In a new study, Silverpop finds that many retailers are not using a variety of simple e-mail marketing tactics to improve performance, including personalization of messages.

Silverpop, an e-mail marketing company, reviewed the registration procedures, marketing messages and opt-out practices of 175 companies, including Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, JC Penney and CompUSA.

"What we found was actually quite surprising," said Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop. "There are a few very simple changes retail marketers can make that will go a long way to distinguish their e-mail campaigns from those of their competitors."

First, personalization. It's an effective tool when establishing a relationship, yet few companies seem to be taking advantage of it. Silverpop found that three-fourths of retailers don't respond to prospects' requests with even simple personalization like the recipient's name. This is in line with data from a study by the e-tailing group that found that 60% of retailers don't use personalization on their sites or in communications.

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