In 2021, an estimated 319.6 billion emails were exchanged daily across the globe. This year, that figure has shot up to approximately 333.2 billion. And in the years to follow, it will only balloon up further. The point of stating this is to underline just how vital emails are as a mode of communication. For businesses, it serves as the primary means to reach out to their customers. Given our overwhelming reliance on emails, ensuring that they get dispatched and are delivered soundly to your customer’s inboxes is downright imperative. It is in this very endeavor that an SMTP (Single Mail Transfer Protocol) server comes in handy.
What is that, you ask? Well, it is a communication protocol that allows you to send and receive emails. Additionally, it also checks if a particular email account sending a message is active or not. I’m sure each one of us has sent an email to an incorrect address at one point or the other. But the real question to ask here is, how did we discover that the address in question was invalid? Because when our email returned back to us, it also informed us that the address we entered was either wrong or didn’t exist. Whose work do you think that is? You guessed it, SMTP servers. With it, you can elevate your email campaign management to the next level. Want to get one for your business? Well, you’re just at the right place. No, we don’t provide SMTP email services, but in this blog, we are going to give you a complete lowdown regarding everything you need to keep in mind while selecting one.
Before that, however, let us address a few fundamentals.
How does an SMTP server work?
Ever wondered how this communication protocol actually functions? The points below break it down for you. You can always get in touch with an agency imparting email marketing services to get a complete understanding as well.
- To send an email, you use an email client, right? This client connects to the SMTP server through a port. By default, port 25 is used.
- Next, the mail client conveys all the details of the message, such as the email body and the email addresses of both the sender and receiver, to the SMTP server for verification.
- Only after authenticating the sender does the server allow the message to be transmitted to the recipient’s inbox.
- Now, here’s an interesting thing that the SMTP server carries out- it dissects your email address into name and domain name. For instance, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, it gets split into kevin and xyz.com.
- Should the receiver also have xyz.com as their domain, the email is sent immediately. However, if they have a different domain, the server passes it on to another incoming server, one that is closer to the recipient.
- Your recipient’s server may not always be available. On occasions when it is busy, the email is forwarded to a backup server by the SMTP host. And if the backup servers are also occupied, the message is held, and delivery is attempted later at periodic intervals. If none of those attempts manage to bear fruit, it is classified as undelivered eventually.
- There will also be cases where the recipient’s address will be incorrect. We already discussed earlier what the outcome in that scenario would be.
What Is The Significance Of SMTP Servers?
SMTP servers are an indispensable component of your email marketing toolkit, for they are largely responsible for making sure your emails reach your contacts without fail. Upon hitting the send button, your email morphs into a string of code. Without an SMTP server, this would never get processed and delivered to your recipients. However, their virtues run way richer than that. Let’s take a detailed look at them below.
- They make it easy for you to send bulk emails. It allows you to set up dedicated systems that support the same. While the blast-and-batch approach is much frowned upon in today’s climate, bulk email clients still have their fair share of pros. For starters, they are arguably the best way to reach out to a larger number of subscribers within a limited time span, something that proves to be extremely nifty during high-traffic times such as the holiday season. Bulk email campaigns are also marketers’ go-to tactic when it comes to sending invitations and product updates. Lastly, if you track your campaigns effectively, you will end up having a handsome volume of data at your disposal, which in turn can arm you with a slew of penetrating insights about your audience. In a nutshell, bulk campaigns are not all that bad. So, it doesn’t really hurt to define a formal structure for them with the help of SMTP servers.
- It is common knowledge that emails marked as spam fail to make their way into your subscriber’s inboxes. An SMTP server can help you steer clear of this fate, improving your deliverability by leaps and bounds in the process.
- While deploying an SMTP service, you also make yourself privy to the technical support of your service provider. Besides making sure that your mail account is set up properly, they will help resolve any queries or obstacles that might arise in subsequent times.
- You have the choice of creating a contingency option in the form of a local server by using an existing SMTP address (you can find the address of your SMTP server by accessing your email client’s settings or account section). While the delivery, in this case, will be significantly slower, having a backup does give you a certain degree of flexibility.
How To Select The Ideal SMTP Service
In this section, we list out all the critical factors you must take into account while picking out an SMTP service.
Ultimately, the kind of SMTP service you choose needs to boil down to one fundamental requirement- your business needs. If you are a small or mid-sized business, you might not need to purchase a sophisticated server that has a vast suite of features. While the pros of a feature-intensive server are many, do keep in mind the fact that complex servers lean towards the slower side. Not to mention the steep learning curve that they demand. So, if your objectives are being met by a relatively modest server, you should invest in it sans any second thought. Similarly, if you are running a multinational conglomerate, opting for a complex server will prove to be the ideal course of action for you.
If there’s any sentiment that unites all business owners out there, it’s the desire to grow their business perpetually. As your business goes from strength to strength, it is extremely crucial that it is supported by the appropriate hardware as well. Hence, when choosing an SMTP service, scalability must be one of your foremost concerns. It must be able to function as desired in the face of your customers and send volume growing manifold.
If you’re not from a technical background, wrapping your head around SMTP servers can prove to be pretty challenging. Therefore, before locking in on an SMTP service, research the kind of support they offer. Go through online reviews and customer testimonials to get a clearer picture. It is also ideal to try and identify experts in your area who are fluent with the SMTP system you are planning to invest in.
If you are prudent with the selection of your SMTP service, you can really get on top of your campaign’s performance. The best services out there share with you a plethora of essential insights, including the number of messages delivered, click percentages, bounce rates, and opening percentages. These metrics help you understand how your customers are responding to and interacting with your messages, allowing you to gauge the efficacy of their campaigns.
Data is your business’s primary currency; thus, its integrity and safety need to be guaranteed at all times. Certain SMTP services offer server infrastructures hosted in countries where your data, both physical and digital, are protected by federal laws and absolutely impervious to any requests made to access it, irrespective of who has issued it (Switzerland is an example of one such country).
Best SMTP Services In The Market
Below, we mention a few SMTP services that are highly popular among businesses at present.
- Contains a dedicated transactional email service (Sendinblue SMTP) which enables you to send a wide range of transactional emails, including signup and order confirmations, password recovery emails, payment confirmation emails, and the like.
- Gives you the choice of segmenting promotional and transactional emails by sender or IP address, thereby making sure your sender reputation remains uncompromised.
- Offers integrations for eCommerce platforms.
- Facilitates super-fast delivery.
- Supports both shared and dedicated IPs.
- Scans and blocks spam consistently, making sure a high delivery rate is maintained.
- Offers real-time reporting letting you access hourly data.
- Contains a restful API that has libraries and code examples in several languages, making it a great option for developers.
- Allows you to create a custom enterprise-grade solution for sending bulk emails.
- Provides you with reputation and deliverability dashboards which helps you keep an eye on issues that could potentially hamper them.
- With little help from WordPress plugins, it can be easily integrated into your site.
- Contains a mailbox simulator where you can run tests to examine how your application responds to different scenarios, such as unsubscribes, bounces, or complaints.
To help you make the most of your selected SMTP server, you can always consider partnering up with a dedicated agency that specializes in email campaign management.
Wrapping It Up
While choosing the right SMTP service is, no doubt, a tricky affair, we hope the insights shared above will make your hunt easier. If you have any queries you feel we can address, please leave them in the comments section.