One of our clients (we do some email marketing consulting work for some clients) had an old SendGrid account they were using for transactional emails, so we needed to explore a possible expansion of use for the SendGrid platform for marketing emails. Our discoveries prompted us to write this post, so lets dive in.

SendGrid is one of the largest transactional email sending services and delivers emails for companies like Spotify and Uber. It offers a number of different APIs and supported client libraries. In addition to sending standard transactional emails over its API, SendGrid also offers a marketing platform with a drag-and-drop email template editor and online list management.

So how is SendGrid different from BigMailer (and likely other email service providers)? Read on.

  1. Pricing. The transactional and marketing emails are priced completely separately – you pay for number of contacts stored for marketing emails and you pay separately for the number of transactional emails sent. In other words, there is no financial advantage of consolidating your emails in a single platform like SendGrid. Also, SendGrid services start off affordable but become quite expensive as you scale up.
    SendGrid vs. BigMailer Price Comparison

    SendGrid vs. BigMailer Price Comparison

    We understand that SendGrid is a leading provider for transactional emails and many of its customers probably use it only as a platform for their transactional email and use another provider for marketing emails, but we think that email marketing space has evolved enough to not have to make such painful separation of your customer data anymore. Welcome to the future.

  2. Contact Management. The contact list and more importantly bounce rate data in SendGrid isn’t synced up between the 2 systems that help you manage transactional and marketing emails. If you already use SendGrid for your transactional email and want to send marketing emails you need to manually import the list of customers into SendGrid marketing system and manually filter bounces from that list by exporting your bounce list from the transactional emails system first then importing it into marketing side.
  3. Google Analytics Tracking. So while the marketing and transactional systems have separate separate email/contact management this separation doesn’t apply to all account data and settings. There is only one place to define link tracking so the values are global and used on both marketing and transactional emails, including campaign level utm_campaign for Google Analytics (which shouldn’t be set on account level, but rather on campaign level). Lastly, link tracking is disabled by default so you need to actually turn it on to start sending your email engagement data to Google Analytics.

SendGrid Tracking Settings – global and used for both marketing and transactional emails.

Summary: With BigMailer, and probably other (few) providers that offer both marketing and transactional emails, you don’t pay twice to communicate with the same customer list and your bounce data is centralized. In other words, you have a unified customer view when it comes to engagement with your brand.

Is it time to consolidate all email types in a single platform? We certainly think so.

Got feedback? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.