A vast variety of businesses rely on email marketing to grow their business and drive ample revenue. After all, email marketing has an ROI as high as 4400% along with a conversion rate of 4.38%. Moreover, 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention. So, if you haven’t already leveraged your email marketing strategy, it is high time you do it.
However, to make the most out of your email marketing strategy, it is important to choose the right email service provider (ESP). From incorporating marketing automation to helping you send bulk emails, there are a lot of things that an email service provider can do.
What is an ESP?
Now let’s see what an ESP is. An Email Service Provider works as an email marketing or distribution service for your brand. They can be easily incorporated within your CRM or CMS to assist you in working with your pre-existing list.
Functionalities of ESP
ESPs work wonders in making a business stand out amidst competitors. Here’s a quick look at its various functionalities.
- Helps in the creation of email templates or making use of prebuilt templates.
- Works towards subscriber list maintenance which are uploaded by the user for distributing messages.
- Helps in sending emails while allowing the users to distribute their messages to the subscriber base.
- Analyze statistics and reports of email campaigns and individual emails to measure success.
How to choose the best ESP for your business?
Selecting the right ESP for your business wouldn’t only help you optimize your deliverability rates but also accelerate your overall sales. So, if you wish to extract the benefits of ESP to the core, you must choose an ESP that best suits your business’s needs. Here’s a list of things to consider when choosing the right ESP for your business.
1. High deliverability rates
Email deliverability indicates the probability of your emails landing in the customer’s inbox. At times your email might get sent in the subscriber’s junk box, get flagged as spam or bounce, thereby not getting delivered at all. It wouldn’t only lead to wastage of money but also negatively impact your sender reputation. This might let you get blacklisted too. Therefore, it becomes important to choose an ESP which has a consistently high deliverability rate. According to research done by Email Tool Tester, here’s a list of ESPs with the best deliverability rates.
2. Thorough security standards
The ESP you choose should be able to secure your customer’s critical data. So, you must look for high-security standards while choosing an ESP for your email marketing campaign. From password policies and encryption safeguards to use of firewalls, you must look into all these aspects of an ESP.
3. Impeccable reporting and analytics
The reports and analysis your ESP provides can help you in adjusting and improving your email campaign. So, take into account the criteria that your ESP reports on. It should give you feedback on certain basics such as:
- Open rate
- Bounce rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Spam complaint rate
Besides, they should be able to provide you with comprehensive data such as the location of your subscribers, the devices customers use to open your email and click maps to show how your customers are interacting with your email content. In short, think about the metrics you want to track and ensure you select an ESP that supports all these criteria.
4. Seamless integration
ESPs offer integrations with a variety of CMS, CRM, and E-commerce platforms. In case they don’t have such integration, they would include plugins for the same. Once you know the kind of integrations they have, you can hire a HTML email developer to get some assistance in setting up and integrating your new ESP.
5. Overview of your strategy
Having a clear picture of your email marketing strategy will make the process of choosing the right ESP easy for you. Simply put, you must keep your goals and objectives clear. Here’s a look at few of such objectives:
- What will be the frequency of your emails?
- What’s your strategy for capturing the attention of new and prospective subscribers?
- How do you want to track your statistics? Do you want to do it in your database or within the ESP itself?
- What are the metrics you want to track?
- What are you going to send your email for? Are you using it for sending a newsletter or want to leverage it for conversions, upselling, and product launch?
To put it in other words, having an idea about your requirements will give you the best chance to select an ESP that resonates with your needs.
6. Features required
Once you know what you want from your strategy, the features you need in your ESP will be clearer. Here’s a list of questions regarding features that you should consider asking yourself:
- Are you looking for pre-built templates? Or having a customized email template is important for you?
- What is the size of your business and what is the email size you are looking forward to maintaining?
- What is the degree of segmentation and personalization that you require?
- Do you want to customize your subscriber opt-in page?
- Do you wish to manage and customize the opt-out page?
These are few of the many questions that you can ask yourself to know exactly what you want from your ESP, thereby making the whole process of email marketing campaign seamless.
7. Constant customer support
Reliable customer support becomes imperative in the initial stages of integrating an ESP. There are times when the campaigns won’t go as planned. This is where you will need a robust customer support system to solve the issue. Hence, make sure the ESP you choose has great customer support which includes email and phone support, social media support, and 24/7 emergency chat function. All in all, having a plethora of contact options in the ESP’s customer support will help you instantly and reduce your stress in case something goes wrong.
8. Allocation of budget
Though it is important to have the best features when choosing an ESP, you must keep a check on your budget before you do that. You should know how much would be able to afford for an ESP. Further, you should also take into account the additional costs such as added features, dedicated IP, data storage, and more. You will be required to understand the pricing policy of the ESP you choose. Are they going to charge per thousand emails? Or are their charges based on subscriptions? Remember it’s a long term investment. Hence, be realistic while choosing the features for your ESP while keeping your budget in mind.
Choosing the right ESP is worth the time and efforts you put in. It will make managing your campaigns easier while smoothly analyzing and improving them. So, go ahead, do your research well, and see how this investment will pay you off in the long term.