Silverpop - Does Your Marketing Department Own Transactional Emails?
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Does Your Marketing Department Own Transactional Emails?

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
29 April 2009

The title of Silverpop's most recent Webinar says it all: "Transactional Emails: Loved by Recipients, Neglected by Marketers."

In this Webinar (view below), Silverpop Product Marketing Manager Whit Lanier and I showed how transactional messages, which are highly relevant to recipients, can drive engagement when you add carefully chosen marketing content to a branded design consistent with your promotional emails and newsletters.

For many marketers, though, these are an overlooked opportunity, often because the responsibility for transactional emails belongs in another department.

In my latest Email Insider column, "Transactional Emails: Make Your First Impression Count," I review the reasons why moving transactional emails into the marketing department makes sense, not just because you can create more useful and attractive messages but also because you can more easily monitor recipient actions and deliverability, as you do with your other branded email.

The following question on using HTML in transactional emails was the most asked question during and after the Webinar:

Q: There's the perception that transactional messages are text messages, and recipients have been trained for that. If you move to a more visual approach with images and HTML, doesn't that make them more suspicious-looking? Will it increase deliverability challenges?

A: Not necessarily, if you do them correctly. If you design transactional messages with the right brand, with HTML text that renders with images blocked, and if you test the message template first with a tool such as Pivotal Veracity to check for spam-filter triggers in content or design, you should minimize any deliverability issues and avoid raising trust issues.

Four tips:

  • The subject line must be crystal-clear: "Confirming your purchase from XYZ Online," for example, instead of "Order Confirmation."
  • Use a friendly "from" address that names the company or department that generated the transaction: "XYZ Online" instead of a vague email address.
  • Always place the details of the transaction front and center in the message to comply with CAN-SPAM requirements. Place promotional content below or to the side of the transactional content.
  • Always check with your legal counsel if you have any concerns.


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