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Transactional emails

Transactional emailsTransactional emails are triggered based on a customer's action with a company. It's not really about financial transactions anymore. It includes dropped basket messages, purchase or order confirmation emails, email receipts.

Primary purpose of transactional emails is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to its high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters) these emails are a golden opportunity to engage customers; to introduce or extend the relationship with customers or subscribers, to anticipate and answer questions or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.

Experian's Transactional email report says, transactional emails have high revenue per mail, transaction rates, opens and click rates than bulk mail averages. Average revenue per transactional email is 2-6 times greater than a bulk mailing.

Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs).

Transactional or relationship email messages complete, confirm, or provide information about a previously agreed upon transaction. In the ecommerce context, transactional emails most often include order confirmations, shipping notices, and invoices. Email responses to other "transactions" like newsletter subscriptions or entering a contest also fall into this category.

Transactional emails are important. Customers expect a confirmation that an order has been received and are eager to learn when an order has been shipped. These emails frequently enjoy an open rate twice that of purely marketing emails and, according to email service provider Silverpop, can have click-through rates above 20 percent.

Since transactional emails can lead to a 1-3% increase in revenue, it is very important to spend an adequate amount of time and resources on these emails. Which department should be spending the time perfecting these emails and making them as effective as possible? If the marketing team is in charge of your website, blog, social media pages, commercial emails - essentially everywhere that customers can see your brand - shouldn't they be in charge of your transactional emails as well? However, that is not the case; in fact, approximately 53% of transactional emails are controlled and written by IT, customer operations, or other departments, rather than marketing. As a result, these emails often lack personality and branding.

That being said, all communication avenues (blog, social media, commercial emails, transactional emails, etc.) should portray your brand in a similar way so they should, therefore, be controlled by the same department - the marketing department.

Since transactional emails are proven to drive significantly higher response rates than regular commercial email campaigns, they should be paid equal, if not more attention, than regular campaigns. That being said, in order to optimize transactional emails, marketers should A/B test different versions of the emails and segment messages by different customer segments. In addition, all of the links in the emails should be tagged for reporting purposes. If you test and report on the results from commercial emails, shouldn't you be doing the same for transactional emails?

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