Twilio SendGrid Marketing Campaigns Review

Most people know the Twilio name in relation to the application programming interface ( API ) products it ‘s developed across a diverseness of technologies, including not merely electronic mail and messaging, but besides the Internet of Things ( IoT ), voice over IP ( VoIP ), and video. That API portfolio is where SendGrid commercialize Campaigns ( SendGrid ) was born, but the ship’s company has since worked to turn the platform into a in full rounded email marketing tool. SendGrid is designed for midsized companies looking to deliver electronic mail market campaigns at scale, since Twilio differentiates itself largely through its ability to handle very large e-mail volumes. According to the company, Twilio SendGrid sent out 1 trillion emails in 2020, which Twilio claims is the largest book of any cloud demand-side platforms ( DSPs ). Twilio anticipates increasing its electronic mail volume to 4 trillion in 2021, and says it ‘s presently delivering approximately 90 billion emails a month. That volume is impressive, and it ‘s not salute in several of our other electronic mail market contenders. That ‘s because SendGrid acts as a cloud-based SMTP ( the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol ) supplier in addition to its front-end electronic mail market tools. SMTP providers are high-volume e-mail delivery services for which most other digital market tools require a third party, such as Ziff Davis ‘s own SMTP electronic mail relay .PCMag Logo
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The Advantage of an Integrated MTA

Email relay services allow you to send a huge issue of emails without the monetary value and complexity of maintaining your own servers and wide-pipe internet connections. With this separate of its service, Twilio SendGrid handles all the technical details for you, like infrastructure scale, ISP outreach, real-time analytics, and specially reputation monitoring. As part of its SMTP manner of speaking service, Twilio houses its own Mail transfer Agents ( MTAs ). With in-house, Twilio can manage MTA performance itself, alternatively of being beholden to another seller. According to the party, this means less of the performance fluctuations that are possible with competing solutions, and it besides means Twilio can provide customers with extra benefits, like an independent IP address, at its higher pricing tiers. This reduces the likely for getting lower reputation ratings because the address is n’t shared with other senders. SendGrid ‘s MTAs provide early advantages, besides, notably an extra level of electronic mail expertness you can mine easily through a single professional services weapon quite than across two providers. So SendGrid ‘s consultants can help not merely with train and erstwhile campaign design, but besides long-run mail and list management strategies. however, these are services the company says it normally provides for customers sending between two and five million monthly emails, so beginners or even small to midsized businesses ( SMBs ) with more meek market needs may be out of fortune. aside from mail management, Twilio can besides help with authentication, DNS configuration, and link-tracking for more promote or customize analytics. To evolve SendGrid into a full moon blow electronic mail commercialize solution, the caller has added web-based tools that include a design editor program, electronic mail and number management, ampere well as analytic features that vary by pricing tier. Along with extra selling automation tools, those analytics can measure success rates across list cleavage, electronic mail conversions, and click-through rates, excessively. That ‘s a fairly good breadth of features, but the question remains : even with its own API, MTA, and market stack, how does Twilio SendGrid menu against the competition as an overall electronic mail market solution ?

Twilio SendGrid Pricing and Features

You can get Twilio SendGrid Marketing Campaigns using four freestanding price plans. There ’ s a loose plan that can send 100 emails each day so it should be all right for identical small businesses or even individuals trying to figuring out if electronic mail market can truly help them. A marketing Campaigns Essentials Plan, the plan we reviewed, starts at $ 14.95 per month and allows you to send up to 40,000 emails monthly, which is a good get down degree for SMBs. The Essentials plan besides comes with API access for customization and the SMTP relay service. There ‘s support for webhook alerts, delivery optimization, a active template editor program, basic analytics, and guaranteed hold response times via electronic mail tickets and chat. The adjacent level up is the Pro Plan, which jumps to $ 89.95 per calendar month and can manage 100,000 emails on a monthly footing. It has everything you get with Essentials, but adds moral force templates with testing features, up to 2,500 electronic mail validations, a consecrated IP address, and subscription management. Beyond the Pro Plan is Twilio ‘s Premier Plan, but this requires considerable consultation with the company ‘s professional services experts as its sport set is tailored to every customer. To get access to this tier, you ‘ll besides need to talk to a Twilio sales rep, since it ‘s pricing is customs, besides. Twilio SendGrid Marketing Campaigns offers Automation, which is available as contribution of the Advanced Marketing Campaigns package. so even with the addition of its relay service, Twilio presents a nice range of subscription price that seems competitive with the other players we ‘ve reviewed. For example, Editors ‘ Choice selection, Campaigner, stands out for its low-cost starting price, which comes in at $ 19.95 per month for up to 1,000 contacts. Mailchimp, another Editors ‘ Choice pick, besides has a barren tier, which works well for up to 2,000 contacts and up to 10,000 monthly e-mail sends. however, Mailchimp ‘s paid plans start at just $ 9.99 per calendar month for its Essentials package, and this adds a quality web site builder and customer relationship management ( CRM ) functionality, which SendGrid lacks. It besides provides A/B testing at that tier and handles up to 50,000 contacts with a notably wide-eyed roll of templates and customization options. SendGrid is decidedly weaker in its design tools, but for many customers the advantages of integrating the e-mail relay service may make up for that .

