move to your new ESP with same efficiency as your new houseMoving to a new ESP is like moving to a new house: You get cool, exciting new digs but also face the accumulated tchotchkies and forgotten mites from the days of yore. This can make the move feel intimidating and stressful, but there’s no need for that! You can minimize the move turbulence by developing a method for the madness…and the same thing applies when you switch ESPs, by following some email marketing best practices.

Imagine you’re coordinating a move to a new house and your friends are going to come help out. Your best bet is to make a plan to keep your belongings organized: all the second floor content gets a red sticker, main floor content gets a yellow sticker, and the basement gets blue, and so on. Easy! From there, you mark the rooms they go in and then the boxes’ actual contents. When you unload the truck at the new place, this system will allow things will go smoothly and you’ll be off divvying up pizza and using boxes for chairs in no time! Then, when you need the iron on Monday morning as you get ready for work, you will know exactly where to find it!

Switching to a new email service provider requires the same kind of thought-out approach. The well-ordered move to a new ESP doesn’t have anything to do with pizza for the crew, but it has everything to do with an assessment of your assets and a well-designed data structure (like the rooms of your new house). The red, yellow and blue stickers are your evaluation and prioritization of everything you move–-key components to an efficient and clean ESP migration.

We understand why you are likely moving to a new ESP: You want it to be easier to manage your data and you want to see improvement in your Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Simply moving the “boxes” of your subscriber data from one house to another and hoping to see these KPIs improve is not realistic, nor does it jive with email marketing best practices. “Batch and blast” email marketers will frequently fall into this mindset. Never developing a smart data structure prevents them from the efficient move into their new ESP. This then causes data issues and errors, and can even bleed into subscriber issues!

Remember: All data is not the same. You need to prioritize unsubscribes, properly suppress hard bounces, and have some measures of subscriber engagement in place so that when you move, you can hit the ground running, ramping up a new IP address with your most engaged subscribers.

Things can get even more complicated when more than one brand is being ported into a new ESP.  If the boxes aren’t labeled right in this move, you run the risk of unpacking things into the wrong rooms. Don’t wish you had a plan: Make one!

In addition, a move is the perfect opportunity to “clean house,” and list hygiene is always among the top email marketing best practices. Consider casting off unengaged subscribers just like that junk in your garage you no longer use (and really shouldn’t move).

Develop your plan, clean house, pack up, then unpack in your new ESP with confidence! Pizza, anyone?


(Image courtesy of Ambro at



Published On: September 10th, 2014Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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