Mailchimp is great, but more than a significant amount of subscribers and you’re going to go broke. Today I’m going to show you how to make your own service to send newsletters as a much cheaper alternative to Mailchimp using Sendy. The best part is, you can do this even if you don’t know programming or are technical!
How is it so cheap? The system we will be using to send emails will be Amazon’s robust SES service to send out emails for a per email cost. It is important to note that while Mailchimp and similar services (ex. Aweber, ConstantContact, etc) may offer unlimited emails per month, most people will not need to send out too many emails per month. It’s worth running the analysis below for your own variable and determining whether Sendy is cost-effective for you – in most situations it will be.
Sendy has a great widget to play with on their site to determine how much you’ll save but I’ll do a quick breakdown below.
Sendy – Sendy Software ($59) + Hosting/Set-Up ($130 yearly though can vary) + Amazon SES ($0.0001 per email)
Mailchimp – 2 main pricing models:
1. Monthly – Subscriber based (Subscribers/Monthly Cost):
(Note: for under 2,500 subscribers Mailchimp also has a free plan)
2. Pay As You Go
Lets calculate a hypothetical scenario: I have S subscribers in my list I send a newsletter to every week for a year. I’ll include the initial Sendy software cost ($59) – note though that this is only a one-time cost.
For S = 5,000 subscribers
Sendy setup: $59 + $130 + (5000 subscribers * 52 weeks * $0.0001 per email) = $215
Mailchimp: $50 * 12 months = $600
For S = 10,000 subscribers:
Sendy setup: $59 + $130 + (10,000 subscribers * 52 weeks * $0.0001 per email) = $241
Mailchimp: $75 * 12 months = $900
– While Sendy does have a great analytics dashboard
for analyzing open rates and other key email metrics, Mailchimp does offer a superior analytics layer. For some, this may be a deal breaker though for me analytics wasn’t always a huge factor and the basics sufficed.
- I have to hand it to Mailchimp on this one for creating an awesome email editor
that makes it super simple for even the least technical individuals to create a beautiful looking email. Sendy’s email editor
is pale in comparison to Mailchimp’s editor. One workaround that I’ve been using is to simply create the email in Mailchimp and copy over the html into Sendy’s email editor. This takes some minor HTML knowledge but is doable. Look out for a future blog post detailing this method.
Judge for yourself how much these caveats are worth. Several hundred dollars? Maybe Mailchimp is better for you. If not, then great lets finally get to how to build our own solution!
Note: The link is a referral link. I found out about their referral program just as I finished writing the article. Help me keep this blog running
Next up we have to decide where we’re going to host Sendy. Sendy is just the software layer but we need a server to put Sendy on so that we can access it online and actually send the emails. This is where some paths can diverge. While many opt to create their own server using their favorite stack of technologies, the simplest solution came to me in a response in Sendy’d forums.
The good folks over at Hosthese
have a created pre-made dedicated Sendy environments, optimized to its requirements. Their services can be used without limitation on webspace or traffic for a yearly price of € 109 / ~$ 130.
All you have to do is contact Hosthese
and they’ll create a new hosting environment with your Sendy license without you having to dabble into the technical details at all. I should note that this does require a domain/subdomain that can be pointed at the hosted Sendy solution. This is as simple as creating a CNAME record
that points to Hosthese’s servers.
You’re done! Sendy supports importing contacts so to transition from Mailchimp or any other service, simply export your current subscriber list and import it into Sendy!
If you have any trouble, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out!
Update: New post is now live: Sendy Hosting & Advanced Set-up