Email service providers are essential for brands looking to invest in email marketing.
Some of the best ESPs offer comprehensive services that can drive email campaign success, while others offer simple yet effective tools to simplify communication.
Marketers often need a change, meaning your current email process may not be cutting it. However, the perfect ESP will vary depending on your brand. Plus, changing ESPs requires a smooth transition, not just for your company, but for your customers, too.
What is an email service provider?
Before we get too into the weeds, let’s discuss the ins and outs of ESPs. In short, an email service provider is an organization that offers email services—like domain hosting, automation, and segmentation, just to name a few.
Email service providers facilitate easy and effective email marketing campaign distribution and outreach. They offer tools to help marketers reach the right audience and make the biggest impact on consumers.
Many ESPs even offer templates marketers can use to create and send specific emails. These emails often have niche purposes, like jumpstarting welcome campaigns or encouraging donations.
Another upside to ESPs is their ability to manage subscriber lists, send quick emails, and track campaign results so brands and marketers always know the status of a campaign and how well it was received.
The more expansive an email service provider, the more intricate and complex services they offer—like offering deliverability support, complex analytics, survey tools, campaign management software and beyond.
With a wide range of services and tools available, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for when choosing an email service provider. This is true for first-time buyers or those looking to switch ESPs.
What to look for in an email service provider
Email service providers come in all shapes and sizes. In order to purchase the right one, marketers need to understand their brand’s needs. This will shed some light on the email capabilities they’ll need when they change ESPs.
This changes depending on the brand and their goals. But there are a few key indicators that make an email service provider the best it can be.
The platform needs to be robust.
The email service provider needs to have the ability to send large-scale email campaigns, track results, and direct users on a strategy for success.
Whether marketers just need newsletter support or are unveiling a complete nurture campaign, the platform needs to have features that fit.
Additional robust features you may want in your email service provider:
- Survey outreach capabilities
- Campaign management support
- Customizable email templates
- Email automation
- Reporting tools
There needs to be an effective support system in place.
In addition to offering the right features and functionalities, the best email service providers need to offer efficient and effective support.
There are a number of ways email service providers can support their clients. This support may take a traditional form, like round-the-clock service, live chat, or phone service. But ESPs should also be able to guide brands throughout their email marketing journey.
They need to be able to answer key questions about the success and progress of a campaign and show brands how to prepare and shift gears accordingly.
While email marketing specialists innately understand the marketing landscape and how to use email to connect with their audiences, sometimes the intricacies of a platform can throw a wrench into the plan.
That’s why brands need ESPs that provide in-depth support and measures for success.
The best email service providers will be able to answer any questions marketers may have, whether those questions are via email, social media, or forums.
Brands need to see a portfolio of professional experience.
In addition to a robust service offering and ample support, an email service provider needs to be able to advertise current successful clients.
Quality ESPs will generally have a page on their website dedicated to impressive clients and emails. This will highlight past campaigns and solutions. Plus, this gives you a firsthand look at how the ESP benefited other brands and how they may benefit you.
Additionally, brands should look to these providers and ask them pointed questions about their experience, what kind of campaigns they’ve worked on, and what they can do for brands in the industry.
This gives everyone peace of mind that a service provider can get the job done.
The price needs to be right.
The last quality to look into is pricing. Email service providers can get pricey, so it’s important that brands choose one that falls within their budget.
Prices need to be clear from the start, and an email service provider needs to be transparent about their costs.
Top ESPs practice transparency when it comes to their pricing. And often they’ll work with clients to create a solution in the correct price range.
If a brand simply can’t afford a specific ESP, or if the ESP is too complex or simple for their needs, it may be time to move on.
Because there are numerous ESP options that focus on numerous industries, marketers need to be clear on their needs from the start.
How to switch email service providers
Change is frequent in the marketing industry. Brand needs can easily change from one year to the next.
Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to understand how those changes affect you. Here’s how to switch email service providers effectively.
1. Choose the right email service provider.
As we’ve already touched on, the first step brands need to take when changing email providers is finding the right solution.
Marketers need to highlight the key features and integrations of a potential new ESP. They then need to make sure that these ESPs can deliver on their promises.
Once brands are sure that their new ESP is effective, they can start the process of migration and transition.
2. Migrate all necessary data.
When signing up for a new service, it’s easy to get lost in the extraneous details. But marketers should prioritize migrating over all necessary data before focusing on new campaigns.
This data includes email addresses, contacts, customized templates, and more.
Marketers spend long hours building up these lists and creating specific templates for their users. They can’t afford to lose that data because of a new ESP.
Migrating this data can take some time, but it’s necessary for a smooth transition and quality user experience.
3. Build up email reputations.
A positive reputation is important because it ensures emails are delivered to the right mailbox instead of spam. Therefore, with a new domain name comes the need to build that reputation up again.
Warm up your email list slowly by sending emails to reliable sources. Use reliable templates, effective messaging, and engagement-driving tactics so your email reputation will be solid when you start your next big campaign.
4. Let customers know.
As you transition to a new email service provider, it’s important to tell your subscribers. This way, if anything looks different, they’ll understand why.
By letting users know ahead of time, they can mentally prepare and won’t be shocked if there are major changes in how an email looks or performs.
Consumers want transparency. And email marketers need to provide it each step of the way.
Here’s an example of a brand letting their users know via email about a change to the system that works effectively.
Source: Campaign Monitor
There are a number of reasons why marketers choose to transition into a new ESP. Their needs change, their offerings evolve, or they need an updated platform.
Regardless of why people are changing ESPs, how they change is essential and can make or break the future of their campaigns.
Email marketers need to be patient and thorough when they change email providers. But doing so correctly can put brands on the path to email marketing success.
When changing ESPs, email marketers need to:
- choose a robust ESP alternative
- migrate all data
- build up their email reputations
- let their customers know
Following these steps ensures smooth transitions that will benefit all parties.
Here’s everything marketers need to know about the tech behind email service providers!