We've all encountered transactional email at some point in our lives, but there's still a lot of fuzz around the term. Marketers see them as a developer's job, developers secretly want nothing to do with them. But since your customers need these emails, it's time to clear the air a bit. In this guide we introduce you to how transactional email fits every marketing strategy perfectly.
If your business happens online in any way, you've probably come across transactional email. It's the type of email between a sender (your business) and a recipient. Since it's triggered by a recipient, it's often called "triggered email". Other then marketing emails, transactional emails are the result of an event, interaction between businesses and customers, or settings within applications.
Contrary to marketing emails, or "bulk distributions" of a message to many recipients at the same time, transactional emails are personalized and typically sent to individuals one at a time.
Think of emails like these:
These emails include order confirmations, delivery confirmations, receipts, and many more examples of emails sent about an order/shipment.
Emails that are sent to fulfill a request. i.e.: Password resets, two-factor authentication emails, and activation codes.
Used to notify customers or users about mentions, changes in an account (password change / suspicious login attempts), or changes to company’s policies.
Whenever something unusual occurs, the best thing is to be prepared. For example notifying a customer when a purchased item turns out to be out of stock.
Periodically sent transactional email. Think of energy suppliers sending monthly emails about energy consumption, or software providers emailing about your yearly activity.
Though they're somewhat on the edge between transactional and marketing email, invitations and referral emails can be considered notification emails.
We've created a ReallyGoodEmails collection with great examples of transactional emails:
As mentioned before, transactional emails are crucial for your customers to receive. This means they also have a significant impact on your business. The faster a transactional email arrives, the better the experience. Imagine having a few minutes of delay in a password reset request. People will think there's something wrong. If this happens often, the next step will be complaining. You better get your transactional emails to the inbox as fast as you can.
Whatever the cause, email deliverability should be a crucial topic. To make sure you're delivering to the inbox lightning fast and super safe every single time.
Perfecting deliverability is a balance between picking the right email service provider (like Flowmailer), legislatory compliance, keeping an eye on your delivery rates, and the use of proper authentication methods.
It's good to worry about deliverability, as it effects your email marketing too. So here are some quick tips on how to increase email performance:
But transactional email is more than just a programmatic communications channel with strict requirements. It's also a fun, helpful tool in any (email) marketing strategy:
Though transactional email has a somewhat dusted reputation. Nonetheless, it's an extremely useful tool to use in a marketing strategy. Think of this:
All are good reasons to consider adding transactional email to your marketing mix. It allows you to both create an aligned customer experience, and enrich them with marketing content.
In transactional email, open rates of +80% are pretty typical. When used correctly, transactional email has massive potential for marketing growth and improvement!
We often see transactional emails that have just been generated by ones CMS, ERP or a similar business tool that gave no love and care to it. Resulting in black and white, unresponsive emails. Shame! Emails like this are just as much a touchpoint in a customer journey as a website or marketing email. They deserve great design.
Moreover, standing out from the crowd in terms of email design makes your brand memorable. Earlier this year we wrote a blog on EmailCritic on how to turn boring transactional emails into engagement rockets.
Having an aligned customer experience means the customer will have the same great experience over and over, on every channel. Why waste that with terrible transactional emails? If people love your transactional emails, there's even room for marketing content:
Even though transactional and marketing email differ fundamentally, it doesn't mean they can't be combined. A transactional email can contain some marketing messages. This can either be content that adds value to the transactional information, a little cross- or upselling, reader activation, or feedback collection.
Just like marketing emails, quality transactional emails [can] increase marketing KPIs. But to do that, keep these tips in mind:
With years of experience in the email (marketing) industry, Tom currently manages the marketing department at Flowmailer. In this role, he mainly writes about transactional email, email deliverability, and the API-first economy.