But barring any issues, like that, here are a few reasons for recommending someone use an ESP over sending bulk emails from a standard email client, such as Outlook or Yahoo! mail:
CAN-SPAM: The CAN-SPAM law became effective in 2004 and requires that email marketing messages include the physical address of the sender and that unsubscribes are processed and honored within 10 days of the subscribers’ request. This isn’t something that most standard mail clients are set up to handle, but a reputable ESP should offer list management tools that can handle this for you.
Potential blacklisting: Standard email clients are not designed for email marketing. They are not approved for bulk mailings, so your messages will most likely be labeled as ‘spam’ by other email clients as well as by most of the ISPs, which will bounce them back to you or simply delete them. Your efforts will be rendered useless since your message will not reach the intended recipients’ mailboxes and the address you sent it from will eventually be ‘blacklisted.’
Real-time reporting: A comprehensive ESP can provide several, thorough real-time reports on the number of emails sent, the number of emails actually opened and who in your address list actually opened your message; the number of unsubscribes and who unsubscribed; how many were undeliverable and why they were bounced; the click-through rates –including which links in your message were more effective and who clicked through. All this information is invaluable when you plan and evaluate campaigns, fine-tune promotions and want to distribute very targeted marketing materials.
Other benefits of using an ESP include:
- Testing variables, such as when is the best time to send an email or a subject line, to achieve maximum results for your email
- Most ESPs offer a tool that allows you to produce your own HTML emails, even if you don't know HTML. HTML allows you to incorporate columns, images, color, bold, italic, and other elements that are a better way to present information.
Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when picking an ESP. Here’s an article that can help steer you through the process. The last line sums up the process best: “There’s no such thing as a silver bullet for inbox delivery. No single solution or provider will be able to guarantee you perfect results. But the right ESP with the right tools and the will to collaborate on optimization will help you improve your ability to reach your customers effectively.”