Purchasing a new email service provider is not a decision to be taken lightly. Email is one of the most reliable ways to communicate with your customers and implementing new software is a time-consuming and costly endeavor, so you’ll want to ensure you pick the right solution for your business the first time around. When picking an email provider for business, you also want to look for one that can help personalize your messages, automate emails based on user behavior, engage your customers with beautifully designed emails, and (most importantly) drive sales.
Whether your team is gearing up to find a new email vendor or stuck counting down the days until your contract with your current provider expires, we’re sharing a sneak peek of our guide, 6 Questions Every Retailer Should Ask When Choosing an Email Service Provider, to help you find the email service provider for your business and email marketing needs. Here’s a detailed list of the steps you should take and the questions you should ask to pick your next email service provider for business.
1. Determine your current and future email needs
Before you start your search for a new email service provider, define your email needs and identify which features are a must-have for you and your team. Taking the time to put your thoughts down on paper will help focus your search and keep everyone on the same page.
Begin by bucketing the features and services you’re looking for by high, medium, and low priority to more easily identify the top contenders that check all of the boxes on your list. But, which features and services should be on your list to begin with? That’s entirely up to you and the maturity of your email program, but some common, sought-after email service provider features and services for businesses include:
Implementing and learning new software is a time-consuming process for your team, so you don’t want a band-aid solution that you’ll inevitably outgrow in a year. When drafting your list, don’t just focus on the present state of your email marketing program—keep your growth plans and future goals in mind too. This can help you find the right solution for your email program and build a lasting relationship with your new email partner.
2. Research email service providers for business
Once you have your list of feature must-haves, you’ll need to research vendors and create a shortlist of the ones that offer all of the features and services you need. While you can always get the ball rolling with a Google search, also tap into your professional network to learn what software your peers or past colleagues currently use and enjoy.
While the list you made in step one should guide your search, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for an email provider for business that is:
- Able to integrate with your existing tech stack: Get the most bang for your buck by finding an email solution that integrates with the other systems already in your technology stack. You can automate manual administrative work and ensure your tools work better together.
- Dedicated to improving its product: You’ll want to pick a vendor that’s constantly rolling out new features and functionality to empower its customers. You might want to ask to see a product roadmap to get a feel for what features the company will be rolling out next. You can also ask how big their research and development team is to understand the business’s dedication to innovation.
- Committed to customer service: Consider the vendor’s customer service offerings before something goes wrong. Be sure to ask how you can get in touch with your vendor should say, your email deliverability takes a nosedive before your biggest campaign launch of the year (let’s hope that never happens!). Look for a provider that has multiple ways for you to get in touch with them—phone, email, live chat, etc.—and ensure its service windows align with your time zone and needs.
You’ll also need to consider factors like budget, send volume, the types of messages you plan to send, and even the size of your team to pick the right email solution for your business. For example, a company that plans to send a few hundred transactional emails a month will need a much different email service provider than a global corporation sending complex, automated, and segmented emails to a database of over 100,000 subscribers.
3. Talk to sales
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to 2 or 3 vendors, it’s time to reach out and request a sales call or demo. Make sure you invite key decision-makers to these calls, so everyone can weigh in on which solution they believe is best for your team. Just remember, these calls aren’t a time to sit back and let the sales rep woo you. You need to ask the right questions to push past the sales pageantry and get the answers you need to make an informed buying decision.
Not sure where to start? Our 6 Questions Every Retailer Should Ask When Choosing an Email Service Provider guide breaks down the most important questions you need to ask during the email software evaluation process and what you should look for in a vendor response.
At this stage, you should also request that your sales representative share relevant case studies. You can get a feel for how they’ve helped similar companies grow and improve their email programs. Don’t be afraid to do your due diligence and request to speak to a customer reference, as well. On a reference call, you can talk to a current customer, better understand how they use the platform, and what they like and dislike about the service, which can help clear up any final hesitations you might have before making your final decision.
4. Make your decision
Once you’ve made your decision and picked the best email provider for business, it’s time to share the news with your key stakeholders. You’ll want to loop in your finance, legal, and developer teams, as well as your CMO or other key decision-makers you need to win over to get your contract approved and signed. Be sure to thoroughly explain your decision-making process and how partnering with this email service provider will help your team meet its future goals. Leave time for questions and review what the next steps look like in the approval process.
Finding a new email solution is an exciting step in growing your email program. To help refine your search and ensure you pick the best email service providers for business on the market, check out our new guide, 6 Questions Every Retailer Should Ask When Choosing an Email Service Provider. The guide shares all of the questions you should be asking so you can pick the right long-term email solution for your business’s current and future email needs.
Best of luck finding the right solution for your email program!