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The send speeds of ESPs are increasingly being looked at as a key selling point. Being able to pump out over a million emails per month is regarded as a benefit by many clients.

Most major UK-based ESPs are able to provide these speeds, often through a partnership with companies such as Strongmail or Port25 Solutions.

But is this important?

It is, if you are a company putting out time-sensitive campaigns. Campaigns pushing last minute odds just before kick off for betting firms like Ladbrokes, Bluesquare.com and William Hill definitely need fast send speeds.

But if you’re not working in this type of organisation, I want to open your eyes to some key questions you need to ask yourself when deciding if high speeds are necessary:

1. Can my website cope? 

Driving a huge number of concurrent visitors to your site in a short time period is a significant load on your site. Is there a chance that it will crash, giving your recipients a bad experience, damaging your brand and missing out on revenue?

Ask yourself - if you click through to a site and get an error, do you ever go back? I don’t. 

Don’t just think about your website either. If you’re running campaigns that push to a call centre, have you got enough staff and lines to cope with the response.

2. Can the receiving ISPs cope?

Hotmail and AOL both have an allowance on the number of emails they accept from a specific sender in a set time period. These throttled limits depend on your sender reputation. If you are sender score certified and have a good sender reputation, Hotmail will accept more mail from you than if not. 

Most worryingly perhaps, if the email is a time sensitive campaign and you have problems being delivered, then it will be too late for an alternative course of action.

3. Do your recipients respond immediately?

If people take days to respond to your campaigns rather than hours, is it worth spending extra budget to get them out that fast?    

4. Are they all there?

Think about your audience. If you have international names, they will be living in different time zones. If you have a selection of B2B and B2C recipients, are you pre-supposing that they are actually sat in front of their machine to action it immediately?   

When thinking about sending speed, ask yourself these questions and think about what is right for your business - after all, fastest isn’t always best!

Henry Hyder-Smith is the MD of Adestra.

Henry Hyder-Smith

Published 11 January, 2008 by Henry Hyder-Smith

Henry Hyder Smith is MD at Adestra and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

23 more posts from this author

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