6 things to avoid in transactional emails

transactional man typing


You might think that once a sale has been made, or an email subscription confirmed, that your job is done. You’ve made the virtual handshake, you can have a well-earned coffee and sit down now right?


(You knew we were going to say that didn’t you?)

Transactional emails are actually a massive opportunity, with open and click through rates typically around double that of commercial emails, so now is the time to pull out the stops and do your best work, to turn that one-time customer into a regular customer.

So what should you avoid when it comes to crafting an effective transactional email?


Don’t use a standard template

Boring! Yes, your software may come with standard templates for your transactional emails and yes, that can make your life nice and simple, but don’t just leave your templates bland and unpersonalised. We receive so much junk in our inboxes every day, you can’t afford to blend in – instead, customise your email with your own branding, be bold, be colourful, stand out!


Don’t write vague subject lines

Take a moment next time you receive a transactional email to look at the subject line. You might think with these sorts of email that there isn’t so much opportunity for demonstrating your copywriting prowess, but take this simple example:

‘Order confirmation’

Yawn. It does what it says on the tin, but it could work harder.

‘Confirmation of your order of DMWF conference tickets’

Better. It still contains the key information, but it gives your customer a lot more detail, and an immediate reminder of your brand name.


Don’t forget the upsell

If your customer has already ordered from you, and you’re sending a confirmation, they are ripe for an upsell. You have the advantage, because you already know what floats their boat, so use this information, don’t waste it. Amazon are the kings of this – if you so much as blink in their direction they’ll recommend you something. It works though.


Don’t forget to big yourself up

You’re more than just a confirmation email! You have that cool app remember, where customers can track their order? And your blog – that’s had some awesome posts recently, and could be really useful. Bad transactional emails forget to mention any of these extras, even though they genuinely could be helpful or interesting to the recipient.


Don’t use a generic reply-to email

Or worse still, an email address that you can’t reply to at all. Your customer has just carried out a transaction with you, and they may well have questions. A generic or unusable reply-to email is not going to instill a sense of trust or approachability.


Don’t over promote

If you bombard your customer with more sales messages before their first order has even been processed, you run the risk of annoying them before you’ve properly started. Although you don’t want to waste the opportunity completely, there does have to be some balance. Keep the key transactional information at the top of your email, so your customer doesn’t have to work hard to find it, and include additional sales messages at the end.


Do you have any top transactional email tips?




DMWF London – 20 & 21 June 2016

Photo credit: (c)iStock.com/motorenmano

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