We had an amazing audience for our Email Deliverability 101: Best Practices to Master the Inbox this past Wednesday and had a ton of awesome questions that followed our presentation. So many in fact, that we not only couldn’t get to them all, but we have to split up the answers into two different posts. Below, you’ll find the first portion of questions that our presenter Erik Ault took to answer. Kurt Diver’s portion of the Q&A will be posted next week, so stay tuned!

What if I don’t have a preference center? Are there other techniques I can use or other data I can look at?

If you don’t currently have a preference center for your users to identify the type of content and frequency they would like to receive, you can still get to this information through data analysis. Try querying your data to see what links the user has clicked on in the past, what purchases they have made, and how often they open or click on your messages to establish a segmentation and targeting plan. Past actions can provide great insight into how you should continue to communicate with and market to your users.

Canada will have new anti-spam email legislation coming into effect on July 1, 2014. Do we have to send a new request for consent to receive emails? Will the new legislation require that we request consent annually if they have not purchased within that year?

For all CASL questions, we recommend you provide the following links to your legal council and determine the best course of action for your specific email program.




Oops! I have purchased lists in the past… How do you begin to market a new company without purchasing a list? What is a good open rate for these purchased lists?

It is against SendGrid’s policy to send to any purchased lists. If you have purchased lists in the past and are now learning of the risks to your reputation, I recommend you stop using the purchase lists immediately. Don’t throw out any of the addresses that have engaged and become active members of your email program. Do stop sending to any of the addresses that were purchased and have taken no action to actively engage in your emails. There isn’t an expected or “good” open rate for purchased lists due to the unknown nature of how and where the addresses were collected.

What is an average open rate? What do you consider a low open rate?

Ideally, we like to see open rates > 20%. Actual open rates can be 10-20% higher if the message was opened on a mobile device that doesn’t load images by default.

When I use SendGrid’s API to send email, can I choose between transactional mail or marketing mail?

No, there isn’t an indicator or way to select the different types of mail you are pushing through the API. The recommendation is to separate the traffic by sub-user accounts with dedicated IPs that you can then indicate when using the SendGrid API.

If I’m using your marketing email template, how do I make sure anyone who opts out is opted out of my database as well?

The Event Webhook is the best way to ensure that unsubscribes in your SendGrid account match the unsubscribes in your database. The webhook will provide the real-time event data back to your pre-defined URL that can then be consumed and updated within your database. More information can be found here.

If you don’t have the capability to consume the event data at this time, you can go into the lists you have loaded and used within the newsletter platform and export the unsubscribes from each list and manually remove them or identify them as unmailable in your database.

Should DKIM be on Return Path or sender domain? And is it mandatory?

DKIM needs to match the sending domain. DKIM isn’t required, but not signing your messages can lead to delivery issues with ISPs.

Can SendGrid help us anticipate and address the challenges created by ISP changes, such as Gmail’s testing and rollout of a new inbox structure?

Yes. We often take part in beta testing or at least have a bit of advanced knowledge of changes due to our relationships with the major ISPs. When appropriate, we will provide information to the SendGrid community to help prepare or anticipate a change that looks to be moving out of a beta environment and into full release.

Can you recommend a reputable email validation service or a few?

BriteVerify is a SendGrid partner that offers email address validation. They can do real-time validation at the time of sign-up and also offer a list upload option to validate your current mailing list to remove invalid addresses.

Is there a way on the SendGrid platform to verify engagement with your email marketing campaigns?

There are several dashboards within a SendGrid account that will show that users are/aren’t engaging with your messages. In order to see engagement at the email address level, you should set up the Event Webhook to consume all engagement events for more in-depth engagement analysis within your database.

Thanks to everyone who attended and please keep an eye out for the Deliverability 101 Q&A Part 2! For more Deliverability tips and tricks check out our Deliverability Guide V2.

Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.