Since we released our Complete Guide to Transactional Emails, we’ve received quite a few questions on the topic. Rather than answer them all individually, we thought it would be more helpful to address them all in one place.
Have a question about transactional email? Leave it in the comments and we’ll update this post with an answer.
What is a transactional email?
Here’s a great definition of the word “transaction” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
A communicative action or activity involving two parties or things that reciprocally affect or influence each other
A transactional email communicates an activity involving two parties. You buy dog food on Amazon, they send you a receipt. You subscribe to a newsletter, the site sends a double opt-in. Transactional emails are triggered by events and are typically sent for function, not promotion.
The reason we felt compelled to write a 6,600 word post on this topic is that most people send these emails only for function. We absolutely do not advocate loading up them with promotional junk but it’s encouraged to make them look good, reflect your brand and offer additional information. They can serve their intended function â for example, sending a receipt â while adding additional value â like giving users a link to download the receipt or letting them know about a mobile app they can use to manage their account.
The primary reason it’s important to add branding and value to transactional emails is that people open them like crazy (as much as 8x more often than promotion emails!!).
Now that we have some additional context, let’s craft a definition for transactional emails:
A low-hanging marketing opportunity with enormous potential.
Where can I see some examples?
Well, our massive guide for starters. And you can also check out some of our other posts on the topic for more examples:
- 5 Transactional Emails Analyzed for Growth Hacking Opportunities
- The Art of the Welcome Email: 3 Examples to Improve Your Onboarding Process
- Growth Hacking with Email Receipts Is a Huge Missed Opportunity
One other great resource is ReallyGoodEmails.com.
How do I send a transactional email?
Here’s where most people get stuck. You have direct control over your newsletter and your promotional emails but most people use third party software to send receipts, notifications and confirmations. It’s always been this way … until now.
Let’s use GoToWebinar as an example. Their webinar confirmation emails aren’t exactly beautiful (this is a massive understatement) and they are loaded with Citrix branding instead of yours. The root of the issue isn’t the emails, however, it’s the landing pages.
If you drive registrants to the GoToWebinar registration page, they will receive GoToWebinar emails when they sign up. If you build your own landing page using software like Unbounce or LeadPages, you can also control the emails they receive. (KISSmetrics reported 4-6% conversion rates on standard GoToWebinar landing pages and 40-80% conversion rates on Unbounce landing pages. It makes a HUGE difference!)
Here’s an example of how we did this for a past webinar with a little help from Zapier.
First, we created a landing page using Unbounce.
Then, we created two “Zaps” in Zapier to move the registrants into the GoToWebinar database and trigger an event in our email marketing software (Vero, obviously).
With an email marketing platform that allows for trigger-based email, it’s really easy to setup a killer campaign that looks great and has all the function you need. Perhaps even more importantly, you can control the “From” address. GoToWebinar emails are sent from “GoToWebinar.Notifications@citrixonline.com” and contain Citrix branding and links. This is your audience, not theirs. Don’t waste their valuable attention!
Sending custom transactional emails is very simple as long as you are using apps in Zapier or that have an open API. Have questions about getting started? Just let us know.
And if you have any other questions about transactional emails, just leave in the comments.