Ever feel stuck? Like you’re on autoplay? Me too.
Sometimes when I’m comfortable in the recliner and watching a cliffhanger episode of [insert your latest binge series here], it’s easy to think that letting Netflix autoplay the next episode is simply the universe’s way of exerting the laws of nature over me. After all, objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. And unless the adult in me kicks in, I will be a law-abiding object of the natural world and remain at rest until either I fall asleep or the power goes out. Oh look—the next episode already started. Might as well watch one more…
However, the moment after I decide to get out of the recliner and tackle my ToDo list, I realize it wasn’t as daunting as I had built it up to be in my head. I’m left with a feeling of productivity, a sense of accomplishment—and regret that I didn’t do it sooner. I’ve learned this lesson before. Why can’t I remember this feeling next time? Why can’t I just focus on my goals?
So I can identify with new GreenArrow visitors and prospects who think of an email platform change as a daunting task. That brings us to the topic of today’s blog! Below are six primary considerations to make when switching to new email software, and significant ways that GreenArrow’s software (and our team of professionals) makes the process easier.
Six Things to Consider Before Switching Email Software
1) Use Your Existing IP Addresses
If you’re using new IP addresses, they need to be warmed up, and that takes time. For those of you starting a new project, this probably won’t be a big deal because the warm-up will likely happen naturally as you build your reputation. Your customer base will grow organically, and your volume will ramp up over time.
For those of you transitioning an existing project, however, it will take a bit more planning. You already have your full volume of email, and in most cases, that full volume is significantly higher than what the ISPs will accept from new IP addresses. In these cases, you’ll need to start sending a small volume of email, and then systematically increase it while monitoring the ISPs’ response, something our deliverability team can help you with.
Explaining exactly how to ramp up your particular IPs is outside of my expertise, but our deliverability team has a number of years of experience with a variety of different business models to help guide you to a successful launch. Bottom line: if you have existing IPs, using those (instead of new ones) can save you time, and in many situations can really simplify the transition to a new platform.
2) Know Your Options to Sync Subscriber Data
No matter which email platform you’re using, your subscribers and data about them are at the core of your marketing strategy. Keeping accurate records of who should receive your content (and more importantly, who has requested not to receive your content) is a critical ‘best practice’ for anyone working with email. So be sure the new platform you’re considering helps you understand what they offer.
For example, if you’re using GreenArrow Studio (our Marketing Email platform) and you don’t maintain a separate database of subscribers, you can simply import your subscriber data and custom fields using the import wizard. (We also offer an API for a more customized configuration.) GreenArrow continually keeps the subscriber records up to date with all of the most recent events, like bounces, spam complaints, unsubscribes, and engagement history (clicks, opens, and what campaigns they received).
But if you do maintain an existing subscriber database, Studio can tie directly into it using a feature we call Remote Mailing Lists. Since the subscribers are in your database, there is no importing required, but there are some extra integration steps required to get the event data (like bounces, spam complaints, unsubscribes, or click / open tracking) pushed back to your database, so your data source is always the most current with subscriber details. This is relatively quick to implement, and we cover this during your setup, so your data stays in sync from the very beginning.
3) Consider the Hosting Provider When Choosing Hardware
Hardware used for a GreenArrow installation has a large impact on the speed at which you can send and how quickly GreenArrow performs. Most of the time, the hardware conversation starts with the question, “What hardware do I need?” But a big part of answering that question depends on the hosting provider where you get your virtual server or dedicated hardware.
And these days it seems like there are so many hosting providers to choose from, it is no wonder this becomes a stumbling point as often as it does. A quick search for ‘hosting providers’ turned up page after page of companies, all of whom offer what appear to be similar offerings.
Each hosting provider has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), IP network, and hardware profiles to choose from. Some providers have moved to a model where outgoing port 25 is blocked (which is the email equivalent of removing the wheels from your brand new Tesla Model S), while others have a zero-tolerance abuse policy. Others have a limit on the total number of IPs you can access. Policies like these can have a big impact on your GreenArrow email sending functionality and your goals.
We can’t choose a hosting provider for you; that depends on your business model and whom you’re comfortable working with. But we can answer your questions to help you make the best decision possible.
Once you have decided on a hosting provider, take a look at the hardware profiles they offer, evaluate your needs, and see which of their servers fits your performance demands. If you feel like your needs are beyond what we cover in our documentation, we can look at the options you’re considering to help steer you in the right direction.
Need to simplify? While evaluating your hosting provider options, keep in mind GreenArrrow offers hosting. Our hosting AUP is more strict than our software AUP, so not all customers qualify. But if you do, our team will take care of all the hardware and backup details, allowing you to focus your attention elsewhere.
4) Integrate with Your Existing Applications
For those of you switching MTAs (Mail Transfer Agents) with your own front end application, you’ll need to review the integration options that are available to you. There are certain parameters that need to be passed to the MTA when injecting the message, and integrations to get the data about the campaign (like bounces and spam complaints) back to your application.
In GreenArrow, injecting email requires your application to be authenticated, and you’ll need to pass some information to GreenArrow to control how the email is handled. This is commonly done by using Mail Classes to define the attributes for the emails.
Similar to Marketing Studio’s Remote Lists feature, we’ll have event data that can be sent back to your application using our Event Notification System.
GreenArrow has multiple options for injecting mail, setting the Mail Class, and delivering the data back to you, so we have the flexibility to integrate with almost any platform. During your setup, one of our system administrators will work with you to help get this all in place.
5) Retain Your Branding
Your brand matters, so even if you are switching platforms, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your domain name at the same time. Continuing with the same domain that your subscribers are already familiar with is a simple way to help them recognize you as the sender, even when making lots of other changes.
For most implementations, our customers can keep their branding even while switching platforms.
6) Think Ahead About Future Needs
Very few of the customers I’ve worked with over the past 6 years are still using GreenArrow the same way today as they were when we helped them launch. So while you’re going to the effort of launching on a new platform, take some time to consider your immediate needs. Also, consider where you’re going and what options you may want to have available down the road.
Obviously, nobody can predict the future, so finding a versatile solution like GreenArrow with the flexibility to grow with your needs will give you lots of options moving forward, wherever your business takes you.
Breakin’ the Law (of Inertia)
Let’s face it—changing email software isn’t easy. There are many things to consider: convincing your management team of the new platform, making technical decisions, setup and integration, and taking time to be productive on your new platform. So why fight the inertia?
Because it might be keeping you stuck in autoplay mode. Inertia makes you believe that your current path is the easiest or best, and can bias you against new solutions and unexplored possibilities. Unless you’re aware of (and taking control of) your tendency to live life in autoplay, there is a good chance you’ll find yourself either wasting hours binging on a TV series at 3 AM or worse—regretting missed business opportunities.
When in doubt, request a demo.
If you already have a solution that meets all of your current and future needs, then it may not make sense to move. But if you recognize that inertia is the main factor keeping you locked into your current solution, then maybe all you need is a small push in a new direction.
So whether you are starting a new project or transitioning an existing project, break away for just a few minutes and schedule a live demo. There is a good chance I’ll be the one you talk to on that demo. If so, let me know what your latest binge TV series is, and I’ll try my best to only watch one episode before going to bed. Okay, maybe two…
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