Transactional vs Marketing Emails

Transactional vs Marketing Emails

What is the difference between transactional and marketing emails? How do you know which one to send? The gap that separates both categories of emails is somewhat blurry, and rules and regulations on sending emails will depend on the country you are in.


What is a transactional email? A transactional email is usually a private business to client email consisting of confidential and important information regarding a transaction or subscription. Just think back to any online purchase you have made. Usually, you receive a confirmatory email containing all the necessary information such as shipping details, invoice, and price. Transactional emails are sent to separate individual contacts as opposed to a bulk of recipients.

What is a marketing email? A marketing email is commonly any type of message consisting of commercial content, such as promotions or sales. Marketing emails are usually sent to a group of existing and potential customers.

Transactional vs Marketing Emails

Now we know what both types of email mean, let’s take a closer look at some examples. As we have already mentioned, a marketing email is an email with commercial content. A promotional email is a great example of this because its sole purpose is to drive more leads and conversions. Whenever an email attempts to drive more sales, subscriptions and leads, it is safe to say that these are marketing emails.

Marketing emails include newsletters, promotions of content, sales, and offers.

Now let’s take a look at some examples of transactional emails:

Confirmation of order or receipt of purchase

Transactional vs Marketing Emails

Whenever you order something on eBay or Amazon, you usually receive an email confirmation of your order with vital information regarding the transaction. Sometimes these email receipts will contain other promotional content, sometimes based on previous purchases or browsing history. Now, you may be wondering whether mixing marketing and transitional content in one email is possible. The answer to this depends on the terms and conditions of each country. Email regulations vary from country to country; so, you have to do that extra research to ensure you are abiding by the rules to avoid any legal issues.

Client feedback

Getting feedback from your customers is a key part of improving your business, but it can be hard to get. Clients and potential customers are not going to actively seek out feedback forms. However, with transactional emails, you can make this somewhat difficult process a lot simpler and more streamlined.

Security, security and more security

As with any business, existing and potential customers look for a trustworthy company to feel safe when exchanging sensitive information, especially during online payment transactions. Sending simple transactional emails every time someone logs in to an account on a different IP address or device or a purchase confirmation email is an effective way of letting your customers know that they are protected against malicious online activity. Sending security update emails also lets your customers know that cybersecurity is one of your priorities and that you take protecting your clients’ data seriously.

Another issue that ties in with security is the reset password function on any website. When it comes to resetting a password, it’s always best to stick with transactional emails because of the sensitive data.

Announcements and notices

Some social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, often send transactional emails when a user’s profile has various notifications. Social media users have the option of controlling the frequency and opting out of such emails. But sometimes, these notification emails may be sent as a way to prompt engagement.

What about welcome emails?

Welcome emails are commonly sent when a customer subscribes or signs up for whatever the business offering is. This usually consists of a simple message welcoming the client to the business. This is effective because it confirms that the user has entered the correct and necessary information required for the sign-up process.

Transactional email basics

You should treat transactional emails as a chance to gather more leads and conversions as opposed to merely informational messages. Transactional emails are effective in creating a good reputation for your business and building brand awareness. However, there are some expectations that customers have when it comes to transactional emails.

Recipients expect the transactional email to correspond to the action they have just made. So, if your client has requested to reset their password, that is exactly what they are expecting the email to be about. Likewise, if a customer has just purchased a product, they will be expecting a transactional email consisting of all the information related to that transaction.

Email subject lines need to be engaging and get straight to the point so that when your users know what the context and content of the email will be. You should also look at tailoring the emails to each individual by using the client’s full name and order number as it creates a sense of trust between the business and customer.

The recommended offers and products have proven to be effective with customers who have already bought something from you before. However, make sure that you do not deviate from the main purpose of the transactional email when thinking of adding marketing material, as it is an easy mistake to make.

Last but not least, keep your content engaging, relevant, and convenient! Ensuring that all contact you have with your clients is made with their convenience and satisfaction in mind will work wonders with building great brand awareness.  

Categories: Affiliate Marketing

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