How To Do Email Marketing From Your Own Server Tutorial

13 replies
Thought I would make a little tutorial about mailing from your own server, have not found any detailed information posted about it here before so I think it is an area that I could contribute, hope you like it, sorry for any bad spelling or grammar

Introduction
What is a self hosted email marketing solution? If you use email marketing in your business a self hosted solution would the ability to bulk mail from your own server instead of using 3rd party services like GetResponse and Aweber. If your new to email marketing then this may not be the best solution for you to start with you may be better off using a 3rd party service to begin with.

Advantages
Increased Control Of Data Security - You don't have to rely on 3rd party's to secure your data from spammers or risk having untrustworthy employees who have access to it.

Increased Control Over Technical Issues And Down Time - If there is a problem you have root access to the server to fix it without having to wait for 3rd party technical support to contact you back about your problem.

Reduction In Costs - If your mailing are large volume of data then you will find it significantly cheaper that using a 3rd party service (they have to make a profit)

Increased Control Over Mailing Platform And Customization - Need extra features added or switch to a platform that has the features you need for your email marking campaigns? Then you are able to implement these changes as you have full access to the server.

Can Mail Single Opted In Leads - Moving your data from one platform to another? No need to get every one to opted in again like with most 3rd party auto responder services force you too. You have more control over your data and can even mail co-registration leads.

Fully Customizable Double Opted In Confirmation Messages - Unlike most auto responder services its your confirmation message you can customize it as much as you like, you can even put the people that did not confirm onto a different auto responder and mail them with follow up messages.

Disadvantages

Decreased Security - If you no nothing about computer security and don't have adequate technical support then it could leave you more vulnerable to SQL Injection and other data theft type attacks.

Server Downtime - If you don't have the technical skills to fix server issues and don't have adequate technical support to assist you then you could suffer longer than normal from any downtime that your server experiences.

Increased Costs - If you only mail very small volume like 1000 emails then you may find it cheaper not to have your own server and may be better off with a 3rd party solution.

Technical Knowledge - You need to be able to run and manage your own servers as well as install and upgrade software, if you don't know how to do this and cant learn it quickly then you may struggle managing the project.

Responsibility - with 3rd party services your are mostly outsourcing the responsibility in terms of CAN-SPAM compliance although if you try hard enough you could probably still violate it by for example providing an invalid postal address.

With your own solution you are responsible for making sure you are compliant and can be sued if you don't follow the guidelines most self hosted mailing software may inform you what you trying to do may be non compliment but wont force you to follow the guidelines like most 3rd party solutions will.

For example you can mail your leads without including an opted out link and can continue to mail people that have unsubscribed from your list. If you ignorant of the guidelines and the law then this could get you in trouble.


Server Type

VPS - This stand for "Virtual Private Server" this gives you root access and the same degree of control as dedicate server and can have your own IP address space but your are still sharing the same server with other users so there is a limit to how far you can push it.

This is a good starting solution and can be suitable for people with mailing lists of 10,000 - 50,000 subscribers depending on the server specifications.

This could cost you anywhere between $30 - $200 a month dependant on country and specification

Dedicated - If your mailing larger volumes of leads or are doing time based mailing where you find that people are most responsive at a certain time on a certain day for your market then you may need to be able to process a huge amount data in a very short period of time.

You will need to get your self a dedicated server. The most I have head of a single server being able to process in a 24 hours period is about 7 Million emails. But you wont get this kind of performance from one of the low end specification servers you would start out with.

This could cost you anywhere from $100 - $2000 a month dependant on country and specification.

Software Solutions
There are many types of software solutions available for this, some are free some are paid. The paid ones may be better in terms of giving you more features and better support. Just to name a few, this is not a complete list I have certainly come across better free solutions than the one listed just cant remember what they are called but this should get you started.

