1.Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to link my own Amazon SES account to use BigMailer?
You can use BigMailer email collection forms and import your contacts without connecting to Amazon SES, but you will need to link to your Amazon SES account prior to scheduling a campaign. Read about why we use Amazon SES.
Do I need to add a credit card to get on a Startup (free) plan?
No. As long as you don’t go over the limit of 5,000 contacts you don’t need to add a payment method.
When will I be charged?
You will be charged immediately after selecting your plan and adding your payment information, so make sure to set your limit to be just slightly above the number of customers you have to allow for new sign ups.
What if I go over my contacts limit?
If you go over the contacts limit you set in any given month either via importing contacts or web forms your ability to send campaigns will be temporarily paused. You will need to increase your monthly contacts limit on the Billing page (Account in top right > Billing) before you can send any additional emails.
There are several settings that can be control under Account settings. To get to these options click on Accounts link in the top right of the application header after log in.
Anyone can enable 2-factor authentication (2FA) on their account by going to Profile page.
Account administrators can also:
- Manage billing – upgrade or downgrade, update payment information
- Manage users – invite, change access permissions
- Manage SES connections and sender identities settings (DKIM, custom tracking).
Once you Create a Brand and Define a List for a given brand, you can:
- Import your existing email list, OR
- Setup email signup forms to collect emails into a specified list
If your email list hasn’t been engaged in 2+ months it’s highly recommended to validate the list before uploading into BigMailer to reduce your bounce rate (should be below 5%) and improve email deliverability and inbox placement. We have partnered with Bouncer and TheChecker to get our customers additional discounts.
Before you can send your first campaign you need to ensure your account setup is complete. Make sure you:
- Get your Amazon SES account out of sandbox mode and request a new daily send limit.
- Optional: Define Message Types that your email recipients will be opting out from. If you skip this step, you will have a single “global” (brand-level) unsubscribe for all your campaigns.Think of message types as interest lists and consider specifying frequency, for example “Weekly Newsletter” or “Occasional Product Announcements”. By default, all your list subscribers get assigned into all message types you create. Every time you create a new campaign you will be asked to specify message type, unless you copy an existing campaign (the settings will get copied).
- Define Sender Identities – you have 2 options:
- Specify a single email address you want to send emails from. You will just need to verify ownership by clicking on a link in the email sent from Amazon. With this option, your email sender in the email header will appear as “email@example.com via amazonses.com”
- Configure your domain name to allow you to use unlimited sender addresses under that domain. With this option, your email header will only have your email address as a sender.
4.Connecting Your BigMailer Account to Amazon SES
You don’t need to connect to Amazon SES if you just want to collect emails via BigMailer web forms on your website.
You need to connect your BigMailer account to Amazon SES account before you send your first campaign. You will be prompted and guided through the steps after you register for a new account, but if you choose to skip this setup step you will see a notifications at the top of every page about the need to finish your on-boarding along with a link to the step-by-step instructions.
If you get an error during the connection step the most likely reason is your new AWS account isn’t verified via phone or credit card yet. You can check your AWS account status on this page. which will show any required verification steps to complete.
NOTE: Your Amazon SES account must be out of Sandbox mode to be able to send real campaigns. Your Amazon SES account is taken out of sandbox mode after you send a request to increase your send limit. Most customers get their requests resolved within a day and unless you requested a specific limit based on your list size, the starting limit is typically 50,000 emails per rolling 24 hour period. If your list is larger than 50,000 contacts be sure to request a limit you require and provide additional info, e.g. links to your site and a page where you collect email addresses. See more detailed info in this article about submitting a request to Amazon.
Connecting Multiple SES Accounts
Customers on paid plans have an option to connect multiple Amazon SES accounts, which is very practical when managing multiple brands. You can assign a different SES account to each brand, or share SES account(s) between many brands.
Amazon SES Pricing
You will be charged additional fee by Amazon for using SES. First 2k emails per day are free, then $0.10 per 1,000 emails. Read more about Amazon SES pricing
5.Configuring SPF and DKIM Records
While not required, it is highly recommended that you configure SPF and DKIM to make your emails looks more authentic and to improve deliverability. If you are experiencing a problem where recipients are seeing “sent via amazonses.com” near the “From:” address, setting up DKIM and SPF will resolve the issue.
