How To Choose An ESP That’s Fit For Purpose

Old fashioned ruler

Image courtesy of Mad House Photography via Flickr

Choosing an email service provider (ESP) can be rather like choosing a new diet or fitness regime. You wade through hundreds of potential options available, with no guarantee that you will see tangible results quickly.

However, just as shedding a few pounds is usually essential after a particularly indulgent holiday, a more comprehensive direct marketing campaign can inject your sales efforts with fresh life. But where do you start when choosing an ESP?

Too much choice
Nowadays, it’s impossible to find a fitness regime that gives you what you want at a premium you’re prepared to pay. Usually, the price is a personal trainer charging by the hour, horrible tasting food and the majority of your spare time – all for a couple of randomly bulging muscles and sore legs when you walk up and down stairs.

That isn’t dissimilar to the impact of choosing the wrong ESP for a business. There is so choice that picking one to meet your specific needs can be difficult. If you are looking for a useable intuitive platform then selecting one that requires HTML knowledge will leave you frustrated.

If you want to segment your data and create behavioural triggered campaigns, picking a platform that does not make this easy will eat up your time and resources, without producing results relative to the cost.

Do your research
When picking a new health regime, by making a considered, informed choice, I’m more likely to lose weight and maintain my progress. The right diet should make my life easier not harder. And it should make me feel better, not worse.

Businesses need to apply a similar strategy when selecting an ESP. What exactly do you need from your provider? What functionality do you require? How stretched is your time? What results are you looking for?

The same as it’s no good saying, ‘I want to lose weight’ without specifying a goal, when choosing an ESP you need to have a clear objective in mind. If you define exactly what you need first, you’ll find the most suitable software for your company.

If you want to send targeted campaigns based on geographical queries, you’ll need an up-to-date geo-mapping tool that allows you export contacts to address books.

If you want to send sophisticated triggered campaigns you’ll need an ESP with fully automated sends, so that once you have configured your campaigns you can relax, confident in the knowledge that your emails will go to the right people at the right time.

If you feel you’ll need comprehensive support and guidance, as well as regular review sessions to improve your click through rate, you’ll want a dedicated account manager. Once you know what you want, you can find an ESP to suit your needs and make your life easier.

Overall, it’s about reviewing exactly what is on the market and taking the time to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need.

Hopefully that way your fresh start will be built to last and, long term, your email marketing will have added value to your company. Maybe when it does, you can kill the comfort eating (maybe).

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