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1 A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL v 2.0

2 Table of Contents / 3 Intro To Transactional / 4 Transactional v. Bulk / 5 Why Is Transactional Important? / 6 What Are The Downfalls? / 7 How To Make It Better / 8 The Difference A Year Can Make / 9 Missed Opportunities /10 The Key Takeaways Who Should Read This? Novice Beginner content is for readers who are new to delivery. This content will typically walk you through the basics and give generalized overviews of various subjects. Intermediate Intermediate content is for readers with some experience in delivery. This content will focus on techniques and strategies to take your delivery to the next level. Expert Expert content is for readers who are seasoned in delivery. This content will focus on advanced techniques with a heavier tech focus. /11 More About Dyn & Dyn s Delivery Products A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 2

3 Intro To Transactional Whether we ve realized it or not, everyone with an account has received a transactional , otherwise known as the alert that Bob accepted your friend request, the receipt for the days-of-the-week socks you just bought online, or even a welcome for signing up for that new deal of the day website. Transactional s are triggered based on actions that we take as consumers when we interact with a company online, whether it be through their newsletter or website. Although they are incredibly overlooked, transactional s are unique to an occasion and recipient, and may be one of the best ways for you to connect with your customers. Are you utilizing transactional s to their full potential? A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 3

4 Transactional vs. Bulk Before we get into the nitty gritty of transactional s, we should explain the difference between transactional and bulk (sometimes referred to as commercial ). We most commonly know bulk as newsletters or marketing campaigns that we receive from our favorite brands. These HTMLheavy s are created with a broad audience in mind and are usually sent out to large lists of thousands at a time. Transactional s, conversely, are designed for an individual recipient. When you think of bulk versus transactional , think push versus pull. Bulk pushes messages to their recipients. A recipient of a bulk message has not made any action to trigger the they received (other than staying actively subscribed to their newsletter). Granted, while multiple people can receive the same base transactional message, there is specific user-based dynamic content within the message that changes based on the actions that the customer has taken. It could be a reference to a recent purchase, password change, or anything specific to that person s experience with your site. Bulk mail receivers also generally do not know when they will be receiving messages. Some senders may tell their customers they will receive a newsletter monthly, weekly, etc., but the recipient has no definitive way of knowing when or what that content will be. Some transactional s that we all know very well are social media notifications. On Facebook, when someone writes on your wall or sends you a private message, you can elect to receive a notification to your personal account. Twitter gives the option to get follower notifications, retweets, mentions, etc. Transactional s tend to be expected (or even anticipated) by their recipients. When a consumer signs up for a service or makes a purchase, they are not alarmed when an acceptance notification or receipt is sent to them. TRANSACTIONAL EXAMPLES Order confirmation Account notification Receipts & Invoices Shipping notification Error alert Order status Service request received New account setup Account balance information Updated information BULK EXAMPLES Expired subscription address confirmation Password reset Abandoned items in cart Subscription feed Newsletters Promotions Product Announcements Campaigns A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 4

5 Why Is Transactional Important? While your customers sometimes receive bulk begrudgingly, transactional tends to be welcomed and even expected. A delay in a welcome or failure to send a shipment notification can result in lowering customer confidence in the brand or, in some cases, a loss in revenue from potential upsells or offers that the customer never received. Failure at transactional communication can result in lost revenue for your company. If your company is based on transactional communication (think job board or message relay service), hitting the spam folder can drastically affect your company s reputation, especially because these types of messages are sent on others behalves. Spam accounts for about 70% of s sent today. securelist.com If a company is using you to get the word out about open positions and they notice that your messages get filtered out of the inbox, it becomes a much easier decision to switch to a different service. = Although we commonly think of transactional s as strictly an sent after a transaction, they have the potential to be very useful in helping to engage your customers.. For example, if you never send a welcome to someone who signed up for your website, they may never be prompted for a return visit. Similarly, if a customer does return to your site and forgets their login information, a prompt and easy-to-follow password or username reminder is crucial in keeping them engaged. +? A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 5

6 What Are The Downfalls? Oh No! Despite the importance of transactional s, they are commonly not viewed as a priority within many companies. Frequently, transactional s are set up through IT departments and are never optimized by marketing or anyone who normally communicates with the customers. Lack of attention to deliverability and best practices may cause these transactional s to land in the spam folder of your recipient, losing a potential customer. Building the right Internet infrastructure or using an outsourced provider is a key detail in ensuring these s hit the inbox. See our whitepaper on: Everything You Need To Know About Deliverability A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 6

