Migrating to a New Enterprise ESP? 7 Tips for a Painless Switch

If you’re an email marketer switching to a new enterprise ESP, you might think the hardest part was choosing that new ESP. Yes, that was a challenge, I’m sure, because you had several qualified email service providers to choose from. But the work isn’t done yet.

Because now you face the migration from the old to the new ESP.

That migration doesn’t have to be a painful experience, however. Use our seven tips below, and your switch to your new enterprise ESP will be painless.

Tip 1: Gather your data before you go. By data, we mean your actual data (email and more), your content, your automations/logic and your past performance data. Your actual data is probably the no-brainer here. You’ve worked hard to collect those email addresses and keep your lists clean. Heaven forbid you should leave without them! But make your old ESP and your new ESP both work with you to get all your data transferred seamlessly, accurately and into a format that is optimized for your segmentation. This data migration should include the subscriber/customer data that accompanies those addresses, such as subscription date, stated preferences, past buying behavior, unsubscribes, etc.

Taking report data with you when you switch to a new vendor is also smart email marketing. With your old reporting system still available to you, you’ll be able to compare the performance of your new ESP to that of your old one. Make sure you have a way to export all this data. Start compiling this data a few weeks before the switch.

Tip 2: Take the time to ramp up the new IP address. When you switch to a new enterprise ESP, you might get a dedicated IP address. The major ISPs are wary of new IP addresses for fear of spammers. They don’t take an “innocent until proven guilty” approach. Rather, they take the opposite approach. You must prove yourself trustworthy in their eyes by developing a good sending reputation and protecting it.

Just like learning your new ESP platform will take time, ramping up your new IP address will take time too, possibly over a month or two, so go slowly. “Slowly” is the key word here. ISPs don’t trust new IP addresses because spammers will get a new one then blast the heck out of it until blocked, then get a new IP address and start all over again. You don’t want to look like a spammer.

Our advice is to start small and go slowly, emailing your lists in bits and pieces and building up a good sending reputation by adamantly adhering to best practices. Ask your new ESP to work with you on a ramp up schedule as well as monitoring (and adjusting) the warmup.

Tip 3: Be sure your web analytics are integrated with your new ESP. Web analytics might belong to a department other than yours at your company, so integrating them might be out of your control. But if those responsible know a switch is going to happen, this will help a lot, especially if you inform them as far in advance as possible. After all, there’s not much point in gathering all that data if you can’t access it, use it, or even compare it ever again.

Tip 4: Make sure any automated emails are set up correctly with the new ESP. Now might also be a good time to review your automated emails or drip marketing campaigns, especially if you haven’t in a while. Perhaps some of these triggered emails need updating, rewriting, or even eliminating. Plan to clean house in that department before the switch and use this opportunity to also think about new automations that might move the needle.

Tip 5: Update your signup. Update your subscription form, to make sure all new email addresses are going to the right place…the new ESP! Be sure to test this too.

Tip 6: Update your unsubscribe. Test your unsubscribe link to ensure it not only works, but also scrubs the name from your in-house email list—the list that’s now housed within the new ESP platform.

Tip 7: Stay with your old ESP for 30 days. You will need to continue to collect opt-outs from emails sent via that old ESP for 30 days so make sure you overlap the old and new platforms. And before totally severing ties, make sure to collect any and all unsubscribes and update them in your new enterprise ESP.

In addition to these tips, before, during and after, take advantage of any and all training on the new platform as well as the reporting tools. Just because you’re up and running with the new ESP doesn’t mean you’re up and running at full speed yet. But following these tips and learning all you can about your new email service provider will pay dividends by shortening the time it takes for you to get the maximum benefit from your ESP switch!

And if you don’t yet know which enterprise you should switch to, take a look at iPost.