Make every email count

So. You’ve worked hard and spent good money to get someone to come to your website and subscribe to your list. Whilst it may seem like just another row in your database, these people are current or potential customers interested in your business. These people represent opportunity! Make it count by using tools already in your email marketing arsenal.

Transactional emails are those emails that automatically get sent out by businesses to their customers and/or subscribers. You will have encountered them often - everything from receipts and confirmations to password resets and renewals. They are necessary and functional, but they also represent a key marketing opportunity often missed.

When you use tools like the popular Mailchimp program or the many others out there, the way people subscribe to your list often involves one or more of the following ‘double opt-in’ steps (best practice dictates that following all three steps is ideal and many of the online tools mandate all three anyway):

  • First, the person subscribing provides their email address and perhaps their name
  • Second, an email is sent to them asking them to confirm their email address (done to prevent spam)
  • Third, once the subscriber has confirmed their address, they will often (but not always) receive a ’thank you for subscribing’ email.

These automatic ‘double opt-in’ emails in Steps 2 and 3 are KEY COMMUNICATIONS WITH CUSTOMERS.

There are many types of automatic emails, including opt-ins (like those described above), receipts and password resets. These types of emails usually don’t cost any more to send, but they all represent key opportunities that are so often wasted.

First, let me give you some examples of a business NOT making the most out of communicating with a customer.

I subscribed to a list recently and received these emails:

To verify you have joined this website, please click or copy and paste this link into your web browser to confirm your email address registration with the website.

and then

Your application to join our website has been approved. You can now access the member areas using your login details.    Please contact us if you have any difficulties accessing our website.

Wow. Inspiring eh? I feel so welcome. Not.

The language used is officious and bland and instead of saying ‘thanks’ it informs me I’ve been ‘approved’ (which barely makes sense, but I digress). Think about it - I’ve taken time out of my day to subscribe to receive emails from a business whose product/service I’m interested in. Do either of those emails me encourage me to take any action? Do they make me feel welcome and important? Are they consistent with the brand of the business which sent them (I hope not!).

Here’s how I would make some simple improvements to those emails (without even going down the road of making them look beautiful):

Hi, thanks for subscribing to our database. We appreciate your interest and look forward to sending you the latest news and offers from [Business X]. To finalise your subscription, please click on the link below.


[Manager name] [Business X]

and then

That’s it! You’re now subscribed and you will get the latest from [Business X] in your inbox soon. In the meantime, did you know we have a special on [product] this week? Click here to find out more or give us a call if you’d like some more information.

We look forward to seeing you at [Business X] soon!


The [Business X] team

PS. Why not join our Facebook page as well?

Spot the difference? With only a change in wording, these emails now:

  • make the customer feel appreciated
  • encourages them to purchase
  • directs them to social media for more engagement

None of this is difficult - it’s just making the most of what you already do. For examples from some of the world’s best online marketers, take a look at this.

Katie Russo