Making the Move to TotalSend

When moving to TotalSend from another ESP, you need to know what to expect. This is a crash course on what you should expect from your email marketing results as the normal trend when migrating from your existing ESP to TotalSend.

There will be a spike in hard bounces

Hard bounces are email addresses that are invalid or no-longer used, and they will damage your sending reputation. All major ISPs such as Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo inspect your mailing list for possible signs that you may be spamming. A large number of “non-deliveries” usually means that your list did not opt-in or that the permission they gave you is out-dated. In response to this, the ISPs will flag your emails as spam and in some cases, add you to their block list. Even switching between bounce-supressing ESPs will often yield a higher bounce rate than usual, as the criteria for detecting bad email addresses can vary. The damage caused by those bounces in your first few mailings with a TotalSend will result with your deliverability initially plummeting, but eventually improving after the list is fully “cleansed”.

There will be more spam complaints

Switching to TotalSend for a higher deliverability might actually work against you at first depending on how you manage your list. The reason is simple: your emails are now being delivered to the inbox of people whose email accounts were previously filtering/blocking you. This might sound like a good thing, except that most of them won’t be interested in receiving your emails anymore. This inevitably leads to spam complaints, which in turn lowers your sending reputation to that ISP, and lowering your deliverability. TotalSend maintains feedback loops with major ISPs in order to manage spam complaints and automatically unsubscribe those who complain. After a few mailings, your complaint rate should drop, and your sending reputation should go back up.

ISPs don’t respond well to changes in your mailing behaviour

Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo like consistency, and they don’t look favourably on a change in sending platform. This change usually prompts them to look very closely at your emails and become a lot less lenient with their delivery policies. While ISPs re-check that you’re a good sender, they’ll be wary of your emails until they are satisfied and deem you “good to deliver”. TotalSend makes this a little easier for you by providing you with a custom domain by default. The ISP will then move on to determine how people respond to your emails (whether subscribers open, click or reply). This is known as engagement, and if you manage to build a relationship with your audience, your open/click through rates should gradually rise.

Sending too much too fast will hurt your reputation

Many of the major ISPs have traffic rules in place that prevent too many emails being sent to their servers at once. This is known as throttling and by ignoring these rules, ISPs will block your emails altogether. Luckily TotalSend enables new account throttling by default. It’s to be expected that your emails are taking long to deliver because that’s exactly what’s happening. Sending slowly at first is required to ensure you have the highest chance of making it to the inbox.

How to prepare for the move to TotalSend

Don’t just export all the subscribers from your old ESP account. Ensure that you’re only taking the subscribers who are active and engaged. This will help preserve any unsubscriptions or mistakenly re-adding invalid email addresses to your TotalSend account, which would initially ruin your sending reputation. Don’t try to compare ESP performance by sending to 2 halves of the same list. The mailing lists are not the same and most ESPs calculate your open/click-through rates in different ways (this will  lead to inaccurate results). ISPs also generally frown upon this sending behaviour so it’s best to send to your whole list with TotalSend. If you have any form of integration, such as auto responders or signup forms with your old ESP, you should take the necessary steps to reproduce it in TotalSend. Make sure to always follow email marketing standards and best practices while using any ESP. there is no guarantee to inbox delivery, but by following the rules and guidelines, you are giving yourself the best chance of making it through. This concept is explained at further length by Ruben Alvim in this article