Pepipost a now well established ESP from the Netcore family of companies, is an ESP that has made its name known for its Email Deliverability service, that ensures deliverability of marketing, bulk and transactional emails mainly through an Email API and SMTP service. This is my Pepipost review, an honest look as a first time user.
Pepipost markets itself on being able to achieve 100% deliverability and speedy send – receive times.
The concept of a “spam free” email community that forms a part of the Pepipost agenda, is indeed a worthy goal. I really was dubious of this claim until taking a close look at the mechanics of Pepipost. I can honestly say that this is a claim that they take extremely seriously. Pepipost does not attempt to solve all email deliverability issues in just one way, rather employing tactics that are both manual, algorithmic and preventative.
By doing this Pepipost creates an environment where email has the best chance for successful deliverability.
How hard is the initial setup process of Pepipost?
Pepipost claims that initial setup takes less than 100 seconds. Whilst they do have quick and I would agree very efficient onboarding systems, I did hit a snag with DNS setup and SPF and DKIM verification. Pepipost provides user guides for all the major DNS providers however as my DNS was not one listed, I had to work it out with generic documentation given to cover other DNS providers. Another DNS issue, which is of course out of the control of Pepipost, is that DNS propagation can take up to 24 hours, so over the course of a few days I had to keep trying to get the configuration correct and then wait for the required time. This was time-consuming and not a greatest way to start the relationship. Eventually I got the DNS setup correct and I was able to continue to use the platform.
On the Pepipost side, the setup was simple, and the guided setup assistant was very easy to navigate and use.
How user-friendly is Pepipost?
The Pepipost dashboard is very easy to navigate around and the platform, in general, is very visual and easy to use.
Can Pepipost be used by non-developers?
Pepipost is “designed by developers for developers” and therefore is more focussed towards a development team. For the marketers out there be warned, It is not a “plug and play” solution that non-developers can configure themselves. This said, all the main features that marketers require to ensure deliverability or investigate issues are easy to access and understand, analytics are clear and suppressions are easily accessed. I would go so far as to say that Pepipost is perfect for a team that has a developer doing the coding and a marketer who is ensuring that campaigns are being delivered.
Is Pepipost free?
The short answer is yes, Pepipost is completely free for 30 000 free initial emails, then 100 emails per day free. And the best news is that Pepipost stays free forever.
This is great news for start-ups or those with a small user base but need to cut through with inbox deliverability and makes Pepipost a perfect option for transactional emails directly from your website.
How much does Pepipost cost?
After the initial send of 30,000 emails is reached, the rate is billed on a tiered pricing structure starting at USD 17.50/month for 150,000 emails. Additional emails are charged accordingly or the plan can be upgraded to save as email send volume increases.
In my opinion, the best thing about Pepipost is the pricing. There are many deliverability companies in the marketplace but few with as generous a free plan as Pepipost. The free Pepipost plan is more than enough to get any e-commerce business to profit point. Email deliverability is so important to fledgling businesses and the great start that a product like Pepipost gives is integral in start-up success.
When compared to the main competitors of Sendgrid and Mailgun, with Pepipost you are getting most of the same features for a third of the price. A number of the added features that you find in Sendgrid and Mailgun are duplications of features that would be a part of any decent marketing software, so are in many ways redundant for your email deliverability platform, therefore not posing any additional value.
Pepipost Use Cases
Can Pepipost be used for SMTP relay?
Pepipost is predominately an SMTP Relay Service. It is a service that delivers bulk or transactional email on your behalf via a third party. It is perfectly suited to use for transactional emails from your website such as password resets and e-commerce notifications. Pepipost is also completely scalable as your business email needs grow.
Does Pepipost have a 100% Email Deliverability Rate?
Pepipost claims to have the best possible email deliverability. Whilst 100% email deliverability is not a realistic expectation for new clients, I can see that it is possible in time with Pepipost. Pepipost’s “secret sauce” is a customised algorithm that takes cues from Email Service Providers (ESP’s) over the breadth of their database and uses this to understand the behaviour of email recipients and their service providers. The algorithm then makes constant minor adjustments to the sending regime. This ensures that the deliverability algorithm is dynamic and responsive, leading to better email deliverability with more emails landing in inboxes.
Pepipost is an email delivery platform that is feature-packed however when looking at the platform as a whole there are a few standout features and aspects that make Pepipost a great email deliverability option.
Whilst in the past, marketers and business owners have worked on a “numbers game” to ensure that their emails are responded to, changes to ESP’s in more recent years mean that your email list needs to be constantly monitored and updated to ensure maximum email deliverability and therefore that your emails are being read. Pepipost has a very simple analytics dashboard that enables you to judge the health of your email list at a glance.
