The true costs of switching email marketing tools

We don’t switch email marketing tools daily. Email marketers don’t change suppliers because they think it will be fun to do. But there are enough reasons to switch from one email marketing tool to another. One thing often overlooked is the true costs of the switch. We take a look.

Switching Email marketing tools

What are the true costs of switching email marketing tools? Often you are not only switching tools, but also suppliers or agency. The total cost can be a significant investment in time and money. Switching costs include:

Search for a new Email Marketing tool

While the old supplier might not be up to par, you still have to find a new one and that takes time. You are also not just looking for a replacement. The intention is to switch to a new email marketing tool and stay with them for a longer period of time. So you need to know what you are looking for, maybe write an RFP, go into meetings with email agencies, calls, demos, and that is just to see the available options. You are looking for the best email service provider that fits your needs.

Contracts, legal and negotiation

email marketing service level agreement

During and after a first selection is made, contracts need to be drafted and there is probably some negotiating about price and service levels. One integral part of these contracts is the Service Level Agreement (SLA ). While the SLA and negotiation can save you a lot of money and future disappointment, it also takes up quite some time to do thoroughly.

Implementation of the new Email Tool

Once all is signed and done, the ”real” work begins: Implementation of the new Email marketing tool.  This includes setting up database(s), backing up or transferring data, adjusting email templates, the set-up of all triggered programs, dynamic selections, etc. Usually the first step is to “get everything over” and not even improving on them.


Even when not following an official training, getting to know how the new email tool works takes some time. The switch involves knowledge, procedures, people and responsibilities. Knowing how the software works in detail takes time (and resources). This can be added to the true switching costs.

Loss of company knowledge

The new supplier has to get the inside scoop of your business and company. This is especially true for full service email marketing vendors. If they are aiming to help get email marketing to the next level, it is a necessity.

Building a send reputation

When switching from one Email marketing supplier to another, you will be sending from other email servers. New email servers are not allowed to send large numbers of email in one go, so to make your emails get delivered, it should be increased over time. It is a process called “warming up IP addresses” and it is a part of email deliverability. This costs resources, but not doing so will amount in a lot of email not being delivered and that will cost even more.

Duplicate costs

Sometimes it is possible to make a clean cut and move from one supplier to the next with a big bang. But most of the time it is a step by step process or you would like to keep the former supplier on, just in case. You might need to pay duplicate licence fees and in some cases you might even be held to a contractual exit-fee from the old email tool supplier.

Costs of switching email marketing tools

The total cost of switching email tools can be a significant attack on your resources. So be sure to take them into consideration in advance and don’t let your budget be ambushed while making the switch.

About Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and analyst. He is the founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, online marketing strategy, software selection, campaign management, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. He tested, reviewed, and wrote about 100+ business software including email marketing services, CRMs, ecommerce platforms, and online course creators. Published in-depth email marketing guides for financial service, ecommerce, travel, restaurant, and fashion industries.
Named one of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch" by Entrepreneur magazine. Companies like Scania, KLM, Unilever, AEGON, CZ, FNV, NRC Media have asked me for advice.

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