Sendgrid is like a Swiss Army knife for all things email. No matter if you’re a developer, a marketing specialist, or a business owner, Sendgrid can help with your customer communication via email. Looking to launch email marketing campaigns? Check. Send and automate transactional mails? Check. Manage your audience? Check. Send notifications? Check.
Sendgrid is a little bit different from your run-of-the-mill email marketing provider in that it specialises in helping organisations with email delivery, particularly automated transactional mails and handling large volumes.
Launched in 2009, it has grown to have over 80’000 users and boasts companies such as Spotify and Uber as customers. It was acquired by Twilio in 2019. Many people know that Twilio as a provider of APIs for email and messaging, as well as VoIP, IoT, and video. It has worked to make Sendgrid into an allrounder email marketing and customer engagement service.
So, Sendgrid has an email API service, so that developers can integrate it into other services and solutions. This review will only look at the email marketing side of things, the API service is sold separately.
Pros and cons of Sendgrid
As a leading company providing email infrastructure, Sendgrid has a strong focus on email deliverability. This means it focuses on making sure e-mails sent really end up in the recipient folders rather than triggering spam filters.
Its email marketing services give you all of the tools you need for your marketing activities to create solid customer communication and experience. You can consolidate your email communication and gain a better insight into your customer journey. You also get Twilio SMS for communication with your customers via SMS.
- Free forever plan
- Split-testing on all plans
- Easy to use interface
- Detailed reporting
- Basic automation with which you can set up drip, email sequences, and autoresponders
- Customer support can be slow
- List management such as cleaning up your list or unsubscribe process is tedious
Who is Sendgrid for?
Originally, Sendgrid was built for developers by developers. Now, it’s used by companies of all sizes and across all industries. If you look at its features, these are email marketing functions that any small business owner or novice marketer needs.
The area it’s particularly strong is delivery rates. So, if you looking for an email provider with solid delivery rates as well as support for subscribers, then look no further. With Sendgrid, you can
- Work in a team
- Send personalised email
- Split test
- Build your list
- Automate your email marketing
Sendgrid user interface
The signup process itself is quite involved and you need to answer quite a lot of questions. Once you’ve surmounted this hurdle, you’re taken to Sendgrid’s dashboard. The dashboard gives you a quick overview of your recent email activity.
As with most dashboards, it sports a menu on the left-hand side that gives you access to Email API, Marketing, Design Library, Stats, Activity, Suppressions, and Settings. You’ll also see your Reputation Score. This is your current rating, taking into account if emails were successfully delivered or bounced, or caught in a spam filter. You don’t want a low Reputation Score since it means you have higher email success rates and are less likely to be categorised as a spammer.
The interface is uncluttered and well organised, so that it’s easy to find get around Since we’re only looking at its email marketing capabilities, you’ll find all you need in the left menu under the tab Marketing, Design Library, and of course Stats.
The typical newsletter campaign is called Single Send in Sendgrid. The same email editor is used for creating a Single Send or an email for an automation workflow. You can create your email from scratch or are probably faster when you select one of the 60 predesigned templates in Sendgrid Email Design.
They’re mobile-ready and you can customise them pretty easily with a drag-and-drop editor or (probably more likely if you’re an advanced marketer) with the HTML code editor.
Once you’re done with tweaking the template, you define to which recipients you want to send it to, send a test mail, and set up a split test if needed. In the HTML code editor, you need to expand the settings menu – it’s closed so that you see the code. As you’d expect, you get a more fine-grained design control, as long as you know HTML. You can review your campaign with all the details and how it looks before you send it.
Sign up forms
As a well-rounded email marketing tool, Sendgrid provides a signup form to help you build your list. It’s easy to build a custom form with as many fields as you like. Once you’ve completed your form, you can embed it as an iframe on any page that allows embedded code. The form also doubles up as a landing page. Just share the link provided. The new leads are automatically synced in your contact list.
List management, segmentation, and personalisation
Manage your lists in Contacts. You can create lists and segment them with the help of the built-in fields or custom fields. Sendgrid also has email activity fields such as last clicked to help you build your automation workflows. The segments are dynamically updated so that contacts are added or removed when they meet the conditions of your segment.
Sendgrid has a prebuilt automation set up so that you get an idea of what is possible. The automation is more like a drip or autoresponder but you can’t define complex workflows with conditional steps.
Still, with the dynamic segmentation, it’s powerful enough to help you save time and tedium of repetitive tasks. But, there’s a big BUT: the automation capabilities are limited to events in the sent mails. You don’t get website-based triggers.
Sendgrid has a range of APIs so that you can integrate it into any app or service you may need, no matter if it’s for marketing or transactional mails. This is where its separate product Email API comes in. Just know that you need technical skills to use the APIs.
You find reporting under Stats in the left menu. The reporting is the strong point, offering precise analytics and reports. You can see which mail or text message was delivered, what was marked as spam, and more. You can track each campaign even down to how each individual mail performed.
If you need chat support, you’ll need to subscribe to a paid plan. ON the highest plan, you can tonic support via phone. All plans include ticket support. You have self-serve resources too in the form of a comprehensive and searchable knowledge centre.
Besides the free plan, Sendgrid also offers to paid plans. Its pricing structure is based on the number of contacts you have as well as the number of emails you send per month, although that is a lot higher than competitors (such as Mailchimp)
If you look at the pricing, the free plan is attractive for a startup or a small business. But strangely enough, the plan doesn’t include automation.
Is Sendgrid right for you?
If you’re sending a lot of emails be it as an ecommerce or a software as a service company, you need a reliable email marketing service. Hence, start with Sendgrid – it comes with basic automation and excellent reporting. And, it’s renowned for its delivery rates.
Should you have a small list and don’t plan to send too many mails every month, you may be happier with a tool like Sendinblue. It specialises in automating email marketing campaigns. This would also be the case if only your marketing team is using it or if you don’t need transactional mails.
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