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Remember the last time you ordered something from Amazon online? After finalizing the payment, you likely noticed a receipt in your inbox. These kinds of confirmation emails are also known as transactional emails. Other messages that qualify as transactional emails are: Welcome emails, Order/Shipping confirmations, Download access, shopping cart abandonment emails, and trial completion emails. We’ve all received one of these messages at some point. In fact, it probably feels like you receive them multiple times in a day. Mainly, we breathe a sigh of relief when we open them because we know that the shoes we ordered are finally on their way. Here’s the thing: Transactional emails are a common tool companies use when conducting business online, but we rarely think of these messages beyond the primary purpose they serve: confirming information. It’s time we did.
Many of you might be asking why it is that these emails are a secret weapons for marketers. Customers may choose to ignore a promotional email or one that appears salesy, but it’s more likely they’ll open a confirmation message. Transactional messages contain information customers want or need immediately. According to statistics from Easy-SMTP, transactional emails have an average open rate of 106 percent, which means they’re typically opened multiple times. In addition, click-through rates are six times higher than promotional emails. Why don’t companies take advantage of the superior performance of these emails to boost brand engagement?
According to Heinz Marketing, this could be because 53 percent of transactional emails aren’t handled by marketing teams. Customers who receive transactional emails clearly engage with them, so why aren’t more marketers guiding their customers to future opportunities for engagement by suggesting blog posts, white papers, other products, or event information in their transactional emails? Transactional messages provide a great opportunity for marketers and are an untapped resource for increasing brand trust. Is your company handing over the reigns to the marketing department to help increase brand engagement and letting them inject some much-needed personality and strategy into the process?
Companies have to move beyond the idea that these messages need to be solely transactional. By adding some thoughtful content, marketers can increase brand engagement and revenue. Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to use rich media in these messages and go beyond the basic receipt or confirmation and into the branding, marketing, and sales territory. Here are some specific ideas marketers can use to maximize transactional messages:
There’s no reason to be dry. Engaging customers right away is key to developing a relationship that lasts. If your brand’s tone is personable and friendly, the language of the content should reflect that. Messenger bag company Timbuk2 has an energetic brand personality, which carries through in its emails, and not just the promotional ones. The company’s order confirmation starts with a personalized line, then continues with “Thanks for picking us. Let’s get ready to ROCK” making reference to the outdoorsy nature of their target audience.
A trial software download could be the first step down the sales funnel. Use an animated video to thank recipients for the download and lead them to the next step. Animated videos are ideal for this because they are effective at quickly explaining concepts. How about including how-to videos for your commonly asked questions? If you offer help before the prospect has to go looking for it, you better your chances they stick with the trial.
Transactional emails can also be used to lead current customers to a new product or service. When you send a message to confirm an order, suggest other products or services that customers might be interested in. Airlines and travel sites are often good at this strategy. Emails from Expedia clearly state everything recipients need, like reiterating flight information and using an easy-to-read graphic. Then the email provides additional savings opportunities, like special offers for booking a hotel or car rental. If your product has accessories or works well with other services, take this opportunity to not only promote these products, but show how they work well together and will help the customer in the long run.
In the end, transactional emails are about giving prospects or customers what they need. Be sure the message answers any questions they may have and provides information they’ll want. Do more. Make it easy. Give customers what they need before they realize they need it. Going the extra mile for customers is the best way to get them psyched about your brand. For instance, rather than just sending out a tracking number for the customer’s order, include additional resources like assembly or handling instructions, support information, or an opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one tutorial session.
Confirmation emails have the greatest engagement of any type of message. Take advantage of high open and click rates by moving beyond the transaction. Instead, start using these messages to boost your brand and lead prospects down the sales funnel.
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