What Should You Look For In An Email Service Provider (ESP)?

— April 20, 2017

What Should You Look For In An Email Service Provider (ESP)? | Emailcenter

With over 100 billion emails being sent and received each day, it’s no surprise that email marketing is one of the most popular marketing channels used by businesses. With numerous email service providers out there all offering different features and services, marketers can feel slightly overwhelmed when choosing the right one.

We’ve put together a list of important things to think about when choosing an ESP:

1. Dedicated IP Address

An IP address indicates where an email has originated from and it’s reliability. It’s vital to ensure that your ESP can offer a dedicated IP address, or a shared IP with only a few others, to reduce the risk of your emails getting blocked due to others sending spam, resulting in the IP being blacklisted by an ISP.

2. Fully Opted-In Data Only

Following on from point no. 1, to reduce the risk of an IP address being blacklisted data should not have been bought from a third party. Your ESP should only allow and take on clients who have obtained fully opted-in data.

3. API Integration

Having a compatible API integration with your ESP allows you to connect other software you use e.g. your CRM system or customer support system. This can make the lives of your marketing and sales departments run much more seamlessly as they pass contact details and potential leads to one another.

4. Setup and Training

Signing up to something new can be slightly daunting so it’s worthwhile to ask about setup and training available. A good ESP will offer and provide training at setup to guide you through key features and components that may be beneficial to you.

Note: Some ESPs will charge for this service and some will include it within the setup.

5. Features

Every provider will offer their own set of unique features and it’s easy to get a little lost with the different options available. Features can range from being able to add dynamic content to personalisation and transactional trigger emails. It’s useful to make a list of the key components you require and find an ESP that matches your list as well as possible.

6. Testing

Having the ability to test your email campaigns is crucial. Every ESP should have one, if not multiple testing methods available including inbox testing, split testing, A/B testing and spam testing.

7. Reporting

Sending an email campaigns is just the start, you need to be able to track deliverability, opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes so it’s vital that your ESP provides great reporting tools. By tracking and measuring statistics you can gain an insight into trends and customers email habits.

8. Support

Everyone needs a helping hand now and then so it’s always wise to find an ESP that offer good customer support whether it be online or telephone, it will give you peace of mind knowing that someone is available at the end of the phone willing to help. If you are looking for an unlimited support option, it’s worth asking about as there is nothing worse than not being able to contact someone in your time of need!

9. Demonstrations

If you would prefer someone to walk you around a system, many ESPs will offer a free online demo so you can preview all the features on offer from a user who knows their platform inside and out. This is also a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have too.

10. Free Trial

A free trial shows confidence in a product/service so most ESPs should offer a free trial so you can try before you buy.

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