How can the performance of transactional be optimised?

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1 TRANSACTIONAL How can the performance of transactional be optimised? Transactional n - A transactional is an sent in response to an action by (or the inaction of) an individual. Examples of these are: s confirming a newsletter subscription or a purchase, order delivery tracking s, or even abandoned shopping basket reminder s. It is not unusual for notification s (alerts, auto-reply messages, etc.) to also fall within the definition of the term transactional . Although the two concepts must be kept separate for legal purposes (for more information see The different kinds of ), they are in fact very similar, and good practice with respect to transactional s also applies to notification s.

2 INTRODUCTION 1. WHY INVEST IN TRANSACTIONAL ? 1.1. Reduced customer support burden 1.2. Brand image strenghtening 1.3. Improved customer experience 1.4. Generation of additional sales The right message at the right time Using the transaction data Retargeting Creativity is the only limiting factor 1.5. Improved deliverability An advantage related to reactivity rate How to avoid bad delivery of your transactional s? 2. PREREQUISITES Designate a transactional marketing manager Centralise reporting Generate dynamic content Deliver the s in real time Authenticate the s 3. GETTING STARTED s to develop as a priority Account confirmation Reactivation s Only two examples? 3.2. The structure of a transactional Thresholds: a rich source of ideas for your transactional strategy 4. MEASURE AND OPTIMISE 4.1. Measure The metrics Representing the data 4.2. Checklist Identification Content Technique Follow up

3 Introduction Transactional is often neglected. However, it has numerous advantages to offer: Reduced custom supports burden Brand image strengthening Improved customer experience Generation of additionnal sales (Cross-selling and Up-selling) Improved deliverability This guide will help you to implement a high-quality transactional program by building a solid foundation and establishing the right priorities. We will explain how you can measure and optimise your transactional performance MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

4 01. Why invest in transactional ? Transactional offers better reaction rates (opens and clicks) than it is possible to obtain with a newsletter or a promotional message. However, it is one of the least exploited forms of marketing! WHY IS IT NEGLECTED? Because transactional is rarely managed by marketing teams and is often sent out by the organisation s CMS rather than through infrastructure dedicated to marketing. Once it has been implemented, transactional offers numerous advantages. Open a free account with Mailjet! 1.1. REDUCED CUSTOMER SUPPORT BURDEN Through the provision of information and useful tools via transactional , it is possible to reduce the number of customer service contacts made by clients. This is perhaps the greatest benefit a high-quality transactional system brings. This alone justifies a complete reformulation of your strategy. Additionally, with full tracking of your transactional messages, your support service will be able to access all the data pertaining to a client: a click on a confirmation , the time and date a notification was sent, etc MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 04

5 1.2. BRAND IMAGE STRENGTHENING Every contact with your consumers is an opportunity to strengthen your brand image. It is therefore essential to take as much care with your transactional messages as with your newsletters. Your brand identity and your corporate style must be perfectly integrated IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE User experience is now a more important element of differentiation between you and your competitors than it has ever been. Imagine receiving your flight confirmation with the following message attached : Thank you for choosing the option allowing you to change or cancel at any time But then, at the same time, you notice there is no link in the to enable you to change your flight. You are therefore obliged to go to the airline s website, bring up the flight details, and look for the option which allows you to change it. You are also aware of a competing airline offering similar destinations (at comparable prices) and providing all these options directly from the confirmation . Which one would you choose? MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

6 1.4. GENERATE MORE SALES A transactional is an expected event! This expectation leads to a high level of attention on the consumer s part. It is possible to use this attention to optimise sales methods. But be careful: even if the promotional content is accepted in a transactional , the transaction must remain at the centre of the process. If this is not the case, there is the possibility that the consumer will feel deceived. THE RIGHT MESSAGE AT THE RIGHT TIME This is one of the fundamental principles of direct marketing! Make the consumer an offer which suits them at the point in time when they need it. Transactional data allows linked offers to be generated automatically, taking advantage of times of maximum attention. USING THE TRANSACTION DATA The content of the transaction determines the offer! A flight confirmation can be used to sell a car rental or a one-night stay in a hotel. The purchase confirmation for a cooking appliance can be used to offer an extended warranty. Read our blog post on: Pre-requisites for concrete transactional ing MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 06

