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


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!


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.


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.


Swubie Alex, leading our discussion.


Webinar: Email Segmentation

Yesterday, I teamed up with fellow email nerd Matt Gonzales of 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!


A Peek Inside Pinterest’s Growth Operation

As part of our mission to develop a platform that serves teams of all shapes and sizes we love to collect stories of how different teams approach email, internationalization, and growth in general. Most recently, we sat down with John Egan from Pinterest to talk about what it means to run a modern, worldwide engagement platform within a large, multi-faceted growth organization.

Because we’re not the only ones facing down a daunting task like this, we figured it’s worth sharing some excerpts of our conversation–with John’s permission of course–and our take on some of the needs he and his team are addressing. Continue…

Using DynamoDB in Production

A few weeks ago, we wrote about migrating our larger data stores from PostgreSQL to DynamoDB. We were hitting our first major growth spike and needed to scale very quickly; DynamoDB was exactly what we needed.

Overall the migration was very successful and our data pipeline is now much faster and easier to scale.

We ran into a few pitfalls along the way, and we wish we had better understood these limitations earlier in the process. Hopefully this post will help other engineering teams decide if DynamoDB is right for them.




Taking Our Own Advice

Here at Sendwithus, we like to practice what we preach, and one thing we spend a lot of time talking about is how to remove developers from what are essentially marketing workflows. In fact, most of what we’ve built has been specifically to address that.

Complex web applications are dangerous places for content creators and marketers. The stress of setting up a development environment can take years off your life and an entire day or two of work just to be able to deploy a copy change is a big, unnecessary time sink.

Nobody should ever have to experience the pain and agony of breaking production just to update the text on a landing page. At Sendwithus, we take care of our content creators and we spent some engineering efforts to rectify this situation. It was decided that this process is completely unnecessary to do something so simple.

Artist's rendering of Alex deploying to production

Actual footage of marketing deploying to production


From PostgreSQL to DynamoDB

When PostgreSQL Did Everything

In the early stages of sendwithus we used one Heroku Postgres instance for everything. It was very fast to set up, easy to maintain, and reasonably priced.

We could backup, migrate, and upgrade our entire database within minutes. We could run ad-hoc SQL queries and expect near real-time performance. We could also quickly create new features and produce custom reports for our amazing customers.

As our product evolved and our company grew, so did our database.

We started handling millions of API calls per day — sometimes spiking to more than 20k requests/min. Sendwithus tracks a lot of data, and our one-size-fits-all PostgreSQL solution started falling behind.

Screenshot 2015-05-01 09.33.05



Our Favorite Tools for Powering Happiness and Transparency

Last week there was a thread on GrowthHackers about the ways in which different growth teams use Slack. I answered in the comments, but thought it could be useful to run through a couple of points in more depth. Plus it’s a great opportunity to talk about a couple of tools I absolutely love: Slack and Zapier.

First of all, one of the things I love most about Slack is that it combines the office chat mechanism with automated alerts and everyone is already self-selected and subscribed to the relevant conversations. This is great for tracking errors, news, social media, and well pretty much whatever your team might deem important…

the slambot: reddit to zapier to slack

Tracking the very important things

One thing that people really seemed to appreciate in the GH thread was the idea of having a channel dedicated to the doling out of props. Intra-team commendations are always really helpful to keep everyone engaged in the project, and indeed we do these at our monthly all-hands meeting, but here at sendwithus we also have a great system for sending love from our users directly to the team in real time.