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In episode 19 I had a fascinating chat with Matt Reibach of Socketlabs about how brands can make best use of transactional email.
In my opinion transactional email are an incredibly undervalued customer communication channel. These are the emails your customer should absolutely want to read and be opening. It’s order confirmations, delivery notes, password resets, sometimes account notifications. There’s probably a reason you set it up, and thats because customer will need it. So why not take advantage of that?
Matt is the Head of Community and Developer Relations at SocketLabs. He is an avid learner and always keeps an eye out for the latest trends in the email and software development spaces. Based outside of Philadelphia, Matt is a huge sports fan and an aspiring basement guitarist.
02:29 - 07:37 - Why a reliable service provider is absolutely essential - The better providers will help you with all the technical setup, get your DKIM and SPF in place and then get you setup with the IP that best suits your business. As a startup a shared IP might be better, while a larger company would benefit from a dedicated IP. It’s also important that you choose a provider who can grow with you, rather than limit you or force you to start at an unsuitable minimum level.
07:45 - 14:40 - Common Myths & Misconceptions - The main one is that transactional emails have to be boring, stripped of brand and personality, when actually the opposite is the truth. Confirmation emails are opened, clicked, and even convert higher than a lot of marketing emails, make sure you’re taking advantage of that behaviour. While not really a misconception anymore (more just breaking the rules), in most countries now you cannot add someone to your marketing list just because they purchased from you, don't do it!
15:00 - 18:39 - The biggest mistakes people make - A complete lack of personalisation and branding. Lots of people put so much time and effort into their marketing emails, trying to personalise and create the best experience for the customer, but then when it comes to transactional its just a grey boring email, often without a logo. Another mistake is not properly authenticating your emails, which causes significant deliverability problems.
18:40 - 23:46 - The use of email confirmation emails - We had a little debate about this, I’m quite against using these emails as I’ve seen really poor performance from them. So in-line validation is my go-to function for checking emails. However, there is merit in asking people to click a link, and actually gives you this sub-list of customers you know for sure are genuine.
23:55 - 28:05 - Should no-reply have a place in the inbox? - No. There’s no place for it these days and it just doesn't make sense. As mentioned before these are highly engaged emails, so stopping people responding to their order confirmation for an urgent change just makes no sense. In addition, you lose out on some deliverability benefits that are gained by people responding to emails.
28:31 - 32:05 - Trends in the next 18 months - Matt expects us to see more use of interactivity within email, such as AMP for email allowing people to leave reviews directly within the email, or even placing orders. Whether this makes it through to transactional email is questionable, most usage is likely to be on the marketing side.
32:11 - 34:29 - Matts Pet Peeves - Companies who email people who haven’t opted in, they’ve just made a purchase. You’ll do more damage doing that, than you’ll benefit from the handful of people who might purchase from you again through these emails. Linked to this is companies who force you to opt-in as part of the purchase or signup. It simply results in a higher unsubscribe or spam complaint rate.
34:43 - 38:12 - Matt kills off a marketing tactic - Clickbait! Clickbait articles which are just rubbish, and then you have to deal with all the cookie and newsletter popups, autoplaying video, most likely an ad-blocker popup. It all results in a poor customer experience, which is exactly why people use ad-blockers and other plugins to stop these annoying features.
If you’d like to hear more from Matt you can find him on Twitter @mattreibach, LinkedIn or head to the Socketlabs blog for all their great content.