These days, there are hundreds of different email service providers (ESP) out there. With all the information and presentations you receive, it’s difficult to determine which one truly is the best fit for both you and your clients. I have recently gone through this process and have compiled a list of ten key questions you should ask your potential new ESP to ensure you select the one that is the best fit.
1. Do they themselves have a monthly e-newsletter or have a blog? This will give you a pretty good idea about how knowledgeable they are about email marketing as well as a glimpse of the type of emails they can send out.
2. Who is their current clientele? Since you will be using the same IP address as the rest of their clientele, you need to ensure those clients have quality email lists because if their emails go into people’s SPAM filters, your emails will have a higher chance of going into SPAM filters. You definitely don’t want someone else’s list to ruin your deliverability rate.
3. What type(s) of templates can you or they create? Knowing the limitations on what you can and cannot include when designing is not only critical in making sure they can meet your email needs, but is also crucial for the creative team to know for design purposes.
4. Can you build your templates directly within their system? Designers and programmers hate nothing more then having to build the template in one program then go in and make it work within the ESP’s system.
5. How easy can templates be modified or updated within the system? Updates should be able to be done by anyone on the team, and easily.
6. How do you manage reporting? People want to see results. They aren’t going to put dollars into something without being able to see if they are receiving an ROI.
7. Do you buy lists or require people to opt-in? No one likes being randomly subscribed to email lists.
8. How do you test email campaigns prior to sending to the entire email list?
9. How many ways can you split an email list? For example, can I send this email to females, age 25-54, who live in California and have a Twitter account?
10. What are the monthly fees, training and cost per an email?
These are ten key questions you should ask in the initial conversation you have with your potential ESP. Stay tuned for the next list of questions I recommend you ask once you have narrowed your list down to your final two or three choices.