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Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Email Service Providers (ESP) are software solutions that provide businesses with email-based marketing and content distribution services. It can be integrated with CRM and CMS solutions to run targeted email campaigns through your existing email list. Since email marketing generates an ROI of 4200%, which remains miles ahead of all digital marketing channels, including social media and even Google Ads, choosing the best ESP for your organization is far from simple. In this quick guide, I will provide you with the checklist we follow at our full service email marketing agency for generating the best results. Go through this list to find which ESP ticks the right boxes:
While most people consider pricing as an important marker of quality and degree of sophistication when it comes to buying anything, let alone tools, ESPs can be a tricky pick. Plenty of ESPs provide free versions of their email service; however, there are often a few limitations that may or may not bother every organization. For instance, Mailchimp lets you send 10,000 emails to 2000 contacts under its freemium plan on top of the types of templates available and restrictions on the design elements.
Small businesses may find free versions handy since both their budgets and email lists, as well as the creative workforce, are on the lower end of the spectrum. Even when going for paid ESP versions, make sure to consider technical specifications in greater detail, as pricing may not be the best way to confirm the suitability or scalability of your email marketing operations.
Depending on your sector, size of business, customer base, and target audience, you will need different types of analytics and reports to keep your email marketing operations thriving. Some of the common types of email analytics that your ESP’s reports must contain are as mentioned below:
However, you would also need a well thought and granular examination of datasets such as subscriber demographics, psychographics, devices-OS-email clients used, click maps, and more.
The next thing you may check is the compatibility of the ESP of your choice with your existing technology stack. While most ESPs can be integrated with popular CMS, CRM, and eCommerce systems, the exact ins and outs may differ. You must check the API support and the need for a third-party developer to develop and manage the integration. You might also want to see the learning curve necessary to get you or your team up and running with the new ESP you select. Also, don’t forget to include all of these additional expenses, including the cost of training your personnel, in your budget.
One of the most difficult things about choosing an ESP is to understand the type and sophistication of features that you would need. In most cases, you will find that all ESPs have nearly the same features, but upon digging deeper, you will find that some ESPs are better at certain things than others, while a lot of features that sound needful are just not useful for you. You can use the below listicle to determine the basic features that you must look out for and later get into the details of sophistication.
The entire ESP technology landscape has been in a stalemate for decades due to the fact that mailbox providers didn’t ramp up support for newer features owing to security threats. However, this is fast changing as Google AMP and many other JS-based features are now compatible with mailbox providers. Thus, it is necessary that you select an ESP that strives to upgrade continuously without lowering your deliverability and user experience on the part of the subscribers.
Also, when you adopt a new ESP, reliable customer assistance is vital in the initial phases, as your staff might struggle with the learning curve. On top of email and phone assistance, you should also look for social media help from your ESP. Some of them also provide a 24-hour chat feature that might come in helpful in an emergency.
Even a full service email marketing agency will agree that the correct ESP will turn out to be a low-risk, cost-effective ‘investment’ for your organization since it empowers you to be in constant one-to-one connection with your paying customers. If you consider the above-mentioned five broad parameters with due diligence, you will find not only the right ESP for your business but also the right ESP for your subscribers since you will be able to best serve them. Email marketing, like any other form of marketing, needs to be a win-win game, and the same applies to the ESP you choose.
Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.