Tips For Ecommerce Businesses Using Transactional Emails

By Matt Zajechowski

If you’re serious about your internet marketing strategy, you need to incorporate transactional emails as part of your promotion chain. This is because, while bulk mail campaigns are a powerful stable of serious email marketing, transactional email optimization offers a totally new level of potential returns on investment.

Why? Because transactional emails enjoy some of the best open rates, clicks and conversions of any kind of business email any company sends out. You simply can’t afford to take advantage of this.

So, just to be sure, what exactly are transactional emails? Quite simply, they’re all those numerous subscriber specific one-at-a-time messages that get triggered whenever individual users interact with your website or web application in some way.

We’re talking about notification emails, shipping confirmations, shopping cart abandonment emails and sales receipts among others like these.

The most basic definition of transactional emails is that they’re sent out on an individual basis instead of in bulk and that they have to primarily relate to a transaction instead of just raw product/service promotion.

Now that you have a bit more definition of what kinds of emails we’re talking about, let’s cover some tips for optimizing them for maximum campaign returns.

Also, before we begin, if you want more information on these unique email marketing tools, then check out this infographic from the people at Easy SMTP. It covers even more details on transactionals and their value.

How to Optimize your Transactional Emails for Maximum ROI: broken down by email type

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are what you send when a user subscribes to your service or product and they can generate some really awesome returns if you design them correctly. We’re talking about returns as high as $5.83 per email sent, which is way above the 53 cent average for a typical bulk email.

Optimize your welcome emails by first breaking them down into two or more serialized messages that increase your exposure to a subscribers eyes. Then, with each email, include promotional offers for new products and special deals. Doing this can double revenue per email sent.

Also, make sure the subject lines of your welcome emails are branded, concise and attention grabbing. Ensuring this can increase open rates by 80% or more.

Sales Receipt Emails

Sales emails offer enormous promise among transactionals in that they enjoy open rates of over 100%! This is because they often get opened more than once by the same reader and each opening is an opportunity for optimization.

You can optimize these emails by doing things as simple as adding a “thank you” to their subject heading, which can increase open rates by a hefty 35%. Or you can also include social sharing buttons inside them emails themselves. This has been shown to boost click rates by as much as 35%.

Also, as with any sales related transactional, use your sales receipts to cross-promote additional product and services.

Shopping cart abandonment Emails

According to the research done by Easy SMTP, some 67% of your potentials buyers will simply abandon their shopping cart before actually buying something. So you might as well work towards saving what you can from these potentially lost sales by making sure you send out clearly stated notifications that name the products abandoned and even go as far as to offer helpful additional accessory purchases.

While this may seem like a recipe for failure, Easy SMTP’s research shows that it can actually reduce final abandonment by as much as 40%.

The above-mentioned act of reminding customers of the products they’ve abandoned can actually increase open rates by 10% and throwing in further product recommendations can improve click rates by 50% and also boost sales.

Shipping Confirmations

Shipping Confirmations are another great opportunity for recommending additional purchases to customers. They enjoy open and click rates of 20.8% and each of those percentage points gives you a chance to cross-promote accessory products to customers waiting for their shipments. Doing this can grow new transactions by 20% or better.

You should also add plenty of useful information such as tracking details, order numbers and links to package tracking pages to your shipping notifications. This will drop your overall customer service costs.

Product Reviews

Product Reviews are known to be far more effective than generic product descriptions when it comes to encouraging more buying. So make sure you put together some authentic third party product reviews on your website or a third party review page and include links to them in all of your optimized transactional emails wherever you’re promoting a specific product that’s been reviewed by a previous user.

Making this effort can create a whopping 12-fold increase in sales! Also make sure people know that specific transactional emails include product reviews by adding the word “review” to your email subject lines.


About the author
Matt Zajechowski is an outreach manager at Digital Third Coast.  Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

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