Developing the Email Channel for Optimal Results

60% of communications are opened first on a mobile device. Approximately, 205 billion emails are sent daily and of that 123 billion are business to consumer. 79% of all email accounts are consumer accounts. In 2016 it is estimated that there are 273,000,000 accounts and it is estimated that there will be 5.5 billion will be active by 2019.

Caring for your customer accounts and carefully managing electronic communications is imperative.

There are many types of email notifications including:
New Account Welcome Greeting
Monthly or Quarterly eStatements
Current or Late Payment Account Alerts
Unusual Account Activity Alerts
Electronic Bill Payments
Confirmation Emails
Receipts and Invoicing
Year End Statement
Reminder and Renewal Letters

Best advice is to be considerate of your customers. The largest benefit for them is convenience. Many people live a lifestyle that is juggling priorities and on-the-go all the time. Customers have come to expect electronic options. But beyond customer convenience there are several benefits to both your businesses bottom line and saving your customers time.

The benefits of email notifications include:
Reduce costs
Measurable ROI
Provides proof of delivery and non-delivery
Creates consumer loyalty, relationships and retention
Opportunity to easily share new insights and highlights
Accessible and available anytime, anywhere and in anyway
Secure delivery on general information and sensitive documentation
Reduces waste, annoying clutter and eliminates piles of paper

5 Steps to Offering Email Notifications & How to Get Started

Step 1. Set up a Preference Center.

A preference center is a special website where customers can go in and select which format of the document they want to receive, control how and when they receive notifications, and update personal information. It also allows companies to ask questions and gather information that might help offering other products and services. Typically a preference center will interface with a backend authentication system. When developing a preference center it is important to consider some key elements. Make certain the site is mobile enabled, keep initial account set-up questions short and basic, make sure everything is company branded and have a unified authentication process.

Step 2. Decide to build or buy your preference center.

Start by asking yourself a few important questions such as: When do we need to start offering the email notifications? Is there a sensitive timeline to the rollout deadline? Is it dependent on other projects or is another project pushing the need to offer notifications by a certain date? Do you have the resources to build a preference center or do you need to partner with a vendor? Resources could be staffing or financial funding. If built in house you will need to have a team that consists of a HTML Developer, Web Developer, Marketing support, Copy Writer, and Database Administrator, and Customer Service Center. Also ensure you have the necessary infrastructure including hardware; server, and correct internet connectivity to host the Preference Center and software. If you chose to use an external resource make sure to select a vendor that has all of the proper roles and resources to fulfill your preference center development.

Step 3. Develop the elements of your email.

The elements your email message should consist of are:

  1. The Header contains consistent branding and messaging to create confidence in the communication and increase open rates.
  2. The Body contains clear instructions on how to access their account and retrieve the desired document. Write the content as if the customer were receiving the email for the very first time in concise step by step instructions. If possible, personalize details such as Dear First Name or some descriptor of the account.
  3. The Footer contains company name and contact information.

Email notifications are considered transactional emails and are excluded from the Federal CAN-SPAM rules requiring footer information. However, many spam filtering programs will check to see if the email contains a footer for legitimacy testing the email is an important part of your process. You want to make sure the email is delivered to inbox of the top ISPs. If you’re going with a vendor hosted email solution like we offer at Venture Solutions, we will make sure your email is delivered to the inbox, it is mobile responsive and views correctly on about forty different email clients, devices, browsers and is deployed to the broadest audience possible.

Step 4. Set up service after the email is delivered.

Connecting your email notification program to your customer service center is crucial. Email delivery rates are typically 95% to 100% delivered. But if someone does not receive their email make sure your Customer Service has the tools to answer questions. Part of any email notification solution should include a feedback loop of information to your data systems of emails that did not get delivered. These are classified as Hard Bounces. Your technical staff should take the non-delivered report and update the client’s Preference Center changing the customer’s email option back to print with the Hard Bounce error. Also provide the staff with a script of how to explain next steps the customer can take to correct the issue. For the customer who prefers to visit your website for answers and information, add the same type of script information to the FAQ section. Continue to work with Customer Service to monitor the types of calls and emails they receive for opportunities to reduce call volume.

Step 5. Plan promotions and continuing campaigns.

Compile a list of all your existing and new email addresses. Try to include the date created, or some other type of data point that tell you how long the customer has been with your company. If possible. You want your email to speak differently to existing verses new customers. Create email messaging to attract the customer to the Preference Center. Consider offering incentives such as discounts, coupons, contests or a sweepstakes. Vary your email content to be entertaining and test different subject lines. And remember that developing, testing and deploying can take time, so project plan appropriately.

Understanding and applying the recommendations above will ensure that your email communications have the right messaging, are at the right time, they can produce a positive long-term relationship and profitable result for both you and your customers.

About the author

Director of eCommunications Solutions

Bonnie has nearly 20 years of experience in information technology, with a focus in the areas of email delivery systems and front-to-back-end support of eSolutions. As director of eCommunication solutions, Bonnie is responsible for the management of Venture’s mobile messaging systems including email and SMS. She is passionate about educating businesses on software capabilities and helping them achieve their mobile communication goals. Prior to joining Venture in 2014, Bonnie ran her own consulting company in which she helped companies use email to establish or improve customer communications.