Finding the right Email Service Provider (ESP) for your business can be tricky for two reasons: There are many vendors offering products with similar-looking specifications, and there’s no standardization of technical aspects of email marketing. For instance, when building HTML email templates, you will always need to make a few special provisions for MS Outlook to ensure renderability. With 90% of marketers using emails for content distribution and 89% relying on them primarily to generate leads, having the right tool is non-negotiable. If you’re about to make the decision, you have landed at the right place. Today, I am going to spill out some insider tips on selecting the right ESP for your company. Tune in to know them all.
What Is An ESP And What Role Does it Play In Email Marketing
In simple words, an ESP is a tool that allows its user to send bulk emails, build and edit HTML email templates, support automation, provide analytics, and automate your email marketing campaigns. It helps you engage different subscriber segments and reach out to them for various purposes. This includes promotional offers, confirmations, reactivation, welcome messages, and drip campaigns. Thus, an ESP handles a large bandwidth of marketing and operational communication and helps businesses with its automation and reporting capabilities.
To choose the right ESP, you should evaluate the following considerations:
Purpose: B2C Or B2B
When it comes to email marketing, the divide between B2C and B2B widens significantly. A B2C-oriented ESP will have better capabilities to send personalized promotional offers, handle large mailing lists, interactivity, and segmentation. On the other hand, a B2B-focused tool provides excellent transactional email features, drip campaigns, and lead nurturing. Depending on your business requirements, this filter will slash off a huge number of options and make the task easier for you.
1) Email Templates
One of the biggest factors that impact your brand is the quality of the HTML email templates you use. This aspect includes the drag and drops editor, ease of editing the HTML codes, integration with other tools like CRM, and voucher generator. Mailchimp email templates are known as one of the best-looking ones in the industry, while SendinBlue is ideal for dynamic fields in templates for bulk mailing.
2) Segmentation Capabilities
The next thing you should pay adequate attention to is the ability to segment. There are a number of features like sending different email copies, changing designs, including/excluding subscribers based on specific triggers, life cycle management, A/B Split testing, and A/X testing that impacts segmenting. This may get technical, but it is necessary to check if the ESPs you are considering fit into your segmentation needs.
3) Degree Of Personalization
Every ESP offers personalization in varying degrees, but you should check its integration support to get a better idea. If it is compatible with a large number of third-party apps, it will have better personalization features. Also, look for pre-configured integrations as it will make things even clearer. Most email developers recommend analyzing personalization and segmentation capabilities together because it makes the comparison easier and faster. This also saves you from missing any aspect due to the large number of features available in all products.
4) Automation Workflows
Automation workflows are the core of all ESPs since their need is based on making bulk mailing effortless and highly optimized for relevancy. Go through the ins and outs of the automation workflows they support, the flexibility you get while configuring workflows, the parameters that trigger actions, and overall complexity. Again, integrations will play a huge role, so keep an eye on them and the cases where the data from integrated apps can be utilized and exported to.
5) Email Analytics
As an email marketer, I recommend thoroughly studying the analytics offered by the ESPs. The idea is to identify how well they summarize the process and the kind of reports it generates. Using this data, you can reverse engineer where its core capabilities lie. Look for the reports that would matter the most for your business and see how the parameters therein fit in the real-life cases that occur in your industry.
6) Scalability And Pricing
Lastly, it would be best if you don’t consider pricing as an independent factor. It is very important to keep pricing and scalability combined when considering buying an ESP. For instance, if you are looking for bulk mailing, SendinBlue can be upto 5x cheaper than Mailchimp. Thus, scalability plays a big role in defining which solution will be more affordable for you in the long run, depending on your requirements.
Over To You
In this infographic, various ESPs are positioned according to their B2B/B2C and mailing list size considerations. Similarly, you can define the most important metrics and make decision-making simpler for you. We have gone through some of the most important factors. While there are technicalities like getting a shared or dedicated IP address but you can figure it out in the later phases of your purchase journey. I hope you find these insider tips and a review on choosing the right ESP insightful for your email marketing plans.