7 But you do not necessarily have to sell to make an offer. A transaction linked to the creation of an account or a change to a profile also provides an opportunity to push promotional content. Some ideas for transaction-linked promotional content : Warranty extension Similar products Linked services Reward points RETARGETING Retargeting is a marketing technique that involves retargeting a consumer following an action performed on a website. You have probably seen those banners displaying a product you have just been looking at on an e-commerce site: that is retargeting. It is entirely possible to use retargeting with transactional . For example, when shopping the consumer adds two products to their basket but only actually purchases one of them. The purchase confirmation thus becomes an opportunity to talk to them about the second product. CREATIVITY IS THE ONLY LIMITING FACTOR Transactional provides numerous ways to generate additional sales! Make a point of including representatives from different departments within your company (technical, sales, marketing, etc.) in meetings where transactional is discussed. This is a good way to push your creativity as far as possible. The revenue per is $0.10 in Q compared to $0.11 in Q1 '14 and Q2 '13. However average order values were consistant year-over-year at about $192. Source : Experian Q Quarterly Benchmark Study MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

8 1.5. IMPROVED DELIVERABILITY Transactional s have an advantage in deliverability terms. But if the message ends up in spam or is lost, it has a very detrimental impact on your business. AN ADVANTAGE RELATED TO REACTIVITY RATE In order to calculate a reputation score, anti-spam filters analyse the reactivity rates of the s from an advertiser (opening, clicking, deleting, etc.). It is the reputation score that determines whether s go to spam. With reactivity rates for transactional s high, they have an advantage compared to marketing campaigns. HOW TO AVOID BAD DELIVERY OF YOUR TRANSACTIONAL S. Though transactional does offer a number of advantages, this does not mean your messages will always arrive in the inbox. Imagine your double opt-in s going straight to spam... disaster. Fortunately, this pitfall can be avoided: By using separate sending IP addresses for your transactional s and your marketing campaigns. By correctly configuring your sending platform (SPF, DKIM, etc.) By using one or several IP addresses and one or several domain names dedicated to your transactional . By increasing interactions through the use of a dynamic subject line and by incorporating calls to action within the . By using a specialised platform... Mailjet for example ;-) By adopting all the good practices associated with deliverability. A good dedicated IP reputation can provide "qualified senders an average 27% increase of inbox placement" (Source : Return Path What are the Advantages of a Shared IP ) 2013 MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 08

9 2. Prerequisites It is essential that the foundations of your transactional program are solid. To help you in this, we have highlighted five essential steps to take : DESIGNATE A TRANSACTIONAL MARKETING MANAGER. The responsibilities relevant to transactional strategies are seldom defined. They can be found spread across the IT department, the marketing department, as well as the research and development department. This dilution of responsibility leads to transactional programs of a low standard. These run the risk of not conforming to corporate styles and failing to exploit the opportunities for increased sales. To avoid these problems, a responsible person must be designated to monitor the coherence of all transactional . Ideally, the marketing department will assume this responsibility. The person in question will take charge of managing the project, assuring coherence with the rest of the marketing strategy, examining the results, and carrying out cost-effectiveness analysis. CENTRALISE REPORTING The behaviours observed when analysing the results from your conventional ing campaigns and your transactional programs are complementary! It is therefore important to structure and reconcile the analysis of both these channels MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

10 GENERATE DYNAMIC CONTENT Exploiting the power of transactional involves making the s more personalised. In other words: provide dynamic content tailored to the recipient s profile (purchasing history, behaviour, etc. DELIVER THE S IN REAL TIME Each minute that passes between the transaction and receipt of the means a reduction in your ROI! With , consumers expect things to be instantaneous. As soon as a purchase is completed, the first response is to verify that the confirmation message has been received. If this is still absent several minutes after the transaction, the open rate tends to decrease. There is then a risk that your consumers will contact your customer services, resulting in additional support costs. AUTHENTICATE THE S Transactional contains data which is much more sensitive than that found in a newsletter. For this reason, it is essential to authenticate s using DKIM and SPF authentication technology. Not only does this allow you to combat phishing, it also guarantees improved deliverability MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 10

11 3. Getting started S TO DEVELOP AS A PRIORITY ACCOUNT CONFIRMATION Account confirmation is the starting point of your relationship with your online account holders. With the development of intelligent mailboxes, the sooner you are able to establish the relationship the greater the chance of reaching the consumer s inbox. The first contact is thus critical to the success of your future interactions. 83% of brands do not make a good first impression with new subscribers Source : Ciceron The First Impressions Marketing Study 2014 REACTIVATION S All senders are confronted with the progressive loss of interest displayed by some of their subscribers. This is why it is important to develop a program of automatic reactivation. This can take several forms: Interrogate subscribers to find out the reason for their lack of interest and follow-up the enquiry with a reactivation measure tailored to their response; Send a series of ultra-personalised s demonstrating the relevance of your service; MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

