Making the Most of Email Marketing Service Providers
Email marketing provides businesses with the most direct line of communication for connecting with customers and turning leads into sales. It is also one of the most cost-effective marketing methods available.
While you can use any number of methods and a suitable tool to easily acquire subscribers and build your email list, the actual email delivery part comes down to your choice of email marketing services.
An email marketing service provider, or ESP, is simply a web-based service that can help you organize, manage, automate, and track your marketing emails.
Your choice of ESP can make or break your overall marketing campaign. You don’t want to end up shelling out a lot more money for fewer features and perhaps an inefficient delivery system, which could translate into losing money and subscribers.
So, if you’re looking to start using an email marketing service, or if you’re switching from your current provider, here are some helpful facts to jumpstart your research.
What To Expect From Your ESP
Any email marketing service provider will normally offer you a number of essential features. Of course, the level of service varies from one ESP to another depending on the cost.
- Spam test – to gauge the score of an email against a known factor or set of factors that would place the email at risk of being flagged or blocked.
- Ability to import, create, and manage subscriber lists – these management features usually include list segmentation and customizable fields.
- The ability to use templates for sending an email – this often includes testing of the templates for compatibility with emailing apps.
- The ability to track and review statistics of emails sent – usually as a way to measure and test the success rate of campaigns.
- The ability to send both HTML and plain text emails – these format varieties help to improve delivery success rates.
- The ability to dynamically customize the content of emails that are sent out – helps with tailoring personalized and relevant email communication.
Why You’ll Want To Include An ESP In Your Email Marketing Strategy
Using an email marketing service comes with a number of benefits that may be a great boon to your overall marketing strategy. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Preventing intentional (or unintentional) email marketing abuse
These web-based emailing services provide methods that are within legal boundaries, thereby creating natural constraints for marketers to work within the acceptable limits. This can go a long way in ensuring that email marketing campaigns are successful – often by keeping marketers from overwhelming recipients with their emails and risk getting flagged as spam.
Saving time and money
With ready-to-use email templates available in multiple formats, you won’t have to spend time creating emails from scratch each time you want to send one. This, added to the fact that ESPs provide list management and organization, automation, testing, and targeting, as well as tracking and analyzing of emails. These tasks would be very time consuming to perform yourself. An ESP can ensure that you shave tremendous amounts of time off your campaign management duties.
Which Way To Go: ESPs Compared
Often, you’ll have to choose from the long list of email marketing service providers available in this industry. The popular ones today include MailChimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, GetResponse, and ConstantContact. There are many others.
All these ESPs have their various appeals and relative differences that will determine the best option for your needs. It will help to know what to look for, in order to choose the right one.
Cost and your budget
How much are you willing to pay and what number of subscribers are you targeting with your email marketing campaign? What you need is a pricing structure that fits within your budget and will fit into your email strategy. Charges and pricing terms vary from one ESP to the next, so be sure to analyze the pricing plans and terms from various vendors before settling on one.
Age of the ESP
If you are all about industry experience, then you’ll want to think about the level of experience that an ESP has gained from being in the market for longer. Of the six ESPs listed here, ConstantContact is the oldest, having been founded in 1995. AWeber comes in as second oldest, having been founded in 1998.
List of features and user experience
Various ESPs offer hundreds of different features. More importantly, pay attention to the IP (do they provide a dedicated IP or will you share with other users), email types (automated daily emails, real-time ‘triggered’ emails, one-off marketing newsletters), API database integration, dynamic merge fields, A/B testing capabilities, analytics, and any other feature(s) that you find essential for your business.
With a clear knowledge of what to look for, you can profile your ideal choice of vendor based on your simple list of requirements and go to market assured of getting the best ESP for your email marketing needs. It takes a bit of research but should pay off with better results for every campaign.