How to Choose The Best Email Provider
Choosing the best email service provider (ESP) for YOU is a critical business decision. Because, let’s be honest it is a pain in the ass migrating once you are locked in with all of your lists, email drips and logic set up.
Below are a few points to consider when choosing who to sign up with. Choosing the best email provider is hard as everyone needs something different. There is no right or wrong answer but hopefully this post will make the right choice for you, more obvious!
What to look for when finding the best email provider
Long term price – Some plans might start out cheap but what happens when you start killing your lead-gen strategies and you list forms to a few hundred, thousand or hundreds of thousands. That free sign up account might have been good when you had 100 subscribers but once you hit 10K the price skyrockets.
Deliverability – What is the standard or reputation of the provider you are considering. Ask around how people’s deliverability is with that company. We know Mailchimp has very strict policies on what type of content can be sent through their servers while Aweber has been known to let more ‘spammy’ emails pass through.
Your technical skill level – If you can’t code in HTML and CSS and don’t plan to hire a developer right out of the gates, make sure you go with a provider who provides templates, drag and drop design or some other non technical solutions to build your emails. Remember that branding and personalization of emails is super important.
What is your purpose? – The reason to send an email to a list is endless but make sure your email service provider specializes in what you need. For example are you an online store trying sell physical products? Are you a SaaS company? Are you a blogger pushing affiliate offers? All of these types of online businesses have email providers that specialize in that need!
Segmentation? – When you start out you will probably think “fu*k it I am putting all my leads into 1 list”. Then 6month later you will be like “fu*k, I wish I hadn’t put all my leads in 1 list”. So make sure you choose a provider that can segment lists the way you need them.
A list can be segmented in many ways:
- Number of opens
- Number of clicks
- Number of purchases or average order value
- gender or age
- here are 27 other ways as well
Reason For Emails? – If you are looking for an email service that specializes in lead generation and closing sales, take a look at Platformax, it helps your sales team send, track and report on emails and their effectiveness.
Now that you have the knowledge to make a good decision. Here are a few we like.
Klaviyo – This is THE provider to go with if you’re in e-commerce. They connect directly to your Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce store (and many others) and automatically segment out everything for you. So if you wanted to do cross-sells (send an automated recommendation email to people who purchase X item), it’s built into the platform. Abandon cart functionality is also built right in.
The interface is very user friendly and they have a 14 day trial so always worth setting up an account and sending out some test emails to yourself to see if you like it. Also the entry level version is free. Keep all of the points above in mind while test services.
Tip: If you’re in e-commerce, just go with Klaviyo and make tons of $.
Drip – Is a lightweight but super powerful email provider, their strongest advantage is their drip logic functionality & marketing automation features. They allow you to create pretty complete email chains based on behaviors of your customs (opened this, clicked on that etc). Their workflows function allows you to create complex decision trees depending on the actions of your user. We use Drip to power our SaaS app, VYPER. It’s really great for SaaS because you can track certain actions in your app and add tags to your specific customer. As a developer, Drip is great because you can take advantage of some really killer functionality.
One of their weaknesses is that they don’t have a drag & drop email template builder, so you’re pretty much stuck with very plain templates. That’s actually shown to be great for deliverability, but it’s not the best if you’re an e-commerce company.
Since their acquisition, Drip has rolled out a starter package for 100 emails at only $1 per month. That’s not as cheap as Mailchimp’s 2,000 free starter package, but you’re getting much stronger functionality with Drip.
Tip: If your email list requires complex decision trees (like a SaaS app might), then Drip was built for you.
ConvertKit – Is email marketing automation for bloggers. They’ve decided to focus primarily on writers & bloggers, and their feature set makes it easy for bloggers & content writers to attract new leads. For example, one nifty feature is that if your reader has already been subscribed to your list, the ConvertKit form shows your Facebook like button or some other code instead.
But the real reason you want to go with ConvertKit is because it’s VERY simple to understand and gets you email automation without a huge learning curve. Click triggers allow you to tag certain customers so you can send email directly to those customers, or it can move certain customers to different sequences.
You don’t have some of the complex functionality as Drip, but this makes it really easy for the blogger to start using it. And for 99% of bloggers, ConvertKit is enough to get started because you’re not dealing with the decision trees you might be with a SaaS (for example, readers of a blog don’t usually have to login and get onboarded to an app — these kinds of complex actions are best handled within Drip).
And for bloggers, your emails are going to be primarily content, not images, so ConvertKit is fine for you. ConvertKit doesn’t have a fancy template builder, so be prepared to send plain text looking emails.
Tip: If you’re a blogger, ConvertKit gets you a leg up from Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp with some powerful segmentation and tagging features.
Campaign Monitor – Is a service that that a lot of agencies or resellers use as they have integrated a white label account pretty successfully. On top of this they also have a pretty good selection of templated emails and a/b split testing of emails. To me they compete head to head with Mailchimp because they’re cheaper and have basic functionality, but aren’t as advanced as the options above.
They’re starting to add some e-commerce functionality, but it’s still in beta, and nowhere near as sophisticated as Klaviyo’s.
These guys are a good option if you plan to have clients that will also need to send out their own branded emails.
Tip: They’re a slightly better version of Mailchimp that doesn’t have a free tier.
Mailchimp – One of the most popular email provider services due to it’s free account up to 2,000 subscribers. Even though these guys start out cheap the cost starts to mount once you grow. They definitely work the price back in further down the line.
Having said that these guys have been around FOREVER so they know what they are doing with a/b testing, good email tracking, ok list segmentation and great design templates. One thing to watch out for is, if you are an affiliate this service provider is pretty strict on affiliate links so be careful!
Overall Mailchimp is a provider that does a lot of things decently, although they’re not a standout in any category. If you have more specialized needs, we recommend an ESP that is more suited for your particular market.
Tip: If you just need a general newsletter, you don’t need advanced functionality, or you’re starting out, Mailchimp is a good option for you. Once you have to start paying for Mailchimp (past their free tier) it’s best to move to a more sophisticated ESP.
Wrapping It Up!
Hopefully after reading this you are much more knowledgable on what you need to look for to find the best email provider for YOU. People will make recommendations based on their affiliate links and what not but you just need to take a step back and think of that provider offers everything I need?
If you have a provider you are doing that you think should be mentioned on this list, let us know in the comments and we can add it!