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There are many elements that go into a successful email marketing effort. Among the most obvious are the needs to acquire new and useful email addresses and to create engaging, valuable content. However, there are also many other less apparent factors that, if overlooked, can have a severely negative impact on an email marketing campaign’s overall effectiveness.

One such factor is the role of the email service provider (ESP). As several marketing experts have highlighted, it is critical that email marketers choose the right ESP.

The right tools

There are several things that a marketer should look for when choosing an ESP. Some are fairly straightforward. For example, it is obviously important that the ESP be reliable and easy to use.

Wikus Engelbrecht, writing for iMedia Connection, noted that another key to choosing an ESP is customer support. According to the writer, many ESPs offer tools that can help an email marketer maximize his or her efforts. Data management tools can help the company keep its archived messages orderly and easily accessible.

Additionally, Engelbrecht argued that a good ESP will offer tutorials and other training tools to help email marketers improve their efforts.

The right service

Another factor when choosing an ESP is its handling of email lists. As numerous marketing experts have highlighted, email list management is critical for marketers, as failing to do so will result in wasted time and resources. A big part of proper list management is email list cleansing – the removal of invalid or otherwise undesirable addresses, such as duplicates.

Engelbrecht noted that many ESPs automatically remove duplicate email addresses from the senders’ lists. However, many others do not. For optimal efficiency, it is important for email marketers to choose an ESP that can provide this and other list management services.

Reputation

Andrew Bonar, writing for EmailExpert, noted that one more key to choosing the right ESP is IP reputation practices. Bonar pointed out that IP reputation is a key factor that determines whether a sender’s message winds up in the recipient’s spam folder or inbox. Some ESPs assign every client its own IP address, while others share addresses among their customers. To avoid the risk of being associated with a spammer, Bonar recommended marketers select an ESP that follows the former practice.