1 Email Receipts
Email receipts are the easiest way into an inbox, yet they’re the most underutilized form of email marketing.
If you own a brick-and-mortar store, why would you pay for paper that you know customers will throw away or lose? A digital copy, delivered straight to the inbox, is environmentally friendly, easy to find and perfect for a subtle call to action.
For online services and businesses, email receipts are a necessity, but they should also be used for marketing. Just a few years ago, businesses thought of customer service as a cost center; today, customer service is at the heart of the marketing plans developed by most successful businesses. In the same way, email receipts are an opportunity for growth hacking.
Read more on the blog: Growth Hacking with Email Receipts Is a Huge Missed Opportunity.
Email receipts need just one thing: utility. They are designed to pass on necessary information about a purchase that a customer can keep for their records.
Amazon takes receipts a step further with some additional functionality. Take, for example, the links in this email. They are deep. Clicking the order number takes you directly to the order, where you can track it, write reviews or buy another one.
Amazon likes this email so much they send it twice. The shipping confirmation email is nearly identical.
Dollar Shave Club
The first half of this email is a standard receipt (though it looks nicer than most receipts) and the second half is a call to action.
Referral programs work because everyone wins. The customer earns credit, the business gets new customers and the referee gets a discount. If a customer does refer someone, be sure to add them to a special segment and treat them like a VIP.
This is one of the most functional email receipts we’ve ever seen.
Not only can you generate an invoice, you can download the app you’ve just purchased directly from the email. And just in case you’re ready to share, you can do that too.
Uber sends the ultimate email receipt.
These emails are loaded with context – where, when, who, how far, how much, etc. The referral codes generate a ton of business for Uber. In fact, for every seven rides taken, a customer refers someone new (source).
2 Password Reset Emails
Just because it’s functional doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.
Password reset emails are purely transactional. And because users need them, they’re nearly guaranteed to be opened. Whether you realize it or not, these emails are an important part of the user experience.
Make sure password reset emails are timely, secure and on-brand.
It’s not a marketing email but it’s still a good idea to use a button to highlight the call to action. Make it obvious what the user is supposed to do next.
Your email footer should contain useful information for recipients. Zapier takes full advantage of the footer by linking to their blog, their Twitter page and even their job openings.
No frills here but this email is consistent with the rest of my experience with Help Scout. Never underestimate the power of simplicity.
3 Double Opt-In Emails
These are similar to password reset emails in that they must be easy to act on. Make it abundantly clear what users should do next, but don’t hesitate to make these emails look and feel great too.
You can’t miss the button – it’s so obvious what the user needs to do. For this reason, it’s a great email.
There isn’t much else to this email beside the link to download the mobile app. This email is clearly mobile responsive so it looks like Airbnb is putting a lot of effort into mobile engagement.
The focus is utility but this email looks great too. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Evernote and consistent with the rest of the user experience.
FollowUp.cc’s product is an email service so they understand how to get users engaged with their emails. This one is as straightforward as they come with just enough copy to move users to the next step.
4 Notification Emails
“Hey, come engage with our site!”
That’s essentially what most notification emails are saying. And they work really well using a number of different techniques. Here are a few examples of sites that do a great job moving users from the inbox to their site.
There are so many ways to engage with 500px from this email.
- Go to the picture that was commented on
- Reply to the comment
- Check out the commenter’s profile
- Click the commenter’s individual images
500px has all their bases covered.
One of the ways they keep users coming back for more is putting their users to work. This is common for social networks. They use your friends’ names and photos in their emails. It makes it look like the emails are personalized just for you.
Users are more likely to respond to their peers than a brand, which makes these emails incredibly effective.
Spotify takes the same approach but doubles down on the tactic by also including the name and photo of a musician. Since I’m subscribed to a country music playlist, it makes sense to use the name of country musician to get me back to the app and listening to music (and ads).
Twitter actually sends emails from the person who followed you.
The “from” name is “Kane Jamison via Twitter” and the subject line is “Kane Jamison (@KaneJamison) is now following you on Twitter”. All of the emphasis is on the person, not the service.
5 Shipping Confirmation Emails
Build a foundation of utility before you add layers of calls to action, images and fancy templates. Once you’ve proven that your shipping confirmation emails get the job done, start adding value with micro CTAs, related products and upsells.
This email is nearly identical to Amazon’s receipt email.
Amazon leaves and breathes data. How effective must this email be if Amazon chooses to send nearly the same content and calls to action twice?
Bulletproof is big on content so it’s no surprise that they link to their social media sites and blog in their shipping confirmation email. This email is both transactional and promotional.
Jus by Julie
This product arrives frozen so they use the shipping confirmation email as another opportunity to explain that the package must be opened and put in the freezer as soon as it arrives. If that doesn’t happen, the product could be ruined so this email is actually core to the customer’s experience.
Since shipping confirmation emails are transactional in nature and nearly always opened, this is a great place for this important information.
6. Subscription Renewal Emails
If your customers subscription to your product or service renews automatically, you absolutely must remind them of the value you provide. Failure to communicate value will lead to cancelled subscriptions.
You’ve worked hard to earn each and every customer. Invest a little time in a great a subscription renewal email and ensure your churn rate stays low.
This is a great email. It outlines exactly what the user gets for their money and, to make ensure you won’t cancel your subscription, reminds you that you’re locked-in to a lower price than new folks pay.
Short and sweet with a gentle reminder than I get a full terabyte of storage (pro users were upgraded from 100GB to 1TB for free), this email would go nearly unnoticed in most inboxes. The call to action is minor, which is ideal if you don’t want anyone to click.
Similar to the Copyblogger email, the message from Apple is dedicated to remind users of the value they get for their money. Interestingly, there are no links. Just instructions on how to change your subscription via iTunes.
7 App Extension Emails
Imagine if your users could actually use your app inside their inbox. How useful would your emails be then? A few apps have managed to make this a reality. It’s a great example of the 10x strategy … instead of optimizing an existing process, these businesses have re-invented the way people interact with their product from the ground up.
When someone comments on your blog, you get an email like this.
Disqus gives users the ability to moderate comments by responding to the email with trigger words like “Spam”, “Approve” and “Delete”. For bloggers that get a lot of comments, this makes life so much easier.
This might not seem like a big deal but it ensures that Disqus emails have high engagement rates. When it comes time to send a promotional email, Disqus has already earned the trust of their users.
This is an email-first app. Users simply respond to this email each day and iDoneThis populates their calendar with the text from the response. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, iDoneThis builds on an existing habit (email) and ensures that users can follow the path of least resistance when using their service.
Trello notifies users of activity on their boards and allows them to add comments via email. That makes these notifications extremely useful.
They’ve also added links to their mobile apps and social media sites, meaning users get reminders about this every time they get a notification.