The decision whether to migrate to a new email service provider (ESP) or keep going with the current one is enough taxing already! Above that, is the difficulty that an ESP migration brings with itself! While marketers have various reasons for ESP migration ranging from poor sending reputation, a scaled email list, inadequate functionalities such as lack of personalization feature, lacking CRM integration, etc.,
ESP migration needs a lot of attention …sometimes the kind of efforts you invest while moving your own house!
This post enlists 6 most important things that need to be take care of before and after you migrate.
BEFORE YOU MIGRATE!
- Optimize your email list & then decide
……have you considered repair of your old house? At least, double-check the new house.
Most companies migrate because their emails are not reaching the subscriber’s inboxes and they assume a new platform a.k.a. a new ESP is the answer to it! However, it is essential to make sure that you clean up the email lists of ancient email addresses, unengaged subscribers, etc. as they could highly be responsible for your hard bounces. Before investing in a migration, ensure you’ve eliminated other challenges causing the issue. Moreover, you should also ensure that if migration is valid, the new ESP is helping you resolve old challenges.
- Relocating your database!
……pack everything that you think you’d need at your new place.
Once you have decided you want to move, make sure you carry with you each piece of information that you think would be of help to you with the new ESP. Also once the account is shut down, the data may also be lost. Thus, ensure extraction & compiling of data from your old ESP a few weeks before your account is shut off! Carrying along the following heads of information from the old ESP would help make the migration process easier:
- Email Lists
If you have updated and cleaned your email list after each email campaign sent, it’s of the most value as it contains your opted-out addresses as well! Many email providers offer tools that analyze the quality of the email list so you can ensure successful migration of all your contacts. It is recommended to have this email list data integrated with your CRM, assuring the safety and authenticity of your email list.
- Images, Content and Templates
Once you have decided on what email content, images and templates do you want to migrate from the old ESP, the moving process has to be taken care of. Follow similar naming convention on all your assets to ensure consistency during the move. The next decision would be regarding if you want to create the old emails in HTML or as templates for the new ESP. In case of deciding on HTML, the code for those HTML emails must be copied into a text app or an HTML file; to be then copied and pasted into the content section of templates in the new ESP. Update all the system generated links (Unsubscribe, View Online, etc.) in your templates with the new ESP’s equivalents.
Migrating reports is crucial especially if you want to compare the success and results between the old and new ESPs. Also, data such as historical performance shall help you take the right decision regarding your new email marketing campaigns. Documenting the email reporting used with the old ESP and replicating or improvising it for the new ESP is advisable for better success rates.
- Checking for marketing automation
…..you even pack your electronics don’t you?
Automated marketing is easily overlooked during ESP Migration. Also, the compatibility of your existing automated processes must be checked with the new ESP before you make the move. Stock up all types of automation your email campaigns include ranging from lifecycle messaging, drip email marketing, triggered emails, cross-channel messaging, sign-up pages, auto responders, etc. Set up these automated campaigns and remember to test them on your new ESP before the switchover is made.
AFTER YOU HAVE MIGRATED!
- Monitor your Email Sending volume
…. Unpack little things at a time.
New ESP will love to determine your sender reputation before allowing you to send too many emails! With the new ESP if you decide buying a dedicated IP address, it requires investment and tremendous email sending responsibility. Throttle your emails well and gradually raise the volume of email sends per day in order to build the reputation of your new IP address. Also, do consider sending out emails to only those who have permitted you to do so! Warm up your IP (if its new) and ensure that you send out emails to smaller segments of individuals by the time to settle with the migration entirely. Some ESPs can organize for you, your ramp up schedule as well.
- Authenticate Sender Identity
…neatly pack what came from which room!
Since Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) doesn’t provide a built-in mechanism to verify a sender’s identity, two authentication methods- Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) have to be followed. These two identification methods must be established during migration for ISPs to accept your email or not relegate it to the spam folder.
- Update everything with your new ESP
…Gradually rearrange and decorate it for the best display!
The first thing you must want to integrate with your new ESP is your web analytics. Beyond that, make sure that the existing templates, code, tags and automation are set up correctly with the new ESP. As stated earlier update your sign-up form API to ensure that all email addresses end up at the right place. Check for the functionality of the unsubscribe links, personalization possibilities, new merge tags, integration of new emails to the ESP, etc.
- Ensure continued legal compliance by tracking amendments in the CAN SPAM Law or ISP regulations.
- Use small batches from your list after ensuring the loading adjustments in templates, forms and lists, into the new ESP.
- Set up and use triggered and automated emails correctly on the new ESP as it would aid you in the IP ramp up process.
- Hiring an expert like Email Monks for the new sophisticated platform is advisable to avail the maximum benefit of the migration.
- Check for open & click through rates post migration to see if the new ESP is making it worth it through higher subscriber engagement.
- Keep an eye on bounce rates in order to identify throttle issues with ISPs, if any.