Migrating to Sendy: How I Saved RM2,500/year on E-mail Marketing for My Sites in Malaysia

One of the main barriers when it comes to setting up e-mail marketing for a website is cost. 

While you can easily set up an account with MailChimp for free, once you pass 2,000 subscribers, you'll need to pay them a minimum of US$29.90 to keep your account active. For Malaysians, that's well over RM110 a month.

If your list happens to grow to 10,000 subscribers, you'll start paying $74.99 a month (over RM300) to MailChimp:

Unless you run a lot of e-mail campaigns every month, this can be quite pricey.

So, what do you do if you wan to use a mailing list to keep in touch with your readers but can't justify or simply don't want to pay a few hundred RM for your mailing list every month?

The good news is, you can.

In this article, we'll look at one such solution to help you cut down your mailing cost software. I hope this will provide you another option for e-mail marketing you can consider using.

Introducing: Sendy

What is Sendy?

Unlike hosted solutions like MailChimp, Sendy is a self-hosting mailing software solution.

You pay a one-time fee of US$59 to buy the Sendy software and install and run it on your own server.

If you've installed a WordPress website on your own server before, Sendy follows a similar solution.

It's able to offer an affordable mass mailing solution by integrating with Amazon SES, which charges just US$1 for every 10,000 mails sent.

Since Sendy is a self-hosted solution, there are no limits on the number of subscribers you can have. Pricing won't change based on the number of subscribers you have.

What can you do with Sendy?

Sendy's core is sending simple e-mails. With Sendy, you can:

  • send e-mails to your subscribers at an affordable rate
  • segment your subscribers into interest groups
  • create simple autoresponders to keep in touch with your subscribers
  • perform basic subscriber management like adding, removing and editing subscribers from any list, and at bulk 
  • choose from single and double opt-in options

Basically, if you're looking for a simple, no frills e-mail marketing solution that won't break the bank, Sendy is perfect.

Sendy's Integrations

Sendy integrates with almost all popular CMS in the market. This includes WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, WooCommerce and more.

Other than that, Sendy also integrates with Zapier, making it possible to link up Sendy with a large number of Zapier apps also.

Check out Sendy's full list of integrations here.

Sendy's Advantages

1. Simple and straightforward

At its core, Sendy is a simple and straightforward e-mail marketing solution. For people who find themselves paying for a e-mail marketing software only to find themselves not using 90% of the features available, Sendy can feel like a breath of fresh air.

2. Cheap

Sendy will usually cost you just US$5/month for servers and a few dollars a month for e-mails (if you send a lot of them, if not, you might be looking at a few cents a month).

Compare that with MailChimp's US$29.9/month and Sendy is the clear winner here in terms of cost.

3. Large number of integrations

As we've seen earlier, Sendy can integrate with just about any popular CMS out there. So you'll likely be able to integrate Sendy with what you're using right now.

Sendy's Disadvantages

1. Hard to set up if you aren't tech-savvy

I'm not gonna lie - setting up Sendy on your own for the first time won't be easy. Personally, it took a good 6 hours to get it up and running.

If you don't want to go through the technical hurdle of setting it up yourself, you can always hire Sendy to set it up for you for just US$79 or hire a php expert to do it for you. This one time setup fee will be worth it if you're cutting down your costs to US$5/month 😉

2. No one to turn to when things go wrong

One of the things you pay a company like MailChimp or GetResponse for is support when things go wrong. When you are self-hosting your e-mail marketing software, you'll be the one troubleshooting any problems you face.

If you're not tech savvy, it can be a problem when things go drastically wrong.

Having said that, for most Sendy users who aren't mass spamming people, Sendy is almost maintenance free.

3. Not natively complete for e-commerce businesses

While Sendy is quite a good solution for people who are doing simple e-mail marketing, it isn't quite complete for e-commerce businesses.

For one, Sendy doesn't help you with abandoned cart e-mails or retargeting on social. These are crucial marketing features for e-commerce businesses that can help improve sales by up to 40%.

If you're looking for a more complete e-commerce solution, the better option would be Mautic, which is also an affordable, self-hosted e-mail marketing solution.

4. Limited e-mail templates

If you love using design templates for your e-mails, you'll be disappointed to learn that this isn't available in Sendy.

Instead, look forward to sending simple, plain-text or HTML based e-mails using Sendy.

