by Elastic Email Sep 15, 2022

Just like the scheduled morning alarm, transactional emails are also usually set up once with minor changes later on.

Unlike the typical email marketing types, such as the seasonal campaign invite or newsletter, transactional emails get little to no attention. That's where the marketing blunder lies.

The numbers speak for themselves. 79% of marketers use email marketing newsletters as their go-to strategy for content distribution and lead generation. Despite this, the transactional email share in the market is lower than standard marketing emails

In this article, you will learn all about the magic marketing tool called transactional emails and how to leverage them for maximum benefit!

Table of contents

What are Transactional Emails?

what are transactional emails
Source: turboSMTP

Transactional emails are a kind of trigger email sent to consumers followed by a commercial transaction or a particular action connected to the business. It is a form of mail that enables a commercial transaction or offers additional information about the ongoing purchase. Some examples of transactional emails are:

  • Order confirmation mails
  • Shipping confirmation update
  • Feedback emails
  • Shopping cart abandonment reminder
  • Completed payment notification
  • Refund intimation
  • Subscription confirmation

With 3.9 billion email users worldwide, transactional emails turn out to be more beneficial for businesses. They provide an excellent CTR of 4.8 percent, which is three times higher than regular emails sent for marketing purposes.

How are transactional emails superior to marketing emails?

Transactional emails are trigger-based deliverables, i.e., they prompt only when a consumer has shown activity on any of the business's pages. The main aim of these emails is to facilitate the transaction the customer wishes to execute. This makes it a crucial tool to reach out to the leads who are already interested in the offered product.

The transactional emails are personalized

It involves adding information relevant to the transaction, the individual's interest, and so on. Basically, it enables a business to deliver better customer service from the first point of contact itself.

They foster consistent communication

On average, a regular transactional email has a better opening rate than non-transactional emails. While general emails carry the open rate of 20.94%, the same metric stands at 80-85% for transactional emails. Due to this reason, the marketers are able to build a strong relationship with the consumers through such customized notifications.

They ensure higher brand recognition

Since the customers have already acted on the business's pages, it reflects their requirements and interest in the product. Sending out a transactional email serves as a reminder to facilitate the transaction. Due to this personalized treatment, the business receives higher brand visibility and recognition.

They deliver higher revenue

These marketing tools prompt a consumer to finalize the initiated action and provide a credible source of information about the business. This makes transactional emails a potent strategy for garnering leads that deliver high ROI. Transactional emails have eight times more open rates than any other form of bulk mail. According to Experian, it also leads to generating six times more revenue.

Why are transactional emails underused?

transactional emails for marketing
Source: GMass

Despite exhibiting such vast potential, the companies do not consider transactional emails in their regular marketing strategies.

Here’s why!


These tools are specially designed for enhancing brand awareness through one-on-one conversations between a business and its consumers. At the same time, general email marketing focuses on improving the brand's presence through promotional endeavors. While bulk emails are considered more effective at advertising the business, transactional emails carry a reputation as a purpose-centric tool.


Since transactional emails are trigger-centric, they need to be delivered to the consumer as soon as an action is recorded. This highlights the demand for high deliverability, which requires businesses to be active with their responses. It brings extra responsibility to the ventures for offering the exact service that the customer needs.

How can you make the most out of transactional emails?

transactional emails to marketing emails
Source: Acetians

Since it's clear that transactional email marketing is an unmissable opportunity for every marketer, dive right into its best utilization!

Don’t wait to send a follow-up

The unique aspect of transactional emails is their promptness and high deliverability. As soon as a business notices an activity, transactional email scheduling is a must to build higher credibility with the consumers.

In the absence of such efforts, the customers feel a looming uncertainty about the order placed or payment made. Sometimes, it also drives the consumers away.

So, for building an efficient transactional email marketing strategy, bring all the IT staff in and inform them about the necessity for a prompt acknowledgment. Note that a 24-hour delay can evoke a sense of doubt about the business in the consumer's mind.

Pick an identifiable sender name

One of the reasons why marketing emails find a place in the spam folder is because of the lack of a recognizable name. If the information in the 'From' section appears inaccurate or misleading, the recipient's mailing platform will reroute it to the spam folder. It's crucial that a venture picks a sender's name, which not only does represent the business but also evokes a sense of trust. Usually, due to automation, the sender's information is provided through a contact form plugin turning it into a 'spoof.’  Since the admin control is still with the business releasing the transactional emails, it's possible to alter the settings. Ensure that the business provides the admin address to the contact form.

Focus on your subject line

Since transactional emails are trigger mails, the receiver must get immediate information about what's inside them. A concise and branded subject line enables the consumers to relate their purchase behavior with the brand. This ensures a higher opening rate of the emails.

