Email News: Fresh Not Stale

We’re kicking off a new feature on the blog: a “news of note” compendium of recent articles from around the Web on transactional email. The title I’m using is a little arbitrary (especially the “email” part) as I imagine we will include items on notifications, alerts and other kinds of automated messages that fall under the transactional umbrella, which could also include texts and push notifications. Also, I left out any reference to publishing schedule (weekly, monthly) for the simple reason that articles and posts on transactional messaging tend to be fewer and farther between than news on subjects like email marketing, spam, or messaging security. If we can make it into a regular feature, great. But for starters we’ll keep it casual.

Fresh, Not Stale
Our favorite article this week is this interesting discussion on devthought around how to solve the problem of receiving and managing transactional notifications in multiple places. We’ve all experienced this – someone direct messages you on Twitter, or you get a new connection request on LinkedIn. A transactional email arrives in your inbox, but that message is also in your Tweetdeck app or waiting for you when you logon at LinkedIn. You might have responded to it online already, but the message is still in your inbox. LearnBoost’s CTO Guillermo Rauch has some ideas on how to address the issue of getting the same piece of information in several different spots.

MailChimp Launches Mandrill for WordPress
RIP Mandrill…we are doing everything we can to show developer love for your customers <3.  MailChimp has provided transactional email capabilities for about a year now through its Mandrill product, and now they’ve expanded their offerings with an API plugin for the WordPress platform. The wpMandrill plugin is free, and once installed and configured, it overrides the standard emailing function WordPress uses. So essentially your can rout all of your WordPress emails through Mandrill, giving you deliverability, tracking and reporting capabilities. For small companies using WordPress as an e-commerce site, this means you’ll have the ability to send a full array of transactional email, alerts and notifications, including invoices, receipts, shipping notifications, comment updates, account password reminders and more.

Where’s Transactional Messaging Going in 2013?
In an annual predictions post, The Latest SMTP News tells us that the volume of transactional messages will grow in 2013. Pretty safe bet there and not exactly news, but the rest of the post makes some interesting points, among them: “88% of people check emails on their mobiles on a daily basis.” The point being that given how many B2C email interactions happen on smartphones today, companies need to rethink what they’re doing with their email content, and their overall email strategies.


As the holiday season rolls around, retailers are scrambling to get their marketing act together and roll out the red carpet online to welcome season shoppers. Instead of acquiring new customers, econsultancy suggests 21 tips to retain customers instead. Here are some key statistics about customer retention all retailers should know:

– Customer attraction is 5 times more expensive than customer retention
– The average cost to a company when losing a customer is $243
– An existing customer is 60-70% more likely to buy from you than a new one (5-20%)

In view of these numbers, appealing to the current customer is far more rewarding than chasing after new prospects. While social media remains the sexy new toy of the digital marketer, it’s important to get the fundamentals right. Here’s a summary of some of the article’s salient points:

– Keep the customer informed at each stage of the delivery through email and mobile alerts. Basic, but often overlooked, this action builds trust. Without trust, your customers are going to skip off to your competitors’ Xmas sale.
– Did Tim buy an iPhone last month? Well, maybe he needs a screen protector and cover too! Take advantage of data that is already available to you and engage in behavior-based cross selling through email marketing.
– Everybody has a birthday. Everybody loves a discount. Use event triggered automated messaging to send customers personalized emails with offers to celebrate their special day.
– Here’s a no-brainer: Easy password or account retrieval. I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve given up on following through with a request for more information or a purchase, because I simply couldn’t recall my password. What with the mandatory inclusion of caps, special characters, numbers and the like, my password is more like a code I have to break than a gateway to my account. Being able to retrieve it quickly is simply a necessity.

The one similar thread underlining these points is putting into place a consolidated console that is able to:

(A) Handle multiple messaging streams from different operational lines at high volumes.
(B) Ensure low latency with transactional messaging.
(C) Trigger automated messages based on customer preferences and previous buying behavior

So before marketers even begin their (hopefully) highly personalized and targeted email blasts, perhaps it might be more prudent to ensure their current systems are able to deliver on the age old foundations of email marketing: reliability and speed.

Learn more about how you can use email alerts to drive engagement and conversion in the Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook!

Transactional Messaging Best Practices