12 For every situation there is a solution! Bear in mind that it is always less expensive to reactivate a former customer than to acquire a new one. ONLY TWO EXAMPLES? It is all quite reductionist! There is a third and seemingly indispensable category: the which says confirmation of... This is what makes your business profitable. If you manage an e-commerce website, this will be the purchase confirmation; if you are providing a service, it will be the payment confirmation, etc. This confirmation is essential - even vital - for your business! Thanks to this , your customer should feel reassured that their order has been correctly processed THE STRUCTURE OF A TRANSACTIONAL In a transactional , and to a much greater extent than in a newsletter or a promotional , information hierarchy is of primary importance. Whether your is an alert, a notification, or a confirmation the information it contains is of significant value to the recipient. It is therefore essential to structure it, giving prominence to the most important information. Your must also include the appropriate tools for the information concerned: it must be possible to find out more, or to cancel or modify an action taken MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 12

13 Below, we analyse and discuss the structure of a transactional MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

14 1. THE SENDER : It is essential that the sender can be immediately identified. 2. REPLY TO : In order to give the recipient the option of asking a question by replying to the SUBJECT LINE : This should contain the most important information pertaining to the transaction. 4. HEADING : This should provide the opportunity to reaffirm the identity of the sender, but it must not take up too much space in order to leave enough room for the main content. 5. MAIN INFORMATION : This should be emphasised (font size, bold text, etc.) and be placed in the upper part of the DETAILED INFORMATION : This must stand out less than the main information, but it must be comprehensive enough to reassure the recipient. 7. TOOLS RELEVANT TO THE TRANSACTION : The options (modifying, cancelling, etc.) used most often should be provided in the MARKETING OR PROMOTIONAL CONTENT : This should be found below the transaction-related information and linked to it. Some experts advise that marketing content should not amount to more than 20% of a transactional CONTACT DETAILS : Particularly when purchase confirmation is involved, do not forget to provide contact information so that your customers can get in touch with you. 10. PERSONAL DATA : As with all communications, the customer should feel comfortable with the use to which you put their data. In spite of lower click rates, year-over-year revenue per and average order values rose in Q Source : Experian Q Quarterly Benchmark Study MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 14

15 3.3. THRESHOLDS: A RICH SOURCE OF IDEAS FOR YOUR TRANSACTIONAL STRATEGY The use of thresholds with transactional allows the recipient s attention to be drawn to an event which they themselves have generated, and around which it is possible to build a strong history. Strong, because it involves the relationship the sender and recipient are maintaining in a highly personalised way. A threshold is a value which, when attained, causes an event to occur. In the case of transactional , the event is the sending of an . The two classic uses of this are anniversary dates (account creation, first purchase, etc.) and the number of points collected through a loyalty card. EXAMPLES : In the case of an airline, a threshold might be reached when a passenger has flown more than 40,000 km, which is once around the Earth. In these circumstances, the subject line of the could be: Jonathan, do you realise that we have travelled around the world together? This is an excellent opportunity to target the customer with an offer, for a loyalty program reserved for VIPs for example. A further example: if you encourage your clients to share information on social networks you could, for example, reward them after a certain number of shares. In this case, the subject line could be, for example: Thank you. It is thanks to you that we exist!. The use of thresholds can be implemented across the board! Think about the core of your business, about the services you provide to your clients, and it will not be long before you find inspiration! MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

16 4. Measure and optimise 4.1. MEASURE Measuring the performance of a newsletter and comparing it with previous campaigns is perfectly normal practice! However, how to carry out that task with respect to transactional is... not so obvious. It is not so obvious because transactional s are often sent from a system which does not manage tracking (CMS, or an alternative). But very often as well, it is down to a lack of interest, with nobody caring about the performance of transactional s. However, by measuring the effectiveness of your transactions it is possible to optimise your transactional s and generate even more additional sales. THE METRICS NUMBER OF S SENT : To a much greater extent than with a newsletter, the number of s sent is an indispensable metric because it is dependent on the number of transactions generated. It is a key indicator of the amount of business you are doing. OPEN RATE : This is the most obvious metric where confirmation s are concerned. CLICK RATE : It is useful to categorize different kinds of link in order to distinguish between clicks relating to the transaction, clicks on promotions, and clicks on product recommendations. By doing this, you will be able to compare the performances of your different calls to action. RETURN ON INVESTMENT : This is a metric which is rarely used with transactional . Nevertheless, if you add value to your transactional s through recommendations or promotions, it is essential to measure their performance MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 16