6.Plans, Pricing, and Billing
Payments by Plan
All accounts start on a Startup plan, which doesn’t require adding a credit card. Pricing on all paid plans is based on number of contacts (email addresses) stored on BigMailer platform with unlimited email sending per month. When you select a paid plan you will be asked to add a credit card to your account and will be charged immediately, based on the level of contacts you selected. The plans increment number of contacts as:
Business plan – increments of 5000 (so 5001-10000 contacts cost $10/month, 10001-15000 contacts cost $15/month).
Growth plan – increments of 10000 (so 110001-120000 costs $120/month). Not shown on Pricing page, but listed on Billing page.
Agency plan – increments of 25000 (inquire about custom discount based on sending frequency).
Enterprise plan – increments of 50000 (inquire about custom discount based on sending frequency).
Going Over The Limit
If you go over your selected limit in a given month either via manual import or via webform email collection your ability to send emails will be paused until a new limit is selected on the Billing page (Accounts link in top right of the app > Billing) or until we automatically update your account to the next tier (see increments by plan above) overnight and may charge your a pro-rated amount. A pro-rated charge for the remainder of the billing cycle will be charged immediately upon the plan/tier change, if the amount due is over a certain threshold. For example, if your billing cycle is on 21st of the month and you upgrade the day before we may not charge a pro-rated amount and add the amount owed to your monthly charge the next day.
Agency Plan Pricing
BigMailer is an email marketing platform optimized for agencies with unlimited brands, user/client accounts, and template sharing. Please schedule a demo to discuss your volume and needs to get a custom price quote. Your rate will be based on a total of unique contacts stored under each brand, lists can’t be shared between brands but if you are a company with multiple products and need to use the same list we can apply a custom discount based on intended usage. Agencies have an option to pre-pay on an annual basis for an additional 15% discount.
BigMailer Lists behave like tags (virtual groupings of emails rather than physical lists) and can be used in a variety of ways, depending on your business needs.
Lists Based on Email Collection Sources
If you are collecting emails from a variety of sources, for example sign up forms on your website’s homepage/articles, member registrations, opt-in on a partner page, or signups during offline events, it might be helpful to define your Lists to mimic your collection sources. You could go very granular (separate blog signups from say homepage) or you could rollup some sources into major groups (on-site, off-site).
This will help you see and understand your engagement stats for each of your lists and get to insights on which source maybe producing low-quality or high-quality email lists.
Lists as Main Customer Segments
While you can segment your campaigns on any of your data points, it maybe beneficial to define lists based on most commonly used criteria like Members vs. Paid Customers, or segment your customers based on product/service they purchased so you can see engagement stats across those major segments on the main Lists view. Using your main segmenting criteria to define your lists can also help you streamline your campaign setup workflow and lower risk of mistakes (sending an email to a larger than intended audience).
Lists as Both, Sources and Segments
You could actually combine the two techniques described above, it just slightly complicates the initial setup for email collection. Just make sure to name your lists in a way that prevents confusion as to what they are and represent.
Remember, BigMailer doesn’t charge you extra for your contacts to appear on multiple lists, like some market leading ESPs.
8.Email Collection via Web Forms
To add an email collection form you need to create a List first, then click on the arrow down button next to List name (on Lists tab) and select “Forms”, see:
Once on a Forms screen, just click on Create a Form button, name your form and hit Save.
You have an option to add reCAPTCHA to your forms as well, if you want to prevent sign ups from bots.
NOTE: By default, only the Email field will be listed, unless additional columns have been defined via an import of data into that list or the additional fields/columns were manually defined. To define fields, click on your brand name in the site header and select “Fields”. Make sure to specify correct data type for each field you create, it will have an impact on the operators that will be available during segmentation.
Once the form is defined you have 2 options for using it:
- Copy the code provided and embed it into your website.
- Link to signup form hosted on BigMailer.
9.Email Collection from Applications
This section covers uses cases and suggested methods for collecting emails from your applications via transactional APIs.
There are various use cases for when you might need to add an email to your lists based on user actions, besides signing up to receive emails from you, for example – registering as a member, becoming a paid customer, signing up for an event, etc.
