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For transactional emails, notifications, reminders, etc, I want to make it so writers/designers can set up the emails and maintain them, and then dynamically insert fields, that I then replace when actually sending the mail from code.
I think the ability to use a basic layout template across individual email templates would make things a lot easier (think header, footer, standard typography, etc).
What is best for this? Why would you prefer Mailgun, SendGrid, Mandrill or something else?
If you need your emails to be sent in a time-sensitive manner, I'd recommend SendGrid. We were using Mailgun and the lag because they aren't "transactional" in nature caused issues for us. SendGrid also has the ability to do dynamic templates and bulk send from their API. I don't know that they have the shared layout ability you mentioned, though.
The only transactional email service that I've been able to stomach is Postmark! It is by far the easiest (and quickest to get feedback from) service that I have come across. While drowning in attempts to debug Mandril, Mailgun and others I get quick feedback from Postmark in what I need to do.
Postmark for the win!
We are using more extensively Mandrill.
It is a ok tool, which gives you the power for emailing with nice set of features.
The templates editing and management is a bit tricky, but this is mostly related to email templates in general, which are hard to create and maintain.
I do not think you can share the parts of the templates. You can have your predefined templates with possibility to insert dynamic content.
They provide a limited possibility to preview and test your templates.
The template editor is text only. For the better editors checkout http://topol.io or https://mosaico.io
Unfortunately, I do not have experience with the other tools and possibilities to manage templates.
At this stage, all of the tools you mentioned do email delivery pretty well. They all support email templates as well. Here are some considerations:
- Twilio owns SendGrid. If you're an existing Twilio customer, in my opinion that's a good reason to use SendGrid over the other solutions. The APIs are solid, and Twilio has excellent developer tools that allow you to create interesting automations (which is important for scaling).
- Mandrill was created by MailChimp, who have massive experience with email delivery and specifically with emailing beautiful email templates.
- Mailgun is a tool on its own. Like the other two, it supports mail templates and is built to be controlled almost exclusively via APIs.
SendGrid and Mandrill have pretty nice WYSIWIG template editors as part of their platform. Not so sure about Mailgun.
So for me the considerations would be: 1. How easy is it for you to integrate with their API? How complete is their API in terms of your own specific needs? 2. Prices: Which one works best for my budget? 3. Am I OK with editing the templates elsewhere (or even by hand), and then pasting the code into Mailgun? Or do I want the comfort of Mandrill or Sendgrid with their WYSIWYG editors?
Personally I'd go with Twilio, simply because it's such a massive ecosystem they are less likely to go bankrupt, and their APIs are rock solid.
We chose Postmark as our transactional email service for several reasons:
Laser-focus (at the time) on transactional email - their success/speed/reliability with delivering transactional email is amazing. Note, they have now branched out and offer marketing/broadcast email services too.
Developer-friendly - Awesome docs and resources. Their Rail gem integrates directly with ActionMailer so nearly all of our code worked without changes.
Servers - You can set up "Servers" for different mail streams/workflows to keep things separate and easy to review.
Bootstrapped - Wildbit (who makes Postmark) is bootstrapped just like the Friendliest.app and they offer a service credit to other bootstrapped startups.
We did a quick test on the reliability of these three common email services, sending a few emails an hour at random intervals.
Unfortunately, none of them had 100% availability over the 30 day test. I don't understand why this is so hard?
Mailgun performed the best with the most reliability and fastest response times. Mandrill was notably bad.
Of course we chose Coresender to send our own transactional emails :) So I thought I'll let you know how we use it.
We set up separate sending accounts for all company needs, eg. transactional emails, monitoring alerts, time to inbox. We even configured our office printers to send emails through Coresender.
We have a real-time and extremely usable view into what emails go through each account, so each time anybody reports an email not arriving we're able to assist them in a few seconds
We utilize our message timeline feature, so we can learn eg. if people are clicking on password reset links
We always know how many of our onboarding emails are being opened which helps us improve them
Finally, we have full controll over our suppressions lists, so we can add (and remove!) from them whenever necessary.
To sum up, at Coresender we're eating our own dogfood and it helps us stay connected to the product and understand our customers better.
Pros of Amazon SES
- Integrates with other aws services57
- Easy setup52
- Easy rails setup2
Pros of Mandrill
- Simple installation188
- Great api141
- Generous free allowance to get you started123
- Cheap and simple114
- Doesn't go to spam54
- Great for mailchimp users47
- Client libraries28
- Heroku Add-on7
- Easy to use6
- Meaningful Metrics5
- Advanced Tagging and Reports3
- Mobile Access3
- Status Update3
- Very chimp-like2
- Great Documentation2
- love this service2
- Free Plan1
- Webhooks for bounce mail1
Pros of Twilio SendGrid
- Easy setup190
- Cheap and simple137
- Easy email integration!107
- Generous free allowance to get you started28
- Heroku add-on21
- Azure add-on15
- Better support for third party integrations13
- Simple installation6
- Free plan6
- Helpful evangelist staff4
- Great client libraries4
- Great support3
- Better customer support than the competition3
- Great add-ons3
- Nice dashboard2
- Web editor for templates1
- Cool setup1
- Within integration1
- Easy set up1
- Great customer support1
- Google cloud messaging1
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Cons of Amazon SES
Cons of Mandrill
- Really hard to pull analytics out via api1
Cons of Twilio SendGrid
- Google analytics integration is not campaign-specific3
- Shared IP blacklist removal takes months1
- Shares IP blacklist removal0
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