Should I send with SMTP Platforms such as SendGrid, MailGun, or Amazon SES?

We understand the desire to use an SMTP platform like SendGrid, MailGun, Amazon SES. SMTP platforms aren't the same as sending via our SMTP/IMAP connection. Learn more about connecting directly with your mail platform here: Sending with SMTP

SMTP Platforms promise the ability to send high volume, but when it comes to sending cold email via these platforms, they can actually hurt your deliverability and impede outreach efforts. In fact, most SMTP providers do not allow cold email and attempting to do so will violate the platform's terms of service.

TL;DR: We don't recommend using SMTP platforms like SendGrid for sending as they are actually worse for your cold email deliverability. We recommend connecting directly with our Google or Microsoft integrations or by directly connecting your SMTP sending email address.

How do SMTP platforms work?

SMTP platforms like SendGrid or MailGun allow you to send without having to maintain and email server and allow you to send millions of emails per day from day one. They maintain IP addresses and servers so you don't have to worry about that. 

Sounds ideal right?

Well not exactly. These promises assume that your list has opted-in to receiving emails (given express permission) such as signing up for a newsletter. 

Cold email is technically against their terms and they usually ban people that break these rules.

Not only that, there's quite a few reasons why using an SMTP platform to send cold emails isn't ideal.

The reasons why you shouldn't use an SMTP Platform for sending Cold Emails

Cold Email Deliverability - When cold emailing, you want to make sure your emails look like a personal email, not a mass email. SMTP platforms tend to end up in the Promotions or Spam folders in your prospects' inbox since they're meant to send bulk HTML emails to opted-in contacts. They're not meant for cold email.
"Sent From..." - When you send from a platform like Google Workspaces or Outlook, emails come from your email address. This looks personalized and this is what you should be aiming for. But when you send with an SMTP platform, they send emails on your behalf so that shows a "Sent From:" entry on the email header which is a tell-tale sign that your email is automated. Mailshake's Cold Email Automation was designed to make your emails not look automated but using an SMTP platform will do quite the opposite.
Open Rates will suffer - SMTP Platforms usually result in less than 10% open rates. That's not good! If you warm up your GSuite or Outlook account, it's possible to achieve 60-90% open rates provided you're following all (not just some) of our cold email best practices.
Shared IPs - It's well known that Google Workspaces does use shared IPs, but SMTP platforms usually share IPs with a lot more people making it more likely your IP will be damaged. If you go down the STMP platform route for cold email sending, you'll usually end up on their shared IPs that they reserve for spammers and malicious senders. What does that mean? You'll end up in the spam folder automatically. You definitely don't want that.
But I need to send really high volumes that are higher than my sending limits...

Okay, we definitely understand this might be needed. If you really need to increase sending volume, try spreading your sending over multiple emails (we suggest GSuite). Even better, spread them across multiple different email domains.

So what's the best way to send Cold Email?

We highly recommend using Google Workspaces (formerly GSuite) for sending. Emails will look personal instead of looking automated. Plus Mailshake has a built in integration that's got robust reply checking and detects replies much more quickly!

If you're not familiar with using Google Workspaces and need help setting up your email, here's how to go about doing that:

Sign up for a paid Google Workspace account. Sign up here.
Make sure to set up your DNS records.  Click here for our instructions. Once you set them up, they can take 48-72 hours to become active so keep this in mind when planning your setup.
Warm up your Email Account for sending. We usually recommend a few things like signing up for email newsletters and sending emails to people you know. For our full Warm-up guide,  click here.
Start sending campaigns and scale up your sending volume. When you're ready, create a new Campaign in Mailshake. Don't forget to follow our Copywriting Best Practices and start sending at lower volumes and steadily increase your volume.  Check out our detailed guide.
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