"I know I have said it a million times in speeches, articles and in person," writes Dylan Boyd at The Email Wars blog, "but telling someone 'thanks' is one of the best things that you can ever do for your email campaigns."

He was particularly impressed by the follow-up he received when subscribing to messages from Urban Outfitters. A confirmation page thanked him for signing up, and it included an optional preference center where he could add his mobile number for text alerts; he could also specify areas of interest, social networks to which he belongs, and whether he likes to shop online, offline or both.

A subsequent welcome email included links to several interactive features and a page where Boyd could listen to music and download 25 free tracks. He approves of the immediate reward, noting that it "carries goodwill way past the first few weeks" as users load the music into their iPods and take it into cars, offices, parties, even gyms.

Finally, after Boyd's first purchase, Urban Outfitters sent a note of thanks with a 10-percent discount off his next purchase.

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