Driving sales via marketing emails isn’t as easy as it used to be, says Cindy White, senior e-commerce marketing manager at home décor retailer Plow & Hearth LLC.

“You used to be able to email your customers as much as you wanted,” White says. But that’s no longer the case, she says. While the retailer has collected more than 1 million customer email addresses, it only sends marketing messages to several hundred thousand of those addresses, White says.

That’s because Plow & Hearth must contend with major email service providers, including Google Inc.’s Gmail, which will send emails to spam if a customer hasn’t engaged—such as opened or clicked within a message—with an email from a specific sender within a certain period of time. Much like Google’s search engine results algorithm, the details surrounding what triggers a message…

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