How to Maintain Email Deliverability When Switching Marketing Automation Tools

How to Maintain Email Deliverability When Switching Marketing Automation Tools

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard work of vetting, testing, trialing, convincing stakeholders and more to get to the point where you are ready to move to ActiveCampaign, the industry leader in customer experience automation. 

How can you get started with deliverability? Read Deliverability in Your First 30 Days, which will set important expectations about switching providers (including addressing the possibility of temporarily low open rates). Don’t skip this read!

As for the logistics of switching, there are a few loose ends to tidy up before opening up your shiny new platform and testing out deliverability. These include:

  • Export data from your prior provider
  • Update DNS of domains
  • Create a volume-based warm up plan
  • Leverage the reputation your domain has built

1. Export data

Data is our best friend in the deliverability world. Measuring trends over time is the only indication of healthy or declining inbox placement. 

As for what data to export and bring with you to a new platform, the more the better. You may face limitations with what a particular platform allows you to export, or what data is available to begin with, but anything you can grab is certainly better than nothing. This data will allow you to target and segment your contact list to protect your inbox placement. 

The goal here is to identify contacts that have engaged in the last 7 days, 30 days, 60 days, etc. to build the foundation for your warm up plan and future email strategy.

The following data may prove useful:

  • Subscription status and subscription date(s)
  • Opt-in method and opt-in date(s)
  • Last email open date, last email click date, and last site visit date
  • Bounce status
  • Overall open rates in X time frame, overall clicks in X time frame, overall unsubscribes in X time frame, overall bounces in X time frame, and engagement status

Pro tip! Anything that is a ‘date’ be sure to import into ActiveCampaign as a date custom field. For engagement levels, usually a tag works best so you can easily add/remove conflicting information.

2. Update DNS of domains

Be aware of your current DNS settings and which records (if anything) will need updated when switching platforms.

For example:

  • Do you have a DMARC policy in place for your domain? 
  • Do you currently authenticate your emails with your own DKIM? 

Maintaining the same authentication approach is key to a smooth transition with your domain reputation. The goal is to change as little as possible when you are already going to be sending emails through a new IP address. If you need help with this set up, we can help.

Don’t forget to document all domains and subdomains you actively send from. You’ll want to use those same domains when starting to send on your new platform. This helps to transfer your existing domain reputation to your new email platform. If you are planning to coordinate the use of a new platform with a rebrand, be sure to read Rebranding and Deliverability.

3. Create a volume-based warm up plan

We have great resources to help guide you as to what are the proper volumes and time frames at which to send your initial campaigns. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that these plans are guidelines, not hard limits. You should always be monitoring your metrics for any sudden changes to get ahead of issues before they put a stop to your warm up. We also provide these recommendations with the assumption that your list composition is ‘standard’ with Gmail being your largest mailbox provider and Outlook and Verizon Media bringing up the rest of the ranks. If that is not the case, you may want to consider lower thresholds for your warm up plan.

For more tips on how to measure the success of your warm up plan, visit our article How to Warm Up Contacts for the Holiday Season.

How to maximize email deliverability success during a migration

After prepping for your migration, we have a few more suggestions to maximize your efforts for a successful conclusion to your journey.

1. Maintain access to both platforms — You will need access to both your initial platform and the new platform you are migrating to in order to send slow and controlled sends for your warm up through ActiveCampaign, but maintain the volume expected of your email program by sending through your previous platform.

This helps alleviate the stress of needing to get the scheduled emails out right away, and allow you the time needed for a proper warm up. Be prepared to maintain your account with the initial platform for at least 30 days after you begin the migration process.

2. Drive engagement with your emails — We’ve already talked about the importance of your warm up plan including sending to those most engaged contacts first. You can drive further engagement by prioritizing the creation of lead magnets and other content delivery in ActiveCampaign.

These types of emails often have high opens and clicks as the contact is anticipating or even requesting the follow up email. This high engagement, along with sending to known engaged contacts, will build your reputation with your new platform quickly and may help alleviate any temporary metric dips as a result of the switch.

3. Have a plan to monitor and qualify engagement — There are lots of ways to measure engagement, and it’s better to have a plan from the beginning than to scramble to pull the data when needed. We offer great templates for this with our Part 1 and Part 2 Engagement Tagging automations.

The key here is to know the date a contact last engaged with your emails, your website, etc. and then have a quick and easy way to segment and send to contacts that have recently engaged. This also gives you the freedom to easily remove contacts from your regular sends that haven’t engaged in 90 days or so, and to know who to target with future re-engagement sequences. 

Your next steps for email deliverability

If you can’t follow the exact strategy outlined above, don’t worry—you can still set yourself up for strong deliverability in a new platform by keeping the following in mind:

  • Coordinate your migration to a new platform with the launch of a new product or a free offer. If you can offer something enticing that will help ensure your contacts open your campaign, you can establish a good relationship with your contacts in the new platform, right away.
  • Get as many contacts as possible into your platform via form submission. If a new contact submits a form, receives a “Welcome!” email and opens it right away, your deliverability rate will be in great shape.
    Send communications that your audience wants to receive, and that you’re messaging them consistently. If you’re not targeting the right audience with the right content, your emails could land in the dreaded spam folder.
  • Ask your contacts to add you to their address book or mark you as a safe sender for optimal delivery. Here’s how.

For more deliverability best practices read our email deliverability best practices guide and listen to our podcast episode.

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