Part of my role at SendGrid is to work with accelerator programmes across Europe and help out the teams with as much advice and support that we, as a company, can give them.

Getting email right at the earliest stage of a new company is incredibly important, but spending time perfecting it often comes second to all the other demands that are placed on early stage founders. This usually results in teams asking me for tips on how to achieve certain email tasks. As a reference for them (and anyone else who happens across it) here are the email tools I recommend:

How can I test which Gmail tab my email will end up in?
The good folks at Litmus have created an app to test this very thing. Use Which Gmail Tab? by sending an email to a specified address and you’ll see whether it’s the inbox or the promotions tab that your email makes its way to.

Our emails look different in a particular client, how can we fix it?
The tips and tricks bible Emailology from Email On Acid includes a brilliant section on the eccentricities of most email clients and advice on what you need to do to solve those tricky CSS issues.

Our dev is tied up, where can we get responsive email templates from?
From personal experience, I’m a little bit in love with what the product design company Zurb has built. Not only do they have some excellent responsive email templates, but as part of their Ink framework, they’ve not only built a kick ass email template building block but they released a handy CSS inliner tool as well!

We want to build our email template from scratch, where do we start?
Copy other people’s work. You can get base templates from Emailology and Ink to get started with, or if you’re really intent on digging in, then the Build An HTML Email Template From Scratch tutorial by Nicole Merlin is a great start.

How do we know our email templates are correct?
There’s a great “rule of thumb” template checker over at EmailChecklist.org. You simply paste in your template and it’ll return the results from a 7 point check. You’ll either be good to go, or need to make some tweaks.

How do you stay out of the spam folder?
By far our most popular question! So much so that all the knowledge we have on this can be found in our free Tips & Tricks to Stay Out of the Spam Folder best practice guide.

How do we know what’s happening with our emails once we send them?
Dashboards friends! Especially dashboards that combine SendGrid and Keen.io like this blog post from a previous ‘Gridder Heitor Sergeant helps you build. Not only is this quick to put together, but thanks to Keen’s open source dashboards it also looks good and gives you usable metrics to act on immediately.

This is just some of the advice we end up giving teams when we meet them. If you’re running a startup accelerator, or you’re a team currently participating in one and you would like to know more about our SendGrid Accelerate programme, just fill out this form and we’ll take care of the rest.



Martyn Davies is a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid and a creative developer based in London. He has worked in technology for over 14 years with a background in both the music industry and technology. A serial hackathon organiser, mentor and startup advisor, you’ll find him presenting, demoing, hacking and chatting at hack days, conferences and meetups in the UK & Europe on a regular basis.