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

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

But what if I tell you, 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 in FREE per month, and if your list is extensive, then 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 get the point that proper email marketing platforms got many features, but do you use them?

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

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 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 email? Save as a template to re-use.

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

So how do you get it started?

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

  • Click the “Plus icon.”

  • 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 platform setup. Click leave setup
  • You will be redirected to the next screen, click setup platform(s)

  • The settings page will be shown next where we will configure the Email.
  • Select the provider, API key, etc. and click Save.

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 then will upload them in bulk using CSV or programmatically (later in this guide).

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

  • Go to 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 immediately or later
  • Click Confirm Message
  • It will show you 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%.

The email looks beautiful on all the devices.

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

Import existing emails to OneSignal

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

Good news – that’s possible!

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

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

Most of the email marketing platform gives an option to export the emails in the CSV file, so you use that 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 which I noticed are:

  • No widget to collect email directly from your site
  • No option to sync 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 give a try to see how it goes.

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