An Advanced Guide to Transactional Emails: All You Need To Know

June 29, 2021
transactional emails

Transactional emails may sound like a chore for any business. But its importance is often understated when it comes to building trust with the customers.

Consider this scenario for instance.

You bought your favorite brand new tablet for $600, but you’ve received no notification in your inbox. No payment receipt, no order confirmation-just crickets.

Panic sets in. You are thinking you have been scammed and decided to not buy anything from them again.

Terrifying, right?

As a marketer, when minor errors or delays with your transactional emails can cause a massive loss of trust, and make them not want to come back.

A while back, Seth Godin published a list of things that “every good marketer knows”. In his list, Seth mentioned one vital point that you need to always remember: “One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.”

So, when a simple transactional email (obviously with your excellent marketing skills!) can make your customer delighted, why not shooting the works on it!

What Is A Transactional Email

In simple terms, transactional emails are emails that are automatically sent by your website to a recipient following a specific action performed by that person - signup, purchase, password reset, and others.

These are usually purpose-oriented.

Transactional emails require automation as their success mostly depends on delivery speed. That’s why it is often called triggered or automated emails.

The emails you get from Uber or Amazon after you complete a trip or buy something from them are transactional.

Is there anything common in these messages?

Yes. They are all personalized messages coming to you as confirmations of your own actions, or an update of service status. Since your client has already interacted with you, your products, or your services, you do not need customer consent to send these.

Types Of Transactional Emails

There are several different categories of transactional emails, including:

  1. Order Confirmation: After your customer placed an order, the exclusive follow-up message you send is an order confirmation email.
  2. Shipping Notification: Once your customer’s order has shipped you send this automated mail.
  3. Delivery Confirmation: Once the shipping company (UPS/FedEx/USPS) scans the packages as delivered, some companies send a message to notify buyers.
  4. Account Creation and Verification: When someone opens an account or signs up for email correspondence with your business, you send this email.
  5. Password Reset: If your client changes the password, you send this automated confirmation message.
  6. Double Opt-in: These emails ask your new subscribers if they want to receive your emails. It verifies their email addresses to prevent spam and ensure deliverability.
  7. Legal Update: If you change anything in your legal documents or policies, you send it to your clients to inform them.
  8. Invoice: These emails inform your customer if any payment is due.
  9. Schedule Reminder: If your customer has a schedule planned, you send this to remind them about the upcoming incident.
  10. Request email: When your business needs any feedback or any information from your customer, you send this to ask for their cooperation.

All these types of emails may be quite hard to keep track of. So to make this less confusing, this entire gamut of emails can be broadly classified into 2 types - Transactional and Promotional.

Promotional Emails vs Transactional Emails

Promotional or marketing emails are the messages sent to promote a brand, product, or service to generate revenue. On the contrary, transactional emails are sent to facilitate a transaction, already agreed by the customer. It should not be used as a means to generate additional revenue.

Keep in mind that you need customer consent to send marketing emails but you don’t need consent for sending transactional emails.

Customers cannot unsubscribe from transactional emails, so it is better to use these emails carefully. But clients are given an option to unsubscribe from promotional emails.

Marketing emails have lower engagement rates than transactional emails. This is an important thing to consider, as email engagement has a great impact on deliverability.

For starters, transactional email targets individuals after completing transactions. But promotional emails focus on many contacts. This is because transactional email serves specific purposes, while promotional emails aim at increasing sales.

Transactional emails allow you to cross-sell and gather feedback, while promotional emails end with direct calls to action to persuade you to do what they want.

Lastly, promotional emails run for a specified duration, but transactional emails are a part of daily operations.

Why Should Your Company Send Transactional Emails?

Transactional emails are sent in response to an action taken by your customer. These work as the worker bee of the marketing world. When your customer confirms an order or purchases a gift card. You promptly send an email, or the automated service does it for you.

Transactional emails are time-sensitive and should always be sent as soon as possible since the recipient triggered a request and is waiting for your response.

As a rule of thumb, you should be sending 80% of Transactional Emails and only 20% of Marketing Emails. Here’s why:

It builds trust

Transactional emails are equivalent to customer service in the digital world. From welcoming new customers, informing them about your actions on their requests, and communicating questions or problems- these are pretty effective.

It leads to more sales

Transactional emails are also excellent at engaging people. According to IBM, email users click on links and images added in transactional emails at a rate three times higher than marketing emails.

And when your customer is satisfied, this leads to more sales.

It helps to create Brand Loyalty

Transactional emails are key to keeping your clients informed and happy, removing confusion, and laying the groundwork for a long-term customer relationship.

How To Send Transactional Emails That Work?

Transactional emails might look boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Especially because it offers you a prime opportunity to connect with your clients.

Here’s how you can send transactional emails that grab the attention of your customers.

Ditch The Generic Email Template

Generic emails just get the job done, and surely don’t stand out in any sense.

But your emails should clearly convey the brand’s voice, values, and aesthetic. You need to make your client perceive that every email they are getting is personally customized and you are putting an effort into this.

