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Imap vs Pop Email: What Are the Differences?

Are you one of the five million Americans who recently started a business? If so, you have an important question to answer; how will you communicate with customers and new leads?

For most businesses, the answer is email. In an age with new social media platforms popping up monthly, email reigns supreme when it comes to business communication.

But if you’re going to rely on email for business communication, you need to decide between using IMAP vs POP email.

Both IMAP and POP email have their place, though one is becoming less and less relevant with each passing year. Keep reading our IMAP and POP email guide below to understand the differences and make the right decision. 

How Does Email Work?

Almost everyone on the planet knows how to send an email and check their inbox. But almost no one understands how these messages work.

For example, you can send a perfectly crafted message to any person on the planet, and they will receive it in seconds. And while this might not seem revolutionary in the age of Instagram and Tik Tok, it certainly changed the world just a few decades ago.

Like most online technology, email relies on computer servers. When you send an email, your computer server transmits the message to the server associated with the recipient’s email client. 

Most of the time, the servers store the emails online. Users can access these whenever they log into their email client.

This server-to-server process is known as the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). It functions much like the physical mail system handled by the postal service.

What Is IMAP Email?

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It’s one method of accessing emails, and it’s much more common in the modern age.

With IMAP, you can access emails from multiple devices. That’s because the emails aren’t stored on any particular device. They are stored on the server that your email client uses.

Once you access the server, the contents are downloaded to the device while connected to the internet. Any changes you make to your emails or inbox are then synced with the server.

So if a downloaded email is deleted, that information is relayed to the server, where it also deletes that message, keeping the server up to date in real-time.

Then, if you access your email server from a different device, later on, your changes are seen. 

Since most people access the internet on multiple devices, from personal computers to work computers, and smartphones to tablets, this solution makes the most sense.

What Is POP Email?

POP stands for Post Office Protocol. POP was designed for dial-up internet. This means it’s quite old, and in many ways, outdated. 

Back in the day, with dial-up internet, your device wasn’t always connected to the internet. You had to connect, through a long noisy process, in order to access the internet.

And many people couldn’t stay logged in for long periods of time. So POP email helped by downloading emails directly to the device. 

This was great because it allowed users to read and reply to emails while they were offline. When they went back online, new messages were sent out.

The problem with this is that data isn’t synced between different devices. If you access your email client with a different device, it wouldn’t have all of the old emails for you to reference.

Most of the data isn’t stored on a server, as it stores most information solely on the user’s device. 

Many people today are surprised to learn that POP is still used. For those with spotty internet connections, it can work better than a system that needs to remain online all the time. 

IMAP vs POP Email

In most of the US, and in much of the world, high-speed internet is easy to come by. Households, businesses, and even entire cities are able to remain connected to the internet at all times.

This makes IMAP emails much more efficient. With data stored online through the use of servers and automatic synching between different devices, using IMAP is much more user-friendly for most people. 

But those who live in rural areas might not have a consistent internet connection, or they might not have one at all. Some people can only access the internet when they visit a public location like a library. 

For these people, POP email allows them to download emails and use them offline, on their own timeline. While it’s not very common anymore, it still has its place. 

Email Best Practices for Businesses

If you’re entering the business world in 2022, you’re going to be using IMAP email. But choosing an email client is just the first step.

If you want to communicate with your customers, you need to understand email best practices to ensure they receive and read your emails.

It might surprise you to learn that not every email you send will reach the intended recipient. The average email deliverability rate is only around 70%.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of achieving a higher send-through rate. 

First and foremost, only send emails to people who want to receive them. For email newsletters, make sure people need to complete a double opt-in. Otherwise, they will sign up with a fake email address, which lowers your credibility and deliverability rate.

Second, send high-quality content. Don’t use click-bait titles and image-heavy content. These are red flags and may prevent emails from arriving at their destination. 

Ultimately, you want to strengthen your reputation with your email provider, letting them know you are a trustworthy person or company. Then, they will ensure more of your emails make it to your recipients.

Choosing the Best Email Solution

Hopefully, our POP and IMAP email guide has shed some light on how email works. The differences between IMAP vs POP email are stark, so make sure you utilize the best solution for your needs. 

Looking for more marketing tips and tricks like this? Be sure to visit our blog today to find other helpful articles. 

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