Templating and Automating Notifications with SendGrid
When searching the internet for transactional email services, SendGrid reigns as the default for people who realized SMTP failed to meet modern requirements. Although if you take a look at SendGrid reviews you see a mix of discomfort when it comes to SendGrid's template editing capabilities and automation features. Looks like you might but stuck unless...
Well, unless you use SendGrid with a notification platform like Courier. Courier is completely free to try and will give your SendGrid notifications superpowers.
So, what's the difference between an email service provider (ESP) like SendGrid and a notification platform like Courier?
Courier Notification Platform
Courier lets you integrate all your communication channels with a single API so you can orchestrate cross-channel workflows with trigger-based notifications, conditional logic, and user preferences. No more sending duplicate messages or spamming your users with the same content on multiple channels.
SendGrid Email Service
SendGrid, on the other hand, is an email service provider. Senders can use SendGrid to host their contacts and send email at scale. Unlike other ESPs, SendGrid focuses primarily on developers and top-notch email deliverability. It's not as fancy or marketing-friendly as tools like Mailchimp or Iterable, but it's a powerhouse that developers can integrate quickly and reliably.
While SendGrid does have some basic design and workflow capabilities, it was not designed to support the delivery logic, cross-channel sequencing, and template management required for notification use cases.
Courier operates as an orchestration layer above communications APIs like SendGrid. We integrate with your providers using a single API. Courier isn't a substitute for an ESP or SMS provider—it's a complementary platform that connects (and improves) all your disjointed communication channels.
Below, we break down all the advantages of using SendGrid with Courier.
Why use SendGrid with Courier: Templates
Courier Templates let you send the same message with the same content to multiple channels. We auto-format all the buttons, links, and text to ensure a well-designed, on-brand experience, regardless of the channel.
Quickly design your templates using our easy drag-and-drop builder. Need to get into the nitty-gritty details? Switch over to our more robust code editor. Once you make an edit and hit publish, it'll update everywhere—no need to redeploy code.
SendGrid also uses a drag-and-drop template builder with a code editor option. You can also take a hybrid approach to your design, building your email with the WYSIWYG editor and fine-tuning the details by clicking on blocks and editing the code.
However, migrating your SendGrid email template to another channel (say, SMS or chat) demands a manual process. It's a lot of copy/pasting and reworking to get the elements and text to look and act the same.
Import Sendgrid Templates Into Courier
We have developed a Sendgrid Template Importer. Get more details here.
Why use SendGrid with Courier: User Preferences
Courier's Preferences empower your users to set universal communication choices. For example, your customer can opt-in to receive metric notifications through email and billing messages via Slack. Users can also decide to stop receiving your promotional messages without unsubscribing from all your communications.
When your users make updates to their preferences, Courier's Routing automatically respects those changes. This allows your users to control (and enhance) their user experience without requiring any additional work on your part.
SendGrid lets you build email preference centers for your users. This lets subscribers manage their settings and choose which messages they want to receive. However, the process is a bit more tedious for senders. You'll need to create different lists of unsubscribe groups to contain all the various categories (and frequencies) of email you send.
SendGrid's email preference centers are also limited to a single channel: email. Recipients can't simply open a billing email and choose to have future billing messages delivered through push or SMS—not without a lot of coding, at least.
Why use SendGrid with Courier: Routing
Courier provides the tooling you need to send the right message to the right user on the right channel at the right time. You can set up logic and conditional statements to prioritize specific channels and leave others as backups. Build out complex branching rules to ensure the best user experience.
For example, you might want to always send an email message and a Slack when updating a user about their billing information. But what happens if your user hasn't connected a Slack account? You can set up conditional logic to send it to their Messenger or WhatsApp account instead.
With SendGrid, the routing is a bit more confined. You can control the message, users, and timing, but you won't be able to manage the channel. If a user doesn't want to receive billing statements via email, you'll need to update their information in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool and set them up to receive SMS or push notifications within your other channel providers.
SendGrid also lacks robust logic and conditional statements. You can control a few "if this, then that" logic, but it lacks an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor.
Why use SendGrid with Courier: Automations
Automation is at the heart of Courier. Courier lets you build trigger-based workflows to automatically guide your users through the optimal experience.
For example, you can set up an automated workflow to send new users a welcome email once they create an account. If they open the email, they'll then be routed through an onboarding sequence—if they miss that email, you can follow up with another email or maybe a Slack notification.
SendGrid automations let you take advantage of delayed sends and basic conditional logic. The trigger-based options are a bit limited, but it's a great tool if you want to build simple, email-only automations.
Why use SendGrid with Courier: Analytics
Sending without data is just guesswork. Courier takes the hunches out of your communications and arms you with real-time deliverability insights. Monitor your entire cross-channel analytics from a single dashboard to gain a holistic understanding of your communications.
Want to dig deeper? Click on any notification or user to view detailed logs. Discover when a message was sent, the status (queued, sent, delivered, has an error), who it was sent to, and which provider sent it.
SendGrid's analytics go deeper into the realm of email, but they're limited to that single channel. Users can look into their analytics to see deliverability, opens, clicks, unsubscribes, bounces, spam reports, and more. It's a lot of data, but it only reviews insights about your email engagement—not the rest of your communications program.
Do More With Courier
Courier and SendGrid aren't competing with each other—instead, Courier is a must-have notification system that lets you create more unified cross-channel communications.
If you're only sending email messages, SendGrid will get the job done. However, if you also want to add SMS, chat, or push notifications to your communications repertoire, you need a notification API like Courier to integrate all your channels.
Don't just take our word for it—see for yourself. Sign up for a free-forever Courier plan to start building out your complete notification system. The free plan gets you:
- Up to 10,000 messages per month
- Unlimited team members
- Unlimited templates
- Access to all channels
- Unlimited custom brands
Down the road, you can upgrade to unlock unlimited messages and remove the "Powered By Courier" branding. But for now, start sending the right messages to the right users on the right channels for free.