One of the most essential parts of a successful email marketing strategy is maintaining strong deliverability practices that help your emails make it into the inbox. Without strong practices, you can risk frustrating your subscribers, and ultimately hurting your sender reputation. If that happens, you’ll make it difficult for the subscribers who want to hear from you to receive your emails.Campaigner’s senior director of deliverability, Jeremy Saibil, has been working in this field for almost 20 years. He works to help ensure that Campaigner clients are using the proper techniques to get their email to the right place.“I think the myth about deliverability people is that we have these magic powers that we will magically make emails get to the right place,” says Saibil. “But realistically our real role is to ensure that our clients are doing the right things to get their emails delivered.”While there is no perfect plan to ensure deliverability, there are some important practices that help and that make it easier to tell if things are going wrong.PermissionThese techniques all start with permission.“Demonstrable, understandable, direct permission from the recipients on your list,” says Saibil. “From our experience, the real important thing that marketers need is for the recipients of those emails that they’re getting, to understand that ‘yeah I’m receiving this email because I did this, this and this.’”With that permission your subscribers know that they are going to hear from you, and they know that they agreed to it. This makes them much less likely to mark it as spam or do anything negative to indicate to the ISP that this email is bad.“A lot of time, in the users who might have problems, especially gearing up for holidays like black Friday, and they have very strong, very consistent email programs, but some sort of corporate pressure, or a new idea in the marketing scene and they’ll go out and acquire data in a way that is not permission.”Doing that, can cause problems on a business’ sender reputation even if the content is relevant or interesting to the recipients. Email lists and data that is acquired often have spam traps which are often used by ISPs to indicate that you’re not using proper email sending practices.RelevanceOnce you have your subscriber’s permission, the deliverability practices don’t end there. Saibil also recommends that you ensure your emails are relevant to your subscribers.“If you’re sending them stuff that doesn’t necessarily interest them at all, then they’re going to be much more inclined to do something negative with that email, even if you do have the right opt-in.”Remember the subscriber is a personWith email marketing it’s easy to get caught up in the KPI’s and the metrics and forget to consider the other person that’s receiving the email and how they might respond.“When I started doing this in 2003, the email service provider industry was still very young and there were a lot of different ways that it worked. But we were always in a place where it was one to many.”With the one-to-many, marketers would send the exact same email to their entire list of subscribers.“I think there are many instances where it works, but I think where people tend to make mistakes is because, it’s such a metric driven commodity and because it’s relatively cheap commodity, ‘oh we’ll send another email, oh we’ll send another email, oh we’ll send another email,’ without really weighing how that affects how the recipients are seeing those emails, “says Saibil. “And when the recipients see those emails in a more negative light, they do more negative things with them and therefore you can start having deliverability problems.”Once you start sending more and more emails to someone who isn’t responding, you’re more likely to irritate that recipient. Recognizing that maybe they aren’t interested in that email or that they don’t want to hear from you is important.You know your businessWhile deliverability experts and experienced marketers may have a lot of knowledge and expertise, it’s also important to trust your own opinions. Only you know your business and your subscribers.“I know a bunch about rates, specific sending rates to get better performance, specific IPs, what to do if your Gmail reputation falls from medium to low or whatever else, but I’m also not the expert of your business,” says Saibil.It’s important for every business to monitor their own subscribers and determine what’s the best way to interact with that group. While it might work best for one business to send their emails at 10 am on a Tuesday, maybe your subscribers don’t check their emails during business hours. Only you can truly know what makes the most sense for your business and while email marketing experts can give you guidance, it’s important to ask whether that makes sense for your business, and to test out these ideas instead of just trusting that it is right for you.“You have to figure out, and I’m a huge proponent of this, of finding your own baseline, your own normal.”Monitor your own email marketing metrics, determine what your normal click-through, open rates and all the metrics are. Once you’ve determined what your normal is, you’ll be able to tell immediately if your reputation is going down or getting worse.“Wo while you’re not necessarily proactive, you’re very aware of that and then you can say hey, there’s something going on here we need to figure out.”Approach different types of subscribers differently.While subscribers all might’ve agreed to hear from you, not all are going to be at the same level of responsiveness. It’s important to recognize that and approach them differently if need be.“There’s going to be people who are superfans, hyper-active who regardless of what you send they’re going to be looking and opening and getting right into it. And then there are people who might open less frequently. Could be a secondary email address they don’t check all of the time, or they just aren’t that interested, and then there are people that sort of bloat and don’t necessarily do anything with it.”While you don’t necessarily have to stop sending to the subscribers who are bloating, it’s important to try to approach them differently.Saibil suggests trying to reduce the frequency of emails you send to them or trying to personalize the content using the data in their history. If you have a history of the subscribers clicking on a certain type of content, focus on sending them that.Getting deliverability back on trackWhen a sender’s reputation starts having problems, it can take some time and some troubleshooting to get back to where you want to be.“You go back to the people that liked your email the most and you just look at sending to those people.”There are different tactics that can be used, depending on which ISP you’re having problems with that the deliverability people might advise trying.“But at the end of the day, we have to get back to giving back this signal to the ISP that the mail is wanted, this mail is warranted, and that the stats around that mail is good,” says Saibil.Deliverability is a huge aspect to email marketing and one that can make or break your email campaigns. While permission and list cleaning is an essential start to maintaining this, it’s important to look deeper at your customers, at what they want, what they agreed to hear about, and whether they are still interested in this content.