If you’re in the process of choosing an email service provider (ESP), you may be experiencing some confusion. That’s because Email Service Provider isn’t a straightforward term, and some companies that provide email services aren’t even aware that they are Email Service Providers. So, before you choose an email service provider, ask yourself these questions: What do I need from my email service provider? Is Gmail / Outlook / Apple / Yahoo an ESP? What is an example of an Email ESP? What are the various email service providers?
What is an ESP?
An ESP (email service provider) is a company that allows marketers to send email campaigns to their email contact lists.
ESPs are technology companies that allow businesses to build email lists and send emails.
At the most basic level, an ESP provider needs to do two things
- store email addresses
- send emails.
There comes a point in every ESP migration when it’s time…time to move everything over to that new email service provider. It’s a time of excitement as you look forward to the new platform. And a time of uncertainty since you don’t know what all is involved or how long it will take.
Common Questions when Switching to a New ESP
To help you prepare to field the questions you get from others—or even ask yourself—let’s consider two common ESP migration questions, bearing in mind we must first define the terms within the questions in order to arrive at their conclusions. Words being the same, they still carry varying degrees of weight and importance, depending on the audience.
For example, you might face questions from the marketing team that’s itching to know how their work will be impacted and when. Or you might be answering questions from the C-Suite asking about costs and the ESP migration timeline.
Obviously, different departments have different concerns, which makes it all the more important to understand what they’re really asking when they’re asking about the ESP migration.
Most Asked Questions When Looking For Top ESP Providers
Below are two questions we hear quite regularly at iPost along with information to help you answer them…and others like them
“How long will it take to be up and running?”
To answer this question, you must first define “up and running.” Creating and provisioning an account may only take days, but that’s just the beginning of the story. You will be migrating data, recreating automations, recreating email templates, email marketing campaigns, integrations and more. Assuming you will be on dedicated IPs you will want to warm up the IPs. This means you will have several weeks between sending the first email and “sending all emails” from your new PESP. Defining expectations and providing the context enables you to set a reasonable timeline to pass along to those who ask about it.
My point is, you have to understand what people are really asking when they ask you about an ESP migration. When they say, “up and running,” do they just want a foot in the door or do they want to move in?
“Can we send our bulk email next week?”
The answer to this question is probably not, but it depends on what’s meant by “bulk email.” You will want to make sure your IPs are warmed up and that you are delivering consistently to the inbox before really letting loose. So figure out what they mean when they say “big” before you answer.
Is Gmail / Outlook / Apple / Yahoo an ESP?
No. Despite providing access to your email addresses, these companies are not what email marketers call an ESP. Example: Yahoo Mail and the others do not allow you to use email contact lists or send campaigns to subscribers.
What are examples of Email ESP Companies?
- Campaign Monitor
What is the best email service, provider?
According to Kevin M, iPost is “Overall an excellent ESP – Awesome Service too!!”
What do you like best?
“Excellent experience from start to finish. They built several custom feature sets that were required to integrate with Salesforce. Our business runs as efficiently as can be! We added Zapier to complete the integration and that could not have gone better. From redesigning our Preference form, integration with our website, to keeping us continuously updated throughout the entire process (training too!) Jessa and Holly are very knowledgeable and professional. I wholeheartedly recommend them, no reservations!!”
What do you dislike?
Nothing thus far, no complaints, everything works well!!
Get ready with answers
If you’re the one overseeing the migration to a new email service provider, you’re going to get a lot more questions than these two. I hope seeing how even these common questions can be misunderstood will help you prepare to field any others as you start the process. It will also make questions easier to answer and keep expectations in line if you define what your internal teams want from you early in the ESP selection process.
Ask your own questions before the ESP migration
You will, of course, have your own questions. You should ask a lot of questions when taking on a task as big as an ESP migration. And remember, there is no question too stupid to ask. As someone once told me, “The only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask.” A notable mention is if the budget permits, you may want to look for an ESP that also offers additional email marketing services to help you achieve all your email marketing goals.
Also, before you start the ESP migration, be sure to read 7 tips for a painless switch.
And if you want that ESP migration to be as easy as possible, make iPost your new ESP: We’ll be your guide.