Building on Great Transactional Messages

Posted by Margaret Farmakis on

A recent post by Tamara Gielen of OgilvyOne on the Be Relevant blog included a list of 10 helpful tips from Wendy Roth of Lyris Technologies about making the most of your transactional messages. Implementing these tips will go a long way towards ensuring that marketers are “celebrating” a customer’s recent action or purchase. In other words, an optimized transactional message reaffirms that the customer made a good choice by providing them with relevant and useful information that’s personalized, detailed and action-oriented.

This got me thinking about the email customer lifecycle and how marketers can build on great transactional messages. After subscribers have clicked, signed up or purchased (effectively moving from inactives to actives or non-buyers to buyers), what comes next? They’re clearly engaged with your brand, which means they’re primed to receive your follow-up messaging. So how can your next emails keep the momentum going and pave the way for continued engagement and retention?

There’s really a two-part answer to that question. First, send messaging with useful and informative content that relates to their recent transaction. For example:

  • A How-To Guide: An email or series of emails about how to make the most of their recent purchase would be very useful for customers who’ve just purchased a technology-related item. Introduce them to the fantastic features of the product and how they can use it to make their lives easier.
  • A “Don’t Miss This” Digest: If the transaction was related to signing up for an online publication, send them an email with a downloadable digest of the top stories from last month’s issues, or an email that includes clickable headlines for the most read and/or forwarded articles.
  • An Inspirational Idea: For customers that purchased cooking equipment, send a recipe for something tasty that requires they use their new kitchen tool or appliance to make it. If the transaction was furniture or a home-goods item, include ideas for a simple home decorating project or tips for making the most of the space that you have.
  • A Seasonal Reminder: If the transaction is for a garden or outdoor product, remind customers of what they need to do to get ready for the coming season, whether it’s planting bulbs or winter-proofing outdoor furniture.
  • A Trend Alert: For those customers that purchased a clothing or beauty-related item, send them an email about the latest trends for the upcoming season, whether it’s muted colors, chunky knits or red lips.

Now that you’ve educated, inspired and reminded them, make sure your customers have access to more great content by encouraging them to subscribe to your email program. Include a well-placed sign-up box as part of your transactional and follow-up messaging.

If they’re already signed up for your program, use what you know about their recent purchasing behaviour to customize your future messaging. For example, if your send four promotional messages a month, choose one that includes content related to that purchase. Maybe it’s product ratings, customer reviews, inventory alerts, or a series of product-related tips. At the very least, include an offer for a related item that compliments their purchase.

A little customized content goes a long way towards helping marketers stand out from the Inbox clutter, establish prior value and encourage future transactions. If you’d like help optimizing your email marketing, contact me.


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