This is another one of the sources of 1 percent improvement that you can schedule to make on an on-going basis. I recently did this and increased the back-end sales for one product line by 36% in less than one month. I reduced my refunds by 1 less per week = $2,000 in SAVED SALES per year…
Don’t Neglect Your Transactional and Event-Triggered Messages
Because transactional, event-triggered and other service-based messages are typically the purview of IT departments, many marketers neglect to incorporate these business-critical messages into their email marketing programs. Of course, you need to carefully evaluate each transactional message and determine the appropriate strategy based on consumer expectations, preferences and CAN-SPAM regulations, but at the very least, you can make sure that the template and content properly reflect your brand.
If you don’t have access to deliverability metrics for your transactional email, you should add that to your list as well. Transactional emails that go undelivered for any reason can damage your brand and ruin a sale. Ideally, you should have a centralized view into all email being sent to your email recipients.
While Jupiter Research finds that the average retailer can generate an additional $2.9 million by adding cross- and up-sell promotions to transactional emails, that’s just one lucrative application. Adding relevant information or easy access to customer service support can go a long way to creating a satisfied customer.
Getting started with a marketing program for transactional email doesn’t have to be difficult, and the following tips will show you how:
Inventory Your Transactional Messages
The first you need to do is inventory all of your current and planned transactional messages. When evaluating your various types of customer email communications keep in mind that transactional messages take on many different forms. While confirmation emails for website registrations and product purchases are the most obvious, don’t forget to include warranty information, periodic account balance notifications, product updates and other terms-of-service communications.
Recently, I subscribed to a list and the FORMAT of the e-mails I was getting was so bad, my impression of the author was shaken with typographic and grammatical errors in the STANDARD message sections…
Create Objectives for Leveraging Each Type of Message
After identifying all of your transactional emails, the next step is to determine what kind of marketing messages are best suited for each communication. Adding cross- and up-sell product promotions to purchase confirmation emails is a good start, but there are many other messages that can drive customer retention and engagement with your brand. These include relevant resources, such as whitepapers and consumer guides, or even information on local weather or events. In some cases, you may just want to reinforce a positive perception of the brand itself. Just be sure your messages are relevant to the transactional message and your audience.
For ONE of my products, I did exactly that – DOUBLING my sales and increasing my unsubscribes by less than 0.6 percent. Then as I tracked the opt-outs – something weird happened – they went back down and to LESS than they were previously! People as it turns out WANTED more solutions… NOT fewer options!
Develop Dynamic Email Templates and Integration
In order to ensure that you’re adding relevant content, you need to design a dynamic email template with business rules that pull the relevant information from various internal and external databases. Integration with these systems will enable you to send a customized, real-time message that demonstrates your understanding and respect for the customer relationship.
I have to admit this is not easy – but at least KNOWING it can be done gives you inspiration for the future – when you do get to this level of sophistication, you are a totally streamlined online money-making machine!
Set up Tracking and Initiate Testing
The last step, and one of the most important, is to set up all of the proper email tracking and reporting mechanisms that will enable you to adjust your marketing programs based on real-time delivery and open and click data. Ideally, your email marketing system should offer a centralized view of all your transactional and non-transactional marketing streams. Of course, you don’t want to deploy something as critical as transactional email without proper testing. When setting up a testing program, make sure that you evaluate every aspect of the email – including design, integration, deliverability, tracking and reporting.
This is the easiest thing to do because most systems do it for you – all you need to make sure you do is set them up and then LOOK AT THE REPORTS!