An Email Service Provider (ESP), is a company that distributes and manages software-based solutions including hosting email campaign and broadcasting. Essentially, an ESP, also called email hosting provider, is an enterprise’s mail house. Its main function is to send out regular emails and newsletters from its server. These servers are optimized to send out bulk emails, a capability that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) lack.
Choosing an email hosting provider among the many ESPs available online is a task that should be undertaken judiciously. The pricing and range of services of one ESP can significantly differ from those of another ESP.
Here’s an overview of the considerations you need to make to determine which ESP is right for you.
1. Does the ESP provide features that meet the email marketing needs of your organization?
Depending on the business you are engaged in: How many emails does your current database have? How frequent is your emailing? Do you need personalized content? What type of segmentation does your business use?
2. What are your plans for future growth?
If you are planning to grow significantly bigger in the near future, the best choice for you would be an enterprise-level ESP. Enterprise email hosting providers offer a wider variety of advanced features. Though they tend to be costlier, signing up for one will mean that your email marketing needs are catered for even for the long-term.
3. Authentication and deliverability support
An ESP’s reputation for deliverability, the size of its deliverability team, and the cost and support for authentication will determine its competitiveness. Making sure that your emails actually reach your recipients is very important so that you don’t lose chances for conversions. More importantly, your business’ email reputation is protected.
4. How usable is the ESP?
The ESP you choose should be easy to use for your staff. Creating templates and emails should be simple, and the platform needs to be easy to navigate in terms of the browser and the operating system. The provider should offer the requisite platform support and training.
5. Integration with your business’ back-end systems
Email hosting providers vary in terms of their application programming interface (API) capabilities. Choose a provider whose team can efficiently work with your organization’s back-end. Also ensure that your organization can effectively use the ESP’s API. Check whether integration for your specific internal technologies and systems (such as customer relationship management, shopping carts, and purchase systems) is readily available. For instance, check for Microsoft CRM or Salesforce integration.
6. Email automation
Ability to automate emails based on prospects’ and customers’ actions is a major force for driving higher click-through and conversion rates. Consider ESPs with efficient visitor nurturing programs, for instance, shopping cart abandonment and welcome email. Also check for automation of editorial processes that supports the creation of personalized emails.
7. Social media and mobile integration
With the increased use of mobile gadgets and social media platforms, it’s a no-brainer that email marketing must also be optimized for these new developments. Your ESP of choice should have easy integration with social media platforms so that emails can be shared easily via these platforms. Your subscribers also need to have an optimal viewing experience, whichever device they are using. The ESP should provide tools to test email rendering on mobile devices.
SYBA, which is powered and secured by Microsoft cloud computing technology, is reputed with enabling seamless collaboration across all devices.
Although these 7 considerations don’t make the exclusive list of things to look for in an ESP, they are among the most important indications of a reliable email hosting service. Other considerations include customer support, ESP’s ability to offer data security, and pricing.
Hiring an IT consultant can help you to accurately assess the attributes of email service providers in your consideration list. For more than 10 years now, Enfrasys Consulting has been offering dedicated assistance to Malaysian businesses in various IT implementation decisions including ESP and supporting technologies. Under its partnership with Microsoft, Enfrasys is a trusted provider of Microsoft 365 Malaysia email products such as Exchange as well as SYBA offerings. Hundreds of businesses in Malaysia rely on Enfrasys Consulting to remain empowered in today’s mobile-fast and cloud-first world, which is important for improved security, mobility and productivity