Transactional email is automated email that is triggered by a service application, not an email marketing tool. Anything can be the trigger that prompts the sending: interactions, date of renewals, changes or updates in preference. Transactional email is also known as “triggered” email, but your marketing application can also send triggered email.
“Transactional email is an automated service email sent to one person, triggered by their (in)action.”
Transactional emails often live somewhere between marketing and service. Think about abandoned cart recovery, re-activation emails, re-engaging inactive users, or renewal campaigns. Transational emails primarily have a service goal. They are often expected to be gotten from an action or a request made by your customer.
Marketing emails, with the exception of triggered email, are always sent in bulk. It’s a sometimes personalized email that goes out to a lot of people in your database in one send. Transactional emails or typically sent to an audience of one, and one at a time.
What are transactional emails used for?
Transactional email has many uses. There are the 5 most typical uses of transactional email:
1. Reciepts and Notifications
A transactional email is often used to send eCommerce or retail reciepts or transactional order information. They can also be used to inform customers that their payment has been received or that their order is underway and about to arrive. Stats say that direct mail tracking is growing part of notifications.
With more Direct to Consumer (D2C) selling and ecommerce growth, the need to properly update consumers on their order status becomes even bigger.
One of the applications is to send invoice offline transaction reciepts to the inbox. This will often ask for an integration of POS and/or inventory system. The emails can originate from a financial system as well.
2. Account alerts
Transational emails that alert people to changes to their accounts are called account alerts. Dunning emails, which remind customers of overdue invoices or failed payment attempts, are an example of account-related alerts.
3. Alerts and Updates
Alerts and updates transactional emails let customers know about changes in billing information, or other transactional details. This type of transactional email can be sent to larger groups of customers, such as all the subscribers to a magazine or all the students at a university.
4. Invitations and referral emails
Applications often like to have users refer new businesses or share content with individuals like friends or colleagues. The user enters their friend’s email address in a form the application sends the invite or joins link on their behalf.
With referral emails, there is often an incentive with a benefit for the inviter and sometimes their friend also. A reward can be an upgrade, discount, and gift cards, merchandising or simply money.
5. Service requests
Since transactional emails are triggered by account activity, transactional email is ideal for transactional messages such as reminders and receipts. Emails like these improve the user experience because they reduce the number of times users must contact customer service or dig through their inbox to find what they’re looking for.
Get inspired for your transactional emails with example emails from this full email marketing guide for financial services.
What about transactional email providers?
There are many more uses for transactional email service providers, also called email replay services.
These service providers aren’t 100% only used for transactional email and used for transactional messages, but also to promote products, drive attention back to important offers or campaigns and increase incentives. The difference is that these service providers offer the delivery – and those can be in bulk as well.