A Comprehensive Bulk Email Service Comparison – Pepipost vs the Rest

 In Company, Product

We go under the hood of five different email services and compare each one of them with Pepipost to find out how they stack up in terms of user experience and functionality.

Picking an email service for your business can’t be simple. 

According to one source, there are at least 425 email service providers
to choose from!

Picking the right one for you isn’t just a matter of signing up. You have to learn the ins and outs of the service, figure out whether your requirements overlap with the features offered, and oh, ensure that your other tasks are not interrupted while you learn this new service.

And what happens if for some reason the service doesn’t work out?

When you pick the Wrong Bulk Email Service...

...your entire business can go for a toss, even if you are not relying solely on email. And trust me, it is not that easy!

Here are the things to consider:

Extra legwork involved in the transition

Can’t you always move your email service providers?

You can, but the migration can be daunting, unless there’s an automated tool like a migration API

You will have to import lists, figure out whether your carefully curated segments are saved, and find out if past campaign performance data will get ported over.

You will also need to pause ongoing campaigns (both automated and manual) and switch over everything lock, stock and barrel- media assets, templates, copy.

All that adds up, when you should be rather writing great emails.

Deliverability and email performance issues

Picking the wrong email service can wreck your brand’s reputation, making it toxic for the likes of Gmail who will consign your emails to spam. 

An unsuitable email service might mean that your transactional emails- password reset, invoice, OTP- and marketing emails are not delivered promptly, or at all.

Marketing email deliverability issues not only directly impact your revenue but can have a negative impact on your brand reputation.

Because email reputation is now tied to a domain rather than sender IP address, even changing providers will not help in the short run, and it will take a lot of time to rebuild your reputation.

Higher cost structure

While email marketing is cheaper than running social media or search ads, the more people you add to your lists the more your costs add up.

For many businesses, a huge email list doesn’t necessarily translate into higher profits. As you figure out your conversion rates, it’s necessary to keep costs low. 

That isn’t possible with a lot of bulk email service providers where you have to fork over high 100s, or low 1000s of dollars per month for a 6 figure list.

So, how do you pick the right email tool for yourself? 

Reviews, sure.

Word of mouth recommendations, go for them

But, how about seeing these email services in action to get a feel for how the actual interface would be like, to an absolute beginner?

Tough GIFs | Tenor

A Bulk Email Service Face- off

We decided to pick five other email service providers and compare their features and experience with Pepipost in a video face-off to help you choose better.

Why?

Because regardless of reviews and recommendations, you need to see for yourself, through the eyes of a regular user.

Here’s what we picked as the criteria to grade these services against:

  • Ease of use for first- time users.
  • Technical vs non-technical bias
  • Time taken for common tasks
  • Availability of documentation.

Here was our rough checklist that we ran through for each service:

  • Initial account setup
  • Setting up outbound email
  • Exploring data and analytics offered
  • Exploring reliability features
  • Exploring security features
  • Exploring support features
  • Exploring developer-friendly features

We recorded our screen, and ran through the checklist while comparing against Pepipost for the same criteria. 

The five bulk email services that we evaluated are:

  • Sparkpost
  • Amazon SES
  • Postmark
  • Mailgun
  • Sendgrid

All these services are world-class, but none of them are exactly alike, and it’s not always an apples to apples comparison with Pepipost.

So watch the videos, and draw your own conclusions, because depending on your exact requirements, some features (or lack thereof) might actually be an advantage for you.

Let’s get started.

A Comparison of Two Lightning Fast Email Delivery Services
- Pepipost vs Sparkpost

Sparkpost bills itself as “email analytics and delivery platform" and Pepipost as "Lightning Fast Email Delivery". 

Here’s the Pros vs Cons according to Capterra reviews:

As you can see, the list of pros and cons can be a little confusing for someone who’s evaluating the product.
Here’s what I discovered when I evaluated it, compared to Pepipost.

