ESP stands for Email Service Provider and it can mean the difference between a successful email manager with proper, spam-free email marketing campaigns and the “stuff” you send. It’s hard to comprehend paying for an external email service when you clearly have email access as part of your webhosting service.
However, the difference is that ESPs allow you to create and manage that email much better. As an example, if your website offers visitors the ability to sign up to a newsletter, you might have these emails being stored in a simple database and then extracted to Outlook. You probably then create a newsletter or some other content and blast off an email to all your contacts.
The problem with this is that these days there are tons and tons of spam being sent all over the world, so the element of trust is important. What this means is that you have less of a chance of your messages actually getting to your visitors when sending email from your own Internet connection.
- Ability to create templates for sending to contacts and/or the use of pre-made templates
- A subscriber list, which is uploaded by the user for distributing messages. This may be enhanced with custom fields in order to hold additional information for each subscriber for filtering and targeted messaging purposes
- A send engine, which allows users to distribute their message to the subscribers
- Updating of the subscriber list to suppress those requesting to be unsubscribed
- Statistical reviews of each email sent to measure the success rate of the campaigns
- Testing of templates for compatibility with email applications
- Spam testing to gauge the score of the email against known factors that will place the template at risk of being blocked
- The ability to send both html and plain text formats to improve delivery success rates (known as Multi-Part MIME)
To get you on the right track, I’ll recommend the provider that I use. They’re called Aweber and their pricing is cheaper than some of the other services I’ve found out there, like MailChimp.
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