How to Choose the Best ESP for your Email Deliverability Check

Zack Aab

2 minute read

Choosing the best ESP (Email Service Provider) can feel like shopping for a car; a ton of conflicting recommendations, a thousand different models, and a lot of excessive features that seem neat in the showroom, but won’t ever be used on the road. Similar to this, in marketing, it’s important to be organized and have a clear goal. Check your email deliverability first. This means identifying your needs and your nice-to-haves first, while also knowing the difference between the two.

First, answer these questions:

What’s my budget?

This means you also need to know your email ROI, or at least your target ROI. There are a lot of options, so knowing how much you are willing to spend can help you narrow down the field.

What does your buyer’s journey/nurture/conversion look like?

Tracking your metrics is critical to a successful email program, so identify the data you’ll need before you get started.

What’s your sending volume?

You need to know if a shared or dedicated IP is right for you. Some ESPs only offer one or the other, and there’s often a significant price difference.

  • In order to sustain a good sending reputation on a dedicated IP, we recommend sending a minimum of 300,000 emails per month.

What tools are you already using?

Your ESP needs to communicate with your other platforms and tools smoothly and quickly. You’ll waste hundreds of hours if you are constantly exporting, re-formatting and importing.

      • For example, if you already have a great CRM, you therefore know you need an ESP that integrates with it and you don’t need to spend the money on a bundled CRM.
      • The converse is that many ESPs offer bundled tools that work perfectly together, such as CRMs and content design services, but these may take time to switch to. Always consider the cost in time, as well as money.


Having this information will help you identify your actual needs, and narrow the field of potential ESPs.

Once you’ve started to connect with salespeople and investigate features, don’t forget the following:

How will the ESP help you maintain a good reputation with the ISPs you send to?

  • Does the ESP offer white-labeled authentication, Feedback Loop registration, reverse DNS, subdomains, and/or link-tracking?
  • If you decide on a shared IP, does the ESP monitor and work with the reputation of its customers to avoid bad apples in the IP pool?
  • Does the ESP offer assistance with legal compliance for your market, such as CAN-SPAM, CASL, or GDPR?
  • Does the ESP automatically suppress unsubscribes, hard bounces, and misspelled domains?
  • How can you synchronize this information with your current tools?

That’s it.  Answering those questions will help you identify your needs and cut through the sales pitch to make sure your ESP is the right choice.

Have more questions about ESPs? Send us a message.

Trendline Interactive

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About the Author(s)

Zack Aab

Before learning how to use email, Zack worked in computer repair, blacksmithing, video production, and knot-tying, but not all at once. Zack has his CIPP/US certification, is definitely not a lizard person, and likes normal human things like email and data privacy and basking on sunny rocks. Follow Zack on LinkedIn

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