Webcast: Q&A with Carly and Brian


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A couple of weeks ago, SendGrid’s email experts Carly Brantz and Brian O’Neill waded through the shades of gray of transactional email marketing. The conversation sparked many more questions, and they were not able to get to all of them during the webinar. Carly and Brian took some time to respond to the questions they didn’t have time to address here.

If you missed the webcast, you can access a recording here.

This webinar is meant for larger companies with dedicated staff to take care of the myriad of things involved here…sounds simple, but not really.

I would say that the tips provided can work with companies both large and small.  Starting out at SendGrid, I focused on small areas where I could make a meaningful difference in how users interacted with our emails.  I implemented NPS surveys, getting started campaigns and personalization based on usage in a few primary email campaigns which resulted in a huge increase to those campaigns and their subsequent ROI.  If I could do that at a small organization with a team of a few people in the department, I am confident that you could make some thoughtful changes to your campaigns as well.

How do you reconcile your transactional email strategy with a dramatically shrinking use of email as a digital tool among younger audiences?

Despite countless blog posts that love to decry that email is dead, our findings suggest that nothing could be further from the truth. Fortunately for us, the vast majority of companies expect to increase their use of transactional email going forward.  While younger audiences are being targeted with online applications, the majority still use transactional email to confirm the sign-ups and to connect with their users.  If anything, most of the companies we work with view the transactional email channel as important for keeping their customers happy and loyal. Learn more about why email is not dead on our blog.

Click-to-action surveys were mentioned earlier, do you guys have a recommended survey service that allows you to create click-to-answer surveys without much effort?  Or is this something that will have to be custom built?

At SendGrid we embed a link to a Survey Monkey survey into our transactional NPS surveys.  It is very simple and can be done easily with a variety of survey providers.

Do emails that detail downtime or changes to service count as transactional emails?  If so, where is the line between transactional and marketing emails where service updates are concerned?  We regularly send out service updates announcing down time and new features being released, or changes to billing.  How do we know clearly which kind of email is which?

The official wording for the types of email that must comply to the CAN SPAM regulations is: “Any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” This can be confusing, and up to debate but it is better to be on the safe side and follow regulations when in doubt.  I would argue that service changes most certainly promote the product while downtime may be more of a transactional message.

Do most companies send transactional emails through SendGrid?

Yes, however our newsletter emails are growing in volume very quickly

What were the average rates for photo, home & garden (or the like industry Brian just mentioned?)

~28% open and ~6% click

Do you use your own newsletter service to send “transactional” emails?

No, but we use our own transactional service to send our newsletter emails.

If you missed the webcast, you can access a recording here.


Danny Randa has been working in digital marketing since the launch of Nickelodeon's virtual world Nicktropolis in 2006. After three years of managing interactive marketing campaigns for Nickelodeon's game, he completed an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing at the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, CO. He now works at SendGrid helping developers solve their email infrastructure challenges.

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