As your business grows and changes, you may find that you’ve outgrown your current email service provider and find it’s time for a change.
However, I’m sure that the mere thought of how to switch email providers seems overwhelming – let alone getting down to the actual work of making the move.
But, as with most things, taking the time to properly plan your move will make things so much easier. So let’s talk about your game plan!
The first thing to do when you plan to switch email providers is to inventory what you currently have running. Make a list of all the things that are active such as:
- Lead Magnets
- Priority Wait Lists
- Automated Email Sequences
- Content Upgrades
Now, you likely have several of each so start a spreadsheet of everything you have and think through some key things.
Do I need to take this with me?
It’s a great chance to start fresh when you switch email providers so don’t assume everything needs to be moved. If you have waitlists for products or courses you no longer offer, why bother setting them up again? Also, if your business has changed focus at any point, you may have old lead magnets that no longer make sense.
On your spreadsheet, start tracking whether items need to be moved or simply archived. If you have an old automated sequence you don’t want to move, consider whether keeping a copy could be useful in the future. If needed, simply copy into a Google Doc so you have it for future reference.
Once you have a handle on the content you need to move, take some time to assess what tags, forms or lists you’ve got set up. When you switch email providers, you very often have to change your naming structure for some (or all) of these things. Again, this is the perfect time to establish some solid systems if they don’t already exist.
Think through your normal business practices to help decide on some basic naming conventions and document your rules for the future. Then make any necessary updates to your existing items as you transfer them over.
Don’t Forget The Front End
It’s also important to identify all the steps needed to switch email providers on your website too! Identify all the pages, posts, and widgets that connect to a sign up of some kind or an invoice/order form.
Once you’re ready to start accepting new subscribers and customers on the new platform, plan to make all the updates in one fell swoop. This will make it much more efficient to switch email providers and you’ll be glad you aren’t scrambling to hook up forms you didn’t know you had at the eleventh hour.
How to Handle Customers When You Switch Email Providers
Depending on the type of business you have, this may be a tiny part or a huge part of the process. It is very common for e-commerce businesses, for instance, to use an all in one platform that houses both your payments and email automation. In this case, you’ll need to consider how switching services will impact a number of things.
Look at things like:
- Order forms
- Confirmation emails
- Past customer access to purchases
If you have a membership site or client portal, consider how this will impact current customer access as well as how to give future access.
You’ll notice we still haven’t moved anything yet and that’s very intentional. When you switch email service providers, it can be very tempting to dive right in, especially when your move is prompted by frustration over your current setup.
So often this starts off well-intentioned but creates huge issues and roadblocks as you progress. By taking the time upfront to plan your switch and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle.
Consider getting expert help if tech isn’t your area of expertise. You can find people who offer full migration services or simply some strategy support. One of my colleagues at Fresh Take Productions is a master at this and has helped several business owners I know execute their switch with ease.
What about the timing?
This can be one of the critical pieces to nail to minimize your headaches. In an ideal scenario, you’d start your migration by building everything in the new platform while leaving your existing setup to run.
This isn’t always possible but it allows for the easiest transition when you switch email providers because a lot of the work happens before you impact subscribers or customers. You can build all your forms, automated sequences and e-commerce items without the pressure of needing them to execute your day-to-day operations this way.
Even if billing is a concern, many options allow for free trials or have cheaper tiers designed for those with a smaller number of subscribers. On a recent Drip migration, we started a two-week free trial and then selected their free plan option simply by leaving our current customers in Infusionsoft while we built everything in Drip.
Finally, pick a time to switch email providers on any front facing manner that is less likely to have a lot of traffic. For instance, consider a weekend or evening time if most of your traffic happens during the normal workday. Be sure to leave a healthy buffer before any major launches or promotions to work at any mishaps
It’s far better for any little stumbling blocks to happen when you have your normal amount of traffic testing things out for you. Don’t add the pressure of a big launch into the mix!
With a plan and timeline, your email service provider switch will go a lot smoother so be sure to invest the time upfront and set yourself up for success!