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What is an email service provider?

An ESP, or an email service provider, is a business which provides other businesses with email services. The most well-known ESPs are Gmail, Outlook, AOL, Yahoo or GMX. Often, these services can be used in pair with an email marketing platform, which is a type of software from which you can manage your email campaigns as an email marketer.

There are two kind of ESP:

  • Consumer Email Service Provider, such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo. They offer common features to consumers, including having an email address (e.g. [email protected]) and the ability to send and receive emails.

  • Business Email Service Providers, which provide business-oriented feature for email marketing. This category contains different type of product:

    • Email Infrastructure Providers (EIP), such as Amazon SES, Sendgrid, etc.
    • General Email Service Providers (GESP), such as Mailchimp, MailerLite, etc.
    • Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP), such as Mailmeteor, Active Campaign, etc.

What does an ESP offer?

ESP offers email marketing solutions, with features including:

  • List management;
  • Templates;
  • Auto responders and Mail Scheduling;
  • Delivery engine;
  • Tracking;
  • Spam Testing;
  • Marketing automation;
  • Dynamic messages (aka personalization);
  • HTML and Text formatting.

Historically, GESP and MAP offered different functionality, but today they have now mostly converged.

What is the best email service?

Different sized businesses will need different sized email service providers for their audience and needs – but the ESP meaning will stay the same. The only way to find out which is best for your business is to research the different options available online.

If you use Gmail, your best bet is to use a tool like Mailmeteor that works seamlessly with Gmail.