Free
PHP List
PoMMo Mass Mailer

Paid
Interspire
Autoresponseplus

Configuring Your Server Properly

=== Following Snippet Quoted From The interspire Website ===

Make sure your server is not running an open relay find out more about this form wikipedia

Open mail relay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Setup SPF for you domain so that other people have a harder time pretending to be you. This can also help with Hotmail deliverability (SenderID actually but in most cases it works out to the same thing)

Setup domainkeys to help with deliverability to Yahoo mail accounts

Some web mail systems (e.g. Hotmail) base (at least in part) junk filtering on the reputation of your ip address. If you have only just gotten an IP and are getting filtered to the junk then you may need to build up reputation as a legitimate mailer before you stop getting filtered to the junk mail folder

Ensure that you send from a domain which actually has MX records setup in DNS and that each mail server listed will accept mail for the domain you are sending from

Source: Email Deliverability Guide 101

=== End Of Snippet ===


Check Your Mail Queue
If you are running WHM on your VPS or Dedicated server it can be a good tip to check your mail queue after you do a send out, as the mailing software you use will just send to the mail queue and will report the emails as sent, but they may not have left your server yet. If this seems to be building up and being slow to send out then you may need to upgrade your server.

Blacklisting
There are three main things that can get blacklisted when your sending mail and these are

IP Blacklisting - This is when your IP address that your server uses gets blacklisted

Domain Blacklisting - This is when the domain your linking to in your emails gets blacklisted

DNS Blacklisting - This is when the name server that points to your hosting gets blacklisted so if everything is going to junk mail and your IP and Domain seem fine this may be the thing that is causing it.

What to do if you get on a blacklist?
Simply contact them and ask them to remove you works most of the time. They may ask you to provide them with the "Time Stamp" and "IP address" of the subscriber that made the complaint. Which you should have if your mailing a legitimate list. If you don't collect this information then you could find it hard to get out of any escalating complaints against you and may end up in legal trouble

Seeding Your Mailing List
There are 2 things this can do for you, one is help identify any data theft attacks if the emails you seed your list with start receiving emails from anyone else but your self then you know someone has stolen your list some how. But more importantly is having email address with all the major email providers and ISP's so that you can check that your email is making it to the inbox not the junk box.

White Listing
To get around the problem of blacklisting, and deliverability problems you can get white listed. Once you have done this correctly all emails you send will be trusted treated with less suspicion and delivered to your subscribers. You will need to maintain good relations with all ISP's. Different ISP's and Email Providers have different requirements and it can be a long and time consuming process but ultimately worth it.

CAN-SPAM Compliance
Make sure you stay compliment some of the things you will need to do

  • Collect IP Address and Time and Date Stamp for all subscribers for proof
  • Include a valid return email address in all emails you send out
  • Include a valid postal address in all your emails
  • Don't falsify email headers this is very illegal
  • Include unsubscribe link in all your emails
  • process unsubscribe requests

This is not legal advice please seek a more compete set of requirements or if your concerned speak with a lawyer.
#email #hosted #marketing #solution #tutorial
  • Profile picture of the author AP
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author rrakausk
      I used to be a geek in another life but forgot everything I ever knew (hooray).

      I reckon this question would be best asked in a couple of the better webmaster forums.
      One of the best would be the one that deals with XXX stuff, because those guys have heaps of the issues brought up - security, blacklising etc. etc.

      My info is they are the cutting edge of the tech side of IM in a hyper competitive market place. So any little mistake can cost big time. Which means they are prepared - always.

      Best I can do AP. Good luck
      Rick
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    • Profile picture of the author BenHarbour
      Originally Posted by AP View Post

      After all your hard work I'll post a response.

      I have wanted to go with Shopping Cart Software | Ecommerce Software - Interspire for the longest time.

      I work the offline market and have about 40 clients, I handle their email responders.

      I have my own dedicated server but I'm Terrified to go with a Self Hosted solution.

      I would like to manage my own solution but I am concerned about my clients. If I screw up it would cost me and my clients potentially a lot of money.

      It cost me thousands per month to send all these emails, I would love to cut my costs substantially.

      What if my IP gets Blacklisted. Are my clients screwed?

      Can my Filipinos handle this management?

      Can someone give me the Pros and Cons of using self hosted vs iContact or AWeber?

