Whether you’re a small business with a handful of customers, or you’re a CEO of a company with 200k customers worldwide, trying to understand the ins and outs of email marketing and automation can be daunting.
Email remains to be one of the best ways to reach your customers and build relationships with them, but there are so many different kinds of emails, so how do you know which ones you should be using?
A good email strategy will use many different kinds of emails depending on the situation at hand. In this section, we’ll explore transactional emails and how they could fit into your email strategy.
What are transactional emails?
Transactional emails are used to communicate important information to a customer regarding more administrative tasks. Through these kinds of emails, you keep customers in the loop about important information about purchases they have made from your business, or information about their accounts.
Transactional emails aren’t usually used to sell something, but rather to help guide your customer through different stages of their buying journey, from when they first make their account, to after they’ve purchased a product.
When do you use transactional emails?
You will use transactional emails whenever you need to update a customer about something related to their personal account or purchasing history. These emails are very specific to each customer.
These emails have very specific information to share, and they protect both the business and the customer alike.
Having a record of communication helps everyone stay on the same page.
For the customer, this information is useful because:
- They can use it to manage their personal accounting.
- They can keep track of their spending.
- They can stay up to date on any changes that have been made on their account.
- They can stay updated with information about their past, current and future purchases.
For the business, this information is useful because:
- You can use it to keep your customers in the loop.
- It will help you build trust with your customers.
- It is also beneficial from a legal and administrative standpoint.
- Emails are written communication with timestamps so you can always refer back to them if you have any concern over whether or not you communicated properly with the customer.
What are the different kinds of transactional emails?
There are a lot of different kinds of emails that fall into the category of ‘transactional.’ So let’s simplify it and it down into two different categories, and then look at a few examples:
- Account-Related Emails – These are emails relating to a customer’s account
- Order/Purchase Related Emails – These are emails relating to purchases the customer has made from your business
- Account-Related Email Examples
- Verification Emails
Bots can beannoying little programs that are meant to ‘look’ and act like a human. It might seem exciting to have 100 new subscribers to your email list, but if they’re all bots they will be less than useless to you.
This is why verification emails can make a huge difference in making sure that you have real people signing up for what your business has to offer. These days, most businesses will have you verify your email address before you can continue setting up your account, like this example from Headspace:
- Password Reset Emails
Let’s be honest, we’ve all found ourselves locked out of an account at one point because we forgot a password. It’s annoying, so making it as easy as possible to reset a password is something your customers will appreciate.
Having an option to reset the password on the login page is a non-negotiable these days, you want to do everything you can to make the login process easy and simple.
Grammarly has a password reset option that’s easy to find on the login page:
All you have to do is type in your email address and select “Send me reset instructions,” and you’ll receive an email showing you how you can reset your password.
- Legal Update Emails
As a business owner, you will need to set your terms of service.
Terms of service are the agreements that exist between your business and your customer. They’re there to help create transparency about what the rules and expectations are.
There are many things are included in our terms of service, some are mandated by law and regulations, and others are more specific to your business and what you do.
You will have to update your terms of service every now and then, and you need to be clear with your customers when you do this. This will give them the opportunity to opt out if they are no longer comfortable with your terms.
YouTube recently sent out an email letting their users know about changes they’re making to their terms of service. They are clear and specific, giving their customers an opportunity to read through and decide whether or not they would be comfortable with these changes.
- Order/Purchase Related Email Examples
- Order Confirmation Emails
Once a customer successfully places an order for something, you’ll send them an order confirmation email. These emails help break down the information a customer needs after they have completed a purchase.
The kinds of order confirmations you send will depend on whether you sell physical products that need to be shipped, or if you sell digital products that can be downloaded.
For example, Microsoft sells online games that people can buy straight from their Xbox. Customers can pay for the game and then download it immediately after the payment goes through.
The order confirmations that Microsoft sends to their customers don’t need to include any shipping or tracking information, it can just break down the important information about the cost of the game, when it was purchased and the order number in case the customer needs to follow up about the purchase.
