Email marketing strategies are a dime a dozen. The internet is filled with them. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal over 1.3 billion hits on the subject. It seems that everyone has an opinion on how to compose fool proof emails, yet somehow only a small percentage of marketing messages are actually opened and read.
An expanded view of transactional emails
Historically, transactional emails tend to have very high open rates. Order confirmations are the most common of these. Consumers open order confirmation emails to check their order’s status and to get a delivery estimate. However, it is obvious that order confirmations are not necessarily feasible or needed across all genres. In fact, any message sent to a subscriber based on a given action can be considered transactional. For example, if someone signs up for a webinar or asks to receive your weekly newsletter, you should send them a message thanking and welcoming them. This is an extremely useful opportunity and should be taken advantage of.
To make the most of the high click through rates of transactional emails, embed promotional materials directly into your response template. Amazon.com is one company that does this with a high success rate within their confirmation messages.
Another example of a transactional email is an account status update. Depending on your type of business, an account update might be a reminder of when a membership expires, an account balance, a credit limit, or a recap of their order history. However, if you include a promotional offer within this type of message, it will fall under the CAN SPAM act according to various FTC regulations. Therefore, make sure to follow proper guidelines to ensure a compliant message.
The key to remember is that no matter what type of transactional message you send, be sure to include a call to action that grabs the reader’s attention.
Time sensitive calls to action
Without a call to action, transactional emails become wasted promotional opportunities. Even the expected confirmation message holds a great deal of high value email real estate. Instead of just a confirmation message, send a unique call to action with every order confirmation. For example, say that someone places a printing order of 100 business cards online. Immediately an email is sent to that customer with an extremely enticing limited time offer. An example offer might be “click here within 10 minutes to add 100 more business cards to your order for just $5 more.”
This type of call to action should create urgency, be tailored to the consumer’s previous activity or purchase, and provide value. The 10 minute timeframe creates the necessary sense of urgency. If a consumer isn’t going to double their order within 10 minutes, they’re not likely to do it tomorrow or next week either. But at the same time, it’s very much like the traditional “impulse buy” items at the grocery store. There is a reason they have placed all the candy bars and gossip magazines in that location. The customer has a short period of time to make the decision to throw another item or two into their cart. These little luxury add-ons are much like the additional 100 business cards offered to the printing customer. The purchase will be quick and won’t require any additional effort from the purchaser. The additional product cost is negligible to the marketer, yet valuable to the consumer.
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