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Why Every Business Needs An Email Service Provider In 2021

Why Every Business Needs An Email Service Provider In 2021

This may sound obvious but it wasn’t until just about three years back that I came across a tool that I could use to organise all my email contacts’, and I had been an entrepreneur for 18 years! Before that I had no idea what was possible regarding email contact management, let alone remotely aware of the host of other features now available. I remember an exercise that I once did to manually extract my contacts’ details from my Gmail accounts and put them into a word document so that I could copy and paste them into my emails whenever I needed to send out a broadcast email. I vividly remember the time it took me to complete that exercise, a good 3 days full of frustration, hard work and long hours just to extract the details for around 500 contacts!

I also remember enrolling the services of a bulk email marketer because I knew my contacts list was too small and needed access to a wider pool of potential leads. When I started using these services the number of responses were pretty good and I was satisfied even though I did not have access to the actual campaign statistics. But when the enquiries and sales started dwindling until they altogether stopped coming after every campaign, that’s when I got worried and asked for the campaign statistics. The one bulk email marketing service provider seemed to have no clue what I was talking about while the other said the statistics would only be available after 2 weeks as there was a long process to extracting the data. I wished I could have these statistics at hand to extract at will but I thought the software would cost an arm and a leg, way beyond what I would be able to afford at that time. However, I started the process of researching anyway so I could maintain this tool on my radar for when I could afford it. What I discovered literally made me kick myself and wish someone had told me earlier about these tools, and in this article I’m passing on the favour I wish I had received. I am pretty sure there are quite a few businesses out there that don’t know this time saving and frankly liberating tool!

By the way if you are still using Gmail, Yahoo! Outlook etc and you need to be sending out bulk emails, then you need to consider the following carefully;

  • Using these services usually gets your emails flagged as spam by ISPs and this seriously affects your deliverability.
  • These services are just not suitable for bulk emailing
  • Use of these free service providers will also negatively impact your brand perception by your target clients.
  • This leads to more unsubscribes and that is sufficient reason to invest in a professional tool that will help you grow your business and get better ROI on your advertising spend.

What is An Email Services Provider

At the most basic level an email service provider (ESP) is a technology company that allows users to send email campaigns to a list of subscribers and build email lists. They help businesses and any other organisation that subscribes to their services to build and maintain strong communication and relations with contacts, prospects and customers while moving them through the buyer’s journey. These are different from email accounts hosting service providers like Gmail and Yahoo etc. Please note that when we refer to businesses we are referring to any public or private organisation that sends bulk emails including personal brands.

A variety of email service providers offering differentiated services have sprung up as the popularity of this marketing channel continues to grow. Oh yes email is not dead, not by a long short. Infact there are brands that vow that email is the only marketing channel where one actually has control over their lists and therefore much higher ROI than social channels. According to a 2020 survey, email marketing boasts a 4200% ROI, outperforming YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Google Search paid advertising.

Key Features Of An ESP

Here are some of the differentiated services that are offered by these email service providers;

Subscriber Management

Subscriber management is a feature that makes it a breeze to create email subscribers within the platform, import and export subscribers, modify profiles and subscription settings, create segments and interest groups for purposes of segmentation and personalisation as well as for maintaining a clean email list of engaged subscribers for more productive campaigns and other initiatives. This is one of the basic features for every email service provider.

Campaign Creation and Management

An email campaign is a sequence of communication or marketing efforts that contacts multiple recipients at once. Email campaigns are designed to reach out to subscribers at a specific chosen time and provide valuable content and relevant offers to the recipients. Campaign creation with an email service provider has now become so easy and a few clicks are enough, once you have added your campaign content, to send your basic campaign out. You must have an existing email list first set up using any one of the ways discussed above. Types of campaigns include RSS campaigns from your blog or podcast stream, .

Dynamic Content and Personalisation

Dynamic content in emails is any personalised part of a mass message that changes based on user behavior or data you have about your subscribers. This can be easily created by adding variables like demographic information location, age, gender and behavioural elements like purchases, views etc . These variables are then used to add the personalisation which may also include the recipient’s name in the subject line or body of the email, offers and discounts based on previous interactions with that offer or similar offers and even their birthday. Recipients are more prepared to share their personal data if they know it can benefit them or make their experience more enjoyable. Yes Marketing in their 2017 reported found that consumers open emails with personalised subject lines at a 50% higher rate compared to emails without personalised subject lines, yet only 2% of emails employ personalisation.