Campaign Design and Functionality

Signing up gets you contiguous access to SendGrid ‘s web cabinet. adenine far as Software-as-a-Service ( SaaS ) dashboards go, this one is fresh and well organized. The left-side menu has links to Dashboard, Email API, Marketing, Design Library, Stats, Activity, Validation, Suppressions, and Settings. besides big is your reputation Score, which presents your current rat using a percentage indicator. That stopping point have is a apt and useful measured that we ‘ve not seen on any other e-mail market or market automation solution so far. Having your repute score visible at all times is helpful to anyone, but particularly novitiate marketers because maintaining a full e-mail reputation means enjoying higher electronic mail success rates and having a lower chance of being labeled as a spammer. The fastest means to upload your touch lists into SendGrid is via CSV files, and you ‘ll need to do that not just for delivery, but list constitution and cleavage. You ‘ve got the ability to send test emails, which is necessary if you want to see how your emails fare across different audiences angstrom well as device types ( PCs versus smartphones, for example ). however, this is ampere far as SendGrid goes in terms of customer management, which is serviceable, but lacks the more advanced CRM capabilities you can find with some of the early players we tested, like the above-mentioned Mailchimp or the HubSpot Marketing Hub .

Building a SendGrid Email Campaign

When it comes to designing your market e-mail, SendGrid has six basic e-mail designs available on the tool, which is a act sparse. These are slanted towards either life style or retail campaigns, and you can do light tweaking easily enough if you need to tailor them to a particular audience. If you want more options, SendGrid has a library of exempt templates available on a freestanding page. You ‘ll use a basic design tool for this that ‘ll initially look exchangeable to what we ‘ve seen from many of our other contenders in terms of drag-and-drop functionality. But once you ‘re using it, you ‘ll cursorily bump into limitations that most of its competitors do n’t impose, like when when you try and drag in an prototype that ‘s not pre-sized to fit the template ‘s dimensions or when you try and change the deeper details of the template ‘s format. While it ‘s surely functional, this editor decidedly lags behind more design-oriented offerings, like GetResponse. If you barely need to send a quick newsletter or forwarding to subscribers, these templates should work in a apprehension. Some marketers will promptly feel constrained by the available crop of templates, but they have the option of importing their own designs and adjusting them in the tool. But evening this summons will require a fairly moment of pluck and could prove frustrating if your ship’s company does n’t have any in-house blueprint talent ; and, of course, it ‘ll require an extra third-party tool as well .

once you ‘ve got your template worked out, Twilio SendGrid has a helpful Setup Guide on its dashboard that ‘ll help users create a transmitter identity and then determine how they ‘re going to send out market communications. Their Contacts API can be used to dynamically import and manage CRM data from respective sources. It can can insert up to 30,000 contacts or 6MB of data, whichever is lower. The crotch in the road here is between using SendGrid ‘s crusade universe and plan tools or just opting for Twilio ‘s network API and its SMTP relay service, since these can apparently be integrated with those third-party applications you ‘ll credibly need anyhow for e-mail and template invention. Since we ‘re comparing SendGrid to other electronic mail market platforms, we opted to use the in-app design editor program. Once we selected this choice, we chose Single Send campaigns, which presents SendGrid ‘s Design Library pre-populated with allow templates and any images you might have already uploaded. Using the Design Library means building your electronic mail either with the drag-and-drop features described above or ( more probably for feel marketers ) you can jump into the HTML code editor. This path gives you much more precise plan control condition a long as you ‘ve got a thoroughly appreciation of HTML. You can besides do your HTML code in a more conversant tool and then import into SendGrid ‘s HTML interface to see how it looks on the fly. While not ideal, this option does add some much needed flexibility to Twilio SendGrid ‘s overall purpose capabilities even if it does n’t come from the tool itself. however, again, you ‘ll need to be HTML-savvy to take advantage here. Twilio ‘s HTML tool features error flagging, syntax highlight, side-by-side preview, and one-click scroll-syncing capabilities. Novices do get some early tools, such as the ability to crop, pass, or percolate images inside the SendGrid dashboard. however, we besides found these features slow and cumbersome. exchangeable to the HTML code capability, a better set about is to resize using a third-party image editor program and then import the images back into SendGrid. overall, we hope Twilio will do some significant make on SendGrid ‘s design capabilities down the road, because it ‘ll have to if it wants to remain competitive as a full-on electronic mail market chopine and not just a high-volume pitch serve .

