Data Migration Practices: 3 Ways to Get It Right


You did it! You found a new email service provider to help you take advantage of all the innovations available to email marketers today.

It's an exciting time – you're looking forward to working with a new partner, you have lots of new integrations to try, and you can't wait to start sending emails that will resonate even more with your customers.

Just one thing is standing between you and your new platform. You have to migrate all of your data from your old ESP to your new one, and that can be the biggest challenge of all. But it's also your chance to get your data house in order at last, something that's essential to run an effective and efficient email marketing program.

In a recent webinar, Data Migration Practices: 3 Ways to Get It Right, FreshAddress Product Manager Chuck Carletta met with Zoey Sollisch, business development manager, and Pato Sapir, VP of CRM and data marketing, both with Devs United, to discuss best practices for successfully migrating data from one email platform to another and why list hygiene has to be at the heart of the process.


Best practices for data migration

During the session, Pato outlined the three steps in a successful data migration:

  1. Ensure the structure of your data
  2. Onboard subscribers carefully into the new platform
  3. Ensure the integrity of your data 


1. Ensure the structure of your data 

As you migrate to a new email marketing platform, your first step is mapping different data sources, how they relate to each other and how they give you information about your customers. Most marketers have four sources of data, which Pato refers to "data silos:"

  • Ecommerce
  • Email
  • Website
  • CRM

Migrating to a new email marketing platform is a good opportunity to ask yourself “What is my source of truth?” You need to know how the data will flow from different systems. 

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


 2. Onboard subscribres carefully into the new platform

As you onboard your new subscribers, pay close attention to your active subscriber count and send volume. Go slow when you begin sending from the new IP rate assigned to you from your ESP, too.

"You need to build your sender reputation with the ISPs from the ground up," Pato says.

This process, called "warming up" your IP address, means you start slowly, gradually increasing your sending volume by domains, and watch your deliverability reports closely.

Once you reach the volume you want to keep, you keep that cadence to maintain your reputation. That's why it's so important to know your engagement metrics so you’re sending only to your most engaged subscribers. 


3. Ensure the integrity of your data

This is the stage in which list hygiene plays a key role. As you import or onboard subscribers, look for these factors:

  • Duplicates
  • A unique key to identify each record
  • Email data that is clean and safe to migrate

Why list hygiene matters for successful data migration

The migration process gives you a chance to check your data, identify and deal with problems, and then start fresh on the new platform.

But data hygiene is not as easy as it seems. It's like what we've learned from COVID-19. How and where you use a mask is important. It's not enough to wear a mask – you have to do it correctly.

The equivalent in email is removing not only the bouncing email addresses from your database but also the "deliverable but toxic" addresses that can wreck your sender reputation and hamper your ability to send your email to your customers' inboxes.

Poor email practice hurts your bottom line, while good hygiene boosts your ROI.

Undeliverable addresses are worthless because you can't send to them. But even the ones you can send to can be detrimental to your campaign if they have typos, come from disposable address providers, represent potential spamtraps or are "role" accounts that don't connect to a real person. Bad email addresses come at a high cost, draining your budget, damaging your sender reputation, even costing you customers. They have a variety of negative impacts, including:

  • Skewing your reporting metrics and making it hard to see what's really happening with your campaigns.
  • Making it harder to reach inboxes, which can waste money, anger subscribers, and even get you blocked.

It’s not all disaster mitigation, either! Working with a clean list boosts your email program's performance, too.

Proper email address hygiene plays a key role in deliverability. It’s not the only factor in play, but it’s a big one. Better inbox placement means more engagement and better business results, and not just because your customers are seeing more of your promotional emails. Important messages such as loyalty statements and transaction confirmations will get delivered, and that can reduce call center costs. 

Want to learn more? You can watch the webinar replay here.


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