Autoresponders and Email Marketing Automation

Auto responders are responses that are automatically triggered by an action, for example a welcome email when someone signs up to your newsletter or emailing list. Similarly email automation is also triggered based on certain actions and/or filters and are configured to start once that certain action occurs, for example;

  • auto email resend if a recipient does not open an email within a specific period
  • delivery of certain types of campaigns to certain geographies e.g. promotions of winter wear to European recipients only during the winter season in Europe
  • delivery of emails by time zone and best delivery time optimisation so that recipient can receive emails at the best time possible for them to see it and open it.
  • RSS campaigns from a blog or podcast feed is another type of automation configured to deliver an email once a new post or episode is released.

According to Hubspot, 68% of companies use automation and 70% of these companies say that the most important benefit is better targeted communication.

A/B Testing

A/B testing of email subject lines and email content allows email senders to test which subject lines or content will receive the most responses like opens and clicks with the objective of selecting the warmest message for broader distribution to the rest of the emailing list or for extraction of other metrics for use in other campaigns. A/B testing can also be used for entire automations like the welcome automation series. Companies that A/B test every email see email marketing returns that are 37% higher than those of brands that never include A/B tests. (Litmus, 2019)

Ready-made Templates

If you don’t have creative design skills, if you are multi-tasking and you wish a day would have 72 hours instead of 24, or if you have experienced a writer’s or creative block before you will appreciate how valuable templates and visual content editors are. Campaign creation features mainly include code free drag & drop editor, rich text editor, custom HTML editor, newsletter templates to enable anyone to create email campaigns without hassle and technical knowledge. Lead capture forms, pages, website embedded forms and popups to capture email addresses of leads and landing pages to send prospects to learn more about services and products offered are some of the content you can easily create in little time yet producing powerful and beautiful emails. Afterall who wants to spend too much time creating content? Over 20% of marketers surveyed say that email design is improving their email engagement. (HubSpot, 2020)

Website Tracking

Website tracking involves following your website visitors journey across your website and knowing which assets they engaged with, how much time they spent on your website and which pages they spent time on, to collect more insights about subscribers and the information extracted from tracking of website visitors may be used for segmentation, win back campaigns, personalised offers based on pages and products viewed for example among others.

Segmentation

Segmentation is another key feature that makes subscriber management, offer and message targeting easier and precise. Segmentation can be based on location for geo-targeting, on other behaviours like browsing and purchasing which reveal what subscribers are interested in. Such insights make it easier to present relevant and personalised offers to clients and prospects. Email campaigns segmented by user interest see 74.53% higher click rates as compared to non-segmented campaigns. (Mailchimp, 2017)

Report and Dashboards

Reports and dashboards are useful for tracking of email campaign results by opens by location, click maps, emails opens through campaigns and newsletter reports enable higher ROI on campaigns by precisely targeting audiences with the right offer at the right time and price. A series of three emails performs better than a single email: 90% more orders for welcome emails, 63% more for abandoned cart emails, and 75% more for customers reactivation. (Omnisend, 2018)

Integration With Other Tools Like CRM

While some email service providers come with integrated customer relationship management (CRM) features, for those that do not this feature inbuilt they certainly can integrate to the main CRMs available on the market. A CRM is a piece of software that helps organisations create, manage and track customer relationships, capturing key information generated during those engagements and they focus on transactional data and activity from known customers.

High Deliverability

All email engagement efforts and spend would be a waste of time and resources if your intended recipients don’t receive the emails into their inboxes. Any good email service provider should ensure high delivery rates. High bounce rates are the fastest way to be blacklisted and low delivery rates. That is why the ability to constantly clean your email list is key to maintaining your reputation. Most good ESPs also come with inbuilt ways of making sure the emails you send are GDPR or other web laws compliant which reduces the burden on you to ensure this compliance. That is why relying on third party bulk email marketing services is a bad idea, especially when you don’t know the health of their email list.

8 Best Email Service Providers in 2021

GetResponse

ActiveCampaign

Moosend

SendX

Aweber

Mailerlite

Erxes

Sendinblue

 

Conclusion

If you don’t yet have an email service provider, you are leaving money on the table and wasting your time on tasks that you could otherwise automate so you can focus on other things!

 

For discussions on the best tool suitable for you or any other enquiries regarding our services please contact us here

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

Written by lindach

Jun 10, 2020

10/06/2020

These Innovations have been necessitated and/or have thrived because of several challenges which they in turn sought to address.

A lot of technological innovations have taken place over the last 10-15 years but let’s zero in on the three most notable ones that I believe have impacted the business environment more as we know it today, which innovations have also been the major bedrock or drivers upon which many other innovations have been built upon.

The first is artificial intelligence which refers to computers that use algorithms to perform Intelligent decisions, reasoning and problem-solving faster and sometimes better than humans.

The second is machine and deep learning and these access data and learns it to help build better understanding and make sense of that data.

