I would first like to say thank you to Amazon for launching this wonderful service, I hope it really does take off. Right, enough of that, lets get to it.
This post will be a quick and dirty overview of how to make use of Amazon SES from scratch, it’s got a slight PHP twist to it and its going to make use of CampaignCog of course, to show you how you can use it as a nice layer of reporting for your email campaigns or even transactional emails.
1) Sign up with Amazon
Well, I did say we are starting from scratch! I’m sure the majority of you have an Amazon account if not you can create one in preparation for your Amazon SES account.
2) Create Amazon SES account
You’ll have your usual account but then you’ll have to create an Amazon SES account and then read (lol?) the agreement and confirm.
You will then get a bit on pricing and you’ll have to enter your payment information. You won’t be charged for signing up, but you will be charged at the end of the month based on your activity.
4) Value Added Tax Information
You’ll have to enter your VAT tax number or do so later on.
5) Phone Verification
You’ll have to provide a valid telephone number and you will be given a code to type in when you get a call, a neat little verification system. As a geek, I was quite impressed with this bit. Snazzy is the word I’d like to use here.
6) Acitivating Subscription
Well, thats about it. Amazon will activate your subscription. It took about a minute for them to send me across a welcome email. I guess I passed the activation process with flying colours. Lucky me.
7) Welcome and Access Credentials
You’ll get another email after the welcome email directing you to your account where you will get to manage everything and more importantly find our your credentials to use with the SES service. For the purpose of this overview, I’ll be making use of the first credential type, the access id and the seceret access key combo.
8) Download the SDK
Now that we’ve got all the fluffy stuffy out of the way. Lets get to business. You need to download the Amazon SDK first. I opted for the PHP flavour.
9) Verify Email Addresses
To start making of the amazon web services for testing, you’ll have to verify a few email addresses to test with. All this will involve in writing some code and clicking the verification email sent. If you want to have a look at the ses class, you’ll find it in services/ses.class.php.
//your SDK path include_once("sdk.class.php"); $ses = new AmazonSES('your id', 'your secret'); //A handy way to see your quota print_r($ses->get_send_quota()); // verifies some email addresses $ses->verify_email_address('email@example.com'); $ses->verify_email_address('firstname.lastname@example.org');
10) Send a Test HTML Email
Here is a bit of code I used to send a test email about.
include_once("sdk.class.php"); $ses = new AmazonSES('your id', 'your secret'); $html = "<h1>Some HTML here.</h1>"; $message = array('Subject.Data' => 'Test', 'Body.Html.Data' => $html); $send_it = $ses->send_email('email@example.com', array('ToAddresses' => 'firstname.lastname@example.org'), $message); // Use this to get the response to see if anything went wrong print_r($send_it);
11) Create a Campaign
Now that’s worked i.e you’ve received your test email. Lets add some reporting. Luckily its straightforward. Firstly, register with CampaignCog, and then create a campaign.
12) Add Tracking Code
Then you’ll get some tracking code. Add this to your HTML email campaign to be tracked.
13) Request Full Access from Amazon
So far, we’ve only been allowed to send test emails and there are limitations:
New users are placed in the Amazon SES sandbox, where they can test and evaluate the service in a restricted mode. As a sandbox user, you have full access to the Amazon SES API; however, the following restrictions are in effect:
- Emails can be sent only to and from verified email addresses.
- You can send a maximum of 200 messages per day.
- You can send a maximum of one message per second.
To lift these restrictions and use Amazon SES in production, we recommend that you request production access at your earliest opportunity.
To get full access for production use you’ll need to request it from Amazon.
14) View Reports from CampaignCog
Once you get production access and fire off all your emails. You’ll start getting reports in this form:
Well, hopefully this has been useful to at least one person out there. A quick intro to Amazon SES and CampaignCog and how they can easily be integrated together to give anyone their own email marketing tool-set.