Best practices, Deliverability

The difference between transactional and marketing email

Aleksandra Duło, 14 January 2020

What are transactional e-mails and what are they used for?

Transactional emails are messages triggered by a user action for example after online account registration a confirmation email is sent to subscriber or after purchasing an item a user receive an order confirmation or receipt. Other common examples of transactional emails include newsletter confirmation sign-ups, welcome emails, thank you emails, password resets, invoice and billing alerts, notifications or email autoresponders.

We also consider transactional emails as marketing automation messages. For example, an abandoned cart email is also sent automatically. It is crucial that transactional emails are one-to-one messages, and not a mass mailing.

Transactional emails best practices

The most common thing about transactional emails is that these are the messages that recipients expect to receive. If a customer purchases a new laptop from the online shop he expects the order and payment confirmation email will be delivered straight to his inbox. If he doesn’t get it he starts to wonder „maybe somethings went wrong?”.

There are two basic rules that must be followed while sending transactional emails so your customer’s feedback about the company won’t get worse, and in consequence weaken the number of your orders and business:

  • the most important thing – transactional email must be delivered to the user’s inbox in less than 30 seconds,
  • Which is equally important, the transactional message cannot land in spam folder or Promotions tab. The proper and desired folder for this type of emails is the inbox tab and that’s where recipients are looking for transactional messages.

Example of transactional email:

What are marketing emails?

Marketing emails are all messages that have been planned and sent by an organization to a mailing list of customers and prospects. The marketer decides about the time, date of e-mail performance and a group of recipients. An example of well-known marketing message is newsletter. Newsletter does not necessarily have to include elements that are typically marketing-related (meaning using persuasive language to urge users to take an action which will be beneficial to the company) – most often it is simply a summary of the most important events related to a company from the last period so that a user could be up to date with everything, but also sending educational content and guides to inspire.

Example of marketing email:

Transactional emails may contain elements that are characteristic to marketing emails

Due to the fact that transactional emails are awaited/expected messages, we are dealing with a huge (over 70%) percentage of open rates. It’s worth to consider how to make use of e.g. simple order confirmation in the online store to interest user in other products. A well-known strategy is to promote complementary products, so-called cross-selling in the email message. For example: you ordered pants in store X, and in the order confirmation message you receive an additional offer – products that will match the pants you bought and which you can add to your order with just one click. In this case, it can be a shirt, belt or shoes from the same collection.

The real art of creating transactional emails is to use its hidden potential in situations where customers “open their door wide for us.” Karolina Antonowicz, marketing director at EmailLabs, points out that even in retail trade outside the online environment, we often buy something unplanned based on seller’s suggestions.

Would you like to grow your ecommerce sales with transactional emails? Integrate your email sending system with EmailLabs and enjoy the best email deliverability.

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