Email may be an old technology, relatively speaking, but it remains a major marketing frontier. In the USA, 89% of marketers still use email as their primary channel for generating new leads. And, with four billion daily email users worldwide, it's easy to see how even a tiny slice of the pie can be of major benefit to your business.
That being said, there's a lot to consider in successful email marketing. It's not nearly as simple as just creating an ad and sending it out to your email contacts.
That's the basic idea, of course, but you've got to keep in mind: The number of emails you want to send (in some cases thousands per day); how you'll design them; track them; individualize them; send specific emails to the right cohorts of potential customers; get them delivered to inboxes (rather than spam folders); manage responses to them (including unsubscribe requests); optimize the time they're sent at; access analytics about them (to inform future marketing strategies); and make sure that all of this is accomplished at hyper-speed with as much reliability and as few glitches as possible.
Sound like a tall order?
That’s precisely why email delivery services like Mailgun exist.
The email delivery service niche is jam-packed with solutions that, overall, offer many similar features to remain competitive. And, to be honest, most of them do an adequate job. But if you're looking for an email delivery service that goes the extra mile, Mailgun is one of the industry names you'll want to consider.
In this review, I'll take you through an overview of the Mailgun platform. We'll examine some pros and cons, take a peek at a few alternatives, and wrap up with answers to some frequently asked questions. Hopefully, by the end of this review, you'll be ready to decide whether or not Mailgun is a worthwhile investment for your particular circumstances.
Mailgun touts itself as "the leading email delivery service for businesses around the world," enabling you to "send, receive, and track emails effortlessly." While I'm not sure I can 100% back that claim, I can support Mailgun as a reputable, high-quality email delivery service that can provide worthwhile benefits for marketers and business owners alike. It even has a few stand-out features that distinguish it from the competition. I'm comfortable standing by my overall 4.5/5 rating.
Mailgun offers a thirty-day free trial. After that, its services range from $35-$90+ per month. While not unreasonable, Mailgun's pricing structure may put it out of reach for small businesses who could find comparable alternatives for less. For this reason, I've only given the platform 4/5 stars for pricing.
Mailgun has a good reputation for accuracy on many levels. Especially notable is its advanced validations product, which helps you determine which email addresses are good and bad. I don't have many complaints with Mailgun's accuracy and have given it 4.5/5 stars overall.
Mailgun provides all of the features you'd expect from other email service providers, but in many cases it elevates them to higher standards. A good example is Mailgun's outstanding customer support team. This aspect alone puts Mailgun head and shoulders above some of its competitors. I've given the platform 5/5 for its high-quality features.
Mailgun is a leading API email delivery service provider aimed at developers. It allows you to send and receive emails through your domain at scale. Mailgun also enables you to track the performance of sent emails (delivery, open, click, and bounce tracking) and boasts a robust email validation service.
Mailgun's email builder, Mailjet, makes it simple to quickly design attractive emails and personalize them for specifically targeted audiences. Email analytics provide relevant data that can help users refine effective email marketing strategies, including the best times to reach potential buyers.
Founded in 2010, Mailgun currently sends over 20 billion emails per month. Its clients include email marketing industry giants such as Lyft, Substack, and Pinterest.
Mailgun routes emails from your company through its own email infrastructure so that you don't have to manage and maintain the server capacity to do it in-house. In layperson's terms, it takes the headache out of large-scale email communications and tracking.
To become a Mailgun user, simply sign up and verify your company email. The first thirty days are free.
You'll also be asked to activate your account, choose your preferred sending method (SMTP or API), set up routes for inbound emails, and decide how you want to access your event data. From there, you're good to start sending and tracking up to five thousand emails per month.
With so much competition in the email delivery service niche, many service features have become standard across a wide range of platforms (e.g., email API, email validations, email marketing, email templates, etc.). This indicates that many different software solutions are keeping up with consumer demands in a crowded marketplace, which is fundamentally not a bad thing. That being said, it can definitely make it tough to know what distinguishes one platform from another—and, ultimately, why it might be worth paying more for a particular service.
Nick Lafferty, a marketer who used to work for Mailgun, shares some insider perspectives into what key elements to focus on when you're shopping around for a high-quality email marketing service.
The following section of my review draws on information he provided in his recent post, Mailgun Review From A Former Employee. I couldn't have said it better myself.
According to Lafferty, there are a few key factors to consider when evaluating email marketing services. They include:
Let's jump in.
Mailgun invests a great deal into its customer support team, making quality service a defining aspect of its reputation. In addition to well maintained and organized help center documentation, live support is also available twenty-four/seven. While the highest value customers will always receive the highest priority, Mailgun's overall response time for ticket support is less than seventy-two hours (substantially less, in general).
The support team can't troubleshoot email deliverability problems (such issues must be resolved with email service providers themselves), but they can deal with any and all account-related troubles and also get you set up with a dedicated IP.
This is an interesting one. Imagine you're deciding between two bottles of wine. On the surface, they're both merlots, they both have attractive labels, a deep red color, and come in a corked bottle. You can drink either of them to accompany your steak. But one is more mature. It tastes better and is a higher quality product.
The same principle applies for email marketing service providers.
While many platforms offer the same services, not all are equal in depth and reliability. Mailgun has been around for quite some time—long enough to have truly mature features. Its cloud-based approach is advantageous and refined, as are its validation features (more on this later), and many others.
The last thing you want is to sink time, dollars, and energy into an email marketing service only to have it go bottoms up and leave you in the lurch. It happens to software companies all the time, so do your research before you sign on.
Mailgun has a proven record of strong growth and investments. Even during the COVID pandemic, it did not lay off staff or suffer major losses. This is a strong indicator that Mailgun is the type of company you could safely rely on and trust with your email communication requirements.