Personally, I never use e-mail templates for Entrepreneur Campfire and love sending plain text e-mails so it isn't a big deal.

Setting up Sendy + Migrating from Your Old E-mail List Software

If you're sold on Sendy and want to start migrating your lists over to it, here are some steps to help you get started.

I would highly recommend doing the testing in Step 4 before canceling your current account in Step 6 if you're with another mailing software right now.

Step 1: Buy hosting

The first thing you'll need is hosting. This is where your Sendy will sit online. While SiteGround and other shared hosting solutions are great for WordPress websites, it is better to host Sendy on cloud hosting servers.

For this, I highly recommend going with Digital Ocean.

Step 2: Install Sendy

I'm not a php expert, but I was able to successfully set up Sendy with Amazon SES on Digital Ocean using this guide: 

Installing Sendy as a replacement for Mailchimp—2019 update, the complete guide, with automated backups to S3, and https configuration

Take a look at it and see if you're up for the challenge 😉

If not, you can always hire Sendy to do it for US$79.

Step 3: Integrate Sendy with WordPress (or the CMS you are using)

Once you've set up Sendy, it's time to integrate it with your website to start collecting e-mails.

While there are many ways to connect Sendy with WordPress, the two plugins I'm personally using are Thrive Leads and ConvertPro

If you're considering using the same plugins, you can follow the guides below to set it up:

How to Connect Sendy to Thrive Leads

How to Integrate Convert Pro with Sendy?

Don't worry if you don't have either of these plugins. There are many others you can use with ease. These were just existing and popularly used plugins that I already bought some time ago.

Step 4: Test your Sendy setup

Before you enable Sendy everywhere, I'd really encourage you to test out your integration. Here are some steps you can take to run the test:

1. Sign up using a form
2. Check in Sendy if your e-mail has been captured - if not, troubleshoot your integration from Step 3
3. Send a test email to the list containing your e-mail - make sure that you receive the e-mail. If you don't receive it, check your e-mail domain DNS or your Amazon SES setup.

Step 5: Import your list to Sendy

Once you've tested Sendy, it's now time to import your list into Sendy.

All you have to do is export your current list in csv format from your current mailing list provider and then add them into Sendy.

Do note that Sendy's default fields are "Name" and "Email". If you need to import more fields, remember to create them first before you run the import.

For a smooth import, I would create a fresh csv file, create the fields in the header and then paste the information in before importing it into Sendy.

Step 6: Cancel your subscription

By now, you should have:

  • Installed Sendy on Digital Ocean and set it up with SES
  • Integrated Sendy with your website and tested it to make sure it works
  • Sent an e-mail from Sendy to a list and confirmed that you can receive e-mails from it
  • Imported your current list to Sendy and have a backup copy of your list in csv

If so, you'll be ready to cancel your subscription.

Conclusion: Affordable Solution to Simple E-mail Marketing Needs

I've moved Entrepreneur Campfire's mailing list to Sendy a few weeks ago and found it to be just the solution I need for my simple e-mail marketing needs.

I was able to cancel my subscription to GetResponse's US$65/month plan and get on Sendy's US$5/month Digital Ocean setup, saving me almost US$60 a month. This adds up to almost RM2,500/year I can invest in other parts of my business.

If you are looking for a simple and affordable alternative to mainstream e-mail marketing solutions in the market like MailChimp and GetResponse, consider using Sendy.

It can be quite technical to set up, but once everything is ready, you'll be able to benefit from long-term savings. While you'll be responsible for your e-mail marketing solution, for most people, the maintenance is quite minimal once everything is set up.

Sendy is not perfect, however. 

Although it's a great solution for content marketers, I don't recommend it for e-commerce businesses which needs complex funnels. For those, MailChimp and GetResponse can still be great and valuable e-mail marketing solutions.

If you're still looking for a more complex solution, explore Mautic. I'm still in the midset of setting this up and will come up with a guide once I do.

Over to you: Would you use Sendy to save money on your e-mail marketing? Why or why not? What e-mail marketing solutions are you happy with?

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Welcome to Entrepreneur Campfire and thanks for reading my articles

Lu Wee here, and I am the pen behind Entrepreneur Campfire. I like diving deep into business trends, review business tools and create in-depth tutorials for people just like you.

If you have any questions about your business, or want to collaborate, send me a message.

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