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A Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing

Transactional Email


What is a transactional email?

Transactional emails refer to automated messages sent by a business to individual customers in response to a specific action or transaction. These include messages such as purchase confirmations, password reset requests or shipping notifications. In order to optimize transactional emails, they’re typically personalized by the brand, providing important information related to the customer’s transaction.

When used properly, transactional emails can be a crucial part of improving a business’s email marketing efforts. Transactional emails tend to have a high open and click-through rates compared to other marketing emails, since they provide valuable information that’s anticipated by customers. They also help establish trust and credibility by confirming a customer’s actions and providing them with relevant, helpful details.

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Key components of a transactional email

To make the most of transactional emails, businesses should be sure to include the following essential components:

  • Clear subject line: Subject lines should be concise and descriptive.

  • Prompt response time: Transactional emails triggered by a user’s action should be sent in a timely fashion.

  • Personalized message: By including the user’s name and transaction details, emails will resonate and engage with them better.

  • Actionable content: By using clear calls-to-action, transactional emails should simplify the steps needed for the user to complete their transaction.

  • Brand consistency: From the email’s design to the tone of written language, transactional emails are an extension of a brand’s voice and should be curated with this in mind.

Benefits of using transactional emails

There are many benefits for businesses who use transactional emails in their marketing strategy. These include:

Examples of transactional emails

Real-life scenarios when a business might use transactional emails include:

1. A confirmation email sent to a user after they purchase something on an eCommerce website.

2. A welcome email that’s received by a user after signing up for a service.

3. A password reset email after a user requests to reset a forgotten password.

4. A shipping notification email with tracking details sent once a customer’s order has been dispatched.

Best practices for using transactional email

Transactional emails can be a critical component of a brand’s successful marketing strategy, providing them with an opportunity to engage and communicate with customers in a personalized way. By following best practices and addressing potential challenges, businesses can leverage the benefits of transactional emailing to improve customer experience and drive business growth.

Some of the best practices for using transactional emails in a marketing context include:

Ensuring emails are mobile-friendly: Today, with around 80% of all emails being opened and read on mobile devices, it’s critical to optimize your email’s design for smaller screen sizes

Make sure it’s accessible: Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring people with disabilities can access your online content. Emails are no exception, and should include elements like alt text, readable fonts and accessible color contrasts for customers who rely on them.

Personalize the message: Provide recipients with relevant details and personalized content to increase customer satisfaction and engagement. Of course, be sure to set up transactional emails so that the information you give is correct.

Include a clear call-to-action (CTA): Some transactional emails require recipients to complete an action they started on a website, such as confirming the correct email address. In these cases, make sure your email includes strong CTA buttons with clear, concise and actionable text.

Test and optimize emails: For better performance and to gauge customer preferences, it’s a best practice to run ongoing tests with your transactional emails’ content. For example, you can run an A/B test on different subject lines to see which are the most effective and engaging.

Stay compliant with anti-spam laws and regulations: It’s critical to make sure your emails follow the most up-to-date email regulation guidelines, such as Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC).


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Direct mail



Challenges of using transactional emails

There are potential challenges associated with transactional emails that businesses should be aware of. These include:

  • Technical issues, such as hard bounces or spam filters that prevent emails from being delivered.

  • Maintaining brand consistency across multiple automated emails so as not to confuse customers receiving the email.

  • Balancing the need for automation with the desire for personalization and human touch.

Transactional email FAQ

What's the difference between promotional and transactional emails?

Promotional emails are used by businesses to promote a product or service. These are generally sent to a broad audience. In contrast, transactional emails are triggered by customer behavior and provide personalized information relevant to that specific interaction.

Can I include promotional content in transactional emails?

How can I ensure my emails. are delivered to customers' inboxes?

Related Term

Marketing Channel

Related Term

Personalized Marketing

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