While enjoying a recent meal out, Richard King got into a friendly conversation with a fellow diner about his work in email marketing. "After 15 minutes our discussion [came to] the famous question," he recounts at the EmailDirect blog. "'Why wouldn't I just do that in-house?' I quickly replied with a smile, '[For the] same reason you and I eat out. The results are much better, and I don't have to clean up afterwards.'"

King understands that the ease and simplicity of personal email use can disguise the technical complexities required in a large-scale email marketing campaign. So he offers a few definitive reasons like these for leaving that task to the experts at an email service provider (ESP):

They have the infrastructure. "The cost of dedicated hardware and software alone can set you back 10 times the amount it would cost you to outsource it," he says. "Sending promotional mail using under-powered servers with inadequate bandwidth can bring your network to a halt, crashing your systems."

They have the reporting capabilities. An ESP can present easy-to-read reports on the performance of each campaign. It will also help to keep your list clean by identifying problematic addresses. Example: "Does your IT guy know that the 5xx respond code can no longer mean unknown address or permanent fail?" King asks. "Misunderstanding response-code changes can depreciate your list altogether!"

According to King, the choice to hire an ESP is simple: "For a fraction of what it would cost to hire a part-time employee [who specializes in nothing], you could get a whole team of specialists working for you."

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