Anastasia Martynova

Inbound marketer

Case Study: How to Change an ESP and Pay 6 Times Less

When switching to a new provider, marketers have to consider many issues: how long will migration take, will we need developers, how easy will onboarding be, have we made the right choice?

As a company that has migrated from MailChimp to eSputnik, we went through all switching stages and now can share our experience.

Company

LeadMachine is a marketing agency that focuses on online promotion. We help small and large businesses with site audits, advertising, marketing strategies, and more. We offer individual solutions to every client and do our best to increase their online sales. We also run a school for Internet marketers and have a blog where you can find useful marketing content.

Problem

We had been using MailChimp as an email service provider for 7 years. But in 2020 we decided to change the platform for several reasons:

  • High price. We paid about $200 for 25K contacts. The price was constantly growing because of the dollar exchange rate and changes in MailChimp’s pricing plans.
  • Confusing interface. To manage even a simple task, we had to look for a guide or video as the interface logic was unclear.

Before moving to another ESP, we defined goals and set priorities for our email marketing strategies. We did comparative research of different services, analyzing solutions, prices and support level. As a result, we chose to move to eSputnik.

Primarily, we were afraid of the overload, but two months turned out to be enough to complete the whole migration process.

Read a full guideline on how to migrate to eSputnik from other platforms.

Task

The main task was to move to a new domain and transfer all data:

  • 25K contacts. A part of them received regular campaigns, and another part received occasional campaigns.
  • About 40 emails with lead magnets.
  • Series of welcome emails.
Last post

Solution

Step 1. New Domain

When we started with email marketing, Double Opt-In wasn’t an official requirement by our service provider and never received any instructions on it. But after we reached 10K subscribers, something went wrong. MailChimp notified us that we didn’t have email confirmation and temporarily blocked our account.

After the implementation of DOI and long correspondence with MailChimp, the service unblocked our account and we resumed email sending. But we started to have problems with domain reputation. Many of our emails landed in Spam, and we didn’t understand why.

That’s why when changing the service provider, we decided to change a domain as well. What’s more, initially we had one domain for both internal correspondence and marketing campaigns to subscribers.

As a result, we replaced @leadmachine.ru with @email.leadmachine.ru.

New domain

We created and verified a new domain following the eSputnik’s guideline on DNS record change. Note that at this step you’ll need a programmer who will add the necessary records to the server.

Step 2. Transfer of Emails

After registering a new subdomain and creating an account in eSputnik, we transferred emails with lead magnets. The only things we needed for this task were a list of emails with lead magnets and a new email template created in eSputnik.

Three of our marketers completed the task in two weeks despite the fact that we were also engaged in other projects.

Note!

New eSputnik users get a free email template and subscription form created in the corporate style. To receive them, you need to contact support and fill in the application form specifying your preferences.

We took an email template from Stripo, exported it to eSputnik and filled it with content.

Importing an email template from Stripo

Step 3. Setting an Emhail Series

We created two email serieses: for new subscribers and existing subscribers. So far we send one welcome series for all subscribers, but we plan to create different serieses for different types of lead magnets.

Step 4. Creating Subscription Forms

We had previously used MailChimp Forms by Mailmunch. They let easily set up integrations for forms with lead magnets. In addition, we had a general API-integrated subscription form.

With eSputnik, we created our own subscription forms. We integrated them via API with the help of the service’s programmer. We assigned different typeforms for different lead magnets, which enabled to launch the corresponding series. We ended up with a form with 5 fields:

  • Form title;
  • Form text:
  • Button text;
  • form-type;
  • GTM value (to track the result).

After, we set forms for about 40 lead magnets.

Note!

eSputnik has just released Forms – a new functionality that allows you to integrate Tilda forms through webhooks. Integrations with Wix and other site builders are coming. With Forms you can:

  • Integrate with forms created on external platforms;
  • Collect new contacts;
  • Collect data on the existing contacts;
  • Send parameters from main and additional form fields;
  • Add Double Opt-In for new subscribers;
  • Set a series of onboarding emails.

Step 5. Contact Base Transfer

Base export from MailChimp turned out to be the hardest part. I even wrote an article on how to turn off payments in MailChimp and delete an account, keeping all subscribers. Transferring the base turned out to be long. Note that it can take up to 24 hours to export contacts, so don't wait until the last day before a new monthly payment. The download of our base took us 4 hours.

Before uploading your base to a new service, I’d also recommend you validate it to get rid of invalid contacts.

Step 6. Contact Import and Email Campaign Launch

Sending the first campaign from a new subdomain is always disturbing. Prior to the launch, we contacted eSputnik support who consulted us on the domain warmup. We split the contact base into parts, including new subscribers and raised the sending volume steadily.

It took us a week to send the first email to all contacts. We keep on sending emails to segments and not to the whole base because even one spam report can hurt our domain reputation.

All tools to create and send mass and transactional emails

Results

I can’t say the migration has affected our email marketing strategy. We proceed with the same routines; the work process became more convenient though.

  • More options for email design.

The design of our digest has gotten better. In eSputnik, we aren’t limited to the block editor and edit templates in HTML. The eSputnik's editor also has numerous special features such as a rollover and AMP.

  • High-quality support.

eSputnik’s support helps us a lot with the subdomain settings at the very beginning of our cooperation. They keep on helping, answering all questions as soon as possible. I especially appreciate when guys detect errors and fix them on their own.

  • Reduced cost.

MailChimp’s expensive plans were one of the reasons for migration. Now we’re paying 6 times less.

Summary

Don’t be afraid to change the service if needed, even if you’ve got used to it. The migration process can be easier than you think.

Before moving, consider all pros and cons and consider challenges you may face. Study alternative platforms, check user reviews, request a demo and ask for a trial period: these steps will make you find the service that will fit your needs and requirements.

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Anastasia Martynova

Inbound marketer

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