Stay out of the Penalty Box: Email Deliverability with SendGrid

This morning, Luke Martinez of SendGrid and I hosted a webinar about Email Deliverability. Luke is a Deliverability Consultant and helps companies sort out complex issues and guides them on the road to a great Sender Reputation. You put a lot of time, effort, and energy into your email campaigns however no one will read them if you’ve developed a bad ‘rap.

A few things we cover:

  • 9 most important email engagement metrics for sending reputation
  • Top 4 expectations for senders
  • How to use A/B testing to try new things without impacting deliverability

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Don’t Let Big Emails Cost You Big Sales

Despite what they tell you in Texas: bigger is not always better – at least when it comes to email. Sidebar: during my three year tenure as an Austinite, I was very disappointed to learn that not all toast in Texas is Texas Toast. I know, I know – I was just as devastated as you.


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Bigger is not always better when it comes to emails, in fact – huge emails could cost you big sales.

What am I supposed to do next?

Few marketers are able to master the awesome digest style emails showcasing deals or product recommendations. Sending a super long email with a hundred suggested items will overwhelm your recipients and they may just close the email and not convert at all.

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I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

It’s no secret that here at Sendwithus, we are big supporters of cloud-hosted email templates. Overall, moving transactional emails from hard-coded within an app to the cloud makes emails more accessible to different teams and generally easier to manage.

But before you start making waves at your workplace, be sure to consider how this impacts all teams: Marketing, Product Managers and Developers. Changing workflows and shifting tools/processes at any job is rarely met without some level of pushback. Keep in mind that there’s always a learning curve to any new tool, for all users. The best way to get ahead, and to have a successful rollout, is to consider how this change will impact all stakeholders.

Consider your colleague's perspectives and get your team on board.

Consider your colleague’s perspectives and get your team on board.

For more on what to consider before you start your transition, check out this post by our CEO Matt Harris, the ABC’s of moving to cloud email templates.

Mailgun Verification Changes: What you need to know

As of December 1st, 2016, Mailgun will require all sending domains to be verified to continue sending and receiving messages. If you’re one of our friends sending with an unverified domain, it’s time to get on this and verify so that your emails will continue without disruption. 

To access and update, follow these steps:

  1. Login to the Mailgun Dashboard and select the “Domains” Section.
  2. Select any domain that is labeled as “unverified” in orange.
  3. In the Domain Verification & DNS section, locate the records that have a red warning indicator.
  4. Now within the DNS administration tool provided by your DNS or hosting provider, you’ll need to add all these listed DNS records.  Mailgun has these great guides to walk you through the process for common providers.
  5. After you’ve added all listed records, click the “Check DNS Records Now” button in the Mailgun dashboard, from the same section where you pulled the values. Note: it may take up to 24 hours for this to resolve due to caching.
  6. Once the verification is complete, your domain will update to say “Verified” within Mailgun.

Not sure which domains are actively sending/receiving messages? Check out the logs and reporting features within the Mailgun dashboard. If you run into trouble, get in touch with the Mailgun support team by creating a help ticket.

Reminder – the changes will go live on Dec 1. It may only be November 7th today but if years past are any indicator – the month of November will fly by.

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Get this verification knocked out early so you can cruise into the Thanksgiving season knowing that you won’t be stuck updating this information in the midst of a post-feast turkey haze.

Cheers,
The Sendwithus Team

Gmail Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

As you know by now, over here at Sendwithus we’re a team of Email nerds and like to keep on top of email news and happenings in the email world. Recently, Gmail made a few changes that affect the lives of email designers, developers and strategists – we want to be sure you’re in the know.

Gmail will now support CSS media queries!

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This means that coding for emails will be easier and your message will be formatted as originally intended, regardless of viewing on a desktop, portrait mode on a phone, or landscape mode on a tablet; the styles will be able to update based upon width, rotation, and resolution making sure your responsive design emails display great on every device.

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Startup Slam 3.0

On October 1st we held our third annual StartupSlam event in Victoria, BC. The Sendwithus team, in partnership with Workday and the University of Victoria Computer Science Department, took over the Engineering and Computer Science building from 10 AM until 5:30 PM. The event was a whirlwind of activity with over 300 students, developers, and tech enthusiasts coming together for a day of workshops, education, and community building. This year’s record turnout was a 100% increase over last year, and a strong indicator of the growing Victoria tech community.

Startup Slam

StartupSlam could not have been possible without the support of our community partners, sponsors, and volunteers. This year’s StartupSlam was powered by Workday and several Workday volunteers were on the ground helping out throughout the day. Workday also hosted an awesome workshop on WebSockets. More than 20 local companies supported the event, proving how Victoria’s tech community loves coming together to share knowledge and insights with the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs.

All of these companies came together to make StartupSlam 3.0 a huge success.

Startup Slam Sponsors

What is StartupSlam?

