“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” –Tom Wolfe

Last Tuesday, my colleagues and I had the pleasure of bringing the first leg of our SendGrid Delivered 2014 tour to New York City. Escaping looming thunder clouds and intermittent downpours, we kickstarted our 4 hour email boot camp to a standing room only crowd at the Ace Hotel.

Our promise for this year’s email tour is that attendees will leave our free event better senders than when they arrived. In order to accomplish that, we created an agenda that would speak to all different elements of a successful email program—everything from ISP compliance to list building to API integration. To deliver these tips, we assembled a unique team of SendGridders, all from different departments (Compliance, Marketing, Customer Success, Developer Relations, and Product) and with different areas of expertise.

5 Sessions to Better Sending

Ryan Harris, who spoke on over a dozen stops on the tour last year, joined us again to share his email compliance and deliverability know-how in his Email Deliverability 101 inspired session, How to Be Awesome at Email. He was joined by the Manager of our Technical Account Management team, Ali Frusciano, who shared her unique insights from working with some of our highest volume senders. Together, they got the event started off on a high note. The NYC crowd (seemingly unaffected by the dreary mood outside) added lots of color to the conversation with a wide range of questions around email bounce management, confirmed opt-ins, and IP warm up.

Adam DuVander, SendGrid’s Director of Developer Communications, and resident “API guy” continued to light up the room (literally) by demonstrating the potential of webhooks by putting on a light show powered by our Parse Webhook. This trick was based off a hack developed by our NYC-based Developer Evangelist, Kunal. To see how you can get in on the fun, check out his blog How to Control Home Lighting with the Parse Webhook.

In addition to SendGrid team members, we also enlisted the help of two wonderful guest speakers—Gillian Morris, CEO of Hitlistapp and Matt Harris, CEO and Co-founder of sendwithus.com.

Gillian explained how she uses powerful analytics to customize her email sends and Matt provided an in-depth look at how “dead-end” emails can thwart any healthy email program (and how a few testing and optimization techniques can turn it all around).

To kick off the last hour of the event, our Product Manager, Catherine Shyu, explained the current state of email by sharing insights that we’ve learned about recipient behavior from our own SendGrid data. Finally, Ali took to the stage again to join me for a discussion on how to organically build your subscriber list and how to keep those new subscribers interested and engaged. Engagement was definitely the hot topic of the day—it was a theme that was repeated throughout every presentation. To quote Ryan Harris, “Engagement is the bread and butter of email!”

To close, we were thrilled to host an open Q&A session, where the New Yorkers really showed their grit. There were lots of questions about testing best practices and sample sizes, renting lists, segmentation, and text vs. HTML emails. Hearing questions like these from our attendees helps keep us in tune with current sender pain points and helps us tailor our future presentations, so a big “thank you” to all who participated.

‘Til Next Time

I opened this post with a Tom Wolfe quote because as a former New Yorker, I’ve always believed that the energy and drive of New Yorkers is contagious, and I think I speak for all of my colleagues when I say that we certainly felt that way last week and we hope to be back to do it again soon!

We’re continuing our tour on June 5th at the OneEleven accelerator in Toronto. If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you there. To learn about the other cities we’ll be visiting this year, visit sendgriddelivered.com.

Jillian Wohlfarth
As SendGrid's 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.