Sometimes being an email manager can feel like a thankless job. With tireless hoops to jump through (changing ISP filters, new email laws, troubleshooting engagement stats, etc.) it seems like you need superhero capabilities to get through it all!

We believe anyone who helps create email campaigns is a superhero in disguise. You heard us—we see you Superwoman, Batman, and The Hulk—you have a lot on your plate and a lot of expectations to live up to!

We want to help you exceed those expectations, especially during one of your busiest sending seasons—the end of the year. These fourth quarter email campaigns are critical for many businesses trying to hit end of year retention and sales goals.

To help you be as successful as possible, we’ve compiled our most actionable resources from this year that will help you increase your engagement, fine-tune your email copy and design, and exceed your end of year email goals.

Consider us a part of your superhero uniform—helping add a little extra oomph to your already awesome email powers.

1. Subject line word length and emojis

In the US, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are 2 of the busiest email days of the year (and 2 of the most exciting days for shoppers, am I right?). But what’s more important about these days for email senders is they a) give us the opportunity to look at email insights on a large scale and b) help reinforce how important it is for your emails to stand out (and get delivered). Because we’re talking about billions (yes with a b!) of emails hitting inbox during the busy season.

So this year, SendGrid analyzed subject line data during these days to help our senders optimize their subject line tests (including when to use exclamation points, urgent vocabulary, emojis, and more). We found that the most popular subject line length was 7 words, but, the subject lines with the highest engagement only had 4!

And those emojis? Maybe leave them behind…or better yet, test them in your pre-header text before using them in your subject line.

So how should you prepare for subject lines for your end of year campaigns? Take a look at more takeaways from our study here:

2. A reminder: How to create a successful email campaign

Let’s start at the beginning. This resource has it all. From email copy creation tips, to design templates, to measurement stats, use this resource as a checklist as you set up your end of year campaigns.

3. Engagement metrics: Are still your best friend

Use them wisely! As you near the end of the year, take stock of your engagement metrics quarter over quarter (and year over year) and then set your performance goals for Q4 accordingly. To do so, it’s important to have detailed insights into your recipient behavior. How do you do that? This year at SendGrid we released a new email activity feed that gives you granular visibility into your stats.


But how do you know if your engagement metrics are “good?” We all want to know how we’re stacking up to other programs in our industry (and it’s particularly helpful to know detailed stats when sharing reports to your leadership team!). To help, SendGrid analyzed over 50 billion emails from over 100,000 different senders in 17 industries to determine sender benchmarks in 2018. Open and click rates, delivery rates, and device data are all reported as well as tips to help you improve against each benchmark.

Give the report a look to see where you stand as you set up KPIs for your end of year sends.

4. Rewind: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR may have felt like a 4-letter word to most marketers this year. We all learned how important consent is when adding new recipients to our email lists and how vital it is to keep those lists up to date and engaged. But preparing and staying compliant with GDPR is far from over. 

Marketers will also want to keep a record of consent because the GDPR isn’t just about collecting consent, but also about keeping an up-to-date record of this consent.

So if you want to make sure you’re still within the law, or if you still have outstanding questions that you’d like answered, check out our comprehensive GDPR resource.

Heck, print it out and highlight key points. We could all use reminders as we head into the end of the year!

5. Gmail—what’s new?

Speaking of email lists: for senders with recipients who predominately use Gmail on their lists (our 2018 Global Email Benchmark Report showed 42% of recipients in the US used Gmail), it’s crucial that we keep tabs on what’s new with the ISP so we ensure we’re optimizing our content, offers, and design as best as we can for our recipients.

A lot has changed with Gmail this year for both marketers and developers. Of interest for developers, Google announced Google Amp for Email that will bring interactivity back to the inbox. (For our VP of Industry Relation’s perspective on what this means for the future of email, check out his opinion piece on our blog.)

And for marketers, recipient engagement was top of mind for the ISP. In April of this year, Gmail released some new features that could encourage recipients to unsubscribe (or conversely highlight) various emails depending on recipient engagement. Pretty powerful stuff. How will your program prepare before you send your end of year campaigns?

6. Follow the leader

Looking for inspiration for your next campaign? Or just wanting to mix it up a little in the fourth quarter (which is excellent—just make sure you don’t veer too of course without testing first—the end of the year is a great time to pull out all the stops, as long as your engagement benefits from it!). They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so use these 9 email examples to help you get over any creative blocks:

7. Email images: Time for an end of year refresh

Though we should “never judge a book by its cover,” I bet you most email recipients judge your email by its images. When was the last time you gave your image library a makeover?

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Warren Duff, compiled over 20 different free image sites that will add some differentiation and color to your campaigns. He also shares some great tips for non-designers to ensure that your images are a cut above the rest. Give it a look:

8. Say goodbye to writer’s block

There’s definitely an art to writing compelling email copy. Writing monthly, weekly, and even daily email copy is what makes email program managers such superheroes. But even the best writers get blocked. So our in-house copy expert and journalist, Kelsey Bernius, set out to break down this obstacle for our senders. She wrote a must-read guide to writing the best email copy possible. Bookmark this one folks, it’s a keeper!


We hope you keep these resources close as you prepare and fine-tune your end of year campaigns. Planning can be daunting, but remember, with these tips, you have the expertise and the data to end your year on a high note. And if you need help along the way, SendGrid has its own team of superheroes waiting in the wings to help you. Our Expert Service Team is just a click away and ready to guide you through your end of year campaigns.

Or if you want to take a test drive of all that SendGrid has to offer for your email marketing and transactional campaigns, try our free trial to see for yourself!

As Twilio SendGrid's Sr. Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, and more. When not writing and editing, you can find Jillian frequenting Denver restaurants in search of the best queso.