Direct-mail marketers need our own version of Woodsy Owl and his public service announcement, “Give a hoot —don’t pollute!” That’s because too many marketers pollute email inboxes, causing recipients to opt out.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Marsden + Associates posts on its blog four ways to keep email subscribers from breaking up with your brand before you even have your first date.

Say My Name

Marsden + Associates blogger Mehr Kassam counts on HubSpot’s Science of Email research, which suggests that including a person’s first name in your email greeting improves click-through rates by 14 percent.

One of These Is Not like the other

Don’t be like Starbucks, when the jumbo coffee empire made a colossal mistake. The java giant invited Kassam to download its app. That would have been a good example of customer outreach if Kassam hadn’t already earned the coveted Gold member status. Oops.

He advises basing email marketing on user behavior. It’s not as difficult as you fear. Marketing automation tools handle up to 80 percent of the work needed to segment databases. Read here to learn if it’s time to automate your email marketing.

Everything Zen

Seek quality, not quantity, unless you want to rack up names on your opt-out list, Kassam says. Here’s his formula: If you’re a newbie, send fewer emails and test your offers until you see favorable, consistent data from subscribers.

Pretty Counts, Too

Surely, a catchy subject line will get your email open (here are some tips), but an engaging email template will give recipients something worth clicking. If you think great design doesn’t count, you’d better start counting your dollars. For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment, according to Experian. Follow on here to learn how to use images in communications.