What are transactional emails? Spoiler alert: they're important!
Jasper Van Biesen
11 minutes reading time
Perfecting your inspiring newsletters, analyzing your email campaign metrics like a pro... but having no clue about what your 'boring' transactional emails actually look like? That can't be right.
Because those standard follow-up emails are an incredibly important part of your customers' journey. That's why we'll explain why transactional emails are crucial.
The importance of transactional emails explained
Receiving newsletters and emails constantly, let's be honest, the majority of your customers are not eagerly waiting for that. Unfortunately! At the same time, many customers will become impatient if they don't receive a confirmation email after purchasing the Valentine's Day gift for their partner or, while already stressed, have to wait a long time for that one email in their inbox to reset their password.
It's crucial that you make a good impression with your transactional emails. They have a significant impact on your customer relationship.
Such automatic messages, as transactional emails usually are, are a powerful communication tool to your customers. These emails serve as a guide or reference for your customers.
MUCH higher open rates
Unfortunately, many companies don't want to "waste" time and therefore, put little to no effort into their transactional emails. What a missed opportunity! The fact that most transactional emails are usually in the hands of technical teams rather than marketers or communication staff doesn't make it any easier. But your customer doesn't care about that. Every email, every communication must be professional and convey trust.
Because your customers are eagerly waiting for these kinds of emails, the open rates are much higher. Generally, up to 7 times higher! So, it's very important to make a good impression with your transactional emails. They largely determine how customers perceive you.
Are you communicating clearly? Do you come across as professional? Are you smoothly handling orders and inquiries? That's what customers will remember. A good customer relationship will ultimately bring you more revenue... Of course, you gladly spend a lot of time on your weekly newsletter, but your business messages must be just as strong. Let that be clear.
Explained: What is a transactional email?
This is what you should understand about transactional emails
As briefly mentioned: transactional emails are automatically sent emails that customers receive after they, usually on your website, have taken a specific action. For example, creating an account, signing up for your newsletter, placing an order, filling out a questionnaire, changing personal information...
Behind the scenes, transactional emails are linked to these actions. Emails through which your organization says, "Rest assured, we have received the information, and we take care of it."
By the way, don't wait too long to keep your customer informed. Transactional messages should land in the mailbox almost immediately after the action. If you take too long, your transactional email will resolutely miss its goal. Fast deliverability is one of the clearest requirements that your transactional emails must meet.
For clarity: sending a transactional email is not email marketing. There are no filters, segmentation, or target groups involved. No, these emails must be purely business and not part of an email campaign.
A little bit of marketing...
Okay, okay! If you can't resist including some marketing in your transactional communication, do it in moderation. This means that the informative, business message should take precedence, and certain marketing actions should be secondary. So, don't turn them into marketing emails.
Some smart examples of marketing in your transactional emails:
Attach a promo or discount to your welcome email.
Display relevant products with an order confirmation.
Link to relevant pages related to your services.
Share useful how-to content with your shipping confirmation.
Take a look at types of transactional emails
What is a non-transactional email? Well, any kind of email that doesn't appear in this list. Because we've done our best to list the most common transactional emails.
However, it's natural that each company has its own strategy. The types of transactional emails you send depend on the type of business you are and the actions customers can take on your website or online shop.
With this transactional email, you validate the customer's account registration. This could be an account on your online shop or on another online platform. Some of these emails immediately ask for a specific action from the customer. This is called 'double opt-in.' By clicking on a link in the email, customers confirm once again that they want to open an account. This way, you make sure that the registered email address is valid and actually belongs to that person.
Aha, the first impression! You better make sure this email is well crafted. Because you know what they say about a good first impression. Your welcome email is the start of your customer relationship, the opener of your speed date, the icebreaker in email communication... In this email, you can provide your customer with additional information about their account, highlight some important (product) pages of your e-commerce platform, and make your customer happy by offering a discount.
"I don't want to intrude, but..." You have to admit, that's the stepmotherly message you send when you email to let someone know their shopping cart is still filled but the order was abandoned. On the other hand, you can use these emails to provide information about delivery times, payment options, your support service... Anything to reassure the customer! If you're feeling generous, you can also include a discount here.
Transactional messages are often confirmation emails, especially when it comes to product orders. For your customer, this email is also a kind of reassurance. They know that the order has been processed correctly. After that, it's up to you to provide updates on delivery times, for example through automatic follow-up emails. Once shipped, you send a shipping confirmation.
In this type of transactional email, you can, for example, include a tracking link to the purchased product.
Important for restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons... The email in which you let the customer know that you have received the reservation and that the table, hairdressing chair, or massage table is booked for the customer at the desired time.
Of course, your customers shouldn't forget to pay. You can send a separate email with an invoice after an order. Or maybe you do it monthly if customers use your company's services for a longer period. For those who tend to forget, you can send a reminder email.
Just had a webinar or event? Curious about what your customers think of their purchased product? Then it's very useful to have transactional emails asking for feedback ready.
Forgot or reset password
You've probably experienced it yourself: you forgot your password. On the website, you quickly click a button or link to receive an email to change your password. This email must not only be real-time, immediate, but also short and to the point. Because without a password, your customer can't log in anymore, and you might lose them.
5 tips & tricks for effective transactional emails
1. Think in terms of the customer
Although your transactional emails can be nicely written, they should primarily be customer-oriented. So, be helpful and cater to your customer's needs. You need to make it as easy as possible. An add-on can improve the functionality of your transactional emails, for example by adding real-time tracking data, allowing customers to accurately track their orders.
2. Don't forget the branding
Apply your company's branding to your transactional emails. You can even develop a separate design for these kinds of emails. This way, you remind the customer that the emails come from your company.
3. Mobile first
Booking a table, buying clothes... The chances are very high that customers did that on their smartphones. After all, we all surf much more on mobile than on an old-school computer. Customers are staring at their screens, waiting for your email. So, it must be very readable and adapted to mobile internet traffic.
4. Include a Call-To-Actionn
Do customers need to confirm their membership again, do you want them to track their package, or do they urgently need to pay their invoice? Because transactional emails are usually not the longest emails, you can easily include a clear Call-To-Action (CTA). For example: 'Confirm your registration' or 'Track your package now.'
What many transactional emails need is a clear Call-To-Action.
5. Dare to test
A/B testing is important when sending transactional emails because through analysis, you can experiment with different elements, such as subject lines, copy, and design. This way, you can find out which approach yields the best results, such as higher conversions and a better user experience. Via Flexmail, you can do this based on concrete data, making your emails more effective and increasing recipient engagement.
Now it's up to you: get to work on your transactional emails
Here at Flexmail, we are eager to work with you on your transactional emails. Using a good and reliable email platform is crucial to make it a success. Get to know us better by taking a masterclass.
Detailed transactional email workflow: get free early access
Completely focused on transactional emails, we have a beta release planned for our platform. Our API helps you easily and quickly send and deliver emails, whether it's password reset emails, notifications, confirmations, or newsletters.
To protect the deliverability of your crucial transactional emails, we send transactional and promotional emails through parallel but completely separate infrastructures.
Good news: you can now register immediately to get free early access to our API! In exchange for your feedback, you can email for free for the first months, without purchase obligation.