Since emailing has been a service for such a long time, many people using it take it for granted. In fact, email was available to most people before other internet services, and it's a technology that's easily accepted because of email's similarity to snail mail. This makes it popular for business and personal communication.
Email communication has several benefits, including:
- A quick way to send a message privately or to a group.
- Easily implemented within a business.
- Easy to understand format for most people even if they don't typically spend time online.
- Still one of the top ways to communicate with customers, work teams, or an entire company.
- Used by all businesses, including enterprises, small organizations, and self-employed individuals.
- Inexpensive to use for marketing compared to traditional mail, digital advertising, and other channels.
Effectiveness depends on your industry, with open rates ranging from about 15 to 22% and click rates at approximately 2 to 5%. These considerations are important in any email marketing strategy. Comparing your rates vs. your industry's rates can help you plan goals to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Even though email is a long-established communication channel, the development of technology for email has continued because of the increasing need for privacy, security, and speed to accommodate more data like videos, images, and links.
One of the biggest advantages for email users is that you don't have to wait for the postman to deliver your mail. Email technology works 24/7, so you can get messages any time of day or night. This technology allows emails to pass between SMTP relay servers from the email sender to the recipient. Let's discuss how that works.
What is an SMTP relay?
Before diving into what an SMTP relay is, it's important to understand the protocol that powers it. SMTP is an acronym for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, and it's utilized to deliver outgoing mail. However, it isn't capable of accepting incoming emails.
At its core, an SMTP relay is the movement of emails from one email server to another, enabling you to get your message to the right recipient. These servers are designated Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs), which is software that transmits your messages to your recipient.
An SMTP relay is the email version of mail transport vehicles, like trucks and planes that get snail mail from one place to another. SMTP is the software that "picks up" the email and sends it to the SMTP for the recipient. Then the recipient's SMTP receives the message and delivers it to the recipient.
What is an open relay?
When email technology was first developed, open relays were the standard setting. This setting allows anyone to send emails and doesn't make any distinction between spam and a valid email. Because this resulted in massive spam and phishing problems, most organizations no longer use open relays. Hackers continue to get smarter, prioritizing email security for individuals and businesses.
Key differences between SMTP relay vs. SMTP server
The terminology used to describe SMTP relay technology can confuse users because of similar terms. Another reason is that sometimes the terms are used incorrectly. This is true when discussing SMTP relay and SMTP servers.
An SMTP server is a software application or computer that has the job of sending emails. The terms SMTP server and SMTP relay server are often interchanged to refer to the definition of email relay servers that messages move between. When using this definition, SMTP server and SMTP relay are the same thing.
However, used correctly, SMTP servers refer to computers that transfer email messages. Then SMTP relays describe the process of moving emails from one computer to another. It's easy to see how these can be misused.