How Effective Is Your Email Service Provider?

Not all ESPs (email service providers) are equal. So, what’s driving your email campaign — a Jaguar … or a jalopy? Here’s a quick rundown on how to assess the quality of your ESP.

Checklist of ESP Features

  1. List management — Do you have to think about removing unsubscribes and mark-as-spam? It should be done automatically, in real time.

  2. List management — How does your ESP manage hard bounces and soft bounces? A robust ESP removes hard bounces after one sent attempt, and soft bounces after three send attempts.

  3. List management — How easily can you create list segments? Can you create them? Efficient list segmentation is critical for improving relevance and conversions.

  4. List management — Does your ESP manage unsubscribes and mark-as-spam across all lists, or handle each list separately? The former is a big advantage.

  5. Can you run A/B split tests? Split testing is fundamental to continuous improvement of campaigns. Without it, conversions will likely flatline.

  6. Does your ESP support responsive coding? This should be mandatory. You have to assume a good chunk of your subscribers are viewing your emails on mobile phones.

  7. Is the payment structure flexible and fair? Some allow customers to pay per campaign or on a monthly subscription. This enables customers to manage spending based on list size and send frequency.

  8. If you’re paying on a subscription, will you lose all of your reporting history if you stop the subscription? This is important to look into before you sign on with an ESP, obviously.

  9. How user-friendly is your platform? The harder it is to use, the more mistakes are apt to be made, and the fewer people you’ll have at hand to work on your campaigns.

  10. How easy are reports to generate?

  11. How easy are reports to understand?

  12. How easy are reports to export?

  13. Is the ESP’s customer service customer-friendly? Do you get answers? Do you get answers quickly? Do you get answers that answer your questions?

  14. Does your ESP have capabilities for adding advanced technologies such as automations and third-party plugins? If it does, you can scale your campaigns without changing platforms.

Not sure you’re using the right email service provider? Looking for help on your email campaign? Please contact us to learn more and discuss your goals.

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