Considering an ESP migration? Here’s how to find the best provider for your brand and ensure a smooth transition.
The prospect of migrating to a new email service provider (ESP) can feel daunting. But if you're not happy with your current set-up—whether that's because you need access to better features and support, or need to improve your email deliverability and revenue—it may be time to think about switching.
The good news is that re-platforming doesn't have to be stressful. In fact, with the right partner, the whole experience can be quick and easy.
If you’re considering an ESP migration, you’ve come to the right place. This post will walk you through what to look for in a new provider, plus what steps to take to make sure the transition goes smoothly and doesn't disrupt your email performance. Let’s dive in.
Reasons to consider an ESP migration
There are many reasons you might be exploring the idea of migrating your ESP, like a lack of functionality and innovation, or the opportunity to combine efforts and lean more into what's already going well. Here are some signs that it might be time to make the move:
1. Your current ESP lacks the tools you need to maximize revenue
Sending high-performing emails isn't simply a matter of having lots of subscribers and messaging them often. Your customers are individuals with unique needs and interests, and your communication with them should reflect that.
Getting the most out of your email marketing efforts requires a modern platform with tools that allow you to accurately identify and target subscribers with personalized campaigns and triggered emails.
If your current ESP doesn't offer advanced automation and segmentation capabilities, it could be limiting your ability to optimize your program and maximize revenue.
2. Your email deliverability needs a boost
Chances are you’ve spent a lot of time and energy creating, testing, and iterating every aspect of your email marketing program. But if your emails aren’t landing in the inboxes of customers who are eager to open them, then all that hard work goes to waste.
If you’re noticing a decrease in performance because your emails aren’t reaching their destination, it’s time to switch to an ESP that prioritizes deliverability.
3. You need better and faster customer support
We recently asked our customers if they’re happy with their current ESP. Two-thirds of them said no, citing a lack of customer support—not only during the migration process but also after launching—as their main concern.
Poor customer service can look like long wait times to resolve technical issues, an account manager or team that isn’t knowledgeable in all aspects of the platform, a lack of best practices and optimization strategies, and all sorts of other roadblocks that ultimately impact your revenue.
If you’re not satisfied with the support you're getting from your provider, start shopping around for a new one that has the resources and the expertise to help you get the most out of your technology and your marketing programs.
4. You want to manage email and SMS from the same platform
Email and SMS are great channels on their own, but consumers don’t just stick to one or the other when interacting with their favorite brands. They jump back and forth between them at different points along their journey, which means you need to create a holistic experience that keeps both channels in mind.
It's possible to coordinate email and SMS between two separate platforms, but it also requires more manual work to build and align your multi-channel campaigns. Working with a platform that makes it easy to orchestrate across channels, from segmentation to journey development to reporting, is crucial.
What to look for in an ESP
With so many ESPs out there, how do you know you’re making the right choice? Here are some key features and capabilities every marketer should look for in an email platform.
1. Marketing automation
To run an effective email marketing program, you need a platform with advanced automation features that allow you to engage the right customers, with the right messages, at the right time.
At the basic level, this should include the ability to create and send personalized triggered emails to subscribers based on their recent behavior. Think: browse and cart abandonment reminders, targeted product recommendations, post-purchase emails, and more.
But your ESP also needs to have strong identity tools to help trigger those emails, so they reach the right individuals. Attentive’s identity solution recognizes more of your website visitors—based on their email address and phone number—and captures valuable activity data in the process.
Better identification means we're able to trigger more email sends, which ultimately increases your email revenue.
2. Scalability and reliability
You might be at a point where you've outgrown your current ESP and need to switch, but you shouldn't have to migrate your email program more than once. The right platform will be able to keep up with you as you scale your business and subscriber list. (At Attentive, we’re constantly innovating our products and features to grow with you as your needs change and help you hit your goals.)
Keep in mind, a truly scalable ESP also needs to be reliable. Look for a platform that has a powerful server infrastructure with high uptimes and can ensure prompt delivery—no matter how big your email list is. In other words, you need a platform that you can count on to deliver your messages when you send them.
This is especially important for big shopping moments like Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM), when brands are sending more marketing emails than usual. Before making a decision, ask your potential ESP what their downtime or outages were on BFCM.
