Do you have a larger list and are tired of forking over hundreds of dollars to your current email marketing platform? Are you also wary of the data your current platform collects from you and your subscribers?
Sendy may just be the solution for you. It’s an alternative email marketing platform that’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.
This is part of our email marketing blog post series. So if you’re interested in other email marketing tools too, check this post: 5 Powerful Email Marketing Tools Compared – Which One Is the Best?
In this post, we’re going to take a look at Sendy and what its platform has to offer.
What is Sendy?
Sendy is a self-hosted email marketing platform powered by Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), a flexible, inexpensive email solution that allows you to send email from within any application.
With a Sendy + Amazon SES combo, you can send marketing emails from your own server, all while only spending $0.10 per 1,000 emails and $0.12/GB for attachments.
This makes Sendy much cheaper than other email marketing platforms we’ve reviewed on this site, though the savings calculator on their homepage comparing their costs vs Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor’s is inaccurate as those platforms’ costs are determined by the number of subscribers you have as opposed to the number of emails you send.
For instance, you can send 10,000 emails/month to up to 2,000 subscribers for free forever with Mailchimp, while Sendy claims this costs $200.
Sendy may even be more expensive for those just starting out when you take Mailchimp, ConvertKit and MailerLite’s free plans into consideration as Sendy requires you to pay a one-time $69 license fee before you’ll be given access to the platform.
Even so, Sendy is one of the most affordable solutions out there by a longshot, especially for marketers with large lists, and you don’t even need to forego many of the features you’ve become accustomed to.
Seize Control Over Your Email List
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to use a self-hosted solution like Sendy for email marketing is the level of control you’ll have over your email list. You won’t need to worry about a third-party platform abusing the information they collect from you and your customers.
You also won’t need to worry about going to log in one day only to discover your entire account has been wiped out as Mailchimp tends to do for accounts that are inactive or incorrectly labelled as spam.
Sendy’s Email Marketing Platform
Setting up Sendy is quick and simple despite it being a self-hosted solution. In fact, it’s a similar process to installing WordPress manually as it uses the same programming language and database service.
You start out by creating a database for Sendy and uploading its files to your site. Then, you’ll need to create an Amazon Web Services account and link the two together. The final step involves increasing your account’s Amazon SES sending limits to get your account out of sandbox mode.
It’s a simple process that Sendy walks you through step by step, but if you’re still intimidated, you can ask the platform’s support team to install it for you for $79.
You’ll sign into your mail server via the domain you set up during either process.
Sendy has a default email form that collects your subscriber’s name and email address. It’s available as a ready-to-use URL that features the form or as a snippet of HTML code you can use to insert it anywhere on your site.
If you want to create custom subscription forms, you’ll need to use Sendy’s subscribe API or a third-party integration like WPForms and Thrive Leads.
With the subscribe API, you can subscribe users to specific lists, collect their country codes and set up a honeypot anti-spam field.
You’ll need to use custom CSS or a third-party integration to customize styles.
Sendy is best suited for marketers who prefer to use plain-text emails. This is due to the platform’s WYSIWYG editor that allows you to create simplified emails.
This editor allows you to format text, add images, create tables and more. You can even use the platform’s built-in tags to personalize campaigns with subscribers’ names and insert unsubscribe links.
There’s also an HTML editor if you’d prefer to create more stylized emails.
If you tend to send the same types of emails over and over again with a few differences here and there (such as a weekly newsletter or promotion for a new blog post), you’ll have the ability to save campaigns as templates for later use.
Templates can be built from scratch as well, and they’re quite useful if you take the time to craft custom styles with HTML and CSS and do not wish to write the code every time you want to send a new stylized campaign.
Additionally, as you can see by the screenshot above, Sendy also enables you to track open and click rates despite having a simplified email editor. You can even set it up to track open and click events anonymously to protect your subscribers’ privacy.