7 How To Make It Better Transactional s have the most consistent open rates and clickthrough rates among s sent. If you re sending messages without paying attention to your deliverability infrastructure, or sending confusing or boring s, you could be missing out on a great deal of customer engagement or potential revenue. On average, transactional brings in 288% more revenue than bulk mail. experian.com The following areas should receive special TLC when you re setting up your transactional program: Your IP Address Ensure your delivery infrastructure is set up for success as a great sending reputation relates back to the domain and IP addresses you are sending from. To ensure success, have an experienced IT staff ensure that you re set up to collect bounces and complaints for your streams. Get more content: dyn.com/content-hub Mailbox Providers Did you know that each mailbox provider (Gmail, AOL, Yahoo!, etc.) receives in a unique way? Each of these providers has different mail delivery settings for the rate of delivery. If these are not configured correctly, you could encounter delivery issues where mail is delayed or lost. Each mailbox provider also returns a unique set of bounce codes for their mail streams. To ensure you re taking the optimal action for deliverability optimization and retaining the most customers for your business, you ll need to have custom configurations on how you treat each of these mailbox provider s bounce codes. Message Content Engagement starts before an is opened. If your transactional has a strange sent from address or a cryptic subject line, chances are it could go straight to junk or the dreaded black hole of . Not only can sent from addresses be ominous somesoftware.com doesn t translate into a password reset from my favorite shoe brand), they can also just be straight up rude (DO_NOT_ It is best to keep the sent from addresses simple and easily decipherable. Some great examples: and It s easy to see whom the messages are from and what they re about without having to even look at the subject line. An appealing sent from address and subject line are great if you hit the inbox, but what if your s are being filtered as spam? If your transactional s are being marked as spam by ESPs, customer confidence in your brand can drop significantly as it may seem that your company is sending out harmful, fraud messages. Keeping an eye on your spam complaints can help you eradicate any problem you may have before it drastically decreases your reputation. A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 7

8 The Difference A Year Can Make The following images are two transactional s sent from Amazon a year apart. Both have generally the same content, but are presented in very different ways. The delivered in 2011 is a basic message designed in plain text and the important information (expected delivery and tracking URL) can be difficult to find. The from a year later has been revamped and is now in HTML. There is a specific callout to track your package as well as when you should expect it to be delivered. Additional elements have also been added to the message (navigation for the Kindle Store, Your Orders, and Amazon.com), as well as links and images to the items purchased, paired with buttons to share the items on social media sites. HTML - POST 2011 While most of these links were in the from 2011, they were hidden within the text and were difficult to locate. The most recent is visually appealing and enables customers to easily find the information they want, while potentially drawing them back to the site to make another purchase (without shoving it in their faces). PLAIN TEXT - PRE 2011 A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 8

9 Missed Opportunities Since transactional s get the most face time with your customers, why not use them as a platform to share more information with them? No, we re not saying to turn a simple password request into a love letter about how awesome the service you offer is and why customers should be paying more for it. Actually, those kinds of shenanigans can get you in trouble with spam legislation. Instead, focus on relaying relevant and potentially much-appreciated information to your customer. For example, if you send them a receipt for their new purple running shoes, it might be a good idea to also show them links to purchase purple running socks or running shorts. Similarly, if you are sending monthly invoices to a customer getting slammed with overage fees, it would be beneficial to them (and you) to give them information about a plan that would better suit their needs. In the Amazon examples, they boosted the marketing content of their transactional s without the additional content being overwhelming. The addition of the navigation header drives customers back to Amazon.com and the social sharing buttons prompt customers to engage more with Amazon. The bottom of the could have been improved; I had purchased items relating to a smartphone so callouts to toys or books may have not been as valuable as links to my phone s accessories. Thank you for your purchase! # Sneakers (Size 9W) $56.89 Item Subtotal: $56.89 Shipping & Handling: $0.00 Shipment Total: $56.89 You might also be interested in: Running Short (Purple) Size M $24.95 MP3 Player (Purple) $49.95 A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 9

10 The Key Takeaways If you only take away one thing from this paper, let it be the fact that you could probably be doing more with your transactional s. Whether it be ensuring your infrastructure is set up correctly and you have deliverability monitoring, or the simple switch from text-based to HTML, or by thinking of other creative ways to engage your customers, improvements can be made and aren t as hard as you think. Just be sure, whatever route you take, to keep the message focused on the main transaction that triggered the send. If you only take away one thing from this paper, let it be the fact that you could probably be doing more with your transactional s. Deliverability Monitoring Simple Switch Text to HTML Creative Engagement A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / 10

11 More About Dyn Dyn s Delivery Products Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management, and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before. Incorporated in 2001, Dyn s global presence services more than four million enterprise, small business and personal customers. Visit dyn. com to learn more about how Dyn delivers. With a dedicated team that has spent years in the delivery business, Dyn has built relationships and technology that result in complete inbox success. We are constantly working on improving our infrastructure to guarantee best-in-class delivery rates with experts on call to consult with our customers. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars and years building your own infrastructure when we ve already done it for you? STARTUPS Pick from one of two plans, starting at as little as $3/month, a perfect starter plan for businesses beginning to ramp up their programs. GROWING BUSINESSES Send up to 750,000 s a month? No problem. Get Advanced Delivery Support on top of Dyn s basic offerings in one of four plans starting at $75/month. ENTERPRISE With unlimited sends and advanced features, get the most out of your program. Plans start at $200/month, and we can work with you to construct a plan that fits your needs. Have questions in regards to your delivery infrastructure? Drop us a line or give us a call A GUIDE TO TRANSACTIONAL / Dyn. All rights reserved.

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