The mysterious Sendy. It’s an intriguing option for authors with growing subscriber lists. Other services are either expensive or not good enough for what we need anymore.
What is Sendy?
An api that plugs into the cPanel of your website. It’s hosted on your site at a url you define – something like sendy.yourdomain.com. You must have a self-hosted site to use it.
I am an author. Not a Sendy saleswoman. I have moderate technical ability, but tend to spend more time yelling at my website than actually improving it.
Web stuff drives me insane actually.
Well, Sendy drove me more insane than anything else online ever has. It should have been so much easier for me. It’s a fantastic option and that’s why I’m writing this in depth post. I wish someone had told me half of what I’m about to tell you.
There’s very little out there about Sendy with the exception of the companies trying to take advantage of it’s issues with being set up. For a monthly fee, sites like Easysendy will basically act as a Mailchimp or Mailerlite. You still have to buy Sendy, but then you pay them to set it up and allow you to use their interface.
But if I’m buying Sendy to get out from under monthly fees, how does that make sense?
Let me tell you something – you don’t need them.
First, let’s get into why you may want to buy Sendy with a good old pros and cons list.
Pros of Sendy:
- Price: It’s a $59 one time fee. After that, you pay Amazon SES to send the emails. $1 per 10,000 emails. Crazy, right? If you’re paying north of $100 a month for a large list on another service, you can reduce that to $4-10. And no, it’s not too good to be true.
- Data: The other cheaper service out there is Wix. I was paying $12 for up to 25k. But the drawback with Wix is that it doesn’t tell you anything other than open and click rate. With Sendy, I get the cheaper price while also enjoying the data of the more expensive services. Open and click rate yes, but also click rate for each link and extras such as countries my email is being opened in.
- Integrity of emails: This part is half conjecture so take it with a grain of salt. With Wix, I was averaging 30-50 bounces per send on a 17k list. They were all Hotmail or aol email addresses as you could probably guess. With Sendy, I had 5 bounces. My guess is because Sendy uses Amazon web services to send. As of right now, some of the larger companies are using the service rather than just the spammers – leading to a higher integrity that plays better with some of the more skeptical email programs.
- Lack of formatting: This one has you scratching your head, doesn’t it? Research shows that the more a newsletter looks like any old email, the more responsive the reader will be. Formatting screams salesy. Sendy’s NL editor is rather basic and that keeps me from trying to make it look too “professional”.
- All of the segmenting and automation functions that seemed to be lacking in Wix.
- Scheduling NLs in advance. Another downside of Wix.
- One of the largest benefits is in a bonus at the bottom of the screen – it mainly applies to PAs.
Cons of Sendy:
- Headaches – It’s ridiculously hard to set up. Like, come on! I spent two full days trying to figure out how to get it installed before giving up and hiring someone.
- No templates – This is sort of good because of what I said above about formatting, but it also means it takes slightly longer to create emails.
- You have to be okay with the stripped-down look of the platform.
- Your NL will take quite a while to send. Their maximum speed is 14 emails per second. Yesterday when I sent to two lists at the same time, it took 3 hours for 25k emails. BUT – that’s not really an issue because I can schedule it to go out ahead of time and not even have to have Sendy open for them to send.
Okay, so you’ve decided to buy Sendy. Great! But when you downloaded it, it’s just a folder with a bunch of files full of code that you have no clue what to do with. What? There’s not even an install file?
Deep breath. What I’m going to tell you is going to save your life. Don’t try to set it up on your own!! Sendy sends you a nifty little instruction manual that looks super easy, but that’s deceptive. You can do every step perfectly and still not have it running.
After spending two days trying, I found a man on PeoplePerHour.com who charged me $30 and had it ready to go 12 hours after I hired him. Surely my two days had been worth more than that. I wish I hadn’t wasted them.
Steps to sending your first campaign:
- Make sure you have a self-hosted site and purchase Sendy
- Create an Amazon web services account.
- Hire someone to install it on your domain.
- Make sure the person you hired requested an email increase from Amazon. They give you 500 when you initially sign up but will increase that to 50k when asked.
- Login and begin to explore.
- Import your lists.
- Go into your settings. There is a list of Zapier apps that you can set up to run with Sendy. Things like post to Facebook or Tweet when a campaign is sent. Or my favorite – remove someone from one list when they’re added to another. That’s great for segmentation.
- Use the text editor to create a template. This will make it go quicker when you send campaigns because you can just substitute images and text.
- Make sure autoresponders are ready to go.
- For this, I’m assuming you’re using WordPress. There’s a Sendy plugin for your site to add subscribers directly to a list – one with automated emails set up hopefully.
- You should be good to go!
- Seriously, hire someone. If you don’t, you’ll get bogged down in your cPanel creating databases and altering code. You can’t expect your host support to be any help because they probably haven’t heard of Sendy. The lady I talked to at HostGator hadn’t. And then, when you think you’ve done everything right, it still won’t load. I still don’t know what I was doing wrong, but figuing it out isn’t worth the time.
- There’s a cool feature that PAs could make use of. Sendy branding. I’ll use myself as an example. I have one of my clients set up on my Sendy account but under her own brand. So I can use my program for her NLs while keeping her lists and campaigns separate almost as if they were in a different account. But, wait, it gets cooler. I can also create a login and password for her so that she can access her brand. In essence, she can send emails from my Sendy with her own password that doesn’t access my own information. AND Sendy provides the mechanism for me to charge her for that pleasure. I can charge her per campaign or per email sent using a Paypal plugin. If I wanted to, I could create my own Mailchimp and begin charging people. Amazon does give me 50k emails a day if I want it.
- Some of the features are hard to find in the stripped-down interface. It took me forever to find where I could get the web link to my email. There’s a little picture of an eye on the reports page that will give you the link if you click it.
- Added tip: I almost forgot to include this and it will be the most frustrating issue you’ll have because it’s incredibly hard to find out what is going on. Don’t create Sendy emails in a browser that has Grammarly installed. Just don’t do it. Grammarly is a bully. It doesn’t play well with others – throwing tons and tons of redundant code into your emails. Seriously, it’s amazing how much code they throw in. Extra code increases the email size ezponentially – which G-mail won’t like. If you test your emails and they appear in your inbox as a blank email with just a link to click to see the fully thing, this is what is going on. You never want your readers to have to click through to see the email because they won’t.
So, if you have grammarly installed on your browser, use a different one for Sendy. I find Grammarly quite helpful so I kept it on Safari and began using Chrome for my emails. Trust me, learn from my headaches.
Sendy gives you all the functionality of an expensive service for a fraction of the price as long as you are satisfied with the more stripped down appearance.
A peek inside sendy:
These are images from my own account except for the graphs. That is from the Sendy website.
Creating multiple brands for pennames/ different authors.
All the segmentation and autoresponders of the expensive services.
The campaign editor.
Below this will be a list of links and number of clicks as well as lists of spam reporters, unsubscribes, bounces, and every country the email was opened in.
I hope this comprehensive look into Sendy will help you. If you’d like to see how the email looks, you can sign up to my newsletter in the sidebar to the left.