SendFox Review & Tutorial – AppSumo Limited Time Offer 2019
You’ve probably heard that old adage that the best camera is the one you have with you. Well, in my opinion, the best email marketing tool is the one you’ll actually use.
It’s 2019 and email marketing tools are plentiful! Some offer beautiful templates and others have exhaustive automation options.
That’s why it was a surprise to many to see Sumo Group themselves throw their hat in the Email Service Provider (ESP) world.
SendFox is light on features, but promises to be fast and usable, as well as provide a great deliverability rate. So if you’re looking for an LTD on ActiveCampaign, this isn’t it. But if you are a content creator that needs to keep in touch with your subscribers, that’s who SendFox is hoping to serve.
In this review, I’ll be walking through each of the features and then testing deliverability vs. industry leader Amazon SES to send emails.
So let’s get started.
The SendFox Deal as Delivered By AppSumo
The deal at AppSumo is simple. $49 for lifetime access for 5,000 contacts. Stack a code and get another 5K in contacts. Once you hit three codes, you’ll have the “SendFox” branding switched from an image to “Light Text” Meh.
Set Up Your Account
After you redeem your AppSumo purchase, the first thing you’ll need to do is fill in your account details to comply with the CAN-SPAM laws.
The UI is bare-bones. Sumo Group didn’t waste time or money hiring a fancy graphic designer, and you know what? I’m okay with that.
Email should be fast, simple, and mainly text, in my opinion.
The Startup Checklist
Digging into the app, there is a startup checklist to get you going, but oddly the checklist didn’t display after updating my account details.
Feeling a little disoriented, I clicked the SendFox logo in the corner and then I did receive the prompt to follow the checklist.
The startup checklist will essentially take us through the entire platform, so I figured it was a good place to begin.
Add Your Contact Lists
Step one is to add subscribers which can be done either via a CSV file or by auto-importing from Mailchimp.
I was happy to see they have a template for you to start from, but I want to point out that the prompt to download the template doesn’t display until after you choose CSV File as the source and the file picker is displayed. A little bit of a UI oversight in my opinion and I bet a lot of people will miss this the first time they upload contacts.
I downloaded their template and added a single email address to CSV file before uploading it to SendFox.
Experienced email marketers will notice right away that we’re creating a “list” while uploading a CSV file. And then might get bummed, as lists are a very old fashioned way to organize contacts.
The entire industry has moved on from lists and relies on tags. Even longtime “list” based giants like Mailchimp have come around. So I was really bummed about this until I noticed the “Create List” url.
Hmm… “dashboard/tags/create”. Well what do you know, maybe this thing will be more powerful than I had originally thought?
Create a List
So I went ahead and created my first list, uncreatively calling it “test”.
It is worth noting that if you don’t have a CSV file or a Mailchimp account, and you just want to start from scratch, you can skip the “add contacts” portion altogether.
After creating your first list, you’re pushed over to the List screen. From here you can see your subscribers, and check important stats like your open rate, clicks, and bounce rate. You can also manually add contacts or even delete your list entirely.
Compose an Email
The next thing SendFox wants you to try is to send an email. So click on Emails from the menu and then hit create email.
First you’ll want to give your email a title so you can identify it in the SendFox platform later. Don’t worry this title is only for you.
You’ll have a very basic text editor to compose your email. You’d want to fill in the following fields:
- “From” and “To” Field – You can set your “from” name and email address. In the “to” field you’ll select the list you want to send to.
- Email composer – Then you’re ready to compose. This is bare-bones. We’re talking your choice of Sans Serif, Serif, or monospace fonts, and just the bare essential text features with the ability to add your own images.
If you think you’ll be able to resize your images after you insert them into your email, you’re sadly mistaken. SendFox doesn’t bother with those primitive tasks so you better get it right before uploading.
There are a few personalization options so you can make sure that your recipient’s name or email address actually displays in the email. However, you need to manually type these in. There’s no menu to select them like you’ll see on most email tools.
When my email was ready to go, I hit save. It oddly kicked me out of the email creation screen and back to the email overview.
Schedule Your Email
So I headed back into the composition screen, scheduled the email to go out to my subscribers, and hit schedule.
At that point, I hit Save, expecting to go back to the overview screen. Oddly enough, it just sat there, so I manually went back.
Send a Test Email
Here, you’re given the option to send a test email, a feature that I think would make a lot more sense to see on the compose screen.
Both the real email and the test email hit my inbox quickly. They did feature the SendFox branding and I would need to stack three codes to switch from the current one to the light text version of their branding.
Run Your Autoresponder
Now let’s talk autoresponder. SendFox does give you the ability to create automation series, or a drip sequence. So when people sign up for your mailing list, you can have an automated series of emails go out to them.
To start, choose Automations from the menu and click on Create Automation Series.
Next, you’ll need to select the list that the automation will apply to. Here, you’re given a pretty straightforward automation builder. The trigger is being added to the list.
