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Author: Margaret Farmakis

Margaret Farmakis

As the senior director for Return Path’s Response Consulting group, Margaret applies her 13 years of marketing experience to help clients improve the response, revenue and ROI of their email marketing programs.  She uses her knowledge of content, design, segmentation and email campaign strategy and branding to help her clients build their files with active and engaged subscribers, increase the lifetime value of their subscriber base, improve program relevancy and generate sales.

Before Return Path, she spent 10 years producing and managing multi-channel integrated direct marketing programs for Fortune 100 companies, focusing on the financial services and technology sectors.

She most recently held a senior-level marketing position with Strategic Communications, Inc., a marketing/communications agency in Boston, where she spent five years. Previous experience also includes project management and editorial roles at SchoolSports, Inc., publisher of RISE Magazine, the nation's leading sports and active lifestyle magazine for teens (formerly SchoolSports Magazine), and SchoolSports.com.

Dust your dirty email database for pristine profits

It’s a commonly believed myth in email marketing that the more email addresses a sender has on their database, the higher their chance of success.

In fact, this is an inaccurate and detrimental approach and many email marketers don’t consider the consequences of contacting people who aren’t interested in their brand or, worse still, don’t exist.

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Check out this supermarket’s email

The seemingly endless parade of thousands of brands you’re faced with in the weekly ‘big shop’ means it’s sometimes impossible to know where to start.

Similarly, opening my email inbox only to be confronted by a mob of generic and impersonal marketing emails trying to feed me their latest offers can be overwhelming to say the least.


Be assured: you’ll get phished

The depths to which people will sink to make an easy buck through internet scams never ceases to amaze me, and we have seen phishing scams which have used the recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand. 

For example, in the aftermath of the New Zealand earthquake, disgraceful opportunists took advantage of this natural disaster by launching a scam, posing as the Red Cross to take advantage of the world’s sense of charity.

This serves as a grim reminder of the uncomfortable truth that we are never truly protected, especially when brands and ISPs are not doing everything possible to prevent phishing and spoofing scams.


Email break-ups aren’t so very hard to do

“It’s not you, it’s me. Actually no, it is you. You keep sending me boring, irrelevant emails that I don’t want. Our email relationship was going really well at the beginning  but now its fizzled out and I’m unsubscribing from your emails. For one thing, you just send me way too much. It comes across a bit...desperate."

As an email marketer, does reading this make you cringe? Are you afraid this is what your email subscribers would say to you if they had the chance?

The unsubscribe process doesn’t have to be as painful as a “Dear John” break-up letter, but with the way some brands go about it, it might as well be.


A New Year’s diet for overstuffed Christmas inboxes

UK marketers’ number one New Year’s Resolution must be to improve the email experience they offer their subscribers.

People are simply being force-fed too much email, which is typified by the sheer volume of emails sent during the festive period, consisting of sales and promotional emails that are mostly one-dimensional, monotonous and repetitive.


Poor practice to blame for ISPs blocking emails

Social media updates, email newsletters, promotions and vouchers for subscribers’ favourite shops and services and other requested marketing emails are increasingly being pegged as spam by ISPs and consumers because email marketers are not following best practice.


Return Path’s Email Deliverability Benchmark Report found one in eight emails requested by consumers from companies goes missing completely – not delivered to subscribers’ spam folders or inboxes, but blocked by ISPs before reaching their subscribers – compared to one in nine in December 2009.


Social media is an extension of email marketing

Social media is far too often heralded as the death of email marketing. In fact, social media’s existence has breathed extra life into email campaigns by increasing levels of engagement with consumers.


Email marketers adopt snail mail tactics

Marketers employing snail mail tactics in their email marketing campaigns would normally expect to see mass-unsubscribe rates following their sent emails.


Inactive subscribers: silent but deadly to email marketers

Email marketers' lives just got even tougher with the recent changes to the Windows Live Hotmail user experience, which enables users to better organise their inbox.

The changes include the addition of a trusted senders icon to prevent phishing; the ability to "sweep" or automatically file "grey/gray mail," email that subscribers signed up for but no longer want; and the use of one-click and time-travelling filters, which remove messages that reach the inbox but are later discovered to be from senders with a poor reputation.