*This article was written by Abby Siciliano, Director, Business Development at Tinuiti
For a scaling business, evolving your MarTech stack over time is critical to help support increased sophistication in campaign execution and analytics.
When it comes to your email program, if your business goals and growth plans aren’t in alignment with the functionality of your Email Service Provider (ESP), the effects can be felt by your internal stakeholders as well as customers and prospects. Technology investment decisions can take the growth of your brand to new levels, so it is important to spend time reviewing your technology tools yearly to identify opportunities to improve your marketing program.
If you’re experiencing any pain points with your current ESP, but aren’t sure if it’s time to move on, here are some questions to ask yourself and your team:
- In the past year, was there anything you wanted to do in your ESP but the system wasn’t able to support your idea?
- Has your email list grown substantially?
- Are you looking for a platform that supports additional channels such as SMS messaging as part of your CRM marketing mix?
- Is there an opportunity to consolidate your email systems?
- Are your reports missing data that you wish you could easily see?
- Is the support that you are receiving from your ESP timely and helpful?
- In summary, are you still seeing value from your ESP?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, it may be time to look elsewhere for your email technology – so keep reading.
You may know what I am about to tell you, but you can do better. The level of creativity and sophistication of your email program should never be limited by your platform. If that’s the case, take these 5 steps towards a happier, healthier email program.
Step 1: Identify your top 3 “must-haves”
Think about the functionality you can’t live without in an ESP and consider the lack thereof to be a deal-breaker when it comes to email technology selection. Be sure to set your sights high and aim for the “must haves” that align with your achievable business goals over the next 3-5 years to ensure you don’t outgrow a new tool early in the relationship.
Email migrations are time and resource-intensive, and the last thing you want is to be re-reading this article a year from now as you face another migration possibility.
Step 2: Schedule some demos
Once you’ve identified a few tools that, on paper, will meet your needs, it’s time to begin the vetting process. Meet teams, get access to platforms, and even plan on-site visits. Don’t cut corners when reviewing a new ESP.
Ask questions and, wherever possible, provide specific use cases of more complex executions to ensure the platform can support your most complicated ideas. In some cases, you may be able to sign up for free access or get a demo account. Every interaction with ESPs sales, support, and technical representatives should exceed your expectations. Trust your intuition – if you don’t get warm and fuzzy vibes, keep looking.
Step 3: Talk to colleagues
While demo calls are great, you’ll want to get an understanding of the real-world experience working with a vendor, especially one that you heavily rely on for revenue generation. Ask the ESPs on your shortlist to provide a list of references to speak with about their tool.
For a more objective read, solicit feedback on LinkedIn, talk to your team about past experience, or contact an agency specializing in CRM & Email Marketing (like Tinuiti) to get insights to help inform the selection process.
Step 4. Make a pros and cons list
I know, back to basics here, but it really helps! Use the knowledge you’ve gathered from ESPs, references, and your network as a base for your pros and cons review. Better yet, challenge the ESP to help formulate your comparison points for you. No one knows a product better than the people who work with it every day.
Step 5: Make a decision and plan for migration
Migrations are large-scale projects; ask anyone about their migration experience and you’re likely to get a sour-faced reaction. They are time-intensive, complicated, and, in my experience, NEVER go as planned. With your team still supporting the day-to-day business needs within the email program (along with other responsibilities, I’m sure!) consider bringing in the experts to do the heavy lifting.
Tinuiti is now offering full-service migration packages with ESP selection assistance and expert technical support. Want to learn more? Get in touch.