You’ll then compose an email for each part of the sequence. This is probably my favorite part of the SendFox UI as it’s just clean and simple.
You can edit the delay, but it only goes down to the hour. If you want your email to send instantly, to deliver a link to a lead magnet for example, you can set the delay to 0 and your email will send instantly.
It’s here that we get a clear glimpse that SendFox is intact using a tag-based system, but disguising it as a list-based system. I assume this is because they believe it is easier to understand. The icons even look like tags, so I’m not sure exactly what the reasoning is for this naming situation.
You can easily create automations to add people to new lists when they perform an action (like opening your email or clicking on a link inside of it).
But I was a bit underwhelmed with the feature set of the automations. One glaring omission from the automation system is the ability to remove people from a list (even if you’ve automated adding those same persons). They stay in that particular automation with no way to remove them until the sequence completes.
So while this feature set LOOKS great, it still has a bit of bulking up to do before it’s ready for the big leagues.
Organize Your Contacts
In the contacts screen, you can see all your contacts, as well as which lists they belong to. (It’s worth clarifying here that you’ll see a second list called My Test Contacts. SendFox created that list for me when I sent the test email earlier in this video.)
You can easily create new contacts, edit existing contacts, or delete them altogether in this page.
At this point, we’re encountering a deleting issue again. One feature lacking here is the ability to remove someone from a list completely. For that you need to open the list and remove them there.
Put a Lead Capture
Of course you need to get people into your list and SendFox gives you a few different options for how you can accomplish this.
The first option is their landing page builder.
I typically despise Landing Page builders that come with email clients. Being a great landing page builder is REALLY hard, so I admire AppSumo’s simple approach here. They ask you for a couple of images, some copy, and what fields you’d like to capture and that’s it.
The page looks fine. You can’t break it. It works. I’d hope in time they’d add a few more options for this, but if they didn’t it doesn’t bother me. You are stuck with the SendFox url but I think in a pinch this will do just fine.
Creating a form is very similar. Choose which fields you want, give it a name, connect it to a list and you’re ready to go.
When I embedded this on the ThatLTD.life website, it took on the CSS style of the site so it fit in right away. However, it would make some sense to add some styling options inside of SendFox for those that need customization and aren’t CSS experts.
Incoporate Your Website’s RSS Feed
The last feature of SendFox is “RSS Feeds” that automatically creates an email for you when you post on your website. This is a really sleeper item for SendFox. It is essentially “MissingLettr” for email creation.
If you’re not familiar with MissingLettr, it is an AppSumo deal that has been offered several times. It creates social media campaigns based on your website content. With this RSS feature, SendFox is looking to do the same thing.
Oddly, this feature isn’t listed in the main menu and is instead buried under your account details.
So to find it, click your name, choose account, and the second option is RSS Feed.
Enter in the RSS feed for your blog or website and hit Add Feed.
Then SendFox will monitor your RSS feed and automatically create draft campaigns as you add new content. Pretty slick if it works.
Trying Out My Site’s RSS Feed
So I created a test post and published it on the That LTD website.
I’ll be honest, I was super stoked about this feature and envisioned myself stacking this deal to the rafters if it worked like I want.
Nope… all I got was a few lines of text.
No images, not interesting formatting. Just kinda, bleh. Keep working on this Sumos, it’s a cool idea.
Testing SendFox’s Deliverability
An email tool is only as valuable as its deliverability.
SendFox is using SendGrid to power its email backend, so I thought I’d put it in a direct contest with my current email tool, which is Mautic using Amazon SES as its email platform.
Mautic and SendFox couldn’t be more different tools, as you need to be quite technically savvy to use Mautic, but it is free and open source like WordPress.
I decided to use Mail-tester.com to test deliverability as it was quick and easy to set up. So this is definitely not the most scientific test possible and I’m 100% aware of that.
SendFox scored 8.9 from mail tester where as Mautic with Amazon SES only scored 7.9.
It’s worth noting that Mautic was dinged for not enough text to go along with the images included in its HTML composer window.
This definitely doesn’t establish that SendFox is superior to Amazon SES, but it does give us a good idea that you’ll probably hit the inbox with SendFox.
SendFox Final Thoughts & Rating
SendFox is a cool concept, but I just don’t think it’s ready for launch yet.
It is missing vital features like image resizing, HTML editor, or even the ability to remove people from automations.
Seeing as our agency is focused on WordPress, for this to be a “Take my money” instabuy. I’d really need support from Elementor Pro forms or WP Fusion.
There is integration with Sumo.com but that service just isn’t appealing to my customers, so it doesn’t do a whole lot for me.
If they had totally nailed the RSS to email feature, I would have been in, but that feature too is underwhelming in its current state.
There is a lot of good that is possible for SendFox’s future, it will just depend on how long you can wait to see if it turns into something that is usable for you.
Rating: In its current state, SendFox gets a 6.7 out of 10.