How to Choose the Best Email Service Provider for Your Business
According to marketing guru Neil Patel, email marketing beats social media marketing hands down. A couple of the reasons for this is that more people have email than social media accounts, and emails are more personal while also being more ‘businessy’ than social platform posts.
In addition, Hubspot claims that each $1 spent on email marketing generates $38 in revenue on average and that 80% of businesses believe email marketing helps them retain customers.
This is great news. But there are all kinds of email service providers (ESPs) out there, and how do you know which one is the right one for your business? In this post we provide some tips for deciding which email service provider will suit your business best.
But before we get to that, here are some examples of how you can use ESPs for email marketing and the benefits they could provide for your business.
Ways you can use an ESP in your business
If you are used to sending conversational emails to your friends and relatives you may not realise the variety of ways you can use email for business marketing. Here are some ideas:
- Regular e-newsletters. Copyblogger suggests e-newsletters provide a good incentive to stick to a publishing schedule.
- Teasers – these are short blurbs directing readers to new content on your website.
- Welcome emails – e.g. for new subscribers or customers.
- Alerts or updates – such as government tax updates, or latest news from a relevant industry body.
- Offers – to notify recipients of special offers or deals that match their preferences.
- ‘Triggered’ emails – such as offers or gifts to customers on their birthday.
- Surveys – to get feedback from subscribers.
- Invitations – to events or training webinars for instance.
Whatever types of emails you send however, it’s important to first define your goals for your campaigns and to have some means of measuring their success and your return on investment. This enables you to determine what works best to refine your strategies as you go.
Benefits for business marketing
Many business ESPs come with features to make email marketing heaps easier.
This includes templates, automation, segmentation, data security, high deliverability rates and more. The right ESP could provide the following benefits for email marketing:
- Manage the user opt-in and unsubscribe processes on your behalf.
- Provide templates to make your emails look polished and professional on both desktop and mobile devices.
- Allow you to group your recipients into categories / sub-groups according to demographics, needs and preferences.
- Enable you to set different strategies and targets for different campaigns and sub-groups.
- Provide analytics and feedback on click rates and unsubscribes so you can see how well your campaigns are working. This in turn gives you the information you need to refine your marketing efforts.
- Personalise your emails for each recipient if desired – such as by incorporating their first name into the copy.
- Save time through automation and scheduling features.
- Let you choose the features you want according to budget and needs.
- Allow you to preview your emails to see how they look and to do final editing before sending.
- Help prevent emails from being directed into Spam boxes.
But couldn’t I just use my regular email account to send mass emails?
Well, you could, but there are problems with this approach. For starters – imagine having to type in every recipient in the ‘To’ box! It’s not only time-consuming it’s also not great for privacy and security.
There’s also the risk with this approach of your emails landing in users’ spam boxes – the equivalent of snail-mail getting lost at the postal system (well, sort of!).
Of course, if you only have a handful of people on your list it might not bother you too much to manually personalise and format each email. But even then there are some free ESP plans on offer that allow you to create professional-looking, secure emails, so why not take advantage of that?
Tips for choosing your ESP
The trick here is to choose the ESP that is the best match for your business. Here are some of the factors to consider:
- Your budget – if your business is very small or just starting out, a free-of-charge pricing plan allows you to try out a service and decide if it’s right for you. You can always upgrade later to a paid plan if you so choose.
- Help desk – support services help you solve any problems you have with the software quickly and easily, rather than spending time trying to figure it all out yourself. Some ESPs may provide higher levels of support than others.
- Segmentation – if you only have one type of customer, then you may not need segmentation options at this point. However if your business services multiple sub-groups then this feature allows you to create campaigns for different audiences.
- Email volumes – different plans allow you to send different numbers of emails. For example, for a small business that sends fewer than 500 emails a month, a free or low-cost plan may suffice. If however your business will be sending larger volumes of monthly emails, you may need to upgrade your plan.
Helping you choose the best email service provider
At West Island Digital we have created a handy tool to help you in making your decision. To use the tool you just need to answer a few simple questions so we can get back to you with suggestions. Click the link here Which Email List Software? to get started.
Or you can check out our resources page where we talk about some of the different options available.