I love working in email because there’s always something new to learn. But sometimes with all of the protocols, stats, and new laws and regulations (like CASL and the Russian Data Localization Law) it can all feel a little technical.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of delivery and inboxing stats shared in the industry that haven’t had a lot of context or explanation as to what they mean and why they’re important to customers. So I thought that I’d sit down with some members of our delivery team, especially our Delivery Consultant, Luke Martinez, to help me demystify what some of these stats mean and to get an update on how the delivery team maximizes their industry knowledge to help our customers.

Q: There have been a lot of inboxing and delivery stats shared throughout the industry lately. What metrics should we be paying attention to and why do (or don’t) we share our delivery stats?

A: Most senders want email delivery to be black and white. Either a message makes it to the inbox or it doesn’t, right? In truth, everyone has varying definitions of what email delivery is. For some, your delivery rate is simply the number of messages that didn’t bounce, divided by the number of messages you attempted to send. For others, it’s inbox placement. For others still, delivery is measured by user engagement. There isn’t one metric that accurately represents the health of an email program.

That’s why we don’t publicly boast about aggregate delivery numbers at SendGrid. We cater to small businesses that are just getting started with email marketing and also support large enterprise companies that have been in the game for years. Delivery rates and delivery needs vary greatly depending on where a sender is in their evolution as an email marketer. What SendGrid does better than anyone else is listen. We listen to what your business is trying to accomplish with email, and then we help you design and execute a strategy that will get you the best ROI for your email program.

Q: Are you saying delivery rates don’t matter?

A: No, delivery percentage is of course an important metric for all senders. However, if you are sending confirmation emails, you should expect a high bounce rate. If you are sending highly targeted, personalized content, you should expect high open rates. If you are sending re-engagement campaigns, you should expect slightly lower engagement. So there is more to measuring delivery success than simply calculating how many messages were successfully handed off to the inbox provider.

Q: With such a diverse group of senders working with SendGrid how do you ensure that you’re approaching each client with their individual goals in mind?

A: There is no one size fits all approach to email delivery. We focus on building sustainable, high-performing email programs that are focused on the future. It’s important that we ask the right questions of each of our senders to ensure that we understand their priorities and goals. Once we do that, we make suggestions that are tailored to their business model and to their audience. By understanding their goals from the start, we have a better chance of meeting and exceeding them.

We’ve found that the best way to do that is by using our expertise to provide world-class education and support. Our company mantra is to help our customers:

“Send the right message, to the right person, at the right time, with the right frequency.”

Q: With a global portfolio of accounts sending over 19 billion emails per month, how do we help support this mantra?

A: Our 25+ support engineers are available 24/7 via phone, email, and chat to help coach customers (and non-customers alike) on the science of email delivery and best practices. Our team of 6 delivery consultants and 20+ technical account managers and customer success experts provide white glove service to our clients, regardless of sending volume, to help them monitor and improve their content, sending frequency, and reputation.

These teams take startups that are just starting out and help them grow to big brands sending hundreds of millions of emails a month. Having a diverse portfolio of growing companies and established brands (like Walmart, Uber, Spotify, and Airbnb) helps challenge us to stay up to date on industry changes and to stay active in the community.

Q: How does your team and the company stay updated on all of the changes in the email world?

A: In our 6 years of sending our customers’ wanted mail, our teams have diligently worked to nurture relationships across the ISP, security, and delivery communities. We’ve aligned ourselves with industry insiders and present, moderate, and sponsor a variety of email, marketing, and security conferences and workshops. We do this to share our knowledge with the industry, to help others become white hat senders, and to stop spam. We like to contribute to topics that help shape the direction of the email service industry, while also learning from our industry peers.

Recently, we’ve been especially proud of our involvement with Gmail and the development of their spam feedback loop and their Postmaster Tools dashboard. Our technical account managers and our delivery team use these tools to help spot delivery trouble and to help optimize our clients’ email programs with no added effort or configuration on the client’s end. Because we own and built our own MTA, the custom headers can be used more easily and can be passed through without interruption and our senders can also use as many SendGrid headers as they would like. We are dedicated to seeking out opportunities, like these with Gmail, where we can help our customers be on the front lines.

Q: Where can customers and email enthusiasts learn more from your team?

A: Our goal is to continue to build these relationships and knowledge bases so that we can alleviate any pain points for our customers. We also want to provide the best educational content we can via our documentationblog, and resources, so they can continue to be quality senders. We also spend that same effort educating all of our new employees to ensure that everyone at SendGrid is fluent in delivery troubleshooting and trends.

In talking with the delivery team, it was clear that their focus is on building long lasting email programs–that while the email delivery tides might always be turning, they strive to always be open, to be positive, to look for ways to help, and to keep improving. A big “thank you” to Luke and the team for taking the time to sit down with me.

To hear more of their perspective and to get more insider delivery tips, check out some of their recent resources:

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.