Transactional email is just as important to your marketing strategy as marketing email content. Keeping your clients informed is a major aspect of your customer service.
What is Transactional Email?
Transactional emails are emails that provide relevant information to a customer transaction. These emails are personalised to each recipient and contain specific information relating to a customer interaction with your business. Transactional emails are a type of targeted email and are commonly recognisable in eCommerce communications.
Transactional emails serve a completely different purpose from marketing emails; a marketing email contains bulk messaging geared towards achieving sales and leads for your business.
- This form of triggered email is activated by user actions; it serves as a one-to-one B2C record of a specified interaction between customer and business.
- It contains relevant, essential information only, without any marketing focus.
- A transactional email has higher open rates than a marketing email. This is because it contains important information known to be of high value to its recipient.
- Transactional email open rates are double that of marketing emails; while click-through rates for this type of email are three times higher than for marketing emails.
- Generally, transactional messaging is automated.
Transactional emails are sent on an individual basis. In contrast, electronic direct mail or EDMs are sent to a database of your existing customers or subscribers. Marketing email content may include promotions, showcases, newsletters, and sales communications. To comply with spam regulations, marketing emails require consent and recipients to opt-in to emails. Conversely, transactional emails are triggered by a process initiated by the recipient and provide relevant information to this process.
5 Transactional Emails Your Business Needs
Transactional email is brilliant for keeping clients in the loop, at all stages of their transaction with your business. Here are the 5 most important emails to set up on your transactional email platform.
1. Welcome/Registration Transactional Email
The welcome email is arguably one of the most important transactional messages to send to your new potential customer. Acknowledge your new customer/subscriber with your first friendly exchange; this sets the tone for your future business-customer relationship.
When they set up an account with you or signed up to your email list, you know they are engaged. They are invested enough in your brand, product or online content to have dropped their email address. Use this momentum to your advantage with one clear call to action.
Editor’s note: sometimes these emails can border on commercial material. If you’re unsure and are tossing up whether you need to include an opt-out link, it’s best to include it.
We like how StoryChief does their welcome emails – why?
- Use of personalisation in the first line – it’s 2020, this is expected as a minimum yet many companies fail to add name placeholders.
- Introduction to a person – people realise that welcome emails are usually automated, but it’s nice to know that a human will read responses (instead of the dreaded ‘no-reply’ from address).
- Simplicity; apart from the video content, this email has one main idea (driving engagement) and one visible call to action.
Check out this article on how Drift nailed their welcome email.
Wix also nails the clean, elegant welcome email:
Or for eCommerce, we like how fashion label Natasha Gan uses a clean template with copy infused with the brand’s identity and a tone that conveys familiarity (ignoring the text as an image – we don’t advocate doing that!)
2. Confirmation Email/Receipts
When customers place an order with you, it is expected that they receive confirmation of the transaction. Failing to send a confirmation message upon receiving an order is the quickest way to have customers doubt your business’ legitimacy. Sending triggered confirmation emails also further engages your customer. Once an order is placed, these are the emails that customers typically expect to receive.
Order Confirmation Email
Send this immediately once an order has been placed. The best order confirmation emails include:
- The products/services ordered
- Shipping address
- Payment method
- An indication of when the order is to be dispatched
Include receipts and enable the customer to double-check their order and enjoy peace of mind that it has gone through. It’s critical to acknowledge orders and payments, and transactional email is the best way to achieve this.
Tarte Cosmetics does a great job at the order confirmation email; the style and tone are consistent with the branding. They also use personalisation at the top and have all the relevant information included.
Payment Confirmation Email
Often businesses will have an automated email sent from their payment gateway to confirm successful payment. Often this is unnecessary as the payment confirmation tends to be implied by the order confirmation. However, if your clients require tax invoices to be raised, sending payment confirmations can be helpful.
Shipping Confirmation Transactional Email
Create excitement and reassure your customer with shipping confirmation emails. Include tracking information, with a link to the logistics company handling shipping.
We think the Iconic does a great job with their automated emails. There is a clear estimated delivery date, tracking information (with a link to AusPost for further information), confirmation of the product in the parcel and the shipping address. They also include clear information on their free returns policy, which reduces enquiries about faulty or change of mind returns.
Tip: should your shipping have been impacted by unforeseen circumstances (for example, a global pandemic), it’s a good idea to include mention of possible shipping delays, in order to manage customer expectations.
3. Password Reset Email
Password reset emails are almost always opened, as they are sent near-immediately from when a customer requests a new password. This not only allows the customer to retrieve their account with you if they forget their password but also shows you who is engaging with your brand.
Keep this transactional email short and to the point; additional information will only add clutter, hindering the effectiveness of the call to action. Some companies send a basic text-based message for password resets. We believe that this practice misses the opportunity to cement their branding and give the impression of a brand lacking personality.
- Send this email immediately through automated email; people expect technology to be fast, and if sent too late may result in frustration.
- Have the link expire in a small timeframe (eg. 24 hours) in case this password reset was not requested by the owner of the account.
4. Opt-In Email
Build trust and protect customer data by sending double opt-in triggered emails. Send this email to confirm that users wish to be included on your email list; this will help to keep your email open rates up and your email reputation (and therefore email deliverability) strong. This is also helpful to abide by GDPR regulations if you sell to European nations.
Similar to password reset emails, keep the content of the email short and basic like Adobe’s example. This helps to ensure that customers don’t miss your crucial call to action (opting in). And ensure you send this message as soon as your customer signs up, else they may have moved on and be less likely to click on your link.
5. Reengagement Email
Ah, you caught us! This isn’t technically a transactional email, but it is triggered and super important for driving business revenue (just remember that opt-out link!).
If a customer has made a purchase and has not returned for a while, sending a re-engagement email may help your business remain top of mind. Often companies use this opportunity to send a discount to entice customers with an added incentive to return to their stores.
Reengagement emails include cart abandonment emails; send when a browsing customer adds to their shopping cart yet fails to complete the checkout process. This may occur due to distraction, slow internet speed, or any number of other issues. These types of automated emails have a massive email open rate of 44%. This makes them a great way to return traffic to your site and increase sales.
We like that Sephora uses cart abandonment emails showing the product that you have left (great personalisation!) and with a clean, easy to spot call to action to complete the order.
Tip: if you notice high rates of cart abandonment, it’s likely there are other factors creating a barrier to sale. Here’s a great article on why people abandon their carts.
Transactional Email Service at ClickSend
ClickSend offers a premium, affordable transactional email service so your business can send automated emails to your customers. These triggered emails are sent out whenever your customers complete a specified action – enabling you to “set and forget” this important aspect of your customer service.