Connect SonicFunnels with Amazon SES

Learn how to connect SonicFunnels with the Amazon Simple Email Service in order to efficiently send out system emails such as registration or purchase confirmations.

From version 1.0.7 SonicFunnels offers a number of new SMTP integrations such as Postmark, Mailgun or Amazon SES. In this post we will learn how to connect SonicFunnels with Amazon SES.

In order to use this integration you will need to register a new account on the Amazon Web Services site. In order for SonicFunnels to function properly, it is required to set up the email settings option with one of the supported method. While you may use a general SMTP service or the SMTP settings provided by gmail, we recommend using SES. It is more reliable and ridiculously cheap. It also supports several email use cases, including transactional, marketing, or mass email communications.

Amazon SES Pricing

Amazon SES is very cheap. If your website is hosted on an Amazon EC2 (a fancy name for server), you can send 62,000 messages per month at no charge, and $0.10 for every 1,000 emails you send after that. If your server is hosted elsewhere, you pay $0.10 for every 1,000 emails you send or receive. As you can see, unless you send out a huge number of emails every day, you will basically pay a few pennies and you can enjoy the flexibility and professionalism of Amazon services.

Sign up or log in

If you don’t have an AWS account yet, you will need to register one. Depending on your needs, you can register a “Personal” or a “Professional” account. Select “Professional” if you have a company. Provide your details and create the new account. You will also need to provide payment information during the registration. Don’t worry, Amazon will only charge you when their services are used. After you add your payment information, Amazon will confirm your identity via text message. After successful confirmation, you will need to select a plan. Select the Basic/Free plan. Then your registration is complete and you can log into your AWS account.

Amazon SES configuration

After you log into your AWS account, select “Simple Email Service” from “Services” -> “Customer Engagement” -> “Simple Email Service”. You should also select your “Region” from the top right corner.

Every new SES account starts in the sandbox. It means you cannot send emails to everyone, only those domains and email addresses that you verify in your account. This isn’t a big deal since you just need to edit your profile information, but you can do this after you set up everything. while in the sandbox, you can send up to 200 emails per day. It is more than enough while we are testing.

First let’s add our domain name and a few email addresses to our account so we can test email sending from our SonicFunnels website. In your AWS SES account go to “Identity Management” -> “Domains” and click the “Verify a New Domain” button. In the pop up add your domain (where you installed SonicFunnels) like this: mydomain.com and also check the checkbox next to “Generate DKIM Settings“.r you log into your AWS account, select “Simple Email Service” from “Services” -> “Customer Engagement” -> “Simple Email Service”. You should also select your “Region” from the top right corner.

After this, Amazon will show you a few DNS records that you need to add to your domain name. Adding new records to a domain can be done slightly differently depending on which company you registered your domain name with. Here is a few links to the most popular domain providers’ help pages:

After you updated your DNS records, you will see on your SES account that the domain name is “pending verification”. The changes to take affect may take a few minutes or a couple of days even. But usually it only takes a few minutes. The DKIM status verification may take longer, but once your domain is verified, you should see something like this:

Now let’s go to “Identity Management” -> “Email Addresses” and click the “Verify a New Email Address” button. First add the email address that you use in your SonicFunnels installation. This is the email address that will send emails to users such as registration or purchase confirmation. After adding the email address, Amazon will send a verification email to this address. Follow the instructions and click the verification link in the email.

Now, let’s add a couple of more email addresses so we will be able to simulate registrations and purchases. Use gmail or any other email addresses. Don’t forget to click the verification link Amazon sends you.

Connect Amazon SES with SonicFunnels

Now that we have verified our domain name and email addresses, we need to connect our SES account with our SonicFunnels website. In SonicFunnels admin go to “Settings” -> “Email Settings” and from the “Select SMTP Type” option, select “Amazon SES.

As you will see, you will need an “Access key id” and a “Secret Access Key”. These can be obtained from your AWS account. Amazon recommends using “IAM User credentials” rather than using the “Root Account Credentials”.

With the Identity and Access Management (IAM) service you can manage access to AWS services and resources securely. Using IAM, you can create and manage AWS users and groups, and use permissions to allow and deny their access to AWS resources.

So to get these credentials, go to IAM and from the left sidebar, select “Users”, then click the “Add User” button.

  • Provide a username and check the checkbox next to “Programatic Access”.
  • Then select “Attach existing policies directly”.
  • Search for “AmazonSESFullAccess and check it
  • Search again for “AmazonSNSFullAccess” and check it.
  • Click the “Next: Tags” button (no need to do anything here)
  • Then click the “Next: Review” button
  • Then click the “Create user” button

Make sure to copy your credentials and save them. In your SonicFunnels admin, email settings, paste your “Access key id” into your “AWS Access KEY ID” field, then also paste your “Secret access Key” into the “AWS Secret ACCESS Key” field.

Make sure that the “Amazon SES Region” is the same as the one set in your AWS SES account. And also make sure that the “From/Site Email Address” is the same you verified in your AWS SES account. Save your SonicFunnels email settings and now you are ready to test the email sending. Make sure to only use the email addresses you verified in your AWS SES account. If you have done everything correctly, you should be able to send emails via Amazon SES.

Get out of the Sandbox

If you found that everything is OK after the testing, it’s time to get out of the sandbox and change your account to production mode. In your SES account -> “Sending Statistics” you should see this:

Click on the “Edit your account details” button and fill out the pop up form.

Select “Enable Production Access“, “Mail type” should be transactional. Add your SonicFunnels website url and describe, in a few sentences, how you will use Amazon SES. Then submit for review. Amazon should approve your account shortly.

Finally you may want to ask Amazon to increase your sending limit from the default 200 emails per day. You can do this by going to the “Support Center” and creating a new case. Select “Service Limit Increase“, then from the “Limit type” option select “SES Sending Limits“. Fill out the rest of the options and send in the request. If everything is ok, they should increase your sending limits to 50,000 emails per day.

With Amazon it is important not to play dirty. Do not use your email address for spamming, make sure your users whitelist your email address. If many people mark your email messages as spams, amazon may suspend your account. Make sure to use captcha settings on your SonicFunnels website registration and contact form.

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