Is Your House In Order? A Deliverability Checklist when switching ESPs


Email marketing is typically an integral part (if not the backbone) of any cross-channel marketing program. Therefore, contemplating a change in your Email Service Provider (ESP) is a lot like searching for a new home. It can be an exciting time and it sure is fun to look at all the options out there on the open market! But there is also a great deal of due diligence that must be done before a decision can be made. After all, email marketing isn’t all walk-in closets and fancy kitchens!

Much like finding a home, you must have a keen eye fixed on foundation and structure. When sizing up a new ESP, data integration and platform capabilities can be the difference between a good and bad investment. But have you considered what will become of your deliverability rates when it comes time to make the move? Maybe you have spent years with your current ESP and your deliverability rates are immaculate. Well, the good news is that you can take it with you, and the sooner you can get packing the better!

Here is a packing list to help make sure you don’t forget about your deliverability on moving day:

Open & Click Data

Make sure your current ESP is able to provide complete open and click data on your database. If your current ESP doesn’t track this for you it would be worth implementing before you leave their platform. This will come in very handy when you begin mailing from your new ESP.

Sending Domains

If your sending domains are performing well you can bring them with you. This is will enable you to carry over the good sender reputation that you’ve established over the years.

Unsubscribe Data

Ensure you are actively processing unsubscribes, and that these addresses and unsubscribe process are properly conveyed to your new ESP, especially when you make the transition between platforms.

Hard Bounces

Make sure your current ESP is identifying and removing hard bounces. It might be worth implementing a more stringent hard bounce rule prior to leaving your current ESP to ensure you don’t unnecessarily bring any bad data with you when you move.

Data Hygiene

The period during an ESP change is a great time to run hygiene on your database and help ensure your list is as clean as possible before you migrate to your new ESP. A clean database will enable you to launch from your new ESP with the best deliverability possible!

Addressing these items early during the RFP process will ensure you don’t end up bringing the clutter to your new ESP. Carrying bad data unnecessarily is an awful lot like hoarding, and in email marketing the results of that approach could mean a less than stellar launch from your new ESP. Your sender reputation could suffer and anything from prolonged bulking or blocking issues to blacklistings could lead to a problematic first experience with your new ESP.

Partnering with a new ESP means a fresh start lies ahead. Leave behind the bad and pack up the good. Your deliverability will thank you later!

For more insights on what else you should be looking out for in your potential ESP partner, check out this ask-the-expert piece on 6 questions you should ask before choosing an ESP.


Author Bio

Andrew Puttock

Andrew has been with Yes Lifecycle Marketing for over three years and brings a strong analytic and strategic mindset to digital marketing. In his current role as Launch Manager, Intelligence Products he is primarily focused on working with new Yes Lifecycle Marketing clients, helping to address both the technical and practical challenges that arise during an ESP migration. Through the creation and execution of customized migration plans Andrew leverages his background in email deliverability and client service to effectively manage projects, working hard to ensure the goals of his clients are achieved and exceeded. Andrew has a strong attention to detail and enjoys working closely with new clients and members of other Yes Lifecycle Marketing teams.