Moving to a new email provider is like changing your domain name and losing your Google rankings for SEO. It only sometimes happens, but you may see a drop in deliverability. There are steps you can take to ease this transition with link redirects, but the reputation you had previously established with your old domain name will need to be rebuilt.
Following the suggestions in the article, you'll be able to re-establish your sender reputation, and your engagement should return to normal quickly. Most companies find that, following the steps in this guide, their deliverability is as good, or even better, with ActiveCampaign.
What to expect
Temporarily Lower Open Rates
It's natural to see a temporary decline in deliverability, which may lead to lower open rates. This is because new senders can't be trusted yet, and so you are more likely to see some messages put in the spam folder. This will happen when moving to any email provider.
You should expect to see different open rates than you were earning with your previous provider. It will take at least 30 days of regular sending for your engagement statistics like opens and clicks to level out — sometimes even longer if you aren't sending frequently.
Learn how email opens are tracked with ActiveCampaign.
Most common mistakes
Reactivating non-engaged contacts
The most common mistake is transferring your data incorrectly so unsubscribes are reactivated, or unengaged contacts are suddenly mixed into your core lists. Be extra careful that your information is accurately and seamlessly transferred from your old provider to ActiveCampaign. We have migration guides to walk you through this process.
Sending too fast
The second most common mistake is sending too many emails too fast. As a new sender, ISPs like Outlook have strict limits on how many messages you send per day. At the start, they only permit a few thousand a day from a "new sender." If you start sending tens of thousands of messages a day to Outlook, you will crush your sending reputation.
It's very important to ease into sending so you can adequately establish your reputation as a good sender.
How to warm up your sending
Determine your contact list size
If your list is smaller than 50,000 contacts the rest of the plan is straightforward. Only send to the most engaged contacts in your first 1-2 weeks with ActiveCampaign. After this, you can start sending it to everyone.
If your list is larger than 50,000, you need to be much more cautious, especially if the list is heavily weighted with addresses at one ISP like Outlook or Gmail. This is a textbook 30-day warm-up plan that most senders can follow, but your Customer Success Managers can help you create a custom plan if necessary:
- Week 1: ramp up to a maximum of 25,000 per day
- Week 2: ramp up to a maximum of 50,000 per day
- Week 3: ramp up to a maximum of 75,000 per day
- Week 4: ramp up to a maximum of 100,000 messages per day
- Week 5: full list
Send to your most engaged contacts
The most important thing is to put your best foot forward by initially sending only to your most engaged contacts — those that have recently opened or purchased in the past 30, 60, or 90 days. Yes, this does mean sending fewer messages initially, but this is very important for establishing a long-term reputation.
By starting with only your best lists, you can inflate your open rate and exhibit that your mail is wanted. This also guarantees that you won't be sending to any cold, inactive addresses, which is detrimental to your reputation.
How to perform a more risky warm-up
A warm-up, by definition, can't be too aggressive. The faster you go, the greater the probability of ruining your reputation. Although not recommended, we understand businesses sometimes require a faster warm-up period. Close monitoring of your warm-up is essential. This will ensure that you are warming up slowly and help you determine when to increase the volume for your next send.
Here are some metrics to keep an eye on:
- Spikes in spam complaints
- High bounces (could be indicative of throttling)
- Spikes in unsubscribes
- Low open rates
If you do experience deliverability problems during an accelerated warm-up period, here's what you can do:
- Pause your sending and go back to the previous send's volume. This will allow spam filters to adjust to the new IP
- Stop sending to mailbox providers that throttled your sends. Scale back email sends to this provider until the issue is resolved
- Ensure that you have not sent to a suppressed list, the full list, or a large amount of un-engaged contacts
Here is an example of an accelerated warm-up:
- Day 1: 50 hyper-engaged contacts
- Day 2: 100 engaged contacts
- Day 3: 200 engaged contacts
- Day 4: 400 engaged contacts
- Day 5: 500 engaged contacts
- Day 6: 1000 engaged contacts
- Day 7: 2,000 contacts
- Day 8: 4,000 contacts
- Day 9: 8,000 contacts
- Day 10: 16,000 contacts
- Day 11: 32,000 contacts
- Day 12: 64,000 contacts
- Day 13: 128,000 contacts
- Day 14: full list
The above approach will only succeed for the most reputable senders and those with the most engaged recipients.
For those who want to take every necessary precaution, these are some extra pointers:
- Use the same domain name as before as your "sent from" email address
- Set up DKIM and DMARC before you start sending.
DKIM and DMARC authentication is required beginning February 2024 following upcoming changes by Gmail and Yahoo regarding authentication requirements. ActiveCampaign highly recommends all senders set up DKIM and DMARC. Learn how to set up DKIM and DMARC authentication.
For more information on these changes see our blog post A Guide to Google and Yahoo authentication Changes in 2024.
- Keep a consistent brand (design, name, etc.). No need to risk confusing any recipients, which leads to complaints
- Don't introduce any new lists
- Show an additional unsubscribe link at the top of your emails during the whole warm-up (this helps push your contacts toward unsubscribing from your list instead of marking your message as spam: an unsubscribe will not hurt your deliverability, but a spam complaint will)
In conclusion, transitioning to a new provider can create a lot of uncertainty. It's important to realize that a dip in performance is natural. However, this will naturally correct itself if you follow the best practices above and send good content to good lists.
Learn more about maintaining good deliverability when migrating to ActiveCampaign.