Articles by Jillian Wohlfarth


As SendGrid's Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, case studies, and more. An editor and writer by trade, Jillian considers The Chicago Manual of Style one of her favorite reads.

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SendGrid Releases Study On Email Engagement and Subject Line Data

Best Practices
global email stats

To commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the invention of email, Aaron Beach and Victor Amin from our Big Data team revealed the results of a study on global email engagement and email subject line analysis. With high engagement rates being every sender’s goal, knowing what devices are most popular for interacting with email and what content is resonating most with readers, are two of the best ways to help you get there. Following is a guest post from Aaron and Victor that shares the results from their study. Global Email Engagement Study (The data for this study was collected over two 10-day periods in 2014 and 2015 respectively, with a data set spanning more than 10 billion emails sent.) Apple-manufactured


4 Factors that Affect Email Deliverability

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email deliverability tips

The following is part of a series of guest posts from Windows IT Pro that takes an in-depth look at SMTP. So far, we’ve learned about the history of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and examined various definitions for when an email is considered “delivered.” In this final post from Windows IT Pro, they examine 4 key factors that affect email deliverability. Many factors can affect deliverability, including having a good sending reputation, properly authenticating your mail through SPF and DKIM, and having strong permission practices. But four factors really stand out: The health of the messaging infrastructure What’s in the message Who’s sending it The receiving system’s availability Message Infrastructure Health Network and infrastructure health will obviously have a huge


A Q&A With SendGrid’s Delivery Experts

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email deliverability

I love working in email because there’s always something new to learn. But sometimes with all of the protocols, stats, and new laws and regulations (like CASL and the Russian Data Localization Law) it can all feel a little technical. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of delivery and inboxing stats shared in the industry that haven’t had a lot of context or explanation as to what they mean and why they’re important to customers. So I thought that I’d sit down with some members of our delivery team, especially our Delivery Consultant, Luke Martinez, to help me demystify what some of these stats mean and to get an update on how the delivery team maximizes their industry knowledge to help our customers. Q: There have been a


SMTP and Email Deliverability

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email deliverability

The following is part of series of guest posts from Windows IT Pro that takes an in-depth look at SMTP. Last week we shared the first in a series of posts on the history of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) from our friends at Windows IT Pro. The first post explained the origins of SMTP and how it’s influenced how we email today. It ended by saying: The use of IP means that we can depend on SMTP to eventually get the message contents to a server, but what happens to it after that is up to the server. Imagine what happens when a delivery driver leaves a package at your office on a Saturday. What happens to it after


SMTP and the Evolution of Email

Best Practices, Technical
SMTP

We worked with our friends at Windows IT Pro to take an in-depth look at the history of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). The following is a guest post from their team that covers the origins of SMTP, the evolution of email, and what SMTP does, and doesn’t do. SMTP Defined The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) has a name that perfectly describes its origin and intended purpose. SMTP was built to be a lightweight, easy-to-implement means to transfer plain-text messages between devices. The original SMTP standard distinguished between a mail transport agent (MTA)—what modern administrators would call a server—and mail user agents (MUA), which most people refer to as clients. SMTP’s goal was to provide a way for two


Resending Email: Good Idea or Terrible Idea?

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resend email

In the fall, we were intrigued by an article on Forbes.com that discusses the value of resending emails to recipients who didn’t open your email the first time. It created some nice discussion in our office, so we turned to our friends at Windows IT Pro, and they helped put some of our thoughts to paper (so to speak!) below: The Findings The article states that during one test with the method, results showed that the second email helped reach 53.2% more people and saw 32.6% unique opens. Impressive stats, but it’s important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. While it’s true that numbers don’t lie, imagine if all marketers partook in this strategy? In a world where inboxes are already bursting at the seams


Blacklisted? Check These 7 Popular Blacklists To Keep Your Reputation Intact

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Blacklist sign

Earlier this spring, we shared 5 resources that can help you keep track of your sending reputation. Another good way to keep a check on your reputation is to find out if you are on any blacklists (a.k.a. blocklists). Blacklists contain lists of IPs or domains that pose a threat to consumer inboxes. Your email service provider may automatically alert you if you’re added to one, but it’s good to check for yourself. If you are on a blacklist, act quickly. Just a few spam complaints can add a legitimate sender to a blacklist. Here’s an example of what it looks like to get blocked (red line): Blacklist Resources There are a lot of blacklists, but a good starting point


5 Ways to Check Your Sending Reputation

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email best practice

We always stress the importance of a strong sending reputation. By keeping an eye on your engagement (opens, clicks TiNs, etc.) and reputation (spam complaints, spam traps, unknown users, etc.) metrics you’ll get a good picture of how your emails are being received by subscribers. But if you’re looking for another measure of your reputation, you can take advantage of a handful of resources that will let you know where you stand. Here are 5 sites that will help you check your sending reputation and keep you on track: SenderScore.org Like a credit score, a Sender Score is a measure of your reputation. Scores are calculated from 0 to 100. The higher your score, the better your reputation and the


Email CTAs: 6 Design Tips To Make Sure Your CTAs Don’t Get Clipped

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Email clipping

We talked a lot about email calls to action (CTAs) last year. This year will be no different. Why? Because CTAs are one of the most powerful tools in your email marketing strategy. An effective CTA determines whether or not your email gets a click. It’s as simple as that. As we’ve discussed, the placement and content of your CTAs is important, but so is the design. What’s the most effective way to visually represent your ask? Should it be an image, text, or html? This is where it can get tricky… Image, Text, or Both? When you’re creating your email, (and your CTAs) it’s important to first dig into your email marketing analytics to see how your subscribers are


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Don’t Stop Testing

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holiday email sending

To close out our final section, metrics, in our 12 Days of Holiday Sending series, I want to re-emphasize a point that Kate made around testing in our ninth day of sending. “Your subscribers matter, and learning what they respond to best is just one way to show them you care.” In order to show your subscribers that you care, and in order to optimize your emails as best as possible, you need to make testing your emails a part of your daily practice. Kate stressed the importance of testing one element at a time, but that doesn’t mean that once that one element is tested, you’ve found your winning variation forever. Your subscribers are constantly evolving, (and hopefully so is your


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Watch Your Metrics

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holiday email sending

On the eighth day of sending, I talked about the importance of listening to what your subscribers want—that low engagement rates and high spam complaints and unsubscribes can be a sign that you need to adjust your content. But how do you find this data and what other metrics should you be looking at? Today, on the tenth day of sending, I’ll break down a few more of these metrics and how you can access them using SendGrid. When talking about engagement metrics, two to really focus on are open and click rates. Opens are an indicator of interest in your brand and a sign of how effective your subject lines are. Your subject lines set up the success of


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Listen To Your Subscribers

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holiday email sending

For our eighth day of our 12 Days of Holiday Sending series, we’re closing out our “Subscribers” section with a reminder to listen to what your subscribers want. If you’re noticing that your subscribers are not engaging (clicking, opening, sharing, replying) with your emails, or even worse, if you’re seeing lots of unsubscribes or spam complaints, it’s time to take a look at your sending frequency and most importantly, your content. Are your low engagement rates and high unsubscribes telling you that there is a disconnect between what you’re promising your subscribers and what you’re delivering? Do a deep dive into the content of your messages to find out where you’re getting off track. Look at your: Subject line: Are