When launching ThemeWagon in 2014, we planned to collect emails by sending out download links directly to our user’s inbox. Our tool of choice for maintaining subscribers and sending out newsletters, of course, MailChimp – because of their extraordinary infrastructure and excellent marking tools. We started with their free tier of 2000 subscribers and aimed to grow 1000 subscribers at the end of the year. It was all rainbows and butterflies!
A few months after launch, our subscribes list was snowballing – smashed the free barrier of 2000 leads in just two weeks. In the next blink of our eye, it was $65/month with 5500 subscribers. The list kept ballooning on and on – thousands of new subscribers per day and more than a thousand in Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In early 2015 we crossed the 100,000 subscribers landmark. The cost bumped up and leveled out at the $500/month charge. Almost in every three or five days, our costing in MailChimp was creeping up, up and up!
Back then, we were distributing only the free HTML5 templates; hoping to grow and showcase premium products later. We had no venture fund in our back and only a few thousand dollars in revenue. It was clear that MailChimp is going to squizz a couple of thousands/month from us. We can not afford the luxury of using MailChimp. So we badly needed a new service which is affordable yet powerful.
We tried Sendy. It was cheap, a 1000x less expensive then MailChimp, and that was its main problem – It was cheap, very cheap! Sendy is useful for blasting one-time newsletters and announcements, but when it comes to serious email marketing, it’s like throwing darts in the dark. We could not use any of the power-ups like TimeWarp delivery or tracking e-commerce activities. Also, most importantly could not re-target subscribers with unopened emails from our previous campaign.
It was 2015. We tried EmailOctopus. Which was pretty good but like Sendy, it was also less than ideal to manage and send to 300000+ subscribers. Mostly because people were getting emails in the middle of the night since EmailOctopus doesn’t have the TimeWarp delivery; moreover, we could not segment and target our users based on their activities on our website such as their earlier purchases and all.
We tried and tested almost every email marketing software we could get our hand on. It turns out to be an either-or – pay more than our revenue or send newsletters to people who don’t need them. Since we can not spend more than we earn, we keep throwing only the new product releases and periodical promotions – the boring “Introducing the all-new whatever” and the ruthless “Last minute deal – 93% off”; throwing them blindly to everybody. Our unsubscribe rate went up, click rates were slipping down in the chasm, no unicorns, no butterflies!
In late 2015, We decided to make an experimental web app for sending out newsletters via AmazonSES. We built a working prototype with everything manual – from re-targeting to report generation. As in the bible says: “Knock, and the door shall be opened,” we knocked the subscribers who missed or ignored our previous campaign over and over again. We sent out a ridiculous amount of retargeted newsletters to a single subscriber, in one case the 53rd email got clicked! It worked, more then we expected. We sold around $30,000 on our “Mega Discount Bundle 2016” which was a pack of 26 HTML5 templates. The MVP was working fine, except one thing – everything was manual. If we wanted to see the open rate or click rate for our last campaign, we have to write a SQL query and run it with Adminer. However, It was bliss. Now it costs only $1 to send 10,000 emails.
As we were saving thousands of dollars per month, it inspired us to build a SAS for sending newsletters, so that other people can also get the same benefits. In Mid 2018 we launched MailBluster beta – included only the essentials like TimeWarp delivery and retargeting with sophisticated segmentation. Now, we’re using it at a full-scale for sending newsletters to our list of over 500,000 subscribers without issues. In the first month of launch, we blasted 1.5 million emails with 99.8% successful deliveries.
Of course, MailBluster doesn’t have as many features as MailChimp, but it has the essentials that we use on a day-to-day basis in ThemeWagon, such as – subscriber list segmentation, retargeting based on campaign activity, scheduled campaigns, bounce handling, and campaign analytics. Plus we’re adding new features regularly – testing and tinkering to make it “The ultimate tool for email marketing”.
Here is how MaliBluster’s pricing looks like:
- $0 for the first 62,000 emails you send each month
- $0.10 for every 1,000 emails you send after that
No subscriptions, no minimum charges.
Finally, according to MailChimp’s current price tier, it costs $2150/month for 500,000+ subscribers. Blissfully with MailBluster, we are sending with a cost less than $100 (including AmazonSES fee) without compromising the quality. Moreover, for the months if we do not throw out any promotions, it costs us nothing.
So guys! Why don’t you give MailBluster a try?