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Leveraging ESPs and SMTPs for Strong Email Delivery

Have you ever wondered why some emails end up in spam while others land smoothly on time? Let’s explore the technology and secrets for strong delivery with ESPs and SMTPs!

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Last updated on January 17, 2024

Suppose you’re creating the perfect email campaign: engaging email copy, stunning visuals and a compelling call to action. But if this email never reaches your intended audience, your email marketing efforts are lost for no good. This is why strong email delivery becomes critical. That’s where ESPs and SMTPs become your email marketing allies.

When it comes to email marketing, it’s more than just crafting content. Typically, I see there’s a whole backend operation on the servers. If I need the best email delivery solution, I have to consider server reliability, features, security and scalability before making any decisions.

Do you want the best email delivery solutions for your email campaigns? If so, let’s get you to the best ESP and SMTP servers to boost email delivery rates.

Why ESPs and SMTPs are important for email delivery?

So, let’s put it this way –

Think of an ESP as your email campaign headquarters.

It gives you all the tools you require to plan, create and oversee your email campaigns. With an ESP, you can create successful advertising campaigns that attract audience members by using tools like drag-and-drop editors, pre-designed templates, advanced analytics and workflow automation. In other words, it’s the difference between writing an email on a piece of paper and sending it on a collaborative, high-tech whiteboard.

ESPs provide features such as templates, analytics, segmentation, automation and more. Some examples of ESPs, used in comprehensive email marketing, are Mailchimp, Aweber and Constant Contact. Some folks also consider Outlook and Google Workspace as ESPs but it’s not the case. Outlook and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) are email clients that offer a suite of productivity tools alongside hosting and email services. They aren’t specialized ESPs for email marketing.

As I use WordPress, I rely on Express WP plugin-cum-ESP. With its powerful email sending and delivery capabilities, Icegram Express has provided me with an excellent experience. For more than 100,000 users, this multipurpose WordPress plugin has proven to be a treasure. Express is also used as an email verification tool. Read more about it here.

Let’s now examine the SMTP environment. Legends in email marketing refer to it as a reliable email delivery courier.

SMTP technology serves as the safe conduit. The conduit quickly delivers your usual emails or newsletters over the enormous digital network and dumps them straight into the inboxes of your recipients. Although sending emails straight from your own domain is possible, using an SMTP server provides better security and credibility.

You could say that the likelihood of your message being regarded as spam can be greatly decreased by using a high-quality SMTP provider. Think of it as a VIP lane on the email highway. It guarantees that your email copy is delivered securely and on time. Some examples of SMTPs are SendGrid, Mailgun and Amazon SES.

However, you might ask why to work with both ESP and SMTP. Why not select only one provider? The answer’s pretty simple. It’s similar to having to decide between a delivery truck and a kitchen. Even though both are necessary to have a wonderful meal, one wouldn’t take the place of the other. ESPs and SMTPs complement one another to provide a potent combo for email deliverability.

How do ESP and SMTP band together for strong email delivery?

  • Unrivaled delivery rates: SMTPs boast strong sender reputations and robust security protocols, minimizing the risk of your emails landing in spam folders. Think of it as having a dedicated postal code that guarantees efficient delivery.
  • Precision targeting: ESPs enable you to segment your audience and personalize your emails based on demographics, interests and behavior.
  • Data-driven insights: ESPs provide comprehensive analytics dashboards, allowing you to track open rates, click-throughs and other key metrics. This data empowers you to refine your campaigns and optimize your email marketing strategy for maximum impact. I would say it’s like having a real-time map of your email’s journey. It will guide you towards engagement and conversion.
  • Automation on autopilot: Schedule emails in advance, trigger automated responses based on user actions and nurture leads without lifting a finger. ESPs streamline your workflow so you get ample free hours to focus on email content and strategic planning.

Here’s a detailed overview of ESP and SMTP.

