Email is one of the most important tools for a marketer. It’s both effective and result-oriented. And its results are nothing to be scoffed at; the return can be anywhere between $36 and $42. So you want your emails to land in the inbox of your audience – not like the food delivery service that unceremoniously dumps the pizza box on the doorstep of the neighbour opposite the street.
If your emails were delivered like the food parcels, your messages don’t ever see the daylight – that is they land in the junk folder and are never to be seen again by your customers. This is always an issue with email service providers.
Some though, make this into a feature and build a service all around deliverability. An example of this breed of an email service provider is Socketlabs. It’s a marketing automation and an SMTP relay service at the same time.
This means, you can use both for marketing and transactional mails, especially if you’re sending in bulk. At the same time, it ensures deliverability. Its goal is to give your emails the best probability to really end up in your audience’s inbox. It can be used both by marketers and developers alike.
Socketlabs was founded in 2007. It has its headquarters in Aston, US. It serves high-profile brands such as Disney and Red Hat.
Pros and cons of Socketlabs
Socketlabs gives you the tools to reliably send your marketing and transaction mails. It’s both an email automation platform as well as an SMTP relay service. It comes with the usual email marketing provider features but also inbound email parsing and on-prem options.
With the email marketing automation features, you can automate repetitive (and tedious) tasks in your marketing, such as sending follow-up mails.
Using its SMTP relay service means you can send high volume emails while your emails are protected from being tagged as spam. Even better, you can use it in your favourite email client (Apple Mail, Outlook, Gmail, etc) and put it on steroids.
Take Gmail for example, even if you use Gsuite, you’re limited to sending 2000 emails a day. That’s because Google wants to keep accounts and systems safe. With Socketlabs, you can use Gmail and go over the limit.
- You don’t need your credit card at hand when signing up
- Easy to use interface
- Detailed reporting
- No limit on the number of your subscribers
- Detailed documentation
- Responsive support
- Extensive and well documented API
- Setup can be a bit lengthy because your first server needs to be provisioned
- Setup can be a bit tricky if you’re not into tech or don’t have an IT person at hand
- Compared to other services, its template gallery is quite limited
- Rudimentary contact management tool
- Limited criteria to segment your list
- Basic automation allows you to send drip, email sequences, and autoresponders
Who is Socketlabs for?
Regardless of your industry, if you need to plan on sending mails in high volume and want to be sure that they really land where they should – namely in the inbox of your audience, then take a look at Socketlabs.
You can use Socketlabs for your marketing emails, such as when you want to notify your audience of the launch of a new product.
Socketlabs is also a great choice if you need to send or even receive mails from your application. It comes with integrations to a multitude of software tools (also important for the marketing team). It also provides a well documented email API so that you can develop your custom integration. With its inbound email parsing, you can directly save the email into a database.
Socketlabs user interface
Since Socketlabs #1 goal is deliverability, it wants and needs to maintain a strong sender reputation. These are based on rules that the inbox providers like Google or Microsoft have formulated.
For rock-solid email deliverability, it also reviews new accounts along with the email servers. This means, that even though the signup doesn’t need your credit card details, it’s a bit more lengthy as compared with other services.
After your first login, you’ll see that you get one server by default. But the provisioning can take up to 30 minutes during business hours. If send high volume messages, you may want to provision more servers.
Socketlabs recommends to use multiple servers so that you can segregate the classes of your emails such as for marketing and transactional email or for different teams, departments, organisations, or with different delivery configurations. Keep in mind that the more server you need, the higher the costs because you’re invoiced for each server.
To set up Socketlabs, you might need the IT team. You need to set DKIM, SPF, and DMARC records with your email server.
The interface is built so that both your marketing as well as your developer team can work without hiccups. It has flexible account management and you can set up various configurations. Even with an expansive feature set, it’s easy to navigate and use.
You can manage all your campaigns in the tab Email Marketing Centre. As an email marketing service, it comes with built-in templates so that you can quickly design emails that your audience would like to open.
If you want to customise more, you can use its drag-and-drop editor and add new elements or create a new layout. The good thing is that you can add custom and merge fields in your design to personalise your message.
Once you’re done amending the design, it’s time to set up your campaign. You can set it up as a scheduled mailing – think classical email newsletter campaign – or send it out as a drip campaign.
Sign up forms
Unlike other services, Socketlabs also comes with web forms so that you don’t need to hunt for another tool just to create a form.
List management, segmentation, and personalisation
Having a clean list is fundamental, especially for Socketlabs which has deliverability as its highest priority.
To send the right message to the right people, you need to segment your lists. The criteria for segmentation are limited to only
- Email address
The contact management is quite basic or put bluntly, non-existent. So, you actually need another tool to manage your contacts. If you need to directly manage them within the service, you may be happier with a service such as Sendgrid or Sendinblue.
If you expect automation to be something where you can define conditional steps and hopefully also get a visual editor to create the workflow – you’re probably not going to like this part:
You can do automation, but only with drip campaigns. This kind of automation is suited for messages such as welcome email sequences or automatic follow-ups.
This is where Socketlabs shines. It gives you easy integration to many services. Even better, it comes with an extensive API that you can use for your marketing, notification, and inbound email parsing.
It also has Injection API so that you can send email via HTTP requests and with the SMTP credentials, you can use Socketlabs in your daily email client such as Outlook or Apple Mail.
Reporting and stats help improve your email performance. Or put another way: No campaign is complete with the numbers. With Socketlabs, you get reports on
- Failed messages
- Number of emails reported as spam
- Open and click rate of each campaign
Socketlab boasts responsive support. This is especially important since Socketlab is a little bit different from the run-of-mill email marketing provider. Having deliverability as a priority also puts the onus on you.
But fear not, it has 24/7 support to help you, no matter if your question relates to backend coding, integration, loading, deliverability, or design. You can contact the team through its contact page, phone, or chat. Otherwise, there’s also the detailed and searchable help centre.
As Socketlabs is specialised in delivering high volume mails reliably, the prices may look expensive at first glance. But if you take a look at how many emails you can send per month, the prices are reasonable.
You can even calculate how much it would cost to send an email. Say, with the Core account, an email, would cost $0.00099.
Is Socketlabs right for you?
As strong as Socketlabs is in deliverability, you can’t think of Socketlabs as your run of the mill email marketing service. For instance, it’s missing a contact management tool. Hence, it’s probably best to use it in combination with your existing marketing automation service such as Pabbly, and your existing CRM such as Bitrix. It shines when you need to send bulk marketing or transactional emails.
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