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Ask HN: How do large companies send newsletters to massive email lists?
13 points by SnowingXIV 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments
Managing a list of subscribers below 2k is fine though pretty expensive once you exceed 2k. What if a company is looking at using their client list that has around 200k and using a service like mailchimp, sendinblue, etc absolutely wouldn't work given the limitations and price.

Ideally I wouldn't want to jeopardize any IPs or domains. I also don't want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on this either.

So maybe break it up into parts. How are folks handling email lists of 2k, 5k, 10k, 200k and whatever process massive corp X does to handle email lists of M+.

I have used the Salesforce service formerly known as ExactTarget to send emails to 6-figure lists. Other ET clients have included Microsoft, Apple, the Republican National Committee, etc. I've also used Marketo and Emma to send emails to 5-figure lists.

Mailchimp's pricing tool tells me that 200k subscribers will cost $875/month for up to 2.4 million emails sent. I will tell you that that is a fraction of the cost my employers have paid for the above platforms.

The thing to understand is that it is expensive to reliably send high volumes of email. Anyone can send high volumes of email if they don't care how many go into the spam folder. Sending spam is cheap. Sending email so that every single one gets to the inbox is expensive.

Why? Because to send high volumes of email reliably, you have to follow elaborate steps to prove that you're not sending spam. That means building lists through opt-in only, using clean IP addresses, warming up the IP addresses over time with progressively larger successful sends, aligning domain names across header fields and content links, applying every type of email authentication, hooking into common recipient feedback paths, monitoring and dealing with blacklist services, etc.

If you just want to slam a ton of emails out the door, and have some technical capability, you can save money using a "dumb" mail sending platform like Mailgun, Sendgrid, Amazon SES, etc. But you won't necessarily get "marketing" type features like link tracking, engagement reporting, responsive templates, etc. It does look like Sendgrid can give you a lot of that stuff for 200k contacts, for about half the cost of Mailchimp.

Appreciate the detailed response, I was curious if they did it in house and seems like they don't and Salesforce is pretty prevalent.

Looking into sendgrid. It's not super important that they all make it there and if it takes a few hours that's not an issue either. Trying to do a monthly newsletter but to a large list that I have broken up between groups. My biggest fear even after doing a mailchimp campaign was being flagged for spam and that then the domain would have problems sending actual emails to business contacts, partners, clients, etc and working with blacklists. Even worse if the IP is flagged for issues.

Sendgrid pricing looks fair but mailchimp was super slick as far as platform goes. Maybe the route is to buy a new domain that's similar like a previous commenter suggested and sign up with this to blast the 200k. I actually have a domain name that is very similar I'm not not using and that domain redirects to the main site + all those emails get forwarded to the real emails (some people make the mistake of sending to it). It simply has another word at the end.

Getting email delivered to inboxes costs money and requires care. If mailchimp seems out of the ballpark from a cost point of view, that’s a signal that you shouldn’t be sending massive email campaigns.

Sending email to many people means there can be errors in sending, and it will be read on many different client and devices.

Mailchimp offers you a reliable way to send, and templates that are pretty well tested. In addition to many more features including sending email at the "right time" for the user.

If your problem is only money, and you can trade it for time to deliver, then there are SaaS like Mailup with a different business model, that charge you for speed. You can send to 200k users for free but it will take a lot of time.

Next, if you want to save more money and you can build your own template, you can set up a tool like Sendy which is basically a self-hosted (very) simplified mailchimp. That can be used with Amazon SES, or Sendgrid. If you're scared about your domain, just buy one that looks similar enough and open an AWS account in another region.

Finally, you can build your own, including integrating in your analytics tools, etc. Again, I'd use SES or Sendgrid or similar, instead of managing my own SMTP server, which is an operational nightmare.

(I have no experience with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, that others are referring.)

Disclaimer, I work with SendGrid. That is what the whole ESP space is about. Check out some of the players, and pick one you like. You should spend dramatically less on a service such as SendGrid than you would spend on personnel to handle all the ins and outs of email deliverability.

I'm liking the pricing with you guys, I have a list of contacts currently around 5k that will probably take awhile to grow to 10k that I wouldn't mind paying $10/m to send monthly emails to. Now again I want to send a warm "open" to them to update their subscription settings and whatnot but since many may be a little old (we rarely sent emails except direct correspondence) I'm super concerned about people hitting "mark as spam" and it becoming an abuse complaint resulting in domain blacklists. I did a 2k run on an actual newsletter with mailchimp and 4 people did that. About 19 unsub'd which is fine. Any advice?

We have a lot of posts that talk about avoiding being flagged as spam, such as:


These kinds of articles will be able to provide better advice than I can in a comment thread. One tip, if it is in the budget, is to have two sending IPs. One for transactional mail and one for newsletters. This will let you keep your transactional mail's IP's reputation higher.

I am having a site which provides information regarding properties in Hyderabad https://propertyadviser.in/, For promotion of site I am looking for sending bulk e mails suggest me a site for this.

We use Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) for multiple lists totalling around 2M subscribers.

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