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The Future of Transactional Email Marketing for Online Businesses

Transactional Email

As we know, emails today are one of the most important part of Smart Content Marketing. It’s the most used medium to communicate, engage and retain customers. There can be different types of emails that brands today send like marketing, offers, deals, promotional, newsletter, transactional, triggered, etc.

Transactional email has become critical for application based businesses. Not too long ago, email marketing focused heavily on promotional email like newsletters and offers, but now transactional email has been given a boost by web and mobile applications that rely on email to deliver notifications, updates and subscriptions.

Transactional email is the driver by which they communicate with their subscribers, grow their customer base, and drive revenue. Flash sale or daily deal sites rely on transactional email to deliver time critical messages to its audience and once purchased, to confirm the sale.

Retailers use email to deliver shipping notifications and order confirmations – both of which provide opportunities to upsell other products. Location-based apps rely on the timely delivery of transactional email to connect friends and businesses.

Moreover, transactional email boasts the highest open rates in the industry and actively spurs engagement amongst its recipients.

This post is for beginners in transactional emails and aims at covering fundamentals you need to know before you start sending transactional emails.

What are Transactional Emails?

Let’s for a minute not go by the definition. Consider emails from Amazon, Uber – they regularly send emails. An email from Uber when your trip ends is a transactional email. Invoice email when you buy from Amazon is transactional or When you download a code from AndroidTutorialPoint then you will get an automatic response which is also a transactional email. Did you notice anything common in these emails?

They all are coming to you based on your own actions. All are important and re-confirms your act. Simply put, transactional emails are emails sent basis action taken by users like – signup, purchase, password reset, etc.

Why is Transactional Email So Engaging?

Transactional email open rates can be three times higher than commercial email. Why? Your customers are expecting them – even welcoming them – because they took a certain action in which they expect to receive a communication from you. They may have placed an order, signed up for your service, submitted a friend request, or asked to be notified of certain events. As a result, they are more apt to open your email.

A report from Borrell Associates, Inc. and Merkle revealed that 64% of consumers consider transactional emails to be the most valuable messages in their inbox.

What is the Difference between Transactional, Triggered and Marketing E-mails?

All transactional emails are for user generated actions but triggered emails are not necessarily so. They are triggered basis some rule not action. For example, monthly statements, birthday alerts, LinkedIn notifications etc. are all triggered emails that are sent not because the user took action.

On the other hand marketing emails are emails sent by choice by brands to you with an intent of awareness, cross sell and upsell. Brands at times go overboard with these emails and think you love getting these emails. Hence you receive the love every day; sometimes even twice a day!

Why Transactional Email is Fantastic for Marketing?

  • Deliverability

The BIGGEST advantage of transactional emails over newsletters is deliverability. Transactional emails are more positively perceived by the average recipient. Based on actions of recipients, the relative nature of the content of the two types of email and several other contributing factors, ISPs push a higher percentage of newsletters to the junk folder, as compared to transactional mail.

  • Anticipation

The nature of the transactional email lends itself to be anxiously awaited. When you post a photo on your favorite social network, forget your password, sign up for a new service or purchase a new gadget, you have a tendency to monitor your inbox a little more closely – you want to see who left a comment, find out your new password, click the verification link and receive confirmation that your order is in progress. This anticipation leads to a certain inexplicable excitement and increased appreciation for the arrival of the email and its contents.

  • Captivation

The level of attention, focus and concern for the clickable words within a highly anticipated transactional email results in the proverbial ‘captive audience’ – ready and willing to read whatever you have to say.

Why? Because they know at least part of your message is of a certain value to them.

  • Action

When receiving a transactional email, the recipient is ready to click; expecting to be asked to do something. ‘Click here to activate account’, ‘Navigate here to check the status of your package’, ‘Login to your account to see more details’. In contrast, when opening a newsletter, the expectation is to consume the information presented and possibly take action at a later time.

How to choose the Right Transactional Email Provider?

There are a lot of email service providers out there in the market and almost all offer similar services. Choice only seems to add to confusion. Ask yourself these 4 questions

  • Does the ESP sends transactional emails exclusively?
  • What has been there average inbox deliverability?
  • Do they have SMTP and scalable APIs?
  • Will emails be delivered in less than 3 seconds?

A quick look at what users are saying (reviews from trusted sources) might also help you in your decision making process.

How to set up Transactional Emails?

Your emails may be generated from various sources like CRM, best CMS for blogging, website, app or any other campaign management tool. You need to integrate these applications with an email delivery service or SMTP relay servers (ESP)

Setting up the system to send transactional emails is a one-time effort. It’s plain, simple and easy. It involves 3 steps:

STEP 1: Set up your DNS – The first step in setting up your transactional emails is to set up domain from which you will send emails to your customers. One should carefully select this domain. It is recommended to select sub-domain of the main domain to send these emails and also ensure no marketing or triggered emails are sent from this domain, especially if your monthly email volumes are in millions.

Once you have the right domain ensure it is authenticated via SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

SPF: This is permission given to sending servers by the domain. Domain owner can define IPs by going in TXT records of the domain. This will ensure that only those IPs have permission to send emails from this domain. It is one of the best practices and hence you’ll find 90% of industry does it.

DKIM: This is a good to follow authentication process where the email that is being sent is digitally signed by domain key. It is then decrypted by recipient ISPs’ server, thus ensuring the content is not tampered on the way and is coming from a trusted source.

DMARC: Domain based message authentication, reporting and conformance is another validation that detects and prevents email spoofing. It reports any fraudulent email sent from your domain. This is very critical for transactional emails.

STEP 2: Get SMTP credentials – You can integrate your application via SMTP or API protocols. Your application will need following details to integrate and start sending emails via SMTP protocol.

  • Username and Password of your SMTP key
  • Hostname eg in our case we provide
  • Port via which the connection happens – most used are 25, 2525 & 587
  • Senders prefer sending emails using SMTP as it is fastest and easiest way to start sending your emails.

STEP 3: Set content and start sending – Keep it simple, don’t load your email with html or many images and use images only where absolutely relevant and required. 3 rules – Don’t sell, don’t confuse and don’t overrate branding in these emails. Just keep it simple.

Check out this Articles: 10 Powerful Ways to Convert Website Traffic Into Leads

Now you’re ready folks, let’s start sending!

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