When ramping up with a new email service provider (ESP), sometimes the hardest part about making the switch is…making the switch. A smooth implementation of the new ESP is always important. It becomes mission critical when you’re not just starting up with a new ESP, but also managing the transition from an existing one, one you’ve likely been using for a while.
You’ll need to maintain some kind of continuity while making the switch, and obviously you’ll have a lot of different pieces to move from one platform to the other. You’ll have to migrate your often disparate data from one platform to another, rebuild your reputation with the new IP address, and maintain program uptime…plus get your staff trained. Obviously, you can’t do it all yourself, so how much help can you reasonably expect from the new email service provider?
At ClickMail, we call this “migration support,” and we find it can be a deciding factor when doing an email service provider comparison.
So ask the questions. Asking about migration support will be one of the most important conversations you’ll have with your new email service provider. During these talks, your new ESP should set your expectations and spell out their complete plans for shifting your email program from your former vendor over to their platform, including their timeline for doing so.
Questions to ask the ESP about migration support
The biggest questions are around who is responsible for what. You’ll want to ask, “Will you help us do this or are we on our own? Who is going to do it? If the ESP is doing it, are there costs for doing so that hadn’t been discussed yet? And if we’re going to do it, how much help will there be available if needed?”
In addition to asking general questions about who is responsible for what, you’ll want to ask specific ones too, such as:
- What kind of guidance will you offer during the migration?
- How will you transfer our data? Which data? What about list level and global unsubscribes? Bounce data?
- Will you do email verification before records are entered into your system?
- How will you switch our sender ID to a new IP address?
- How will you help us rebuild our sender reputation as we ramp up the new IP address? (For dedicated IPs only)
- How will you leverage domain masking and reply mail we have set up from another platform?
- Will you help transfer our automated emails, such as triggered emails and drip marketing campaigns?
- How will you re-create our segmented lists?
- How will you migrate any drip campaigns, especially for folks that started receiving messages from the old system and will need to be sent the rest of the campaign from the new system?
These questions are suggestions only, and you probably have concerns specific to your organization. Be sure to query everyone involved about their questions around the migration and get the answers before migration starts.
In fact, all of this is information you might want to go over even before choosing your new ESP. Once you’re at the short list stage and you’re doing your final email service provider comparison, it could be the migration support (or lack of) becomes a deciding factor.