Email Newsletters – From PHPList to MailChimp

OK, I finally moved to a better platform for my newsletters. I was using PHPList, but was getting very annoyed with it as it took forever to send out emails and I had no idea if people were reading them! My webhost server only allows 350 mails to be sent an hour and with PHPList sending needed browser refreshes (a bug I think) which meant it would actually take me about a day to send to my list!

So I moved to MailChimp, as suggested by +Mat Bennett, and sent out my first email last night.

So far today (it has been almost 25 hours) 10.1% of people have opened it. This is about half the industry average (according to MailChimp).

Better news is that 4.2% of people followed a link to the site, which more than the 3.4% industry average. So I must have done something right.

But I was wondering, how long do people leave it before deciding that if anyone is going to open an email, they would have done it already? Is 24 hours about right, or do some people open emails days / weeks after? I guess it depends how many mails they get each day.

So far just set up a basic sign up form. Hopefully this will get more people signing up though.

What I really like is that it records failed deliveries and deletes the emails. This is very handy. My list is a couple / few years old and I had no idea if people are receiving mails or not. Only 78 have failed, which I think is pretty good considering.

I was going to post this on Google+ but decided to blog it here. These social media sites keep trying to trick us into writing for them instead of us!

  9 comments for “Email Newsletters – From PHPList to MailChimp

  1. June 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I believe you missed reading some info about the “open mail” report.

    MailChimp inserts a tiny dummy image (standard industry practice) into your email. If the recipient opens your email and allows images then that tiny image sends a request to MailChimp and they report the mail as opened. If your recipient doesn’t allow images by default, doesn’t choose to have them opened or does not choose to accept html mail, that call to the MailChimp server will never occur. Since more and more mail clients encourage users to, by default, not load images, the open-mail report is not very reliable.

    At Plumplucker.com we were getting 40% openings, when we knew we were getting 90%

  2. Frazras
    October 11, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Were you usung PHPList on a shared host or a dedicated server/VPS

  3. Webologist
    October 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    No. Well, a reseller account. But a good one, i.e. one that is well managed to ensure that the servers are not put under too much pressure.

    The only reason it took a long time to send mails was because of an email limit on my account. Using a 3rd party gets rid of that limit, to some extent. I had to run PHPList for about 6 hours to get through all the mails without going over my hourly limit.

  4. Rohan Smith
    October 19, 2012 at 5:34 am

    I am assuming that with A FULLY MANAGED VPS you would not have email limits.

  5. Webologist
    October 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    If you have the whole box then I guess there should be no limit to what you can do, but if you share any resources then there would be limits, I guess.

  6. PLAzmA
    July 3, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Having used both i can say i honestly prefer phplist, anyone who says mailchimp is better is obviously does not have the technical abilities to make phplist work properly and are in over their heads, they are two very different solutions for very different people.

    If you want something thats easy to get going and need a wysiwyg editor use mailchimp, but bear in mind as soon as you start sending volumes your going to be paying though the nose.

    If you actually have technical abilities, go with php list, chances are your going to be pre producing your html to make sure you can get consistent rendering across multiple email clients (neither options wysiwyg editor can give you this), you will save a lot in the long run, especially if your sending big volumes.

    phplist provides tracking abilities, you just didnt turn them on.. also you can blame phplist because your host restricted you to 350 emails per hour, phplist doesnt need you to use a browser to send, you can configure cron do process this for you, it appears your lack of technical skills has lead you to the conclusion that phplist is bad. Its not at all, its just its only as good as its operator….

  7. Webologist
    July 3, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Did not blame phplist, just said that I could not use it on my host. Seemed easier and more sensible to get a new mail service for sending mails rather than trying to use a website hosting service.

    But, this was all over 2 years ago and I no longer use Mail Chimp either.

  8. Guest
    September 13, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Hey!
    And which System do you use now?

    Best!
    Yervo

  9. Webologist
    September 13, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Hi, given up for the time being actually. I would def. stick with MailChimp if I started again – I think they still do it free for the first 2000 subscribers. PHPList might be better now though. The big issue for me was batch limitations on my server.

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