The benefits of using Mandrill over sending e-mails yourself

For a long while I’ve been a huge fan of Mandrill. Mandrill is the same company that is behind the very popular email campaign program Mailchimp (yes, the one with the cute monkey):

freddie-opengraph

 

So what is Mandrill, and why should you consider it?

On most websites, there are “transactional emails”.

Transactional emails are the ones you send on actions. Create a new account, forgot password, accept terms and everything similar.

It’s not newsletters. That is why you have a system like Mailchimp. But Mandrill simply handles all the transactional ones for you.

So each time your website sends out an email with some stuff, it could use Mandrill.

Why not use your own server to send emails instead of Mandrill?

For years most people has done something like the following. It’s code talk, but it just basically means it sends an email from your own server (or an email server you host yourself):

var mail = new MailMessage();
mail.from = “from@domain.com”;
mail.to = “to@domain.com”
mail.subject = “Hello”;
mail.message = “Text”;

var smtpClient = new smtpClient();
smtpClient.Send(mail);

For programmers this makes sense, for everyone else, you’re probably thinking: “Why is this idiot writing programming code here?“. (Well, for no particular reason, thank you for asking).

The main point: here, you simply build your own email and send it.

This has a couple of issues worth mentioning:

  • You have to change the programming code to make modifications in the emails
  • You have to make the newsletters look good inside the programming code, and not inside a nice editor
  • If your email server gets blocked because of spam (can happen even if you don’t spam), you’re in problems
  • If you get a lot of emails, you cannot scale it

Now, this has been what many people have done for years, but there is a better way.

Introducing the transactional e-mail API Mandrill

Mandrill is a genius product, and I recommend all my customers using it. The reason is simple:

  • It’s free up to 12.000 emails a month
  • It’s extremely simple
  • Mandrill are experts in getting emails delivered
  • Amazing stats and details on the emails (is an individual e-mail opened? did it deliver? time sent?)
  • History of sent emails
  • Templates…

While all the other benefits are huge, the biggest benefits are actually the templates.

In Mandrill you can predefine a range of templates. These templates are possible to modify inside Mandrill. That means if you have a program that uses Mandrill, you can actually modify the content of the emails without having to touch the programming code.
To make that even better, there is an integration between Mailchimp and Mandrill. Here you can export emails from Mailchimp to Mandrill, so you can use the nice editor inside Mailchimp to make the e-mails look good.

This gives the power back to the people who actually work with the website. So often have we seen IT departments take “power” of the organization, because modifying something as simple as an e-mail has been impossible. By using a system such as Mandrill, it just works.

A closing note: Mandrill in apps such as iOS and Android

When you run a website, it’s quite simple just to send e-mails using your own server. But this is NOT the case if you use an app.

Let us say you want to send the same e-mails from both your website and app…

That is just not an easy task.

But by using Mandrill, it gets really easy. You either make a shared API (a shared resource for website and app) that sends them, or both the website or apps call Mandrill itself.

By doing that all emails get simple, and it just works for the departments.

This truly makes our lives easier 🙂

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