Book a no obligation demo with one of our email experts. Discover how e-shot™ can help you:
One of our team will call you for a brief chat so we can cater the demo to your specific requirements and show you the relevant tools and features that will deliver you the best results.
26 Jun 2018 by Sadie Burgess
There are over 450 email service providers (esps) in the market, so finding the one that is the perfect fit for you, could be a challenge. We spoke to independent email marketing consultant and analyst, Jordie van Rijn to get his views on where to start. And he gave some great advice on how to make the process of selecting an email provider as painless as possible.
According to Jordie, it can be smart to first pinpoint the category you are looking in. By simply narrowing your choices, you can already save a lot of time. Easiest is to think of it in the following broad categories;
This makes it a lot easier to compare and not get
too overwhelmed. Also it can prevent you from looking outside of your budget
range. The detailed requirements will still be leading though. Before reaching
out to any suppliers, get very specific on what you want to do and what the
supplier will need to do.
Set your horizon at about 18 months
All esps have different strengths and weaknesses.
You want your email provider to be future-proof, but it is a pitfall to look
too far ahead. In some cases, requirements are more dreams that aren’t at all
grounded in reality. To prevent that, create use cases based on what you
actually do now and need to do up to about 18 months. 18 months is good,
because you can often estimate what will be done this year and the next, but
beyond that it is very hard to see.
Put real use-cases on the agenda
Try to lay out a real campaign that demands a bit
from the vendor technology, multi-step campaigns with triggers, automation,
events and conversion tracking. Then go through with the vendor exactly how
it will work. Not just whether it could work but exactly how it
will work. If it’s really easy to do, the vendor should be able to show
how. Draw your own conclusions if they can’t.
Perhaps your most complex requirement is not about campaigns but rather managing campaigns across multi-international offices, being able to scale up to tens of users or specific 3rd party solution integrations. Make sure you are clear about your expectations to the vendor and put them on the agenda. That is the only way you can evaluate their ability to deliver.
Openly asking for Peer recommendations is not a good idea.
What’s more, experts that potentially could offer credible advice will likely steer away from these open requests, because it is such a mess. A sign of someone that is great in guiding selections, is that often the provider that he thought would be perfect, doesn’t turn out to be the one selected. This is because during the selection you go deeper and find that another is the better fit.
Make sure what you need to do is easy to do
Marketing resources are always stretched and the ability to execute can make the difference between moving forward with your program versus never getting anywhere. Include the skills and resources needed to create the more complex campaigns in your evaluation.
Whilst a solution may, in theory, be capable of something, if the time and difficulty in doing it are too high, it’s the same as it not being possible at all.
Be crystal clear on wants vs needs, as we marketers
do tend to get distracted by the new shiny things. Resist this urge and focus
on your team’s specific needs.
“Before you get caught up in any bells and whistles
of extra features, be crystal clear on those advanced esp features you’ll
actually use, those of medium importance, and those that you would like to have
but can live without. Then stick to that list. Time and time again I see
clients thinking about features they never end up using.”
Ask the right questions and be open about your
requirements, this is the only way that you will be able to objectively see who
the frontrunners are and who from your shortlist falls short.
Don’t forget customer service and success
Great customer service is usually only appreciated
the moment you encounter a problem. Look at your vendor beyond the
functionalities and price. By choosing the right tool and the right team, you
make sure that people behind the contract will address your needs on a daily
basis and help you become a savvy email marketer. What is called Customer
success, on the other hand, should be a proactive team that is also able to
think long-term. Their goal is to help customers get the most out of the
product, become power users who are happy with the platform they chose.
For a comprehensive list of email providers in the uk, visit www.emailvendorselection.com or for more helpful tips and advice from Jordie visit