3 Easy Yet Effective Ways to Create Transactional Emails
Relevant, personalized and timely transactional emails are virtually impossible to overhype as they can generate five times more revenue than nontransactional messages. Even though these messages are some of the most highly read emails sent by retailers, because they're so common improving them is often an afterthought. However, their value shouldn't be overlooked, as each additional open holds the potential to increase engagement and generate sales.
What’s a Transactional Email?
When used in e-commerce, transactional emails are automated messages based on some sort of transactional relationship between the consumer and the brand, such as an order or shipping confirmation. Because of the personal nature of the messages, transactional emails always deliver value for recipients. When they demand attention and are engaging, these types of emails often have higher open and clickthrough rates than promotional emails.
By optimizing three key elements of transactional emails, retailers can see greater return on investment and results, such as increased open rates.
Increase Opens With Irresistible Subject Lines
When it comes to transactional emails, many e-commerce marketers overlook the weight of quality subject lines. Oftentimes, they obsess over internal components such as body copy or struggle with the layout, but without a well-crafted subject line, that’s all for naught. Avoid this common mistake by providing clarity and personalization when possible.
Below is an example of two simple, well-executed confirmation emails:
Both emails appear trustworthy since they indicate a previous customer action and are clear about what recipients will see if they click "open."
Another way for retailers to boost email open rates is to personalize subject lines. Adding a person’s first name into the subject line of these already-personal messages is a great way to demonstrate the one-to-one nature of the message.
While not the subject line, per se, be sure to utilize the pre-header text to your advantage. This is the text that appears immediately after the subject line in the inbox. Using short, bite-size text that complements the subject line is a tactic used by savvy marketers to increase email open rates.
Choose the Right Email Design
Not all transactional emails serve the same purpose, therefore, choosing a design that complements the message is critical. Order and shipping confirmation messages are great for including cross-sell product recommendations and introducing sister brands, whereas cart abandonment and welcome messages are better suited for product recommendations or best-sellers. Analyze the purpose of the message, why the customer would receive the message, and include the appropriate content.
As a reminder, transactional messages need to comply with CAN-SPAM. This means that the transactional material must be front and center, with all promotional material being secondary content. The general rule is to stick with the 80/20 transactional-to-promotional material ratio.
Show Crystal-Clear Calls to Action (CTAs)
"Transactional" can’t be spelled without "action." In order to improve email marketing ROI, actions by recipients must happen. Getting customers to take action within an email usually works best when retailers use subtle nudges to guide them towards a clearly marked CTA.
Below is an example of a brand using a clear CTA in cart abandonment emails. In this case, it utilizes white space to provide a "minimalistic" feel to the email, making the discount and CTA clearly stand out — making the desired action obvious.
With product review emails, retailers can try to gather customer feedback by explaining in easy-to-understand steps how they can leave a review. One tip to collect product reviews via email: offer clear prompts and CTAs.
This customer follow-up email from Adidas below boldly shouts "REVIEW" in a color-coded CTA surrounded by simple steps and nudges.
When merchants build one-to-one transactional emails, applying the fundamentals of clarity and personalization must be in the plans. Young, nimble brands that customers trust today never forget to craft unignorable subject lines, optimize pre-header text, and display clear CTAs to entice customers to take action.
Greg Zakowicz is director of content at Omnisend, the all-in-one e-commerce marketing automation platform.
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the Director of Content at Omnisend. With 15-plus years of experience in email, mobile, and social media marketing, he’s helped over 100 DTC companies around the world, including numerous from the Internet Retailer Top 1000, maximize sales through their email marketing programs. Zakowicz is a frequent speaker at ecommerce events, often shares his ecommerce insights across various industry media outlets, has been retained as an ecommerce expert witness for trial, and is the host of Omnisend’s Cart Insiders Podcast.