In early March, Oracle NetSuite announced they will be shutting down their Bronto Marketing Platform on May 31, 2022. That gives Bronto users nine months to decide whether to find a new ESP or migrate to Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, which might be just too big a behemoth to give the personal service you may need.

Nine months might seem like a long time, but you need to consider the following when preparing: research platform options, negotiate a contract, migrate data, integrate systems, test all processes to make sure you have a disruption-free transition, and warm up your new IP addresses/sending domains.

For Bronto users, and anyone else thinking about finding a new provider for your email marketing program, moving to a new ESP can be an exciting time.  You can look forward to working with a new partner, trying new tools and integrations, and sending emails that will resonate even more with your customers.

 

Getting Your Data House In Order

The migration process gives you a chance to check your data, identify and resolve any problems, and then start fresh on a new platform.  Data migration is a great opportunity to get your data house in order, which is essential to run an effective and efficient email marketing program.

A successful data migration has three steps:

    • Ensure the structure of your data
    • Onboard subscribers carefully into the new platform
    • Ensure the integrity of your data

 

Let’s Dive Into Each Step In More Detail
  1. Ensure the structure of your data

In this step you will map all of your data sources, how they relate to each other, and what insights they can provide you about your customers.  Most marketers have four sources of data, or “data silos”:

    • Ecommerce
    • Email
    • Website
    • CRM (point of sale, web forms, etc.)

When migrating to a new email marketing platform, you need to determine the hierarchy of your data as well.  A data flow process is important so that all parties know how the data will flow from your different internal systems. These three questions can help:

    • Do you need to integrate with different systems?
    • What is the data of record for email preferences?
    • Is the data correctly organized for use when needed?

 

  1. Onboard subscribers carefully into the new platform

As you begin to welcome subscribers to your ESP, you should scrutinize your active subscriber count and send volume. Initially, message slowly when you begin emailing from the IP addresses your new ESP assigns to you as well.  It is beneficial to welcome your recipients to this new email relationship and request that they whitelist if they haven’t already done so.

Standing out from the crowd is essential when dealing with a subscriber’s cluttered inbox. Once you have reached your desired sending volume, you should maintain your sending frequency and cadence to maintain a good sender reputation.  Establishing these metrics are essential for email marketing programs because they are instrumental in capturing and retaining a subscribers’ interest.  That’s why it’s important to know your engagement metrics to ensure you’re initially sending to only your most engaged subscribers, which will enable you to build your new sender reputation as fast as possible.

As part of this process, called “warming up” your IP address, you will start slowly, gradually increasing your sending volume by domains, and watch your deliverability reports closely.  It is important to warm up your IP address(es) slowly so that you are recognized as a good email sender to the ISP (Internet Service Provider).  When an ISP sees a new or “cold” IP address, they monitor the traffic more closely to protect themselves from spammers and other bad actors.  Some ISPs, like Comcast for example, publish their guidelines for warming up new IP addresses.  Others keep these details more private but your ESP or your email hygiene provider can provide you with warming regimens that will enable you to get up-to-speed as quickly as possible without burning your sending domains.  As a general note, you should expect this process to take weeks and perhaps months, depending on the size of your database and the volume and frequency of your deployments.

 

  1. Ensure the integrity of your data

This is the stage in which list hygiene plays a key role. As you import or onboard subscribers, be sure to clean and validate your email addresses before you hit Send!  A robust service like FreshAddress’s SafeToSend will:

    • Clean your email data from spamtraps, honeypots, malicious emails, etc., so that it is clean and safe to migrate
    • Flag and correct inadvertent entry errors, enabling you to connect with prospective customers you would have otherwise lost
    • Validate the deliverability of all email addresses that survive the first two screens above, ensuring your emails are 100% deliverable and safe to send

Listed below is a flow chart displaying an Email Hygiene, Correction and Validation Process in further detail:

Email List Hygiene entails removing not only the bouncing or inactive email addresses from your database but also the “deliverable but toxic” addresses that can negatively affect your sender reputation and hamper your ability to reach your customers’ inboxes.

Undeliverable addresses should immediately be suppressed within your database. If you continually send to these addresses, it could be detrimental to your campaign. Some examples would be typos, disposable addresses, potential spamtraps or “role” accounts that don’t connect to a real person (i.e. abuse@…, sales@…, accounting@…, info@…, etc).

Bad email addresses are costly. They drain your budget, damage your sender reputation, and cost you customers. Sending to undeliverable email addresses can directly harm your email reputation. Having bad data within your deployments will damage your sender reputation score. This can skew your reporting metrics, and obscure what’s happening with your campaigns.

 

The Upside of Data Migration

Moving your data from one platform to another isn’t all bad. With a little preparation and planning, coupled with experienced assistance from a sophisticated email hygiene team, you will be able to boost your email program’s performance.  Remember, while poor email address hygiene is not the only factor affecting your deliverability and performance, it probably accounts for 95% of the deliverability issues experienced by reputable marketers.

Better inbox placement results in greater engagement, clickthroughs, and revenues, and not just because your customers are seeing more of your promotional emails. Important messages such as loyalty statements and transactional confirmations will get delivered correctly too, and that can reduce call center costs.

Most importantly – you can continue to deliver the value you promised when your subscribers signed up, and that trust is the foundation of a good relationship.

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