How to Optimize Your Transactional Emails

One of the many benefits of Customer Journey Mapping is its ability to expose which touchpoints could bring immediate, radical growth when optimized. It might surprise you to know that some of the most profitable touchpoints to tweak are your transactional emails.

Transactional emails include receipts, shipping confirmations, policy change notifications, confirmations for subscribing to an email list, etc.

4 reasons to optimize transactional emails

Why are they so important? Here are four reasons to take a closer look at these automated responses that your system generates.

  1. Transactional emails have some of the highest open rates
  2. Transactional emails can become a stream of passive income
  3. Transactional emails can be CASL-compliant
  4. Transactional emails are the starting point for customer engagement

1. High Open Rates:

We’ve found that transactional emails have some of the highest open rates and, once opened, customers tend to scroll all the way to the bottom. Why? Because they expect them, they’re not viewed as SPAM, and they want to confirm that everything is accurate.

If it is a receipt, customers want to confirm that the correct amount was charged to the right credit card, the right product was ordered, and they want to check the tracking number to see when it will arrive.

2. Passive Income:

The best kind of revenue stream is the one that requires the least overhead to function. That’s how transactional emails work. Because they are automated, they only require a little careful attention on the front end and then they work on their own.

3. CASL Compliance:

The laws about email correspondence are stringent and must be taken seriously. But transactional emails, if done correctly, can become a CASL-compliant way of communicating with customers who haven’t yet subscribed to an email list.

4. The Beginning of Engagement:

This touchpoint can set the stage for future encounters. If they are surprised and delighted by a transactional email, they will be far more likely to engage with your brand further.

Something many email marketers forget is that every email that doesn’t successfully engage with a customer makes it far less likely that they will open any future emails.

It is unwise to burn any email opportunity. Every touchpoint needs to be engaging and these transactional emails have the potential to be the starting point to engaging with someone who could become a loyal customer and advocate for your brand.

Now that we know transactional emails are important, what can we do to get the most from them? Here are 5 optimizations to consider:

5 Optimizations

1. Surprise & Delight:

Since most transactional emails use bland, generic copy and formatting, anything that is even remotely clever, witty, or thoughtful will stand out.

It doesn’t take much to add a little personality, a little flare, to your transactional emails so that your customers are surprised and delighted by them.

Consider the tone and feel that is appropriate for your brand and find ways to make a receipt or a delivery confirmation email memorable and engaging. It’s worth the effort!

2. A/B Test Subject Line Copy:

We’ve all heard how important subject lines are because they are the first thing people see and if they aren’t engaged by it, they won’t even open the email to see more. So split test different subject line copy until your open rate improves.

Make it as interesting as possible without getting too lengthy. If appropriate for your brand, this could be a place to try something clever to add warmth and make it memorable.

Every market segment responds differently to subject line strategies so split-testing will help you find the sweet spot with your audience.

3. Main Messaging:

In the main body of your email, make sure your copy expresses genuine gratitude for their business. Be clear, personal, and authentic. Avoid corporate jargon and don’t use the default copy built into your software.

Personalize the main body copy as much as possible so that your customers would swear that your email was handwritten by a thoughtful employee. The more personal you can make your transactional emails the better.

4. Content Marketing:

When possible, and in a CASL-compliant way, offer free, valuable content with no strings attached.

For example, if the transactional email is a receipt for an online purchase, provide tips for using their new product. Or share free supplemental content that adds value to what they just purchased (a guide, videos, infographics, etc.).

5. Layout/Format:

Once your content is ready to surprise & delight, make sure all of your optimizations work well with every platform and device. Open those emails on your tablet, smartphone, desktop, Mac, and PC. Test how they look in Yahoo, Gmail, and Outlook.

Check a variety of screen widths and with different levels of zooming in and make sure it is clean and precise in every setting.

Set Specific Goals & You’re Ready to Go!

Before you start optimizing your transactional email, set a few specific goals.

You need to know what success looks like so pull your current metrics and set a series of aggressive goals to achieve at least 5-10x the engagement you currently have.

These goals should include open rates, click through rates, and other conversion metrics like email subscriptions, views of your content marketing assets, time spent engaging with those assets, repeat purchases, referrals, etc.

Once you have set some specific, measurable goals, put them up on a whiteboard and track the results, split-testing often until you hit and surpass them.

When you hit your goals (and you will), you will have learned some valuable lessons about Customer Journey Mapping, you’ll be excited about the amazing results, and you’ll be eager to roll out CJM in other applications.

Subscribe to my blog for other tips about how Customer Journey Mapping can impact the Customer and Exployee Experience.

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