How to Automate Email Delivery Best Practices with SendGrid and Embarke Guest Author September 30, 2013 Guest Post // SUMMARIES ?> The following is a guest blog post by Al Bsharah, CEO and Co-founder of Embarke. Embarke provides next-generation analytics, segmentation, and automated delivery for email messaging. We perform behavior analysis on each user, delivering messages individually at the time each person is most likely to engage. With this, we’re able to increase opens and clicks by 5%-20%, and it takes just 15 minutes to set up. Embarke has automated the ability to perform some of SendGrid’s email delivery best practices. In this post I’ll break down what these best practices are and how Embarke can help you make the most of them. What are the Most Important Best Practices? If you ask your SendGrid account representative what they think the most important best practice recommendations are, you’ll hear some of the following: 1. Manage the frequency of the emails you send to your users. 2. Send less frequently to those who are less engaged. 3. Send to engaged users first. All of these recommendations have the ability to increase your sender reputation with ISPs and improve email deliverability. Ultimately? That increases opens, clicks, and revenue. For example, ISPs consider these to be bad signals (among many other things): · Spam button clicks · Deletion without reading · Lack of opens or clicks · Mass delivery at the same time If ISPs see these bad signals, they will start blocking many of your emails from getting to the inbox. This means they will also be blocking those who might actually want to receive your emails, or even those who convert regularly. How Can You Automatically Apply these Best Practices? Here are the basic requirements: · Track open and click activity on a per-person basis, for each email delivered. · Segment users into various levels of activity. · Send messages that respect those various segments (more for active users, less for inactive users, content that is specific to the segment like a “win-back” email). · Control delivery of emails to various segments based on time of day or even day of week. The first step is to start using the SendGrid Event API. As your users are opening, clicking, unsubscribing, or hitting the spam button, SendGrid delivers this information directly to you via this API. Attaching to this Event API is something any company can do on the Bronze plan or higher, and we highly recommend our customers use this data stream. It’s the only true way to know what your users are doing with your emails. (For more on SendGrid’s Event API, check out their recent webcast.) Embarke chose to use this API to automate these best practices in two specific ways: Auto-Segmentation Our algorithms identify those users who are starting to lose interest, or have a high-probability of clicking a spam button or other negative activity. To put it simply, we automatically stop delivering emails to these users. If they become active again, they end up back in the “send to” list. Delivery-Time Optimization We identify the appropriate time to deliver an email to each individual user, and we hold delivery until that particular time. This has shown to increase engagement and spread out the delivery, which in turn is a strong signal to ISPs to continue delivering. What are the Actual, Measurable Benefits from Doing This? By implementing these best practices, we’re seeing two major effects. First, an increase of opens and clicks by 5%-20%. This is a substantial increase in engagement which is not just good for you as a marketer, but is also a great signal to ISPs that this is content that needs to be delivered to the inbox. Second, we’re seeing a reduction in ISP blocks to nearly zero. As you can see from the graph below, immediately upon turning on auto-segmentation, this customer’s ISP blocks flat-lined. (Since every sender is different, reductions in block rates will vary.) The Bottom Line You have a few options: 1) Develop something yourself internally using the API. 2) Use a 3rd party service like Embarke that does it for you. 3) Some combination of both. Note that there is no option 4 that says “do nothing!” It’s clear that the data provided by SendGrid can be used for many valuable things. Whatever you do…do something with this wealth of data at your fingertips! Learn more about how Embarke can help you take advantage of your email data by visiting Embarke.com. Products include: Automatic Segmentation, Delivery Time Optimization, Website Conversion Tracking.