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Ignore Email Marketing ‘Best Practices’, Period.

Before you disregard this post due to its title, humor me and read through the first paragraph. If you agree, disagree or have something to say; please comment. This post is more for brain food than expertise for you to follow. Understand; there are many “good practices” or “general practices” within the email marketing space, but not all apply to every company’s needs or even the needs of the general email marketing populous. Still reading?

“Best practices”, the phrase, is a bit misleading.  It leads one to assume that what’s good or ‘best’ for one is just as good for another – that’s false.  My suggestion is to use the general practices of the industry to create a solid foundation for your email program as a beginning. If you’re already waist deep in a program that’s in need of new life, I recommend you remove practices one at a time till you can pin point where the program lacks and apply what’s generally working to fill the void. Sound dumb?

I hope not, it’s not where it ends. From that point, application of the “best practice” for that program is where the difference is made. Defining key indicators and recipient trends will reveal where the real jewels are. That’s your “best practice”; what’s best for your recipients, customers, prospects and partners is the motivation. Finding what they like, react to, spend time/money on and garner value from is your programs “best practice”. Make sense?

Relationship and expectations are what drive email success. It’s in your best interest to not take the short cut and follow a “best practice” that’s not yours.

Viva la Email!

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  • by James malton
    Posted December 14, 2010 9:17 am 0Likes

    I totally agree, best practice is irrelevant and altogether non-existent.
    There are very few rules which email marketers should adhere to regarding best practice, and even those rules are sometimes better off broken if it means a higher response rate for your campaign.

    What may work for some campaigns from the ‘best practice book of email’ will not work for others.
    To determine what works best for you or your clients email marketing efforts in terms of copy , creative, layout, call to action etc. is to TEST TEST TEST.
    Testing will return results that are so much more valuable to you than adhering to best practice.

    • by Scott Hardigree
      Posted December 14, 2010 9:37 am 0Likes

      Right on, James! Thanks for the comments.

  • by Robin C Kennedy
    Posted December 15, 2010 12:05 pm 0Likes

    I view the term best practice from a “conventional wisdom” standpoint – techniques and methodologies that when applied can improve the likelihood of success.

    They will only ever improve the likelihood of success (or reduce the likelihood of catastrophe) – and for this reasons I believe they are worthy of consideration – if only to maintain a list of “no-no’s”.

    Increasingly, the most important metric is engagement and interaction with your emails.

    Work hard to engender trust – and to understand what recipients want, and when they want it – and then deliver it to the best of your ability applying a quality filter to everything you do. (Testing I hear you say)

    This seems to sit somewhere between industry general practices and a commitment to differentiation through quality.

    Some might say “best practice” – but we are ingnoring that!

  • by Email Marketing Plan
    Posted February 2, 2011 12:57 pm 0Likes

    I definitely agree. There is no such thing as best practices. You need to find what is working and not working for your own specific needs. Robin has a great point that you must work hard to gain trust and test what is working.

  • by VideoCustomizer
    Posted February 10, 2011 9:29 am 0Likes

    Love this article, for tool long marketing and sales have seen email as the go to when sales are in the dump. I know 1 major web marketing company that sends out 4-6 emails a day. Email marketing has to get selective, less is more and do something different!!

  • by Georgia Christian - Mail Blaze
    Posted February 23, 2011 5:44 am 0Likes

    Great article and great points mentioned in the comments too. Certainly industry standards (or best practices) are becoming increasingly irrelevant as we move towards targeted campaigns based on heavy pretesting of customers demographics; geographic location; characteristics; awareness of your company (or product/service); what the customer is looking for; what they expect from you; if they are already repeat buyers or frequent visitors to the site and how they reached your site (referral, PPC, organic search etc.). Thanks again.

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