When you’re growing your email marketing program quickly, it can be challenging to consistently monitor for deliverability issues like low engagement rates, illegitimate addresses, bounces, and poor email formatting.
But it’s essential to keep an eye on these factors because they can impact the percentage of emails that are successfully delivered to your subscribers after they’re sent. When you have low deliverability rates, it can signal that your email marketing program is spammy—even if it’s not.
Opt for an ESP that prioritizes deliverability, so your emails don’t get lost in cyberspace or land in spam folders. Attentive's email platform has deliverability best practices built in. Plus, an entire team dedicated to managing relationships with internet service providers (ISPs) and proactively addressing potential issues.
4. Easy-to-use platform and features
Using your ESP shouldn’t feel like rocket science. Your platform should have an intuitive interface that makes everything from designing your first email to analyzing campaign results easy, whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a novice. Some key features and offerings to look for are:
Built-in templates you can customize to your heart’s content
Not all email marketers are designers—and that’s OK. But it shouldn’t hold you back from creating great emails. Attentive Email has a library of templates that are based on best practices from the 8,000+ brands that use our platform. Our drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to create high-performing emails with all the right elements. Plus, you can save your own templates and content as you continue to build out your program.
Flexible reporting tools that enable you to make data-driven decisions
To get the most out of your email program and improve your strategy, you need to regularly analyze performance to see what's working for you and what's not. Ideally, you want an ESP that lets you access detailed insights and metrics directly within their platform, so you don't have to figure these things out on your own.
Attentive's customizable reports are easy to create and tailor to your needs. You can also filter your data to drill down and identify trends and opportunities to take your ROI to the next level. Think: reporting across email and SMS, views into individual subscriber data, performance snapshots to measure success, and more.
Plenty of resources to help you learn and grow
There’s always a bit of a learning curve when you move to a new platform. The right ESP won't just have a team to help you get up to speed. It’ll also have lots of resources (e.g., help center, blog posts, case studies) so you can become an expert on your own, too.
5. Platform-native AI tools
AI has come a long way in the past year, with marketers embracing the technology to level up their workflows and programs. ESPs that offer platform-native AI tools stand out from the crowd because they can help you automate necessary, but time-consuming tasks, and drive better results.
Attentive AI™ includes features that generate high-performing subject lines, email copy, and images with the click of a button (plus we have more machine learning tools coming soon, like AI-generated copy for A/B testing subject lines and preview text).
You can also coordinate campaigns across email and SMS with our Magic Composer, which has built-in logic that retargets subscribers in real time based on engagement.
6. List cleaning services
When you migrate to a new platform, the last thing you want is to continue sending emails to cold subscribers and invalid email addresses—especially if your payment plan is tied to how many subscribers you have.
It’s smart to go with an ESP that provides list cleaning services to help you remove unengaged and incorrect email addresses from your list, which, in turn, helps improve your sender reputation and overall email performance.
7. Multi-channel orchestration
85% of shoppers globally say that when they subscribe to a brand’s SMS program, they also sign up for their email. So being able to easily coordinate touchpoints across multiple channels within a single customer journey is essential.
Choosing an ESP that plays nicely with your SMS platform is one way to do this—but you also have the option to combine email and SMS within a single solution like Attentive. You can have all your data in one place and be set up to use each channel’s strengths to your advantage. In the end, that means less work for you and a better experience for your customers.
8. End-to-end support
Our internal data shows that 68% of marketers are nervous about migrating their ESP because of the time it takes to do it. It makes sense that this is a common fear, particularly for marketers who are used to lackluster customer support.
Look for a provider that’s willing and able to guide you through the migration process—and won’t disappear once you’re set up and ready to launch.
We’ve designed our migration process and support team around alleviating any fears you might have. Our goal is to make transferring your email program to Attentive quick and easy, so you can start sending emails from our platform and driving more revenue as soon as possible.
And our Client Strategy team will be there post-migration to help with anything you need, too, whether it's quick answers to your questions or recommendations for optimizing your program.
