This year, we’ve taken our email boot camp, SendGrid Delivered, to Canada for the first time. So far, we’ve visited Toronto and Montreal and are excited to head to Vancouver to round out the summer in August.

In Toronto, we were hosted by incubator space One Eleven and in Montreal this past week, we were honored to be included as a workshop as part of the International Startup Festival.

My team members and I had a great time talking with senders of all volumes about deliverability, success metrics, content, and APIs. (In Toronto, our Dev Rel team members, Eddie and Kunal had fun showcasing our Parse Webhook by putting on a light show and having attendees email in selfies that were projected on screen in real-time.)

Also, on both stops, we’ve been excited to have our friends at email optimization and segmentation company, Sendwithus, join us as guest speakers. (We just announced an awesome new partnership with them, so check it out!)

We open the floor to questions throughout our presentations and again at the close of the event. Since similar questions were posed at both events, I thought I’d share a few of them here with answers and links to further resources:

How will CASL affect our business and is there a similar law in place in the US?

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014 and should be taken very seriously by all senders in Canada and by those who send email to Canadian recipients. My colleague, Tell Hause, covered the highlights of CASL in a blog post in June. Give it a read to ensure that you have permission to send email to your users and that you’re providing accurate contact and unsubscribe information.

There is a similar, but less stringent law in place in the US called the CAN-SPAM law. You can read more about CAN-SPAM compliance here.

What trigger words should we stay away from in our content to ensure we’re not marked as spam?

There are conflicting recommendations out there about words you should and shouldn’t be using in your content and subject lines. I don’t think there is an absolute right way to write your content. It all depends on your audience and your industry. Every sender is unique (as is every recipient), so the best way to see what resonates with your users, and what affects your deliverability, is to test it.

(For example: A lot of senders have likely been told to avoid “Free” in their subject lines. But, what if communicating “Free” is crucial to your messaging? The only way to know is to test!)

Outside of testing, our Support team recommends running your content through Their test assests the “spaminess” of your email content (including broken links, images, and html vs. plain text), checks your authentication protocols, and sees if you’ve been blacklisted.

Lastly, our compliance team recommends staying away from using link shorteners in your emails, since spammers are known to also use them. Brian from our Compliance team shares some alternatives to consider in this blog post.

If we implement a sunset policy for unengaged users, should we be alerting them that we removed them from our list after doing so?

Our best recommendation is to implement a re-engagement campaign, much like the one below from Lands’ End that explicitly asks users to take an action to remain on your list. This way, you give unengaged users an opportunity to re-opt-in to your list if they’d like…before it’s too late!

To learn more about how to implement sunset policies, check out our blog post on the topic.

On August 12th, we’ll be at the Listel Hotel in Vancouver before heading to Washington, DC in October and San Francisco in December. We’d love to see you on these next stops. Check out for more details and free registration.


Jillian Smith
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.