With the rise of social media, there have been various rumors circulating that email marketing is dead. Several entrepreneurs I’ve consulted with recently have been reluctant to get started with email marketing, thinking it was too much work for too little reward. But nothing could be further from the truth, especially if you utilize a few email marketing best practices.

Though the statistics look daunting, claiming that up to 50% of all email marketing goes straight to the spam box; this simply isn’t a hard and fast rule. Successful email deliverability is not a game of chance. For most reputable marketers the percentage rate of emails that do not get through is usually much lower than 50%, and some marketers claim loss percentages as low as 5%. Here are some of the email marketing best practices that have helped expert marketers get maximum email deliverability.

Get Certified

Getting your email program certified helps to greatly improve your email marketing reputation. Having certification through nearly any vendor will help with email deliverability. Once your email is certified, it makes your marketing messages appear reputable to the ISP and worthy of being delivered directly to the inbox. It will not fix all reputation issues with all ISPs but it will go a long way toward doing so. It will greatly reduce the number of times your message is blocked or filtered out.

Delivered Doesn’t Mean Delivered 

Many marketers falsely believe that the amount of “delivered” emails that their broadcast system reports accounts for the number of emails that get to recipient inboxes. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. Many times these numbers only reflect what wasn’t sent back as undeliverable. It doesn’t mean that your email truly reached the inbox. It is vital to any email marketing strategy that marketers find out exactly how many of their emails are bypassing the spam box and hitting the inbox. You might need to put more tracking and logging into place in order to get a more accurate idea of what your actual delivery statistics are.

Importance of Seeding a Campaign

Seeding your campaigns is vital to understanding your overall email marketing program. Seeding basically means sending your email messages to “test” accounts. Because every ISP, every email software package, every operating system – and every different combination of the three – delivers and displays email messages differently, it’s important that you’re able to view your email messages on all these various platforms. An email marketing best practice is to send your message to your seed list before sending it to your general mailing list. This allows you to identify and fix any problems or issues before everyone on your mailing list sees them.

Good Reputation

The key to getting in the inbox is to keep things clean and simple. When your emails receive few complaints within a given ISP and are exhibiting a decent open rate, your rate of delivery to the inbox can be astronomical. Some marketers have gotten so good at sending only highly relevant messages to highly interested subscribers that they consistently keep a 100% approval rate with most ISPs. This might not be easy to do but it is possible. It is all about keeping reputation high and potential customers satisfied.

Pay Attention to Subscribers

Internet marketers often forget who they are trying to market to. Keeping up with opens, click throughs, unsubscribes, and new subscribers is one of the most important email marketing best practices. If a certain email list segment or prospect demographic has a high level of spam complaints, then you’re better off removing the entire segment from your list. Target the audience that is most interested in what you have to say, the ones you can help the most, the segment that is going to benefit your company the most.

Keeping customers interested, making your email messages worth reading, and keeping things fresh – basically, paying attention to what your subscribers want – is the best way to guarantee better delivery rates and respectable open rates.

ISPs are not the only ones that marketers have to get through to in order to be successful at marketing email deliverability. Subscribers are important too. ISPs are actually working side by side with subscribers to better separate reputable marketing from spam (as evidenced by those little “spam” “not spam” buttons that you might have seen in your own ISP’s mail program). With so much input from customers, reputation is becoming more and more important. The number one best practice of email marketing is to keep reputation high and information relevant.