What is an Email service provider (ESP)?
An email service provider (ESP) is a company that offers email services. Email (marketing) services come in all shapes and sizes. So Email Service Provider is a pretty broad definition. Luckily there are some categories.
E-mail marketing platform
In common language an ESP is a company that helps you to send E-mail marketing messages by offering an e-mail marketing platform or e-mailtool. There are many companies that offer self-service email marketing platforms.
Functionalities of these platforms differ, but the most basic functionalities include:
- Create e-mail templates and/or the use pre-made templates
- Maintain a subscriber list, which is uploaded by the user for distributing messages.
- Send e-mail, which allows users to distribute their message to the subscribers
- See statistics and reports of e-mailcampaigns and individual e-mail to measure the success of the campaigns
Agency style Email Service Providers
Next to offering an e-mail marketing platform, many agency-style email service providers also offer additional services like creation, consultancy, training, etc. These agencies are known as full-service ESPs. Some only work with their own or one specific platform, others will work with multiple platforms or on the clients’ own e-mail marketing platform. While these agencies are called full-service, many of them allow their clients to pick the services they want ‘a la carte’ and do the rest in-house or with help of another company.
Additional email marketing services
Next to the email marketing platform and the agency style services, there are many additional services in the e-mail marketing that would justify the label ‘ESP’.
- Deliverability services
- List broking
- Mail transfer Agents (MTA)
- Rendering test platforms
- White listing services
- (Inbox) monitoring
- CRM and survey tools
- Campaign management software