For some reason it’s become fashionable lately to bash, ridicule, or discount “Best Practices”; it happens so much that it’s not even controversial anymore.

It’s easy to subscribe to the idea that Best Practices are passe’ if you think that they are nothing but some sort of “secret sauce” to gain an edge over the competition, or magic beans that will grow successful email programs if you just add water.  But that’s not what Best Practices are all about….

Why is it a Best Practice to look both ways before crossing a street?  So you don’t get hit by a car.

Why is it a Best Practice to change the oil in your vehicle regularly?  To extend the life of your engine.

Why is it a Best Practice to get regular dental check-ups? To identify and prevent little problems before they become big (and usually painful and expensive) problems.

And therein lies the real reason for Best Practices; they are preventative measures, not magic potions.  They keep you from getting hurt and they save you money over time.

Some email marketing Best Practices include using domain authentication, like DK, DKIM, SPF, and Sender_ID.  Of course, you don’t technically have to have any sort of authentication to send email, but it sure helps if you plan to deliver it to ISPs that look for those sorts of things.

Since most email recipients decide whether to open, delete, or report messages as spam based on the Sender/From name, it’s considered a Best Practice to use a name that the recipient recognizes.

It’s also a Best Practice to get the recipient’s permission before sending them email, because just being recognized by the recipient usually isn’t enough; just like the painted lines of a cross walk won’t protect you from the oncoming car you didn’t bother to look for before crossing the street.  Some may argue that buying or “eappending” email addresses is “okay” “under the right circumstances”, but they never really tell you what those circumstances are.

But remember, Best Practices are there to keep you from getting hurt, and that includes wasting time and money; they’re not a replacement of hard work or putting in the time.

What are some other the other Best Practices of Email Marketing that will keep you safe or from wasting time and money?