Tom Sather

Tom Sather is Return Path’s senior director of email research. Tom uses his knowledge of ISPs, spam filters and deliverability rules to advise marketers on how to get their email delivered to the inbox. He began his Return Path career as an email deliverability consultant working with top-brand clients like eBay, MySpace, IBM and Twitter. Tom’s previous experience includes roles with email service provider Experian and on the abuse desks for AOL, Bellsouth, AT&T and GTE.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Bernie Sanders was winning. Heading into the first democratic presidential debate, Sanders' email messages were reaching more users than Hillary Clinton's and his program was performing significantly better. In the week before the event, nearly 95 percent of his email reached the inbox, almost 19 percent was read, and less than 13 percent was ignored (deleted without being read).

The holidays are coming up and you are feeling pretty confident about your campaigns. You have looked over your program, making sure everything was running smoothly, and you are tracking your metrics to know how your campaigns are performing. The final step before your program is ready for the holidays is to understand the impact of each element and how to track and report on it.

The winter holidays are fast approaching and leading marketers are already done with their holiday planning. After establishing a solid structure, marketers can begin to focus on strengthening their email campaign performance in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. The following indicators can show you the best opportunities to improve program performance in time to realize gains in Holiday 2015.

For just about every consumer marketer, the winter holiday season generates the majority of revenue for the year. It's the season in which most businesses invest the bulk of their time and money in their marketing programs, and rightfully so. As the opportunity approaches email marketers typically concentrate on gaining consumer mindshare and showcasing value, laying the foundation for holiday purchases. The leaders do even more.

They call it a honeymoon phase for a reason: It's only temporary. The key — and challenge — to developing a top email program is transitioning users from the honeymoon phase into an ongoing, engaging relationship. This is not such an easy thing to do; it takes work.

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