This may come as a surprise to you, but not all email is created equal. Like any other form of marketing, there are different purposes for email. Most likely, much of your email marketing experience has been with commercial emails, and you’ve probably spent a lot of time learning how to improve open rates and effectiveness for these types of emails. With open rates almost three times that of commercial emails, transactional email messaging should not be overlooked. Transactional emails are great for conversion, up-selling, and gaining immediate intelligence on your customers and prospects.
Transactional Email – A Definition
When we discuss transactional email, we are talking about the emails that are sent to encourage, confirm or complete a transaction that your company has already engaged in with a customer or prospect. Transactional emails are typically automatically sent, and triggered by an event. Some examples of transactional email include those sent after someone:
- Signs up for a software trial
- Buys a product
- Signs up for a newsletter
- Requests support for a product or service
- Asks for information about a product or service
- Responds to an offer—downloads a white paper, registers for a webinar or seminar
The Power of Transactional Email
We’ve probably all heard at one time or another, that the leads the sales department is following up on are no good. Yes, someone filled out an interest sheet at a trade show or registered for a webcast, but according to the sales rep following up on the lead, the lead was not qualified. What if you could implement a series of communications that would qualify the trade show or webcast leads over time? With a transactional email campaign, you can – very professionally and effectively.
With overall open rates averaging greater than 70 percent, transactional emails have been used to improve conversion rates to purchase, cross-sell products, increase Web traffic, qualify leads and provide marketing accountability. If you have a broad or deep product line, transactional emails can be one of the easiest ways to increase each sale by 25% or more just by selling another item when the buyer is still excited about their recent purchase.
It All Starts with Someone Saying "Thank You."
One of the most important transactional email messages is one sent immediately after an event trigger to sincerely thank the prospect or customer for their interaction with you. If they signed up for a newsletter, thank them for their subscription. If they asked for more information on your product or service, thank them for their interest. Perhaps send a series of welcome messages that introduces them to your firm, what’s unique about you, what it’s like to do business with you, and what great information they’ll be receiving. Immediately let the prospect or customer know that you value their interaction with you, and give reason to encourage future interaction.
Use transactional email to establish a 2-way relationship
Over time, the more you know about your prospect and customers, the easier it becomes to qualify them and to send relevant content to them to move them towards your end goal. With transactional email, such as in a welcome series following a newsletter signup, intersperse a question (simple radio button selection) to learn a little more about them and their interests.
First, determine what information you need to qualify leads. Is it company size? Intent to purchase? Budget? Purchase timeframe? Any and all of these additional qualifying criteria could be asked for through subsequent transactional email messages, one at a time. Once you establish 2-way information exchange, you will have taken your first important step of building a trusted relationship that can lead to sales or whatever call to action you seek.
Automate your repeated, manual efforts
When thinking about transactional emails, you’re really focusing on how to automate a part of your sales or customer service process. Automation can lead to incredible time savings for your staff, while also providing what appears to be a very personal touch from the recipient’s view.
Some of the most successful Web sites originally did just that. Now, many transactional email efforts are supporting or replacing some of those early efforts. For example, one of our clients sets up meetings frequently throughout the year. Instead of managing all communications manually, they are using transactional email to dramatically simplify recruitment for the meetings as well as the various other communications that must occur throughout the planning process for the meetings.
The same rules apply for email content
It should almost “go without saying,” but you need to be mindful that, like other emails, the many rules of effective email apply in transactional email. Your messages need to be relevant and must contain content that the recipient is interested in.
You put forth efforts – to attract new prospects, convince customers to keep doing business with you – think of how a transactional email campaign can help you see these efforts come to fruition. We’ve seen one of our customers achieve a double-digit increase in trial conversion rates after implementing a transactional email campaign. We’d like to see you achieve similar results.
FulcrumTech is here to help you build your relationship building campaigns, whether it’s to generate leads, nurture prospects down the sales funnel, or improve your image. Give us a try. Call 215-489-9336 or contact us today!