Branding On Fleek: Maintaining Your Company’s Brand Throughout an ESP Migration

If you ask those in the email world what you should do to prepare for an ESP migration, they will most likely rattle off a checklist to you that sounds something like this:

  •  Make sure all infrastructure and authentication is set up properly
  • Sign up for feedback loops and whitelists
  • Submit your new IP address to be Return Path Certified
  • Design a ramp-up plan, with the help of Return Path and/or your ESP, that is appropriate for the number of new IP addresses you are taking on, your overall volume, and sending cadence, etc.

All of the above items are important. However, the nuances deserve just as much attention. During this transition, don’t diminish the importance of the user experience. And so begs the question: How do marketers maintain their brand through a migration?
Your transition from one ESP to another should be seamless to your subscribers. Although you might be working furiously on the back end to make sure all necessary steps have been implemented and all checks are in place, once your audience starts receiving mail from your new IP addresses, they shouldn’t even notice that anything has changed at all. Here are some steps you can take to help create that smooth transition:

  1. Domains. As part of the migration, you will most likely have to choose a new domain. Choose domains and subdomains that are consistent with your brand and, ideally, not too different from your current domains. If you have multiple business units sharing the same IP addresses and/or domains right now, reevaluate your allocation strategy and ensure that it makes sense for certain brands to send from the domains that you choose. Likewise, keep your Friendly From simple and easily identifiable as your brand.
  2. Email templates. The way templates are built on one ESP might not be compatible with that of another. Take this into account and, if necessary, allow enough time and resources to rebuild those templates pre-migration. That being said, don’t make any big changes to your existing template! Which brings me to my last point…
  3. Stick to your guns. This is not the time to be launching brand new subject lines, creatives, or mailstreams. If you change something about your email program drastically, it may not be well-received. The problem? This could be a double whammy if it occurs when your IP addresses are not fully warmed yet. Unwarmed IP addresses haven’t built up a reputation, and they haven’t yet obtained the trust of mailbox providers—making them more vulnerable to throttling, spam folder placement, and blocking. Throw in a new subject line that tanks and you might be feeling those consequences for a long time. Furthermore, if you suddenly introduce new or different content, you will never be sure if any issues that arise are due to these changes, or the general risk that comes with warming new IP addresses and domains. Keep everything as constant and consistent as possible until the migration is over and you’ve established yourself as sender on your new platform.

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