Hello there. You are listening to episode number 7 of the “Organizing Her Business Systems and Technology” podcast. Today’s episode is about what is the difference between an ESP and a CRM, And we’ll go over what those stand for in just a minute.
Welcome to the Organizing Her Business Systems and Technology podcast. I’m Tia Hain and I’ve been a technology translator for over 25 years now. This podcast is for the woman who’s tired of toughing it out alone when it comes to organizing the business systems and technology she needs to get her business off the ground and running smoothly.
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We are continuing on with our email marketing series. I believe we’re in the third week of this now. And today’s particular episode is about what is the difference between an ESP and a CRM.
What Is the Difference Between an ESP (Email Service Provider) and a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System)
First off, let’s go over what they stand for so that may help right there.
ESP stands for email service provider.
CRM stands for customer relationship management.
The problem is that people are using these two acronyms interchangeably all the time. I’m not sure that they know exactly what they stand for; I think that’s why they just get used interchangeably.
The problem is when you’re new to this whole environment. And you don’t know what they stand for. And you don’t know how to use them. And what you’re supposed to do with them, it starts to get really confusing.
In fact, I think it was a couple years ago when I realized that I was listening to my business gurus that I follow. And they were using them interchangeably.
And then, it got to the point where a couple of ’em were like, “I don’t even know what this stands for. I don’t even know which one means what. What am I supposed to be using?”
I’m like, “Alright, if you guys don’t even know, somebody needs to figure this out.” I went, I figured it out. And it’s like, “Okay, now it makes total sense.”
I think the problem is, it’s one of those things that if it’s not your job specifically, you don’t really know all the intricate details of it.
But you wanna get to know the details especially of ESPs because even if you’re just starting your business, it is something you’re gonna need to use.
We’ve talked about ESPs the last two weeks. You should have those down pat. So I’m gonna go over that part pretty quickly.
But basically, email service provider, ESP, is a software-as-a-service to manage your email list and send out email communication. That’s the basic definition of it.
Now, if you don’t know what software-as-a-service is, it’s basically a service that you use, but it’s actually a whole software system. It’s not somebody providing that service, even though people are working there.
It’s just technically a software that’s providing that service, but it’s not like something you download on your computer. It’s not something you use. It’s an actual service done by someone else. It just all goes through software.
I happen to like that term, software-as-a-service. It’s just some people might get a little confused by it, so I thought I would explain it.
Basically, with an email service provider, it’s how you get your leads or customers. You’re marketing department uses this. And it’s how they go out into the world. They get those leads and customers. And they put their emails and any other information through that email service provider. And that’s how they first get it.
You use it to create your forms and landing page. You could possibly use another software-as-a-service to create those things. But even if you do, it has to be hooked up to that email service provider to capture those emails and store them in the system. Put them in the backend spreadsheet so they can keep track of them, tag them, all that stuff.
It’s also where you use your sequences and automations. Like, when you set up an email series or a funnel for emails that are gonna go out to people automatically. Where you create them all at once and then, every time…
For example, somebody signs up to your newsletter, you send ’em a few emails in a row. That’s where you have that automation set up. It’s through your email service provider.
It’s also where you do your broadcast emails like, your actual newsletter that changes every month. You could do that through them. All the emails go out through the email service provider.
It’s also where you can do your A/B testing.
This is where you’d be testing your emails. If you wanna use a different headline, what works best, different time of day, different day of the week, that kind of thing. That’s where you test to see what works.
That’s also where you tag or segment or group. Everybody’s got a different term that they use. But basically, it’s where you put your people in the little buckets based on the actions that they’ve taken through the emails themselves.
This is also where you get your email analytics. That’s all through your email service provider. You can get everything there.
Now, the customer relationship management system… that’s the bigger picture. In fact, if you can picture this: the customer relationship management system, your CRM is at the top and then, within that is where your email service provider fits. It’s part of the customer relationship management system.
Basically, it manages and analyzes the customer data and interactions throughout the whole customer lifecycle. The email service provider is where you’re trying to get them to be a customer. The CRM is where you keep track of everything they’ve done once they are a customer and then, also how they became a customer first because you wanna know everything and anything they’ve done.
It’s where you manage the relationships. You keep track of everything they’ve done. Whatever purchases they’ve made. Any telephone conversations they’ve had with customer service, live chats, any conversations they might have had through social media, even direct mail, everything. That’s where you keep track of any kind of conversations you’ve had with them and they’ve had with you so you know what’s going on with them.
You know what they’re concerned about. You know what they’ve talked about. You know what you’ve already told them about, that kind of stuff. You wanna make sure you know all the stuff once they are a customer so you can help build that relationship and grow that relationship. Hence the term customer relationship management.
The other thing with CRM is that it’s usually accessed by many departments.
Your email service provider is pretty much just done by marketing. Nobody else cares about it. They don’t need to deal with it because marketing is trying to get customers into your system.
Now, the customer relationship management system, that’s gonna need to be accessed by sales department because they need to know: what they’ve purchased before, what can I work on selling them now, that kinda stuff.