Possible methods of adding an email to your list stored in BigMailer:
- Making a real-time front-end API call in real-time for each transaction.
- Making a real-time back-end API call in real-time for each transaction.
- Making a back-end API call on a recurring schedule in batches (hourly, daily).
Option #1 is the least preferred method, due to low reliability of front-end calls since you rely on user’s resources (computer/browser) to make the call and it can be interrupted by the user’s action (e.g. closing the browser window or connection interruption) before the call is complete. One of our client’s saw only 30% success rate on such front-end calls, e.g. only 30% of total transactions actually recorded.
Option #2 is more reliable than option #1 and the most common implementation. However, making very large volumes of API calls may not be ideal use of your own resources and has some limitations that can be solved for with option #3.
Option #3 allows you to send some additional data points, besides email addresses, that can be very useful but may not be readily available when making a real-time call.
10.Creating and Sending a Bulk Campaign
Adding an Unsubscribe LinkBigMailer platform requires and enforces the presence of an unsubscribe link on all Bulk/Marketing campaigns.
Here is how to add Unsubscribe link into your email template: In Drag-n-Drop Editor (while on Text element):In Classic Editor: To lower a complaint rate and improve email deliverability and inbox placement it may be beneficial to:
- Use extra text around your unsubscribe link similar to “You have received this email because [reason or method of getting on the list]. If you no longer want to receive these emails please Unsubscribe“
- Use the word “Unsubscribe” or “Opt-out” instead of other alternatives like “Manage Preferences” or other less explicit instruction. Mailbox providers scan the email body for the presence of the unsubscribe link so it is best to make it easier to locate. Avoid using “click here” phrase as unsubscribe link, it’s considered a spam phrase and can increase your spam score.
Tracking OptionsBy default, BigMailer automatically tracks opens and clicks on all campaigns. You have an option to turn off click tracking if you don’t want to use our tracking link in your email. You also have an option to use a custom tracking domain (free self-service option available on all plans) that matches your sender email, which can greatly improve your email deliverability and inbox placement. You also have an option to include additional parameters to your links, for example utm_ parameters for Google Analytics. Read our guide to email campaign tracking to explore this option further.
Templates and EditorsYou have the option to use your existing templates by copying HTML code into a Classic editor. With our Drag-and-Drop editor you can create advanced layouts and all templates are automatically mobile optimized. You also have an access to a library of stock images which you can use at no extra cost.
Including text version on every campaign is highly recommended as it helps with inbox placement. Some spam filters, like SpamAssassin, add points to spam score when text version is missing. You can generate the text version from the HTML version, just review the formatting and make sure that your unsubscribe link is still formatted properly and didn’t get merged with any other elements.
Sending a Test EmailYou can send a test email to yourself without scheduling a campaign by listing the email addresses in the field provided on Create/Edit Campaign screen. If you don’t get your test email or it goes to Spam/Junk folder, there can be several reasons for it. Follow this list below to troubleshoot:
- If you used merge tags (aka variables) in your email but haven’t specified default values for them in your settings the email sent will have placeholder text where the variable values should appear, e.g. *|NAME|*. This will cause the mailbox provider to identify email as spam and either block the email completely or place it into Spam/Junk folder. To address this, go to Fields under your brand and add sample values to the fields you have defined (see screenshot).
- Your domain identity configuration isn’t complete. Please see our help pages on SES identities and DKIM and SPF for detailed instructions.
- You are missing the unsubscribe link in your email template, see section above.
- Your subject line or email body contains words that increase your email spam score. Please refer to this list of common Spam words.
If you send more than 50000 emails per day then volume throttling may be of benefit, especially if you are a new sender and don’t have a history of sending more than 10000 emails per day. If you would like to try this feature please reach out to us via chat and request the feature to be turned on on our account. Once enabled, you can see the module above scheduling. We suggest you limit your sending to 8k per 30 min, for a list 50000-100000, and 20000 for a list over over 100k, for best deliverability and inbox placement and start around 6:30am (local time) on week days.
12.Paused Campaign Due to High Bounce Rate
To prevent a high bounce rate you should always validate your list before uploading it into an email marketing platform and sending a bulk campaign.
