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@Kaustubh Katdare • 30 Jan, 2013
This review is dedicated to Sendy - the best email marketing software I accidentally found on the Internet and have been using for several weeks now. Sendy is self-hosted email software which is 100x cheaper than leading email marketing services and software.

There were times I had convinced myself that the trend is shifting away from emails to messaging through social networks. I had ignored the treasure that I had accumulated over years - the email IDs contributed by real people by signing up on my website. I had relied on Google and other search engines for traffic and it worked very well; until Google pushed our rankings down in search pages - a small error in JavaScript had led Googlebot to discover thousands of invalid links on our website which ultimately pushed our 'trust factor' down.

Those were the times I decided not to rely on Google or other search engines to reach out to people. It made perfect sense to contact people who had visited on our website, registered and had opted to receive emails from us. I make a quick check and found out that we had over 100,000 people who had opted to receive email from us! How in this good world did I ignore the people who had given us the permission to 'contact them'? It was an eye-opener!

Email Marketing Isn't Dead

Email is here to stay and so is email marketing. People still prefer email for business communication and that trend is likely to continue for next few years. So if you have a list of email addresses of people who have opted to receive your newsletter, you are sitting on pot of gold! It's precious - and you can't just ignore it. Facebook / Twitter may continue to grow, but the level of personalisation you can offer through email is second to none.

...and it's very critical for you to choose the right email software to handle the whole email sending business. It doesn't matter if you have a tiny email list of a few hundred subscribers or tens of thousands of them. You simply can't go wrong with your choice of the email marketing or newsletter handling email software.

Choosing The Right Newsletter / Bulk Mail Software Or Service

I've never trusted the desktop based email marketing or bulk mail software. In order to send professional email, you need a software or service that engages with your own domain. It also ensures that your email lands correctly in the inbox of the recipient and not in the bulk or spam folder. My email list was 'huge' and I checked the prices that the most popular email marketing services offered.

I checked the industry leading 'MailChimp' (along with other similar services) and they charge $240 if your subscriber base is between 25000 - 50000. That means, I'd be required to spend ~ $500 every time I wanted to send an email to my subscribers - and I'm no Bill Gates. I wanted an economical yet reliable solution. I discovered 'Interspire Email Marketer' and decided to buy it despite it's exorbitant price : $495 for single user license! I installed it on a subdomain on my server and soon began discovering the problems. I could set the email sending limits but the software would overload my servers. I had no option but to opt for's service to send email to my 100,000+ subscriber list! That meant more money! I tried it twice and it worked. I realised that this wasn't a long-term solution. I gave up on email newsletters!

Enter Amazon SES (Simple Email Service)

I remember the day I heard about this new, cheap email service offered by Amazon, called Amazon SES. I had to pinch myself thrice to really convince myself that there pricing was super-ultra-low! In order to send an email to 10,000 subscribers, MailChimp charges you $200, CampaignMonitor asks for $105 and Amazon? Well, just $1. But the only bad thing - Amazon itself doesn't offer any email sending interface.

Sendy - The Best Email Marketing Software Is 100x Cheaper!

Enter Sendy - your life saver! I discovered Sendy by accident and soon got convinced that Sendy's creators aren't spending much on getting the word out there. This little piece of software is a beast inside that makes use of the best in the industry. You will have to install Sendy on your own server, and the installation process is a cakewalk. Quick Steps:
  1. Create a database on your system and assign a database user to it with all privileges.
  2. Edit the configuration file and upload the whole package to your server where you want to install it.
  3. Visit the install location through your browser and perform the quick & dirty install in less than 30 seconds.
  4. Configure your Amazon SES and start blasting emails to your subscribers at a frequency they'll love.
All the instructions are available along with screenshots on Sendy's website, so don't freak out. It's damn easy to get Sendy to rock and roll. Having used Interspire Email marketer, I was expecting 'too many options' in the interface. But thankfully, Send's web interface is pleasing to eyes and the arrangement of options is very logical.
Once you're logged in, you are presented with your Amazon SES email sending limits and thresholds. You will also get an option to create 'brand' for which you will send email newsletters. You will also be able to import your existing lists as .csv files. Sendy handled import of my 100,000+ subscriber list in about an hour without any complaints.

The most interesting part is where you create HTML newsletter. Sendy currently does not support newsletter templates, but I read that it's an upcoming feature. But that won't be a problem because you can always copy-paste your HTML in the newsletter editor and get the job done. Here's how it looks -

As you can see, most of the fields you'd need are already there including webversion-link, unsubscribe link, custom field tags and attachments facility. All you have to do is compose your HTML newsletter and 'schedule' it via cron job. The reporting page is also very detailed with all the information you'd need to see the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign -
The email campaign report offers beautiful graphs which give you the rate of subscription, who opened your email, who unsubscribed, marked as spam and so on. You will also be able to create autoresponders as well; I'm yet to try this feature out. During my tests & experiments, I tried hitting the 'unsubscribe' link - and it took me to a page where I was presented with a message that I was unsubscribed from the newsletter. Just below it, there's a link that says 'subscribe again' - and clicking on it immediately turns your subscription on. It's brilliant!
So, How Much Does Sendy Cost?​

I seriously think that Sendy is underpriced. You can get sendy for a stupid low price of $59, one time. Yep - that price entitles you to get all the versions until a major update for free. Comparing the costs with that of other market leading services, it's peanuts! I've been exploring Sendy more and the more I do, the more I love the simplicity of this software.
Tell Me About The Downsides Of Sendy​

Frankly speaking, Sendy delivers what it promises. My needs are simple and limited to finding an efficient and cost-effective way of sending large number of email newsletter to my subscribers base. Sendy does it elegantly by using Amazon SES. My bill's down under $10 for all the thousands of emails I sent in the last 3 weeks.

Sendy doesn't have the email templates yet - which I believe is the biggest drawback, but the developers have promised to include it in the upcoming versions. Apart from this, I have not discovered any other downsite yet. If you know any, I'd be more than happy to listen.
The Bottom Line​

If you are looking for a reliable, fast and budget-friendly email marketing software, you should seriously give Sendy a try. I'm sure you won't regret it.

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