Perhaps you're now starting to get a clearer sense of why it might be worth investing in Mailgun over a less expensive platform with less support, maturity, and successful years in business.
Alright, let's get down to it. We've learned what Mailgun is and explored its history; now it's time to take a look at what the platform will actually do for you if you become a subscriber.
In no particular order, here are what I consider to be Mailgun's six core features:
Email deliverability is a mouthful, but what does it mean?
Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to subscribers' inboxes (and avoid issues such as bouncing and landing in the spam folder, plus many more). It’s a metric that many marketers use to gauge the percentage of emails that will actually reach their intended destination.
While Mailgun can't actually control the filters that email service providers (or email account owners themselves) put in place, it can create custom deliverability solutions tailored to the specific business needs of its clients. These solutions can greatly increase email deliverability ratios.
Customized deliverability services are an included package feature for companies that send more than five hundred thousand emails per month, but can also be accessed by clients with smaller email volumes.
Mailjet, Mailgun's email builder, is user friendly and provides you with all the tools you'll need to efficiently design striking email templates. Design and visuals can have an immeasurable impact on how successful a given email campaign will be, and Mailgun makes it easy to take your game up a notch in this realm.
Professional, bold, classic, or contemporary, the Mailgun email builder has got you covered no matter what impression you're trying to make.
Knowledge is power, and with Mailgun's advanced email analytics you'll receive a lot of data that can be used to intelligently revise your email marketing strategy.
Mailgun's dashboard includes easy-to-interpret metrics that offer insight into how your emails are accepted, delivered, failed, opened, and clicked. It also allows you to analyze prime engagement times and optimize scheduled deliveries accordingly (send time optimization). You can even schedule a delivery for the exact moment when a user is already checking their email. Pretty amazing!
If your business is sending hundreds of emails per day, imagine the quantity you may also be receiving in return. Mailgun's inbound routing features allow you to set up different destinations for different types of email responses. This makes it possible for you to efficiently review relevant emails that require a personal response without being overwhelmed with incoming mail that could just as easily be sorted and responded to automatically.
Mailgun's email list management features allow you to customize which clients are receiving which emails. By filtering and setting specific parameters (e.g., first-time subscribers, brick-and-mortar store clients, clients who have requested further information, etc.), you can maintain control over what messages are being sent to whom instead of bombarding everyone on your email list with every promotion.
Also noteworthy is that Mailgun can be programmed to automatically remove users who have unsubscribed from your mailing list or marked your emails as spam. This can save you time and money, as well as keeping your overall sending reputation intact.
Email validation is the process of verifying email addresses to catch any that may be nonexistent, invalid, or undeliverable. By simply uploading an email list in Mailgun, you can determine any addresses that are suspicious and remove them immediately.
Though many email marketing providers do offer this feature as well, I haven't come across a single platform that does it as effectively as Mailgun. Mailgun's validation product has an excellent datasource and is the fastest in the business (meaning that you can validate email addresses in real time while users are filling out online forms, for instance).
As I mentioned earlier, Mailgun has a free, thirty-day trial. If you're on the fence about this software, why not give it a try?
If you decide to subscribe, this is what the paid plans have to offer:
As you can see, the number of emails included per month increases with subscription level as does access to features like Send Time Optimizations and perks such as live phone support.
All in all, I don't think Mailgun's pricing structure is unreasonable, but it's not a major wow either. Bottom line is that if you use Mailgun effectively, the price will be worth it.
There are quite a number of Mailgun alternatives out there, but not all of them are created equally. That being said, there are several adequate options, depending on your needs—some with more features and higher price tags, and some that are actually 100% free for life.
Let's take a look at a few:
Sendinblue has many features that overlap with Mailgun, but ultimately it’s a more complete digital marketing solution. While Mailgun is a transactional email service aimed at developers that includes many flexible options for building email marketing campaigns, Sendinblue is a digital marketing platform that includes email marketing software out-of-the-box along with SMS marketing tools, social media marketing tools, and even CRM software, plus much more. It offers a free lifelong version, but its paid plans start at $22 and range up to $410, depending on your needs.
SendGrid is probably Mailgun's most direct competitor in terms of features, price, and audience. Like Mailgun, it has been marketed mainly to developers. Many reviewers have praised SendGrid's email marketing editor as superior to Mailgun's. However, Mailgun offers better support services. SendGrid offers a free lifetime plan with a maximum of one hundred emails per day, but its paid plans (which included a dedicated IP address) range from $14.95-$749 monthly, depending on your needs.
Elastic Email is an email marketing platform focused in the small business niche. More affordable than Mailgun, it offers email performance analytics (average open rate, click rate, unsubscribe rate, and bounce rate), some automation features, and more. Paid plans start at just $15 per month. If you’re looking for a lighter and less expensive Mailgun alternative, Elastic Email could be a good choice.
We've made it to the end of this Mailgun review and, as promised, I've given you an overview of the product and its features, highlighted some pros and cons, and compared it to a few competitors.
So, is Mailgun the right email delivery service provider for you? Ultimately, that's your choice. If you have further questions about the platform, check out the FAQs below. Otherwise, get in touch with me directly through SerpFocus.
At SerpFocus, we're dedicated to supporting you throughout your marketing/SEO journey and would be happy to connect with you around email marketing solutions or any other topic that's on your mind. Reach out to us today!
Mailgun is a leading API email delivery service provider aimed at developers. It allows you to send and receive emails through your domain, track the performance of sent emails, and design attractive email marketing campaigns. Mailgun also provides analytics that can help you refine your email marketing strategies.
Yes. You can program Mailgun's software to automatically respond to specific types of emails. Common auto responses include password changes, order placements, welcome emails, plus more.
No. Mailgun does have a free thirty-day trial, but after that, it ranges from $35-$90+ per month.