Sending a newsletter through XF: some questions

sixlxvi

Active member
I'm getting ready to send my first newsletter through the XF control panel using Amazon SES. I was using an external website called SendPulse but I wasn't a fan of doing it that way so I'm hoping this ends up being a more seamless way to email with XF, as well as a way to potentially maintain a healthier mailing history.

SES is set up and ready for the newsletter, but I have some beginner questions first. I didn't know much about proper emailing before last week, and it's all a big learning process for me.

  • Using the XF control panel, formatting is done with HTML, whereas the external website I was using was more WYSIWYG. Is there a go-to WYSIWYG email formatting tool that can then export your template to HTML so you can copy it into the XF control panel?
  • I use NeverBounce to check my mailing list. Are there any better ways to do it? NeverBounce confuses me sometimes because almost anything that is not Gmail (valid) or clearly invalid, lands in between as a catch all, and when it's a catch all, I'm not sure if it is a good or bad email. A lot of @aol, yahoo, .edu, iCloud, and company emails come up as catch all. I don't want to degrade my SES health.
  • For the emails in my mailing list that do need to be removed because they are invalid -- how do you guys do that within the XF control panel? When sending out a mass email, I don't believe there is an area to paste all of your invalids to tell it to not send to those. So, what is the best way to purge your mailing list within XF? Further, is there a way to then alert the member with the bad email that they need to update it on their next log in?
  • As far as the XF mailing system itself, are there any must-have ad-ons to power up its features? I'm looking at the one from DBTech -- it seems like a must-have, no? https://xenforo.com/community/resources/dbtech-dragonbyte-mail.5867/
  • On that note, are there any other XF add-ons related to emailing that I should look into? I have some bookmarked, but I would like to hear it from you guys.
  • Do most of you use a bounce@yourdomain.com address to catch your bounced returns? Does it hurt your email's health if you don't have one set up?
  • If you are putting imagines in your newsletter, is it best to host the image on your own server/domain?
  • Is it true that the words "contest" and "win" are "bad words" in the email, even if you are running a legitimate contest that your members participate in each month?
  • Does it help your email's health if people reply to your newsletter? Does that show SES that there was engagement?

Any other tips before I start would be greatly appreciated!
 
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