Takealot is an online retailer, kind of like Amazon, their confirmation emails will include information about how the customer can track the items that they bought, and when the order is expected to arrive.
- Shipping Notification emails
As soon as you’re ready to ship out a product that someone purchased, you’ll send that customer an email letting them know that their product is on the way to them.
These emails are incredibly important because it helps customers make a plan for receiving the package. They might need to make sure someone is at home to accept the package. Being as accurate as possible with your shipping information will benefit your customers greatly.
- Delivery Confirmation Emails
These are the emails you send to your customers after the package has been delivered. This email can help both you and your customer be sure that the package was sent to the right place.
You can also use these emails to encourage customers to leave a review of what they purchased, like the one from Wish below.
Transactional emails are there to keep you and your customers on the same page.
Customers don’t want to be kept in the dark when it comes to their accounts and purchases. It’s hard to trust a business that isn’t upfront and clear about everything that’s going on, especially when a customer spends their money on something.
Transactional emails, when used well, keep everything out in the open, this clear and transparent communication will help you build up a loyal customer base that feels like they can trust your business.
Trust is something you have to earn, it takes time, but it should always be a priority for your business as you grow.
Link to graphics
So you’ve spent all this time, money and energy building up a long email list.
You’ve convinced customers to trust you with their email addresses and you’re ready to start sending out some amazing emails that will boost your business.
But how do you actually do it?
When it comes to email marketing, the golden rule is quality over quantity. You want your customers to feel excited when they see a new email from you, not irritated.
In this article, we’ll explore promotional emails and learn how you can make the most of them to boost sales for your business, while also building up value for your customers.
What are promotional emails?
In the simplest terms, promotional emails are meant to show customers what your business has to offer, and to encourage them to go and buy something.
You can use promotional emails to update your customers about new products, to remind them about older ones, and to inform them about any sales or promotions that your business is currently running.
What are the different kinds of promotional emails?
- Special offer emails
If a customer is considering whether or not to buy something, offering them a discount might just be the thing to convince them.
Based on a survey by RetailMeNot from 2018, 67% of customers decided to buy something they weren’t planning to because they were offered a discount.
This email from Zoom offers a limited-time deal on a pro account. It uses FOMO (fear of missing out) as a motivator as it basically gives customers one day to make a decision before they will lose out on the discount. Notice also how the email uses exclamation marks selectively to create excitement about the offer and to draw attention to the discount and the time period attached to the deal.
This promotional email from Cotton On takes the FOMO motivation approach a step further by adding a countdown clock in the actual email to create a sense of urgency.
- Product Launch Emails
When you have a new product launch, you should let your customers know about it. This is a good opportunity to reintroduce your business to older customers that haven’t bought anything from you in a while as they might be tempted to try the new product.
Krispy Kream brings out new doughnuts quite often, they always send their customers an email to let them know about it.
Like this email Krispy Kream sent out to their customers in October 2021 to promote their Ghostbusters themed doughnuts. They released these doughnuts when the new movie came out, so they were able to take advantage of the Ghostbusters hype.
Everyone loves a good sale, everyone loves to feel special, so why not combine the two and offer each customer their own special promotion that is exclusive to them?
Here are some ideas for exclusive emails:
One way to make each individual subscriber feel special is by sending birthday emails. Wishing your customers a happy birthday will help you build up a relationship with them, but offering them a birthday gift is even better. According to Experian, birthday campaigns generate 342% more revenue than other types of campaigns.
Cotton On, an online fashion retailer, sends their customers coupon codes every year.
You can send your customers personalized coupon codes that they can use to receive special discounts.
Mr Delivery is a food delivery service like UberEats, they often send their customers individual coupon codes to encourage them to order something.
- Seasonal/Holiday Campaigns
You can take advantage of different seasons and holidays throughout the year by offering special promotions that are related to those events.
Black Friday has become a worldwide tradition. It’s become so popular that customers have begun to expect businesses to offer discounts.
