Choosing an email service provider is very important. First, to do business online you really do need an email address that is @ your business name, and not a free service via Gmail.com or Yahoo.com. Second, to really make the most of your work you need to collect names that form an email list that you can use. Third, you need a reliable service to help you accomplish all of this.
As you are choosing email service providers, ask the following questions.
1. Private or Shared Server Space?
Most of the time you’ll be starting with shared space on a server. This can be problematic if the others on the same IP address are engaging in spam behaviors. Then, the worst is that you can be blocked due to your IP address from delivering important messages to your audience. Therefore, know that you can upgrade to a private server when you feel like it’s time.
2. Do They Offer Training?
Software can be hard to understand intuitively and it helps tremendously if the service offers some training for you and for your customers. Using the service for all that it can accomplish is important, because you will increase your success rate by using all the functionality.
3. Does the Service Offer Hardware Redundancy?
In short, this means that your work is backed up on another server just in case something goes wrong. If it does, you shouldn’t even notice as they will automatically use the back-up and create another back-up after that. This is something that would be hard for you to do on your own and what makes the cloud super-safe for your work.
4. What Type of Reports Do They Offer?
You’ll need to know who is opening your messages, what they do after they open them, and more. What type of reports do you need? Write them down and then find out if the email service has what you need.
5. Do They Allow Segmenting?
If they don’t, you need to move on. Without segmenting, your email list will be reported as spam. It will also be unorganized, and audience members will get messages they’re not interested in and unsubscribe. With segmenting, you’ll be able to market better to your audience.
6. Can You Easily Conduct A/B Testing?
One way to improve your email list is to be able to do A/B testing for your messages. For example, you might have two subject lines, so you send one message with one subject line to half your list, then the other subject line to the other half. Which one is opened more often? Good email service provider software should enable this process.
7. What Is Their Reputation?
Does this software as service provider have a good reputation among current customers? What do people say about them? Sometimes you have to take online ratings with a grain of salt, but it’s still important to read them and even talk to current users.
8. Do They Offer a Free Trial?
A great way to find out if you like any software is to use their free trial option. No matter how great any software is, if you personally cannot use it then you have to find something else. No software is good if you can’t figure it out or hire an expert.
9. Do They Make It Simple to Comply with Spam Laws?
The service should offer double opt-in methods that are simple to activate or are always required. Plus, they should offer an easy way for your audience to unsubscribe if they need to. In addition, they need to allow you to put your address and other information in each email as required by law.
10. How Long Are the Contracts?
Most of the time, email software is a month-to-month thing, but some of them do offer longer contracts and payment options. Understand your options before you sign up, because you don’t want to be stuck in a contract for a long time when you need a better or bigger service.
11. What Are Their Pricing Plans?
Do you understand their pricing plans? Most email providers offer monthly and yearly options based on the number of subscribers you have and the number of emails you send out. Make sure you understand the plan you sign up for so that there are no surprises.
You must use some sort of email service provider in order to be compliant and also to avoid having to pay for your own server and equipment. It’s really easy to sign up and use most email service providers, and you’ll be glad you did too.