Do Transactional Emails Work More Effectively Than Bulk Emails For Business Owners?

Posted on April 4, 2014

If you’re an online marketer, you might know a bit about the difference between bulk emails and transactional emails. In case you don’t, here’s the essential scoop.

Bulk promotional emails are the kind of messages that all marketers who do email marketing know intimately; they’re all the messages you send on a regular basis as part of an opt-in subscription model of email addresses collected from your blog or site. These could be weekly newsletter messages, regularly scheduled sales offers or anything you’re promoting to your readers on a regular basis. By nature these kinds of messages are promotional.

Transactional emails on the other hand are quite different. They’re essentially one-at-a-time messages that are sent because they were triggered by an interaction of some kind that an existing user of your site had with your pages. These emails normally consist of renewal notices, order confirmations, shipping updates, comment updates and e-receipts. They can involve an exchange of money but fundamentally they can involve any kind of distinct transaction at all.

This is where the enormous power of transactional emails comes into the picture. As this infographic Easy-SMTP shows, because they contain useful information relevant to something the recipient is doing with your site, they have extremely high open rates and correspondingly high click rates for their internal links.



As seen on Forbes, Mashable,

Just how high are these open and click rates? As high as more than 100% for email opens (because they often get opened multiple times) and above 17% for click-throughs.

The bottom line is that transactional emails nearly blow bulk mailing out of the water when it comes to user engagement.

Why Transactional Emails Work so Well

As I already explained above, transactional emails work so well at getting themselves opened because they provide immediately relevant information to your email subscribers. They aren’t an unexpected promotional offer, they contain tangible information your user is expecting to receive. This is why they get opened so much and this is also why they also have high internal click-through rates.

Unlike bulk emails, transactional messages don’t even have to depend on catchy attention grabbing headlines to be effective. Their no nonsense, factual transaction headlines provide their own enticement for opening the message.

And while transactional emails do have to be essentially transactional and one-at-a-time in nature, there are still some crucial ways by which you can take enormous advantage of them and use each one of these email messages to boost your sales revenues and conversions by potentially astonishing amounts.

How You Can Turn Transactional Messages into Conversions

I’ve hammered home how powerful transactional messages are, now it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of how you can actually use them for increased sales and conversions across the board.

Serialize your Messages

First of all, be creative with how you break down and send out your welcome messages and other transaction messages. Instead of sending one large single mailing, break them down as much as you reasonably can into serialized emails that each contain their own piece of vital information. Doing this has been shown to increase sales revenue by as much as 13%.

This way, you can send the maximum possible quantity of these frequently opened messages per customer. Of course, I need to mention that you also shouldn’t go overboard with this; you don’t want to annoy your readers with a welcome email in 10 parts!

Being Polite Pays off

Secondly, be sure to say thank you and show your written appreciation to your user in every single one of your transactional messages and especially in sales receipt emails and renewal confirmations. A simple “Thank You” has been shown to raise click through rates for shipping confirmations by as much as 35%.

Politeness pays off and it can make the other tips I’m recommending here even more effective.

Personalize your messages

Make each transactional email you send to each client as personalized as possible. Be sure to include their name in either your email subject or the body of your message and offer carefully worded recommendations based on your users previous buying history. Doing this can boost unique click rates by as much as 41% and in turn can also create sales revenue increases of 20% or more for the items you cross sell based on knowledge of previous buying records.

Customers respond favorably to being reminded that new product or service B would go really well with already purchased product or service A

Customize, A/B Test and Analyze

When sending out multiple transactional emails of different types, be sure to test your message templates as much as possible. Don’t let your entire roster of emails become generic. Instead, customize different message formats for different transactions and even test multiple versions of the same type of transactional email to see which one gives you the best open rates, unique clicks and sales revenue boosts.

Good analysis will be the backbone of your entire transactional email campaign.

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