So, you’re thinking about switching to a new email service provider (ESP)? Migrating to a new ESP can feel intimidating and stressful, but by following some key steps and best practices, you can ensure a successful transition.
First, put together a timeline with the key milestones. This is your first opportunity to align all the players involved (marketing, development, ESP, etc.) and answer questions, so don’t skip this step. Key milestones to discuss and schedule include:
- Audit Existing ESP
- Set Up New ESP
- Data Mapping and Integrations
- Start Sending from New ESP / IP Warming Phase
- End Existing ESP
Document everything that you plan to export and/or migrate from your existing ESP. Consider and review the following:
- Database and Data Schema (include historical information)
- Lists (include unsubscribes, bounces, etc.)
- Content Library (images, links, etc)
- Past Static Emails (HTML)
- Automated/Triggered Emails (HTML, automation rules, etc)
- Reporting and Statistics (include any custom reporting)
- Integrations (Data Feed or API)
- Confirm send domain: Don’t change your domain setup while simultaneously updating your IP address. That would completely reset your sender reputation, which would really hinder deliverability.
- Update DNS records: This includes adding SPF records.
- Set up email authentication methods, including SPF, DKIM, DMARC.
After setting up your new ESP, you can begin scheduling email sends. If you will be using a dedicated IP address, develop a ramp-up strategy to warm up the new IP. To do so, you’ll probably need to gradually move your mailing volume from the old ESP to your new one. Or spread your sends out over time, rather than sending an email to your complete list all at once. Depending on the size and health of your email lists, you’ll phase out this warming step over a few weeks to a few months. Continue reviewing your deliverability rate and IP score, adjusting your strategy accordingly.
Before you reach your end date with your existing ESP:
- Export any or all of the information from the Audit Phase
- Export the most recent unsubscribe list
- Update and test your subscription form to make sure new subscriptions are going into your new ESP
- Update and test your unsubscribe links to make sure they’re removing names from the new ESP
Migrating to a new ESP is a big deal and a lot of work. In a perfect world, your new ESP would help you transition, but you still need to set clear expectations—who will be responsible for what?—to make your change less painful and more productive.
Many of our partners prefer working with an outside email expert, especially one familiar with their company, to help create their customized migration plan.