What you should ask to your next Email Service Provider? Revealed

No matter, if you’re running a start-up or you’ve established business – you’ll need help of ESP to keep communicating with your subscribers via Email. In this article we’re going to bring some key question while selecting a basic ESP.

There are more than hundreds of ESPs in the market – you’ll need to choose those who fits you best. Luckily, you don’t need a sixth sense to choose the right ESP. Follow this checklist of questions when interviewing potential ESP partners to find the right fit. 

There are some categories and you can brain storm yourself around that. See below

Email Infrastructure

This is the base. Foundation of your email marketing. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions.

Example questions

  • Do you offer dedicated IPs / Shared IPs? Any limitation with the IPs.
  • Do you use own MTA or third party MTA.
  • How do you help us with setting up all required authentication techniques.
  • Who manage the Feedback Loops.
  • Do you have alert setup for an issues related to Email Infrastructure (DMARC Reports, FBLs report etc)

List Management / Segment abilities

This is the place of your subscribers. You need to pay much attention to your ESP’s List management features.

Example questions

  • How preference centre works on your side / How do you support this.
  • Are you able to honour subscriber’s request to reduce / increase the frequency.
  • Do you allow customize opt out user experience.
  • Do you have Global suppression list / How do you manage unsubscribes.
  • Do you have threshold set for repetitive bounces / soft bounces.
  • Flexibility to switch single opt-in vs double opt-in – along with an identifier.

Creative Design / Content Test

This is the place of your real shop. Your content should be aligned to industry standard.  You’ll want to ensure an ESP offers a competitive set of creative tools to help your emails make a splash. 

Example questions

  • What kind of test features do you provide. A/B and others.
  • Ability create and modify the content with-in your platform.
  • Do you provide content scanners.
  • Do you offer responsive templates with mobile first approach.
  • What kind of dynamic content you offer.
  • Ability to run flash SALE timer.

Sending Capabilities

Once all above done you will want to publish. Now you’re excited to launch your email. Review your current sending processes and highlight areas that must stay consistent throughout an email service provider migration. For example, if you rely heavily on A/B testing or scheduling deployments, make sure these features are readily available and easy to use.  

Example questions

  • Trigger / event based / one time sending.
  • Scheduled based sending.
  • Do you offer send time optimization (STO) / view time optimization (VTO)
  • Ability to pause / resume delete as fast as we can.
  • Do you provide journey builder.

Reporting Power

Exam is over you want a report. That too a nice reports with meaningful data.

Example reports

  • Campaign wise reporting.
  • Subject Line analysis reports.
  • ISP wise break up.
  • Sending domain / IP wise reporting.
  • Top level bounces.
  • Access to reputation data (SNDS, GPT)

Support Policies

Last but one of important thing to consider. Where will you go if you ran out of an issue. Clearly, ask and set your expectation with Support plan.

Example questions

  • Will I have a dedicated representative for questions, or will I submit questions via a ticket.
  • What is your support ticket turnaround time.
  • Will we have a dedicated deliverability team.
  • How many users will have access to the ESP interface.
  • Do you help with IP warming plan.

Be patient with yourself. Self growth is tender, it's holy ground. There's no greater investment - Stephen Covey