Spend your time crafting the email body and updating it periodically. You can include a friendly thank you message to enhance long-term customer relationships. This simple touch will amplify your brand reputation.

Weave in Extra Content

It doesn’t only have to be about the transaction, you can also use this opportunity to introduce your clients to useful and entertaining content. Strike a balance between providing necessary information and giving them quick, useful, and entertaining content.

Increase Points of Contact

Transactional emails are great at driving customer engagement. You can look to leverage this by incorporating them into other parts of your sales cycle.

Use a Dedicated and Reliable SMTP Solution

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is the industry standard to send emails. It uses proper authentication which ensures a higher chance of your message getting delivered to clients’ inboxes.

The best and simplest way to successfully managing your transactional emails is to use a dedicated email verification service like VerifyBee. Using a specialized tool like this will help you:

  • Personalize your templates for better branding, UI, and design.
  • Follow real-time analytics for better customer engagement
  • Ensure optimal deliverability for all emails.

How to Choose The Right Transactional Email Service?

There are plenty of email service providers available in the market. Almost all of them offer similar services. Before choosing the service ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does the Email Service Provider send exclusive transactional emails?
  • What is their average inbox deliverability?
  • Do they have a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and scalable Application Programming Interface (API)?
  • Will emails be delivered within 3 seconds?

Moreover, you can look at the user’s reviews to aid your decision-making process. But make sure to look for the features you want most. Is it deliverability, low cost, or anything else?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Transactional Emails

The main purpose of transactional emails is functionality. It is all about communicating important information to the client at the right time.

Nonetheless, these emails represent a massive marketing opportunity for brands. Surprisingly enough, according to Experian Study, transactional emails had 8 times higher open rates than those of promotional emails.

Transactional emails offer a wide range of benefits, for sure. but don’t send them without a well-though-plan.

Here’s what you should do and don’t do when it comes to transactional emails.


  • Personalize In As Many Ways As You Can: You can use your client’s name in the introduction, reference an order number, specific item, or specific action so the customers know the emails pertain to them.
  • Make it fun: Your email formats don’t always have to be formal. You can include vibrant colors, buzz words, engaging content, Funny GIF, or anything else to turn an email open into a click-through or in the best case - a possible purchase.
  • Include Functional Buttons: You can rather use clickable buttons than simple links. “Add to your cart” or “View our website” buttons can encourage them to complete a purchase.
  • Say Thank You: No matter how big or small your company is, a little gratitude to your customers makes a big impact. Customers always like to know they are appreciated.
  • Don’t Go Overboard with Marketing content: Remember, no more than 25% of your emails should be marketing-oriented. Don’t make your customer feel excluded and think you are only promoting your business.


  • Letting Third-party Manage Transactional Emails: Transactional emails deserve the same time and effort as promotional emails. Leaving it to your IT department, or worse a third party is like throwing money away. Your best option should be to rely on your developer to develop and manage these emails if want to increase the click-through rate.
  • Not Focusing on Deliverability: Most marketers focus on only content quality, or in some cases, they are aware of reputation. But the truth is that deliverability is king. Because if your emails are not getting delivered to your client’s inboxes, all of the tips in the world will not help you. However, transactional emails are highly anticipated and personal, which improves quality and naturally influences deliverability.
  • Adding too much noise: Transactional emails including noise or excessive optimization efforts can overshadow the main purpose-transaction. This can eventually send you too far but in the opposite direction. This, of course, is a mistake.

Tips on How To Leverage Transactional Email Marketing

Keep It Straightforward and Informative

Transactional emails are purpose-driven and reassuring. That means you can’t get too clever with your subject line. It should state exactly what the email is about.

Highlight the most important information at the top. This can hopefully make your customer more receptive to a little bit of marketing-oriented material at the end of the email.

Include a Physical Address

It is always good to include a physical address and other contact information in your email footer. This adds credibility and also reinforces that you are forming a trusting relationship with new subscribers.

Add Promotion of Your Commercial Product or Service

Add a few promotional lines for your business, but don’t put them at the beginning. The emails don’t need to be “exclusively” focused on the transaction. The transaction should be the primary purpose of the email, and your promotional message should be relevant to the transaction to make it contextual.

Bonus Tip: Cross-Sell & Upsell

You can suggest your customer’s similar products to encourage them to come back for more. It is a great strategy you can follow by integrating dynamic content and including static calls-to-action in your message.

Giving discounts, promo codes, bonus content or advice, special offers to your regular customers can also add value to your marketing campaign.

Final Thoughts

Leveraging transactional emails can help you get additional value and start building positive customer relationships.

Always remember to put yourself in the customers’ shoes while crafting a transactional email strategy.

Before pressing the send button, make sure your contents are personalized, eye-catching, fun, and most importantly, benefit both your business and your customers.

But before you start sending these crucial transactional emails, make sure you have the right email addresses in the first place.

VerifyBee can help you do just that with its unique combination of functionality and affordability. Get started today for free!

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