Before you send or schedule a campaign, you’ll have the ability to preview it on desktop and mobile as well as send yourself a test email.
Segments and Rules in Sendy
So, Sendy is best suited for those who send simple campaigns, but if we were to go even more specific than that, we’d say Sendy is truly best suited for those spending way too much on email marketing platforms that offer numerous features they don’t even use.
Sendy is much simpler than that when it comes to segmentation and automation.
It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that other platforms have, but it’s just another reason to use Sendy to save if you don’t use your email list in that way.
With basic operations, you can segment subscribers by the date they subscribed, their country, their gender and any custom fields you set up.
Unfortunately, Sendy seems to assume that every subscriber on your list is a customer. Therefore, you won’t be able to create a segment for “Buyers” and “Non-Buyers”. You also can’t create tags for every product you sell and assign them to customers based on purchase activity.
You can work with the platform’s API, and third-party solutions are also available, but it’s a step down from the built-in ecommerce integrations most email marketing platforms offer.
There are also no link trigger-based automations, so it won’t be easy to segment subscribers based on interest.
Most platforms would allow you to create tags for the following interest groups for a blog targeting Amazon affiliate marketing:
- Is not affiliated with Amazon, yet
- Has generated less than $500 in Amazon affiliate sales
- Has generated more than $500 in Amazon affiliate sales
Most email marketing platforms would allow you to insert link triggers in an email for each interest group. Your subscriber is then assigned to the interest group’s corresponding tag depending on which link they click.
With these tags, you’d be able to send articles on the benefits of the Amazon affiliate program and how to get started to the interest group who is not yet affiliated with the program and save your advanced Amazon affiliate marketing strategies for the third group.
MailerLite even allows you to add interest groups to sign-up forms so new subscribers can pre-segment themselves.
You can still target interest groups with Sendy, but you’ll need to create different lists for each interest group rather than segments or tags, the latter of which don’t exist in the platform.
You’ll then need to create a different landing page for each list and insert a form for each on its corresponding page. You’ll then send an email to your subscriber asking them which interest group best matches their situation and present them with the links to your landing pages.
Your subscriber will have to follow the link for whichever interest group they choose, then fill out the form on that page. This is an unorthodox way of doing things as it’s not customary to ask a subscriber to fill out another subscription form after they’ve already opted in to your list.
Autoresponders in Sendy may be the one feature that’s too simplified for some. If you only need one welcome email series and only have one product to sell, you’ll probably do just fine.
However, there are only three types of autoresponders (drip campaign, send annually and send on specific date) you can create, and you can only create one per type.
This cuts you off from setting up a welcome email series, sales funnels for specific products, email courses for interest groups and more for the same list. You can send your drip campaign to specific segments, but because you can only send one drip campaign per list, you’ll need to create different lists for different email series, which could get quite complicated.
With a Zapier integration, you can have Sendy promote your latest posts to your subscribers through a WordPress integration automatically.
Remember the open and click rates we mentioned before? You can view them in the Reports section of Sendy’s dashboard.
From here, you can view a circle graph showcasing where your subscribers are located in the world as well as percentages of how many people opened and clicked your emails and how many emails bounced.
It’s a great way to keep tabs on your list so you know where to make improvements. For instance, a low open rate indicates a problem with your subject lines.
At $1 per 10,000 emails, Sendy is one of the most affordable email marketing platforms out there, and again, much more affordable than the other solutions we’ve reviewed on this site.
Its self-hosted nature gives you more agency over your list, making it more secure in the long run.
There are drawbacks that we mentioned throughout this review, namely the lack of more than one drip campaign per list and the way segmentation and automation work.
Plus, if you don’t know the basics of programming, you may also find it difficult to set things up in Sendy. In this case, one of the other email marketing platforms we reviewed may be a better option for you, especially Mailchimp and MailerLite who offer free and affordable plans.
You can install Sendy on your server today for only $69 and only spend $0.10 per 1,000 emails after that.