What Not to Do: When Transactional Email Marketing Turns Too Promotional
This is a guest post from the team at Fieldboom. Read more on the Fieldboom blog.
Promotional vs. Transactional EmailsPromotional emails are created with the intent of promoting a brand’s products, services, or offers. The goal of these emails is to drive a specific customer segment toward a sale. There’s a wide variety of promotional emails. They include monthly newsletters, new product offers, and sales or discount announcements. Check out the example below from Orbitz. Their team entices consumers with travel savings by offering a promo code. This email also mentions exclusive deals and perks, like free breakfast.
Limit Your Promotional Content in Transactional EmailsIt’s tempting to sneak a bunch of promos into your transactional emails. However, doing so can do more harm than good to your customer relationship. Plus, you may be violating a few laws.
Missing the Intention of the EmailTransactional email marketing aids in furthering the relationship with your customers. The content should relate to the ongoing transaction, whether before, during, or after it. So, if the promotional aspects of your email overshadows the transactional information the recipient desires, your team will certainly annoy your audience. You are wasting the customer’s precious time. You also are hindering them from moving through the customer journey. Take a look at this transactional email from Home Depot:
Spamming Rather Than Offering ValueGetting your emails labeled as spam is one of the last things you want as an email marketer. Not only does this label mean the recipient ignored the original email, but it also means they won’t receive your future emails. You run the risk of these emails being automatically designated as spam by email providers, like Gmail. There are a number of reasons this happens, such as:
- The quality of the email’s content
- The links included within the email
- The amount and size of images within the email
- The source’s history of delivering spam
Your order is shipped! Confirmation #128484Less of this:
Here’s your order + cool discountsThen, you’ll want the message to lead with the transactional information. A customer should never have to decipher between the transaction and the promotion. Amazon executes this tactic nicely in this shipment confirmation email:
Crossing the Legal LinesLaws exist to protect consumers when it comes to emails. It’s important that your marketing team comply with any regulations. According to the United States’ CAN-SPAM Act, transactional content “facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction.” Transactional emails are exempt from the Act, but they “may not contain false or misleading routing information.” The dilemma occurs when you mix promotional and transactional content. If your email contains both types, the primary purpose of the message is the deciding factor. So, the subject line must lead your recipient to think it’s transactional, and a bulk of the transactional content must appear at the beginning of the email. When it comes to legal matters, always seek help from an attorney. Legal teams can ensure you’re adhering to local and international laws.
Giving Value with Transactional Email MarketingDespite the limits, transactional email marketing can still strengthen your recipients’ relationship with your brand. The goal is to give value along with the promotion. You’ll want to relate the type of transactional email to what you plan to promote. It would be strange to mention recommended products in a password reset email. Next, you can get creative in your promotional engagement. Here are a few ideas:
- Add links to your social media pages and ask for a “like” or “follow”
- Include a call-to-action button to instructional or training materials
- Request feedback relating to a specific transaction
- Promote an upcoming customer appreciation event