Starting a new email newsletter might seem like a great idea, until you check the price of popular email newsletter apps. They might be cheap to start out, but once you get over a couple thousand subscribers, it can quickly be expensive to keep your newsletter running.
Sending your own emails manually isn't the best solution, either. Gmail will only let you send 500 emails per day, while emails sent from your server's built in mail tools will likely get rejected as spam. And using a transactional email service typically involves coding your own email sending tool.
Or you could use Sendy. A self-hosted email service that uses Amazon SES to send your messages, Sendy is the best of both worlds. You pay just once for a copy of the software to run on your server. Then you'll pay just $0.10 per thousand emails—or only 0.1¢ per email—each time you send out a newsletter. Your messages won't be as likely to be marked as spam as they would be if sent directly from your server, while you'll get the savings of a transactional email service without the hassle of making your own email app.
Setting up Sendy will take a few more steps than starting your average email newsletter. You'll need to edit a
config.php file, upload Sendy to your server, and connect it to your Amazon SES account. And, you'll need to request Amazon increase your SES sending limit so you can send more than 200 emails per day.
With that done, you can start building your email lists. Sendy lets you add multiple brands, to organize your newsletters by each of your sites or products—or to let you create email campaigns for clients with their own accounts which can only see their own email brand and can be billed per email campaign. Inside each brand, you can add your subscribers—with custom fields to track anything about your followers that you want—and organize them into lists. Sendy lets you bulk-import subscribers from a spreadsheet, add people via a built-in HTML signup form, or use integrations to add subscribers from your favorite apps and forms. Then, you can send emails to a specific list of subscribers, or select as many lists under each brand every time you send an email.
Sendy doesn't include an email template designer, so instead you can hand-code your own email template that works and looks exactly like you want. You could code one from scratch, using the tags on the bottom of the template builder page in Sendy to import your recipients' names, the current date, and other personalization items you want. And to get started quicker, you could use a pre-made template like Foundation from Zurb to quickly build your own design without coding your entire email template. You can then select the template you want to use with each email, or start from scratch with a new template (or a plain text email) every time you send out an email campaign.
Want to know how your emails are performing? Sendy can track open and click stats on every email you send, and even can watch how many times your email was marked as spam. It'll turn that data into quick stats on your landing page, along with detailed graphs of your readers' location, click rates, and a full list of which links were clicked the most in each email. You can even add a custom Google Analytics referral string to links automatically, to track email stats along with the rest of your site info.
With customizable email templates, an easy-to-use subscriber manager, and tools to easily send emails through Amazon SES, Sendy includes everything you need to make your new email newsletters a success. Whether you're wanting to build a white-labeled email service for your customers, or just want a more customizable and cost effective way to send your own emails, Sendy is the self-hosted app to consider.
- Get your email newsletters setup quickly with Sendy's detailed Getting Started guide.
- Need more help? Check Sendy's troubleshooting guide or the answers in the Sendy Support Forum.
- Connect Sendy to your in-house tools with the Sendy API, or use Zapier's Sendy Integrations to connect Sendy to your favorite apps.
- Learn more about Amazon SES with Zapier's Amazon SES Review and SES' own Getting started guide.
- New to email marketing? Check out Zapier's guide to growing your email list to make your newsletter a success.
Originally published November 21, 2016; updated June 28, 2018