9 Tips to Leverage Transactional Emails to Sell More (& Better!)

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Transactional emails have incredibly high engagement rates, particularly for meaningful metrics like email opens and click-throughs. In fact, they boast an average open rate of 60% compared to newsletters and promotional emails, which only average around 20-25%. Transactional emails occur at key moments in the customer journey, which means that customers are not only expecting to receive them, but looking forward to it!

Savvy marketers recognize transactional emails as a huge opportunity to increase sales revenue and builder deeper relationships with customers. Yet, even amongst all this potential, most transactional emails are still set up and overseen by technical departments rather than marketing teams.

Good news! With the right tools, even non-technical teams can create, manage, and analyze transactional emails. Using a tool that incorporates transactional (SMTP) functionality within a single marketing platform allows a marketing team to create highly effective transactional emails and collect real-time metrics.

So, how can transactional emails help improve your bottom line? Keep reading for my top tips.

Optimize Transactional Emails

It’s important to remember that transactional emails have a very real main purpose, and your marketing has to be delicately added alongside that purpose. The optimization techniques that work best aren’t necessarily the ones that you may be accustomed to using for your regular promotional emails and newsletters. These strategies should be a part of your optimization plan:

1. Use Existing Real Estate

There’s nothing inherently interesting about “ho-hum” transactional emails like a shipping confirmation, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. In fact, quite the opposite is true! Shoppers expect so little from this type of email that it’s actually a fabulous opportunity to impress them and improve your bottom line. Take the opportunity to provide customers with exclusive promotions, time-sensitive coupons, or ask for feedback on your ordering process. Whatever you do, just don’t let this valuable real-estate sit vacant!

2. Brand Them

Use simple, clean branding in your emails that mimics the look of your website. Use images, where appropriate, but don’t include too many or your email might not be delivered.

3. Use a Template

If possible, use one template for all your emails so that it’s obvious that your transactional emails are coming from your company and not some third-party. Tools like SendinBlue allow your marketing team to design email templates that connect to your ecommerce system.

4. Don’t Overdo It

Some businesses try to fit too much in their order confirmation emails and the result is that they end up looking like full-marketing emails instead of functional transactional emails with a bonus. Add one or two things that will improve your relationship with the customer and encourage future purchases.

5. Analyze the Results

Monitor the effects your optimizations have on hard metrics like average time between purchases as well as soft metrics like customer satisfaction.

Add Smart Follow-Ups

A shopper made a purchase from you, received their order, and now your job is done, right? Wrong! This is where smart follow up emails come into play. Take the time to continue to nurture the customer relationship using these tips:

6. Ask for Feedback

After placing an order, follow up with customers and ask them to complete a satisfaction survey or write a review on your Facebook page so you know what you can improve in the future. Request product reviews that you can use on your website to provide other shoppers with honest, real-world input to establish trust. Not only will this kind of feedback give you valuable insights, but it will also encourage other shoppers to engage as well.

7. Encourage Sharing

Include social sharing buttons in your emails to allow customers to easily post about their purchases. This can help generate buzz around your business, which in turn can increase referral traffic and brand awareness. Incentivize sharing on social media by rewarding social shares with recognition or prizes and then repurpose that user generated content in places like your newsletters.

Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

Personalization increases email success substantially because it makes recipients feel like the message is designed specifically with them in mind. Customizing transactional emails with targeting messaging based on previous purchases, interests, or activity is a great way to drive up engagement even further.

8. Automate Follow-Up Emails

The goal is to retain customers so that they come back and make subsequent purchases in the future. Use a tool like Nosto to add personalized product recommendations to your transactional emails based on previous purchases. Automated follow-up emails encourage cross-selling and upselling to increase sales figures.

9. Integrate Ecommerce Data

Sync or integrate order data from your ecommerce store into your email tool for even more personalization options. You can create smart workflows to market to shoppers who are in a period of buying inactivity, or who only buy with promotional codes, or anything else really – the possibilities are endless!

Hopefully you’ve been convinced that overhauling your company’s transactional emails is worth your time. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone! Using a professional email software platform will give you the help that you need to create outstanding emails. No matter which tool you decide to use, be sure that it checks all these boxes to allow you the most flexibility in creating and maintaining your transactional emails.

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out Capterra's list of the best eCommerce software solutions.

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About the Author


Erin McKeeby

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Erin is a seasoned marketer who is passionate about creating "wow"-worthy customer experiences. As General Manager for SendinBlue in the U.S., she regularly shares her experience relating to email marketing, automation, customer engagement and brand-building.


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