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.

2.Getting Started #

Once you Create a Brand and Define a List for a given brand, you can:

  1. Import your existing email list, OR
  2. 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.Example: unsubscribe page with preferences formatThink 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 “youremail@yourdomain.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.

 

3.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. For example, the Business plan cost is based on $1 per 1000 contacts stored. 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 6000 contacts cost $10)

Growth plan – increments of 10000 (so 111000 costs $120)

Agency plan – increments of 50000 (custom pricing)

Going Over The Limit

If you go over your selected limit in a given month either via import or web form 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). A pro-rated charge for the remainder of the billing cycle will be charged immediately.

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.

4.Creating Lists #

BigMailer Lists 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).

Lists by Collection Source

Example: Lists by Collection Source

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.

Mixed Lists Usage - by Source and Customer Segment

 Example #1: Mixed Lists Usage – by Source and Customer Segment

 

Example: Mixed Lists Usage - by Source and Customer Segment

Example #2: Mixed Lists Usage – by Source and Customer Segment

Remember, BigMailer doesn’t charge you extra for your contacts to appear on multiple lists, but many market leading ESPs do.

5.Managing Contacts - Export, Delete #

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.

export list segment

Deleting Contacts

To delete contacts you need to select the list to delete them 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 30 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.

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:

  1. Create a new List, e.g. “Unengaged – 90 days” and import the csv file you downloaded into this new list.
  2. To stop sending to Unengaged contacts before the 30 days limitation expires you can simply “Exclude” the list from your Bulk campaigns.
  3. Follow the steps for deleting a List in the section above.

6.Email Collection via Web Forms #

In order to create a code snippet for an email collection form to be placed on your website, you need to first create a list the form will be sending the data to. Once you have a list click on the Action button next to the list and select “Manage Forms” option. Once on a Manage Forms screen, just click on Create a Form button, name your form and hit Save.

Create an email collection form

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.

7.Email Collection from Applications #

This section covers uses cases and suggested methods for collecting emails from your applications via transactional APIs.

Use Cases

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:

  1. Making a real-time front-end API call in real-time for each transaction.
  2. Making a real-time back-end API call in real-time for each transaction.
  3. 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.

8.Connecting Your BigMailer Account to Amazon SES #

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.

We can assist you with setting up your Amazon SES account and connecting it to BigMailer completely for free. Just reach out to us using the chat icon.

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

9.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.

Please see our help pages on SES identities and DKIM and SPF for detailed instructions.

10.Creating and Sending a Bulk Campaign #

Adding an Unsubscribe Link

BigMailer platform requires and enforces the presence of an unsubscribe link on all Bulk campaigns.

To add an Unsubscribe link in the drag-and-drop editor you need to add a text element to your template first, then click on the “Special Links” option in the rich-text editor that opens.

Drag-n-drop editor - adding special links

Adding Unsubscribe link in the Drag-n-Drop editor

To add an Unsubscribe link in the Classic Editor, click on the tags icon and select the link from the list.

Adding Unsubscribe link in the Classic editor

To lower a complaint rate and improve email deliverability and inbox placement it may be beneficial to:

  1. 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
  2. Use the word “Unsubscribe” 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.
Tracking Options

By 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.

Google Analytcs utm parameters tracking

Google Analytcs utm parameters tracking

Customizing Unsubscribe Page

You can customize your unsubscribe page in several ways:

  1. Add your brand logo (under Brand Settings page).
  2. Add message types to allow subscribers select the emails they want to receive based on their preferences.
  3. Host the unsubscribe page on a custom domain that matches your sender email and tracking links in your emails. 
Sending a Test Email

You 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.

Sending a Test Email

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:

  1. 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). Manage Fields
  2. Your domain identity configuration isn’t complete. Please see our help pages on SES identities and DKIM and SPF for detailed instructions.
  3. You are missing the unsubscribe link in your email template, see section above.
  4. Your subject line or email body contains words that increase your email spam score. We suggest to test your email for free with a tool like Glock Apps.

11.Paused Campaign Due to High Bounce Rate #

BigMailer platform pauses a campaign that reaches a bounce rate of 8% (platform default) to prevent your Amazon SES account from suspension. Amazon recommends a bounce rate below 10% to avoid suspension. You can change the platform limit to be higher or lower in the range of 5-15% for each brand, just click on “Settings” button on the brand list page and expand “Advanced Options” section.

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.

12.Improve Email Deliverability #

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:

  1. Is your email sender domain DKIM and SPF properly configured?
  2. Do you need to build your sender reputation for sending high volume?
  3. Does your email subject line and message body use many spam words?
  4. Should you consider using a dedicated IP?
  5. Was your unsubscribe link using some uncommon text label?
  6. 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. 

13.Amazon SES Account Suspension #

If your Amazon SES account gets suspended, it’s likely for the following reasons:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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 use the same steps and form that was used for getting your account out of sandbox mode. 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 (for example, 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.