What sets Attentive apart from other ESPs
Not all ESPs deliver the same level of service or results. At Attentive, we have a 96% satisfaction rate for support—and we’ll help you complete your migration in days rather than months. Here are a few ways our platform is different and why you should consider making the switch from your current ESP:
- Ease of migration. We know marketers are nervous about the time it can take to switch ESPs and that it can be confusing without the right resources and support. That's why we've invested in making our migration process quick (10 days on average) and easy. Our team will walk you through every step of the process to make sure your campaigns and journeys are migrated correctly and optimized for performance so you won’t miss any revenue-driving opportunities.
- No downtime. We recommend that you don’t turn off triggers from your old ESP until the second you’re ready to go live with Attentive. The result? No disruptions to your email program. Your customers won’t even know you made a transition.
- Improved deliverability and performance. With our deliverability tools and services (and 99% delivery rate), you can feel confident that your emails will make it to your customers' inboxes every time. And because we're able to recognize more subscribers, our customers who've migrated their email program to Attentive have seen an average 95% increase in triggered email revenue.
- Better multi-channel orchestration. Keeping email and SMS under the Attentive roof makes it easier to run, track, and improve your cross-channel experiences. Our Magic Composer gives you the power to craft intelligent cross-channel campaigns in a single interface, with retargeting logic already built into it.
- Ongoing strategy guidance and support. Our industry-leading team of experts work closely with you to build an email and SMS marketing program that increases your revenue and engagement.
Having the same representative for both platforms who knows our business inside and out makes us feel secure. We're so confident in the company, and we're definitely happy we took the leap to put email and SMS under one roof with Attentive.
— Jenna Kusek, Senior Marketing Manager at Jack Rogers
We've covered reasons to consider an ESP migration, what to look for in a new provider, and what makes Attentive stand out. Here’s a checklist of everything you need to do before kicking off the migration process:
- Build a roster of internal and external stakeholders. Inform everyone who might be impacted by the migration, including people on your internal team, as well as any external vendors or consultants.
- Run a re-engagement campaign. The goal is to win back inactive subscribers before the migration. This step helps you understand which contacts are (or aren’t) still active and prepare to clean up your list.
- Clean your subscriber list. Go through your email list and remove inactive or unresponsive subscribers. Doing this will improve your deliverability and engagement rates.
- Organize your subscribers. Segmenting your subscribers based on their engagement level, preferences, or behaviors pre-migration means you can better personalize and target your messaging post-migration.
- Document your KPIs. It's important to have a record of metrics like your open, click-through, and conversion rates to compare the performance of your emails pre- and post- migration.
- Review your email campaigns and journeys. Decide which ones are still effective and should be migrated, and which ones are outdated or underperforming and should be left behind.
- Make a list of the integrations you currently use. You’ll need to set up these third-party tools and services again when you migrate to your new ESP.
- Verify your domain authentication. In order to send emails through Attentive (or any ESP), you must set up a sending domain. We recommend setting up a dedicated domain, not a shared domain, so your emails are less likely to get marked as spam.
After you’ve made the switch, use this checklist to make sure the transition goes smoothly and your email performance stays on track:
- Double check your subscriber list. Once you’ve transferred your active email subscriber list from your previous platform, confirm that it’s complete and was imported correctly to avoid disruptions in communication.
- Review your email templates. Make sure your email templates and designs look how you want them to look, and make any necessary tweaks. (If you’re migrating to Attentive, you can consult our design team for optimization tips.)
- Test everything. All aspects of your email program should be set up correctly and working as intended, including sign-up units, transactional emails, and any other interactive components.
- Grant access to your website and apps. Update all links and APIs connecting your new ESP to your website or applications. If these aren’t re-set-up, your integrations might not work properly with your new provider.
- Start using your analytics and reporting tools. Familiarize yourself with how to build reports and measure performance, so you can effectively share your success and make informed decisions.
- Train your team. Make sure anyone who’ll be using your new ESP has access to the platform and any onboarding resources to help them hit the ground running.
- Monitor deliverability. Catching any issues early on is key to maintaining good relationships with your subscribers and preserving your sender reputation. (If you’re migrating to Attentive, we'll keep an eye on this, too.)
The key to unlocking the full potential of your email marketing and SMS programs lies in migrating to the platform that focuses on boosting deliverability rates, improves orchestration, and provides full support to make sure you’re hitting revenue goals—Attentive.
Ready to migrate your ESP? Learn more about Attentive Email today.