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Optimising your transaction emails [Infographic]

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 20 Jan, 2015
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How you can you dramatically increase your ecommerce sales with transactional emails

Transactional emails are a fascinating and often overlooked part of the ecommerce marketing landscape. Many business owners not only don’t take advantage of them but also don’t even have a clear idea of what they are. This is a shame because if harnessed properly, 'transactionals' can offer some truly remarkable benefits to those who use them for increased conversions and sales.

Now, we’re going to cover some effective marketing strategies and statistics for a select list of key transactional emails but before we do, a quick run-down of what transactional emails are.

So what are transactional emails?

In simple terms, transactional emails are the email messages you send to users of your site or application whenever they specifically, individually interact with either.

Thus, when someone joins your site and gets a welcome email or loads up their shopping cart or makes an order and gets a shipping notification or asks a customer service related question and receives a response from your site they’re receiving a transactional email.

Unlike bulk messages, transactionals are sent to specific customers for specific reasons that relate to their recent transactions and this means that they get more attention from your users. This is what makes these emails so valuable as marketing vehicles.

Now, let’s get down to strategy for several key transactional message types.

  • Welcome emails

Welcome emails are some of the most important transactional emails around. These are normally sent when somebody newly joins your website or buys from you for the first time after opening a user account.

When optimized well, welcome emails can really bring in the money. In many cases, they can average revenues of $5.83 per email sent, which is an enormous contrast to the 53 cents that the average bulk promotional email generates.

Some key things to make your welcome emails perform well: Include special offers in the email subject line and body text, this has been known to increase transaction rates by as much as 4.01%. You can also try serializing the emails into a small series of messages. Doing this can increase transaction rates by as much as 40% and also boost overall clicks and conversions.

  • Sales receipts

Sales receipts have possibly the highest open rates of any kind of transactional email message. One average, their open rate is about 114%! This is because users often open a single one of these emails more than once.

Optimizing your sales receipt emails can be best done by simple things like adding a 'thank you' to their subject line. This alone can boost open rates by a whopping 35%! Additionally, you can also add social media links to your company’s profiles inside the receipt email body. This has been shown to increase click-throughs by a very nice 55%.

  • Abandoned cart emails

On average, some 67% of your users will abandon their shopping cart before they actually get to the buying stage. You can turn this unfortunate number around quite a bit by sending out transactional emails that notify them of what they’ve done. Furthermore, by adding some of the abandoned items in the email subject line, you can also increase clicks by about 10%. And adding additional related product recommendations inside the emails themselves can further boost clicks by 50% more.

Abandoned cart notifications have a diminishing effectiveness over time. 40% of users are likely to open one the first time around while only 27% will do so the second and third time they receive one.

  • Shipping confirmations

Shipping confirmations, thanks to the valuable purchase related information they contain, also have a very high open rate of a whopping 107%.

They can be optimized by including cross-sell offers for additional products or services that relate to what your customers originally bought. This has been shown to boost transaction rates by 20%.

Furthermore, you can also use these emails to save money and time on customer service inquiries. This can be done simply by including all sorts of order relevant information in a shipping confirmation right off the bat. This includes info such as tacking numbers, shipping times, delivery time information and a link to a page where customers can follow their orders progress through the mail.

  • Product reviews

Nothing gains the respect of possible customers like a positive third party review from a previous buyer. This is why getting a collection of product reviews from real clients of yours is essential to success. You can later link to these reviews in all of your promotional material and in your other transactional emails.

After your customers have bought from you, give them several days or a couple of weeks to see how their purchase suits them and then ask for a review of the product.  By adding the word 'review' in the email you send them, you can boost the open rate of these messages by 28% or more.

This Infographic provides a good template for different emails to ensure you optimize engagement:


Key Takeaway on Transactional Emails

  • Transactional emails have to stay transactional in nature, even while used for promotion
  • Your transactional emails will gain much more customer attention than bulk marketing emails
  • Transactional emails are sent to specific customers for specific reasons
  • Optimize welcome emails, shipping confirmations and abandoned cart notifications by using them to cross-sell related products
  • Always be polite and say thank you in your transactional emails, it boosts conversions
  • Ask your customers for real product reviews, in terms of promotional success, they’re worth their weight in gold
  • Each ecommerce campaign has its own unique series of transactional emails, feel free to experiment in your own particular circumstances

Some final advice

The above are only a few major types of transactional emails. There are others that might be highly specific to your ecommerce business type. Experiment with all of them and don’t be afraid to get creative on using your transactional emails for promotion of new products.

Also, if you want even more information of a much more visually appealing sort, check out the infographic that the above information is based on right here. It was put together by Easy SMTP who offer Email Management services.

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By Expert commentator

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