Transactional Email for Social Web Marketers
By Peter Prestipino
Most Internet professionals are in constant pursuit of the latest and greatest
Web solutions. Along with the endless list of products and beta invites,
however, comes a new trend. The impact for some is greater connectivity to their
online endeavors, while for others it’s a nuisance. It's called Bacn (pronounced
bacon) and it's already become a popular and powerful marketing tool.
You may not yet know about Bacn, but you’ve probably received some in your
inbox — an electronic message sent by a service that you subscribe to and
receive notifications from. Common examples include news alerts, messages from
social networking sites and wiki watch lists. It’s not considered SPAM (hence
‘Bacon’) because you originally signed up for the service. Bacn is often
referred to as “email you want, but not right now.” Many messages are not read
immediately, if at all, and users can become quickly inundated with them, making
it hard to keep up. But, taking some time to review these messages can reap
significant rewards, especially in the social networking scene.
Web users may find that filtering or setting handling rules within your
preferred email client is the best way to handle Bacn. Powering through these
notifications when you have time to do so is a useful practice. Doing so means
greater organization and gives your social networking an extra push as you are
able to handle your social business quickly and without interruption.
Creators of Bacn would be savvy to test these transactional marketing
messages, analyze the results and advise their clients on how to best maximize
the information contained within them. Unfortunately, little information is
currently available for best practices with Bacn. If website owners look to
transactional messages from the e-commerce family, however, a good list of
must-do’s can be established.
The best Bacn is seamlessly integrated with back-end processes and features
dynamic, relevant content. Focusing on the system processes enable Bacn
purveyors to trigger timely, customized messages that ensure a consistent
experience for users while driving them to act on specific recommendations
to their community. However, relevance does not stop at the message. Developing
dynamic landing pages (directly into an account for example) is a good way for
companies to facilitate action within the system. Including information such as
most commented upon information, most recent and most frequently viewed or
shared content helps users discover what others are doing on your site and
compels them to take similar actions.
Delivery and Visibility:
The risk that most Bacn-centric services run is that these messages could
potentially damage the value of their brand, should users feel they are being
spammed. And, although far from a business-critical communication, most
marketers would agree that Bacn does provide a clear path into the mailboxes and
mindshare of consumers. Ensuring these messages are delivered and acted upon is
essential. Requesting white-list status for these messages directly from the
consumer and actually tracking the deliverability rates will ensure the highest
return on your investment. While real-time tracking is difficult to implement on
message basis, aggregate open-rate statistics offer insights into how well these
transactional messages are performing.
To be successful with any marketing effort, website owners need the flexibility
to test creative approaches and quickly adjust notifications accordingly.
Getting locked into a static and formal process or one that’s costly to change
will render you powerless to take advantage of what you learn from your delivery
and visibility analytics.
Bacn is most likely here to stay. Web users would be wise to start managing
their consumption to maximize their online relationships, while Bacn purveyors
would be wise to focus on the how these important social and transactional
messages are served — focusing on value for the end-user before these messages
get relegated to the SPAM bin.