FocusEmail marketing campaign creation, management and deliverySecure and reliable email delivery only
FeaturesDrag-and-drop email builders, Pre-designed templates, Segmentation and targeting tools, Automation workflows, Advanced analytics and reporting, A/B testing, Landing page creation, CRM integration, Lead scoring, Deliverability managementSecure email transmission protocol, Authentication features (SPF, DKIM, DMARC), High sender reputation, High message acceptance rates, Limited control over content and design, No analytics or reporting, No automation capabilities
PricingSubscription-based pricing model, Tiered plans based on features and email volume, Variable costs depending on usage, Some offer free trialsPay-per-email plan, Flat fees based on monthly or annual volume, Most do not offer free trials
Success FactorsEngaging content and creative design, Targeted audience segmentation, Compelling calls to action, Effective automation strategies, Strong deliverability and sender reputation, Data-driven optimization and analysisHigh uptime and reliability, Strong security protocols, Good sender reputation, Optimizing domain and IP reputation
ChallengesMastering various features and functionalities, Building and maintaining email lists, Creating high-quality content consistently, Staying compliant with anti-spam laws, Optimizing deliverability and open ratesManaging email volume and cost-effectiveness, Building and maintaining sender reputation, Implementing authentication protocols, Limited control over email design and content
Ideal forBusinesses with larger email lists and complex marketing needs, Startup companies focused on personalized and automated campaigns, Brands looking for advanced analytics and reportingBusinesses sending transactional or bulk emails, Startups with basic email needs and limited budgets, Organizations prioritizing secure and reliable delivery

Looking for a personalized email marketing tool cum ESP for WordPress/WooCommerce sites? Turn to Icegram Express and feel the email delivery magic.

How to get started with ESP solution for email marketing and email delivery?

Most ESP solutions offer user-friendly drag-and-drop editors, pre-designed templates and customization options to help you create visually appealing and responsive emails.

However, budget and size are crucial. SaaS-based ESPs such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact are appropriate if you are a large organization or startup with a scalable structure.

But here’s my suggestion. I reckon, one of the best ways to ensure your email delivery is to use an ESP that offers a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) service. So, I believe in the mighty prowess of Icegram Express, one of the best email marketing plugins.

Choose affordable ESPs like Express if you’re a small business owner or WordPress seller with a list of less than 50,000 contacts. The best thing about Express is that it offers unlimited email and list capacity in its free edition.

Check out the Pro and Max versions too.

SMTP relay over SMTP: What’s the fuss?

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a standard protocol used for sending emails between servers. On the other hand, SMTP Relay refers to a service that helps deliver emails from your server to the recipient’s inbox efficiently.

An increasing number of enterprises are opting for SMTP relay services to optimize the effectiveness of their email deliveries.

For big businesses grappling with complex email workflows, SMTP relay emerges as a powerful sidekick. It seamlessly handles the complexities associated with large-scale email communication.

CTOs and CEOs prefer SMTP relay service providers for the following benefits:

  • Enhanced deliverability
  • IP reputation management
  • Real-time analytics
  • Load balancing
  • Reliable delivery infrastructure

Here’s a concise breakdown from my perspective:

FeatureSMTPSMTP Relay
FunctionalityEmail transmission protocolEmail transmission service with additional features
Email deliveryBasic sendingEnhanced deliverability with algorithms, ISP relationships and IP management
IP reputationNo management or dedicated IP poolsDedicated IP pools, shielding sender reputation
Analytics and load balancingNo real-time analytics or load balancingDetailed analytics and efficient load distribution
Selection criteriaFocus on setting up email transmissionFocus on delivery rates, IP reputation, security, reliability and support

How to choose a reliable SMTP provider for email delivery?

When choosing an SMTP relay service, consider these key factors:

  • Look for high delivery rates and low bounce rates.
  • Ensure strong IP reputation management for sender reputation protection.
  • Prioritize data security with encryption and secure transmission.
  • Opt for an SMTP provider with excellent uptime for continuous email delivery.
  • Consider prompt customer support for quick issue resolution.

There are many SMTPs in the market but as told earlier, it works best with an ESP.

Read more here: Email sending and mailer service

Here’s how you can use Icegram Express to choose SMTP as an email sending or email delivery service.

esps and smtps email delivery example_use Icegram Express as smtp

Wrap up: Email delivery turns strong with ESP and SMTP as tag team

ESP and SMTP work best in a tag team! ESP crafts the email, while SMTP ensures it gets safely delivered to your audience’s inbox without a hitch.

If you want to cover all bases and get the best results, use both side-by-side.

Equip yourself with the power of ESPs and SMTPs and watch your emails reach their full potential.

Here’s my final tip:

Think about integrating your current ESP platform with other tools and platforms, such as social media channels, e-commerce platforms and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

I’m certain it will help you to optimize the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns because of seamless data synchronization.

If you want to get the power of both ESPs and SMTPs, grab Express and feel the sheer difference.

Check out here what other people have to say about Icegram Express.

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