Pepipost analytics can be high level or they can be more granular. Sometimes when running a digital business some problems are systemic such as a poor sender reputation, issues that are at the domain level will be flagged in a high-level analytics report with Pepipost. Should the email deliverability issue be deeper down in your email setup a more granular analytics report will identify where the issue sits.
An example of this could be around your e-commerce emails generated directly from your e-commerce plugin on your WordPress website. Just say one of the emails sent, is a purchase confirmation email, has a subject line that is only recently being flagged as spam. With Pepipost you will be able to see exactly which email is having deliverability issues, you can view exactly what the issue is and then have the knowledge and tools to fix it before it becomes an issue to either your domain or your customers.
This granularity of analytics also allows you to trace back individual emails to specific addresses should this be required. Whilst customers will often say “but I didn’t receive the email”, as marketers and business owners it is a relief when you can have a quick check and see if this is a customer issue or a wider system issue that needs to be resolved.
90 Days of Email Deliverability Records
Whilst I think that it would be very rare for a business owner or a marketer to require an email log back 90 days, often you would need a log of more than a month. Whilst Mailgun 3 days of data, Pepipost has a 90-day record of all emails and delivery analytics.
Dedicated IP Address
This is an add on for $20USD per month but it is a great option for those who are coming to Pepipost with a previously tarnished deliverability record. For those with a solid deliverability record, this is not required, but it is nice to know it is a simple add on should it be needed or as your business scales.
TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an encryption system that ensures an email or message is encrypted during transfer. This level of security is a standard part of Pepipost and makes the platform a great alternative for password resets or credit card information that is being sent via email.
One of the things that I love as a marketer is the real-time webhook callbacks that are available with Pepipost. Whilst the development configuration of these webhooks is beyond my technical capabilities, the feature set and application is a marketers dream. With Pepipost the real-time callback feature can be connected to a signup page, then, if an email address is flagged as spam (either by nefarious intent on the part of the potential subscriber or due to a typo or accidental error) an error message can be displayed on the signup form immediately. Ideally, this error message would prompt the user to use a correct email address before proceeding. The beauty of this configuration is that it prevents spam signups which can greatly damage deliverability reputation. This is especially powerful when launching a new campaign, increasing lead magnet ad spend or moving into a new market.
Fully functional sandbox mode
The fully functional sandbox testing environment within Pepipost enables for full testing of emails before sending live. This means little downtime for your business as you integrate across to Pepipost or implement new systems.
As is the case with any platform, Pepipost is not perfect for everyone in every situation and there is always room for enhancement. So there are a few aspects of the platform to be aware of before jumping into having this as your platform of choice deployed throughout your business or organisation.
Very developer orientated
The average entrepreneur, even if they are a little code-savvy will struggle to integrate with their existing systems without using a paid third-party service like Zapier or getting a developer to code the integrations. One particularly fine exception to this is the WordPress plugin. This plugin works fairly seamlessly and requires no high-level development.
Ready to go WordPress plugin works out of the box integrating Pepipost for WPAn honest review from an email expert
Pepipost has a poor range of integrations especially when it comes to marketing integrations. Pepipost favours the open source marketing software, which as a marketer is a major drawback for me. Most of the marketing platforms that Pepipost integrates to are used predominately in the Asian markets, with no integrations to any of the more commercial and popular platforms used in Europe, the UK, America and Australia. One notable exception, however, is Pabbly, a fast mover in the subscription billing and email marketing space which has a dedicated Pepipost integration.
During my trial set up, I attempted to use the chat feature on the Pepipost site. I was given a canned response to try and email the support team and no response was given within a few hours. This could be a timezone issue but no indication of this was given in either the chat or the email auto-responses. This would not be a major issue however the user documentation is not particularly extensive for Pepipost, so I would expect that the support would be more responsive. I will note however that this experience is not reflected on other review platforms which rate the support from Pepipost very highly. I will reserve judgement in that respect until I have had more experience with the platform.
No inbuilt list clean up tool
Perhaps I was expecting too much but I think that Pepipost would benefit from an inbuilt bulk email list clean up tool. List hygiene is an important part of email marketing and many other vendors now have this integrated in some way. If it is behind the scenes that was not very clear.
In Conclusion: Should I choose Pepipost for an Email Deliverability Platform?
Whilst Pepipost nor any other vendor offers the perfect platform, Pepipost is overall a robust and effective email deliverability service. The area that warrants the most praise is the self-learning algorithm which provides a continually improving system for email deliverability. Combining this with preventative anti-spam measures, such as the real-time webhooks to ensure accurate email capture and manual cleaning options, marketers and small businesses can use Pepipost with the expectation that their email inbox delivery statistics will not just remain static but will increase over time.
The audacious claim of Pepipost for a “spam free” email community may be out of reach at the moment, however, if all email was delivered via a platform as sophisticated and responsive as Pepipost, a spam-free future is not impossible.