Digital Marketing Dictionary

What is a transactional email

In the last few months, you may have received an email confirming your phone bill, or you may have shopped in an online shop and received an email to track your package, or you may have simply forgotten your password and had to reset it. Well, all these cases are transactional emails.

What is a transactional email?

A transactional email is an email that is sent automatically when a user performs a specific action on our website: registering, purchasing a product or service, requesting an invoice… Among others. These emails are of great importance as they have a high opening rate. The reason? The customer’s full attention is focused on us to know the status of their order, to reset their password or to receive an invoice. Transactional emails generate the loyalty and attraction of our customers who interact with the email they have received.

Are they considered email marketing campaigns?

The answer is NO. It has some differences with respect to email marketing or newsletters:

  • Single recipient, i.e. transactional emails, are personalised emails that are delivered to the inbox of a customer who has taken a specific action. In contrast, newsletters are messages that will reach different recipients, and personalisation will depend exclusively on the the segmentation level you have applied to your databases.
  • It allows you to send attachments, in the same way as you would send an email from your personal email. In contrast, in a newsletter you cannot send attachments.
  • Unlike newsletters, this type of email is not required to include the Opt-Out link and is considered counterproductive, as unsubscribing will prevent you from receiving subsequent emails about your order status.
  • Sending time, transactional emails are a quick and almost immediate response to our user’s specific action, so the emailing must be almost instantaneous; the opposite happens with newsletters where you decide at what time of the day you send it.

Why are transactional emails so important?

Sending transactional emails has a positive effect on your brand image and improves the relationship you have with your customers because, as mentioned above, they have a high opening rate. Transactional emails are part of inbound marketing; if you can transform this type of emails into a valuable and quality experience for the user, you will strengthen your brand image.

Transactional email types

  • Welcome email: this is undoubtedly the most important transactional email, as it is the first image the customer receives when registering on your website.
  • Order confirmation email: This email assures your customer that their order has been placed correctly and includes all relevant information about the order. You can include an attachment with the ticket or invoice.
  • Birthday greeting email: Many companies offer their customers a discount coupon on their birthday. On their birthday, your customer will be waiting for that coupon to buy what has been on their wish list for so long. And you will improve your conversion and open rate!
  • Password reset emails: This is undoubtedly the email with the highest opening rate, as the customer wants to recover the way to log in to your website.

Best practices for your transactional emails

  • Sending a transactional email should only be to give the customer the information they need and using it as a form of marketing can confuse your customer into a negative view. 
  • Be clear, you don’t have to send cumbersome texts, a couple of lines with the necessary information is enough.
  • Use SPF and DKIM logs to keep these emails in your inbox so they don’t fall into your promotions inbox.
  • Use your own IP address to maintain your good reputation as a sender.
  • Allow them to reply to your email, so the customer can see your commitment to any problem.