What is a transactional email and when you can use it?

Bruce is learning about transactional email.

More than generate leads and revenue, marketers put much effort in bringing their customers to join their brand community, hoping to turn them in loyal brand ambassadors. With this in mind, apart from regular newsletters there are other types of emails which aim to create these bonds for a better customer experience.

If you work with email marketing or any other extension of digital marketing, you probably have already heard about transactional emails, right? Well, don't worry if you don't. That's the purpose of this article, to tell you more about what transactional emails are and when you can use them in your business. But if you do so, we're here to help you with any doubts regarding this subject.

Defining the concept of a transactional email

Before going through this, let's start with Wikipedia concept. According to the encyclopedia, transactional email definition are usually the following: triggered based messages in response to a customer's action with a company. In other words, "the primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it".

With that being said, now let's see what transactional emails are by our own state of mind. Basically, you might think of it as something automatic, but personalized, in real-time, and far away from anything bulk. Do you understand what we mean? It's an email sent to an specific person based on some specific action or even by an inaction, every time a "transaction" happens.

In a few words, transactional emails are the type of message a customer wants to receive from your company, because the content on it is important to him or her. Got it?

However be careful with the meaning of "transactional". Sometimes it's misleading to business and marketing types while the true meaning is around how much it's useful to your customers.

Finding the right spot to apply triggered emails

Ok, but when can you use it? According to Wikipedia, transactional emails include dropped basket messages (cart abandonment), password reset emails, purchase or order confirmation emails, order status emails, reorder emails and email receipts.

Well, with all these options above, transactional email is something for ecommerce only, right? Wrong. I mean, it can be, but it's not a rule. As you can see it doesn't have to be ecommerce to be transactional. Let's learn some more examples:

  • A warm welcome email when an user signs up for your website;
  • Thank you for when the user takes some action;
  • Email address confirmations through a Double Opt-In;
  • Account status, weekly updates or monthly invoices;
  • Automated re-engagement;
  • Support requests;
  • Reminders and social notifications;
  • Rewards points balance update;
  • App error alerts.

A transactional email is based on personalized (unique recipient) and real-time trigger actions within seconds of user interaction. So if you have an commerce, you can also send a message with information about some purchase, such as more details regarding the product, freight and time do send the new acquisition. Despite of automated, the content is customized according to each interaction from individual users.

To complete this pack of emails, let's go to another point of view. You can recover inactive customers with messages like "we miss you".

Another source, if you still have any doubt, is the law Can-Spam Act. Its guidelines treat transactional emails as messages with the following content:

  1. facilitates or confirms a commercial transaction that the recipient already has agreed to;
  2. gives warranty, recall, safety, or security information about a product or service;
  3. gives information about a change in terms or features or account balance information regarding a membership, subscription, account, loan or other ongoing commercial relationship;
  4. provides information about an employment relationship or employee benefits;
  5. delivers goods or services as part of a transaction that the recipient already has agreed to.

It's worth highlighting that this kind of email doesn't have any marketing action which means the goal is offering a direct way for communication between company and customers.

To achieve your business goal, what so ever it is, note the needs of your target audience, identify and create new triggers, and personalize your emails through offers directed according to any profile or behavior individually.

Use transactional email to keep an active relationship between your brand and your customers. This is great, but it's not everything. Want an extra tip? We'll share a secret with you. Metrics! Do you know what we mean? This is your crock of gold over the rainbow, we mean inside any report. That's the only way to improve your results.