There are many reasons why SparkPost has become the world’s fastest-growing email delivery service. And we’re certainly proud of the technical and business benefits we deliver for developers and enterprises.

But we know you have options when you’re integrating email into your app or web site. In fact, the number and variety of choices sometimes can seem a little overwhelming. That’s why our team has put together a list of questions you should be asking us—or any email delivery service—to see which is the right fit for your business.

  • Does the service have a robust email API? This one should be a no-brainer, but you might surprised at how limiting some APIs can be, especially when they’ve been bolted onto an older platform. A modern technology stack should be built API-first, which is a key requirement for real-time, data-driven transactional email delivery.
  • Does it supply real-time data and analytics? Savvy senders understand that email metrics go way beyond “sent,” “opened,” and “clicked.” And in today’s world, an email service provider needs to supply that data in real-time. It should also give you access to detailed event history for each message, with the ability to access data via API. And if you’re really looking for data-driven insights, ask about the ability to stream activity with webhooks to as many webhook endpoints as you need.
  • Do they really understand email deliverability? A lot of ESPs consider an email “delivered” even if it ends up in a spam trap. The reality is that a provider with deep expertise, strong technology, and great relationships with global ISPs can help ensure as many emails as possible get to where they count— the inbox. A good email delivery service should be able to tell you their inbox placement rate, how they use technology to automate processing of deliverability signals from ISPs, and what they expect from you as a sender to ensure great email deliverability.
  • Is the service you’re considering a true cloud platform? Implementing an on-premises solution made sense a decade (or longer) ago, but it sure doesn’t today. And even a lot of service providers rely on a traditional data center model that’s become less viable every day. When you’re talking with prospective email delivery services, ask them directly about their platform. Are they built on a cloud native platform like Amazon Web Services (AWS)? Can they tell you about cloud auto-scaling and how it delivers radically better scalability, elasticity, and latency?
  • Does it incorporate security by design in every aspect of its platform? A strong perimeter defense should be a given (but ask anyway). Still, every wall can be breached somehow, somewhere. A modern cloud-based platform can defend the “squishy middle” inside its perimeter defense by incorporating security by design throughout its service, and when a provider compartmentalizes its service, it limits runaway vulnerabilities. Ask for certifications. And really do ask about that squishy middle.
  • Does it provide a meaningful service level agreement (SLA)? If email drives revenue for your business, you should ensure that your email delivery service has your back. That includes SLAs with teeth, burst rate guarantees, publicly available uptime history. Ask any service provider you’re considering to explain if they offer an SLA that covers just a narrow piece of their infrastructure—or if they cover the things that really matter, like end-to-end service and business continuity.
  • Does it offer the level of support you need? Whether you’re looking for great API docs and developer-friendly communities like Slack or dedicated account management by a team you know and trust, the right support can make all the difference to your success. So ask a prospective ESP whether they’ll give you support on your terms. And if a problem arises, will you know who you’re talking to, and will they understand your business?
  • Does it have happy customers? Don’t overlook intangibles like business growth. A track record of success backed by happy customers who are willing to publicly sing its praises is better than any marketing claim. And when you speak to references, be sure to ask what other email delivery services they’ve left in the past. You might notice a pattern that should tell you something.

I hope you’ve found these questions to be a helpful starting point when you’re looking at your options to integrate email delivery into your own app or business process. What do you look for when you’re evaluating options for email delivery? I’d love to hear what qualities matter to you—just leave a comment below.

—Brent
@brentsleeper

P.S. Want to learn more? We’ve made a downloadable guide that builds on these questions to help you choose the right email delivery service. (Pro tip: it’s great for sharing with your colleagues.)

 

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now sending 15 billion emails

Let me begin by saying that this is the sort of blog post a CEO loves to write.

When SparkPost launched 18 months ago, we knew developers were looking for a better way to send email from their web and mobile apps. We knew enterprise senders needed more reliable delivery for email that was critical to their business. And we had a clear vision for how to meet those needs, with a next-generation cloud architecture backed by a team that understood email better than just about anyone else on the planet.

But even so, we knew that there was one thing that was going to be absolutely essential to our hoped-for success: you. We were optimistic, of course, that the market would recognize the value of what we were building. But the growth we’ve experienced in the last year and a half has exceeded our expectations.

We’re now delivering more than 15 billion messages each month, and that figure is growing by more than 1 billion per month. To put it simply, SparkPost is the fastest-growing email delivery service on the market.

That growth is because of you. We’ve just been thrilled that so many developers and enterprise customers alike understand the benefit of what SparkPost has brought to the table—and to see the sorts of innovative things our customers are doing with email today. SparkPost’s 15,000+ active customers range from small startups to fast-growing major technology companies including Pinterest, Zillow, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and Intercom.

Beyond the numbers, I’d like to highlight three areas that reflect SparkPost’s leadership and growth:

  • SparkPost is now the preferred choice of developers for API-driven email delivery. This was evidenced by the recent migration of many Mandrill users to SparkPost after MailChimp announced it would no longer be available as a standalone service. The resulting surge of users to SparkPost was captured in a recent Notablist report analyzing the Mandrill market disruption; this analysis found that over 21 percent selected SparkPost—5 percent ahead of the closest competitor—prompting Notablist to state that “SparkPost Won the Battle for New Users.”
  • SparkPost has earned our reputation as the most reliable and flexible email delivery service provider. Unlike other email delivery providers who continue to expend resources and focus on building and maintaining  their own data centers, SparkPost is the only full-featured cloud email delivery service built 100 percent for the modern cloud.  SparkPost’s leverage of Amazon Web Services, the industry’s preeminent Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform, allows customers and partners alike to experience the benefits of a secure, scalable, and elastic cloud infrastructure—like guaranteed burst rates—while allowing SparkPost to remain focused on developing and expanding its core service offerings and technical innovations.
  • SparkPost is focused on email delivery—and we love our MarTech partners. We’ve developed more than 30 strategic partnerships with innovative marketing technology (MarTech) companies. These marketing application providers give SparkPost customers the combined benefit of leading-edge MarTech functionality with the high-performing email delivery service that is SparkPost’s clear focus.

2016 has proven to be a year of remarkable growth for SparkPost. And I fully expect the next 18 months will be even better.

So, a heart-felt thank you. I can’t wait to see what we build and grow together.

—Phillip Merrick