Mailtrain – self-hosted Open Source alternative to MailChimp

Mailtrain is a self-hosted Open Source alternative to MailChimp and other similar mass-mailing and newsletter services.  Of course, being self-hosted, it can go only so far – you’ll still need to deal with mail delivery, SPAM filtering, and other modern days “benefits” of delivering mass mailings.  But it looks pretty complete in terms of features, so if you want to have full control and don’t mind investing a bit of time in setting up, check it out – you might get a better or at least cheaper alternative.

What Is gtag.js with Google Analytics and Do I Need It?

If you are using Google Analytics, or any other Google marketing tool on your website, make sure to read through the “What is gtag.js with Google Analytics and do I need it?” article.  It explains the change in the Google Analytics tracking scripts which are slowly rolling out, and provides some insight into the future.

The Strange Art of Writing Release Notes

Software development is never just about writing code.  Programming is only a small part of the software development work.  The rest touches and intervenes with a whole lot of other areas – documentation, support, testing, marketing, and so on and so forth.  Recently, Slashdot ran this story on the art of writing release notes.  There are a couple of links from the story to this article on IEEE and this on TechCrunch.

These provide a lot to think about, at least for someone who wrote nearly 300 release notes just this year alone (yeah, we had to catch up on historical releases).

Mautic – Open Source Marketing Automation

Mautic is an Open Source marketing automation solution.  It features contact management, social media marketing, email marketing, forms, campaigns, reports, and pretty much everything else you’d expect from a tool like this. It is used by top digital marketing firms around the world. Mautic offers the insights necessary for sucessful campaigns and data analytics.

If you are lost between a gadzillion online tools available for marketing automation, and/or don’t trust third-party providers and want to have a system of your own, give it a try.

Don’t Design Your Emails

I do hate HTML emails with passion.  They are always too heavy, often bloated, render horrible, and just plain annoying.  I miss the old good days, when email clients were warning users that their signature was too long, spanning more than 4 lines.  Today, everybody is sending out HTML emails whether they need to or not.  Whether it’s for the signatures, corporate branding, or the “marketing value” or the “professional look”.

Finally, there is someone on my side of the fence, who actually tested the effects of HTML emails and suggests that plain emails are more efficient even for the marketing purposes.  Read the whole thing – “Don’t Design Your Emails“, especially if you are involved with email marketing.

The plain email—which took no time to design or code—was opened by more recipients and had 3.3x more clicks than the designed email.


The plain, unstyled emails resulted in more opens, clicks, replies, and conversions, every time.

Replies to welcome emails were tripled. Cold emails were getting 30-35% open rates and 3% conversion rates, which is incredible.