Transactional Emails and How to Make the Most out of Them

3 minute read

Upland Admin

Historically, transactional emails might be seen as dull or utilizing simple creative.

This doesn’t need to be the case, however – especially when you consider their results. According to the National Client Email Report (DMA, 2013), triggered one-to-one campaigns generate over 75% of email revenue.

However, before we start talking about how to use transactional emails, let’s explain the difference between transactional and general marketing (or ‘bulk’) emails. Transactional emails are one-to-one emails, which contain information that is relevant to a specific person, and are sent after an action has been completed. On the other hand, marketing emails are sent to a list or group of contacts, and contain a commercial or promotional message.

You can send transactional emails when your client/prospect requests their password or submits an application, or to let them know of a package being shipped etc. Use these to build your brand identity in the mind of your customers. So, are you ready to make your transactional emails the best they can be? These are my practical tips to help point you in the right direction:


1. Make the content easy to read or scan

Use the content in your transactional emails to provide value to the subscriber and consider an attractive layout to boost your brand’s visual identity. In this example, Ryanair uses simple design theory elements and a good structure to convey the message quickly in conjunction with the title.

2. Be helpful

If using your services involves creating an account, send your customers their account information and sign in instructions – that way they will always have their details available in case they forget them. A great example is kikki.K’s clear, accessible welcome email:

3. Tips for getting started

Use transactional emails to provide tutorials, articles, or any kind of information that your subscribers can use to get started using your product. This could increase lifetime loyalty and may even lead to a positive review. In this example, Instagram introduces new contacts to the platform in an attractive and easy way. The layout and the content reinforce the brand and encourage use for those inexperienced with the app.

4. Suggest next steps

Transactional emails may be the form of email correspondence your subscribers are most likely to expect. Therefore, don’t hesitate to use them to provide helpful resources, ask for referrals, recommend new products or ask them to follow you on social media. Or, as Yodel does, you can invite contacts to download your app.

5. Make them feel special

While most transactional emails are sent to provide more information to customers, feedback or review emails work the other way around: by requesting information. In order to have a better conversion rate, try to make subscribers feel that they are helping you and the wider user community, instead of just doing you a favour. This is exactly what giffgaff does once a customer contacts its Service Team. Explaining why the company needs their feedback and how it will be used, they encourage customers to share their experiences.

Finally, don’t forget to make sure that your transactional emails are mobile friendly. According to the 2017 Consumer Digital Usage and Behavior study, 83.8% of smartphone owners open their personal emails on their mobile device. Bear in mind that your subscribers expect to receive transactional emails immediately, too. Therefore, make sure you have the right technology to send those emails while your company is still fresh in the subscriber’s mind.

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