You want to drive business by sending visually appealing emails that get delivered. This means you’re going to need an Email Service Provider (ESP) — a company or service that allows you to send marketing emails and track your results.

But not all Email Service Providers are created equal. With multiple ESPs in the market today, it can be hard to differentiate between them and find out which company is the best for your business.

How can you choose the best Email Service Provider for your business?

To help you out, look for these five key factors when choosing an ESP: A great product, world-class customer support, a proven history of success, a plan to help you succeed, and a fair price.

1. A great product

First and foremost, you need the product to actually help you deliver emails and drive business. Within the product, make sure the ESP offers the features you need to succeed, including customizable mobile responsive email templates, contact management, email automation, and reporting tools.

Customizable mobile responsive templates – Don’t leave your emails being read to chance. By making sure your ESP offers customizable mobile responsive templates, you ensure that your email will look great on any screen size.

Contact management – The best ESPs tend to have the best contact management capabilities, letting you easily group your contacts into targeted lists. This lets you always send the most relevant emails to the most interested recipients.

Email automation – Set it and forget it. Find an ESP that lets you automatically send the right message at the right time using an autoresponder. When you add new contacts to your automated list, they’ll start receiving a scheduled series of emails. Your audience stays engaged and ready to take action.

Reporting tools – Make sure your ESP offers email tracking tools that tell you who’s opening, clicking, and sharing your emails in real time, so you can plan your next steps.

Wondering how Constant Contact stacks up? Check out our features page to find out.

2. World-class customer support

Whether you’re an experienced email marketer or trying it out for the first time, there are going to be times when you’ll need to speak with a support representative.

An ESP offering phone support is more than just a luxury — it’s essential.

In addition to phone support, an ideal ESP should offer social media support, a vibrant community forum, a dedicated email address for helping customers, a blog bursting with email marketing best practices, and a knowledge base made to answer every question imaginable.

No matter your communication preference when receiving support, your ESP should be there to help you.

3. A history of success

While ‘newer’ might seem better, you want an ESP that has been around long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Look for a company with a track record of adapting to industry changes.

What matters most is what a company’s customers say. Read reviews, look for testimonials, and ask your friends currently using the ESP.

4. A plan to help you succeed

Good ESPs succeed themselves. Great ESPs help you succeed. The best ESPs give you an easy-to-follow plan that makes your email marketing success almost inevitable.

An email marketing plan helps you stay focused, motivated, and accountable.

This means you never have to wonder what and when you’re going to send.

Tip: Check out Constant Contact’s Email Marketing Guide to start sending business-driving emails today!

5. A fair price

Email marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. The best ESPs are affordable and should always bring in far more revenue than they cost you.

As one of the most cost-effective marketing channels, email marketing should provide a return of $42 for every one dollar spent

Be wary of ESPs that claim they won’t ever charge you. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Instead, find a provider that allows you to choose from multiple plan options so you only pay for the features that your business really needs.

The bottom line?

In the end, you want an ESP that will reliably help you drive business.

This requires a superior product with the support to help you make the most of it.

You want an ESP who puts its customers first, and whose customers recognize them for that. And lastly, you want a plan to make sure your emails are the best they could possibly be — all for a fair and transparent price.