Transactional emails are the everyday messages that are sent out to confirm orders, announce opt in confirmations and inform you of the date of a delivery. They are an integral part of an existing B2B or B2C relationship. They also can be a useful marketing tool, if used properly.
So what’s the secret? Transactional emails have an advantage over marketing emails in that they are far more likely to be opened and acted upon. The humble transactional email has an average open rate of 47% and click through rate (CTR) of 20% whilst the marketing email has an average open rate of 31% and a CTR of 6%.
I can hear you saying: “Okay, I’ll just rush out and put huge marketing messages on all our transactional emails and the profits will just roll in.”
Like most things in life, it isn’t that simple. There are easy to make errors and traps to avoid. So, in an attempt to be helpful, we’ve created this list of hints and tips.
1. The Subject Line
Avoid the temptation to include any marketing content in the subject line. You want the recipient to see information concerning their business transaction and who the message is from.
2. The Reply-To Address
There’s an old saying, people buy from people. Hence the advice that the Reply-to email address should actually mention a person’s name and not the dreaded firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The Name
Make sure your message stands out as a valued transactional email by using something like “XX Company Support Team” or “Customer Services Team”.
4. Personalised Approach
Something as simple as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Dear John” can change an email from a cold impersonal message to a warm and friendly communication.
5. Content Mix
Don’t make the mistake of overloading the transactional email with too much marketing content. Keep the marketing content limited, relevant and below the transactional content. A good rule of thumb is to use only 30% of the email for marketing purposes.
6. Pay Attention to Detail
These messages represent your business. Well written and correctly spelt content says a lot about your business’s attention to detail, professionalism and how it values its customers. Use spellcheck and get another person to proofread the content before it’s used.
7. Spam Filter Triggers
Even valid transactional emails can end up flagged as spam and spam rarely gets read. Things to watch out for include using blacklisted domains, inclusion of URLs that are linked to possible scam sites, format triggers (use of overly large fonts, background colors that aren’t white, all caps content and colored fonts) and word triggers (E.G. free, teens, Viagra, you have won). If you find that your emails aren’t reaching their targets then check your content for susceptibility to spam filters.
8. Mobile Compatible
Check to make sure your emails display properly on mobile devices. There are a number of testing sites, litmus.com is just one of them, which can help you test your email designs to ensure they can be viewed on the widest range of devices.
The simpler the design the easier it is for the recipient to absorb the message. That makes it more impactful and effective as a marketing tool.
10. Be Polite
Politeness costs nothing, so it makes sense to say ”Thank you” somewhere in the transactional email. Even if it’s just a matter of thanking the customer for a few moments of their time.
Let the phrase “Short and Sweet” guide you when it comes to copy. Use short sentences, simple words and a clear message. Feel free to use bullet points if they are the best way to get your message across.
12. Call To Action
Whether you are using a transactional email for marketing purposes, or not, you should include a call to action of some kind. Even if it’s just to ask the recipient to leave feedback or sign up for regular updates.
Give the recipient the ability to unsubscribe from further messages. Make the unsubscribe option easy to see and use. That helps you to stand out from the spammers and will engender a sense of trust in your business.
14. Measure Results
Measure and monitor your email performance. Are they being opened? What’s the CTR? How many bounced emails are you getting? Invite feedback and listen to it. Gather up all this information and use it to tweak and improve the performance of your transactional emails.
Remember, transactional emails can be a great marketing resource but only if used intelligently.