Choosing the right toolkit for your business and your email marketing efforts is one of the most critically important decisions you can make.
Email service providers are essential tools for your business to succeed in email marketing, and choosing the right service provider can seem like an intimidating task.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered, in this short blog article, we will review some of the steps you should take when it comes to choosing a new email service provider, making the decision-making process easier and less time-consuming.
We understand that determining which tools serve you best, researching options that fit your budget, reviewing demos, testing out trial accounts, and picking the right marketing solutions isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, it can become a daunting task due to the sheer volume of available services out there.
Furthermore, finding the best email service provider can require extra testing and knowledge, considering how different solutions offer different features. It can go above and beyond simple research - sometimes trying out different solutions for a while is the best way to figure out what is best for your business.
You can opt for a simple software that you will only use for sending simple email communication or you can go with more advanced ones.
You might need to be able to run A/B testing and personalization. Going even further, some ESPs feature marketing automation solutions that are helpful for lead generation and lead nurturing strategies.
In this article, we are going to go over the most important steps when choosing an email service provider.
Step 1: Feature analysis and comparison
It’s possible that you’re interested in the most feature-complete email service provider out there, only to later find out that those services don’t fit your needs or are ultimately unnecessary for your business. It is important to consider your needs first and find a service provider that complements them accordingly.
Pay the most attention to the core features at first: how many contacts you can store in their database, how many emails you can send per day, and how many users can use the same account simultaneously - these core features are much more likely to be more impactful than anything else.
Define what is essential for your business first and then build from that understanding until you have a complete list of required features you know you will need and use frequently.
Once you have a clear understanding of what your needs are and being to research email service providers that offer those solutions, make sure to run some direct comparisons.
Many providers will have done this for you already, having direct comparisons to other similar competitors on their websites - this is very helpful, as an easy-to-understand visual guide can offer a lot of clarity.
At this point, you should know the following;
- What features you need to have available
- What features would be nice to have
- Who offers these features
- How do these providers compare to one another
Now we’re ready to move on to…
Step 2: Don’t overlook user experience
When you’re looking to choose an email service provider, one of the first things to consider is how easy it will be to use. Considering user experience is important because you will likely need to learn how to use the new software, and probably teach or educate your team on this tool too, meaning that choosing an overcomplicated software could lead to a lot of downtimes spent in training or inefficient use of the tool itself.
Choosing an email service provider that is compatible with your already in-use software solutions is also important to make workflow faster and more efficient.
For some users with more basic needs, you might want to consider a provider with a heavy focus on user-friendliness, while more advanced users might want to consider a provider that focuses on customization and control instead.
Step 3: Evaluate the costs
Now that you know what you need from your soon-to-be email service provider, it’s time to consider how much it will cost. Cost efficiency is key when it comes to choosing an email service provider, in order to make the most out of your investment.
The keyword here is cost-efficiency, which means choosing the tool with the best price to usefulness ratio. This may not be immediately obvious, so take your time to research these.
Step 4: Consider data security
Security is paramount, not only because of legal requirements but also because customer trust is a very important indicator for your business. Choosing an ESP that is focused on security and compliance. It is important to choose a provider that is heavily committed to protecting your data since any breach in security will directly affect your business.
Despite security being a more passive aspect in the sense that you can’t have much influence on it, it is an important one to consider when making a responsable business choice.
Don’t take any risks when it comes to security, it’s preferable to pay a more premium price for added security than to go for a cheaper, but less secure, option.
Step 5: Look for reviews from reputable businesses
In the business-to-business world, reviews are a big help when it comes to choosing a provider. Look for testimonials from other companies and businesses to better understand how a provider was helpful for their operations. Looking at reviews from businesses in the same sector as you are particularly helpful.
It is also worth mentioning that case studies can be very helpful, as these are usually more in-depth and offer some data you can see and evaluate for yourself.
It is best to take your time to research what other users think of the provider and what their experience is, and how choosing this particular provider added value to their business.
Step 6: Terms of Service
It’s important to know what it is your email service provider expects from you as a customer. It’s even more important to comply with these requirements. This may seem painfully obvious to some of you reading this, but it cannot be overstated - knowing what the rules are and following them. This is a sure-fire way to guarantee a successful business relationship with your provider.
Why do you need a good relationship with your provider, you may ask?
Simple, support, and quality of life.
Issues will always happen - this is inevitable. Having a good customer profile is much more likely to net you a better and more dedicated support line whenever you need assistance, with the added benefit of avoiding any possible issues by not being ToS compliant in the future.
Data is important.
While this walks hand in hand with security, it’s important to know how the provider you’re choosing will handle your data, specifically.
As you can see, picking an email service provider is not as complicated as you might think.
Although it might be tempting to consider an inexpensive solution you will need to look for an alternative if you want to enjoy a more secure and feature-complete experience.
Let’s have a look at our steps, one last time:
- Analyze and compare features
- Consider user experience
- Consider costs
- Security check
- Peer review research
- Terms of service check
- Data policy check
Keeping these steps in mind is sure to help you when it comes to choosing an email service provider.