Email Deliverability Checklist for Switching ESPs

23 January 2017 - Sharon Beilis

If you’ve decided to switch ESPs due to poor results linked to email deliverability, you need to make sure you’re taking several things into account during the migration process. Since there are so many elements involved with automated emails — and a significant amount of data that needs to be accounted for — you need to take extra steps to ensure things go smoothly as you make the switch.

Use this email deliverability checklist when you’re ready to migrate ESPs:

Identify Unreachable Email Contacts

Whether you have been sending emails for several months or several years with your current ESP, there’s a good chance that a percentage of those emails bounced, some subscribers opted out, and some spam complaints may have been filed. Your old ESP will have logged all this information.

If you haven’t scrubbed your list in a while or taken the time to review the logged data, now would be the perfect time to do just that. Make sure the email addresses you upload to your new ESP don’t include any of these unreachable contacts or you will compromise deliverability rates with your new ESP right off the bat.

Review Engagement Rates

Most email marketing professionals review engagement rates regularly to determine which emails are successful and which contacts block emails or report emails as spam. If you haven’t looked at these numbers recently, make sure to do so before the migration.

Make sure your new ESP receives the most active email contacts first so that engagement rates are consistently high for some time. This will help you build a positive reputation as you get started.

Check Your Sender Addresses

Which “From” address do you use to send your batch emails? If you are sending your emails from a subdomain or created a custom ‘from’ field, you’ll want to be consistent with your efforts as you get things started with the new ESP. However, if you ended up with a bad reputation and want to see a significant improvement in email deliverability, you can start over with a new ‘from’ address as you start sending emails.

Consider the value of changing the ‘from’ address by adding a name of an employee and ‘from [YOUR COMPANY]’ as the sender to make the email more personal. This can help to improve deliverability rates as fewer recipients immediately mark the email as spam once it lands in the inbox.

Authenticate Domains and IP Addresses

You’ll need to set up Domain Name System validation (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) with the new ESP right away. If you don’t, you won’t be able to migrate the existing infrastructure and configurations. You’ll also want to whitelist your IP address so the new ESP validates the IP address you are sending your emails from. These verifications can ensure a smoother transition and fewer mass emailing and deliverability issues as you get things started.

Run a Few Tests

You may run into a few problems during the migration so it’s a good idea not to schedule a mass email during your first few sends. Run some test emails to validated email addresses to make sure everything is working properly and there are no major glitches. Take the time to upload a scrubbed list and verify daily send limits from the new ESP so you can plan and schedule larger mailings when you’re ready.

Switching ESPs isn’t always an easy process and you need to be very careful when migrating data and setting up a new infrastructure. However, working with a new ESP could be just what you need to increase deliverability rates and increase the overall value of your email marketing campaigns.