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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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 twoRead More ›


Resending Email: Good Idea or Terrible Idea?

Best Practices
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 seamsRead More ›


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

Best Practices
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 pointRead More ›


5 Ways to Check Your Sending Reputation

Best Practices
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 theRead More ›


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

Best Practices
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 areRead More ›


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Don’t Stop Testing

Best Practices
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 yourRead More ›


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Watch Your Metrics

Best Practices
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 ofRead More ›


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Listen To Your Subscribers

Best Practices
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: AreRead More ›


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Don’t Be Too Aggressive

Best Practices
holiday email sending

For our fourth day of holiday email sending tips, we want to talk a little more about monitoring your sending volume. Yesterday, Kate shared the importance of maintaining relevance in your emails as you ramp up your volume (not ramping up your sends just for the sake of staying top of mind). I want to take it a step further into today’s tip to make sure that your sending patterns don’t become erratic during the holidays. Sometimes, you can get so filled with the holiday spirit, that you get overly aggressive with your sending volumes—one day you send a discount opportunity to a large portion of your list and then the next day you send a reminder email to a smallRead More ›


Are You A/B Testing Your Emails?

Best Practices
email a/b testing

Before you answer this question, let us clarify–are you testing your emails on an ongoing basis? There is no one and done methodology with email. Your customers are constantly evolving (and likely so is your product), so it’s imperative that you keep testing  different elements of your emails to ensure that you are sending the most optimized campaigns. Email Testing Categories When it comes to email testing, there are three main categories you need to cover – content, design and timing. Content consists of everything from subject lines, to headlines, to calls to action, and each have their own significance in driving response from your users. Design testing has to do with the look and feel of your email, but has a primaryRead More ›


12 Days of Holiday Sending: Personalize Your Content

Best Practices
holiday email sending

To kick off our “12 Days of Holiday Sending,” Kate discussed the importance of staying consistent with your branding (especially your “from” name) during the holidays. Now for Day 2 of our 12 days of tips, we’d like to share another content tip: remember to always (not just during the holidays!) personalize your content. There’s no excuse to not at least address your subscriber by name. But why not take it a step further—customize your messaging based on your subscriber’s past purchase behavior or past engagement behavior. Customize Your Message You should treat your most engaged users with different attention than your less engaged users. After all, these subscribers are your real brand advocates—the ones who are more likely toRead More ›


A Q&A With Sameer Dholakia, SendGrid’s CEO

Company
Sameer Dholakia

We were happy to welcome Sameer Dholakia as SendGrid’s new CEO at the end of September. As we approach the close of the year, we were excited to talk with him about his new role, what his first 30 days on the job were like, and what he sees as priorities for SendGrid moving forward. Q: You’ve been a CEO of a startup before and an executive at a large enterprise IT company. How does that experience carry over to your new role as the chief executive of SendGrid? A: SendGrid is at a great inflection point. I’m excited to help carry on this entrepreneurial fire that will allow us to continue the success that we’ve had to date. As we goRead More ›