No need for an Amazon SES account anymore!

The requirement of an Amazon SES to use EmailOctopus was a huge blocker for many who signed up. Over 60% of users who signed up not completing this step. Being an SES only solution helped us in the beginning, it meant we could hand off things such as reputation management to Amazon and it allowed us to focus on the front-end of the product where emails as built.

But the wider problem we are solving is that email marketing is too expensive and complex for many . To better solve that problem, we really need full ownership over our users and the sign-up process. We’re now at a stage where we can manage that process having grown in people expertise.

So as of today, there is no need to create a separate Amazon SES account when signing up for EmailOctopus. You now simply sign up to the platform and can be sending within minutes.

The hypothesis is that it will improve our metrics of registered users > active users.

Note: We’ll continue to offer the ability to integrate with Amazon SES (at the same old price) for those who prefer that solution. That is offered under the 'EmailOctopus Connect' product.

  1. 3

    Nice !
    I was waiting for this feature

  2. 3

    That's great. Was definitely a headache getting all the setting right for AWS and having to wait for Amazon to do it's thing to raise our limit.

  3. 2

    That's me. I was about to jump into Sendgrid because they have automation now, but this brings back EmailOctopus onto the table. Your prices are way better.

  4. 2

    This is awesome! Can't wait to try it out

  5. 2

    Amazon SES is generally much cheaper than anything else, so it being a blocker seems odd to me, but I guess it takes a bit of work to set up so paying more is worth the convenience to some.

    1. 1

      Most of our users are non-technical, so for them AWS is pretty scary.

      Also signing up to a single service and immediately being asked to sign up to another 3rd party is a little odd.

      1. 1

        That's an excellent point. Can you set up SES through amazons APIs? Just wondering if it would be possible to automate it all somehow, like the user signs in with their amazon account and you set it all up for them in the backend. Might lower the barrier to entry, though, now you have moved away from it there's probably little point exploring that now.

        1. 1

          We did use their API to set-up the account as much as possible. But they still need to give us API keys in order to do so, which for non-technical people is scary and confusing. There isn't a 'log-in with AWS option'.

          We did investigate all avenues, as abstracting our code away from AWS to support other providers was not simple. But ultimately, needed to be done as we had a very leaky acquisition bucket.

          1. 1

            Yeah, totally agree that would sound scary for non technical people. Thanks for taking the time to respond to me, it's been an interesting conversation.

  6. 2

    Awesome! That’s super exciting you guys.

    1. 1

      Thanks as always for the support, Josh!

  7. 2

    Congrats! Did you end up implementing multi-tenant SES setup?

    1. 1

      Nope, we considered it but ended up partnering with a few different ESPs to handle the backend sending. With the volume forecast we were able to negotiate down to lower rates than Amazon SES.

      Oh also worth mentioning, those who are already set-up and using SES will continue to do so.

      1. 1

        It's interesting how the general perception is that Amazon SES is the cheapest, but that's only true on publicly posted pricing. Most high volume senders are able to get better pricing at transactional providers with significant volume discounts.

      2. 1

        That's a great deal if it's cheaper than SES and removes any multi-tenant headaches with reputation.

        I've personally looked into multi-tenant SES setup (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrR-iC7UTic), while it is do-able, as far as I remember there's a 10k limit on SES configuration sets (not sure if it's a hard limit), which limits what and how much you can do if you're building your own SaaS (e.g. tagging emails with tenant template ids, etc, to be able to report back on them)

  8. 1

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  9. 1

    I wonder if Amazon SES just doesn't allow you to operate on behalf of your users?

    1. 1

      It does, I think Zendesk use SES for lots of their customers emails

      1. 1

        If so, why do you require (or required) users to set up their own account with SES?

        1. 1

          We required users to bring their own account because, simply put, when we first started out we didn't have the knowledge or team size to run our own servers and reputation management system.

          So we focussed on our product, outsourced that, then as the team has grown and product reached a point where we're happy we've brought it back under our own umbrella.

          1. 1

            Oh, this is so interesting, thanks for sharing your experience!
            But I would like to add something.
            You said in your post "The requirement of an Amazon SES to use EmailOctopus was a huge blocker for many who signed up."
            But probably not the requirement was a blocker but your UI/UX.
            Let me explain.
            I tried your service and it required me to enter my SES credentials in the middle of process of setting account up. But I didn't have it at the moment and didn't want to even create it before I wanted to check your service. I wanted to make sure that your service allows me to create email messages on my own (without using templates). But I couldn't move forward because your service persistently required to enter SES credentials. I think this is exactly the moment when most users give up.
            I didn't and tried another tactic. I just reload the page and tried to sign in and - voila! - the service allowed me to enter and play with the email editor and other settings and it didn't require to enter credentials at that moment what meant it was not necessarily at all.
            So, probably most users, like me, wanted first to play with your service and they couldn't...

            1. 1

              Hi Zencentric,

              Appreciate your insights but please don't think we simply make such a dramatic change on a whim. We do try to do a little bit a of research before pivoting our business completely — it's worthwhile before embarking on a 6-month long project like this was.

              So what research did we do?

              We ran 2 user surveys sent to about 10k users who didn't set-up AWS in the past x months.

              We asked the main reason for not completing the set-up:

              • 15% of those surveyed attempted the set-up, but found it to difficult.
              • 30% were concerned about signing up to two services.
              • 24% wanted to just have a look at EmailOctopus. (So your point does have some validity, based on this)
              • 6% refused to do business with Amazon!

              Following that survey we created some hypotheses and ran some tests. We tested a two approaches as well as introduced a new savings calculator to make it more clear what the final cost would be and also a new on-boarding flow. The two tests were ran were were: allowing users to skip through the SES Credentials set-up and then also offering to set-up the service for them. The former saw SES set-up drop down even lower, users simply never got round to it. The latter didn't make a sufficient dent in that drop-off.

              So we ran the 2nd survey including some further questions. Most interesting result from that was "Would you use EmailOctopus if you didn't have to complete this AWS set-up at all?" and the overwhelming answer from 86% was Yes.

              Now ultimately, the problem we're solving is that email marketing is too expensive for some business. You're right, we could tweak the SES solution continually and perhaps eek out a small improvement in our metrics. But we'd always have been restricted by the local maxima. There will always be a drop-off if you ask users to sign-up to two services. So we took a leap, following hours of research to (hopefully) find the global maxima.

              1. 1

                Thanks for sharing your approach and research steps Thomas, very interesting. For what it's worth, we had the "Skip this step" for SES connect at BigMailer.io early on and it didn't help the conversion rate much. So I am in agreement with you that the blocker for most users was setting up the SES account.

                Congrats on the revenue milestone, happy for you guys.

              2. 1

                Appreciate your insights but please don't think we simply make such a dramatic change on a whim.
                Not sure what you meant.
                I just wanted to note that blocker maybe not the requirement itself but the way how it was implemented.

                1. 1

                  Did you read the part where we tried your suggested implementation?

  10. 0

    Hello everyone, i'm selling amazon ses 50k limit apporved account.
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