The confirmation email might be the least used way to make a real connection. Which is too bad because a confirmation email is a huge opportunity. It connects you with a person who has already decided to interact with your organization. They're already interested. They've already acted on that interest. So you need to make it count.
Wait, don't know what a confirmation email is?
"Confirmation emails, an often-overlooked component of email strategy, are automated emails sent immediately following sign-up," writes Justin Dambach on Vert. Dambach recommends that you also think of it as your "first impression in a user's inbox."
According to Aviva Pinchas at CXL "confirmation emails had average click-through rates from 12% to 20% - approximately five times the rate of bulk mailings." That's huge.
A confirmation email is an opportunity to "do something memorable while your customer is already paying attention," according to Pinchas. Pinchas compares the confirmation email to "the moment when you're asked 'Would you like fries with that?'"
So how can your organization take advantage of the critical juncture in your relationship to your stakeholders, signified by the confirmation email?
Here are some tips.
1. Personalize the message
Make it a one-on-one conversation that takes into account the individual you are connecting with.
"Unlike any other digital medium (except maybe text or direct messages), email is a one-on-one conversation, which means it has unique potential to drive sales through relevant, personal offers," writes Pinchas.
Dambach, meanwhile, suggests that a confirmation email should be "designed to create a great first impression and a consistent user experience." Use a first name wherever possible.
2. Avoid distracting information
"Distractions are the enemy of conversions. If you remove the distractions, it is easier to focus on the campaign goal," writes Dambach.
3. Be stage focused
Acknowledge where in the lifecycle of your relationship the confirmation email occurs, and write a confirmation email that suits that moment.
"By triggering a confirmation email, the user is sharing some important information: They're telling you where in the lifecycle they are or they're telling you what they want. When you know what your customer is thinking, you can more easily meet and exceed it," writes Pinchas.
4. Use the data that comes with a confirmation email
The date about your donor that comes with a confirmation email is recent, so it's valuable now.
"Depending on the form, the user could have updated data fields, inputted new data or passively given you data through what they purchased or signed up for," writes Pinchas.
5. Set up clear expectations about communication
Allow your stakeholder to opt-in to future communications.
"... 77% of consumers say they should be able to decide how, when, and where marketers communicate with them, yet according to Experian, 60% of marketers do not give customers the option to communicate their preferences," writes Pinchas.
If you're clear, and allow your stakeholder to opt-in, the likelihood that they'll unsubscribe later is much lower.
"The user should never be surprised or confused by what happens after they click a call-to-action," writes Dambach.
6. Surprise and delight
Delight your stakeholder with a confirmation email, so that they come back for more.
Getting a new stakeholder is much more difficult, and expensive, than getting someone who's already interacting with your organization, to return for more. Keep this in mind when you're allocating your resources and make a really killer confirmation email that leads to new interactions.
"Typical e-commerce receipts are 'dead ends' - emails that provide information but don't offer a next step for users to drive them back to your site. They simply aren't built to create repeat engagement," writes Pinchas. Don't make that mistake.
Dambach suggests that a clear call-to-action, with a button, is the kind of straight forward invitation most appropriate for forwarding your relationship with a stakeholder.
7. Prompt sharing
Ask that stakeholders share their positive experience with your organization with others, and offer rewards for that sharing, if you can.
"Studies suggest that customer satisfaction just isn't enough to drive repeat purchases or loyalty. As surprising as it sounds, it simply might not occur to customers that their loyalty is valuable to you unless you reward it," writes Pinchas.
This post was first published on the Ignite blog.