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Video: a first look at the alpha version of Mailcoach

Original – by Freek Van der Herten – 3 minute read

My team and I are currently working on Mailcoach, a self-hosted solution to easily send out newsletters and e-mail campaigns. In this video you'll get a preview of an alpha version of the package.

Currently, the UI is a bit rough around the edges. When we release it, it will all be very polished. And yes, before sending out a campaign, we'll add a beautiful confirmation screen, so you don't accidentally send it out.

You might wonder why we are building this. Some of the well-known newsletter marketing services can cost quite a lot when your e-mail list grows. Some charge $99 a month for a list that has a few thousand subscribers.

Mailcoach will leverage e-mail sending services like Amazon SES, Mailgun and SendGrid to send out e-mails. These services only charge a couple of dollars for tens of thousands of e-mails. And yes, in addition to transaction mails, these services allow marketing e-mails to be sent as long as you take care of your reputation. The number of bounces and received complaints must be kept low.

Mailcoach can help you with keeping a good reputation. Out of the box, it'll offer an easy to use double opt-in process, so you know for sure that everybody on the list actually subscribed. Mailcoach can also handle bounces. When an e-mail to a subscriber bounces, the subscriber will be automatically unsubscribed.

Our package can also leverage the open and click tracking offered by the e-mail services. In the Mailcoach UI, you can see individual opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and bounces. It'll also calculate open and click rates.

We're building it as a Laravel package that you can install in your own app. Mailcoach sends out a lot of useful events such as CampaignMailOpened, CampaignLinkClicked, ... When installed into a Laravel app, you can leverage these events to build any flow you want. Want to send another e-mail to the subscriber if he or she clicked three links in the campaign. Easy!

In addition to the package, we'll also release a stand-alone version that can be easily installed on any server that meets the requirements (modern PHP version, Redis, MySQL). This is an excellent solution for people that don't have PHP or Laravel knowledge. Under the hood, this stand-alone app will use the laravel-mailcoach package.

We will also release a video course on Mailcoach. It'll contain videos on how to use the UI and the code. If you're into Laravel, you'll be happy to know that we'll also include videos on how the package works under the hood and how we've built it. I'm pretty sure every Artisan can learn something from this.

We've tested out Mailcoach quite a bit already. The first real-world test will happen this weekend. I'll be using Mailcoach to send out my newsletter to a list that contains 6000+ subscribers.

I can't give an exact release date of Mailcoach just yet, but my educated guess is: within the next two or three months. We've put a lot of work into this, and we're still thinking about how we should price all this. One thing you can be sure of is that it will be way cheaper than the total cost of the traditional e-mail marketing services.

To stay in the loop of Mailcoach, subscribe at our mailinglist. If you have questions about this project, contact me on Twitter.

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