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Thursday, 2 August 2018

How to Choose an Email Service Provider


Email marketing is the bread and butter for most marketers as it draws the most ROI compared to other marketing channels.

Every brand is now implementing inbound methodology, marketers are choosing email marketing as the best way to build trust and increase sales.

The idea is to capture a prospect’s brief approach to you with a problem and subscribes to your emails with a hope to be educated and finding a solution to his problems.

During this critical moment, your catch to these prospects is that they will lose out on a valuable aspect of information that wouldn’t be otherwise available unless they subscribe to your email.

There is a large chance that this isn’t even presented to your prospects when they need it most. And this fault is likely to be due to your email service provider (ESP), as your message would have ended in spam.

If you wondering what an ESP is or if you are facing troubles with your current one, this article is for you.


The role of the ESP


To send emails to a customer you need an ESP. They help you to deliver your email to your customers in bulk. Yes there is the ever present popular options such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and more, but these are only good for sending individual cold emails to individuals.

ESPs have other features built into them, which make them the first choice for any email marketer such as:


  1. Database and App API integration
  2. Email list segmentation and management tools
  3. Automated email sending


How to choose an ESP


Setting up an ESP from scratch requires time and money, so the best option is to choose one that already has a set amount of features and service offerings that fit your needs:

1. Costing: 

In the realm of ESPs, there is one for every type of budget. There are free-to-use ESPs like Mailchimp who offer user-friendly email editor, premium looking email template library, email automation workflows and email campaign analytics for almost nothing provided that you send out less than 2,000 emails monthly. While it seems like a sweet deal, the email template is not yours and the footer will carry Mailchimp banner. Plus, you can send only 10 campaigns every month. This is an excellent option for someone who has just started out or on a tight budget.

2. Deliverability Standards: 

Any emails you send are scanned by an Internet Service Provider at the user-end before being delivered. If the IP that you send your emails is blacklisted, the ISP filter will not allow your emails to pass through. Since you shall be using an ESP to send your emails, you need to ensure that they provide you with good deliverability. Enquire about the different kinds of reputation support such as white listing.

3. API integration support: 

Sending emails is a process that is constantly improved upon based on previous campaign performances (this is dependant on whether you really need this or not)

4. Scalability: 

Since you have a mailing list of < 2,000 subscribers, you decide to choose the free model of the ESP. Will your ESP have the capability to send emails when your mailing list explodes to >20,000 subscribers? Does it support adding more users in your plan?

5. Customer Support: 

Imagine you scheduled an email to be sent early morning but owing to ESP server downtime, the campaign could not be delivered. Does your email service provider cater to customer support at odd hours?

6. Ease-to-use: 

Are the specified features easy to use? Is the FAQ section easily accessible? How quickly does customer support respond? Do you require any technical knowledge to operate the platform?

Tips to keep in mind:


1. Metrics you measure: 

Email campaign metrics such as open rates, click rates, unsubscribes are provided by all ESPs, but you need to identify other metrics that you wish to measure such as heatmap, optimum open rate, last email opened etc.

2. Plans for improving interactivity: 

You need to check whether you plan to send emails with innovations to boost user engagement. This is important since most ESPs don’t support CSS interactivity.

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Although choosing or switching ESPs is like making a life-long commitment. You may choose to change. BUT beware as it would mean a waste of resources.

You can learn more about our email services here.

 
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