Email’s Redheaded Stepchild
Of all the weapons in the online marketing arsenal, transactional emails are, by far, one of the most effective. Sadly, they are also one of the most underutilized.
How can you make your transactional program work like gangbusters without breaking the bank? Here are 12 proven tips to help you:
1. Perfect the envelope. Like most emails, the majority of your success will come from the outside of the "envelope." In other words, spend some time perfecting your "from" address. Email works best if it comes from a "real" person or the company, not firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Pay attention to the "to" address, subject line (you have 24 to 35 characters to work with, because that's what fits in most inboxes), format and deliverability.
2. Work the preview pane. A lot of companies really blow the top two inches, the "preview pane," of the email. They stuff in a bunch of irrelevant copy—for example, an unsubscribe message should never go at the top. The best emailers know you need to work your window—meaning, make sure that whatever you want the reader to know is right up top. This is important because over half the people stop reading after the first two lines.
3. Implement your transactional email program in stages. A lot of marketers wait until they can customize all the transactional emails, which isn't the best strategy. Figure out which ones you can do easily and start with those. Some ideas would be:
- Thank yous for orders, inquiries, quotes, email sign-ups, etc.;
- Warranty/service information, especially if you want to get users to add it to their existing orders;
- Shipping/delivery notifications, as well as out-of-stock and back-in-stock notices;
- Rewards/points/membership benefits account balances and program information;
- New product/service benefits;
- EBOSI (emails based on selected interest);
- "We've missed you";
- A celebration—happy birthday/congratulations on the new baby;
- "Ask the experts";
- Product news—i.e., a demo video or case study on an existing product or one the user inquired about; and
- Automatic reactivation promotional programs.
4. Start simple. Is the list of emails above overwhelming? Then begin by improving your order and shipping/delivery confirmations and/or your thank you emails. Make sure you have nice thank you emails for everything that the user does on your site.