Growing your email list is an integral part of your blogging journey. But before sending out your first newsletter, you need to choose an email service provider. Choosing the best tool for the job will have a huge impact on the success of your email campaigns, therefore it’s worth spending some time on making the right decision.
There are plenty of email service providers and choosing the best one can feel quite daunting.
In this post, we’ll provide you with tips on choosing the best email capture software that’s perfect for your needs and the needs of your email list.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Email Service Provider
If you turn to the Internet for advice, you will most likely come out no wiser than before starting your search because people tend to favor each of them for different reasons.
Considering the plethora of email service providers eager to serve you, there are 8 main factors to take into consideration so pick a few that are the most important to you:
- Simplicity and customization
- A/B Testing
- Reporting and analytics
- Pre-designed templates
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s worth mentioning that most popular email service providers offer a free trial. Some like MailChimp have a free forever plan and offer most or all of the features mentioned above.
Test All of the Features
Test everything. Take advantage of the free trial and spend some time getting familiar with the way a particular email service provider works. Do they offer templates or do you have to code your own from scratch?
Can you set up different sequences and segment your list for more targeted campaigns?
Send a couple of test emails and see how they display in email clients like GMail or Outlook. Are templates easy to work with and can they be customized?
Consider where your fans are reading your emails. Mobile technology is a big player, so making sure your emails can be seen on the smallest of screens and look great is essential.
Customer service is another key point to consider. If you run into a problem, how is your provider going to be able to help you? Sometimes you will only have the FAQs to troubleshoot with. Other times will only have email support, which can go up to a 24-48 hour wait at worst. Some email service providers offer chat support, like Mad Mimi, to help you out.
While it’s true that many people have a set preference when it comes to email service providers, it’s worth looking up their opinion and reviews of a particular provider. Often, user reviews can unearth some repeat issues that go unsolved despite many complaints.
It’s best to use common sense here and consider a large number of complaints as a huge red flag. Considering your email list is a precious asset, it’s better to avoid problems from the start rather than dealing with a constant stream of them.
Integration with Your Website and Opt-In Form Plugins
Most email service providers give you an email capture form that you can embed in your site. More often, their forms leave a lot to be desired and don’t really match with the rest of your website.
In such a case, using an opt-in form plugin is the perfect solution. On top of allowing you to seamlessly connect your email list with your website, they also provide you with better-looking signup forms via their templates or they give you the option to completely customize the signup form.
On top of that, opt-in plugins usually offer a variety of the type of signup forms; from sidebar forms to inline forms and pop-up forms which are quite effective for growing your email list.
Final Thoughts on Making the Right Email Service Provider Selection
There are many factors to consider when it comes to email service providers. Here are a few of our recommendations for specific needs.
If complete customization and control over the look and feel of your newsletter is important choose Campaign Monitor. They allow you to upload your own HTML template which you can re-use for each and every campaign.
If you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use, look no further than MailChimp. Their templates offer plenty of layout variation and their drag-and-drop editor makes them easy to edit and customize. Furthermore, MailChimp offers a generous free plan which is another thing to consider if your budget is limited.
If you’re after list segmentation features and want the ability to send customized content to different list segments, consider using Mailjet. They allow you to segment your list based on subscriber’s preferences, behaviors and characteristics. Before making a final decision to pick a particular email service provider, take advantage of the free trial, and if possible try other providers out too by leveraging their free trial window. If you’re not completely satisfied with a provider, try a different one, until you find the one you feel most comfortable with.