The why and how of transactional emails

What is transactional email?

Transactional emails are defined as system-generated emails that are triggered by specific user activity. These could come in the form of account confirmations, password resets, shipping notifications and more.

You’ve probably received many different transactional emails before and haven’t recognised them for what they are. If you’ve ever requested a password reset, received an order confirmation, or a reminder about account activity, you’ve received a transactional email.

Why transactional emails?

Transactional emails have the highest engagement of any email that a business sends. In fact, on average, transactional emails see up to 8 times more opens and clicks than regular emails. They can also generate up to 6 times more revenue.

Transactional emails are considered to be the most important by email recipients and they can boost revenue by 33% – Smart Insights

Most of the time transactional emails are plain, boring and have little or no branding. This often suit’s the IT Department’s purposes, but as a marketer, these emails are a goldmine that your business is possibly not making use of. Due to the high nature of engagement with these emails, this is the perfect opportunity for you to direct customers back to your website. 

The reason transactional emails see such a high engagement rate is because customers need them. Your newsletters might be pretty and offer excellent value, but at the end of the day, they’re not vital to your customers’ everyday lives.

So in this sense, your understand the relevance of transactional email is the exact reason why bulk email needs a new approach. Mass mailings are less effective because their lack of direct value (unless you do it well).

Types of transactional emails

Let’s take a closer look at some of the types of transactional emails a user activity on your site can trigger, as well as some tips on how you could be using these mailers to your advantage. 

Registration Email
When someone creates an account on your website, you’re likely going to send them an email confirming their account creation was successful. 

TIP: Use your registration email to impart some knowledge to your new customers from the get-go, which will cut down on queries in the long run, and leave your customer feeling they got just that little bit more. 

Notification Email
Your typical notification email is an alert to your customers about something happening in or with their account. The most common type of notification you’ll encounter is the password reset request.

Confirmation Email
Once a customer has taken an action, and that specific action is completed, that’s where the confirmation email comes in. This could be a receipt for an online order.

TIP: You could use this confirmation mailer to market some of your promotions to the reader or another product they may be interested in. 

Inactivity Email
If your system picks up that a customer hasn’t been active in a while, or abandoned their online shopping cart while half-way through a purchase, here’s your chance to win them back.

Transactional email best practice 

  • Be upfront
    Your transactional emails should have the purpose of the mailer up front and centre as this is the reason people are receiving this email. You can include social links and other content below the focus. 
  • Be smart with your subject line
    Make your emails searchable so it’s easy for customers to find them. Remember that your subject should state the reason for your email; if someone has requested a password reset email, they will expect the subject line to mimic that. 
  • Be friendly
    You don’t want your customers to think your transactional emails are coming from a robot or that it’s just another system generated email. Be friendly and add a human element to your emails. 
  • Be deliberate with your design
    Put some thought into how your transactional emails are designed, make sure your branding is a priority by using your colour scheme and including your logo, so your mails are instantly recognisable.
  • Be driven
    Take advantage of your mails to start driving traffic back to your website, and even by encouraging more sales. That way, you’re luring customers back and encouraging them to spend more money, at the same time as getting and keeping your brand at the top of their minds.

If you’d like assistance setting up and optimising your transactional emails then get in touch with us, we’d love to help!