How Transactional Emails Lead To Searches, Purchases

Does seeing a name from a specific brand in an unopened email subject line remind you to pick up a loaf of Oroweat bread and a gallon of Alta Dena milk at the grocery store? Here are some tips based on the 2014 Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study that shows how transactional emails -- the ones thanking consumers for the purchase or that the order has shipped -- can lead to searches or
purchases.

I have been told that one of the more difficult tasks in measuring attribution has been the influence that intangible glances, mentions in a conversation or colors have on a search either from an email or retail-brand Web site. As multichannel attribution becomes more prevalent, marketers might find it's the casual glances at billboards or unopened emails on desktops or mobile phones that have prompted searches on Google, Yahoo or Bing. 

The 2014 Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study examines messages sent by nearly 3,000 brands in 2013 using a variety of measurements to establish benchmarks on customer engagement via multiple open and click metrics and list churn hard bounces, unsubscribes and complaints. For the first time, the study also compares data on transactional emails with

The study highlights transactional email messages like "the order has been shipped" or "the order has been processed" or "thank you for your purchase" -- but it doesn't mention that these messages can serve as a reminder of the brand or retailer. These messages sent by companies with results in the top-quartile of Silverpop's Benchmark study have open rates four times higher than median open rates for non-transactional messages.  

"Not enough marketers do it," said Loren McDonald, VP of Industry Relations at Silverpop. He believes these emails are undervalued -- not a priority -- for many companies, especially those that use a homegrown email system without HTML. They tend not to monitor open and click-through rates and send a follow-up email after consumers make a purchase.  

Transactional messages also achieved a median click-through rate of 4.2% and click-to-open rate of 15.1%, compared with nontransactional messages at 1.5% and 9.9%, respectively.

Automated, yet personal, messages achieved an open rate nearly 15% higher and a click-through rate nearly 79% higher than their manual counterparts. Top performers' automated messages achieved click-through rates nearly 60% higher than manual sends and open rates more than double the median and five to 22 times higher than the lowest performers.

"Hand holding smartphone with one new message on the screen" photo from Shutterstock.

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