5 Steps to Start Fresh With a New Email Marketing Provider

The decision has been made to switch to a new Email Marketing Provider. Maybe you’re still looking for the new ESP or maybe you’ve signed the contract and the migration from old to new is impending—or even starting. I’d highly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to clean house before the move!

See this ESP migration as a fresh start

Are you familiar with the saying, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change”? It’s about the outlook and attitude when faced with a challenging situation…and migrating from one ESP to another can definitely be challenging.

We can see an ESP migration as a big, huge hassle or see at as a big, huge opportunity.

There are a lot of details to be managed during this time, and this handy ESP switching checklist will help you prepare and move to your new ESP smoothly. But for even better results post-move, take these 5 steps ahead of time to make this move advantageous, as you clean house and start with a clean slate…

Step 1: Evaluate your current email satisfaction and performance

Take a good hard look at how you’re doing things. What’s working? What’s not? What’s working well? What’s a pain in the behind? We want to take stock and produce a list of processes and campaigns that are better off done in a new way in the new platform.


Be clear and differentiate between what has been an ESP issue (and possibly the reason for switching) and what’s an internal issue. Talk to your team members and get their input too. Also talk to your boss and any other departments that either use the ESP platform or are served by your email marketing team.

You might discover there’s an elephant in the room. Deal with it before you start the migration. Rather than accept same old, same old behavior, commit to improvement.

Step 2: Review what you need to move to the new ESP

Next look at the “baggage” you’re planning to migrate over. Not everything needs to be taken along. Document all of the pieces that you have:

• Users and permissions
• Approval processes
• Lists (including your unsubscribes, bounces and spam complaints)
• Campaign structure
• Rules for segmenting
• Rules for automated and triggered emails
• Database and schema
• Images
• Content, including automated and triggered email content
• Past emails
• Hosted images
• Current emails and email templates
• Integrations, including both data feeds and APIs
• Reporting including custom reporting
• Forms
• Landing pages
• Web analytics

Step 3: Organize your data and campaigns

While you’re doing this review of your “baggage,” also get organized in preparation for the move. Make sure to study the new platform and take advantage of any capabilities and flexibility you haven’t had before.

Reorganize your campaigns and how you tag emails. Reorganize your data, fields and especially your data structures, and review your HTML to ensure it works properly in the new platform. Finally, make sure all email reporting and analytics are set up the way you need it.

Step 4: Clean house, do a final reactivation campaign

Taking stock and getting organized are important steps for your ESP migration, but it’s also a good time to clean house, quite literally. Definitely do list hygiene before moving! (Get list hygiene tips here.) You will want to separate active from inactive subscribers.

Remember: Reactivation comes before Migration.
Do a reactivation campaign ahead of time, at your current ESP. You want to do that before the move, so you can remove the truly inactive from your list (and not take that dead weight with you).

Review automated and triggered emails to make sure they are up-to-date. Ditto for landing pages and subscription forms. Anything that’s out-of-date needs to be revised, replaced or rebuilt.

If you’re going to be on a dedicated IP, work with your new ESP to find out if and how you can start warming up that IP, in case you can start ahead of time.

Step 5: Start anew and set expectations

View this move as a clean slate, enabling you to leave old ways of doing things behind. Even if you don’t work your way through these five steps, take some time to review what you’ve done in the past. The typical email marketer is so busy getting emails out the door, they can easily lose sight of the big picture and how well things are working (or not).

Take the time to review and analyze your campaigns, look for trends and outliers. Do a data dump (if you can) so you don’t lose your historical performance. Also talk to the ESP to make sure you know what they expect of you prior to and during the migration.

According to the Benchmarking Report Marketing automation by B2Bmarketing.net and Circle Research, 61% agree that the implementation process of Marketing Automation was difficult.

How moving to a new Email Marketing Provider can be a fresh start

Switching email service providers can be like any kind of move: a really big hassle and also an opportunity for a fresh start.

Most people see a move as an opportunity for a fresh start. We get rid of stuff I no longer need, literally and figuratively cleaning house, leaving clutter behind and getting organized in the process.

Admittedly not everyone does it that way. They move from one house to another and bring practically everything with them, all of the boxes full of stuff they don’t want, books they’ll never read, furniture they’ve no place for, and papers so out-of-date they could be donated to a local historical society if they had any kind of value.

Don’t make that kind of mistake when switching ESPs…

Switching Email Marketing Provider doesn’t have to be scary, although I can tell you it can be a challenge. Invest the time in making this move a real improvement process, not just in a new vendor but in new systems, processes, pieces and tools too, and in the end you’ll be much more efficient and effective at your job.

About Marco Marini

With 25 years in business, Marco is a walking encyclopedia of all things email: best practices, technologies, trends, and more. Marco is currently the COO of iPost, an email platform built for marketers by marketers. iPost an easy, flexible, dynamic marketing automation solution for email and mobile marketing. He has also held key marketing positions with CyberSource, ClickMail, eHealthInsurance, DoveBid and IBM Canada.

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