The Never-Ending Quest to Find the Perfect Email Service Provider
One of the most common questions email marketing consultants get is "What's the best email service provider?" My diplomatic answer is, usually, "It depends on your needs." In reality, all providers have their pros and cons. Whether it's functionality, usability, deliverability or price, they all have their weaknesses. Fortunately, with careful consideration you can find the provider that best suits your company.
B-to-B Versus B-to-C
B-to-B businesses can have very different needs than their B-to-C counterparts. For example, do you need the ability to interface with a CRM system or send emails on behalf of a salesperson? Be sure the functionality exists or is easy to implement before committing to a service.
Cost Structure: List Size Versus Volume
ESPs which focus on small businesses will charge by list size. Enterprise-level services will generally charge on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis for emails sent in addition to set-up costs, professional service expenses and other functionality add-on costs. Assume extra functionality will add incremental costs as well. Time, money and headaches will be avoided if you fully assess the services, volume and functionality you'll need ahead of time and work the information acquired into your selection and initial contract negotiations.
Type of Content
Are you sending simple e-newsletters with basic personalization features or complicated, dynamic content? Do you need a copy and paste HTML solution or templates? ESPs vary widely on the templates they provide and the functionality of the HTML editor. Evaluate your needs and the functionality carefully.
Do you need a full-service provider who will do everything from designing the emails to managing your data to sending the emails? Or do you need a simple solution into which you load your HTML and send it yourself? Do you have an experienced designer and HTML programmer or will you depend on your ESP for those services?
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