Your Guide to Easy Data Migration with Marketing Automation (Part 1)

I think we can all agree, moving is easily one of the least fun experiences ever, in any capacity. I finally decided to move from Athens (GO DAWGS) to Atlanta, and given that I’ve had to move every year for the past four years, I’m thoroughly ready to stop doing it. During the packing process, I started thinking about other migrations, and thus, decided it was time to write a few posts on migrating your prospects from another system into Pardot (or another marketing automation tool).

Step 1: What do I have?

The first thing you do with a move is take stock of everything you have. How much stuff do you have, and how much of it do you really need? The three most important takeaways from this step are:

  1. How many prospects are in your database overall?
  2. Do you have records of when the prospect was last emailed, and how long ago it was?
  3. Do you have opt-in information documented?

Step 2: Cleaning

Before bugging grocery stores to give me whatever boxes they happen to have, I have to clean up and decide what I should keep and what I should get rid of. Do I need 3 cans of mod podge? Realistically, probably not. Similarly, you can use the three questions outlined in step one to take a good, hard look at which prospects you do and do not need. Is, whom you haven’t emailed in five years and has never purchased a product from you, worthy of coming with you in the move? Realistically, probably not.

It’s an excellent idea to start out by getting rid of prospects you haven’t engaged with in over a year. These prospects likely don’t remember who you are — or how they opted into your emails. Older prospects are at a higher risk of reporting your emails as spam, which is never a good thing!

Are there prospects you aren’t 100% sure on opt-in information for, or prospects you haven’t emailed in over a year but would like to keep? I’d strongly recommend running a permission pass on your current database. It’s a quick and simple way to reconfirm permission to get written opt-in data, thus allowing you to start with clean prospects in your new system. This step is crucial, as being plagued with bounce or spam complaint problems is incredibly damaging to your reputation as a sender. It’s much better to start fresh than it is to have to unpack and figure out how to undo the messes from shoddy packing!

Step 3: Moving and unpacking

You’ve finally reached the end of the process! Now all you have to do is unpack everything and start improving your new home. I’d recommend unpacking (or, in Pardot, importing as a .CSV file) your best, most important prospects first, so you can start sending them emails as quickly as possible. This is also where it becomes super important to do everything you can to start building a good, solid reputation as an email sender. IP warming is especially important here and should never be overlooked! It’s also a great idea to keep a close eye on your sender reputation, just so you know you’re on the right track toward keeping your IP address reputation high. If you start with good, clean data, it’s way easier to settle in and stay on track with your email sending!

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