Create your own autoresponder with Amazon SES and send x100 emails cheaper!

In this article, we will see together, step by step, how to create your own email program or autoresponder, and send 10,000 emails for less than 1 euro …

Although his “dead” has been declared for years, email is still and will continue to be an essential marketing channel for developing your business.

Whether approaching new customers through cold email strategies or to retaining your existing audience, email marketing strategy remains a solid foundation for business development.

However, sending an email to 10,000 contacts will cost $75 with mailchimp or $69 with GetResponse… and sending 10,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000 can quickly increase your bill.

To meet the needs of your company or employees or to implement mass email strategies, it can be especially interesting to build your own email marketing system.

Although it may seem a bit technical and complicated, in this article I will show you step by step, in a tutorial manner, how to make your own gadget!

the ingredients

In recent years, the cost of IT resources, software, infrastructure, and other services has fallen so dramatically, that they are now ridiculously affordable. Especially since the arrival of cloud operators like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azur and their IaaS, PaaS and SaaS systems.

For example, the cost of storing your data on Amazon S3 is only 0.02€/GB, and the cost of sending emails with Amazon SES is 0€ for the first 62,000 emails, then 0.10€ per 1000 emails.

Moreover, most of the usual autoresponder tools are actually based on this type of platform.

The good news is that today these services are so accessible that you can build your own autoresponder yourself, send 62,000 free emails/month and then €1 per 10,000!

For this, we will rely on Amazon Web Services (Amazon Cloud) email sending service, called Amazon SES.

For more information about SES and its pricing, I invite you to take a look at this page: https://aws.amazon.com/fr/ses/pricing/

But beware: Amazon SES alone doesn’t provide a graphical interface like Gmail, or a program for sending emails… and unless you know how to master the command line or write your own lines of code, SES alone won’t help. t reach you too far.

For this, we are going to set up a ‘client’, a script that we will call Amazon SES, which will provide us with the visual interface for writing our messages, creating our autoresponder sequences, displaying our metrics…in a nutshell, all the features of a classic autoresponder.

There are many such clients in the market, the most famous of which are https://sendy.co/ and https://www.mailwizz.com/. On the latter we will build ourselves in this article.

Get started with Amazon SES

First of all, it will be necessary to create your Amazon Web Services (AWS) account at the following address http://console.aws.amazon.com.

From this interface, you will be able to access more than 95 Amazon services, including sending emails using SES.

Once your account is created and validated (which can take up to 24 hours), I invite you to search for “Simple Email Service” (SES) in the service’s search bar, and then click on it.

You are now on the SES interface. There will be two necessary steps to configure SES and send emails from your gadget:

  • Agree to your identity by verifying your domain or email;
  • Create and configure an IAM user.

Starting !

Agree to your identity

To give an indication to Amazon SES servers that they can actually send emails from your domain (eg: webmarketing-com.com) or your address (eg: [email protected]), it will be necessary to verify the domain or address relevant email.

In general, domain ownership verification is more interesting, as it means that all emails sent from that domain (both [email protected] and [email protected]) will be validated. In the context of a company with multiple collaborators, this is what is recommended.

However, domain checking is a bit technical: you’ll need to create and add DKIM records from your host’s backend (OVH, 1&1 etc).

Therefore, in this article, we will only check email addresses, which are very easy to set up. To check domains, I invite you to follow the steps suggested by Amazon, or to direct you to your host/webmaster.

Tip: If you plan to send bulk emails, use a different domain/email than your usual one, to avoid flagging your primary email address as ‘spam’.

Therefore, I invite you to simply click on “Email Addresses” in the left column, then on “Verify New Email Address”, and finally to enter the verification email.

Once verified, Amazon should immediately send you a verification email. Click the link, and verify that your email address is correct.

That’s it, your email has been verified. You can repeat the process to check other emails.

Create and configure an IAM . user

IAM is an Amazon Service (AWS) that allows you to manage users and access rights to different services.

In other words, if you want to be able to send emails using Amazon SES, you must create a user with “send email” rights.

This user will be represented by a pair of keys, which can be compared to a login/password pair. It is this user that we will “connect” to the Sendy or Mailwizz graphical interface, so that we can use Amazon SES.