StartupSlam is series of workshops presented by leaders in the Victoria tech community. This year we had three tracks of workshops: Junior Tech, Advanced Tech, and Entrepreneur. The entrepreneur track was a new addition this year in an effort to make the event more inclusive to non-developers, business students, and startup enthusiasts. The complete list of workshops held this year were:

Junior Tech Track

Advanced Tech Track

Entrepreneur Track

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We also introduced the “Side Project Side Table” this year, which provided attendees a chance to discuss passion projects with professional developers and mentors. The table was operated and sponsored by Ladies Learning Code mentors, who spent the day reviewing side projects, giving feedback, and discussing with students what they enjoyed building. In exchange for sharing their side projects, students were entered to win a random drawing for a $500 scholarship (furnished by Hello Ventures). It was really exciting to hear about all the great products/ideas that students were building and iterating on.

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What is the point of all this?

StartupSlam has two goals, and no, one of those goals was not to see if we could order the most pizza for any event in Victoria; for the record this crew did demolish over 140 pizzas. The first is to introduce modern and industry focused technologies and concepts to students who are predominantly learning and building in an academic environment. These two styles are very different and, like any industry, the more exposure to how things are done “in the wild” is always a benefit to students who will be entering the job market in the near future.

The second goal is to expose students to the variety of tech companies operating in Victoria. Too often we hear from students that they had no idea how many companies have offices in Victoria. By learning and interacting directly with founders and early employees of these companies, students receive a thorough introduction to the growing Victoria tech scene. The Entrepreneur Track exposed attendees and students to what it is like to build early products, start companies and how to bring an idea to real customers.

Live Code demonstrations

Moving Forward

Another year, another StartupSlam has come and gone. The chaos has mellowed, the dust has settled and now we look forward, to BattleSnake 2017! Look forward to a bigger, more expansive programming competition than ever before. The mettle of your team will be tested in battle and the winner will be the last team standing. What that battle will look like, well, you will just have to stay tuned to find out. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on BattleSnake 2017 and other community events hosted by Sendwithus.

Thanks again to the following companies for making StartupSlam a success

 

Workday City of Victoria Beanstream Leanpub
Famoso Sendwithus Stembolt Checkfront
MetaLab Fernwood Coffee OneNet Whole Punk Creators
Go2Mobi Kano/Apps Redbrick Ring Partner
Referral SaaSquatch Pretio Interactive Flytographer Starfish Medical
Ladies Learning Code U of Victoria Computer Science dept.

Want to get involved? Reach out to the Sendwithus team at events@sendwithus.com if you are interested in sponsoring, volunteering or participating in BattleSnake 2017 and/or Startup Slam 2017.

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Email Zen is on the Horizon

We are thrilled to announce our latest addition to our Open Source Email Template library: the Mantra template. Mantra was built by the super-talented folks at Email Monks. The Monks have reached a new level of coding zen – over at the monastery they code and design email newsletters, landing pages, and responsive emails for a multitude of brands and agencies across the globe. Give them a shout if you need some #blessed emails.  

Mantra’s design is simple, with clean and clear transactional email templates in 9 versions; from a Welcome email to a “Win Back” offer email, they’ve got you covered.

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Email Power Hour and the Prisoner of A/Bzkaban

Earlier this year we began hosting a recurring event at our San Francisco HQ – Email Power Hour. We invite local email aficionados and geeks alike (no dementors permitted) to come hang out with us and enjoy snacks, drinks and email nerdery. This past Monday marked the third such occurrence and this time we focused on the topic of A/B testing.

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Swubie Alex, leading our discussion.

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Webinar: Email Segmentation

Yesterday, I teamed up with fellow email nerd Matt Gonzales of Kickbox.io to chat about Email Segmentation. We reviewed common ways to segment users, the crucial first step of having a clean email list, how to avoid stale data and covered some real life email examples when data and timing go wrong in the wild.

Don’t be sad if you missed tuning in for the Hangout – we recorded it!

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Webinar: One Size Fits None

Our CEO + Co-founder Matt Harris recently joined up with Dan Buckstaff, VP of Marketing at Jetlore, for a webinar to discuss the trend for “Best of Breed” tech solutions and the importance of email personalization. Fire drills happen, and we know that it can be tough to tune in for an event so we’ve recorded the session and included it below for your viewing pleasure.

Marketing is difficult, shouldn’t I just sign up for one of those all-in-one CRM email marketing systems? That may be the way to hit the “easy button” (and lock you into a large monetary and time investment), however there are tons of other ways to select your martech stack. Companies of all sizes (enterprise to startup) are “unbundling cloud software” by choosing vendors/partner to solve specific growth needs instead of taking years to integrate complex systems.  In order to optimize ROI, businesses are choosing to select the best specialized sales and marketing tools that outperform the native functionality of an all-in-one solution.  

Highlights:

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