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I have a MailChimp mailing list of 36,000 people. I'm exploring my possibilities when it comes to sending an email to each of them. Here are the alternatives I can see:

  1. Paying $240.00 for a monthly MailChimp subscription, just to send an email once. Technically, I only need to send one email. This means I would have to unsubscribe from the monthly service once my email is sent, and I'm not sure if MailChimp allows this.

  2. Paying $500 in MailChimp "Pay as you go" credits
    This is an even higher price, which might be out of my range. This is what MailChimp has to offer for people wanting to send a one-time email, though.

  3. Using Mandrill instead of MailChimp
    Since it seems to be possible to export your list from MailChimp and use it somewhere else, I could use Mandrill, a service by the same people who made MailChimp, which would allow me to send my newsletter with just $4.
    There is a huge difference in cost, but I'm not sure Mandrill or MailChimp allow this kind of use (Mandrill seems to be made for transactional emails, not newsletters), so I'd like to know if it's possible.

  4. Using Amazon SES
    Amazon Simple Email Service looks similar to Mandrill, but doesn't seem to pose restrictions on the kind of email sent through it. Sending email through it would have an even lower cost than it would with Mandrill, but I'm worried about its reliability and potential issues with spam filters.

There is also a secondary problem with unsubscribe links: if you sent an email you'd have to offer one, and you probably can't allow someone to unsubscribe from a MailChimp newsletter with a link that is not generated by MailChimp when sending the email (this would apply to the cases where I export my list and send it with an alternative service).

What is the most convenient way (as long as it's allowed and feasible) to send these emails keeping the constraints I've listed in mind?

Are there any other alternatives?

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    Thank you. That might be a more appropriate place to post next time. – Gabriele Cirulli Apr 29 '14 at 10:16
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It appears that method 3 is a valid solution if you have some programming skills.

I contacted the MailChimp and Mandrill support and they both confirmed that it's possible to send newsletters with Mandrill. MailChimp even allows you to use pre-defined templates for your Mandrill newsletter.

The solution is to write a script (in a language like Ruby or JavaScript with Node.js) that will send emails to a list of addresses (it's possible to export your entire list as a CSV file in Mailchimp) in batches of 100 or so with a small time interval between each batch.

To handle unsubscriptions, you can use Mandrill's UNSUB merge tag together with the Webhooks feature. You can set up a web service that will receive POST requests from Mandrill whenever an unsubscription happens (e.g. you can set it up to POST to http://mysite.com/unsubscribe). Your web service will then have to use the Mailchimp API to unsubscribe the address communicated by Mandrill from your list.

Although this solution can be laborious or hard to do if you don't know where to start, it can save you hundreds of dollars and can be a valid way if you have the skills required.

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