Integrated A/B Testing

While plan may need improvement, SendGrid does provide a numeral utilitarian tools when it comes to initiating and measuring your campaign ‘s success, like personalization options. This can help make form emails and newsletters appear customized to specific users. While it ‘s thoroughly to see this as function of SendGrid ‘s instrument dress, it ‘s something you ‘ll find in most of our competing e-mail market solutions, besides. A dainty touch is that SendGrid has A/B test functionality available even at its lower price tiers. With this, you can test multiple versions of an electronic mail to see which one gets the most eyeballs, click-throughs, and engagements. SendGrid lets you do A/B testing either on the e-mail ‘s subject line or it ‘s message. If you ‘re testing a submit line, you can do then for up to four different versions. If you select a message A/B test, tab will appear at the top of the screen with each allowing you to test different content elements aimed at different audiences or possibly the lapp content element tweaked in different ways so you can see what resonates best with a single consultation. Once you ‘ve set up your test, SendGrid checks after an hour to determine which version was more successful, and then sends the rest of the electronic mail load in that format for higher success rates.

Building an A/B test starts with setting the fourth dimension for the test. For model, you could select one hour to test on 50 % of your initial audience. You can send out multiple variations of your e-mail and SendGrid will aggregate the click rate to determine which variation is having the most success. In this model, once SendGrid figured out the best translation, it would send the winning pas seul to the remaining 50 % of your audience. You can leverage Twilio ‘s pre-built integration with Google Analytics and early business intelligence tools to track early factors, like conversion rates, that will provide more understand of your customer ‘s overall selling journey. We found SendGrid ‘s A/B test to be slightly more functional that its design tools, though again, it could use a little more sophism, like what you ‘ll find in MailChimp or HubSpot. distillery, it ‘s decidedly adequate for most SMB marketers, and if you need more, remember Twilio ‘s professional services arm can help, excessively .

Solid Sending Mechanics, Weak on Design

Twilio SendGrid Marketing Campaigns is celebrated as a new propagation of Twilio ‘s API and e-mail delivery platform. With these features, it has excellent delivery performance at very high scales. That ‘s something that will decidedly suit marketing-focused SMBs and larger businesses looking to ramp up their electronic mail market activities. however, SendGrid does n’t compete angstrom well as an e-mail and digital marketing design tool. It ‘s drag-and-drop templates offer only rudimentary and limited options that will hamper smaller businesses who might not have access to design experts or HTML coders. Most such businesses will be better off creating their designs elsewhere and then using Twilio SendGrid ‘s send, cleavage, and A/B testing functionality to deliver their marketing campaigns. While this scenario plays to Twilio SendGrid ‘ strengths, it besides means this is n’t a one-stop digital market denounce. ( Editors ‘ note : SMTP and Campaigner are owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag ‘s parent company. )
Twilio SendGrid Marketing Campaigns
3.0

See It
$ 14.95

at SendGrid

MSRP $ 14.95
Pros

  • Designed for sending emails at scale
  • beneficial reputation management
  • solid e-mail analytics for campaign success tracking

Cons

  • fundamental template and HTML editors
  • Dedicated IP address and e-mail establishment merely on Pro plan

The Bottom Line
Twilio SendGrid Marketing Campaigns is a slightly childlike electronic mail and digital commercialize solution, but one that ‘s built on a reliable and highly scalable MTA service infrastructure .

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