In addition, a detailed subject line also arouses curiosity in the consumer to go through the provided information in the transactional mail. It'd be best if you could customize the subject based on the purchases or the action.

For instance, businesses use catchy lines whenever a customer searches through the clothing section of a business.

Doing this will instill confidence and build trust in your brand with the existing customers as well as potential leads.

Secondary information without personalization

Can't decide on the kind of personalization your business demands? The solution is pretty straightforward.

In the absence of non-personalized content, giving a unique yet customized touch to transactional emails is essential. It can include a little more information about the product or the services a business offers.

For example, Macy’s sign-up procedure requires the users to follow an additional step of confirming the account information. Besides, the completion requirement also offers the consumers a small incentive of a 15% discount on their first order.

Be as inclusive as possible

The primary aim of transactional emails is to inform the consumers about the product, the benefits they can gain, and how to complete the transactions.

By providing comprehensive information in the mail itself, the businesses can establish a reputation with the consumers for enabling a hassle-free experience. For example, every time Spotify detects an unusual activity or an unidentified login in users' accounts, it intimates them by sending a mail. The email contains details explaining the unusual event and prompts them to change the password. Not only does it provide information about the questioned instance, but it also offers a detailed flowchart for the password change.

Keep in mind the 3Rs

The transactional emails are the conversation starters. That's why it's important to be mindful of the information a business shares with its consumers.  Every element is important from the layout to the placement of images in the mail.

To keep your emails informative and compelling, the transactional emails of a business must:

Be relevant

The information offered in transactional emails must provide insight or value to the consumers. For instance, if the customer searches through the female clothing section, the follow-up email must carry details about the relevant fit type.

Be relatable

The more details a business can offer to its consumers, the easier the purchase journey will be. Sharing personable insights based on the recent object of interest or previous purchases can help the user to have an enhanced experience.  In addition, it can also facilitate higher revenue generation for the business.

Be respectful

Don't overload the transactional emails with information that only caters to your business's requirements. Gone are the days when consumers remained unaware of the brand they showed interest in.  Hence, ending the emails with simple CTAs is more than enough for the right prospects to convert.

Deliver the requested answer right away

Whether it's about replying to the customer after working hours or offering a pacifying response, the placement of the answer is the key.

While adding other offers you provide in the transactional mail can be functional, it's important that the answer is delivered first. After a satisfying reply by explaining the procedure and operations details, the businesses can add supplementary information.You can also follow up in the middle of the transaction by responding to a consumer query, like Rover. The dog walking service informs the customer about its service regarding the availability on the required dates. After the response, the business endeavors to provide an interactive purchase experience by adding the CTA at the end.

Curate emails with mobile compatibility

According to Adobe, 92% of consumers use their smartphones to access emails. On top of this, 58% of the users check their emails as a routine task in the morning. This goes on to show the importance of delivering content in a mobile-friendly manner.

Deploying finger-friendly CTAs and catchy information in a relaxing font can be a huge factor for successful transactional mail marketing. To make the content more informative and accessible, a business can:

  • Restrict image usage
  • Utilize embedding techniques for high-resolution media inclusion
  • Choose large buttons over text links
  • Use intuitive template design to highlight the aim of the transactional mail

For example, Amazon sets the standard for highly compatible and informative mobile transactional emails. The mails carry a simplistic design with brand-associated colors, logos, and text. In addition, the industry innovator utilizes separate sender mails to draw a distinction between the traditional mailing and transactional forms.

Give reasons to click through from the mail

Whether the customer recently added the trial version or finalized a purchase, enabling a click-through using mail is the way to build loyalty. It sheds light on the additional benefits the users can have by maintaining a relationship with your brand. These emails can include strategic product recommendations or upgrades using cross-selling or upselling tactics.

Additionally, businesses need to comply with the laws in the commercial market across the world. So, before sending the mails, it's important to comprehend the intention behind such strategies. Some regulations may require a business to clearly elucidate the option of opting out if the tonality of the mail presented is commercial.

Key takeaways

As the consumers’ base for email usage is evolving, so should the marketers' approach to target the audience exhaustively. That's to say, now is the right time to include the underutilized transactional emails in mainstream marketing strategies.

Not only is it a potent tool for raising the standard of trigger-based interactions, but it also provides relevant information to the consumers. So, the quicker you are in delivering the experience your consumer deserves and demands, the better will be your brand's perception.

About the author

Michael Ethan is a Marketing Manager at Blue Mail Media, Inc. He has over 13 years of experience in digital marketing, B2B marketing, communications, and brand marketing.

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