There comes a time in every email marketer’s life when they want to change their email service provider for some reason or another. Usually it’s because switching ESPs or email relays can improve service, optimize email marketing campaigns and improve overall ROI.
Unfortunately, this desire tends to stay exactly that – a desire.
Companies worry that switching ESPs is too complicated, will bring with it too many learning curves, and is just too much of a hassle to deal with. This leads them to settle for a solution that isn’t optimal for their unique business needs.
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How to successfully switch ESPs
Sure, switching ESPs can be daunting, and it can come with its fair share of troubles, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. All it means is that it should be done with care, attention to detail, patience, and the following 7 points in mind:
1. Consider the Impact of a Shared/Dedicated IP
When switching over to a new ESP, it is important to understand if you will have a dedicated IP or shared one. If you have a shared IP, as long as none of the brands you share the IP with are abusing the server, you won’t need to warm up the IP. If you are getting a dedicated IP address, warm it up by gradually sending emails from the new ESP.
2. Your IP Reputation Will Change
When looking to switch your ESP it’s important to go into the process knowing that some things may change. Depending on the ESP you switch to, you may have to warm up your IP or build up your IP reputation once again. If you had IP reputation problems with your previous ESP, this could be a great time to start fresh. If you had a great IP reputation, be patient and remember it takes time to build up again (but there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to build it back up in no time).
3. Ask Subscribers to Add You to Their Address Book
When switching email service providers, your inbox placement may change. To make sure your recipients continue receiving your emails (and to clean up your list), be sure to send your subscribers an email asking to add your new email to their address book, ensuring that they receive your emails without delay.4. Make Sure You can Transfer Your Data
Just because you’re switching ESPs it doesn’t mean you’re erasing your analytics. Make sure you can transfer your data to your new ESP and see what format the data needs to be in. Importing past data is usually easy, but be sure your new email service provider can help you with the transition. Many times it is possible to transfer analytics as well as templates, content and images used in previous campaigns – be sure to check with your new ESP how to do that in the best way possible.
5. Bring Your Unsubscribes and Bounces With You
When transferring to a new ESP, it’s important to remember to bring your unsubscribes and bounces with you. This will help make sure that your new campaigns are not sent to recipients that already unsubscribed. Otherwise you risk getting lots of unsubscribes and complaints early on, damaging your IP reputation before you began.
6. Take Care of Email Continuity
When switching email service providers, it is important to ensure that links in previous emails are not broken and that your website is up to date with the new domain information. Make sure all share buttons, tracking links etc. are still accessible to recipients after the switch is made, or you risk frustrating your subscribers and losing out on conversions.
7. Take the Time to Clean Your Lists
Transferring ESPs is a great time to clean your lists and make sure the subscribers that transfer over are engaged. Take the time to make the transition the right way instead of bringing over all your lists without sifting through them. While it may take time to set up, you’ll be happier in the long run with clean lists that you can segment and analyze in the future.
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The most important thing to remember when switching ESPs is that it takes time and requires patience, but ultimately can help your brand in the long run. Take into consideration your growth plans and ESP needs when setting up and you will see that your operations will be smoother down the road.
Don’t forget to consult your new ESP or email marketing platform and ask them for help making the transition. Oftentimes that can make the difference between a scary and seamless transition!