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Transactional Email Examples & Tips

Transactional emails are emails that your brand sends to communicate information to your users and subscribers around a transaction or agreement. They differ from marketing emails in that the main purpose isn’t to engage customers to make a purchase, it’s to inform them about the status of an action that’s already underway.

These types of emails can be used to send confirmation messages when a new subscriber is opting into your email list or registering for your loyalty rewards program, for example. They can also be used to confirm orders, send shipping information or tracking updates, confirm refunds, or request feedback on a transaction, among other actions.

In this article, we’ll cover some best practices and tips for sending transactional emails on your brand’s behalf.

Transactional Email Best Practices

It’s crucial that your customers are able to access your transactional emails, so make sure that your brand follows established industry best practices so that your messages aren’t blocklisted, filtered into spam, or simply ignored. Follow these tips:

Use a Separate Email Address From Your Standard Marketing Emails

Marketing emails often have deliverability issues because users may mark them as spam or fail to engage with them. Transactional emails will generally be sent less frequently than your marketing emails and, because of their informational nature, it’s important that your subscribers receive and open them. To reduce the likelihood of deliverability issues, send these messages from an email address and domain that is used only for your transactional messages.

Include a Recognizable Sender Name

Your messages should be clear that they’re coming from your brand, especially if the email address isn’t one that your subscribers recognize from your marketing emails. Include a descriptor such as “Customer Service at [Brand]”.

Send Transactional Emails Immediately After an Action is Taken

Transactional emails should be fully automated so customers will receive the messages immediately after interacting with your brand. For example, when they sign up for your email list, they should receive a subscription confirmation within the minute. By sending your messages immediately, you can build trust with the customer and capture their attention while they’re still engaged with your brand.

Use Responsive Design

Many subscribers will be reading emails on mobile devices, so it’s important that your message has an uncluttered design and will easily resize to fit the user’s mobile inbox window. When implementing a new template, you should also use a mail preview tool to preview the message in a variety of browsers and screen sizes to ensure that it looks correct and has full functionality across devices.

Keep the Subject Line Concise

In your transactional emails, the subject line isn’t an opportunity to be clever. To ensure that your customers open your messages, you need to be clear about the purpose of the message. Use a subject line that summarizes the content, such as “Confirm your subscription” or “Your order is on its way!”

Include Important Content First

Don’t waste time on a long intro. Make sure that all relevant information is conveyed up front in your transactional messages so your customers have the details they need.

Make Sure Customers Can Respond to the Message

Don’t use a “no reply” email address. Customers may have questions or concerns, so it’s important that if they want to talk to someone, their messages go to a monitored inbox. If email isn’t your preferred customer support method, your messages can include your other options, such as a phone number or a chatbot.

When to Engage Your Customers with Transactional Emails

Transactional emails aren’t necessarily engaging by nature, as they’re there to convey information clearly to your users. However, depending on the type of transactional email, you may be able to make your content more compelling and possibly even encourage customers to make a purchase. Some guidelines for engaging your customers include:

Personalize Your Messages

Many transactional messages are customized with specific data such as order numbers and shipping addresses, but it’s important to also include the customer’s first name and other personal information to give your messages a human touch and build trust.

Use Your Brand Voice and Style When Appropriate

Certain types of transactional emails, such as password resets, should remain as basic as possible. Others, however, like a subscription confirmation or “your order’s on its way” message can provide an opportunity to incorporate your brand voice and style. Make sure that you clearly convey relevant details, but don’t be afraid to use humor and a strong, original voice at the same time.

Add Promotional Offers When Helpful

Again, certain types of transactional emails should remain focused on the facts—but, for instance, if you’re sending a subscription confirmation message, or a cart abandonment notification, you can take the opportunity to include a promotional ad that encourages them to explore your site and make a purchase. You can even use personalized customer data to incorporate dynamically generated links for the specific types of products that they’re likely to be interested in.

Going Beyond Email

Keep in mind, email is only one channel for reaching your customers with your promotional messages. Using a cross-channel marketing platform like Iterable, you can send your customers messages across multiple channels, including email, SMS, push notifications, and in-app messages to let them know when their order has shipped or deliver other forms of important reminders and alerts.

Incorporating multiple channels can give your customers a better chance of seeing your messages, and enables them to interact with your brand across their preferred communication channels. If action is required on their part, you have multiple avenues for engaging with them and ensuring that they respond.

Transactional emails are an important part of the e-commerce experience. By following these practices and incorporating a cross-channel communication strategy, you can ensure that they help to deliver a best-in-class customer experience.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.