A Confirmation E-mail Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

  |  February 7, 2007   |  Comments

Confirmation messages get tremendous open rates. So why do so many companies still waste this excellent opportunity to up- or cross-sell or to cement customer relationships?

As we've discussed in past columns, confirmation e-mail messages get tremendous open rates.

According to fellow columnist Jeanniey Mullen, 74 percent of the general population will open and read service or confirmation e-mail within an hour of receipt.

Think about it. You usually send a confirmation e-mail to a customer or highly interested prospect, such as someone who just placed an order or has registered for your Webinar. Since the confirmation is usually sent within minutes of the transaction, it's highly likely the recipient is still in a very receptive state of mind toward you and your company.

So why do so many companies still waste this excellent opportunity to upsell, cross-sell, or further cement customer relationships?

Usually, it's because confirmation e-mail messages aren't generated by the marketing department. They usually comes from customer service. Yet as we know well, everything that touches the customer should reflect your brand and create a selling opportunity.

A Welcoming E-mail

Recently, I ordered some great notebooks from Knock Knock. I love these notebooks: they have a great sidebar with boxed areas for writing to-do and reminder lists. I have a separate No. 2 notebook for each of my clients to jot down notes during phone calls, ideas, and so forth.

These notebooks are very cool looking. They come in great colors and a sleek, simple design. So I shouldn't have been too surprised to find the company's confirmation e-mail messages were also pretty quirky and cool.

First, I got a welcome letter, which was actually fun and welcoming (what a concept!):

Hi there, Karen!

We are delighted to welcome you to Knock Knock. Truly.

Registration gives you so many rights, yet so few responsibilities. Here are a few of the good bits:

Permanent Cart
Any products added to your online cart remain there until you remove or buy them. We would prefer that you buy them.

Address Book
You may not believe this, but we can deliver Knock Knock products just about anywhere in the entire world! Store friends' and loved ones' addresses and send those birthday gifts straight to their doors!

Order History
To relive past glories, you can view your personal history of Knock Knock purchases and track their status.

As ever, for help with any of our online services, or even just to say 'Hey,' please e-mail us at sales[at]knockknock.biz.

Thanks for joining the ranks of the Knock Knockers! We feel certain you won't regret the commitment.

Best to you,

The Folks at Knock Knock

An Order Confirmation E-mail That Makes You Smile

The next e-mail actually made me smile -- and read the message all the way through, rather than just flick it into my online receipt file:

Dear Karen,

Rumor has it you just placed an order with Knock Knock.

Here's what you got:
[my order]

Here's where it's going:
[my address]

Here's who's paying for it:
[my contact info]

You placed the order on [date]
Your order number is: [xxx]
A detailed invoice can be viewed at:

If you have any questions about how long your order will take, please peruse our shipping policies.

Thank you for flying Knock Knock.

Upsell and Cross-Sell

I was completely charmed by these e-mail messages and love the product. So the confirmation message would have been a great opportunity to offer a deal for buying more notebooks in quantity (which I would have done in a heartbeat). Or to introduce me to other cool products, including these very cool binder clips I was unaware of until I revisited the site to write this column.

The lesson here is to scrutinize your confirmation e-mail messages to make sure they reinforces why your customer bought from you in the first place and they up- and cross-sell your product line.

If you engage customers in a confirmation e-mail, they'll probably be more receptive to your next promotional message. I know I'm looking forward to seeing what Knock Knock sends me next.

Keep sending your best B2B samples and case studies to Karen for future columns.

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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Karen Gedney

Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.

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