Key deliverability tactics when switching email tools


How to maintain high deliverability and inbox placement? And how to do that when moving from one Email service provider to the other? We already talked about list suppression and informing your recipients in the earlier post.

This time we tackle IP warming and the additional factors to consider when switching email tools.

IP Warming

Internet service providers (ISPs) more and more often use a reputation system to decide how many emails you can send and where your email ends up (inbox, junk or neither). This can be from your sending IP, your domain, your whole email address and more. Yahoo for instance appears to do something for every part of the email.

Credit Rating for Bulk Email

You reputation acts like a credit rating: you can’t get a mortgage if you’ve never had a credit card because you do not have a long enough credit history to loan that much money. ISPs will not let you send high volume to the inbox before you have proven your worth with smaller volumes.

Your domain and creative would have already established a reputation through your former ESP. But switching email tools alters the combination of hardware settings, your email and your domain details. While you will not be starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to start with sending smaller email volumes and only get good engagements in the first month. This way the ISPs who will see a new combination for reputation metrics will let you carry on while you rebuild your reputation. If you simply went in and sent in millions from day one, the ISPs will get suspicious and start to throttle your delivery speeds and inbox placement will plummet.

Start with the engaged

warming ips email marketing deliverabilityTo ensure you get the best start, your new Email service provider (ESP) should help you warm up your new account. Take the email recipients from your old ESP that always open their email. Send to those openers only, through your new ESP.  We choose the openers because these are the people who are engaged with your emails and are taking positive actions.

It’s important that the ISPs see as much positive activity as possible in the early stages and this is by far the most efficient and successful way of doing it. Then over a month or more, the list on the old ESP will shrink and the new one will grow with just the engaged addresses.

Then at the end, you will be in a position to take the final export of optouts and bounces along with the less opening records and use only the new ESP.

Again, if you have chosen the right ESP and emailtools, they will be more than happy to help you with this; in fact, the good ones will hold your hand.

Additional Factors

There are couple of other factors to be aware of:

Email Lists
If you are using your ESP as your primary list store, you will have to spend the time to get all of the data out, store it securely  – and back it up, twice and put one on another machine or on some secure online storage.

Email design and creative
While you shouldn’t need to replicate your old ESP in your new ESP, it would be handy to have easy access to some of your old emails, so you will have to get some of those out and store them locally.

Most ESPs will give you some web-space to store your images on for your emails. Don’t forget that will vanish when you are  switching email tools and the old account closes. Make sure you have downloaded all that you need and that the emails sent through  the new Email service provider do not refer to them for any images of files.

Report Data
This is something that you either need long term or you don’t.

To get a large amount of data out and have all of the details for multiple campaigns, it is likely that you will have to pay our ESP for the export. Based on the cost and whether or not you have ever actually used it before, you will have to decide if you would like an export of the report data or not. Either way it is a good idea to make sure you have some kind of integration on your new email tool to duplicate the report data at your side, because engagement profiling is getting more and more prevalent in email marketing success.

Even when not switching email tools

To be honest, even if you aren’t switching ESPs some of these things are a great thing to do at some point in the year. I’d suggest the quietest part of the year, that way you’ll know who your most engaged are. Set-up a new email address (or profile/list etc.) and move your engaged people over on to it making sure they add the new address to the safe list on the way.

Any email service provider worth any salt will not only be happy to hold your hand but the good ones will suggest it.

About Andy Thorpe

Andy Thorpe is the Deliverability and Compliance Manager for Pure360 and is also the author of Get in the Inbox , where Andy blogs and tweets about email marketing under his comical alias of Captain Inbox.

  • Ken Pfeiffer

    One of the biggest mistakes I saw durning my years with an ESP is customers do not export their current list of subscribers from their old ESP with their current *status* (active, bounced, opted out, FBL etc..).  They should ensure they import their list into their new ESP system with the current status from the old ESP intact.  If you new ESP does’t give you the option of importing addresses to a specific status ask for their development staff to do it for you.

    Too many times new clients just click the ‘export all’ button from old ESP then ‘import’ in their new ESP and first send you get bounces, complaints.  Maintaining status is very important to get off to the right start with your new ESP.

    Also I don’t recommend just exporting your active subscribers from your old ESP as sooner or later someone will find a list and realize gee they are not in my list anymore and reimport them.  Vs if you import bounces as bounced if someone tries to add that address again the bounce status will be maintained (well I should say it should or better be).