Platform.ly review

Plaform.ly is a powerful all in one marketing tool designed for startups and medium size businesses. It has the chops to compete with some of the larger foundations such as Mailchimp and Active Campaign.

Platform.ly is an excellent automation tool with lots of advanced marketing features. We use it to get real-time dashboard data, growth management, and user interaction tracking. With Platform.ly, we can save several hours of work each week, and use this valuable time to focus on spending time with our clients and further growing our agency.

GroupList

Summary: GroupList.io is a email marketing solution, similar to Mailchimp, Aweber and other email systems on the market. It uses Amazon Web Services for deliverability and is very inexpensive to use with charges cheaper than major playersCheck out Sendy, a self hosted newsletter web app that lets you send emails 100x cheaper via Amazon SES.

Email Marketing alternative to Mailchimp, Zoho, etc

There are many email campaign software systems out there, but they are quite expensive. For example, with Zoho, unless you use a CRM Plus subscription @ $50 USD per user per month for yearly subscription or $60 USD per user per month for month to month, they will slap you these charges:

These prices are high. For example, if I have a database of 2000 subscribers, I need US$25 per month to use the campaign function. That means on a Zoho enterprise price month to month @ $40 a month, will balloon to $65 a month, forcing you to go to a higher tier in the CRM, to the CRM Plus package at $60 per user per month. Such costs are unsustainable unless your business pushes enough volume.

There is a better way… with GroupList!

Group List is the cheapest email newsletter service I have come across. You can send thousands upon thousands of email newsletters with extremely low costs. Just look here:

Sending 10,000 emails? No problem, you only pay $10 USD!

How they do it

The primary reason that GroupList is able to do this so cheaply is because of Amazon’s Simple Email System (SES). This system is designed for cheap emails with high volumes.

Upon joining the Free Tier of this service, you can send out 10,000 emails per month – and then$10 for each additional 10k emails. That is why GroupList is the most affordable email newsletter campaign service I have found.  See below:

What features will you get with GroupList

The whole suite of newsletter campaign services are available in GroupList.

  • Letting you manage multiple distinct brands
  • Unlimited email lists
  • Unlimited email deliveries (possibly bound by your email service provider, see below)
  • Sign users up through a form or through a multitude of embeddable widgets.
  • Optionally require users to go through a double-opt-in flow
  • Templating system with built-in tags (i.e. “unsubscribe”, “name”, “email”, “date”, etc.) and custom tags (similar to Mailchimp’s “merge tags”)
  • Open and click tracking
  • Reporting of deliverability-related stats like unsubscribe rate, bounces, “marked as spam”, etc
  • Integration with Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) AND any email service provider that exposes an SMTP interface (which is nearly all)

Analytics and reporting

 

GroupList has comprehensive reporting throughout. Once you have sent a campaign, you will get a well-structured graphical report encompassing opens, specific link clicks, bounces, unsubscribes and even a geographical breakdown. Furthermore all of this data can be easily exported in CSV format.

You get similar reporting at the list level. For each of your mailing lists you get a rich graphical representation of active subscribers, subscribers who never confirmed, unsubscribes, bounces, and incidences of being marked as spam.

Campaign and template editor

Both MailChimp and AWeber have highly polished default templates, and template editors that are very advanced. This is something that I really think is important to have in mind when considering GroupList.

You can certainly construct highly polished and professional campaigns with GroupList, but it will require some technical knowledge. This is because there are zero supplied default templates, and the campaign/template editing interfaces are basic compared to those other email services. To achieve professional results, in my opinion, you will likely need to get a hold of third party email templates (such as through ThemeForest and ThemeDorks) or code your templates in some external environment.

Summary

I love Group List for my own needs and I believe it could suit many others’ needs. I do think that anybody considering GroupList should take into account their priorities. If you are a commercial operation for whom the $10s-$100s (or more) a month you might spend on a more expensive alternative are a drop in the bucket, you may want to go that route as I believe you will have an easier time achieving polished results and stellar deliverability and you will probably save quite a lot of time overall. Similarly I’d say that if you are relatively non-technical and have a desire for very polished campaigns you also might be best off with tools like Mailchimp so long as your list isn’t in the many hundreds of thousands (see here for pricing of Mailchimp’s “Growing Business” plan at various volumes – you can also use Mailchimp’s “Forever Free” plan as long as you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers). With Group List there is no limit to how many subscribers you have, so you are not charged more when your list grows.

Pros:

  • Cheap email marketing
  • Abundant features
  • Automatic unsubscribe, bounce and complaint handling

Cons:

  • From my experience, as the system is rather simple, you may have to download or code responsive templates separately.

Perfect Dashboard

Perfect Dashboard is far from perfect and is mostly designed to sell ads to get you to subscribe to do something that is available for free. It may have been installed via spam, ad-ware or other malicious means. It should be uninstalled.

The App is a WordPress & Joomla plugin that lets you update with One-Click, perform Automated Tests after each update and automatically verify Backups. There are serious security risks in using such a plugin and it should be avoided. There are far better ways to secure your website and automate backups.