Email marketing is a trusted channel for achieving business goals. Whatever stage a business might be at, having a robust email marketing plan will always be handy to get traction. Of course, some businesses prefer having an internal platform to execute email marketing, and it has its advantages. But, in the larger scheme of things, finding a reliable email service provider can be a huge advantage over an internal tool.
Choosing the right email service provider can be overwhelming with the sheer number of options available. So let's take a look at things you should consider to help answer the question marketers, start-ups, and brands often have, how to choose email service providers?
Table of contents
What are the factors to consider while choosing an email service provider?
- 1. Scalability- How effectively can you manage your growing subscriber list?
- 2. Ease of usability- Is it simple enough for your team to understand and create campaigns.
- 3. Domain score- Deliverability and backend infrastructure.
- 4. Email campaign support and flexibility
- 5. Testing features that let you plan better
- 6. Automation features to reduce manual workload
- 7. Analytics and reporting to gather insights for future planning
- 8. Integration with websites, apps, and other channels
- 9. Costing
- 10. Customer support.
What exactly is an email service provider?
An email service provider is a tool for systematically sending out mass email communication. You can customize the email format, add tracking pixels, integrate with your website or app, and segregate your subscriber list in multiple buckets with an email service provider. An email service provider is a one-stop-shop for managing and sending marketing emails.
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What kind of email service providers are there?
The market is currently flooded with ESPs who offer various exciting features and tools to leverage email marketing efficiently. For example, some ESPs provide an inbuilt tool to create email designs from scratch, using modular graphic templates and HTML-enabled design. Other ESPs offers advanced tracking details that give a detailed overview based on parameters like delivery rate, open rate, click rates, and much more. When you browse through the email service providers list, you will notice each ESP has its unique advantages and disadvantages.
The main type of email service providers are:
1. Email service providers for small subscriber lists
If you have a relatively small subscriber list, you can opt for popular providers like Mail Chimp for a B2C requirement. Whereas for a B2B setup, you can choose providers like Customer.io.
2. Email service providers for large subscriber lists
Choose a reliable provider like Salesforce, Pardot, Oracle Suite, or Marketo to work with large subscriber lists for B2B and B2C segments.
3. Email service providers for B2B communication
For a B2B setup, you can choose popular providers like Hubspot, Marketo, or Pardot.
4. Email service providers for B2C communication
If you are operating in a direct-to-customer business, your email communication will need heavy personalization to cater to diverse customers and offers. Choose a provider like Twilio, Braze, or Drip.
Why should you choose an email service provider?
When a business sends out bulk emails from the regular email id, the domain's chances of getting marked as spam are highly likely. Therefore, it can impact the brand on many fronts. Moreover, sending mass email messages from a business email provider will also have a poor delivery rate.
The other huge disadvantage of sending marketing emails from a regular email id is the time and effort to manage lists. It can lead to chaos and hamper the team's efficiency and performance. And by partnering with a business email provider, you can easily plan out your email marketing with features like scheduling an email, marking subscriber categories to be sent out to, and more.
What are the factors to consider while choosing an email service provider?
There are many important things to consider here, namely:
1. Scalability- How effectively can you manage your growing subscriber list?
When you choose an Email Service Provider, consider the features that enable the growth of your business. For example, check whether it is equipped to send millions of emails in a day compared to thousands that you might be sending at present. Also, check if they have their own data centers and tech infrastructure.
2. Ease of usability- Is it simple enough for your team to understand and create campaigns.
Your email service provider should offer a user interface and features that anyone can use without confusing instructions or demo sessions.
3. Domain score- Deliverability and backend infrastructure.
The success of email marketing depends a lot on the actual delivery of emails. And since the delivery rate depends a lot on the domain score, check for the delivery rate and other factors like whether the emails are going to the main inbox or spam folders.
4. Email campaign support and flexibility
To make your email marketing successful, your email service provider should be offering features and services that make your communication available to the end-users present on different devices and platforms like Android or Mac seamlessly.
5. Testing features that let you plan better
Perhaps the most critical aspect of choosing an email service provider is the availability of the testing features. For example, suppose you plan to roll out a campaign with a unique offer. You should thoroughly test out the entire functionality without any glitches that a customer might face later.
6. Automation features to reduce manual workload
A great email service provider is about its many automation features to remove tedious manual work. For example, they should offer automated subscriber segregation options and instant reports that help you increase efficiency.
7. Analytics and reporting to gather insights for future planning
Once the emails are sent out, the campaign's efficiency depends upon the different levels of data insights available in your dashboard. Because by analyzing granular levels of data, you can plan your next campaign for better results.
8. Integration with websites, apps, and other channels
Your email service provider should be compatible with your website, app, and other marketing channels. It is essential because it will help you combine all the marketing assets and centralize all the data points in one place for you to understand the customer response and further planning.
Your email service provider's competitive advantage is the value for money it offers in terms of available features against the pricing. Check and compare the different service providers to choose a plan suited to your requirements.
10. Customer support.
Your email service provider should provide an easily accessible support system for instant help on unexpected bugs and should be flexible enough to be reached any time of the day.
What all should your email service provider cover?
Whether you are looking for a bulk email service provider or zeroing in on an ESP, the value it provides should be considered exhaustively. Usually, the cost of using an ESP depends on the number of emails sent out and the size of the subscriber list. The pricing also depends on the features available in a plan. But more than these points,
One should consider the compatibility of an ESP with website integration, Facebook pixels, and other apps.
An effective ESP should also provide automation features like transactional emails and options to schedule and manage regular campaigns.
Above all, an ESP should have a UI that needs minimal training for anyone to use. There are a few other things to look at while choosing an email service provider.
Does it offer a free trial? With a free trial, you can test out the effectiveness of an email service provider. It can give your team an idea about testing the features to your advantage and help you make an informed decision.
What is the variety of available templates, designs, and add on features? The value an ESP provides hugely depends upon the design and customization features it offers. If it allows design changes at a click of a button and lets you add products or features with ease to suit your requirement, it will be crucial to hitting your targets.
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What you should do next
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