Anyone who sends promotional or transactional emails professionally can attest to the often complex nature of a brand’s email messaging campaigns. Switching to a new Email Service Provider (ESP) can sometimes be a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. A few quick steps and you’re on your way to reaching your customers. ReachMail put together this Dos and Don’t of Migrating ESPs blog to help. For a more detailed look, be sure to check out the Migration Guide & Checklist White Paper.
Migrating ESPs can be quick and painless when done correctly. However, rushing through a switch in ESPs can lead to problems that slow down progress or even bring things to a halt. With the following do’s and don’ts, you can switch to a new ESP safely and quickly.
- Ensure you send to contacts who consented to receive your messages and still want to receive your offers. This is a great time to clean up your data!
- Keep a clear tracking process for those contacts who have unsubscribed from previous emails and ensure they are opted out in the new ESP before sending. This is a great time to review your processes from end to end!
- Ensure that your DNS records are in order and that your email is authenticated correctly before sending with the new ESP. We suggest a few tests.
- Maintain the continuity of your messages. For example, use the same domain and content branding with targeted messages and clear calls to action.
- Prioritize delivery to the most engaged recipients.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to start migrating to the new ESP.
- Don’t rush the migration.
- Don’t prioritize a deadline over attaining desired delivery results.
- Don’t forget to thoroughly vet data with List Cleanings (data hygiene) before sending.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out for help or advice.
1. Ensure you send to an audience who consented to receive your messages and still wants to receive your offers.
Opt-in consent from your audience ensures you have permission from each recipient to email them. Beyond the initial opt-in, it is crucial to understand that consent is not a permanent pass to email recipients. A recipient may revoke consent at any time.
Consent, with regards to email marketing, carries with it additional factors. For example, the wrong offer or a poorly timed message can cause audience members to revoke consent.
2. Keep track of who has unsubscribed from previous emails and ensure they are opted out in the new ESP before sending.
In practical terms, pay close attention to what is exported from the old ESP. If you are not careful, it is possible to accidentally download all recipients, including addresses that are no longer valid or have previously unsubscribed. Only export/download Active recipients from the old ESP.
ReachMail provides a Global Opt-Out List for your account, allowing you to automatically suppress previously unsubscribed recipients from all List imports and Campaigns.
3. Ensure that your DNS records are in order and that your email is authenticated correctly before sending with the new ESP.
Authenticating your emails ensures that mailbox providers can trust your messages. If you are DKIM signing emails with the old ESP but fail to do so with the new ESP, your new emails may appear suspect to ISPs and spam filters. Make sure you set up DKIM and SPF records and DMARC/BIMI if applicable.
4. Maintain the continuity of your messages.
Continuity of your branding will help ensure recipients continue to receive your emails in their inboxes. While a switch to a new ESP is often a good time to experiment with new segmentation methods (don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit trying to improve results), you must maintain the consistent branding of your messages.
5. Prioritize delivery to the most engaged recipients.
As you begin sending with the new ESP, you will be establishing a new Sender Reputation. This period will vary depending on your prior Sender Reputation at other ESPs, but it is essential to start with the most active part of your audience first. Establishing a good Sender Reputation can only happen when recipients react positively to your emails.
1. Don’t wait until the last minute to start migrating to the new ESP.
Switching to a new ESP can take some time. But, as you can find in the Migration Guide & Checklist, a well-laid-out plan of action can help avoid a lot of costly mistakes that slow you down.
Support and Deliverability staff at ReachMail can see you through your specific situation.
2. Don’t rush the migration.
Migrations can be quick when done correctly. However, early mistakes will slow down the migration process and can even bring things to a halt. It is better to go slow at the onset to gauge response rates at the new ESP than to rush to send. Warm email traffic for the best deliverability. ReachMail’s List Warming tool can set up a volume ramp-up cadence in just a few clicks.
3. Don’t prioritize a deadline over attaining desired delivery results.
While an upcoming deadline for an event can seem like the top priority, there are often creative ways to handle such situations. For example, marketers may opt to use the old ESP to send out a few final Campaigns while continuing to follow best practices at the new ESP by warming email traffic.
If you prioritize the deadline over achieving the delivery results you want at the new ESPs, it can appear like an abuse of the trust your brand has established with ISPs (Sender Score). ISPs use reputation-based spam filters. Failing to respect those filters is a quick path to the spam folder, which can set your ESP migration back weeks.
4. Don’t forget to thoroughly vet data with List Cleanings (data hygiene) before sending.
Email Data Hygiene has been a growing concern for email marketers for many years, and the importance of thoroughly vetting email lists has never been more critical. Spam fighting networks use newer and more sophisticated methods of detecting problematic senders, and List Cleanings help remediate those problems before they affect your deliverability.
Sending to invalid email addresses and opt-outs constitute only a small portion of possible threats to successful delivery to the inbox. Spam Traps of all varieties do not bounce, and some will open and click on emails occasionally to remain undetected in your lists. Therefore, simply the act of sending to a spam trap is considered abuse, even when no complaints are reported.
5. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help or advice.
When in doubt, ask for help! ReachMail’s support and deliverability staff are on hand to help guide you through a successful switch. We know that an ESP migration can sometimes be tricky. Flexible pricing plans let you self-manage your needs as you go, and our team of experts is here to help.
When challenges arise, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Our mission is to give you honest and actionable advice.