Commercial Emails and Transactional Emails: Differentiators and Best Practices
Whether you’re sending commercial or transactional emails, making sure your message gets where it’s going, gets read and makes an impression is of the highest priority. What’s the difference? Transactional emails are sent to a person as a result of a specific action taken by the user. Commercial emails are promotional emails sent to a user in order to drive awareness, encourage engagement, or make a sale.
By following a few simple best practices you can ensure both your commercial and transactional emails hit their targets and stay out of the spam folder.
Transactional Email News Digest
Kristina Knight interviewed our very own Tom Mairs, Director of Client Solutions Engineering here at Message Systems, in Biz Report earlier this month. In a two-part interview (second installment here) Tom and Kristina discuss messaging strategies for the holiday shopping season, and why smart brands look for ways to leverage transactional messaging to improve convenience. According to Tom,
“The holiday shopping season is the most critical time to have a direct and relevant message for customers. People have more to do and less time to do it in, so if you can help out your customers with genuinely valuable tag-along offers, you will be their hero.”
There’s been a lot of angst in the email community over the emergence of Gmail Tabs, the new feature in the leading webmail service that automatically routes incoming messages into one of three inbox subcategories: Primary, Social and Promotional. Writing in ClickZ, Sundeep Kapur, digital evangelist at NCR provides a run down on how the new tabs are working for him personally, and what the new interface means for marketers.
Tomasz Tunguz, a Venture Capitalist at Redpoint points out that transactional emails are often left in the cold after launch, due to a reliance on the engineering team for further optimization. With engineering having more pressing priorities, and the extensive test cycles needed for changes, transactional emails inevitably take the back seat – although it is often equal or larger in volume than product marketing mail and presents rich branding opportunities.
Tom Mairs, our Director of Client Solutions Engineering teaches you how to unlock the power of transactional email for branding and upsell opportunities in this free ebook!
This got everybody buzzing – twice!
When Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker reportedly took the stage at the All Things Digital D11 conference and said a typical smartphone user looks at his/her device 150 times a day, it blew up into a media-driven meme – and the blowback was immediate: sources questioned, concerns expressed, integrity challenged, pundits punditing and counterpunditing in dizzying escalation. Who said the NBA playoffs have a hedge on smack?
Hey – even the best of us make mistakes. But Kleiner Perkins isn’t backing off, even if the research might have been dodgy – they think it’s a fair assumption, and if we’re considering a heavy or super-heavy smartphone user, they might be in the ballpark.
But our first thought was, what’s a statistic like that mean to our customers?
Just saying “150 times a day” doesn’t cut very deep. Is the device user parsing callers? Browsing? Doing a check-in? Or looking at email? How many times are they actually engaging with whatever they’re looking at?
It nearly doesn’t matter if it’s 150 glances, or 15, or 1500 – what matters is what they’re looking at, and how they react. That matters, especially if you’re an enterprise that uses email to engage with customers.
For them, getting rich data on how people use mobile email is more important than knowing how often they look at their iPhone or G4. Guess what? There’s data out there, and it’s crazy fun – like the fact that one study by Adobe indicates that 79% of us use a smartphone for reading email, a higher percentage than those who use it for making calls. Or that over 41% of emails are opened on a mobile OS or device (Knotice, 2013).
We’d also bet one particular slice of the mobile messaging stream (which can include SMS, alerts, mobile social pokes, etc.) grabs more attention than others, same as it does everywhere else: transactional emails get opened.
So. Claiming I’m going to check my phone 150 times a day doesn’t reveal a lot. It’s a pithy claim that grabs headlines…though so does anything with the word “Kardashian” in it.
What is handy is detailing the hierarchy of engagement with my smartphone: what I open, what I ignore, and what compels those choices.
Want to find out more about how to optimize transactional mail to develop customer conversations and increase ROI? Download the Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook!