Fluent CRM (Amazon SES and Google Workspaces)

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      • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533194


        This might be either too technical a question for this space – or alternatively have a very, very obvious answer – but I’m at my wits end – so I thought I might try.<div>

        I’m trying to set up Fluent CRM for my new (and first) website prior to launch.

        I’m told that the way to do that is by setting it up with Amazon SES.

        This all seems fairly simple (if ever so slightly like following do-it-yourself surgery instructions.)

        The issue is that I also utilize google work spaces (formerly g suites) to send and receive emails from my domain ([email protected] for example).

        I’ve spent the last day or so trying to figure out if by setting up Amazon SES to let Fluent CRM SEND emails from my domain it will interfere in some way with my ability to send and RECEIVE email from my domain using workspaces.

        Having quietly searched through stack overflow forums, and the fluent CRM Facebook groups and the like I’ve found the following answers:

        1. No, it will just work. (My personal, favorite answer of all time. Three cheers for this answer.)

        2. It will absolutely interfere, you should set fluent CRM up on a subdomain (which seems technical. Am I FOREWARDING mail from fluent crm and the main domain to Amazon? Or am I doing something exceedingly complicated in order to get fluent CRM to RUN on the subdomain, while still interacting (in a more than using a form sort of way) with the main domain?)

        3. You cannot RECEIVE emails at the specific address that amazon is using, but you can receive emails at other addresses. ([email protected] is being used by amazon, but I can still send and receive from [email protected])(since google workspaces doesn’t technically use different email addresses (cue my absolute confusion and possible misunderstanding.) but aliases instead – would that prevent me in fact from sending or receiving email FROM those aliases?)

        4. You CANNOT receive email to that domain.
        5. Several increasingly technical responses using three letter acronyms I vaguely suspect people of making up 🙂

        What I’d like:

        A vague sense of how this works, or at least how likely it is to go wrong. Can I just set up Amazon SES without reconfiguring google? Should I be seeking more advanced technical help?

        Also possibly a comforting word, or a shot of whiskey.



        • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533198

          Man, people in there are confusing the crap out of you. 🙂 The good news is, #1 is the right answer.

          All FluentCRM does is sends outgoing email. It will use Amazon to send the email, but your reply address is your domain-based email. You will also be adding a few little items to your DNS for the domain that indicates that Amazon is able to do that.

          But, none of that affects incoming and outgoing email from Google.

          It is no different than what I am doing. I use Drip (am currently converting to FluentCRM), so outgoing emails go from there. Yet, I use FastMail to manage all my domain email. The systems have no impact on one another.

          On the tech side, your MX words on your domain control where email goes (to Google, in your case). You will be adding a few TXT records with some stuff to authorize Amazon to send emails from your domain without being tagged as spoofs. MX records stay the way they are.

            • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533200

              You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar! That’s brilliant! I shall raise a glass in your name. Slainte!

            • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533201

              Yup, as David said, it’s #1 – you absolutely can use Amazon SES to send on your behalf while using Google Suite to send/receive emails. The trick is setting up your DNS records to authorize Amazon SES to send your emails (and Google, for that matter.) There are a bunch of technologies you can implement, but the two most important are DKIM and SPF.

              Here’s how to setup SPF for Amazon SES: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/ses/latest/DeveloperGuide/send-email-authentication-spf.html

              And for DKIM for Amazon SES: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/ses/latest/DeveloperGuide/send-email-authentication-dkim.html

              Google Suites should have something similar, you’ll also want to add them as well. It’s not too difficult to setup, but if you mess it up it will impact your ability to send email, so if you aren’t sure then I recommend hiring somebody to do it for you. For somebody that knows how to set those records up, it’ll take 5 minutes or less.

                • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533202

                  Whist. I’ll have to take a look at that.

                  Thank you!

                  At the moment I’m just sort of desperately navigating the whole SES setup thing. It took me a bit to find out that in point of fact my DNS settings were not in fact at my domain registrar but at my domain host. Should that give you a glimpse into my stunning level of understanding and technical ability in this area.

                  I’m not used to sucking QUITE this much, but there you go. Beginners do as beginners does. 🙂

                  Right now I’m at Domain verified and DKIM status pending, and I could do with a drink.

                  • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533203

                    Actually, DNS can be in a few different places depending on how you set things up. Specifically, they’ll be wherever your nameservers are located, which could be at the registrar, the host, or a third party. (I set my nameservers to CloudFlare for most of my properties so that’s where my DNS settings are.)

                    • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533262

                      Hmm, “I’m not not used to sucking QUITE this much.” Can I put that on a t-shirt?

                    • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533213

                      I am trying to achieve this right now, but am using Fastmail, FluentCRM, Amazon SES, and WPX hosting. I thought this would be a cakewalk because I used Amazaon Cloudfront years ago successfully, and have added records to DNS before.

                      I ran into a problem – I am providing the details of my experience to help others:

                      First, I had already setup my Fastmail for transactional email for my domain, adding Fastmail DNS records successfully to my host WPX hosting. My intent was only to use Amazon SES to send out my website newsletter and connect with FluentCRM.

                      When trying to verify my domain with Amazon SES, I was provided 3 CNAME records and a TXT record, which I added to WPX hosting’s DNS records. I did NOT add the MX record because I guess you can’t have two MX records, but then I figured out the current MX record was doing the important job of indicating where I wanted to send my email, which was Fastmail, so I left it). FYI, I was super confused because I watched a tutorial on Youtube and the guy did take the MX record from Amazon and add to his host’s DNS records (that is optional but I didn’t know that, so that is where other people might be confused).

                      Anyway, DKIM not verifying – it has been 40 hours and Amazon SES says to give it 72 hours. I don’t recall it taking that long before unless I did something wrong. If anyone sees a problem with what I did, please point it out to me!

                        • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533220

                          I think you can trigger Amazon to manually check.

                          You could also just move your domain DNS to Cloudflare rather than WPX. It doesn’t cost anything, but Cloudflare is so popular that most domain changes are almost instant.

                          No idea what a tutorial would say to point MX records to Amazon. MX records are indeed for routing incoming email and Amazon doesn’t manage one’s email.

                        • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533222


                          It’s not a tremendous amount of help, it’s only letting you know how it went for me. But it’s what I’ve got so I thought I’d offer support if nothing else.

                          My process was exactly the same. I added the 3 cname records and the txt record, I did NOT add the Mx record. Thus far everything has been working just fine – though I haven’t yet tried to get out of the ses sandbox (I want a bit of content on the sight before applying.) So my testing is somewhat limited.

                          Which is a way of saying, “That should all work, and it’s precisely what I did.”

                          DKIM also took a good long time to work for me. It was certainly not nearly so long as you’ve waited. But it was certainly a sweaty few hours.


                          • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533224

                            Hi Will!

                            I don’t know who your host is, but I have tried both ways of adding the TXT record as _amazonses (not _amazonses.mywebsite.com since the input form defaults to appending with website). and using alternate record as suggested by Amazon that you drop the underscore and just have your website (which I entered as @).

                            I even went as far as going back into my SPF record and adding include:amazonses.com ~all

                            When I do a nslookup for a TXT record, it defaults to my SPF record and shows the part of the record that includes the “v=spf1” – but it won’t show the include:amazonses.com ~all

                            This is all quite maddening.

                            • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533225

                              Update: I just re-entered all of my CNAME records WITHOUT my website included at the end of the name and was immediately verified by Amazon SES – now waiting for DKIM to be verified.

                              Good grief! Being new to this DNS panel, I didn’t notice that the website name part was “helpfully” pre-populated in on the input form.

                              Will – I really appreciate that you popped in to offer a few words how it played out for you. It can be so good for the mind to get a bit of light when things seem to turn sour!

                              • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533226

                                2nd update: Whoohoo! About 10 minutes later I refreshed the Amazon AWS page and my DKIM is verified! In my setup, I have the TXT name supplied from Amazon AWS entered as _amazonses with no domain added and as mentioned above, I added more information to my SPF record (I don’t know if that was necessary or not).

                                • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533227

                                  My deep and powerful technical process to get through all of this was to get Siteground support on a live chat and say more or less “It burns, it burns! For the love of mercy, please help!” Then they quite reasonably walked me through what to put in where.

                                  and Bravo! Congratulations! and well done!


