Liliom Tips & Tricks- Sendy

In the last blog post, we went over why newsletters are so important, and the pitfalls many authors and businesses run into when attempting to expand their reach. One of the best options out there is to run your own mailing list. It's a game changer!
So, you want to run a mailing list, but don’t want to deal with the limitations and issues from other providers? Liliom and it’s authors use Sendy. It’s an out of the box solution that you own and operate, ensuring you can manage your own list without being locked down when you inadvertently encounter those rough campaigns that don’t hit the mark with readers or customers.

It does take a bit of time to set up, but the directions are fairly clear, so it’s easy for even a novice to set up if they take the steps one at a time. Liliom set it up in a few hours, so it’s definitely doable! Bonus, each campaign costs just pennies to send. You can’t beat that, so a little time spent setting things up is quite worth it.

First, you need to choose your host. Liliom uses BuyVM, as they have great uptime and service. We are hosting multiple sites through them plus the newsletter program and service so far has been superb. We started at the $15 slice, as that gives us dedicated CPU usage, unmetered bandwidth, and 4GB RAM. The servers are self-managed, but if you’re a beginner, you can email them and ask if they can set the server up to run WordPress and Sendy, and they will be glad to do so if you tell them you aren’t quite sure where to start with getting things set up for it.

Once your server is ready, you’ll get a login to your DirectAdmin panel. Here, you’ll add your user for your newsletter site, before heading to Sendy to buy your license. It’s a one time fee of $59, and after that, you own the software. No monthly fees for it, no nickel and diming, no further add-on costs needed. Then, you simply follow the steps one by one on Sendy’s Getting Started guide. If you get lost, there are helpful links and tutorials there as well. You can also buy an installation service for $79 if you truly don’t want to handle it yourself, but with a little patience, we truly feel anyone can install Sendy themselves, just takes some trial and error.

Once you’re done, you can log in to your site. It’s set up like any mailing list service. You can see your ‘brands’ in the first page, perfect for those running multiple businesses or pen names. Click the one you want to use to send on that day. In your brand page, you can view all your lists, add people to those lists, do housekeeping, blacklist addresses that are marking you as spam, etc.

You can create your basic template for your newsletters, which are mostly drag and drop and “what you see is what you get”. After creating and sending a campaign, you can then see a full accounting of that campaign, including open rates, click rates, what links were clicked, etc.

The best part? Since we’re hooking into Amazon SES, we have a rock solid delivery rate behind us. The cost is $0.10 for every 1,000 emails sent. There are no limits on how many subscribers you can have, you don’t have a higher cost tier because you have x amount of subscribers.

For around $20 a month, you can send 50,000 emails to 50,000 subscribers and no one will be slapping your hand if your unsubscribe rate hits 3%. You won’t be locked out of your newsletter if someone marks you as spam.

The peace of mind is amazing. Liliom uses theirs to send ARCs to review teams, to host each author’s individual newsletter, to coordinate blogger teams, and even for private newsletters just to Liliom authors! It integrates with Zapier, but there’s also a WordPress plugin that connects your newsletter form directly to your mailing list, so it’s all hands-off. You can connect different forms to different segmented lists.

Overall, we’re extremely happy with the service we’re getting, both from BuyVM and Sendy. If you’ve had issues with mailing list providers in the past and have thought about running your own, Sendy is a viable option we feel would be worth looking in to.

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