Mail & Me – Part 2: Email Service Provider

There is no (easy) way for us to work with email marketing without using an ESP. The Emails Service Provider is a system created to manage your marketing campaigns. He takes care of your email list, checks for reads, clicks and conversions and the most important part, he sends your emails.

Most ESP’s have the following features:

 

  • Bulk email services (Sending a lot of emails)
  • Managing multiple Email Lists
  • Statistics (Open rate, click rate)
  • Ability to send both HTML and Plain Text emails (Multi-part MIME)
  • High Delivery Rate (Your emails don’t hit the spam box, usually)

 

Choosing your ESP
As with most technologies, the choice of your ESP is very particular. It depends on a lot of personal factors, the kind of features you need, price, usability etc… What I recommend is to try a lot of them and discover wich one suits you the best, but there are a few things you should pay attention to.

Infrastructure

You should be sure that the ESP has a decent structure to manage your emails. Your valuable prospects shouldn’t get lost in the ESP’s server. Click-tracking is a common (and useful) feature, but to do it your reader is redirected to your ESP’s website to register the click and then is redirected to your website, you don’t want to expose your prospects to a bad network on this process.
Private IP or shared with few users

Your campaign will be sent trough one of the many IP’s the ESP has available to them. If this IP is blacklisted as SPAM, your e-mails will not reach your readers anymore. When your IP is shared among a lot of users, the chances of this happening increase a lot since someone sharing your IP might not know Email Marketing Etiquette.
Statistics

Check if the provider you are considering can give you the info you need. Get in touch with their sales team and discover what kind of data they can offer you about your campaign.
Support

Research, talk to current users, look in forums. Try to understand what kind of support the provider provides. Good Support is just like health insurance. You don’t want to use it, but if you need it, you better have it.

Those are things you should look into as they can impact the course of your marketing campaigns heavily in the future.

Wich one?

The answer lies within yourself. But I can give you a hand.

The ESP’s I’m listing are not in any particular order and ar far from being the only ones available.

Mail Chimp

Mail Chimp today is one of the Super Stars of email marketing and it’s not without a good reason. It has a very simple and clean interface while also being an extremely powerful tool. Mail chimp also brings to its users a lot of educational content focusing on not only a great tool but also in helping it’s users on how to use it and how to take the most out of it. Mail chimp offers a free plan that can access the basic functionalities (wich are really good), manage a mail list with up to 2.000 subscribers and also send 12.000 emails a month.

Vertical Response

Honestly, I used it only for a few tests so take this review with a grain of salt. Vertical Response focuses more on their email builder than on the rest of the platform. It is a very powerful tool and it offers almost anything other tools do. Personally, I dislike the design of the system, but that’s up for you to decide. The email builder is very useful even for the ones used to writing HTML emails by hand. Vertical Response offers 1000 accounts list, 4000 emails a month and the email builder for free.

Moosend

Out of the three moosend is the one I find easier to use. The interface is very intuitive and it has some very useful quick tips on your first use. It offers every tool the others do and it’s pretty efficient. When you create a free account you get 2000 credits (each credit is one email recipient) to test out a small campaign. After that, you need to subscribe to a plan or buy more credits.

 

On our next article, we’ll talk about how to design awesome, multiplatform, image-block proof emails.

Aweber

Probably one of the most professional ESP’s out there. It’s really simple to use, powerful and it can take care of your email marketing campaigns with ease. Aweber has a high delivery rate, meaningful statistics and has incredible support. Aweber offers a free trial for 30 days as long as you register your credit card, after that, it will automatically start billing you, but you can cancel it at any time.

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