If you are looking for a way to cut down the costs of your email marketing campaigns but worry about the cost and maintenance of hosting your own marketing automation system then this post may set your mind at rest.

You can host Mautic and use it for email marketing with minimal hosting resources and cost, then add user tracking in the future without any problems.

Mautic is a powerful self-hosted marketing automation tool which collects a lot of data about your users and their interactions with your websites.

If you have ever visited the forums or Slack channel then you may have seen some questions about suitable hosting and scare stories about the power needed to run Mautic but this usually comes from power users tracking large sites with a lot of traffic and is only one side of the story.

Mautic could still potentially save you a lot of money over your existing Email system without the need to upgrade or purchase specialist hosting.

How Mautic Works

With a typical setup, you would usually install Mautic to your hosting account and then add tracking code to your website to record users interactions with your website.

 

Mautic typical usage

Mautic typical usage

As users visit your website, a javascript snippet sends information back to Mautic about the user, their system and various interactions with your website (Think of the same information you see in Google Analytics about the user, screen size, location etc).

The more traffic that your website has (or multiple websites have), the more work Mautic has to do to process that information and update the contact information accordingly.

Other than processing that information, Mautic only comes alive when you access the administration area or a cron job runs (A task triggered by the hosting at a certain time). So if you cut out the link between the website(s) and Mautic, the hosting resources that it needs to run are similar to running a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla.

Do You Need User Tracking?

User tracking is a powerful tool to create specific campaigns targeting very specific users, but maybe you just want to run a newsletter campaign and collect new users through forms on your website.

If you just want to collect Email addresses do you really need to track every users’ interactions with your website?

If you are currently using a service such as Mailchimp or Awebber then you may just want to carry on as you are at the moment and cut the overall costs. At a later date, you can still add the tracking script to your website and start tracking new and old users.

What Do You Lose By Not Tracking Users?

In a nutshell, you don’t record every interaction a user makes with your website. You only record the information that they give to you by filling in a form or visiting a page on your Mautic installation.

When using tracking, interactions are recorded for known and anonymous users so that when anonymous users become known, you already have all of their historical interactions saved as they have been tracked since the first interaction.

Interactions can be used to tag users with products they have viewed in your store or items they have purchased. You can see who has visited a certain URL on your site and many other things.

If you just need a newsletter system then this may not all be necessary (Although you may want to use it in the future without needing to migrate all of your contacts data to another system).

Users are still tracked on Mautic landing pages and emails.

What Can You Do Without Tracking Your Users?

Everything your current mailchimp, awebber etc system can do!

Within Mautic you can create sign up forms to embed into your website the same way that you can do with all popular email services.

The forms can be embedded with javascript which currently eliminates spam sign ups without the need for anything like recaptcha.

Users can sign up through your website for your newsletter, go through a double opt-in campaign and then be added to a segment that you can use as a base for a newsletter. Mautic will handle unsubscribes and bounces for you.

When you send a user to a Mautic landing page then they are tracked in the same way as when you add the tracking script to your own website..

How Much Can I Save?

Well, that depends on the system that you use now and the email service that you want to use Mautic with.

For an overview of pricing for email services, check out this post: The cost of self-hosting Mautic

Most services are limited by the number of contacts you can save and send to, with more users in your system, you need to pay more each month on a regular basis. You can still be limited by the number of emails that you can send out without extra costs.

When you use Mautic, the only limit to the number of contacts you can hold is the space in your hosting account.

When you send emails with Mautic you only pay for what you send. There are no monthly costs. If you don’t need to email anyone then you pay nothing.

For more information on specific pricing, get in touch with Charlie for a quote!

There Must Be Something Else That Can Do This?

After many hours looking into different newsletter systems over several years, the only real contender I have found is Sendy.

Sendy is specifically for maintaining and emailing newsletter lists through Amazon Web Services.

It has many users who advocate it’s usage and it is pretty damn good at what it does.

Personally, I have a few reservations about using it for clients due to the following:

  • SES only – Sendy can only send mail out through Amazon Web Services. If you want to change email services then you also need to change software and migrate your users.
  • Newsletter only – There is no user tracking so it can never go beyond a newsletter system.
  • Not open source – Sendy is maintained by a sole developer and is licenced software. It needs funding for further development.

If you want something simple you can host easily then I would suggest that you take a look at Sendy (We can install and set that up for you too!).

Anything Better?

If you know of any other self-hosted open source systems that work in a similar way, let us know in the comments!

 

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