The Supreme Guide for Choosing an SMTP Relay Service

 In Email Deliverability

SMTP is a simple and effective way of sending your business emails. Although this technology has been around for quite some time, it is one of the most effective ways of getting your emails into your customer’s inboxes. If you’re looking for an SMTP relay service to help deliver your business emails, this post will take you through all the things you need to consider before choosing an SMTP Relay Service.

In this guide, we will help you discover the most important qualities your SMTP relay service needs to have. Whether you are a new business looking for an SMTP relay service the first time around, or a business looking to change your SMTP relay service, this list is for you.

Benefits of using an SMTP Relay Service

By choosing the right SMTP relay service by carefully consider all the required aspects, you will-

Save Time

The last thing that any developer or brand wants is to spend hours looking for the right SMTP relay service, only to change providers at a later date because a configuration isn’t working as desired. Or worse, because your brand’s outbound emails stop flowing.

Switching SMTP providers may end up costing you a significant amount of time and effort depending upon how your service integrates into your existing infrastructure. And depending on the service you’re migrating to, your emails deliverability is also likely to take a hit.

Avoid Email Deliverability Issues

While choosing an SMTP relay service, it’s important to understand that the delivery of your email over SMTP is directly impacted by your service provider. Your emails will only get engagement if they reach your users' inboxes.

For example, if your provider has a poor reputation or infrastructure problems, then your ability to reach inboxes could be affected. Emails have the highest power and one of the best-recorded ROI in the industry to convert your prospects into customers and have your existing customers continue using your service. You don’t want to miss out on this just because you chose the unsuitable SMTP relay service for your business.

That’s why it’s important to choose the best SMTP relay service that will do everything possible to help your emails reach inboxes, not spam folders.

Maintain Your Professional Reputation

Choosing an SMTP relay service is not only an important technical decision, but it’s a professional decision as well.
Whether you’re making this decision as an employee, or as a consultant on behalf of your clients, Choosing the right SMTP relay service the first time around can make you look like a real hero!

Now that you understand why choosing the right SMTP relay provider is so important, here’s an actionable checklist to make sure you make the right choice.

Choosing the Right SMTP Relay Service

The right SMTP relay service should be able to provide you with a number of features that are essential to your email sending requirements, should be able to get your emails into the inbox, promptly and efficiently, and be affordable to you at every stage of your business growth. Here are the factors you need to look out for:

Know your feature requirements

Every business, of any size, has varying requirements from their SMTP relay service. You need to make sure you know what kind of emails you will be sending and what features you are looking for before setting out on the hunt for SMTP relay services.

Here are some of the most commonly required features you need to look out for while making the critical decision of choosing an SMTP relay service.

Sandbox Testing

A sandbox allows you to test emails being sent through your SMTP relay service. You can get a real-time live feed on the emails you send. For SMTP relay services like Pepipost, you'll see an analytics graph showing the status of your emails vs the number of emails sent. Plus. a suppression feature that shows the emails or domains which have been suppressed. This is instrumental in getting a fair idea of the deliverability and the efficiency of the service provider.

Easy of Integration

Make sure your SMTP relay service is able to provide you with a facility to easily integrate their service into your backend. For SMTP relay services like Pepipost, you can get started with your email sending in 3 quick steps.

All you need to do is:

  • Change the SMTP username and the password with your Pepipost credentials. You can find the credentials in the user interface at Settings -> Integrations.
  • Set the server hostname to smtp.pepipost.com.
  • You can connect via unencrypted TLS on ports 25, 2525, and 587.

In SMTP, one mail is sent at a time. All you have to do is connect your mailing server, or servers (if you have multiple) to Pepipost’s server.

You might also like: Which SMTP port should you choose to send emails?

Real-time Email Tracking

Your SMTP relay service should be able to provide you with real-time analytics on their dashboard. These analytics should monitor all your emailing activities and show updates on opens, clicks, and bounces (The reason for a bounce as well) for emails you send in real-time.

It is generally better if the SMTP relay service provider also allows you to store transactional logs of your emails up to a certain number of days. Email tracking is an essential part of analytics as your engagement rates are directly proportional to your email deliverability.

The higher your email deliverability is, the better chances you have of landing into the inbox the next time as well.