It is gonna need to be accessed by your marketing department. And then, it’s also gonna need to be accessed by customer service because they’re the ones having the conversations. What have we talked to them about. What problems have they had. What have we tried to fix. What great experiences have they had, etc. Pretty much most of the departments that deal with customers in any way shape or form, they’re gonna need access to that customer relationship management.
I’ve been thinking about it and I think a lot of the confusion is because some companies actually do both.
As you’re moving up in your business cycle, you’re gonna start with an email service provider because you’re not gonna really need that big, giant customer relationship management system. You’re not there yet.
You’re working on getting the customers. That’s the part that you care about. Once your company’s getting bigger and you have a lot of customers and you want to work on building those relationships and growing those relationships, that’s when you’re gonna want the customer relationship management system.
But there are some companies that actually do both. One of the big ones that I hear about a lot is Infusionsoft. I’ve also heard it called Confusionsoft. When you’re ready to move up in your business to something like that, get somebody that is an expert at it.
But it’s not something you need when you first start your business. It’s more expensive. And it’s worth it because as your growing your company, you wanna work on those relationships. It’s worth it to have it then, but you don’t need it at the beginning.
But because Infusionsoft has the customer relationship management software, it also is an email service provider. There are companies that do both like that, but there are a lot of email service providers that that’s all they do.
The CRM is what you’re gonna wanna use when your company gets bigger. If you’re just starting out, you’re not gonna have to … Don’t worry yourself about getting a CRM.
But you do need an email service provider even at the very beginning. Every business needs to use an email service provider.
On that note, I have a free gift for you. If you’ve listened to the previous episodes about the email marketing series, you’ll have already heard this. But I’m gonna remind you, just in case, you haven’t gotten it yet. Or just in case this is the first time you’re listening.
I have a MailChimp Email Marketing How-to for you. Talking about email service providers here.
If you have a business, you know you need to use an email service provider. If I have not pounded this into your head enough, just know that you need to have one.
But what if you’re just starting out and let’s say your budget’s close to zero dollars. Or it actually is zero dollars. I have a freebie for you to help you with that.
Once again, it’s called the MailChimp Email Marketing How-to.
MailChimp lets you use their service for free with a few limitations for up to 2,000 people on your list. It sounds great, but there is a caveat.
The way they have it set up, it is not intuitive on how to use their free service, if you have more than one thing that you’re giving away.
Let’s say you’re using freebies to try and get people on your email list. Let’s say you’ve got two to three different freebies. But to set up to two to three different lists is a bit tricky.
In it, I show you step-by-step how to set up each list in MailChimp from beginning to end so you can use their free service to get your business and your email list off the ground.
Go get it. TiaHain.com/7download.
Now, I’m gonna go over a few of the software that I have used and liked.
Now, just to be honest, I have not used a CRM, so I can tell you about ones that I’ve heard of and I’ve heard are good, but I haven’t used one.
But email service providers that I like… my top two are ConvertKit and MailChimp. Depending on where you are in your business and how comfortable you are with technology and what you wanna do.
In fact, next week I’m actually gonna go over the differences between ConvertKit and MailChimp. So if you’re still trying to decide which email service provider to use, I would suggest you definitely download that episode. I’m gonna go as in depth as I can without actually showing you on video.
But I think it’s gonna be a good episode. I really researched a lot about both of them and really got in depth. If you’re still trying to decide, make sure you tune into that episode. Or even if you’re thinking of switching. Or you just wanna know about them. Definitely tune into that episode next week.
But some other ones I have used in the past that I like, it’s just personally I’m sticking with ConvertKit right now so I like it better.
There’s ConvertKit and MailChimp, those are my top two. There’s also AWeber. I’ve heard Drip is very good. There’s also ConstantContact and GetResponse.
There’s a bunch of other ones out there, so don’t start emailing me going, “No, it’s this one’s the best and this is the best one.” I know there’s other ones out there, but those are the ones that I know of and I like and I think they work really well. And they get great reviews from other people too.
Some CRMs that I do know of, if you are working your way up to CRM right no… I have heard of Infusionsoft. I’ve heard a lot of people like it, you just need to get a specialist.
One of my husband’s companies uses HubSpot. And they seem to like that one. Then, Salesforce is another one.
And I believe ONTRAPORT. I think that one’s more on the line with Infusionsoft, but not quite as expensive. I’ve heard people really like ONTRAPORT a lot.
That’s it. Those are some ESPs and some CRMs and hopefully now you’ve got it totally straight in your head what the difference is between the two, what you really need to be using now and what you can just say, “You know what? Not dealing with right now, I don’t need to worry about it.”
When you hear people using the terms interchangeably, you can think in your head, “No, you really mean this and I know you do, but that’s okay. I’m gonna let it go. I’m not gonna do the whole correcting your grammar thing on ya.”
Anyway, that’s it for this week’s episode. It was a little bit shorter, but hopefully you’ve got that all down now. Grab that MailChimp Email Marketing How-to by going to TiaHain.com/7download if you need that to get yourself going. If you haven’t started with your email service provider yet.
I think that’s it. We will see you in next week’s episode to go over ConvertKit and MailChimp: what the differences are, what the similarities are and let’s help you figure out which one you really wanna use to start with. Alright, we’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
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