There’s no magic pill for impotent, post transactional emails. Don’t be that person.

- September 25, 2014 3 MIN READ

My Inbox is drowning in emails I have no intention of reading. In fact, I’m not even sure I remember ever singing up to receive them. My morning consists of a ritual of deleting impersonal offers of package deal holidays, discount flights, last chance sales and the occasional inheritance from a generous Nigerian relative.

There is no greater segmentation fail than the Viagra email. As a woman, I definitely didn’t subscribe to this newsletter and neither did my Grandmother.  What’s more is that your call to action is not relevant to my demographic and you may want to think about reworking your content strategy and questioning your science teacher.

We’re witness to an information evolution, we have access to more information than ever before. The tools required to segment information are affordable and available. Marketing processes are more automated and integrated than ever before, yet every morning I delete more than I open.

With so many big data tools at our disposal, excuses for lame ‘Dear Customer’ emails are less sincere than a drunken karaoke version of heal the world.

My aversion to half-baked content compelled me to put together a MacGyver of strategies aimed at humanising your emails and increasing your conversions.

I am always astounded by how many e-tailers aren’t effectively remarketing to their existing database.

The biggest fail I see happens directly after purchase. This is all about first impressions.  When your customers buy online, they’re committing to a journey. As an e-tailer you have a golden opportunity to take them somewhere unique. Considered content is the missing link between an adventure and a process.

One of the biggest opportunities I see in ecommerce is the ability to nurture your customers post sale. Traditional retail doesn’t really follow suit in this regard, it’s more about getting people in store and upselling in situ. You’re less inclined to give your email at point of sale and if someone called to enquire about the toaster you purchased last week you would think it was a little bit creepy.

The purchase confirmation email is a massive opportunity to get creative with your brand messaging and set the expectation. A new buyer will expect this email and the open rate is near 100%. The post sale email is about more than a confirmation and a thank you, it’s the first step in fostering an ongoing relationship and building a community.

At this point, there is no plausible reason not to address the email to the recipient by name, as you will have it from their order. People respond to people so let’s get personal. It’s as weird as walking into your family doctor of 10 years and being referred to as ‘Dear Patient’ and not your name.

Psychologically, there is always a moment of hesitation post purchase, so reassure your customer by outlining the contents of their order, the cost and how long it’s going to take to reach them. It should read like a conversation and not a supermarket docket.

This is where the opportunity to create an engaging narrative begins. By including unique information about the product or the company you’re including the customer in an experience because it’s no longer a factual email about what they bought, it’s the beginning of an ongoing personalised relationship.

If writing is not your strong suit, work with a copywriter to craft a short paragraph and a compelling call to action to encourage re-engagement post purchase.  Monitor your click through rates in Google Analytics to check the effectiveness of your messaging.

Once the order is shipped, send your second post purchase email and let the customer know their order is in on the way. At this point it’s all about setting the expectation. Always be honest about your transit times and your method of delivery. A courier delivery and a post office pickup are not the same levels of convenience.

Let the customer know who they can contact if they have an issue. Instead of referring to a ‘customer service team’ and a 1800 or generic info@company.com email address – humanise it. Introduce the person handling their inquiry by name. Include a small headshot and write a little blurb about them. Include a call to action linking back to a shipping FAQ page on your website.

Once the customer has their order send a third and final post transaction email. The aim of this email is to encourage engagement and build loyalty. The contents will vary depending on the product life cycle and buyer journey.

Try and think three dimensionally about this email. Try to encourage community around the product, i.e if you’re selling outdoor lanterns, romantisice the purchase by sharing other ways people have used them. If your product has less social appeal and your objective is purely growth focused, then include a personal note of thanks, sharing your vision for the company and thank them for helping you work toward it. Whatever your companies focus is, the focus of this email is all about building community.

It’s not that difficult to be engaging. Think of your post transaction email as a kind of doorbell soundbyte. ‘Ding dong’ doesn’t cut it. Be intriguing, unleash personality, humanise the content and create a community. There’s no magic pill for impotent, post transactional emails. Don’t be that person.