Who offers the best B2B mailing lists

Email Marketing 7 Tips for Choosing the Best Email Service Provider for B2B Campaigns

Author / editor: Sebastian Kluth * / Viviane Krauss

Email service providers (ESP) support companies with B2B mailing campaigns. But ESPs are more than just senders. They also manage newsletter subscribers and provide processes for bounce and complaint management. They have a major impact on the reputation of a B2B brand and the deliverability of emails.

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Today, email is an integral part of the B2B marketing mix. Corporations rely on newsletters and advertising emails when communicating with customers and partners, as do small and medium-sized companies. E-mail marketing has long been much more than the regular sending of a newsletter to the largest possible mailing list. Automated campaigns with personalized emails offer the recipient exactly the information they want, and reporting that tells the sender which recipients were interested in which articles in the newsletter is now common practice.

Most companies have relied on service providers, the so-called e-mail service providers (ESP), for many years. The requirements from the marketing departments of the companies are as different as the offers of the ESPs. Read here how to find the right ESP for your B2B email marketing.

Requirement profile for choosing the best e-mail service provider

The first step in finding the right ESP is a careful analysis of previous email marketing. What is going well, what is not going well, what do I want to change in my campaigns in the future? Do you just send out regular newsletters and transactional emails or do you want personalized multi-stage campaigns? Orientate yourself to a specific application and play it through completely. This is the best way to see what you really need. Then you create a requirement profile. This is very helpful when choosing the provider. Below are 7 points that you should definitely consider when choosing the ESP.

1. Treat email addresses with care

In e-mail marketing, the addresses of your recipients are your most important belongings and the quality and timeliness of the e-mail addresses contribute significantly to the success of the channel. You should therefore be treated with appropriate care. As a B2B brand, you, of course, are responsible for legally secure registration and deregistration. Make sure, however, that the provider of your choice handles the data in a legally compliant manner and provides the appropriate technical options in order to implement these processes in a legally secure manner. For example, you should always register for a newsletter via a double opt-in (DOI). Registrations must also be logged and be available at any time. Careful bounce and complaint management secures the reputation of your brand in the long term and thus the deliverability of your emails.

2. Segment mailing lists

Emails tailored to the respective target group are a basic requirement for successful email marketing. This is why you should segment your mailing lists for different mailings according to certain criteria such as age, gender or interests. Check to what extent your ESP supports this requirement.

3. Send personalized mailings

The personal address of your mail recipients should be a matter of course, but personalization goes far beyond that. For example, you can set individual delivery times or send out individual product recommendations based on user behavior. Completely automated, triggered multi-stage campaigns are also feasible. Overall, you should try to integrate your ESP as far as possible into your ecosystem, for example by connecting it to the CRM and CMS system or your resource planning.

4. Test different mail variants

A good subject line can have a significant impact on the open rate of emails. You won't know whether a subject is good until you've tried it. Different test procedures from the simple A / B test bin to complex tests with several different mail variants are possible and allow you to optimize your mailings in terms of opening, click or conversion rates.

5. Evaluate mailings correctly

After you have sent your newsletter, you will of course also want to know whether your mailing was successful and whether it has been read. Almost all ESPs offer extensive reporting and analysis functions for this. So think carefully about the numbers you need to evaluate your mailings.

6. Pay attention to deliverability

The most beautiful e-mail is of course of no use if it does not reach the recipient. So make sure that your ESP attaches great importance to the issue of deliverability and takes appropriate measures such as certification by the Certified Senders Alliance (CSA). Also make sure that the ESP of your choice uses the common authentication methods such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC. In addition, the BIMI standard can also be used and the sender's brand logo can be displayed in the inbox, which ensures additional trust with the recipient. The more dedicated the IP and domain setup is offered and implemented for you by the ESP, the better the deliverability and reputation of the e-mails in the inbox can be monitored and influenced.

7. Only use GDPR-compliant addresses

Another important topic is data protection. Violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been in force since May 25, 2018, face severe penalties. When it comes to GDPR, you are of course primarily responsible. You have to make sure that your address list is clean and only contains addresses that were collected in compliance with the GDPR. In addition, you should conclude a data processing contract with your ESP.

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Increase your success through further training measures

Training courses and further education on sending e-mails, deliverability, data management and automation are not absolutely necessary, but serve the constant transfer of knowledge and can help you to increase the success of your e-mail marketing.

Fast and reliable customer support also helps if problems arise.

In the end, you or your budget decide which features end up in your requirement profile.

When deciding for or against a specific ESP, a look at the Email Vendor Selection platform can also help. In addition to many useful tips for choosing the right ESP, more than 400 ESPs are listed here.

* Sebastian Kluth is Technical Lead of the CSA, Certified Senders Alliance.

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