email marketing best practices

Five Signs It’s Time for a New ESP

Business relationships differ from personal ones in a very big way: Sometimes it’s just time to move on.

Case in point: Your marriage might be for life and your kids are around for good, but your ESP could be a temporary relationship. As much as you might like your ESP, as long as you’ve been doing business with them, there still might come a time when staying with the ESP you know so well could mean a lower email marketing ROI.

If you’ve been with the same email service provider for more than a year, consider these five signs that it’s time for a new ESP:

1. Your in-house email list has grown.

With over 100 ESPs to choose from, you’re going to find that capabilities differ among them. This includes scaling to meet your needs as your volume of email grows.

2. Your email deliverability has shrunk.

As strange as it sounds, the email deliverability rate you’ll get with one ESP is not the same as you’ll get with another. As an email marketing agency, we test different ESPs with the same list and we get markedly varied results. When even half a percentage point in improvement means more email ROI, having the highest possible email delivery rate is imperative. It could be your ESP isn’t keeping up with your needs, and that’s affecting your bottom line.

3. You’re ready to automate.

Triggered, event-based email marketing is the way to achieve the most targeted, relevant messages possible. If you’re ready to go that route and your ESP isn’t, it’s time to move on…not get left behind.

4. You’re ready to integrate.

Web analytics, CRM systems, social media, SMS…there are so many sources of customer insight and possible contact points that all need to be working in tandem for maximum results. Email marketing best practices alone will only get you so far. Integrating with other marketing channels is imperative. If your ESP is limited in integration capabilities, it might be time to shop for a new one.

5. You need some strategy.

In today’s economy especially, marketing budgets can be tight and staffs small. If you’re resources are enough to get the job done but not enough to add a strategic element to your email marketing program, you might need an ESP with consulting services available.

If you’re thinking maybe it’s time to move on to a new ESP, here are three ways to jumpstart your search:

  • Plug your requirements into the online ESP selection tool, the ESPinator
  • Download the 2011 guide to choosing a new ESP
  • Head to booth #39 at MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit in Las Vegas this week to visit with email marketing agency ClickMail

Whether you do one, two or all three, you’ll be well on the way to moving on to the right ESP for your newly evolved needs.

Published On: January 30th, 2012Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

Recent Posts