Criteria Sparkpost Pepipost
Account Setup Guided onboarding workflow Guided onboarding workflow
Setting up outbound emails Easy to get started, with a test email. Templates are confusing, but it is a built in feature. Easy to get started, with a test email. Templates are not built in, but can be integrated.
Analytics and Metrics Fewer metrics, but no real time data 8 different metrics, both historical and real time
Security, access control and reliability Adequate reliability metrics. No special security features like 2FA or MFA. Can create sub-accounts. Ditto. Can create accounts for team members with reduced privileges.
2FA is available on demand.
Documentation and Support A bit harder to access from your workspace. No live chat option Easy to access documentation and support from each page in the backend.
Live chat and extensive tutorial library also available.
Developer friendly features Plenty of developer documentation, code samples, libraries etc Ditto.
Integration with third parties Hard to understand and easily access Multiple integrations with different products including Zapier.

Watch the comparison video here:

Pepipost vs Sparkpost Final Recommendation

Comparing Two Most affordable Bulk Email Service on the Planet - Pepipost vs Amazon SES

Amazon SES is a pure-play SMTP service, where you can use it as a backbone to send transactional emails (though you can also send marketing emails, with a lot more elbow grease).

Here’s what the website looks like

According to Capterra, here’s the pros and cons

It’s a highly technical product, and is best suited for apps that are already built off other AWS services.

Here’s what I discovered when I compared it with Pepipost.

Criteria Amazon SES Pepipost
Account Setup Fairly simple, though no onboarding workflow inside the app Has an intuitive onboarding workflow.
Sending out the first email Easy to send out a test email. Harder to add email addresses in bulk, needs a template API to integrate third party templates Outbound email setup is fairly intuitive. No built in templates either.
Analytics and Metrics Limited metrics. Extensive metrics across 8 different KPIs, along with real time and historical data
Security, reliability and access control All security and access control is through AWS services like multifactor authentication and account management.
Some users have reported deliverability issues with the service.
2FA available on demand. Reliability metrics provided about email delivery.

Also, sub accounts can be created for team members with lower access privileges.

Documentation and Support Extensive documentation, multiple support options (but no chat apparent), but lack of tutorials on the site. Ditto. Live chat available from inside the app.
Extensive tutorials also available.
Developer friendly features Geared towards those already familiar with Amazon services. Has a steep learning curve Has extensive developer documentation, can be accessed by anyone regardless of their experience with a particular tech stack.
Integration with third parties Integration possible through APIs, but no built in integrations Has a long list of third party integrations.

Watch the comparison video here

Pepipost vs Amazon SES Final recommendation:

A Teardown on Possibly The Two Best Transactional Email Service -Pepipost vs Postmark

Postmark doesn’t kid around: it straight up says that it’s a “transactional email service with exceptional delivery.”

So if you want to send notifications, password resets, OTPs, shipping information, invoices post purchase etc Postmark has your back.

Here’s a list of pros and cons according to Capterra.

Here’s what I found when I compared it with Pepipost:

Criteria Postmark Pepipost
Account setup Simple instructions on how to integrate the product with your web or mobile app Setup is a bit involved, but there’s an easy to follow onboarding guide.
Sending out the first email Have to answer some questions to get account approved for sending emails Test emails can be sent, but you will need to authenticate your domain to get out of the Sandbox
Analytics and Metrics Not very clear for a new user what kind of data is provided by the product 8 different metrics, both historical and real time data provided
Security, reliability and access control 2FA provided, can invite other users, but no clarity on reliability metrics 2FA available on demand.Reliability metrics clearly defined, and other users can be added with similar or reduced permissions
Documentation and Support Plenty of documentation and support options available Live chat available, contextual help articles available on each page in the app.
Extensive tutorials also available.
Developer friendly features Extensive developer documentation Ditto
Third-party integrations Can be integrated with other products through API Readymade third party integrations available

Watch the comparison video here

Pepipost vs Postmark Final recommendation

If it is about SMTP Service; These two services are as close as it gets -Pepipost vs Mailgun

Mailgun calls itself the “Transactional API Email Service for Developers.

So, if you are looking for an API to send out transactional emails Mailgun might be in the shortlist.

Here’s a list of pros and cons of Mailgun, according to Capterra.

