Today we’re introducing a new blog series: Friday Fundamentals.

In these weekly posts, we’ll be going back to the basics of email marketing. We want to help folks new to the email marketing game hit the ground running – and encourage more experienced email marketers to revisit their best practices.

With that said, let’s begin with the four “R”s.  In a white paper presented at the 2013 Email Evolution Conference in Miami, Karen Talavera, owner of Synchronicity Marketing, states that there are four essential “R’s” to good email marketing. Today we’re going to explore R #1 – Reputation.

Are you aware of how your customers and prospects perceive you and your email communication efforts? Have they consciously chosen to receive messages from you, or did you automatically sign them up via a pre-checked box?

When someone starts receiving emails from you that they never consciously signed up for, it can be a big problem. Now, you might think, “What’s one or two angry people out of the hundreds, or even thousands, on my list?” But consider how fast word travels, especially in these days of social media. One negative post can cause significant damage to your reputation – virtually overnight – especially if the person posting has a large and/or influential network. Want to avoid this scenario altogether? Well, if you have any doubts at all about your sign-up process, now would be the time to do some reevaluating, and make any necessary changes.

So let’s keep it clean, people. As Karen says in her paper, “The single best and most proactive step you can take to…ensure good deliverability and a solid reputation as an email marketer is to employ 100% affirmative consent opt-in practices when acquiring email addresses.”

Sure seems like common sense to us!

Next week: A deeper dive into what it takes to build and maintain a great reputation. Stay tuned!