Hi there 🙂 Are you considering Sendy as your auto-responder? Are you in the money-making online business?
Then you have to know this… It will save you time and trouble.
And to tell you the truth, I was THAT close to giving up email marketing totally. I'll tell you why. And I'll also share with you the solution I found.
First some background story.
How Sendy Sends Its Mails
Like I've explained earlier in other blog posts about Sendy, this auto-responder script is different from other self-hosted ones.
I've tried those before, and it always ended up in disaster.
Sendy didn't rely on your webhost's SMTP, but was built to use Amazon SES, which is an inexpensive way to send bulk-mails.
You have to sign up for it and get approved. I did that, and it was easy. Then I started to use Sendy.
Amazon SES + Money-Making Online = Time Bomb
What I didn't know was that Amazon SES sees all persons who write about how to make money online as scammers.
June 4th, I watched a Google Hangout by Dani Schaeffer. I had invited subscribers from my list to join, and all who joined were to get a gift from Dani, a report, she normally sells.
She promised to do no pitching for her plugin, but people asked questions, and she talked about this plugin, and since me and members of my lists were the only spectators, she asked me to give my affiliate link.
So I did, but several people (including myself) couldn't see it on the little screen, so Dani asked me to send a mail to my list with the link.
I sent out a short mail, with the subject “My link to you on Dani's hangout”, and this mail contained one sentence:
“Hi [name], Somebody asked for my link, but it's not visible on Dani's screen, so here it is: http://jvz2.com/c/4576/37053 You'll get the PDF as soon as I get it from Dani 🙂 See you soon, Britt Malka”
That was the last message I sent through Amazon SES. One person (who had joined by a double opt-in) claimed that it was spam, and Amazon closed down my account without warning or even telling me about it.
It was only the next day, when I wanted to send my daily mail, that I got an error message. I spent the whole day trying to figure out why there was an error. At the end of the day, I discovered that this had happened to others, too, and that the reason was that Amazon SES had suspended their accounts.
But in short: Amazon SES doesn't like people who teach others how to make money online. I'd sent 10-14 mails during the time I used them, and they wrote that “Over the last approximately 12,000 email messages you sent, an unacceptably high percentage were identified as spam by our filters.”
This smelled like failure. Oh, no, filters cannot be wrong. Just look at Squidoo 😉
Using Your Webhost's SMTP?
I'm not easily beaten. So I just changed the settings in Sendy, and used our webhost‘s SMTP instead. And kept sending my daily mail.
Until – about a week later – I got a mail from a subscriber, who referred to my mail “My link to you on Dani's hangout”, and saying only:
This is the last email that I've received from you. Did I accidentally unsubscribe ?
I checked, and no, this person was still a subscriber. Why hadn't she received any of my mails since I stopped using Amazon SES?
I figured that my webhost wasn't as reliable for sending out so many emails, so i wanted to weed out those who never opened anyway. Of course, I wanted to keep sending to those who did open, but wasn't caught by the system.
A mail system can only tell that a mail has been opened, if the person opens pictures in the mail. So I contacted those apparently non-openers, and that's when I found out…
Hostgator has a limit of sending only 500 mails per hour to avoid spam.
Of course! That's clever, but that meant that only 500 out of approximately 1300 had received my mails since I stopped at Amazon SES. That could explain why the opening rate had gone down faster than beers in an Irish pub.
500 per hour was even better than most other webhosts, I learned. Many has a 250 per hour limit.
So unless you have a small list, using your own webhost is not an option.
An Alternative to Amazon SES?
I went back to Sendy's excellent forum to seek advice. And I found it.
Please add support for more email providers, please starting with sendgrid if possible! 🙂
SES is nice but if we're very concerned with deliverability SendGrid is top of the line and manually unsub's-bounces are a pain.
Bounces aren't a big problem for me, so although I look forward to full integration with other solutions than Amazon SES, what really caught my eye was this:
“SES is nice but if we're very concerned with deliverability SendGrid is top of the line […]”
Me off to SendGrid, and after some chat with sales support, I decided to sign up.
Sales support recommended Bronze or Silver. Bronze is much cheaper than AWeber, GetResponse and all those, but still a little more than we would have paid with Amazon SES.
I discovered that they also had a LITE version, where you pay as you go. I signed up for that solution, and I'll use it starting either later today or tomorrow.
They know beforehand what kind of mails I send. I've shown them examples, and they know how and where people sign up for them. Nothing is hidden. If they should kick me out one day for sending mails with tips about how to make money online, I'll let you know.
My Conclusion So Far
Things can change quickly, of course.
But I still love Sendy. Sure, there are features missing, but for now it hasn't been ones that i really couldn't be without.
I love the support forum. Ben always answers fast there, and he gives excellent and helpful answers.
They take suggestions into consideration.
You're in full control.