Let’s assume you want to make the switch from Redshift to Hubspot. Most businesses need to send marketing emails in bulk, so finding an email service provider that works for you is important. Sometimes, that means making a change to your current ESP. Before you decide to change your ESP, here are a few things you ought to consider.
1. There’s no Such Thing as a Direct Comparison
ESPs are simply too different from each other. Ultimately, you have to compare ESPs in some capacity. Just understand that any comparisons you make may not be as illustrative as you think they are. Some items and characteristics may allow for fairly direct comparisons, but for the most part, the differences will be significant enough to affect your mailing system and require some kind of adjustment. Bot clicks, pixel-tracking technology, automatically-disregarded email addresses, and network infrastructure are all major facets that will differ significantly from your old ESP to a new one. Take these opaque differences into account while evaluating metrics between platforms.
2. Metrics of Your Email Engagement May Change
The reputation of the emails your business sends ultimately depends on two major items: the sending IPs with which to deliver mail and the domain of your actual business. Your business’s reputation with regard to sending will trail your business to a new ESP, so it’s important to make sure your new ESP is at least as effective as your old one. Also, your sending IPs will invariably change. The combination of your existing mailing system and new sending IPs may cause initial hiccups before paying off, but a good ESP ensures that this problem is only immediate and capable of being resolved in a matter of weeks.
3. Your Mailing System Won’t Get a Fresh Start
Moving to a new ESP might be a good move, but it won’t erase the past. Your customers aren’t the ones who are going to notice the change, as the endeavor is entirely internal. While your domain will change, your sending reputation will carry over into the IP of your new ESP, so if your business has already struggled to reach customers due to particularly vigilant mailboxes, you will have to work with your new ESP to change your approach to bulk mail and email blasts.
But how do you work with ESPs to achieve genuine success in terms of marketing? A few tips might help you acclimate to your new ESP as quickly as possible.
Import an opt-out list of contacts who don’t want to be contacted anymore before you begin your first campaign with a new ESP. Including people who don’t want to be contacted in email blasts is a great recipe for bad press that spreads like wildfire. Hanging onto that opt-out list is a great way to avoid unnecessary bad press.
You should also clean your database before migration. An opt out-list may not account for other forms of turnover. Contact databases naturally lose genuine contacts at a rate of about 20% per year. This loss occurs alongside requests to unsubscribe when a contact either changes jobs and receives a new email address or habitually deletes emails without unsubscribing.
On that note, make sure you stop engaging with email addresses that stay subscribed without interacting, especially if inactivity has persisted for more than a year. Assume these silent subscribers are making negative judgments about your email marketing, and assume that immediate deletions of your emails across subscribers’ inboxes are detrimental to your business’s sending reputation among inbox providers. At worst, stale contacts can cause you to be blacklisted. Being on a blacklist is the death knell of any campaign.
Next, make sure you migrate any email engagement data in order to prioritize sending promotional material to contacts who have consistently engaged with that material. Hanging on to data that reflects how often contacts engage with your material is critical for reintroducing email blasts with your new ESP. Sending material to people who will appreciate it will suggest to inbox providers that you’re sending reputable material, which doesn’t belong in the spam folder.
Once you arrive at a coasting state, monitor email engagement as closely as you can, and use your results to inform adjustments. Of course, this is always a “best practice,” but it’s actually more important after the switch to a new ESP in the interest of more effective email campaigns. To observe that your engagement metrics are lowering significantly is to use your new ESP’s information to contort your marketing strategy in accordance. Some platforms are so flexible as to allow you to monitor an individual email’s success as well as any consistencies across more general rates of engagement. With your new ESP, you’ll be back to competing in no time.