Making your email searchable

One important quality of a many transactional emails is that they are often saved and used as a reference by your recipients later down the line. For some that means they stick it in a folder somewhere (I use a reference tag in my Gmail), others just keep it in the Inbox and then search for it later.

In the world of Gmail (and others, of course), it’s very common to type in a quick search term in our email client and expect the relevant email to pop up. Or, for something like Outlook, searching by a particular Sender (from name or email) or Subject alphabetically. Even the content is searchable, so making sure you are relevant is super important.

Here are some examples from personal use:

  • Flight Confirmations: search for airline name, departure/destination city (and city code), date traveling.
  • Account information: search for product/application name, “welcome”, “account”.
  • Purchases: search for store name, item purchased

These seem obvious, I know. But what if you are selling something online, and your confirmation email doesn’t name the item that was purchased? Or, your From name is an Alias or third-party system that you use for confirmations. These things may not be important for the initial open of that email, but if you’re sending something that may need to be referred to later, do your recipients a favor and make sure to include the obvious things they would expect.