There are five key ways to ensure the success of transactional e-mail marketing campaigns, according to a white paper recently published by e-mail marketing firm ExactTarget.
The paper, entitled 'Transactional Email Marketing: The Next Generation', addresses the limitations and barriers that adversely affect many transactional e-mail marketing programmes - including message visibility, control, and optimisation - and offers advice on how to apply a more effective e-mail marketing approach to transactional messages.
Importance of transactional e-mail
The paper starts with the mantra of successful e-mail marketing: "Send personal, relevant and anticipated e-mails." In other words, the authors suggest, no other message is quite as personal, quite as relevant, and quite as anticipated as a transactional e-mail.
As organisations across the globe increasingly rely on email to communicate with their customers, the importance of transactional communications continues to grow exponentially. Each transactional e-mail sent - from customer service to sales to product support - provides the organisation with an opportunity to reinforce its brand and capitalise on marketing opportunities.
Five success factors
Today, most organizations have little or no visibility into the performance of transactional emails � from the most basic deliverability characteristics to more sophisticated behavioural data about transactional e-mails once sent. With this limited visibility (and even less control to make changes to the emails being triggered) marketers have been unable to fully use transactional emails for additional sales or to build customer retention. The end result is an overwhelming number of missed marketing opportunities.
The white paper's recommendations include five simple "must have" factors, briefly summarised as follows:
- Marketing Mindset
Transactional emails can no longer be thought of as emails that have to be sent to complete a transaction. They must be thought of as a component of your overall marketing strategy.
- Marketing Console
To achieve any realm of the transactional opportunity spectrum � whether it is visibility, brand integrity or optimization � marketers must have a console where they can see how many transactional emails are being sent and how well they are performing.
- Real-Time Delivery
The speed and power of the internet has created a culture where consumers want instant confirmation and up-to-date information. If an online registration form is completed, a confirmation email is expected instantly. Marketers must be able to respond in real-time, and avoid leaving customers feeling 'in the dark'.
- Integration Capabilities
Email engines must have the ability to be integrated to back-office systems, web analytics applications, e-commerce systems, and any other system where transactional events are captured.
- Content Creation Tools
It is crucial that transactional messages with commercial content are dynamically personal and relevant to the recipient. Sending the same old "mass blast" message results in missed opportunities and potential damage to the brand.
The full white paper has been made available for free download from ExactTarget's web site - click here (250Kb PDF document, contact details required). ExactTarget also provides a powerful transactional e-mail marketing system that integrates marketing, back-end data, real-time delivery, campaign monitoring, and allows non-technical users to change content on-the-fly to optimise campaign results without involving the IT department.