My Autoresponder Showdown story :
I started building my list with Aweber quite many years back. And committed one of my greatest internet marketing mistakes – I didn’t get back to my list for years! Then when I finally send my first broadcast to the list of thousands, literally half of them marked me as “Spam” or they unsubscribed! Can’t blame them – who can remember a newsletter which you have subscribed for months/years and receive nothing thereafter. Like the saying goes, “The Money is in the List!” – you can imagine how heartache it is for me – happily increasing my list throughout these years and to do it all wrong! Notwithstanding the $19 monthly fee I had subscribed to Aweber for years (ouched again!).
To avoid more heartache and to reduce my autoresponder monthly subscription, I switched to GetResponse. To my delight, not only it’s cheaper at $15 per month, the user interface (UI) is much better as compared to Aweber IMHO. So again, I started to build a clean list. I have also integrated WordPress to GetResponse to send out weekly newsletters with all the latest blog posts. Great, finally, the automation is a great time saver and a good way to keep in touch with my new list.
But then, the heartache from Aweber somehow lingers to GetResponse – having to pay $15 monthly and the fact that I’m not actually monetizing from the list, it’s still $15 a month! So months ago, I’ve started to research what exactly is the best solution for my style – ideally without any monthly fee.
Then, I tried MailChimp – free for first 2000 subscribers. Bravo. But then, MailChimp don’t allow affiliate marketing – kinda defeat the purpose as affiliate marketing is one of the fastest way to make money online. Most importantly, what if your list grow beyond 2000 or you need to send more than 12,000 emails monthly (sound alot? it’s not – just 6 emails to a list of 2000 will exceed that) and your monthly fee literally jumped to $25 per month.
At last, I’ve found Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) – it costs just $1 to send … are you ready? 1 million emails. Yes, $1 to send 1,000,000 emails (that’s a million). Crazy huh?! But … if you log on to your AWS account and try to make this Amazon SES work, the verdict is quick – “it’s simply not for the tech phobia”. Even as a self-proclaimed tech geek, stars appeared around my head when I try to figure out how I can switch to Amazon SES.
Thank goodness I remembered I purchased IMSC Rapid Mailer plugin quite some time back. Immediately I tried it out. In no time, white flag raised again! Somehow, it’s just not that straight forward. Major issue with IMSC Rapid Mailer is that I’m unable to create nice looking optin form. To resolve that, I’ve upgraded my Hybrid Connect plugin to the recently launched Thrive Lead plugin. If you see the form on the frontpage of WillTan.com now, that’s Thrive Lead – finally, I got my nice simple optin form on my sidebar.
Hold the horse! I’ve yet to integrate Amazon SES on my WordPress … jeez, the process is rather “tormenting” especially for entreployee (having a busy full time job on top of striving out in e-biz). Luckily, with more persistent online research, I’ve identified some great solution which I’m currently using – Sendy … alongside with Sendy, you’ll not miss arpReach too. Both (Sendy & arpReach) are self-hosted autoresponders which are supposed to install on your own hosting – if you already have hundreds and thousands in your subscriber list, you’d need at least a VPN or dedicated web server to handle the load. For newbies or when you list is under 10K, I’ve known of some internet marketers using them on their shared hosting with not much issue.
Upon further research, it seems that arpReach is more server intensive as compared to Sendy. But arpReach costs $195 (one-time; single site license) which is on the high side as compared to Sendy at only one-time $59. Also, Sendy seems less technically challenged than arpReach. Hence, my choice is with Sendy.
The Get Started Guide in Sendy is well-documented – https://sendy.co/get-started. No major problem following the step-by-step instructions to get all done. The more technically unfamiliar portion is on AWS side – which you’ve to apply to grant yourself production access to Amazon SES in AWS (Singapore Region not supported; N. Virginia region opted) which also increase your sending limit to 10,000 emails daily. Mine was approved in less than 24-hour.
With Sendy (and Amazon SES) now integrated and operational, I can import the list over from my other autoresponders and cancel the subscriptions with paid autoresponder providers. More money saved monthly are more money earned. So if you’re a newbie to internet marketing, I’d strongly suggest you go for this option as this is the most economical way to set up your autoresponder – which is kinda mandatory for internet marketing and e-business.