The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.
Picture a nicely designed email in your mind, and it likely includes—at most—a small header photo at the top, a background color, and formatted text and images below that. At best, most emails look like nice blog posts—or plain emails. If you want more, FreshMail's templates can make your emails look like beautiful product demo pages, complete with full-sized images, beautiful Google Fonts-powered text, and detailed layouts that go far beyond your standard email.
Where they should improve: Although they promote themselves as ‘the world’s largest marketing automation platform’, their automation could be massively improved with a workflow editor and more automations beyond just autoresponders. Emails also have a tendency to end up in Gmail’s Promotions tab – fine if your emails are promoting sales and offers, but less than ideal if they’re informational or transactional. The interface could also be a bit more user-friendly.
The full-blown version of ActiveCampaign offers an all-in-one solution for a business to house it’s CRM, email marketing, deal flow, sales automation and more. With the offer of one-on-one training and onboarding, without the 4-figure fee that InfusionSoft requires, it’s a great alternative if you want to automate the way you keep in touch with your customers both new and old.
What we liked: Marketing automation is a little more sophisticated than other tools’, with options to build and even test various campaign workflows (e.g. based on page visits, email engagement, product purchases). Reporting is also pretty good, although it’s a little annoying that the free plan doesn’t give you details of who opened and clicked. Their paid plans are pretty affordable, starting at only $25 for 40,000 emails.
Relationship: Create relationships with your customers by speaking directly to them in targeted email marketing campaigns. Show them that as a brand, you value them, and recognize them as more than just a data point. To you, they are an individual with specific wants and needs. As a brand, you recognize that and want to tailor your offerings to them. By proving this to your consumers, you’ll improve your relationship with them.
If sending thousands upon thousands of emails has taught us anything, it’s that personalization is the sure way to find common ground with your target audience. This can be simply mentioning them by first name (we can help you with that) or incorporating other relatable content into your email. Other ways you can boost your email campaigns are automation, testing, and responsive design.
Email newsletters, note the word ‘news’, are an informative piece of communication aimed at providing industry and company based news. A newsletter is a strong inbound marketing tool and whilst it may also include a call-to-action like email marketing campaigns, the main difference between the two is the aim of a newsletter is to engage and educate. The aim of an email marketing campaign is sales.
If someone doesn’t open your email, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not interested. They could be out of the office, didn’t see the email, or were too busy to read or reply when it was sent. Most people don’t empty their inboxes, so once it’s missed, it’s unlikely to be seen again. To counter this, resend emails to non-openers a week later with a new subject line.
Carl: Exactly, and of the things I love to do in a drip for example is to try and choose your response from the subscriber. So ask them why they’re interested in, or what is their favorite article of clothing, or what are you going to do this week, whatever the case might be. And a company like Uniqlo, if they would set up a drip or maybe somebody with a volume such as MailChimp, doesn’t have the resources to handle that kind of responses or maybe don’t want to.
You can design your own email templates or import an HTML page to send as an email, then use those templates for all of your emails. SendinBlue can also market to your users on the go with its integrated SMS marketing. With its site integration, you can see what your customers do on your site and what products they've purchased, then followup via email or SMS automatically or put them on new mailing lists based on their interests. And, you can use the same tool to let everyone know about your latest news and deals.
Carl: One of the things that I have seen done really, really nicely is what I like to call product narratives, which is one email where you highlight this one product, and you talk about this one product in-depth, and why it’s a great product. So in the example of Uniqlo, they are known or at least, from what I’ve seen in the subway ads, for creating very high-tech fabrics.
Email's important, but so is social and mobile—if anything, the two together are the new email. After all, your phone's always with you, and while you might ignore your email, you're unlikely to turn off your SMS notifications. So Mailigen lets you combine them all, so you can target your audience wherever they're most likely to check their messages.
Carl: They’re most likely to open a new emails when they just sign up, versus a month from now, versus a year from now. You’ll see this tail basically, your email rate tailing off in terms of open rates and click rates, and that is expected. So as a marketer, if you see that, don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean that your second or third email are really bad. It’s just a normal user behavior that you’ll see throughout your campaigns.
That's the great thing about the wide variety of email newsletter apps available. Whether you want to send a curated set of articles weekly to build a following around a topic, or need to send thousands of personalized messages for your multinational corporation daily, there are email apps to fit your needs. You can start simple—even with a free email newsletter app—then grow into the advanced email marketing features the top newsletter apps offer.
There are hundreds of email marketing services to help you and your business engage with your audience, but far fewer have proven track records. When you’re communicating with customers (or potential ones), you want to be sure your service won’t let you down. We set out to find the email platforms that combine advanced tools for every stage of a campaign — from execution to analysis — with simple interfaces and resources to help you get the most from your email marketing efforts.
Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it's too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.