Transactional Email: A Marketing Goldmine?

Transactional Emails: Not to be wasted.

System generated emails, referred to as transactional emails, are a valuable marketing resource that you cannot afford to waste.

Transactional Emails: Emails that get opened.

Transactional emails are the kind of messages that people actually do want to open. I’m referring to things like invoices, delivery notifications, social media announcements and service renewal messages. Each and every one of these messages is an opportunity to build a stronger connection with your clients.

There’s evidence a plenty to back this up. Experian found that the growing popularity of electronic receipts is backed up with an open rate of 33.7% versus an open rate of 16.2% for bulk email. Some even claim that transactional emails can have open rates of up to 75%. But I’m inclined to treat that claim with a large pinch of salt.

What can Transactional Emails do for your business?

  • Promote and build awareness of your brand.
  • Provide upselling opportunities by suggesting newer and upgraded versions of products.
  • Cross-sell by suggesting relevant related products.
  • Inform the client of current promotional offers.
  • Ask the client about their preferences and desire for additional information.
  • Request feedback concerning products they have already purchased from your business.
  • Encourage the client to contact your sales team.

Transactional Emails: What to include.

How do you turn these mundane messages into marketing goldmines? Include marketing messages that the client will consider relevant and interesting. Here are a few examples:

  • Related products to the last purchase.
  • The latest information concerning updates and upgrades.
  • New product announcements.
  • Information concerning products related to those already purchased by the client.
  • News items and additional information.
  • Educational content: tips, hints and how to articles.

How much is too much?

How much of your transactional email should you dedicate to marketing content? It’s far too easy to be a little too enthusiastic when it comes to adding marketing content to a transactional email. Some suggest that the “best practice” is to dedicate 20% of the email to marketing content. I’d suggest you consider starting somewhat lower, say 10% to begin with. Then only increase it to 20% over time. Do this slowly and with careful monitoring of the responses from customers. Be ready to reduce it down at the first sign of transactional email marketing burnout. You’ll see evidence of that when the Click Through Rates of your transactional emails start to drop.

Avoiding transactional email marketing burnout.

One way to avoid transactional email marketing burnout is to use personalisation. That’s not just a matter of putting the customer’s name at the top of the email but the use of automatic processes that put marketing content into the transactional email that is relevant to that customer. You can use dynamic content to retain your customer’s interest, but remember that firewalls and email clients have a habit of blocking that kind of suspicious content.

And now for the bad news.

Use of transactional email marketing is now very common. The customers are aware of it and it would appear to be losing its effectiveness. The Experian report quoted above mentions that the Click Through Rate for transactional emails is falling. There’s another issue. Regulators are taking an interest in the use of transactional email for marketing purposes. Even the mighty Can-Spam Act of 2003 is being brought to bear and marketers are well advised to make sure that unsubscribe options are highly visible, and speedily acted upon, to avoid unwanted attention from the authorities.

Remember as soon as you start including marketing message in your transactional emails, you do require an opt-in for this from the recipient, otherwise you will be marked as a spammer.

In a nutshell…

Transactional email marketing is still a useful way to reach your customers but it is neither fool proof nor without potential pitfalls. I suspect that many marketers haven’t realised this, don’t be one of them.

About The Author

Gints Trubins
Gints Trubins

IT and marketing blogger at LeaderSend, transactional email platform for web and mobile apps. He cares about marketers to use transactional emails effectively in their businesses and keep us up to date with the latest global trends.

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