Transactional emails serve first of all only one purpose: they confirm a specific action of the recipient, such as a purchase, sign up, or a change.

But that doesn't tap their full potential: transactional emails are also suitable as a brand ambassador and as a vehicle for cross-and up-selling activities. They can provide marketers with great opportunities in improving customer service, gaining repeat sales and deepening customer engagement.

Triggered by customers’ buying behavior, the progressive email marketers of today send branded, relevant and engaging HTML messages to take full advantage of the high level of customer interest and brand engagement.

According to a recent study of the email marketing provider Experian Marketing Services, transaction-related emails achieve around 20 percent higher click rates than regular junk mail and have on top an open rate of 47 percent.

The success of transactional emails can be further enhanced through the incorporation of links to social networks, taking advantage of their secret of success - interactivity. But let’s not go deeper into the rapid growth of Facebook & Co. and the evolving opportunities for marketing at this point, as it is in general the hottest topic of 2011. For the channel, emailing the integration of links to the company's social media presence is an effective way to strengthen the involvement of customers for the brand and to make full use of the multiplier effect. In that way, the customer can be encouraged to interact closely with the company, share individual experiences with others and strengthen the brand identity further, for instance, through special promotions that may arouse the interest of new potential customers. Thus, to no surprise Experian’s study shows that transaction emails with integrated links to social media achieve a 55 percent higher click-through rate than those without, consolidating the positive results transactional emails achieve – especially due to their personalization, individual approach and customized messages.

There are many examples of success, as the continuous integration of social media links in transactional emails can generate potential new customers who might otherwise be barely reached by the provider and would have been hardly aware of the brand. Thus, it ultimately increases the company's success rates.

The complete study "transactional emails" from Experian Marketing Services is available for download under

By Daniela La Marca


Experian’s Quick Tips on Transactional Email

Remember to say “Thank you”

Giving thanks matters. All messages related to the purchase life cycle should include some type of messaging thanking customers for their business. Shipping confirmations that did not say “Thank you” had a 35% lower click and transaction rate than those that included it.

Maximize branding opportunity

Use HTML to optimize the look and feel of transactional emails. Including both static and dynamic content pertaining to cross-sell products and services will increase transactions and broaden awareness of your products. When possible, use dynamic recommendation engines, next-most-likely-to-buy models or business rules such as seasonality.

Enhance the customer experience

Include links for site navigation, order status, customer service, email subscription and social media. The goal is to make it as easy and inviting as possible for your customers to stay engaged with your brand. When mailing to first-time purchasers, inclusion of a rewards program sign-up link will serve to strengthen brand affinity and stimulate subsequent purchase behavior.

Comply with the US CAN-SPAM Act

Do not include an offer as the subject line or as the main message. Do, also, include a message assuring the customer of the security of the transaction, and offer a link to your Privacy Policy.

Source: Experian