Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Email Marketing Web Strategy

Forget Upsell and Cross-sell. Next-sell is where you need to be.

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Email Marketing Web Strategy

As modern websites and strategies become increasingly aggressive, conversion-focused and all about the sale, exploiting every opportunity is the name of the game.

We all know to re-label the ‘Buy Now’ button to ‘Buy Right Now’ for better conversion. We all know that optimised landing pages perform better than generic landing pages. Who isn’t integrating testimonials and user ratings with their offers for better click-through?

Upsell here, cross-sell there. Do what you need to do to sell.

Yes… as marketers and web developers, we try not to leave any stone unturned in the name of a sale or a signup; we even A/B Split Test our work to make sure we’re not missing anything.

And yet one of the most central and consistent components of any transactional website – the ‘transaction’ email is almost entirely ignored by marketers.

Understandable, until you realise just how incredibly powerful the ‘transactional email’ is.

So what’s a transactional email?

There are two sorts of emails a typical sales/eCommerce website sends to its users.

The first sort is the ‘commercial’ or ‘marketing’ email; a smorgasbord of offers, promotions and campaigns broadcast to a large part of the customer database. Sometimes the messages are highly personalised, sometimes not so much.

The second sort of email is the ‘transactional’ email; the plain text email you receive after you’ve made a purchase, the email confirming that your package is in transit etc.


They’re both emails, though that’s where the similarities end.

You’ve heard of Upsell. And Cross-sell. Introducing Next-sell.

According to a presentation on the topic (presentation embedded below), the average American receives around 3,694 marketing emails every year.

They receive only 87 transactional emails.

The average open rate of a marketing email is 31% compared with a very impressive 47% open rate for transactional emails.

Here’s the clincher however… not only do users find the transactional email twice as interesting as marketing emails, the average click-through rate of a transactional email is over 300% better than the marketing email.


And it keeps getting better.

Whilst you might think that the potential success of the transactional email comes from its nature and content – i.e. people intently checking to make sure their order is correct and how much they have billed – this is only half the story.

You see, a user receiving the transactional email is in a completely different state-of-mind when compared to a user receiving a marketing email.

A user receiving a transactional email has just purchased or subscribed  to something. A 30-day trial. A camera. A Cudo voucher.

The user’s mindset about the company sending them the transactional email is positive. The user… is a customer!

And the only next step the user… the customer… can take, is to become a repeat customer. The holy grail.

And here’s where the transactional email can play a critical role.

The stats don’t lie: 60% of marketers that have experimented with marketing content within transactional emails saw increased revenue from their efforts.

That’s why its referred to as ‘Next-sell’. It’s the next sale.

Dos and Donts

You could jam your latest banner ad campaign into your transactional emails, though that wouldn’t be exploiting the niches and opportunities that you, as a honed acquisition-driven marketer, love to smell, capture and consume.

The design of the email is critical, as with any piece of communication.

The offers should be relevant and targeted. If they purchased a camera, sell them memory and a printer.

Ideally, use a product like Strongmail to enable you to measure the performance of your transactional emails just as you would marketing emails.

Consider using vouchers and coupon codes to incentivise the user. Tell them about an up-and-coming sale, and that as loyal customer, they’re entitled to a sneak-peek.

Transactional emails need consideration and a strategy, just as with any aspect of your website or campaigns. The dos and donts above are just a few simple pointers, and before jumping in, do the reading and the time.

What’s next?

We’re all getting better and better at closing the conversion gaps.

Targeted marketing and sales in transactional emails is yet another of our collective baby-steps.

Integrating your transactional email with a trigger/event based marketing/email/CRM system is the next logical and powerful step, though one step at a time hey?

The PowerPoint

Transactional Email Best Practices
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