All relationships go through ups and downs, highs and lows, so it’s not unusual for that same kind of ebb and flow to happen in your relationship with your ESP. However, if you’re feeling like the lows are all you got, your email problem is chronically sub par, or your ROI is AWOL, it might be time to switch to a new email service provider.
Choosing and migrating to a new ESP is a major undertaking, so it makes sense to first see if you can’t salvage the relationship with the one you have. Maybe there are internal issues within your own organization that can be addressed that will solve the problems. Or maybe you can actively improve relations with your existing ESP.
Make sure the problems are external, not internal
There are several reasons why people will want to switch ESPs when in fact these reasons are internal. They include:
- Deliverability issues
- Dissatisfaction with the platform or its interface
- Unrealistic expectations
- Unexpected costs
- Poor communication
Oftentimes, there are simple best practices that can be followed to improve both the ESP relationship and the email marketing itself. Before blaming the ESP, make sure you’re adhering to best practices on your end. In addition, many times when we see problems, a lack of training can be the culprit. So when you’re reviewing a list of things you can be doing better, keep training near the top of that list.
Can your ESP relationship improve?
Assuming your internal practices are spot on, let’s see if perhaps the problems are the result of a poor working relationship with the ESP that can be improved.
Obviously, if a poor choice was made in the beginning, then it’s harder to make the existing ESP work. Ditto if your organization has outgrown your current ESP. But are there times when a switch is not the answer? Yes. If you’re doing everything internally as you should be then sometimes it’s a matter of improving existing relations, not starting over with someone else.
Below are some ideas for improving this relationship:
- Tell them you are unhappy and why. Give them a chance to fix it.
- Address the support issues. Is the ESP even aware that you’re frustrated by the lack of response and action on their part?
- Read the emails they send you. Answer their phone calls. They are trying to help you. Don’t be too busy to improve things.
- When you have a new project or need that comes up, be upfront with the ESP about your expectations regarding the timing and the pricing. Have a clear understanding of the SLA and use that to your advantage if they’re not adhering to it the way you understood that they would.
- If you’re having issues with platform, maybe it needs to be configured differently for you. Or maybe your staff needs additional training on the platform or special features. Talk to the ESP about these issues.
- Ask for regular status meetings to discuss your programs and ways to fix problems.
- Document uses cases and workflows. Let the ESP review and make suggestions. Often times, if there is a least efficient way to do something, marketers find it.
It takes two to tango. Work with your current ESP to see what kinds of solutions you can come up with to improve the relationship—and have them become your partner in email marketing.
Make sure your expectations are reasonable
If these talks get you nowhere, and you’re still convinced that a new ESP is the only way to fix what ails you, you might want to evaluate your expectations and make sure they are reasonable. Try talking to colleagues at other businesses who are in a similar role to find out about their experiences with their ESP. Your goal isn’t to talk to a sales rep at a competitive email service provider, but to talk to an objective person about your expectations of your ESP, to help you determine if switching even makes sense.
Learn more with the ESP Therapy webinar
To learn more about getting some ESP therapy, tune in to the DMA Email Experience Council’s webinar on September 15th titled, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Get Some ESP Therapy to Help You Know if It’s Time to Say Goodbye.”
This webinar will help you determine if you should stay or go, delving into reasons why a switch might not be worth it. By identifying problems that are actually internal, providing guidance on improving your relationship with your current ESP , and focusing on the non-negotiables you have to have no matter the ESP you’re with, the decision to stay or go will become clear. If none of that ESP therapy brings relief, we’ll give you sound advice about how to go about switching…and making sure you get a good fit the next time!