MARKETING EMAILS vs TRANSACTIONAL EMAILS

Email marketing is the tool that 77% of marketers use as their key content marketing tactic (Content Marketing Trends). It allows sending a wide range of emails that might pursue different micro-goals like simple redirecting to a website. But one significant business intention stays behind these marketing efforts - improve engagement rates. Either it is the acquisition rate or the retention one.

Email marketing is affordable and offers a rich diversity of messages you may send - from a general welcome letter after the registration on your platform to a well-targeted marketing campaign based on a specific action. All of them fall into two categories: marketing and transactional emails.

What is a transactional email?
According to the CAN-SPAM Act (The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003), if an email is transactional, its content facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction. It means that a transactional email is a one-to-one communication with a recipient. They are triggered by a customer’s interaction with your product. For example, if a user paid for the service, you send him a receipt.

The success of the transactional email lays in its content. First, it should be appealing to the recipient. Secondly, it should stick to the CAN-SPAM regulations. If you check the Act, you will learn that the content of the transactional email should:
  • Confirm the transaction between the recipient and your brand
  • Provide customers with a warranty, recall, safety, or security information about the product;
  • Mention any changes in terms of features or account balance (e.g., canceling the subscription or membership)
  • Inform about an employment relationship or employee benefits
  • Deliver products as part of a transaction that the recipient has signed up for
The transactional emails include such messages as:
  • Order confirmation
  • Cart abandoned email
  • Password request
  • Email verification
Below you can see the sample of the transactional email - a password request.
EmilyDates sends it to the users who forgot the password and wants to create a new one. The body of the message is short and clear. It applies the CAN-SPAM regulations, as it provides the customer with the security information of his account.

What is a marketing email?
Usually, the marketing email is a one-to-many way of communicating with your customers. However, it might be one-to-one, too. It depends on the number of contacts you have on your list and segmentation settings.

A successful marketing email will encourage the recipients to interact with your business and help you get more leads and sales. It might also have a commercial character and advertise the product or service.

When it comes to regulations, there are two critical components of every commercial email.
  • The subject line should be clear enough and easy-to-interpret as a promotional message from the brand
  • The content of the message should also be explicit and easy-to-interpret as a promotional message from the brand
Marketing emails examples are:
  • Welcome onboarding emails
  • Promotional emails
  • Newsletters
Below you can find an example of the marketing email - promotional messages.
HeadWay had a campaign that was offering a 50-percent discount to its users. The body of the message stuck to the CAN-SPAM regulations, too. It makes it easy for the recipient to classify this particular email to the promotional category.

The transactional emails tend to have a higher OR (open rate) than the marketing ones. For example, the OR for the password recovery message was 67.37%. While the OR for HeadWay’s special offer was 19.37%.
This pattern works not only for Sendios’ clients but for the whole industry in general. Experian reports show that the average revenue per transactional email is two to five times greater than standard marketing emails. Moreover, they might have almost eight times the open and click rates. Yet, only 40% of marketers are using transactional emails.

What should the conclusion be here? Email marketing is diverse. You can leverage the marketing and transactional emails to boost your engagement rates and convert more leads into customers. While the marketing messages give you more freedom to experiment with the content, the transactional ones tend to build stronger ties with the recipients. It is usually the recipient who initiates the delivery of such messages as password recovery requests, email verification notifications, etc.