Six Essential Email Tools to Make Your Work Easier

Discover tools our support team says: ‘you shouldn’t go without.’

Over the past 5+ years working at GreenArrow, I’ve had the opportunity to troubleshoot and solve nearly every different kind of email issue possible. When I do, customers are often curious about how I came up with the answer I provided. Maybe it’s because I’m nerdy, which I am (my wife tells me that all the time). But it’s probably more because our software has so many different tools and resources to make email administration easier.

Here are the top six administrative tips and tools (with documentation) I use day-to-day as a system administrator to make my job easier. And if they work for me, they can work for you too!

1) Regular Backups

Much like flossing your teeth or eating your leafy green vegetables, most people know they should have backups of their data. But the reality is that many do not. I’m shocked at how many people run their full-production-enterprise-class email marketing platform without any backups. Some seem to invest in backups only when there is an immediate threat to their data. Others turn a blind eye and spin the wheel of fate, putting themselves at risk of The Unthinkable.

That’s why the number one tool GreenArrow provides doesn’t have anything to do with sending email, but rather with system stability. Even though we review backup options during installation, customers are often so excited to get GreenArrow launched that they forget about backups. Some even appear to act as if The Unthinkable won’t happen to them. But ongoing backups are like flossing; those who don’t do it well find themselves eventually suffering from data loss and in need of a digital root canal. (Remind me to thank my mom for paying those early dental bills.)

GreenArrow’s backup management options include:

  • Cloud: For starters, you can bypass setting-up or managing your backups altogether. We offer a fully managed cloud infrastructure, where your data is protected with a daily backup. No further action needed from you.
  • Unmanaged Backups: Every GreenArrow server comes with the necessary backup tools ready and waiting for you to set up your own backups. There are 5 steps to implement this, and any competent system admin will be able to set this up in 15 minutes. Since you are the one managing these backups, you can also customize them to function however you want and incorporate them into your own existing infrastructure.
  • Managed Backups: If you’re an on-premise user, and don’t have someone on your team who is comfortable on the command line, or if you just want worry-free backups without any action on your part, we offer a nightly incremental backup service for a small monthly fee.

Seriously folks, if you don’t have backups on GreenArrow (or any system), take 15 minutes now and get a plan in place! And be sure to eat some leafy greens while you’re at it.

2) Dynamic Delivery

If you’re in the middle of sending a campaign and the ISPs start to block your email, what’s your first step? Does your whole team wake up to a 2 AM emergency? Probably not. So why continue to send the email? Why keep pounding on a door that is not open? By not being  pushy, you’ll get better delivery.

At GreenArrow, we care about our clients and their technical teams, which is why we provide a tool called Dynamic Delivery. By building logic into your VirtualMTAs throttling, you can improve your reputation with the ISPs while keeping everyone asleep during sleeping hours.

You might already know that GreenArrow offers an abundance of data to help you manage your reputation with the ISPs, and the changes you make that will affect your reputation are often high level and take days, weeks, or months to take effect.  But if your emails suddenly start getting blocked, you may need to make immediate changes, or your hard-earned reputation may begin to suffer.

Enter Dynamic Delivery. When an issue that may damage your email reputation does come up at 2 AM (and they do), GreenArrow will automatically adjust your delivery settings to back off the sending speed to that ISP on that IP address. If the issue goes away, GreenArrow will pick back up where we left off. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it doesn’t require an overworked (or a very tired) human to intervene.

We’re confident the ISPs appreciate when senders take a hint and stop banging at their door.  And when they’ve asked you to stop for a while, don’t just guess when to try again. Use Dynamic Delivery to adjust your settings automatically. Not only will you have a better reputation, but you’ll also have a more productive, well-rested, and happier team.

3) Intelligent APIs

We all want to get more done in less time, avoid boring, repetitive tasks, and reduce the chance of human error, right? Even if you think automation isn’t for you, you may be surprised by what kinds of daily tasks can be automated in GreenArrow Engine and Studio.

While using GreenArrow’s API to the fullest potential requires an experienced developer, our documentation has examples to help get you started on a few of the most common tasks. So even if you don’t have an expert-level developer on your team, you may be able to set up what you need.

Six of the most common and helpful APIs our customers use:

4) Event Notification System

We already know that GreenArrow provides loads of stats in the web interface, but many people don’t realize that we have a real-time automated process that can push event data back to you about the emails you sent.

For both of our solutions, we can let you know the moment someone clicks or opens an email, unsubscribes from your list, complains about spam, or if their email bounces. Not only that, but we give you as much data as possible about that event (like the email address, what time it happened, what campaign it was associated with, and more!)

If you’re integrating GreenArrow Engine with a 3rd party solution, like Ongage, or using GreenArrow Studio’s Remote Lists feature, you’ll want to set this up so that your subscriber database is always current with any changes to your subscribers’ status. We also have a number of customers who have some specialized reporting requirements that they are able to build on their own by having all of this data in-house, right at their fingertips.

This event data can be configured to be written directly to your database or pushed via an HTTP POST to a URL for you to process however you need to.

5) Command Line Tools

For on-premise customers managing their own systems, we have not forgotten about you! We know how comfortable you are working at the command line. It’s not a stretch to say everyone on our technical team spends a large portion of their day on the command line too.

An abbreviated list like this isn’t the place to go into all the details on these various tools, but if you’re a command-line user you should click the links below to read more about these awesome tools:

  • hvmail_report: this command allows you to access the SMTP delivery attempt event logfiles, and refine the report based on a number of option flags.
  • mailsubj: there are a few commands for injecting mail directly from the command line, but this one is often the easiest for sending a quick test email. Environmental variables like GREENARROW_MTAID and GREENARROW_MAILCLASS can be passed here as well to test a variety of different configurations easily.
  • tai64nlocal: GreenArrow’s command line logs have the dates encoded, so when reading output directly from the logs, you should pipe the output to tai64nlocal to make them human-readable.
  • hvmail_generate_email_report: This command allows you to easily create and email a summary of the SMTP stats for a given period.

6) Your GreenArrow Technical Support Team

Maybe it’s because I’m one of them. Maybe it’s because I like people. Maybe it’s because when I make a purchase, I value great features and great support. Either way, this list wouldn’t be complete without the biggest GreenArrow resource available to you, GreenArrow Technical Support Team. We keep regular and holiday hours, and from what we hear, our customers appreciate us. And for those times you need more than a support ticket, we will refer you to our Deliverability Consulting Team. Besides, we’re way friendlier than any command line we’ve ever met.

Need More Tools? Drop Us A Line!

Whether you’re brand new to the email world or a seasoned systems administrator, the GreenArrow Team is here to help you find your best solution for your email business. Check out our free demo or give us a call to learn how you can grow your email campaigns and maximize results with tools like these and more. Happy sending!

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