ReturnPath

Creating the Best Possible Welcome
November 1, 2008

Not all welcome e-mails are created equal. The exceptional ones have certain elements, the most important of which is consumer engagement, says Stephanie Miller, vice president of strategic services at New York-based Return Path, an e-mail performance management company.

5 Factors for Measuring Your E-mail Reputation
October 1, 2008

In its recent whitepaper, Your Reputation Holds the Key to Deliverability, New York-based e-mail services company Return Path argues that e-mail reputation is becoming all about the numbers, meaning that the ISPs' fight against spam is moving away from e-mail content and toward data-driven examinations of commercial e-mailers.

Eight Steps to More Effective Welcome E-mails
March 1, 2008

Brand and subject lines are key factors in getting your e-mails opened, but so is your recipients’ prior experiences with your e-mail efforts. According to a study conducted last year by Return Path, a New York-based provider of global e-mail deliverability tools and services, 51.2 percent of survey respondents indicated prior value influences their decisions to open e-mail. What’s more, prior value was the only factor to exhibit year-over-year growth. What this means is the value clock starts ticking with the very first e-mail contact you make. And for many marketers, that’s the welcome e-mail. To ensure your welcome message sets the proper stage

Four Tips for Creating Emotional Direct Mail Appeals
February 6, 2008

While there is no single element or component that accounts for a mailing’s long-term chances, analysis of long-term controls received by the Who’s Mailing What! Archive—a direct mail library and competitive tracking service—reveals one common messaging tactic: a strong emotional appeal. Below are three examples of long-standing control packages and insights on how each one achieves an emotional pull. 1. Use details to drum up guilt. The Humane Farming Association’s effort for a national veal boycott has been mailed since September 1998. Its impressive run is largely based on an appeal to guilt. The #10 outer envelope carries the photo of a penned-in calf

Six Ways to Overcome New HTML E-mail Design Challenges
May 2, 2007

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Vista, the largest update to the Windows operating system since Windows 95. Simultaneously, the company introduced the newest version of its Office suite, which includes Microsoft Outlook 2007. Although widely anticipated for its many new features and enhancements, Outlook 2007 now uses only the Microsoft Word HTML engine for composing and rendering e-mail messages, instead of also using the Internet Explorer engine previously employed for displaying HTML e-mail. The result is that Outlook 2007 no longer supports a variety of design techniques that are commonly used in HTML e-mails, affecting their creative interactivity and functionality. These include: * No Flash

Six Ways to Overcome New HTML E-mail Design Challenges
May 2, 2007

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Vista, the largest update to the Windows operating system since Windows 95. Simultaneously, the company introduced the newest version of its Office suite, which includes Microsoft Outlook 2007. Although widely anticipated for its many new features and enhancements, Outlook 2007 now uses only the Microsoft Word HTML engine for composing and rendering e-mail messages, instead of also using the Internet Explorer engine previously employed for displaying HTML e-mail. The result is that Outlook 2007 no longer supports a variety of design techniques that are commonly used in HTML e-mails, affecting their creative interactivity and functionality. These include: * No Flash

Reach the Inbox
August 1, 2006

When it comes to e-mail deliverability, there is only one way to ensure success: Build a good reputation. The perception ISPs and other receivers have of the mail sent by your mail servers determines whether or not your e-mail stays clear of spam filters and gets delivered to the inbox. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to determining delivery issues, much less figuring out what ISPs think of them. There are two sides to e-mail delivery: the pre-campaign best practices that build your reputation, and the ongoing management necessary to track delivery rates and potential problems. The following

List Buying Guide: How Does Your Garden Grow?
August 1, 2006

If you handle any part of your e-mail program in-house, then an audit of your e-mail programs can reveal both the good and the bad—allowing you to take action to eliminate the weed-like practices spoiling your overall garden. Curious as to how such an audit could help a marketer identify potential weak spots in its e-mail address collection, maintenance and usage practices, Target Marketing put its own file to the test. We worked with Eclipse Direct Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm in New York, that offers I.D.E.A., or Independent Deliverability E-mail Audit. I.D.E.A. is an e-mail auditing tool developed by Pivotal Veracity, an e-mail

Fast Facts: Inbox Influx
June 1, 2006

“Perception is reality. Consumers define ‘spam’ as anything they don’t find interesting. That includes permission e-mail from companies they do business with,” writes Return Path in its 2006 whitepaper, E-mail Again Key to Holiday Purchases. This is an important point for e-mail marketers to remember: Permission is not absolute. In fact the whitepaper, which is based on a study of consumers’ holiday 2005 inbox volume and habits, reports that 55 percent of respondents say most of the e-mail they get is “junk” from companies they do business with. “This suggests a gap in permission,” Return Path asserts. This gap gets bigger as inbox volume increases.

The Not-so-simple Side of RSS
May 31, 2006

Really Simple Syndication, or RSS as it’s more commonly called, may be a, no pun intended, simple way to disseminate content to prospects and customers, but that doesn’t mean making it work will be a breeze. While it may be a channel of the future, marketers that want to get in on this trend as it grows face a huge challenge—customer adoption, or lack thereof. According to a Forrester Research report published in 2005, only 2 percent of Internet users polled use RSS on a regular basis. With a potential pool that small, proper use of the technology is of the utmost importance. In