Choosing which Email Service Providers to Evaluate
When looking for an Email Service Provider it is important for your organization to develop criteria to identify ESP worth evaluating. This will help your organization create a “short list” of Service Providers who match your company’s needs.
Email Send Volume
Almost every ESP bases their pricing on your email volume, so it is important to identify how much email will your organization will send on a monthly basis when your email marketing system is fully implemented.
Organizations will differ on how often they send emails to their various lists, but this is an example of an average Organization’s send volume by contact type:
When creating a sustainable email marketing campaigns we need to look at the natural breakdown of our current list to determine frequency and monthly volumes: Lists: Size: Duration (annual): email volume:
- Current Customers: 15K | send 4 emails per year | 60K sent emails per year
- Past Customers: 72K | Send 8 email per year | 444K sent emails per year
- Free Eval (annual) 1.2K | 4 email sequential campaign | 4.8K sent emails per year
Totals 88.7K email list size | 28 email campaigns | 510K sent email per year
Monthly volume will average 42.5K per month.
List Storage and Synchronization via API
Where is your current email list maintained? If your company has an eCommerce website or you are adding new contacts via multiple databases and interfaces then you will want to keep the lists synchronized through an API.
Depending on your marketing department’s plans, your needs are going to vary on the specific features your organization deems as a “Must have” feature. We are not going to cover all of the basic features (HTML editor, SPAM CANN compliance, Unsubscribe management, et cetera) but focus on some of the Top level features that are required for a modern marketing program:
- Deliverability Management – Are your emails being viewed by your list? Are ISPs blocking your email or labeling it as SPAM? A good Deliverability team will catch any problems early and help correct them before it affects your campaign.
- Tracking– How effective is your Email Marketing Program at reaching your organizations goals? One organization I work with has a 12% sales conversion rate from their ongoing Email Marketing program.
- Triggered Events– When a prospect visits our website you can create events that will trigger new email campaigns. Here is an example: A prospect signs-up for a newsletter. He is added to your newsletter campaign. The next time the newsletter is sent, the prospect clicks on a link, visits the site and downloads a free trial. That event triggers a new campaign and the prospect is now going to receive a new series of emails related to the free trial. This can continue until all corporate goals have been satisfied or your prospect has opted-out.
- Dynamic Content– Using the newsletter example. You may have a section of your newsletter that offers “tips and tricks” Some Tips may be more useful and you would want new members to your newsletter to receive those tips first. Dynamic content will use parameters you set to determine which messages your audience receives.
Awards, Reviews and Mindshare
Look for third party reviews and industry awards. Jupiter reports and Forrester Wave are both excellent resource for neutral third party analysis. Also look for ESPs who have members who are active in the Email Marketing industry and are asked to speak at industry events.
Using this list as our guide we came up with this list of ESPs to evaluate: