Two E-Mails for the Price of One

We’ve all purchased goods online and received email confirmations, usually within minutes of placing the order. We’ve also received shipping notifications letting us know when a gift we ordered for someone else has been received.

This got me to thinking. Can “informational” email do double duty? Should it? In other words, can an order confirmation also contain a link to a product or promotion?

Personally, I think it’s an acceptable marketing tactic, but the ultimate answer may depend on what the communication is about and the context. Truth be told, open rates of these informational email messages will be much higher than pure ads, so proceed fairly.

To help, I’ve prepared a couple hypothetical pairings for your consideration.

Order Confirmation and Cross-Sell

The following copy could appear in a confirmation email for a sweater just purchased:

We hope you enjoy your new Rainbow Sweater, which should arrive in about 10 days. Please hold on to this confirmation for your records.

By the way, did you see many people purchased the matching shirt? It’s available in your size at 30 percent off, or only $17.50 today. Interested? Simply click here, and we’ll add it to your order. Hope the sweater brings lots of compliments and enjoyment!

Satisfaction Survey and Closeout

Using the same purchase, this email would be sent 30 days after the initial sweater shipment was delivered:

Good morning! According to our records, you purchased a Rainbow Sweater about a month ago. We take the quality of our products very seriously and would like to know if you’re satisfied with your purchase. If you’re not completely satisfied, please click here, and let me know your thoughts.

By the way, we have 18 sweaters left in different colors. Rather than advertise them, we figured we’d offer our most recent sweater buyers a special offer to pick up another at 50 percent off. I’m sure they’ll be gone within a day or so, so if you’re interested, please click here.

Reminder and Related-Product Sale

This copy would be sent to someone who asked to be reminded about fall lawn care:

You may recall asking us to remind you about fall lawn care activities. You requested this free service on our Web site when you visited on March 22 at 9:32 a.m. Based on your geographical location, below is a checklist of lawn care tasks that are usually best done this month. Feel free to print out this email to use as a handy checklist.

[Checklist here”

To get you started on these projects and save you money, we’d like to offer you a 25 percent discount coupon on supplies you’ll need. It’s listed below. Bring it to any of our stores or use it online. Today, while it’s fresh in your mind, save 25 percent by shopping online at or visiting our store.

Gift Delivery and Gift-Reminder Service

This copy would be included in a gift-delivery notification:

We’re pleased to tell you the gift you ordered for Bill Smith of Chicago, IL, has been delivered. Bill and his family should be enjoying the chocolates now.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we have a free gift reminder service: Every year, we can send a short email reminding you that you sent Bill Smith a gift and make it easy if you want to send him another one. You can set up reminders for any number of people for any occasion. And it’s free. Sign up here.

Pretty nifty ways to create dual-purpose email, don’t you think? Use your imagination, and keep reading…

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

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