When talking about email marketing, we primarily focus on creating a good copy, email automation, engagement, finding leads, sending a strong message, etc. It’s about what we can see and what directly impacts the results of those email strategies.
Marketing teams don’t think about what’s happening in the backend, they leave this to IT specialists. However, this infrastructure can significantly impact the overall performance of your email campaigns and needs to be set up correctly.
Whether you’re a business owner or marketing manager, this information can help you with your email strategy.
What is Email Infrastructure?
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear “infrastructure” is something like railroads, construction and road networks, but the invisible infrastructure also supports different operations.
Email infrastructure is the backend framework including various software and hardware supporting all actions associated with email messages. At its core, email infrastructure is designed to help companies deliver and receive emails from their customers quickly, emphasizing customer experience.
Email infrastructure consists of several components:
- Reputation management solutions
- Mail agents
- Feedback loop
- IP address
Business email is an essential part of every organization. That’s why you need to set up an email infrastructure you can rely on during your daily operations. Before we talk about finding the proper infrastructure for your needs, let’s see what types are there.
Types of email infrastructure and their benefits
Finding the right email delivery infrastructure from large comprehensive solutions to niche infrastructure that focuses on a specific industry or service can get complicated. Choosing the wrong option can increase costs, and lower response times.
There are different types of email infrastructure you should consider carefully:
Open-source email infrastructure is a completely free platform that allows companies to change code and adjust functionalities according to their needs. However, these kinds of services usually come with many unwanted emails and spam messages.
Open-source platforms let you create as many email accounts as you want and send unlimited messages. Since there are no subscription fees, you can quickly scale the number of users without considering your budget.
Companies can also decide the number of users and set any limits they want with complete control over their email. Open-source solutions are also more secure and can be integrated with various tools. However, these services require IT knowledge and people to manage your platform internally.
2. Commercially licensed (on-premise MTA)
Commercially licensed on-premises mail transfer agent is all about dependability and having complete control. Marketing teams can adjust their sending configuration completely and find easy backend integrations.
Every aspect of email can be managed and adjusted according to specific needs. Different types of bounces are marked in the desired way, and both mailbox send rate and ISPs can be configured individually.
Besides getting an email infrastructure adjusted explicitly for your organization, on-premise solutions give a holistic overview of all the processes. It’s achieved through comprehensive integration. Local data is integrated with the email platform to get better insights.
3. Cloud-based MTA service
Cloud-based MTA infrastructure lets companies start their campaigns right away. They can deal with migration and integration to start creating campaigns. Apart from being a quick option, it also doesn’t require IT resources to configure emails and manage them on an ongoing basis.
Cloud email communication has no costs associated with installation or hardware. The whole infrastructure is set up in the cloud by the service provider.
Another benefit of using cloud-based infrastructure is that the service provider handles IP management and security. This option also offers incredible scalability without the need for any configurations or integrations.
4. Hybrid cloud sending
This option combines both on-premise MTA and cloud-based MTA. Like all the other types, it has its advantages as well. For example, if your cloud is currently down because of maintenance, updates, or something else, your on-premise MTA can pick up.
This support goes both ways – outages or downtime won’t affect your email communication. Hybrid solutions also deal with deliverability issues by offering reroutes using different SMTP relays. Organizations can also divide their lists based on user activity.
More active subscribers can be sent to on-premise MTAs, while the cloud infrastructure can be reserved for less active users. Companies can control their campaigns more effectively while reducing costs with this approach.
How to Choose the Right Email Infrastructure
Depending on the size of your business, industry, marketing needs and volume of marketing campaigns, you might have different needs. At the same time, some companies don’t deal with many customers and have simpler workflows.
Here are some things you should consider based on your needs to choose the right option for your business.
Usability and reliability
Cloud solutions are at the top when it comes to ease of use. They don’t require any setup, maintenance, or configuration on your part. You get everything out-of-the-box and start using the solution right away.
However, you must also consider the user interface. Is it easy to navigate through everything and execute tasks at ease? You should also check how satisfied the users are with customer support and the time needed to resolve issues.
If there’s a problem and your cloud provider isn’t responsive, you might lose valuable time. You should also check how often downtimes happen. When you’re using an on-premises email infrastructure system, no external factors affect reliability.
Data and servers security
Security is an essential factor for these kinds of tools. Some companies have more robust security needs as they have to consider regulations and compliance. Cloud solutions lack flexibility and can’t be configured for different regulations like CCPA or GDPR.
In this case, it’s better to go with on-premise MTA or open-source options. However, if you don’t have any complex requirements and want to protect your emails from common threats, a reliable cloud solution could be the right choice.
Email deliverability rate
Email deliverability rate is also called acceptance rate and it’s a number that shows how successful a marketer is in delivering emails to customers. No matter what type of email infrastructure you’re interested in, check this number.
Avoid providers that can’t give you this information because they probably don’t offer great performance. Consider email marketing tools with at least a 95% deliverable rate or even better email verification tools. “Missing” emails is a big issue that might cause you to miss out on potential sales and lose money.
Investing time and effort in going through all your sent emails and re-sending them will also prevent employees from focusing on their core tasks, leading to lower efficiency overall. Email deliverability equals ROI.
The level of support is equally important with all types of email clients. You need to find a responsive provider that can deliver valuable information or send IT support to get your system back online.
Service support includes configuration, release, change, problem, and incident management. Check what kind of contact point the provider offers. Do you have to call them on the phone, is there a service desk, or do you need to contact them on live chat?
One of the best ways to check this is by looking at testimonials and reviews. Consider getting a free trial and request help to see what level of service support they provide.
Cost is one of the critical factors for any kind of client, software, or service. As we’ve mentioned earlier, cloud solutions are paid every month. They are usually charged by the number of accounts you use and email communication volume.
It could be an excellent option for companies that want to increase their email budgets as their revenue grows. Larger organizations that want to create high-volume campaigns should go with on-premise solutions because this CPM model doesn’t offer scalability for large campaigns.
Cloud-based models also don’t include maintenance costs compared to on-premise clients, which is another relevant factor. Open-source solutions are completely free but will require dedicated maintenance and configuration, leading to increased employee costs.
The potential for scalability
When talking about scalability, every option has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to determine which one will fit your needs and workflow. When opting for an email client, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the potential limitations with this tool and is it easy to overcome them?
- Can this solution improve process efficiency?
- What are the most significant bottlenecks in our process?
- Are there any gaps in employee knowledge that will make it difficult for them to use a certain solution?
Since there are a lot of challenges marketing departments and companies face with their mailing efforts, you have to choose an option that will enable you to deal with problems quickly. Take the time to consider all the critical aspects of your process, as your decision will impact your business long-term.
****This is a guest post from Oliver Stasinszky. Oliver is an outreach team lead at LiveAgent, with an e-commerce and customer service background. Passionate about writing, reading, and learning how to play any musical instrument he comes across.****