook. You can also display what autoresponders are already sent and what are already opened.
Apart from these features the Sendy also integrates with third-party apps and services like Zapier, WordPress (there's a free plugin), Joomla, Drupal, Magento, WooCommerce, Wufoo, Prestashop, WHMCS, and more. There are a plethora of individual GitHub projects that make Sendy an excellent newsletters tool for integrating with other services. Also, there are some good plugins for making Sendy integration easy with WooCommerce, Magento, Formidable, etc.
Installation of Sendy
After purchasing Sendy, you need to download it.
Later you need to head over to your CPanel and create a new database. You need to create a new user to the database and set the password.
Now open the 'includes' folder in the Sendy download. There open the 'config.php' with any text editor and edit the sections with your database details as shown in the below screenshot.
If you're willing to install Sendy in the subdirectory, the url will be "http://www.example.com/sendy/".
Now save the file.
Now upload the entire Sendy directory, to your server via file manager or FileZilla. Make sure that the uploaded directory is named 'sendy' under the public_html or /var/www/html depending upon your server. Once the upload is complete, head over to example.com/sendy on your browser and continue with the installation.
For the autoresponders and scheduled emails to work, you need to setup some cron jobs. If you have access to cPanel it's a matter of minutes. Go to 'Cron Jobs section. Then add the cron jobs for autoresponders.php and scheduled.php for 1 minute and 5 minutes each.
It means that it will check every 1 minute if there're any autoresponders to send. If you are on a shared hosting, some shared hosting accounts won't allow you to set cronjobs for every minute. In those cases, you can make use of free cron job services like Cron-Job.org.
If you do wish to do these with crontab on Linux here are they.
*/1 * * * * php /var/www/html/sendy/autoresponders.php > /dev/null 2>&1
*/5 * * * * php /var/www/html/sendy/scheduled.php > /dev/null 2>&1
There are plenty of tutorials guiding you step-by-step to install Sendy on your server.
Now you need to enter the Amazon SES credentials in Sendy, for it to send emails. You need to sign up for Amazon AWS, create a new identity. You need to also verify your domain and the email there. Request SES production access for sending emails.
After this SES will lift the limits for email sending, you can now see the below section in your Sendy installation.
Now you are good to go.
You can see the full installation procedure in their 'get started' guide.
Downsides of Sendy
- Unlike other email softwares, you can't expect the Sendy to send emails at blazing fast. The limit Amazon SES imposes is 28 emails per second. That means it takes around 35 seconds for it to send 1000 emails.
- List segmentation is difficult. With Sendy, you need to download the emails of the subscribers who took particular actions on your campaigns, import them into a new list and send them campaigns separately.
- Automatic backup of database feature is not available with Sendy. You need to rely on your host's backup or set a job to automatically backup Sendy database (maybe weekly). Or you need to manually export the database regularly. If anything goes wrong or you need to migrate to a new server you can restore the database. Backing up is crucial with any self-hosted applications.
If you are looking for a cheap and reliable way to send email newsletters, Sendy is a good alternative for you. Mailchimp costs you $200 for sending 10,000 emails. Whereas, with Sendy you can send 10,000 emails at a dirt-cheap price of $1.
I'm using Sendy. So far, I'm loving it.
Hope you loved my Sendy review.
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Review of one of the best self-hosted email newsletter application, Sendy.