February 1, 2007, 12:00 AM

E-mailing customers when their interest is at a peak

Transactional e-mails can build relationships and increase sales with well-designed promotional messages, Silverpop Systems Inc. research says.

Transactional e-mails, sent to customers to confirm their orders and provide other order-related information, can be used to build customer relationships and increase sales with carefully designed promotional messages, says e-mail services provider Silverpop Systems Inc. in a recent study of the e-mail strategies of more than 80 e-retailers. But there are Federal Trade Commission restrictions on how promotions can appear in these e-mails-for example, retailers should use HTML instead of text versions so they can place promotional images in permitted sidebar areas higher up in the message. In other areas, promotional text messages typically run at the bottom of a message, where they are less likely to be seen, the study finds. Also, placing brands in subject lines and letting customers opt into regular e-mail marketing programs is helping open-rates and customer relationships.

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