13.Working with Automation or Drip Campaigns
The emails in a sequence can be triggered with:
- A trigger condition based on engagement, AND/OR
- Custom defined time frame in hours, days, or weeks based on condition specified
Each email in the Automation campaign can be in either HTML or text-only format and each email can be activated or paused at anytime. A sequence can also be re-arranged at anytime – you can drag an email step into a new position in a sequence but no history of changes in the sequence is stored (no revision history).
The automation emails are scheduled at the time of the trigger, ignoring any delay rules. So if the trigger for an email step is “after previous email is SENT” then the email is scheduled as soon as the previous email is SENT, regardless of delay rule. Re-arranging steps for a live sequence, or changing delay rules, will not have any impact on emails already scheduled.
One way to make changes to a live sequence is to copy the step you want to move, then pause original in its place and set live the new step in new place or with new trigger rule. This way you preserve stats for the original rules used.
Using the copy and pause method doesn’t prevent any subscribers from receiving the same email twice, it’s just one way to not mix up stats for states before/after change is made. You can try to exclude subscribers from the new version using campaign engagement on a segment as “didn’t open any campaigns in X days” if there are no other emails being sent to subscriber (e.g. transactional).
Read more in our email marketing automation guide.
14.Managing Contacts - Unsubscribes, Bounces, Complaints
BigMailer automatically handles your bounces, unsubscribes, and complaints. Those contacts are not physically removed from your Lists, but rather tagged with status for appropriate action. When a contact hard bounces or complaints, they are not sent emails again. An unsubscribe stops receiving future emails unless they are re-added to the list (presumably re-subscribed) so keep this in mind when re-importing Lists with duplicate contacts.
By default, BigMailer treats a contact as undeliverable after it soft bounces 5 times, but you control this setting on your Brand settings page. The most common reason for a soft-bounce is an automatic out-of-office reply, so consider your email frequency when changing this setting.
15.Managing Contacts - Export, Delete
Send Events to Your Application via Webhook
Exporting a List
Go to Lists tab in the header and click arrow down icon on the gray button next to list, then select “Export”. Follow instructions on the next screen to download your .csv file. List export will contain columns for bounces, unsubscribes and complaints. BigMailer automatically processes bounces, unsubscribes and complaints, so future emails are not send to those contacts. You only need to export this data for use outside BigMailer platform.
Exporting a List Segment
Go to Lists tab in the header and click arrow down icon on the gray button next to list, then select “Export”. On the next screen use the Segmentation filters to build the desired segment.
There are a few ways to delete contacts on BigMailer:
1. If you want to upload a file of users to delete across all your lists (for example as a result of unsubscribes outside BigMailer) you can use “Delete Contacts” button on the Lists main page, see:
2. You can also choose a List to delete contacts from. Go to Lists tab in the header and click arrow down icon on the gray button next to list:
Then click the checkbox to delete contacts from the List.
Any contacts in the selected list will be removed from all your Lists. Any contacts that have been sent an email in the last 21 days will not be removed, because once a contact is removed, the unsubscribe page stops working for that contact. This may result in the recipient clicking on Complaint/Spam button instead, which may negatively affect sender reputation.
3. You can manually delete contacts 1 by 1 on contacts view – just click on the Lists name and use paging or Search to locate the contact you want to delete. We don’t recommend using this option except for your own test records because ALL data and activity history is deleted with this option so no reference of the contact and your action remains.
Deleting a List Segment
If you want to delete a segment, you need to create a segment, save it as a new List and then delete it:
- Create a new List, e.g. “Unengaged – 90 days” and import the csv file you downloaded into this new list.
- Follow the steps for deleting a List in the section above.
To stop sending to unengaged contacts before the 21 days limitation expires you can simply “Exclude” the list from your Bulk campaigns.
For detailed examples of the scenarios mentioned above please refer to this article.
16.Improve Email Deliverability and Inbox Placement
Email deliverability and Inbox placement are influenced by many factors like IP reputation, sender (email) reputation, sender domain configuration, and engagement.
To troubleshoot why your email landed in spam folder consider these questions:
- Is your email sender domain DKIM and SPF properly configured?
