Despite the incredible rise in popularity of texting email is still the best way to reach people when you have something substantive to say. Indeed, most of the really valuable information resources many of us rely on are delivered through email lists.
Now, if you're going to set up an email list there are many service providers to choose from but if you're at all technically savvy there's one solution that stands out for two simple reasons: It is amazingly cheap and incredibly effective. The solution is Sendy.
Sendy, which works with Amazon's Simple Email Services (SES) or any other SMTP service, is a one time purchase for $59. That's it. Sending, say, 3,000 email messages with MailChimp will cost you $150. With Campaign Monitor, the price drops to $55. With Sendy and SES, the price will be $0.50 (SES is priced at $1 per 10,000 messages). You can easily achieve an ROI of 100% in a couple of newsletter editions or customer service blasts.
Setting up Sendy is easy: You install Sendy on your own host (Apache, PHP, and MySQL are required) then signup for Amazon Web Service and setup SES. You then set up bounce and complaints handling on SES.
Next, in Sendy, you define your brands which are accounts for sending addresses. Now you're ready to create a campaign under a brand and Sendy's Web interface provides an editor that creates both HTML and plaintext messages with personalization and custom tags as well as standard links such as unsubscribe and you can attach files. Then, when everything is set up you can test your campaign by sending your message to one or more test addresse and define which recipient lists to use. Sendy also provides a multi-tenant environment which is useful if you manage a number of clients or departments.
After you've launched a campaign you can see its progress in the campaign report page which tracks the number of messages opened, not opened, had links clicked, generated unsubscribes, bounced, or were marked as spam as well as presenting a geographic breakdown.
A Sendy campaign report
In short, this is an outstanding tool. It's well-designed, easy to use and, to ice the cake, it has an API that provides for adding and removing subscribers, checking subscriber status, and getting a subscriber count for a list along as well as a collection of third party resources that includes a Wordpress plugin.
For the price, Sendy is a steal.