Here’s what I found when I compared it with Pepipost-

Criteria Mailgun Pepipost
Account setup There’s an onboarding checklist, complete with a progress indicator measured in percentages, but the user interface is a little confusing for a new user. An easy to understand initial setup and onboarding process to get your account ready for sending emails.
Sending out the first email User gets a sandbox to try out the email sending feature, and can send upto 5000 free emails/month for 3 months after providing credit card details User gets a sandbox, and can also send 30,000 emails for free for a month, and then 100 emails/day for free, without any credit card details.
Analytics and Metrics Without an upgrade, analytics are limited to a few metrics. 8 historical and real time metrics around deliverability and email performance are offered.
Security, reliability and access control Easy to understand access control settings. 2FA built in, and reliability metrics are shown as well. Access control and adding team-members are not immediately apparent. Reliability metrics in terms of delivery rate is available.
2FA available on demand.
Documentation and Support Robust documentation and support for developers. Phone, chat and ticket support available Support articles are easy to access from respective pages inside the app. Chat support available, apart from email.
Extensive tutorials available.
Developer Support Robust documentation and code samples for developers Ditto
Third party integrations Can integrate only through API Apart from API, Pepipost offers built in integrations with over 30 products, and through Zapier with thousands of other products.

Watch the comparison video here

 

Pepipost vs Mailgun Final Recommendation

The Clash of Titans - Pepipost vs Sendgrid

Drum Rolls, pBullease...

Sendgrid is Pepipost’s most feature-rich peer. Sendgrid is a combination of a fully loaded email marketing tool along with a transactional email platform.

So if you go to their dropdown in the Product on the nav-menu, here’s what you see.

Here’s a list of pros and cons according to Capterra.

Sendgrid is a part of a massive enterprise company and while the product is billed for any type of email user, the reviews reflect some issues and annoyances when it comes to product quality and processes. 

Here’s what I found when I compared it with Pepipost:

Criteria Sendgrid Pepipost
Account setup Easy to understand onboarding process. Account goes through an initial lockdown period in some cases where you have to answer some questions about your email strategy.. You can set up your account by following an easy to understand onboarding process.
Sending out the first email Test email can be sent out, complete with picking a custom template. Contacts can also be easily added through CSV Test email can be sent, but there are no integrated templates.
Analytics and Metrics Plenty of metrics available, for both transactional and marketing emails. Live data is not readily apparent Pepipost has adequate metrics, but less than that available in the Sendgrid dashboard. Both live and historical data easily available
Security, reliability and access control There’s 2FA, metrics to show the deliverability of email, and an easy way to invite team members to run email marketing 2FA available on demand.
Deliverability metrics available, and team members can operate their own accounts.
Documentation and Support Extensive documentation and support options, but harder to find on the interface.
No live chat option
Documentation is also extensive, and easy to access from inside the app.
Live chat feature available, along with a large tutorial library.
Developer Support Very friendly for developers in terms of third party libraries, code samples etc Ditto
Third party integrations Massive list of integrations with third party tools Fewer integrations with third party tools.

Watch the comparison video here

Pepipost vs Sendgrid Final Recommendation

Woah! That has been Long. So.. Time for Some Final Thoughts

To pick a bulk email tool, make a list of the features that you will need today, and at least 6 months down the line.

Don’t get seduced by products with massive feature lists; sometimes, those bells and whistles can distract you from the jobs to be done. In fact, a product with fewer features but great documentation, tutorials and support will offer better user experience.

I am sure that with this extensive teardown comparison of all the email service providers you are ready with your pick.

But wait, what did you essentially looked at?

In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that any bulk email service provider ought to clocked on four factors. Now, re-iterating those four factors, they were-

  • Ease of use for first- time users.
  • Technical vs non-technical bias
  • Time taken for common tasks
  • Availability of documentation.

Summarising these four pointers based on the comparison, I can for a fact find our very own email delivery superhero -

Pepi having an upper hand on all the counterparts!

 

 

And if you think, it's a large shameless plug, let's look at how G2.com compares all the Bulk Email Services.

The rating itself, speaks volume!

Pick a product that doesn’t lock you in and is extensible- for instance, with Pepipost you can hook up open source email marketing solutions through direct integrations, or through Zapier.

This ensures that even if you want to change email marketing providers, your email infrastructure remains the same. 

Let us know what you think and feel free to drop in your views in the comment section below!

Happy Sending!

#fortheloveofemails

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