- Do you need to build your sender reputation for sending high volume?
- Does your email subject line and message body use many spam words?
- Should you consider using a dedicated IP?
- Was your unsubscribe link using some uncommon text label?
- Did you send a test email without an unsubscribe link added or with merge tags and don’t have sample values defined (Fields tab under brand settings)
Please refer to our email deliverability – guide to best practices for additional information.
BigMailer automatically and manually reviews content of emails and may suspend an account if we identify suspicious content or links. In cases of automatic suspensions we review accounts within 24 hours and notify customers only if an account has been re-activated or was suspended in error. If your account was suspended in error and you need to expedite a review you can reach us on live chat.
Amazon SES Account Suspension
If your Amazon SES account gets suspended, it’s likely for the following reasons:
- High bounce rate – above 10%. To prevent this from happening you should always validate your list prior to sending bulk campaigns, if you haven’t engaged it in more than 1 month. A typical list decay rates are 2% per month for B2C lists and 3% per month for B2B lists.
- High complaint rate – above 0.1%. On small volume campaigns, this number can be higher since there is no statistical significance, but this ratio is very sensitive on high volume campaigns.
- Sudden change in sending volume. This may signal that your email list isn’t growing organically and perhaps a list was purchased or harvested in some aggressive way. Always increase your daily sending volume gradually.
- A combination of the following: close to high bounce and complaint rates that triggered a manual review for your account and your messaging (email content) was determined to be confusing in regards to the sender of the message. For example, your links, logo, and messaging in the email don’t match the sender identity used. This is a common challenge for businesses or consultants that work with 3rd party services (e.g. mortgage and insurance quotes).
To get your account out of suspension we recommend you write a message to Amazon explaining what issue you have identified and what measures you put in place to prevent the issue going forward (see list above) and request account reinstatement. You can refer to this FAQ article about suspensions and steps to take to resolve. Please note that Amazon isn’t likely to provide you with the reasons for account suspension, so you may need to troubleshoot your recent activity using the list above in order to identify the issue and find a way to mitigate. Here are some examples of possible issues you may need to resolve:
- Validate your list to lower a bounce rate (a healthy bounce rate is below 5%).
- Lower your complaint rate by making your Unsubscribe message more clear and link easy to locate.
- Eliminate confusion about why someone is getting a message from you or your relationship to the brand you are communicating on about or on behalf of (e.g. adding a brand logo into the email template or explain why a user is getting a communication from you in the footer where Unsubscribe link is).
If you need assistance with this please reach out to us via chat.
18.Billing, Subscription Management, and Cancellations
1) Delete contacts under your Lists (click on arrow down icon next to List name and select “Delete”) or delete a segment of your list. Once your contacts are removed you can:
2) Change the slider to a new level or downgrade your plan back to Startup (free) plan on the Billing page.
Note: You can not delete any contacts that were sent an email in the last 21 days, to ensure unsubscribe page works for them.
To upgrade your account go to your Billing page and use the slider to change the total number of contacts you need to store.
Please use the live chat icon in the app to reach us if you have any questions or need assistance with anything.
We recommend to create Lists to add your contacts to, including a separate TEST List with your own emails to help future testing. There are several ways to add contacts to a list:
- An import of a csv file.
- A web form that sends data to a list it’s assigned to.
- An API call (e.g. to create a contact when someone makes a purchase).
- A Zapier integration (when someone performs an action on a 3rd party platform a record of contact is created at BigMailer)
- Manually adding contacts one by one (e.g. for test records).
Keeping your contacts in separate Lists would help you see how your difference audiences engage and you can setup Automation campaign triggers against new records added to your Lists.
It’s a good idea to define all your fields before adding contacts – click on your brand name in the header and select Fields in the menu. Fields can be created automatically during a manual import or API call, but it can be created with a wrong data type if the data formatting is off and it can change the operators available for segmentation. For example, if your dates are in a wrong format the field can be created during import as text field and operators on segmentation will be “equal to” and “not equal to” instead of “before” and “after”. Or you could end up with multiple columns for the same data point because your import files/sources used different column names.
If you have all fields pre-defined you will have a chance to map your columns to your fields during a CVS import step.