Let’s peer into my inbox, shall we?
Here are the subject lines of the latest 4 “transactional emails”:
“We have received your order for processing”
“Video Appointment Reminder”
“Your AutoPay payment is scheduled”
“[LINK] Your In-Depth Blueprint Quiz”
As you can probably tell from the examples, transactional emails are the automated, personalized emails that come to you after you take a specific action with a company. They come from websites or apps you’re already doing business with.
If you’re at all like me, you get dozens of emails like this every week.
They’re the bland workhorses of your inbox — keeping you in the loop about the details of your digital affairs.
And mostly, they’re boring as all heck.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Transactional emails tend to have VERY high open rates.
So why not use them as an opportunity to leave a mark?
Be surprising. Be playful. Be human. Be yourself.
People will notice. I promise.
Here’s a famous example of an epic transactional email from Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby:
“When I first built CD Baby in 1998, every order resulted in an automated email that let the customer know when the CD was actually shipped. At first, this note was just the normal ‘Your order has shipped today. Please let us know if it doesn’t arrive. Thank you for your business.’
After a few months, that felt really incongruent with my mission to make people smile. I knew could do better. So I took twenty minutes and wrote this goofy little thing:
‘Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!’
That one silly email, sent out with every order, has been so loved that if you search the web for ‘private CD Baby jet,’ you’ll get thousands of results. Each one is somebody who got the email and loved it enough to post it on his website and tell all his friends.
That one goofy email created thousands of new customers.
When you’re thinking of how to make your business bigger, it’s tempting to try to think all the big thoughts and come up with world-changing massive-action plans.
But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill people enough to make them tell all their friends about you.”
Thanks, Derek — I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So… How can you use your transactional emails as a way to thrill and delight your customers?
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.