Cheapest (but strict) email sending with Amazon SES

In Email Marketing by Xu CuiLeave a Comment

If you have a large volume of contacts, say more than 10,000, and all of your contacts are opt-in, we definitely recommend Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) since it’s so cheap. The cost is just $0.1 per 1,000 emails. If you are sending from an Amazon cloud server (EC2), they even give you 62,000 email credit per month for free!

We started using Amazon SES in 2013. Among all the email sending services we have used in the past 8 years, including MailGun, SparkPost, MailJet, SendGrid etc, Amazon SES by far is the cheapest. It’s ideal for large volume marketing emails.

We however had some bitter experience with Amazon SES and you should be aware of: Amazon SES is very strict in the review process. We have a few accounts suspended. While they list some requirements publicly (e.g. bounce rate <5%), they may suspend your account with unknown reasons. For example, our bounce rate is usually very low (<2%), but they still suspended our account. Appealing rarely succeed. So you should consider Amazon SES only for opt-in contacts.

To use Amazon SES, you need a front-end program. This is because SES is a backend-only service. It provides you API and SMTP parameters, but not the front-end where you can organize your lists and email templates. Some email marketing providers such as Mailchimp, Vertical Response, Constant Contact etc do provide an integrated frontend and backend, but you will find they are a lot more expensive for large volume senders.

So to use Amazon SES, you will need a frontend program. You may install free programs such as phpList on your server, and Sendy ($59) is another option. If you use WordPress, there are a number of plug-ins.

If you do not like the hassle to set up your own server and install programs, we do provide an Email Marketing Front-end service which can be integrated to SES and any other backend servers. It has 3 main advantages:

  1. a simple and elegant interface to organize lists and email templates
  2. capable of sending drip emails and autoresponders
  3. easily switch to a different backend server if the original one is suspended.

Please feel free to contact us if you want to use our email marketing front-end service.

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