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How to Send Marketing Emails with OneSignal at Lower Cost?

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Send newsletter, marketing campaign, product updates, offers, etc., using SendGrid, Mailgun, and Mandrill transactional email from OneSignal.

The marketing email platform is more expensive than transactional emails. Usually, it’s double the cost or more.

But what if I tell you that you can send beautiful emails at the cost of transactional emails?

That’s right. It’s possible.

Let’s take an example from SendGrid.

SendGrid offers 12,000 emails for FREE per month, and if your list is extensive, it will cost $9.95 for 100,000 emails.

Now, if you have to send email through another platform like MailChimp, then you have to pay $$$ a month.

I understand that proper email marketing platforms have many features, but do you use them?

If you are a blogger or send periodic product updates without using those complex marketing features, then OneSignal would be worth trying.

So how does it work, and what is OneSignal?

OneSignal offers one of the popular push notifications services. Used by more than 200,000 applications, including Uber, Wix, Kinsta, Cisco, Adobe, etc.

Recently, they launched an email marketing tool.

A tool where you can connect email service providers to send marketing emails at the cost of the transactional email service.

onesignal-email

OneSignal is entirely free to use the platform. However, you need to pay to respective email providers. Currently, it supports the following.

  • SendGrid
  • Mailgun
  • Mandrill

So if your email list size is small and if you choose to use SendGrid, then you can send up to 12,000 emails in FREE.

Let’s take a look the some of the OneSignal email features.

  • Segmentation – a powerful segmentation to target the right users for your email.
  • Scheduling – send it at a later time.
  • Rich-text editor – a simple yet powerful editor where you can customize the content the way you want.
  • Template – send similar types of emails. Save as a template to re-use.

And email looks perfect on every device, including mobile phones.

onesignal-email-mobile

So how do you get it started?

If you are an existing user and already have an app configured, you can go to “Messages” >> New email to get started.

However, if you are entirely new to OneSignal, then the following will help you.

Creating OneSignal App

One of the first things you need to do is to create an app. After login, you should see something like the below.

  • Click the “Plus icon.”
OneSignal-add-app
  • Enter the app name and create
  • Next, it will prompt you to choose the platform. You can close that because we are just going to use email functionality for now.
  • It will again prompt you to confirm about leaving the platform setup. Click leave setup
  • You will be redirected to the next screen, click setup platform(s)
onesignal-setup-platform
  • The settings page will be next, where we will configure the Email.
  • Select the provider, API key, etc., and click Save.
onesignal-email-api-e1529838891249

OneSignal is successfully connected with SendGrid to send emails.

Let’s try sending one.

But wait.

Where will you send it? You got to add the user’s email first.

  • Go to USERS menu >> All Users >> Import/Export
  • On popup wizard, select Manually add users
  • Enter the email and submit

For testing purposes, provide one email. Once confirmed, all good, upload them in bulk using CSV or programmatically (later in this guide).

Now, we have one email where we can test sending.

  • Go to the MESSAGES menu >> New Email
  • There are four sections
    • Audience – let it defaults ALL as we have one email address
    • Email Details – enter a subject
    • Create Message – Add your favorite content
    • Schedule – You can either choose to send it immediately or later
  • Click Confirm Message
  • It will show you a prompt with the confirmation details where you click Send Message

That’s all!

I sent one to my audience, and the clicked rate was ~27%.

onesignal-click-rate

The email looks beautiful on all the devices.

onesignal-sample-email

Now you know how to create a OneSignal app to start sending an email.

Import existing emails to OneSignal

You may already have an email list and would like to import them into OneSignal.

Good news – that’s possible!

  • Go to the Users tab
  • Click All users >> import/export
onesignal-import-emails

As you can notice, there are two ways to get email imports.

onesignal-import-emails-list

Most email marketing platforms allow you to export the emails in the CSV file, which you use to import. You may also use other methods to import, as explained here in their official documentation.

Sounds good so far?

Email Delivery Analytics

You must be thinking if OneSignal got an email delivery report.

Well, it does. The following are available.

  • Overall click rate
  • Delivery statistics
  • Conversion stats include how many reported as a scam or unsubscribed

You can filter the report by the last 2/30 minutes, 24 hours, and five days.

Limitation

Email features are relatively new, so they got some limitations for now. Some of them that I noticed are:

  • No widget to collect email directly from your site
  • No option to sync the email list with WordPress or a third-party platform

I hope OneSignal works on these missing features to provide an all-in-one email marketing solution at an affordable cost.

Overall, OneSignal looks promising. It is free, so try it to see how it goes.

Another alternative option would be  Sendy – a self-hosted email software that you can install on your server to send email through AWS SES.

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