April 9, 2019

Cheap ESP for 1.5 million subscriber list, but low revenue.

Sam Claassen @samclaassen

I'm shopping for an email service provider but running into challenges. From former app users, I have an email list of 1.5 million users I'd like to communicate. The problem is most of these are free/churned users. The ROI can't justify a $30k/year tool.

What are some of the cheaper email providers people have found for lists this size?

  1. 2

    Check out emailoctopus. I don't have first hand experience but heard the founders on a podcast. They have a nice UI for managing the email campaigns and use AWS SES as the backend to send the emails. I believe you have to plug your API key in there.

  2. 1

    I would go with a self-hosted solution. There are some prebuilt packages like https://mailinabox.email/ or https://mailcow.email/.

    Of course, you will need to invest some $ upfront for setup (configuring servers, domains, DKIM, DNS, keys etc.) and later for maintenance on regular basis (e.g. monitoring servers, blacklists), but at this volume it's worth considering. You may find more information in some HN threads.

  3. 1

    Amazon SES + sendy. You can't beat the price and this quality (Amazon quality...)

  4. 1

    Any tips how to build the list, lessons learned?

    1. 1

      Unfortunately, I won't be of huge help in this particular scenario, as they are all current + former users of an app that has had remarkable organic traction over the past few years. However building email lists is a key part of my growth work, so feel free to tell me a little about your business or project and I'm happy to offer advice :)

      1. 1

        Would love to get some email hired help. We have 19,000 optin list. We have facebooks groups scrap of very targeted 117,000. Can you contact me : gator8899 @ yahoo .com ?

  5. 1

    Wow, that's a hell of a list size! I'd love to learn more about your business!

    I think the most cost-effective option for you may be to invest in a custom software being built around AWS. They can handle that load with impressive deliverability speed and it should be relatively cheaper than most email service providers.

    Then again 30k/year at that scale is not a too far off from where'd I predict the cost to manage such a list.

    1. 1

      Interesting, yeah I think a custom build like that would be strenuous to say the least...

      As far as the subscribers go, they are mainly comprised of past app users. There has never been any email marketing done at the company. Ordinarily, an email list would grow with the company. It's a bit of a unique scenario to kick off a marketing scenario from scratch with an email size that big. It's simultaneously the biggest obstacle and oppertunity.

      1. 2

        Another idea:

        What if you segment the list in parts, smaller chunks of audiences? say 100,000 subs? It'll be much more cost effective and you can use it as a testing ground, before investing in the infrastructure needed for the whole list?

        1. 1

          @cjezinne Your solution is likely best. Unless there is a hard requirement that all 1.5m people get the email at the same time, and even then a delivery platform isn't going to send that volume as they risk banishment themselves... breaking it down into chucks would be a good idea.

          Also if the vendor is "too cheap" then you risk inbox delivery issues -- a problem I've experienced with a 100k+ list before. Good emails not being delivered.

  6. 1

    I have never used, but did you check mailerlite?

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