What are Transactional emails, and how are they used? A transactional email is a form of an automated email that is sent to facilitate a transaction between a sender and a recipient that has been agreed on. It is different from promotional emails as it is triggered by several factors like events, interactions, or service/application preferences rather than as a result of a company’s marketing campaign. In a previous article, I discussed the benefits of a landing page. Transactional emails are one of the residual benefits of your landing page.
Transactional emails help in fulfilling market needs, such as recovering abandoned carts or re-activating inactive users. These emails are mostly functional and used to provide responses to actions or requests that recipients have made.
Transactional emails are not like promotional emails which are used to distribute marketing message to many recipients at the same time. They are more personalized and sent typically to one individual at a time. Transactional emails are of different types and serve different purposes. Let’s look at some of their best uses.
1. They Are Used as Receipts And Confirmations
Receipt and confirmations are two of the most well-known types of transactional emails. These usually occur at the conclusion of a transaction, which is why they are called “transactional” in the first place.
When a customer receives an email that contains information about a purchase made online, this is usually an order confirmation or a receipt. Typically sent with an email receipt are things like e-books, PDFs, or any other downloadable good.
However, confirmation emails are not necessarily related to a monetary transaction. Confirmation emails are also triggered by new account sign up and RSVPs to events. This helps to verify that users have completed a successful registration or sign up.
1. Emails for Explicit Requests
These are transactional emails that contain information users of an application or service request. These requests are usually urgent, which means users expect that these emails will arrive immediately. A password reset is one of the most common examples of an explicit request. Since users are not able to access their accounts without using their passwords, password request comes with the expectation of an immediate response.
Another example of an explicit request is the verification code used in a two-factor authentication where users must enter a temporary password as well as their primary password to gain access to their accounts. Just like password resets, users expect to receive the verification codes immediately without any delay.
A situation where retrieving lost product keys and missing account-related information prevents users from gaining access to, or activity accounts falls into this category as well.
1. Account-Related Alerts
Emails that have not been explicitly requested by users but triggered as a result of changes to their accounts are considered account-related alerts.
An example of account-related alerts is dunning emails that remind customers of overdue invoices or failed payments. These transactional emails help to keep customers informed and also reduce churn. In the absence of them, customers cannot be aware if there are any problems with payment processing. Dunning emails gently nudge customers to update billing information if their accounts risk being deactivated.
Other examples of account-related alerts include a password or email address changes, notifications for login attempts, notices of trial expiration, or other account issues.
1. Behavioral Triggers
Behavior emails are the more marketing-focused use of transactional email types because they seek to increase customer loyalty. Based on interaction with a service or application, users will receive emails after certain conditions have been met or milestones achieved.
A good example of behavioral emails is an on boarding email. After users create new accounts, they will receive welcome emails that help to familiarize them with the application. After a length of time, they will receive another email that educates them about features or check-in to see if they are happy with the service. A third email arrives sometime later, and so on.
Examples of behavioral emails also include abandoned cart emails and reactivation. When customers have filled their cart but did not finish checking up, they can receive an automated email that reminds them of the items they have left behind. These kinds of e-mails can be sent anywhere from a few hours to a day or two later after carts were abandoned. Abandoned cart emails sometimes include special offers that encourage customers to conclude their purchase.
Serving the same purpose is reactivation emails. If users have not interacted with an application for a long time, or signed up for a service but never used the account, they can receive emails encouraging them to return and log or complete the on boarding process.
1. Event-Driven Notifications
These kinds of transactional emails are like the mobile phone push notifications but through emails instead. Event-driven notifications can be used to alert about a wide range of activities, which include notifications of comments, event reminders, and shipping updates.
Event-driven notifications are not like account-related events because they do not include actions that recipients have taken themselves instead, actions by other people as is found on social media or through the service itself, such as with reminders or status updates.
Event-driven notifications can let users know if they have been tagged on a social media post or if they have a new message. They can also be used to alert a user if the package has been shipped or delivered or used as a reminder for a meeting.
1. Summaries And Digests
Rather than receiving individual emails for every notification, some individuals prefer to have them combined in groups. Summary or digest transactional emails typically include a log of all events that have occurred within a specific time frame. These include account activity or comments which are sent to users at specified intervals, be it daily, weekly, or monthly.
Summaries and digests provide a different option for users who do not want to miss notifications about important activities but want to keep their inbox clean.
Furthermore, digest emails are not only limited to activities that have happened in the past, but they also include a schedule of events that will occur in the future. One example of this is a weekly summary of appointments scheduled for a new week.
1. Referrals And Invitations
With many services, users get a variety of ways to invite their friends or colleagues to create an account. One of such is by sending referral and invitation emails rather than sending email invites using their own email account.
Users can easily enter their friend’s email addresses into a form, and the service will send invitational emails to their friends on their behalf.
Referral emails work in much the same way except that referrals are usually incentivized with the sender, and sometimes the recipients receiving a benefit. Some rewards include account credits and gift cards.
1. Support And Feedback Requests
Positive customer experience requires the most effective communication. It can be absolutely frustrating for a customer if he submits a support ticket, and they don’t get a confirmation that it was received.
Also, if the support team did not receive the request on time, the response rate might be slower, which not only frustrates the customer but the support team as well.
Support transactional emails help both sides by keeping each party notified with status updates. Much like support requests, feedback can significantly improve customer experience. Just like triggers for on boarding emails, feedback requests can also be set up to get reviews from customers after making a purchase or signing up for an account. If the business receives feedback, they can contact the customer in an attempt to transform negative experiences into positive ones.
1. About To Go Out-Of-Stock Email
It is usual for shoppers to place items on their wish list with interest in purchasing them at a later date. But shoppers get super busy these days and forget to conclude their purchase. An “about to go out-of-stock” email can give them a chance to buy a product that they were once interested in, which boosts conversions for any business.
1. The Back-in-Stock Email
The back-in-stock email is sent to intimate that the items they wanted to purchase but could not get because it was out of stock are now back in stock.
This kind of email is useful to a business for three reasons. First, the emails provide an opportunity for lost customers to be enticed back to the site again and to buy. Secondly, they give a chance to show customers that you still have an interest in serving them, and thirdly, this presents an opportunity to reconnect with lost shoppers.
Whether it is a mobile application with a small team behind it or a larger e-commerce company with products in the thousands, any business and its customers can benefit significantly from transactional emails.
It is capable of increasing revenue and boosting engagement through behavioral triggers, lessen the workload on support teams through request automation that would otherwise have been fulfilled manually, and it can build trust and loyalty through personalizing and communication. What is the purpose of a newsletter is an article I recommend that you read. This method will work in concert well with transactional emails.
While it does not seek to overload users, companies can benefit from transactional emails to provide excellent service, which is great for its customers as well as its bottom line.