Analytics and Reports

You should make sure your SMTP relay service can provide access to real-time data about your emails like:

  • Whether or not your email was delivered? If not, why did it bounce?
  • If delivered, you can look at details on the opens of the emails.
  • You are able to apply filters by status, tags, or date and view the activity history for all messages sent to a specific email address.

The service you choose must also be able to to give you actionable reports which you can drill down to get actionable analytics from your campaign.

Some other features you should look out for are:

  • Domain authentication and link branding
  • Multiple sender addresses
  • Reverse DNS
  • Custom DKIM Keys
  • ISP feedback loop data
  • Automated IP warm-up
  • Suppression management and automated bounce handling
  • GDPR and other regulatory compliance.

Look at email deliverability Rates

Why? Because, by investing in your email programs, you’re building customer relationships. Investing more in email marketing doesn’t just mean sending more emails.

To have a chance of engaging customers and prospects, your messages have to land in their inboxes.

Not every SMTP relay service can ensure your emails get delivered at the same rate. Ask potential services about their delivery rate and how they work with their customers to keep that rate high. You can also check out their case studies and reviews to get a fair idea of their average inboxing rates.

You want to look for an average delivery rate of 98% or higher.

Keep in mind that delivery rates are a combination of how the SMTP relay service ensures delivery to inboxes on the backend and how you use the service, so be sure to ask for any resources they offer on best practices for content and list management.

Pepipost integrates AI algorithms into their email sending technology. This ensures your emails get delivered and also helps you boost your engagement rates.

Clearly Define your Budget

Email doesn’t need a big budget to be effective but, in marketing, effective often isn’t enough. If you want awesome campaigns and analytics, you need to make sure you’ve got the appropriate budget in place.

There are very basic free email marketing tools available and there are email marketing tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars with heaps of advanced functionality.

While enterprise-level providers may seem attractive in theory, if you don’t actually use all those extra features (which can take a lot of time to learn how to use) you’re just throwing good money away.

You have your choice of low, medium, and enterprise-level providers. Choosing the right one for your needs can keep your costs low and the return on your efforts high, while still delivering the functionality you need.

Keep in mind that investing in email can result in a much better payoff than investing the same amount in search or social.

A good practice is always to choose a service like Pepipost that offers a number of pricing plans to make sure you only end up spending money on the number of emails you send. Also, make sure you compare the amount you spend for each email across SMTP relay services.

Check the Support Promptness

Your SMTP relay service should function as an extension of your marketing team—seamlessly and without much hassle. But there will be occasions when you’ll need some help. When that happens, it’s critical to have access to a smart and resourceful customer support team to help you address any issue.

Some of the easy ways to check the quality of support provided by the service are by asking some simple questions.

  • See how long it takes to get through to a rep via email or on the phone.
  • Browse the online knowledge base.
  • Ask for help importing your list or creating segments.
  • Ask what other resources they offer to help customers succeed.

While a lot of the free SMTP tools might seem appealing, many aren’t set up to support you when you really need it. If you’re a professional marketer—with goals and KPIs to achieve—you need to know that, if something goes wrong, you can get help quickly.

You’re much better off using a professional-quality email tool like Pepipost that offers 24/7 customer support.

Making an Informed Decision- Comparing SMTP Relay Services

Choosing the perfect SMTP relay service is critical to your company’s success, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Use the tips in this guide and this handy checklist to help make your choice.

  1. Decide whether an SMTP relay service is the right option for your business
  2. Make sure you know what features you’re looking for
  3. Check the deliverability of various SMTP relay services
  4. Know how much you’re willing to spend
  5. Make sure you have 24/7 support

Wrapping Up!

When you’re choosing an SMTP relay service, look and see if they offer high-end privacy features. Although some SMTP relay services can get you very high deliverability rates, they aren’t necessarily the safest.

Here is a list of some SMTP relay services that offer high-end security and great deliverability rates. You can check out a detailed comparison of these services here.

  1. Pepipost
  2. Mailgun
  3. SMTP2Go
  4. Sendgrid
  5. Sparkpost

Did this help you choose your SMTP relay service? What SMTP service did you go with, and what do you think of it? We want to hear what you think. Share it with us in the comments below.

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