      Thanks so much.
      Not sure if you have read this post, but this is the danger of using a 3rd party service like Aweber because they are big a well known they are a hacking target, recently they where compromised and everyone subscribed to Aweber is now getting pharma emails. Check out this post:

      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...mpromised.html

      In terms of getting blacklisted, that's not really a problem, I have been blacklisted before and just contacted the black list and requested removal and they usually do so within 48 hours or so. They are quite understanding.

      If your on a dedicated server or VPS, then you can have multiple IP address so you can mail from a separate one if you have any problems with one of them and are waiting for it to be resolved.
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  • Profile picture of the author rapidscc
    Hey Ben,

    Thanks for taking the time to post a primer on how
    to do an email marketing campaign on your own
    server..I myself have been planning to host my own
    autoresponder service but still not able to do it
    till today...

    I'm a bit scared of CAN-SPAM, so I'm still on the fence
    whether to do it on my own or just sign-up to mailchimp
    or getresponse..

    Anyway, will return to this post once I've made up my
    mind. Also if you can add some videos here on how it's
    actually done that would be great..Just a thought..

    All the best,
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1593129].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author xiaophil
      Don't forget OpenEMM the open-source version of AGNITAS E-Marketing Manager

      A very impressive package with scripting and web services API.

      Phil
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      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        Originally Posted by xiaophil View Post

        Don't forget OpenEMM the open-source version of AGNITAS E-Marketing Manager

        A very impressive package with scripting and web services API.

        Phil
        I have no idea what this thread is about. I just wanted to make sure you got your "thanks." :p
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    • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
      Originally Posted by rapidscc View Post

      Hey Ben,

      Thanks for taking the time to post a primer on how
      to do an email marketing campaign on your own
      server..I myself have been planning to host my own
      autoresponder service but still not able to do it
      till today...

      I'm a bit scared of CAN-SPAM, so I'm still on the fence
      whether to do it on my own or just sign-up to mailchimp
      or getresponse..

      Anyway, will return to this post once I've made up my
      mind. Also if you can add some videos here on how it's
      actually done that would be great..Just a thought..

      All the best,
      Can-Spam is required if you run your own mail server or use an ESP.

      Sign up to an ESP! It will be far easier, quicker, and cheaper to get up and running.
      .
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      How to Build LARGE EMAIL LISTS on a Budget and MONETIZE Like a PRO
      18 Years Exp . . . . . . . . . . . . Email - CPA - PPL
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  • Profile picture of the author createrk
    Thanks for this wonderfull post. Makes sense all through the post.

    Personally its better we have a dedicated hosting for sending mails. I used my shared hosting to send email (i use interspire much) and all were into spam box.

    Was not aware of it alltogether and learnt the lesson harder way.
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    • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
      Originally Posted by createrk View Post

      Thanks for this wonderfull post. Makes sense all through the post.

      Personally its better we have a dedicated hosting for sending mails. I used my shared hosting to send email (i use interspire much) and all were into spam box.

      Was not aware of it alltogether and learnt the lesson harder way.
      There are many companies that provide mail servers using cracks of Interspire and PMTA. This has been going on for years and many email providers have footprinted Interspire's headers and just send all mail to the spam folder. In addition, they may have provided you poor IPs.
      Signature
      How to Build LARGE EMAIL LISTS on a Budget and MONETIZE Like a PRO
      18 Years Exp . . . . . . . . . . . . Email - CPA - PPL
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  • Profile picture of the author digigo
    thank you for putting it all together.. I found the page on deliverability most useful... all the technical part can be done with time and effort.. but if the emails can not reach your recipients, it won't be any good. for smaller email marketing projects with subscriber count under 10,000 it may be more cost effective to outsource it to an email marketing company.. they have the know-how working with ISPs and get your emails delivered and make sure your emails are compliant with applicable laws.
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  • Profile picture of the author newxxx
    thank you for the post

    i found it extremely informative and helpful
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    2010 thread
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    Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    it is crazy - bumped with a one liner and that makes it 'active' ...can be confusing.
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    Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

    Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world for one dog.
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