17 REPRESENTING THE DATA The metrics for transactional are no different from those analysed for marketing. However, when you send out a newsletter you have the option of analysing the results a week later. For transactional s it is very different: as they are generated continuously, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the results. It is useful to represent the results of your transactional strategy in a graph which aggregates the data on a weekly basis. This data will then be cross-referenced with the different factors that can affect campaign performance (specific actions, vacations, public holidays, etc.). The central point of the statistical analysis of transactional is performance variation, primarily over time, but also between the different types of and the level of reaction (open, click, etc.). Here is some more information on: How to measure the performance of your tranasactional s CHECKLIST IDENTIFICATION SENDER : Use a sender name and an address that are unambiguous: you need to be identified by recipients at first glance MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

18 SUBJECT LINE : Mention the contents of the transaction in the subject line of your . For example: Order confirmation - Apple MacBook Air and not Order confirmation. JUSTIFICATION : Explain the reason the has been received in the first few lines of its text, even if it seems obvious. For example: You are receiving this as a result of your message on our site CONTENT MAIN CONTENT : Ensure that your transaction makes up the main content of your . It should be visible within the first 300 pixels of your . VERIFICATION : If it is a confirmation , make sure you include enough information for your customer to be able to see that everything is in order: details, delivery address, meeting time, event venue, etc. TOOLS : Within your message, place a link to the tools available on your site for managing the transaction. For example: modifying, cancelling, delivery tracking, etc. MARKETING : Take advantage of your transactional s to push other offers. But be discreet! Under no circumstances should the promotional offers become more important than the transaction. TECHNIQUE REAL TIME : You should decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether to send your transactional s in real-time. In the case of a confirmation , it is essential, but that is not necessarily the case for a notification or an alert. SENDING SERVER : Do not let your web server send your s automatically! They deserve as much (or even more) attention and professionalism as your marketing s. PRIORITY : Use an sending platform which allows you to set the priority level of your s. This is important to ensure that the most urgent s arrive first MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 18

19 DOMAIN NAME : Use the domain name of your site (or a subdomain) to generate tracking links for your transactional s. HTML : In some cases, delivery of your transactional is so critical that you may want to consider the possibility of sending it as plain text. This is a way of further optimising deliverability to a small extent. FOLLOW UP REPLIES : Do not use a no-reply type address. Ideally, use a sender address that is associated with your customer services. PERFORMANCE : Do not forget to measure the performance of your transactional s (opens and clicks) so that you can then optimise them. MONITORING : Set up alerts to ensure that your transactional s are always sent AUTHOR Jonathan Loriaux is Mailjet s deliverability expert. Author of the blog and marketing consultant, he addresses the themes of deliverability, transactional and in general MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED -

20 Mailjet is an all-in-one solution to create, send and report, both marketing and transactional s. Our technology is cloud-based, highly scalable with proprietary technology that optimizes deliverability. Mailjet can be accessed via an easy-to-use online drag-and-drop interface, through APIs that allow developers to integrate its array of features within their applications or send through its sophisticated SMTP relay. Founded in 2010, Mailjet is now an international leader within the Service Provider space, with more than 60% of revenues generated outside of its native France. To date we have processed over 12 billion s for nearly 200 thousand customers around the globe; and our team has expanded within 5 countries in 3 continents. You can pay us a visit at our local offices in Paris, Berlin, New York, London, Ho Chi Minh City and Toronto. At Mailjet we believe in honest deliverability and dedicate substantial amount of our resources to innovation, as well as fighting the war against SPAM. This is to provide a seamless service, high deliverability and a next generation ing platform with % uptime for our customers. We can do this, because Mailjet is built from the ground up. Be sure to check our blog regularly for how-to guides, posts on optimizing your s, the latest digital marketing strategies, and occasionally just to hear about our awesome adventures! Ready to set up your account with Mailjet? Here's a quick video to help: MAILJET SAS - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - 20

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