Here’s an email from Fiverr offering a discount on their services for Black Friday:
Other holidays in the year are also good opportunities to offer sales.
Nasty Gal offered a discount for New Year’s because they know their customers traditionally will probably be looking to buy clothes to celebrate in. Being aware of past trends and current events is always important in planning email campaigns.
Here are some tips on how to create the most effective promotional emails
- Customize your emails
If you send a customer 10 emails in a week, and only 2 of them are actually relevant to them, don’t be surprised if they hit that unsubscribe button.
People don’t want their inboxes to be filled up by unnecessary emails, so you should do everything you can to avoid contributing to that.
This is why customizing your emails will be a win-win for both you and your customers, here are some ideas for how to do that:
Personalize email subject lines:
Segment your email lists:
Segmenting your email list is about dividing your customers up into smaller groups based on certain criteria. Doing this will help you to design emails to better appeal to specific groups of customers.
Let’s say you own a bakery, when you sign people up to your email list you can ask them some questions to get a better sense of who they are and how you can best cater to them.
If you know that some of your customers are vegan, you can make sure that you put them on an email list that specifically promotes your vegan products. If you know that some of your customers have a peanut allergy, you can put them on an email list that promotes products that are completely nut-free.
By segmenting your email list, you can show your customers that you understand their specific needs. Being understood as an individual customer is key to creating customer loyalty.
- Keep it short and to the point
People like easy-to-read, scannable emails. Our inboxes get filled up with new emails every day, and let’s be honest, we don’t have the time, or desire, to read them all.
You should design your emails with this in mind, keep things brief, make them easy to consume and be clear about what you want your customers to do.
- Be clear about your CTA (Call to Action)
A Call to Action (CTA) is a prompt, something you ask your customers to do. It should be bold and clear so that your customers understand exactly what you are asking of them.
The CTA in this email from Grammarly is “Get 40% Off Premium,” it’s clear and tempting because it gives customers a reason to click and get the discount.
The CTA in this email from UberEats is “See Deals,” the point of it is to encourage customers to go and browse the UberEats app and find something to buy, however, the CTA isn’t super clear.
Firstly, the phrasing of the tagline could be improved to make it pop more.
Instead of saying “Your up to R75 is still here,” they could have said, “You still have a chance to save up to R75!”
Secondly, the email is offering a discount code, but the CTA is “see deals,” which would make more sense if it was a general promotion or sale, rather than an individual coupon code.
To make it more clear that the email is focused on the discount code, the CTA could be something like, “Save Now!” or “Use your code!”
- Make your emails mobile-friendly
4 out of 10 emails are opened on mobile devices. If your emails don’t work on mobile platforms, you might just be isolating 40% of your customer base.
Keep these things in mind:
- Keep your subject lines short and punchy
On desktop, email subject lines can show up to 60 characters, while on mobile it’s only around 30 characters. Studies show that emails with a 40 character (7 word) subject line are what you should be aiming for.
- Be careful about the images you use
While some images look great on emails designed for desktop, they might not look as good on mobile. Where possible, try to keep the design as simple as you can.
Google did a study and found that 53% of people will leave a webpage if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, so the faster things load, the better.
This email from Cotton On took a few seconds to display the images correctly.
- Test your emails before you send them
After you’re happy with the design you’ve made for your email, send out a few testers. Try sending it to different platforms, like Gmail and Outlook, and on both mobile and desktop. This will help you spot any issues that you can fix before you send out the campaign.
Benefits of using promotional emails
- They can be a cost-effective marketing channel
Marketing is expensive, it takes a lot of time, money and resources to create a successful campaign. Having a customer sign up to your email list opens up a lot of opportunities to market your business without breaking the bank.
If you have a good strategy, you can see an amazing ROI (Return on Investment) from your email campaigns. Studies show that email marketing can give you an ROI of $46.00 for every $1.00 spent.
- They can help you build relationships with your customers
Through email, you have the opportunity to interact with your customers directly, on a one-to-one basis. You can use this opportunity to tailor your emails to benefit each customer individually, and build up a strong relationship with them.
