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Transactional Email: Gaining Control of One of Your Most Powerful Marketing Tools

New Silverpop report shows marketers how to tame transactional email and determine if outsourcing makes sense. 

In today's busy digital world, modern marketers must break through an unprecedented volume of advertising and marketing messages vying for their customers' attention. As a result of the clamor, old-world broadcast and direct marketing tactics are slowly but surely giving way to the new, highly personalized one-to-one messaging made possible by email.

Amidst the noise, sophisticated email marketers have discovered that transactional messages-those that confirm a purchase, notify customers of shipping dates, deliver warranty information, account status messages, etc.--are the kind most eagerly anticipated by recipients. In fact, eMarketer has reported that six out of 10 consumers say they don't even mind if a sender tucks in a marketing message alongside their transactional information in an email.

However, even though industry analyst firm JupiterResearch estimates that companies can add as much as $500,000 in annual revenue simply by including promotional elements in transactional emails, marketers are finding it difficult to use these powerful messages to their maximum potential.

Why Transactional Messaging is Hard to Do
First, marketers must ascertain across the enterprise who-is-sending-what. Transactional messages often originate in different departments and have varying goals.

And, the complexity of managing a transactional email marketing program that must be able to create and fire off hundreds of thousands of individualized messages the moment a transaction takes place is enough to give even the most stoic IT guru a headache. Ultimately, many marketing organizations find that the in-house technology and resources available to handle the sophisticated requirements of automatically triggering transactional messages is simply not sufficient or nimble enough for their needs.

The Elements of a Strong Transactional Email Program
Savvy marketers understand that executing transactional email well requires key insights into all elements of a successful program, including:

  • Achieving optimum response times
  • Incorporating branding
  • Sending messages with graphics vs. plain text
  • Using personalization
  • Targeting offers with dynamic content
  • Navigating the complexities of email deliverability
  • Monitoring and measuring response

However, typical in-house transactional messaging systems lack the ability to reinforce branding, personalize messages with customers' names, dynamically integrate relevant cross-sell and up-sell offers based on prior purchases or customer-stated preferences, or track and measure email delivery, open, click or conversion rates. Nor can they conduct surveys, polls or immediate follow-up that could enable them to gather additional information about their customers.

In fact, nearly half of marketers surveyed in a 2005 JupiterResearch report on optimizing transactional email messages cited delivery and measurement challenges when sending transactional email from in-house systems.

Enlisting an Expert
Because of these challenges, the majority of email marketers in JupiterResearch's report said they see value in outsourcing their transactional messaging needs to email service providers--firms that specialize in email marketing services, software and delivery technology.

In addition to easing the burden on overtaxed IT departments, outsourcing transactional messages provides marketers with the same control, flexibility and visibility into response that they receive with their promotional campaigns.

Transactional emails can be a powerful tool for marketers. By taking advantage of the high open rates of transactional emails and establishing brand loyalty at a time when customers are most likely thinking about a company, top online retailers can strengthen customer relationships and drive revenue growth to new levels.

To request your free copy of Silverpop's new report, "Taming Transactional Email: Tips to Gain Control and Determine if Outsourcing Makes Sense," sign up here.

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