Amazon SES

Email marketing

Updated June 6, 2018

4 updates


SCORE BREAKDOWN

User Interface

20/25

Cost

20/25

Differentiation

25/25

Effectiveness

25/25

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Supported by Amazon AWS management infrastructure
  • Customizable applications and criteria

Cons

  • Developer focused
  • Knowledge gap
  • Basic metrics

Amazon’s Simple Email Service, also known as Amazon SES, is one of the many SaaS products that’s offered through the tech giant’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) division. A minimalist email service platform with a powerful, developer-focused back end, SES is a premium tool that can cut marketing costs for a political or advocacy campaign.

Cloud-based email services

Amazon’s AWS management infrastructure provides users with a suite of services that include database warehousing options, business productivity, and internal communications tools. In between the suite of services and the overarching satisfaction of using AWS, SES stands out as one of the platform’s leading digital marketing avenues. Competing with automation platforms including Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor, SES approaches email marketing with a do-it-yourself mindset. SES can support most domains and email accounts once verified.

How it works in a nutshell

When you deploy SES from your AWS management dashboard, you’re gaining access to a product that works with Internet Service Providers (ISP) to improve delivery rates. By verifying a sending address, or addresses, the SES system relays the email to the ISP and the ISP user as means to confirm non-spamming senders. To set up the platform, you need to have an Amazon AWS account. Once you confirm your identity and login credentials, you navigate through the seamless drop down menu to the SES option and begin following the setup prompts.

You hit a wall

The two biggest setbacks with Amazon SES, and really the whole AWS suite of services, is the knowledge gap for new users and its focus on developers. Keep in mind that anyone, even the most technically illiterate, can sign up for an AWS free tier account and begin playing with all its tools, including SES. However, setting up and configuring a platform like the Simple Email Service application requires an understanding of marketing and web stacks or has prior experience using Amazon Web Services products. SES requires users to install and deploy configurations and technical implementations that permit the sending of emails.

More setbacks

Coding and understanding full-stack development is required to properly use and enjoy everything AWS and SES has to offer. Amazon attempts to combat the knowledge gaps and any potential informational ignorance through live-support, a fully stocked knowledge base, and a body of tutorials from third parties. The Amazon SDKs and API codes are available for developers and would-be techies through public documentation pages. Simply put, you can send emails through the SES dashboard, but it will be difficult to understand. Also, the campaign metrics visualizations that Amazon provides lack in-depth analysis. At least with a managed automation platform like Mailchimp, analytics are visualized in ways that surpass SES metrics.

Sending email campaigns

One recommendation that we have for configuring SES for massive sending operations focuses on external integrations and applications available through the AWS Marketplace. Employing a SaaS platform like Sendy, a cloud-based email management system that runs in your AWS dashboard, allows users to utilize the SES application with a fully functional HTML editor and analytics dashboard. For a one-time $59 fee, Sendy can be deployed on an Apache web server that supports Linux, PHP and MySQL. Sendy is also an excellent application for sending email campaigns on a cost-effective budget. 10,000 sends only costs $1, much cheaper than mainstream automation platforms like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor.

More on pricing

To enjoy the Simple Email Service, users need to have an Amazon Web Services account. Accounts are available on a free tier that gives users capped, yet full functional access for the whole suite of services. Furthermore, you pay only for what you use, and there is no minimum charge to use SES. For example, you only will be charged $0 for the first 62,000 emails you send in any given month, and $0.10 per 1,000 emails sent thereafter via the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

What we think

Amazon SES is a wonderful platform for an organization that sees the financial and organizational benefits of cloud computing. Aside from the obvious benefits of the cloud and implementation of a minimalist and fully customizable platform, SES can be implemented as an effective email marketing tool. Combine the cost-effectiveness and the external integrations available (i.e., Sendy), and SES can easily replace other mainstream email automation platforms currently in your stack.

If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – telegraph@joinlincoln.org.


Screenshots

SCORE BREAKDOWN

User Interface

20/25

Cost

20/25

Differentiation

25/25

Effectiveness

25/25

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