Email marketing is a very useful and highly beneficial marketing method for online shops, as most ecommerce store owners are already aware.
Another very useful but lesser known method to increase online sales is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). Those interested can read up on a method to boost conversion rates by clicking here.
Coming back to the original topic, SendGrid is a major email marketing SaaS (Software as a Service) provider that you could consider for your store. My detailed review of this service follows below but before proceeding, I'd like to bring an important point to your attention.
SendGrid (started off in 2009) has its roots in ‘transactional' email delivery service rather than email of the marketing variety which it started offering as an additional service only in late 2012/early 2013. Since transactional emails typically involve a substantial amount of coding integration, the original SendGrid service has been in the form of a set of (powerful) APIs which are meant for programmers and not end-users.
As it so happens, this shows clearly in the features of SendGrid's email marketing service that lacks many popular features commonly offered by many mainstream email marketing services.
Here is my detailed review of the SendGrid email marketing service:
Contact Manager – one of the basic features of an email marketing service that is available with this app
List Segmentation – a useful feature that is offered by the app
Template Selection – no ready-made templates are provided, you must create your own
Template Editor – a functional template editor is provided
Image Hosting – you can upload and host your images on the SendGrid site
Social Media Marketing – limited end-user level support is provided for this highly beneficial marketing method. For integration of more features, API is the only way
Autoresponder – another almost indispensable email marketing feature which is supported only via API
Surveys – again, no direct support is provided and you must turn to their APIs for running polls and surveys
RSS Feed Integration – one more feature for which only partial support is available at the end-user level
Google Analytics Integration – full integration is supported only via API
A/B Split Testing – one of the (few) features which is directly supported
Trigger-based Messaging – one more feature that SendGrid supports without API integration
Spam Score Checking – full direct support is available on the app
Reporting/Stats – various reporting options are provided
Other Noteworthy Features
For those who are willing to go the programming route, a powerful suit of APIs is a big plus for SendGrid. Many third-party email marketing tools that work off of the SendGrid APIs are available too. Very high delivery rates is another positive for this service.
SendGrid would appear to be somewhat confused about their pricing too. On their marketing email service page, they state the startup plan pricing at $105.95/mo., for monthly volumes up to 100,000 emails.
Elsewhere on the site, they state that all the features of their marketing email service are also available on their transactional email service at Silver Level (and higher), which is priced at $79.95/mo., also for the 100,000 emails volume. Under the circumstances, it is not clear why would anyone pay $105.95 for the same service that they can get for $79.95 from the same provider. I will try to obtain a clarification from them and post an update here when I hear back from them.
Free Plan – the free plan offered allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month.
However, you should know that beyond this volume, the paid plans are quite expensive.
If you have a large number of subscribers, a hefty budget (north of $80/mo.) and sizable programming resources at your disposal, SendGrid could be a good option for you.
For all the rest, it would almost certainly be a wise and a prudent move to look elsewhere for an email marketing service; even their generous free offer of 12,000 emails a month is probably not worth it.