With so many best practice statistics and tips out there, how do I know which will help my e-mail program?

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Best practices, benchmarks and statistics are readily available for e-mail marketing these days. Everyone has an opinion—that’s what makes this such a compelling industry. But you do need to be able to identify the bits and pieces that are actually relevant to your specific situation. While there isn’t a cookie-cutter answer or one single source to reference, I can provide some information that may be helpful.

1) Consider the source. The source of the information or statistic could have different interpretations based on where it originated—a marketer or an agency, etc. Depending on the angle of the source, there could be a definitive skew on the information being released. Just take it all with a grain of salt.

2) Who is the audience? The communication approaches can be very different based on your audience and the advice you consider may be moot if you don’t think it through. As a b-to-b marketer, you have a lesser concern about effective delivery to a Yahoo domain and a greater concern about how your e-mail messages render in Outlook 2007—where the reverse is true for a b-to-c marketer.

3) It’s direction, not gospel. Best practices are a baseline from which to start. Best practices typically apply to many, not to all. It is best practice to not send image-heavy messages due to rendering challenges, but if you are a retailer, that may not be the case. Or your brand may dictate that your messages have a black background with white copy—not a best practice, but it is your brand.

Apply the best practice of best practices and do what is right for you, not the masses.

Kara Trivunovic is director of strategic services at Premiere Global Services, eMarketing Solutions (

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