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How to migrate ESPs—easily


If you’ve been keeping up with our blog series on ESP migrations, you know we’ve covered the following:

The next stop in our journey? Starting the migration process. Here are some tips to help make that migration process as smooth and headache-free as possible.

Don’t forget about your email audit document

If you’ve done your email audit correctly, this document will house everything you need to migrate over to your new ESP. If you don’t have one, you can get our template in our ESP migrations ebook.

Make the most of your “blank slate”

Migrating to a new ESP gives you the opportunity to start with a blank slate. All of those organizational niggles you had in your previous ESP can be remedied!

Take some time to think about how you want to organize and set up your new ESP. This will be highly dependent on the ESP you’re migrating to, but some things to consider include:

1. A naming convention

Did you have one that worked before? Or maybe you didn’t and you need one. A good naming convention can make it easier and faster to find what you’re looking for in your new ESP. This includes naming conventions for emails, templates, programs, campaigns, and even lists.

2. A folder structure

How do you want to organize your new ESP? If your new ESP allows for a folder structure—lean into it. Options include creating folders for specific campaigns or years, with subfolders for months. But be careful—you won’t want to create a never-ending folder tree!

3. Optimize your automations

Just because you set up an automation or rule in your current ESP one way doesn’t mean you should set it up exactly the same way in your new ESP. How could you improve it? Are there any learnings you could apply to optimize your automations?

Get your priorities straight

The term “flying the plane while building it” might come to mind while actually migrating ESPs. You may need to be executing your email program while migrating. So set some priorities on what needs to be migrated over the course of a specific timeline.

Take into consideration:

  • The need to keep automations and email nurtures running and avoiding customers or subscribers from getting duplicate emails or getting totally left out and not receiving anything.

This is where adding priorities to your email audit document comes in handy!

Leverage available tools

Your tech stack can come in very handy during a migration. Are there tools you already use that could be helpful? We leveraged Litmus’ ESP integration to quickly migrate our email templates from Litmus to our new ESP with the click of a button. This automation saved the email team hours of copying and pasting email code.

Test as you go

It’s easy to get sucked into creating new programs, lists, rules, segments, and email templates in a new ESP… and forget to test each as you go along. Your new ESP may behave differently than your previous one, so it’s important to test everything you create in your new ESP as you go. Does that new automation work as you expected? The email template you just uploaded—does this new ESP change your code in any unexpected way? You’ll save yourself a lot of time (and heartache!) if you iteratively test as you create in your new ESP.

Set realistic deadlines aligned to your priorities

… and share them with your migration team. This will help structure your migration process and feel like
you’re making progress.

Your new ESP’s support team is a valuable resource

When thinking of “resources” to help you migrate easily, you often think of internal resources, like the people on your team and the tools you use. But consider the support team at your new ESP a valuable resource in this process, too. They have the expertise to help you as you start out in your new ESP. You’re going to have an abundance of questions—they can help answer them for you. Before you start migrating, get in touch with the support team and ask if they have any tips or documentation on migration best practices.

Create an IP warming plan

And lastly, to make sure you can get up and running in your new ESP quickly and start sending email as soon as possible, you need to warm your new IP address. (Hint: This is only applicable if you are on a dedicated IP address.)

When you migrate to a new ESP, you’ll be on a new sending IP address that is considered “cold.” When an inbox service provider (ISP) suddenly starts receiving large volumes of email from a “cold” IP address, they will begin evaluating the traffic coming from the IP. Email volume is a key indicator for ISPs when understanding which emails are spam or not. If you come in too hot—high volume, low email engagement—
ISPs will deliver your emails to the spam folder. This is why you need to warm up your new IP address.

To warm up your new IP address, it’s best to start with small volume sends and gradually increase your email send volume over the course of time.

Here are 3 key tips to help you warm your new IP:

1. Identify your most engaged audience

You want to put your best foot forward in your new ESP on your new IP address and your most engaged subscribers can help with that. ISPs look at
how and if your emails’ recipients are engaging with your emails to understand if your emails are spam. This segment of your audience is ideal to warm up your new IP address because they are actively engaging with your email program. And that’s the indicator ISPs are looking for in
genuine email senders.

2. Slowly build volume

The key to successfully warming an IP address is a gradual increase in volume over a specific period of time, while continually monitoring email performance. Start by sending a small volume to your most engaged audience on your new IP address. The next week, send to a slightly bigger audience. At Litmus, we warmed our IP address over the course of 5 weeks, gradually sending to larger audiences each week. It’s important to monitor each send. Don’t panic if you observe any drops in email engagement. Adjust the volume for your next send to be slightly smaller, monitor, rinse, repeat!

3. Identify your best-performing emails

Along with your most engaged audience, you want to make sure you start warming your IP address up with your top email performers. These could
be high-performing newsletters with highly-engaged audiences or automated/triggered emails.

It’s easier to establish a good reputation on your new IP address than it is to repair a bad reputation. So be sure to plan your IP warming accordingly. And don’t forget to reach out to your ESP’s support team—they may be able to provide you with help and guidance on IP warming.