Email has become a primary method of communication for most of the online businesses. They use emails for increasing customer engagement with their online portals. There are two kinds of emails:
- Marketing Emails
Also known as Mass Mailing campaigns where an advertisement or product announcement or discount is sent over a large group of customers. The content of the email remains the same for all or a large group of customers.
- Transactional Emails
These emails are sent when a customer interacts with your portal such as account has been created or the payment has been made. The content of the email depends on the type of activity performed by the users.
SendGrid provides solutions for your transactional and marketing email needs. It provides all the features and functionality required for delivering the emails in your customers' inbox.
This review will specifically talk about transactional email service provided by SendGrid.
SendGrid is famous for its transactional email service due to its deliverability and scalability. Transactional email service of SendGrid is used by top companies like Uber, Spotify, Glassdoor, Airbnb, etc.
As per the data provided BuiltWith.com, SendGrid is one of the largely used transactional email services worldwide with a market share of 20.7%
SendGrid offers quota based pricing criteria. In the free plan, you can manage up to 2000 email list per month and you can send 10000 emails per month.
So, if you app is under development or you are testing various functionalities of SendGrid, you do not have to spend any amount, since the free plan will satisfy all your needs.
For maintaining more than 2000 contacts you will pay $10/10000 contacts. In order to send more than 10000 emails per month, you will pay $9.95 per month for 40000 emails. This is applicable to both transactional and marketing emails.
If your application does not support SMTP, you can send email using SendGrid’s HTTP API. It supports C#, Go, Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby. Like other HTTP API providers, you need to create API key to access the service.
If your application supports SMTP transactional email service, you can easily send emails through SendGrid using SMTP configuration. Add required SendGrid’s SMTP service parameters to your application and your app will start sending emails from SendGrid immediately.
Framework and open source app support:
SendGrid’s API provides support to some web frameworks and open source apps also. You can easily add SendGrid transaction email service to your web frameworks and/or open source apps by following the instructions given in Framework API documentation and Open Source Apps API documentation. Currently, SendGrid supports CakePHP, CodeIgniter, Django, Laravel, Ruby on Rails, Symphony, Zend frameworks and Drupal, Joomla, Magento, phpBB, WordPress, MODX open source apps.
Email activity tracking:
SendGrid helps in tracking your email activities. It provides an interactive dashboard where you can easily check email open rate, click rate, bounce rate, etc.
Documentation & support forum:
All the services of SendGrid are well documented. They have also created a support forum, where they publish the solutions to the problems faced by users. Also, a good support team is available for your help. You can create a support ticket, and their support team will answer your query.
Generally, most of the free emails are sent from a shared IP address. Use of shared IP address is a risk to email delivery. Emails sent from shared IP address can land into SPAM folder of the receiver.
Although this feature is available for users with PRO plan only, dedicated IP ensures delivery of your emails in the primary folder of receiver’s email inbox.
White labeling indicates that SendGrid has the permission to send emails on your behalf. For this, you are required to make some changes to your DNS. This ensures the email servers that the email has come from a trusted source. For this, you must have enough knowledge about DNS changes. Making changes to wrong DNS entries can affect other services hosted on your domain.
A webhook is an HTTP callback URL which listens for HTTP POST request. These webhooks are called when a particular event occurs. When an event related to email(open, click, marked spam) occurs, SendGrid notifies your webhook URL with HTTP POST request. You can then take necessary action as defined in your webhook. This feature is available in paid version only.
Email feedback loop:
With the help of feedback loop, the sender’s organization receives user complaints from mailbox providers. The sender’s organization is required to take action on those complaints, mainly removing the user from the mailing list. This helps in keeping your mailing list clean. This way you can ensure that your emails do not land in the SPAM folder.
You can prepare email templates for your transactional email in SendGrid’s interface so that you won’t have to prepare a template again and again in your web app. You just have to specify the template ID and pass appropriate variables while sending the email using API and SendGrid will handle the rest of the things.
Reputation monitoring is essential to avoid getting your IP address blacklisted. SendGrid gives your account a reputation score(between 0% to 100%). This score will go up or down based on your bounce, block, spam and invalid rates. You can maintain the reputation by keeping low bounce rate, very few spam complaints, rations of invalid emails sent, consistent mailing volume, etc.
DKIM stands for Domain Keys Identified Mails. A verified sender signs email with DKIM. This helps ISPs find out which emails have come from a verified sender so that spoofers and phishers can be easily blocked.
SendGrid does not provide support for email automation (as of Nov 2017). You can prepare your own logic in your web app for email automation.
Please note that SendGrid provides all the features required for delivering your email in the mailbox of the customer but where the email will land depends on how your email activities are optimized. You need to follow the best practices while sending emails so that your emails will land in the primary folder of your customer rather than spam. We will write a post on "Best practices for email marketing" soon.