Follow the steps carefully, everything will be fine

So you will click on “Services” in the top bar, and look for the IAM service.

From the IAM interface, we will create your first user. To do this, click on “Users” in the left sidebar, then on the “Add User” button.

level 1 :

Choose a username, then check the “Access by programming” box.

The second step:

Here we define the rights of this user. Choose “Attach Existing Policies Directly”, search for Amazonses, and only check AmazonSESFullAccess.

Step 3:

You can add additional information to your user, such as an email address or description. In our case, this step is not necessary. Move on to the next.

The fourth step:

Check the information entered for the last time, then click Create User.

Fifth step:

Once the user is created, we will need to retrieve their security credentials. Do not neglect this step, and download the user file in .csv format. This is the file that will allow you to connect!

That’s it, Amazon SES is ready! All you have to do is install the web interface (sendy, mailwizz or others), and connect AWS using the IAM credentials you just downloaded. Let’s see it together!

Set up your own web interface

Now we will set up the “Program” part of our tool. The script that will allow us to send our emails through a beautiful graphical interface, but also to use all the autoresponder, statistics and other features.

In this article we chose to use Mailwizz, available on codecanyon for a few euros: https://codecanyon.net/item/mailwizz-email-marketing-application/6122150

I’ll let you follow the MailWizz tutorial to install the software on your server, and we’ll resume once the installation is complete.

this is good ? Mailwizz (or other) installed?

We will now connect it to Amazon SES to send your emails.

Go to the admin (background) area of ​​mailwizz, and click on “Servers >> Delivery Servers”.

We will now create our first server. You will notice that there are many servers and suggested connection patterns, including Amazon that provide connection via SES API or directly via SMTP.

We will of course use the SES API, which provides more flexibility and functionality. Click on “Amazon SES Web API”, and fill in the required fields:

Noun: The name you want to give your server, to get to know it

Host name: The hostname of your Amazon SES server. To find it, we will go back to the Amazon SES interface and click on SMTP Settings. Then you just have to copy/paste the “Server Name” field.

Retrieve Server Name – SMTP Settings

Access Key ID: The Access Key ID key was found in the .csv file you downloaded a few minutes ago, after creating your IAM user.

Secret access key: The secret key is in the same .csv file, next column.

Finally, fill in the From Email and From Name fields to indicate which email and name you want to display when someone receives your emails.

The rest is optional and can remain as is.

Testing and validation

Your internal email program is almost ready to use. But before that, we have one last step.

Amazon SES is still in a “sandbox” state, a kind of draft mode, where you can test the tool without risk.

So we’re going to get it out of SandBox mode. But first, I invite you to test the installation for the first time by sending an email to yourself, via the address you checked earlier.

(Note: In sandbox mode, you can only send emails to verified addresses).

To master an email marketing tool, based on Mailwizz, Sendy, or others, I invite you to take a few minutes to tour the program and read the documentation. You will see for example how to exit the admin area, and log in as a user to send your emails.

Once the email has been sent and validated, it’s time to get out of the sandbox, and put your gadget into “production” (aka fully usable).

To do this, go one last time to Amazon SES, this time click on Submit Statistics. Finally, request to exit Sanbox mode by clicking on the blue “Request Send Limit Increase” button.

That’s it, your app is ready to use!

Remember to check your Spam Score via https://www.mail-tester.com/.. that’s it, you can start having fun!

conclusion

Kudos to you if you followed these instructions to the end. You now have your own email marketing software, and you’re ready to send out your email campaigns with price and delivery capability from Amazon SES.

In concluding this email, I would like to return to the principle of cold email that is close to my heart and which I already mentioned in a previous article. What I call the “success formula” in prospecting.

Message quantity x message quality = success

For example:
1000 messages sent x 1/10 quality = 5 clients;
100 messages sent x 10/10 quality = 5 clients.

In fact, sending generic emails en masse, without personal effort, is often not the right strategy. It is generally interesting to send a small number of highly targeted emails to a group of well-known people.

With this article, you have a tool that allows you to send hundreds of thousands of emails for just a few euros… It’s up to you to find out if this strategy is really the right fit for your situation!

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