                                    • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533242

                                      LOL! No kidding! I am still in sandbox mode and Amazon SES denied my request to increase limits. I rewrote my plea (I mean description) why they should increase limits.

                                      Amazon SES told me in their denial email: “To get accepted, it was suggested to give more detail: For example, tell us how often you send email, how you maintain your recipient lists, and how you manage bounces, complaints, and unsubscribe requests. It is also helpful to provide examples of the email you plan to send so we can ensure that you are sending high-quality content.”

                                      THIS IS MY REJECTED VERSION: “For integration with our WordPress site for marketing email and for integrating with our CRM in WordPress for sending marketing emails from the leads that are collected using optin forms.” I updated this to basically say I was going to create a bounce handler and provided the frequency of email and the topic of my (future) content.

                                      In the meantime, I setup my bounce handler in Amazon SES and then reported back to the SES gods that I did so, just to really make sure I was in their good graces (maybe I should have done that first).

                                      Will, I really feel your pain – best of luck for your marketing plans!

                                    • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533243

                                      I’m not certain if it’s a great deal of help, but I’ve been eyeing the whole sandbox thing since I got started. I’ve been taking notes on what gets accepted and what gets rejected.

                                      Double opt ins seem quite important, as does letting them know that fluent crm automatically handles bounces and unsubscribes. It also seems to help if you let them know how you’re getting the leads (the difference between say: “I have a newsletter” and “I steal them from hobos”)

                                      My current cunning plan is this: I picked up a deal from “email list validation” on appsumo. I then emailed them to ask for a fluent crm integration, which they’ve added to the list of things they’re working on. (hypothetically)

                                      When I apply to get out of the sandbox I’m planning on letting amazon know that I’ve got a service to help clean up the list, and that it’s integrated with my crm (if at that point it is.) and then a sort of brief run down on how that should help.

                                      If nothing else I thought it might make me look conscientious and trustworthy.

                                      In other words I’m more or less planning on making soothing noises.


                                      • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533245

                                        I never thought of the email list cleaning! I was denied a second time in the sandbox. My request was a bit flimsy, going off guidance I saw in a Youtube video. I found this page and followed it pretty closely on how to get out of the sandbox. It also is a different path than was suggested to me, the previous attempt didn’t give me a spot to request the quantity of limits, so I figured that whole approach was faulty. Where it says “mailbuster” I just substituted “FluentCRM.” Fingers crossed.


                                        • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533246

                                          Fantastic! I’ve added the page to my list of things to look at when I try.

                                          Please let me know how it turns out.

                                          Give em hell! 🙂


                                          • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533261

                                            I am pleased to report I AM OUT OF THE SANDBOX!!!

                                            It took roughly 5 hours to have them approve me.

                                            For others who have been stuck in the sandbox, the directions that did NOT WORK: clicking on the “Edit your account details” from the sandbox where you enable production access. I found those instructions on the Internet, don’t use them!

                                            What DID WORK: Opening up a support ticket, but following EXACTLY the DETAILS OF THE LINK I PROVIDED in my previous post: https://blog.mailbluster.com/how-to-increase-aws-sending-limits/ and replace “mailbluster” with “FluentCRM” and the FluentCRM.com address (if that is what you are using). Edit as you feel needed for your unique situation, but remember that this is pretty much what the gods at Amazon SES want: a concise format that they can scan with the answers they are looking for. When you follow it this way, you get choices from dropdowns that tell Amazon SES your intent, and I am sure it is easier for the person approving it to see it in an organized form format.

                                            I don’t even know why it is an option to “Edit your account details” – its a complete free for all in there with no organization, just me typing away randomly. FYI, if you do use the “Edit your account details” it shows up as a support ticket anyway, right along with the direct method of just opening a support ticket. After getting denied twice, I marked the first support ticket resolved so Amazon SES would stop dealing with it and submitted the second support ticket.

                                            Good luck to everyone else! The whole Amazon SES can be intimidating and soul-sucking OR it can go off without a hitch! Pour yourself a beer or grab a big bar of chocolate after its over, I know I will (no, not both together LOL!).

                                            • September 22, 2021 at 1:58 pm #3533291

                                              That is brilliant, and a huge gift! When I’m up for submitting in a wee bit, I’ll do just that very thing. Well done, well reasoned, and above all well shared! Thank you so much!

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