I have helped dozens of companies find their new Email service soulmate over the years. For me, it has become an enjoyable process. But I have never met someone else that wakes up in the morning and thinks: “Today is a great day to find a new Email Vendor (ESP)!”. There are enough good reasons to switch ESPs if your current one is not the best fit. Maybe after busting some myths around ESP selection, you will remember some key points to consider.
Deliverability differs, but switching is not an easy fix
Does your mail have trouble reaching the inbox? Some ESPs will point back at the sender and say: “It is you, not us.” I hate that. Do ESPs differ in deliverability? For sure, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Sender reputation is a joint responsibility.
It might be that your current setup is not functioning correctly or data needs some cleaning up. If you consider switching based on deliverability, make sure you find out what was causing the problem. You can ask the prospective ESP to help you with this.
On the ESP side, deliverability is mostly based on the type of clients they have, the quality of their deliverability team and how they help you find the root cause of any trouble.
Hit the ground walking
Everybody wants to get started quickly. In my experience; it is safe to assume you need more time than you think you need. Ask for an (example) implementation plan from the ESP, they might have one to share and these are often more realistic than your predictions. But to be safe and factor in delays on your side (yeah, you know) set the internal expectations to double that time. Just to be sure.
Cool features vs what you will actually use
Of course you want the vendor to have a solid roadmap and keep innovating, but do your wishes actually pass the shiny things test? It is too easy to get distracted by cool features and functions.
ESP selection time is a time to be honest with yourself and sort the ‘must haves’ from the ‘would like to haves’. It is OK if the future vendor has room for growth over time, but I’d like to remind you of the 80-20 rule. 80% of the users will only use 20% of the features (intensively). So make sure that your 20% of the features are the ones that you base your selection on.
The vendor team is just as important as your own
Sometimes I run into marketers managing most of their email program in-house, thinking that (therefore) services don’t matter that much. But Do It yourself is not Do Everything Yourself. Services matter. It is very likely that at some point you will need assistance, when you run into a snag, have a bad day, a new colleague comes in and needs a hand, etc, etc, etc.
Your vendor should be an extension of your team, so hiring a new vendor is somewhat like hiring a new team member. Some ESPs are very responsive, others are very slow in answering your “just need a quick hand” questions. The other consideration is also the seniority of the service team. Are they good in helping or great? Speak to some service personnel and your future account manager (if they have one), that will clear things up quickly.
Yes, you might not wake up in the morning, and jump out of bed on the prospect of switching vendors. But when you kick-off your selection, reserve enough time to choose, focus on the match with the functions you will actually use and get a service orientated vendor. With the right ESP, switching can be a smooth process.
About Jordie van Rijn
Jordie van Rijn is a well-known email marketing consultant and influencer in the world of MarTec and eCRM. He founded emailvendorselection and just recently launched a new venture called http://alfredknows.com/