For most professionals, the term “email service provider” (or ESP) applies to basic email services like Gmail or Yahoo.
As a marketer, however, you’ve probably noticed these email service providers lack the tools and features you need to effectively reach your audience with the right content.
You’ve received beautiful emails from companies you love. And with the right email service provider, you can send beautiful emails, too.
So, from a marketing perspective, what’s an ESP and how does it work? Moreover, what can it do for your company or organization? Let’s take a look.
If you’re serious about achieving results, email marketing can deliver.
According to research from Smart Insights, email campaigns boast an open rate of about 20% and a click-through rate of 3.3%. That’s vastly superior to social media, which delivers click-through rates of less than 1% on average. Ouch.
Why the discrepancy?
For one, 77% of people from all age groups prefer email marketing for permission-based advertising.
You know people want to see your emails, because they’ve signed up to your list.
That’s exactly why email marketing has a drastically better ROI than social media advertising: 59% of marketers seeing the most ROI from email.
An ESP is a special type of email service specially designed for marketers to reach the right people with the right emails at the right time. ESPs work as the liaison between your organization and the people who want to see your content.
ESPs have dedicated software and hardware to make reaching your audience a breeze. They’ll also lend a helping hand in almost any capacity. Sometimes marketers like to take things into their own hands, designing emails and interpreting analytics. Other times, companies might need additional help. Luckily, ESPs are there to provide that support.
ESPs make designing beautiful, personalized emails simple. Plus, ESPs will also help you build and segment
At the end of the day, an ESP can help you optimize your email marketing strategy on several levels.
What’s an ESP and how can it help improve your email marketing? Well, not every ESP offers the same services. That’s why it’s important to take your company’s or organization's goals into consideration. You might even consider sampling ESP demos. Some will work, while others may not be a great fit.
ESPs generally offer a broad range of tools and features for you to enhance your email marketing. Here are a few features that can help you level-up your email marketing.
You’ve probably noticed by now that platforms like Gmail aren’t the best solution for sending emails to multiple recipients. An ESP makes it easy to send an email in bulk: to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of recipients.
International spam laws require serious consideration. For instance, every email you send needs to include an easily accessible “unsubscribe” link, along with your company’s address. An ESP will ensure your email campaigns meet the current standard. This way, you can operate according to current laws and regulations, both domestically and interntationally.
If you’re working for a small organization or new company, building a list can seem daunting. An ESP can help you with lead magnets, carefully placed calls-to-action, non-intrusive pop-ups, and gated content. Every business and organization is unique, so it’s important to figure out the best method for your goals and audience.
You’ve probably seen incredibly relevant emails from companies you love. For instance, maybe your local pizza place sent you a coupon for your favorite order.
How does an ESP fit into this? Well, an ESP can help you segment your subscriber lists based on many factors. Age, location, and income level are just a few examples of the data you can employ. By blasting the same email to all your subscribers, it’s unlikely you’re creating a relevant and personalized experience.
Segmenting your subscriber list ensures your emails are correctly designed and targeted at the right people.
This email from TunnelBear was sent to a segment of subscribers who were still running an old version of the app.
Source: Really Good Emails
Once you narrow down your subscriber list, you want to send visually-appealing emails. An ESP can help with that. Customizable templates make emailing your segmented lists simple. You can easily send high-quality graphics, color schemes, and links.
But what good is an amazing email if it doesn’t render properly on mobile devices?
People spend hours on their phones each day. If your emails aren’t designed for mobile, you could lose serious business. An ESP can ensure your emails look amazing on any device your audience uses.
Source: Really Good Emails
This email from Uber is specially designed to format well on a browser or mobile device.
One-off emails certainly have their place in marketing, but what if you want to make a bigger impact on your subscribers? If so, consider automated emails based on triggered events.
These types of emails are automatically sent to recipients based on their behaviors. This ensures your subscribers get the most relevant emails at the best possible moment.
Source: Really Good Emails
This email from Chewy was triggered to send after a purchase. Not only does this personalize the customer experience, but it allows for feedback as well. Giving your subscribers a way to provide feedback is an excellent way to develop customer trust in your brand.
Part of the ongoing battle in email marketing is finding ways to get through the dreaded spam and promotional filters.
How can ESP help? An ESP can ensure that your emails are sent from high-quality IP addresses which helps avoid getting flagged by spam filters. Not only does this assist you with reaching more subscribers, but you can also avoid any violations.
Plus, ESPs can guide you on your journey for increased engagement (a strong indicator for spam filters).
After you’ve sent personalized emails to your segments, you’ll want to gauge their performance. An ESP streamlines this process.
Every ESP offers different analytical tracking and features, so you can check open-rates and click-through rates. Plus, you can also see the time of day for opens, allowing you to learn about subscriber preferences.
With this information, you can reevaluate your email campaign tactics and adjust accordingly. This is how an ESP can really help you hone your email marketing strategy.
Each subscriber will interact with your email differently. Because of this, it’s difficult to gauge how well your email will perform.
An ESP can help you develop slightly different emails, which you can send to small groups of different subscribers simultaneously. A/B testing shows which methods perform best in real time.
Once you’ve A/B tested, you can then send the winning email to a larger portion of your audience and enjoy the results.
Several ESPs have partnerships with large-scale, trustworthy platforms, like Google Analytics, YouTube, Shopify, WordPress, and much more. This allows you to use as much information as possible to your advantage as you optimize your email marketing strategy.
What’s an ESP? In short, an ESP helps you enhance your email marketing strategy with segmented subscriber lists, automated campaigns based on triggered events, and a streamlined email delivery system.
Additionally, an ESP can help you interpret your analytics and perform A/B testing, so you always send the most relevant emails possible.
Choosing the right email service provider (ESP) can ensure your email marketing campaigns have the best impact and deliver the best results, every time.