You don’t want to lose momentum halfway your email marketing journey because your email service provider wouldn’t provide you with the right feature at the right price you want.
Just like that you smell disaster and decided to switch very fast to some other ESP without giving much thought to it.
You just keep moving from one failed attempt to another one. Scary!
The way to avoid these failed attempts is by choosing the right email software provider for your business right from the start.
Begin with the right email service provider and you won’t lose momentum down the road. But how do you pick one?
Believe me, it’s such a difficult choice to make.
Keep reading to see my top recommended criteria for selecting a good email marketing service provider and you will be on your way to sending your emails with a perfect software.
10 things to consider before choosing an Email service provider.
1. How’s their customer support?
Whether you are just a beginner or a professional, you are bound to have problems that only your ESP customer support service can handle.
When I first started, the email service provider I chose had live support. Been a novice I was always chatting with the service agent asking all manner questions that helped me get better.
I won’t advise you to stick with an ESP that will reply to your ticket after 24hours of you waiting for an answer. Maybe your bounce rate is too high, maybe you got locked out of your account, maybe you just needed to figure out how to use their form builder.
An ESP with prompt customer service will make life easier for you.
2. How easy is it to track important metrics?
You must have heard when it comes to marketing data is king. It has never been more true. Data rules everything in the email marketing world just like it is with search engine optimization.
If you do not know how your campaigns are performing, then how do you know what’s working and what is not? If you do not know what’s working then there will be no room for improvement.
Before subscribing to an ESP, ensure you check extensively how robust their reporting system is. Find out if you can track all your metrics. Here are a few important ones to measure:
I will divide it into major and minor metrics.
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Bounce rate
- Spam percentage
- Complaint rate
I will share what all these means in a subsequent post.
3. How easy and customizable are their signup forms?
You don’t want to create signups that make your users go yuck, do you?
When working with an email service provider, understand you need forms, a lot of different forms to collect email address from your potential subscribers.
Entering emails manually is inconsistent and too much hard work. ESP’s like MailChimp is super boring and unattractive when it comes to creating forms but their integration is great.
Meanwhile, most big email service provider will enable you to embed your forms on other platforms likes Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, and other website page builders. I love ESP’s like these, it makes so life easy for you.
Also, see how easy it is to customize your forms and landing pages. Runaway from ESP’s that tell you to write codes and embrace drag and drop instead.
4. What kinds of campaigns does it support?
First, it’s good you know campaigns are the lifeblood of email marketing. Every you do revolves around it.
Find out how easy it is to set up drip campaigns, see if they support automation. You don’t want to begin your email marketing journey without plans to automate some part of it.
It is good you automate your online store abandonment emails too if you have one. Imagine sending an email manually anytime a user abandons the cart. You will end up hating not just yourself but your business too.
Double-check that your ESP offers the kind of marketing campaigns you’ll need down the road.
5. Can I segment my list?
Every email you collect is stored in a list. A list is made up of different sets of people of different location, classes, interest and more.
Email segmentation is when you split your list in groupings, mostly based on actions that subscribers did or didn’t take and send separate emails to each segment based upon those actions.
Actions will include, purchasing a resource, opening a particular mail, clicking to see a particular page and more. Believe me when I say email segmentation is very powerful.
Just by segmenting your list, you can increase your open rate by up to 14.32% and click-through rate by up to 100.95%.
I wouldn’t advise you to start segmenting very early, instead, educate leads to a very good extent before segmentation. Educate your users first before selling or asking for favours.
6. Can I perform A/B testing?
If you are like me, you will remember in secondary school during one of those Agricultural-science practical. The teacher asked you to perform an experiment using two different seeds. You place one in sunlight and another inside your room to see which one does better. Then you record your findings each day.
Remember right? If you have never done it before, you should try. It’s fun.
A/B testing works the same way.
If you want to improve your email marketing effectiveness, you need to constantly test your email copy, headings, call to action type and more.
A/B testing works because like we said before, the more data you have, the better your email effectiveness. No two emails are the same. To get better at it, you have to create campaigns, A/B test, evaluate and create another campaign.
7. What other software does it integrate with?
I once used a service provider. I could only create a single form with it and integrate it with one platform only which is WordPress. The other option was for me to redirect the user to the form URL.
The form had just three fields. Name, email, agreement checkbox and a button to send.
For me, the form was too rigid. I Had to dump it and start all over again with a different ESP.
You must find out from your email service provider to see if you can easily integrate it with existing core infrastructure like Shopify, Calendly, Facebook, Hubspot and more.
If you do anticipate you will be integrating with other services, it’s for your best interest you choose a provider that makes integration very easy.
Meanwhile, if you found a good ESP that meets your requirement and doesn’t integrate well, consider if Zapier offers a solution. It’s going to cost you more money.
8. Is the price model scalable?
Some email service provider can cut your pocket open with a huge price. This happens even when you don’t use most of the tools they are providing you.
The cost of managing 1000 subscribers should not be same for 10000. Choose an ESP that you can grow with. One that will not overcharge you for tools that you don’t need but only increases cost based on usage.
9. Can I use dynamic merge fields?
In my article how to get started with email marketing, I highlighted why it’s very important to personalize each mail you send to members of your list.
Among the wonderful things, dynamic tags can do is email personalization. It enables you to use subscriber’s first name, last name, location and more to communicate better with your audience.
Also, it helps you translate emails for an international audience based on special tags, and display certain information based on specific criteria.
These and more you can do with dynamic merge fields. So look out for it when you choosing an email service provider.
10. Can I get kicked out?
I am paying them, why should they kick me out you may ask yourself.
Many ESP will kick you our when you have a very low delivery rate that hurts the performance of their shared IP address.
Any member with very low performance can hurt every other member of the network. For that reason, lots of ESP reserve the right to remove you from their network. Mailchimp has done this to me once. Yeah, it was painful.
Though this isn’t so much of a big deal, it’s very good you know.
Screening your email service provider through the above list will not only save you money but also give you a relaxed mind.
Do remember to consider, customer support, analytics, segmentation, integration, customization, A/B testing and personalization before choosing an ESP.
In my next article, I will show you my top 10 email service provider.