The third innovation is automation. Automation basically entails integrating certain rules in your processes that will trigger certain actions if the rules are met or not met. This allows certain processes to run unsupervised once the rules and triggers etc have been defined and the automation has been enabled to run.

 

REIMAGINING Podcast

These Innovations have been necessitated and/or have thrived because of several challenges which they in turn sought to address. The first is the amount of data that businesses and consumers are generating and receiving and need to process daily. Other innovations that are embedded with the aforementioned innovations and have capabilities to solve real business and consumer needs have sprouted up, leading to a much faster pace of life such that the old manual, much slower approach does not find space in the current order of work and life. Consumers are also demanding more seamless shopping experiences whether online or in-store, have a proliferation of choices such that brand loyalty has become an expensive commodity, their interactions in and around their homes, work and places of leisure and play are inundated with almost frictionless and sometimes virtual experiences, it is impossible to take them to the old world they used to know. The more consumers get exposed, the more they want. These demands by consumers have made the business landscape more complex. On top of that we also have businesses who use these innovations to drive competitiveness, cut costs, simplify work for their staff and interactions and experiences with other stakeholders, the earlier adopters, now even going as far as demanding that their suppliers and customers also implement such technologies in their processes to be able to do business with them. And this is the trend that business is following such that businesses that ignore these developments do so to their own detriment.

The second complexity that has been in existence for a while now is globalisation. While globalisation provides businesses with larger marketplaces and consumers with more purchasing options, it presents businesses with even more challenges of handling huge amounts of unprocessed data from various sources that is difficult to process and make use of without the aid of more sophisticated tools. Meanwhile, consumers are being inundated with information on the internet offering them multiple purchasing options. It therefore becomes key for businesses to have real consumer intelligence so they can properly position their offers.

The third source of complexity is increased regulation as governments and regulators also try to deal with the explosion of information and data and put in place regulations that protect consumers, reduce fraud, tax evasion and other vices.

From the above we find that the business environment was already complex, very complex indeed even before covid-19 came into play, hence a saying by Accenture that “ This presents an opportunity—and a need—for many companies to build the competences they wish they’d invested in before: to be more digital, data-driven”.

So clearly organizations need to go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategies to handle the new landscape that they find themselves in It cannot be business as usual.

 

The following are the 5 key components of any digital strategy that organisations can follow.

 

People

By people we refer to customers, its employees and other stakeholders that include partners, suppliers, government, shareholders and directors. When an organisation looks at its people it needs to start by looking at its customers because they are the ones that the organisation exists to serve. It needs to explore their customers’ needs and how the customers want to be provided with more pleasing and uncomplicated experiences and interactions with their brand. Then it needs to look at how to simplify work so their employees by clearly defining what each of their staff does and release them from repetitive mundane that can be performed by machines and computers better. The organisation can then turn to other stakeholders and look at what they can deliver to preserve and enhance the value for the other stakeholders like seamless connectivity of systems, corporate governance, improvement of compliance and transparency for the organisation and its processes.

Processes

Businesses can look into how their processes can be reengineered to empower their employees to deliver the work they do, and how they integrate their work with each other, partners, suppliers, government and other stakeholders. It also needs to explore how their brand’s cues are perceived. Are they perceived as being authentic, consistent and compelling? Can users interact with them with ease and delight

Products

Products and services may need to be redesigned depending on their current life cycle and in view of the innovations that we discussed earlier so they are competitive and relevant in the post covid-19 era. If they are still relevant they would then need to be taken through the next examination.

Channels

The next step is to look at the channels that the products and services will be delivered through to reach the target customers. Choice of channels may still include brick and mortar, websites, ecommerce sites, social media like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, branded apps and other upcoming channels like Tik-Tok and Reddit.

Technology Platforms

Once a business has going through the above 4, it is ready to review and to determine the platforms and tools that it needs to service the four variables that we mentioned above. The thing to remember is that the tools are not the drivers of strategy and that they must align with the goals of the business. Platforms that may be considered include cloud servers, content management systems, data analytics platforms, augmented, virtual and mixed reality platforms, mobile apps, payment platforms etc.

"So clearly organizations need to go back to the drawing board and come up with new strategies to handle the new landscape that they find themselves in It cannot be business as usual. !"

– Anonymous

" This presents an opportunity—and a need—for many companies to build the competences they wish they’d invested in before: to be more digital, data-driven."

– Accenture

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Why Every Business Needs An Email Service Provider In 2021

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This may sound obvious but it wasn’t until just about three years back that I came across a tool that I could use to organise all my email contacts’, and I had been an entrepreneur for 18 years! Before that I had no idea what was possible regarding email contact...

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

The times that we are in currently are unprecedented and require businesses to reimagine the way they operate. I’m sure you have heard this often enough ‘it cannot be business as usual’. There are fearss of some businesses not making it through this time and many businesses are revisiting their models and strategies to reposition themselves. Yet it is not all gloom and doom.

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

5 Key Components of a Digital Strategy

The times that we are in currently are unprecedented and require businesses to reimagine the way they operate. I’m sure you have heard this often enough ‘it cannot be business as usual’. There are fearss of some businesses not making it through this time and many businesses are revisiting their models and strategies to reposition themselves. Yet it is not all gloom and doom.

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The 3Ds of The Digital Space

The 3Ds of The Digital Space

Removing the confusion that paralyses

The words or phrases digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation have become very widely used, and sometimes interchangeably. But do they really mean the same? Well our starting point would be to explore the various definitions of the three and what people understand from them when they hear or use these words. The objective is to bring some light to the concepts that many are currently using loosely and in the process bringing confusion to their audiences when approaching digital strategies.

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies in an organisation’s processes, models, cultures, competencies and customer experiences across all levels and functions in order to improve efficiencies and effectiveness to better meet the changing business, stakeholder and customer requirements. At the organisational level it involves a shift in culture and approach to the way they do things and its ability to keep changing as needed and inevitably entails monetary and other investments at both the individual as well as organisational levels. It is also about taking risks, upskilling existing talent for adaptation as well as recruiting the best talent in order to meet the technological use requirements that drive the efficiencies and optimisation. At the individual level it calls for commitment and  investment in time and learning, and last but not least a shift in one’s mindset and how one perceives issues around their work and their role in the bigger scheme of things. Individuals and organisations that don’t measure up to the demands of digital transformation may unfortunately find themselves by the wayside.

The form that digital transformation takes can include:

  • Changes to internal processes that free up the employees’ time so it can be spent on other tasks that benefit the customer and impact productivity more positively
  • Automating things like learning, performance management and tracking employee time off
  • Installing tools that allow employees to communicate with each other within the company and outside from wherever they are.
  • Changes to how a customer and other stakeholders interact with your business

Digitisation on the other hand is the process of turning paper information into electronic information and this may be accompanied by automation. However, digitisation and digital transformation have been erroneously used interchangeably as mentioned earlier. In fact, digitisation must precede digital transformation and the two are not equal.

Digital transformation cuts across sectors but it is more prevalent and pronounced in business and the impact thereof more significant than in the public sector for example. There are a number of technologies that are driving digital transformation and these include Big Data, IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence among others and these impact the behaviour of consumers as well as how businesses and other types of organisations carry out their work processes and interact with each other. The end goals of an organisation ultimately should influence how its digital transformation agenda unfolds and at the core of that agenda should be its people and strategy.

Digitisation on the other hand is the process of turning paper information into electronic information and this may be accompanied by automation. However, digitisation and digital transformation have been erroneously used interchangeably as mentioned earlier. In fact, digitisation must precede digital transformation and the two are not equal. We have all experienced government processes where we are required to fill in papers where the filing is manual and papers get lost and the frustrations associated with such processes. Digitisation would refer to the process of turning all that manual paperwork described above into computer driven processes like completing an online form and having the information stored in resident servers or in the cloud.

The third concept we are going to look at is digitalisation and this has also been used interchangeably with both digitisation and digital transformation, and this is where the confusion gets interesting.  Oxford and Wikipedia both define digitalisation as the conversion of information that is in the form of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer. This definition is similar to the definition of digitisation above, while other authorities describe digitalisation as the reorganisation of life and its processes around digital technologies and infrastructures like digital communication and media infrastructures. This school of thought approaches the definition from the consumer angle and how technologies have been integrated into day to day life of the consumer of services. Yet others approach the digitalisation concept from the business angle and define it as the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities, while yet others include in the definition the use of digital technologies and information to transform business operations. What is apparent from the various definitions is that digitalisation is a multi-faceted concept.

In conclusion, we have seen from the above that digitisation is not the same as digitalisation and digital transformation. Digitalisation is best referred to as the reorganisation of life around digital technologies and the use of digital technologies by businesses to enhance their external and internal end users’ experiences and reorganisation of life around these technologies. The state that is attained thereafter is known as digitalised or as having been digitalised. Digital transformation on the other hand is best described as the actual journey of moving from analogue or being digitised to being digitalised. For best outcomes, it is therefore essential to understand the meanings of the various concepts in order to intelligently navigate the digital applications space and come up with appropriate strategies and end goals. It is also essential that the audiences of one’s communication understand the definitions attached to the concepts and how they are being used, especially when crafting and implementing digital strategies within an organisation.

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