The trouble when turning to LinkedIn for software selection advice

When you are looking for a great Email Service Provider (ESP), agency or marketing automation tool, asking your contacts on LinkedIn or in a LinkedIn Group might seem smart. There must be people in your (online) network who have been in your exact same position.  But it is probably not going to work out as you planned.

Here are 5 need to know facts when looking for an ESP or marketing automation provider on LinkedIn:

Fact 1. Response time on LinkedIn

LinkedIn groups are often not very responsive. Maybe you will get one or two fast replies in the first week. But be prepared to wait. A lot of group members get periodic updates, so many of the answers will take about 2-3 weeks or more. By then you’ve probably already started looking somewhere else.

Fact 2. People in email focused LinkedIn groups

The people that work at Email Service Providers and agencies are busy with email marketing the whole day. It’s what they do, that is what they love. The common interest in email marketing is why they are in LinkedIn groups about email.

These are also the email marketing people that will be the most likely to answer your question. A lot of them might be great to work with, but people recommending their own company was probably not what you were looking for.

Fact 3. Not all email service providers are active on LinkedIn

One golden recommendation could be very helpful. But it still kind of leaves you with an unsure feeling. That’s because you didn’t really see all the different options. You didn’t get an overview of the ESPs that you should be considering. Did you know there are over 300 ESPs? It is very probable that your ideal ESP wasn’t active on LinkedIn that week.

Fact 4. LinkedIn profiles?

Especially in LinkedIn groups, you don’t know all the group members. If you did, you wouldn’t have to ask where to get advice on Email Service Provider selection. Because you could contact them directly.  Now most of the people in these groups are very helpful people, too bad we don’t know them personally. Whose advice is the best and what is the value of their recommendation?

Fact 5. Requirements and your question

That small question box on LinkedIn doesn’t have the space to write all the requirements for your ideal ESP. And in an orientation phase it is very normal that you don’t exactly know what type of ESP you are looking for. Neither do the email professionals that are going to answer your question on LinkedIn. There isn’t one best ESP, but there is an ideal ESP for you and your specific needs. Too bad we don’t know your specific needs.

Next steps for selecting an ESP


In the end, LinkedIn is a great platform, but selecting an ESP is a bit too serious a question to get answered there.

So to get you started, take a look at the ESP selection articles on the site to get a feel for what’s important in selecting an ESP. There is also a complete Email Service Provider list you could use for making your long list of ESPs to choose from. But if you have any questions feel free to get in touch with our team and ask.

PS: All comments that could fall under #2 will be removed from the site.

About Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and analyst. He is the founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, online marketing strategy, software selection, campaign management, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. He tested, reviewed, and wrote about 100+ business software including email marketing services, CRMs, ecommerce platforms, and online course creators. Published in-depth email marketing guides for financial service, ecommerce, travel, restaurant, and fashion industries.
Named one of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch" by Entrepreneur magazine. Companies like Scania, KLM, Unilever, AEGON, CZ, FNV, NRC Media have asked me for advice.

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