- Customers prefer email marketing
Customers often prefer email marketing over other kinds of marketing, one study found that 72% of customers prefer to get promotional messages through email.
Promotional emails can be a game-changer for your business
Customers respond to promotional emails that give them value, you can offer them this value if you get it right.
Always remember to keep your customers at the core of everything you do. One email that is perfectly designed to solve a specific customer’s problem is better than sending a hundred emails that don’t matter to them.
Remember this when you’re planning your campaigns and you’ll see the benefits.
Link to graphics Review complete by David.
Reaching new customers is a great way to grow your business, but there is so much value in nurturing relationships with existing customers. Recent research indicates that 65% of business comes from existing customers, so customer loyalty is what can make or break a company.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can use relational emails to nurture relationships with your existing customers.
What are relational emails?
Relational emails help you build up relationships with customers that are on your email list by offering them content that they don’t need to pay for.
Unlike promotional emails, relational emails are not about directly selling something to your customers, but rather giving them reasons to trust your business through different kinds of content.
Different types of relational emails
There are many emails that you can use in your relational email campaign, such as:
An email newsletter is a recurring email that you send to your customers on a consistent basis, it could be daily, weekly or monthly, whatever works best for your business.
You can use email newsletters to do a lot of things, you can keep customers updated on positive things that have happened to the business, or offer them free content and resources.
Grammarly is an online writing assistant, this is an email newsletter that they sent to their customers. This newsletter offers customers advice and resources on how to improve their writing.
While this kind of email won’t directly make Grammarly any money, it helps them build trust with their customers because they are giving them something practical that they can use to improve themselves.
Having a blog on your website is an amazing way to offer value to your customers without selling them anything. You can send out an email to your customers whenever you release a new blog post to let them know about it.
Indeed is a website that people use to find work, they have a blog up on their website where they give advice to job seekers. They send out emails to their customers to let them know about the latest blog posts.
This blog helps Indeed to build trust with their customers because they are showing their value and expertise beyond what they are selling.
Surveys are a great way for you to show your customers that you value their opinions. Customer experience should be at the center of everything you do, and surveys can give you insight into what their experience is actually like.
Lyft is a ridesharing company, this is an email they sent to a customer to ask about their experience.
This is effective because it makes the customer feel like Lyft cares about their experience enough to be proactive about it and reach out to them for their opinion. In the surveys they can ask their customers what went right, what went wrong, and if they have any suggestions for improvement.
You can also add extra incentive to encourage customers to fill out surveys, like offering them discounts or special offers.
Hosting events is a great way to keep your customers engaged with your business, and today, because of the internet, it’s easier than ever.
You can send out emails to your customers inviting them to participate in your event.
Headspace is a meditation app, they sent this email example to their customers to invite them to a live meditation event they were hosting.
This is effective because it is a free event that keeps their customers engaged and active.
Why should you be using relational emails?
It can drive traffic to your website
Website traffic refers to the number of people that visit your website. If you include links to your site in your relational emails, you can increase your website traffic.
While relational emails aren’t meant to sell anything, getting customers to visit your website gives you an opportunity to present your product to them and drive sales from there.
It can help you define your brand
Having a recognizable brand voice and personality can help you stand out.
You can use emails to show off your brand personality to your customers.
Google’s brand personality is friendly, interactive and simple, they express their personality in their emails.
They always use the same colours and font, and the same graphic design style. Customers know what to expect from their emails, and this helps them build trust.
It can help you increase brand awareness
In our modern age, people tend to have very short attention spans. The internet moves at hyper-speed, so keeping your business on your customer’s radar is vital.
Relational emails can help you stay relevant to your customers even when they’re not buying anything from you.
Relational emails keep customers engaged.
A successful business is built from positive relationships between you and your customers. Building these relationships take time, gaining your customers’ trust will be an ongoing journey.
Relational emails are a tool that you can use to nurture these relationships over time by showing your customers how you can help them beyond just what you can sell to them.