Time To Reconsider Your Email List Hosting
I want to briefly talk to you about where you host your email list. Because, it may be worth it for you to reconsider your options.
For years, people like me would recommend third-party hosted email hosts. From companies like Aweber, ConvertKit, Drip, ActiveCampaign, MailterLite, etc.
For awhile, a lot of bloggers were recommending Mailchimp. Mainly because it had a free plan. Mailchimp sucks, but that’s a different matter.
All of these email hosting companies have certain things in common:
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- They store all the data and wrap it in an “app” which gives you an interface and the functionality.
- You have to find ways to “integrate” your forms and site with a remotely hosted service.
- You pay monthly for it.
- Usually, when your list gets bigger, so does your monthly bill.
To be clear, none of this is necessarily a bad thing. It is just the way things have been done.
But, things evolve.
And now there are extremely viable options that work right inside of Wordpress itself.
The first one I became aware of that was worth looking at was GroundHogg. It is a really mature Wordpress-based system. My only problem with it is that they still price it as a hosted service. They charge monthly for it and charge you more for more integrations. Personally, I’m a fan of no monthly bill and everything being included right away with no “nickel and diming.”
Then I found FluentCRM. This is what I now use myself. I have also switched over a lot of clients to it and it is what I now recommend to all of my readers. FluentCRM is now a mature product, has most of the marketing automation power of the big guys like ActiveCampaign, and integrates beautifully into Wordpress.
Now, why would you want to self-host your email list inside of Wordpress? And will this present any technical issues?
First, you have true data ownership.
On a remotely hosted service, your list is on another server you pay rent for. You can export it and back it up, of course, but that still entails a lot of work to actually use. And in almost all cases, a data backup only grabs your list in a CSV format. It does nothing at all to back up emails you’ve sent, automations, or anything else. So, your data is “locked in”. If you stop paying monthly, you don’t have much else besides a raw CSV file. But, when you have your list inside of Wordpress, EVERYTHING is backed up whenever you back up your site. The whole list, all emails, all automations, all tags…. everything.
Second, the integration is TIGHT.
With a remote service, you’re depending on the plugins you use to have a built-in integration. So, whatever you use for opt-in forms needs to be able to work with the remote API of your service. When people buy things or do any membership-type stuff, your software needs to work with a remote API to alter anything on your email list. In some cases, the exact integration you need is missing so you have to resort to yet another remote (paid) service like Zapier to make it work.
When everything is in-house in Wordpress, integration is TIGHT because literally everything is in one spot.
FluentCRM naturally integrates with almost any other plugin you’re likely to use for your site. If you’re using tools like WooCommerce, LearnDash, and other well-supported tools, there’s even direct integration right into their CRM profile. You can see what courses people are in right from the CRM. You can see their order history and customer lifetime value right from the CRM. This kind of thing usually requires special support and special API calls to make it work with remote systems.
Third, Massive Savings.
Every business owner wants to not spend money needlessly. And when you’re first starting out, you’re bootstrapping. Let’s look at the typical options people consider for their email list:
- Aweber starts at $16.15/m paid annually for a tiny list. For a list of even 1,000 people, you’re at $29.99/month.
- ConvertKit has a limited, free option capped at 1,000 people. If you want to do anything seriously, tho, it begins at $15/month and goes up from there. For a list of 1000, $29/month.
- ActiveCampaign starts at $29/month for a “Lite” version, and goes up from there pretty fast.
- Drip starts at $39/month and starts going up once you cross over 2500 contacts.
You get the idea. For most people, hosting the email list ends up costing more than hosting your entire website. And the only exceptions are if you’ve got a pretty small list and don’t need much actual capability.
FluentCRM is $129 per year. Cost is cheaper if you use it on multiple sites (which I do). You have EVERY feature included right away. IF you don’t renew it, it will keep on working since you own everything. And, that cost stays the same whether you have 1000 people or 100,000 people on the list.
Any Tradeoffs To Self-Hosting Your List?
Some may think that you need super high-end web hosting to do this, but that’s not true. You would actually be using a remote service like Amazon to send the emails, so that’s not happening on your host. And in terms of actual server horsepower, most shared hosting plans can handle FluentCRM without any issue. The plugin throttles things automatically as needed.
What about delivery rates? Well, again, your emails are actually being sent from something like Amazon or some other SMTP service. Personally, I use Amazon. A lot of these monthly services also use Amazon, so essentially there’s no difference when it comes to delivery rates.
Third-party services often put a lot of work into their email editor and pre-design a bunch of templates. To be clear, if you use something like FluentCRM, you won’t have any pre-built templates. And the email editor is the Wordpress block editor. Personally, I’m fine with that as my emails are pretty simple. This very email you’re reading right now was created in FluentCRM. But, if you want something super fancy, some people use something like Stripo to make those.
Lastly, when you do things on Wordpress, you’re subject to other plugins. There’s always just a little bit more responsibility needed when you do things “in house”. While the chances of a plugin or hosting conflict are pretty rare, it isn’t impossible.
Final Thoughts By Me
I personally recommend FluentCRM to most people now.
I like the strong integration. I like having control of all my data and backing it all up. I like not paying a big monthly fee (which was definitely larger due to the size of my email list).
I can’t see ever wanting to go back to a third-party, remotely hosted service ever again. I see no reason for it.
And if you’re in a position where you’re feeling like a slave to a large monthly bill for your email list…
Or if you’re paying monthly for a smaller list and don’t feel like you’re getting your money’s worth for whatever reason…
Moving your list in-house may just be the way to go.
If you go with FluentCRM, you can click here and enter the coupon code “bmamember” to knock 20% off the purchase price.
And if you want my help setting it up, I do that kind of thing all the time. 🙂
WP Fusion updated and brought on a really cool little capability…. conditional logic on form fields in Gravity Forms. Which means you can now show/hide individual fields based on tag. Word is he’s working on similar capability for Formidable Forms. And I’m going to bug him about giving the same treatment to Fluent Forms. 🙂
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