Supercharged Answers to Your Transactional Email Questions Jillian Wohlfarth March 7, 2014 Best Practices // SUMMARIES ?> Matt and I really enjoyed reading through the questions we received throughout the Make Transactional Email Your Superhero webcast on Tuesday. We hope the discussion got you fired up to supercharge your email program and that it provided you with the optimization and testing tools you need to take your transactional email to the next level! Matt and I have broken up your questions into two posts–mine below, and Matt’s, found here on the sendwithusblog blog. We’ve combined questions that have centered around the same themes, so hopefully we’ve covered them all. If for some reason your question hasn’t been answered, hit us up on Twitter @sendgrid and @mrmch, or if you had a specific account question, please contact our support team. Confirmation vs. Welcome Messages What is the best way to handle emails where we send a confirmation email but they don’t confirm? Do we still send welcome emails and other transactional messages? Without explicit consent, you should not continue to send email communications to an unconfirmed user. If your would-be subscriber is not engaged enough to confirm their opt-in, they won’t be interested enough to engage in other emails. Also, without this confirmation, there is no way for you to know if the email address you’ve received is a real address. Should I send a confirmation email and then, once the user logs in, send them a welcome email OR should I combine the two? Our suggestion is to keep these two emails separate. The goal of a confirmation email is to ensure that your subscriber is a) a real person! b) indeed interested in receiving email communications from you. Once that confirmation is made (with one CTA, usually “confirm here” or the like), you have the opportunity to truly welcome your subscriber to your service with a traditional welcome email. For more information on what we think makes an effective welcome email, check out our recent blog post on the topic from Carly Brantz. Optimizing for Mobile/Responsive Design What’s the status of responsive emails? It was supposed to enhance the mobile experience but based on personal experience, it shows no significant improvement. Our marketing and design team recently spoke with Litmus about this at the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit. They reported that currently, mobile opens make up 49% of email views. Desktop has declined to 27% and Webmail has increased to 24% (a big part of this is because Gmail and Yahoo! now show images). They also stated in one of the breakout sessions that 80% of users who open an email on their phone will not only NOT read it but DELETE it on the spot if the email isn’t responsive. Wow! A pretty compelling argument to go responsive, no? For more information on these stats, check out Litmus’ blog post here. Should graphics always be used in emails? How much is too much? This is dependent on both your product and your subscriber base. (i.e. emails from Pinterest will be image heavy, while emails from an accounting firm may rely more on text with an accompanying company logo.) But overall, Matt recommends 1 image and we support that–as long as there is accompanying text to support that image. But, including images and graphics is a great element to A/B test. The test will give you insight into how images affect your engagement rates. Use these results (and your deliverability rates) to help dictate how you utilize images moving forward. Engagement Rates What is considered a high open rate and high click rate? Ideal open and click rates are definitely business, message, and recipient list dependent. One company’s open rates are not necessarily bad or good compared to another’s. Open rates will also depend on the type of email being sent. As a general rule, open rates and therefore, click rates will be higher on transactional email vs. marketing. Ultimately, it’s best to benchmark against yourself and use A/B testing to gauge your results to boost your open/click rates. “Reply-to” Addresses What if your email has a prominent “Contact Us” link at the very top? We use “no-reply” because it greatly helps our customer support team respond to inquiries where users really need help. Not using a “no-reply” means they have to sift through a ton of spam, auto-replies, blank replies. We found that users who click the “Contact Us” link are typically users who really needed help. If you’re a SendGrid customer (silver plan or higher), we highly recommend implementing our Parse Webhook. This webhook allows you to welcome feedback, interact with your customers, and collect data in a really streamlined way. We’ve written a guide about the webhook to give you some more info. (Here are some fun blog posts about how much you can do with it too.) Outside of the Parse Webhook, it’s important to think about the message you’re sending your subscribers when they see the “no-reply” in your “from” address–it could be creating a “dead-end” for your subscribers before they even read the content of your message! SPAM What about avoiding the spam folder? What tips can you provide on that, because if you end up in a spam folder, all these other tips don’t matter. You’re in luck, we’ve written a guide, and a blog post on exactly that. Give them a look! Tips and Tricks to Stay Out of the Spam Folder Guide Tips and Tricks blog post A big “thank you” again to all who attended and for your insightful questions and another big “cheers!” to Matt and the crew at sendwithus for the great content and enthusiasm. If you were unable to attend the webinar and want to learn more about how to empower your transactional email program, you can watch the on-demand version of the webinar: Make Transactional Email Your Superhero: Keys to Optimization and Testing Success here.