What is the Difference Between Transactional Emails and Marketing Emails?

Marketing has changed a lot over the years. It’s no longer about shoveling flyers and brochures into people’s mailboxes or even using billboards or radio ads to get the word out. Today, there are so many different ways of reaching potential customers.

Photo: Depositphotos

Email is one of those ways, and it’s arguably one of the most effective ones as well. It’s more cost-effective than other channels, and it can be more personal than social media. If you’re looking for a way to connect with your audience, increase sales, and build brand loyalty, email is your best bet. Email marketing is relatively simple; you can view a guide and start leveraging it.

However, advertising is not the only thing electronic mail can do for you. There are two types of emails that you can send: transactional and marketing. Both are used to communicate with customers, but they have different purposes. Let’s take a look at the difference between transactional and marketing emails and how this information can help you improve communication with your customers.

What Are Transactional Emails?

Transactional emails are the ones you get after making a purchase, when you need to reset your password, when you log in from a new device, and so on. They come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve one main purpose: keeping customers informed.

A distinct feature of this type of correspondence is that it is triggered by an event. These messages are also always sent individually, unlike a newsletter, for example, which is sent to a contact list.

The Benefits of Transactional Emails

Transactional mail is an important part of any business’ communication strategy. Think about it: What would you think of a business if you were trying to reset your password but the message didn’t arrive in your inbox? Or if there was a suspicious activity that could potentially get your data or even money stolen that you weren’t informed about?

Transactional mail that arrives on time when triggered shows that your business is a well-oiled machine. It also shows that you are considerate and pay attention to details.

What Are Marketing Emails?

Marketing emails are the messages that you send to promote products, services, and brands. These can be sent as a group (like a newsletter) or individually (a promotional message).

Email campaigns can include:

  • Product offers (discount codes and sales)
  • Newsletters/announcements
  • Surveys

These kinds of messages are more personalized. However, personalization goes far beyond adding a name at the beginning of the message. Smart marketers leverage segmentation. That is, they group customers based on the interactions they’ve had with the business and tailor the messages to help them move down the marketing funnel.

Understanding the value of mailing lists is also crucial, as they allow you to target your messaging effectively to those who are genuinely interested in your products or services. You can share updates, promotions, and other relevant information through email marketing.

Another important feature of this type of correspondence is consent. To send out promotional messages to a contact list, each of those contacts must opt in. Lastly, you can’t send a promotional message without the unsubscribe link. Legislations like the US’s CAN-SPAM and the EU’s GDPR clearly state that subscribers must have the option to opt out.

The Benefits of Marketing Emails

The most obvious reason to send marketing mail is to promote your business. Email marketing is one of the few marketing mediums where customers agree to receive messages. Since the company only contacts people who have shown interest in their product, the rate of conversion is likely to be much higher.

Another perk is that this medium is affordable and easy to get started with. You don’t need a big team or a lot of technical know-how to build an electronic mail campaign. You might need to invest in automation tools like Mailchimp, but there are also free options. And even with free software, you get tons of templates that streamline and speed up the process of launching a campaign.

Finally, marketing emails are the best way to spread the word about new products, share your expertise, nurture new leads, and bring old customers back.

Recap: The Difference Between the Two

So, we already know some of the ways that these two types of electronic mail are different. Yet there’s more than what’s already been said.

  • For tech companies, retailers, software providers, and many other online businesses, transactional emails are often a must, while marketing communications are utilized as tools for advertising any items or services or converting leads.
  • Electronic mail marketing is a great way to increase your company’s multi-channel engagement, and the messages you send out to your audience may contain specific content tailored to each group. Transactional mail, on the other hand, is tailored to each individual customer’s actions, such as placing an order or contacting customer service.
  • There is a higher open rate for transactional mail because it is sent directly to the recipient. Marketing mail, on the contrary, is typically sent from one person to a large group, and thus has lower open rates.
  • Messages sent for marketing purposes have an entirely different tone than those sent for business purposes. Messages sent for marketing purposes are friendly and informative, highlighting the features and benefits of the items or services being advertised. However, transactional mail is easier because the recipients have already taken the desired action.
  • Transactional emails indicate that an action was taken and transmit the necessary information, while marketing emails are aimed to help customers progress through the customer lifecycle.
  • Marketing message subject lines are designed to be attention-grabbing in the hopes that the recipient will click through to read the message. Transactional updates, on the other hand, typically feature a straightforward subject line that relates to the email’s purpose.
  • Transactional emails don’t need fancy graphics to only transmit the necessary information, but marketing correspondence should, so it can grab users’ attention.
  • Transactional emails don’t need a call to action like “download now,” “sign up,” etc., but marketing emails do.

This wraps up the first portion of this article. Now, let’s discuss how you should send each type of electronic mail to get the best results for your business.

Should Transactional and Marketing Emails Come from the Same Source?

If you’re sending both types of emails to run your business, then it is recommended to send promotional and transactional mail from different sources. But what does that even mean?

The best-case scenario means that you have two independent infrastructures, each with its own IP and subdomain. There’s no need to put them on different domains since it might come off as phishing or spoofing and put you at risk of getting banned.

What is the difference between transactional emails and marketing emails
Photo: Depositphotos

Why Separate Email Sources?

Even though making changes to your current process and sending setup to separate your promotional and transactional mail might seem hard, you will be glad you did it in the long run.

Higher Likelihood of Being Read

Emails are supposed to arrive in the inbox. This is especially true for urgent ones, such as password change requests. But marketing messages also need to reach customers.

Email service providers face challenges when trying to classify sent and received mail. Your inbox provider won’t have to guess what your emails are about if you divide them into two distinct groups: “transactional” and “marketing.” If you use the same servers and address for both marketing and transactional messages, filtering systems like Gmail may mistakenly label all of your outgoing messages as spam.

As an added bonus, sending out promotional emails won’t have any negative effect on the deliverability of mission-critical transactional communications, even if your domain’s reputation suddenly drops.

Fewer Headaches for Customer Support

Transactional emails that get lost or take too long to arrive lead to more support messages like “I did my best to reset the password, but the email didn’t arrive.” Each of these messages means that your team will have to do more work and that the relationship with the customer could be hurt.

By keeping promotional and transactional correspondence separate, you can cut down on support requests, give your team more time, and build trust in your brand. It’s a win for everyone.

Maintenance Becomes Much Easier

As we already know, each type serves different purposes. Marketing emails work best when the contact list is kept clean and updated. Transactional emails need to get sent out 24/7 and, thus, might also require more in-depth fine-tuning. Therefore, if you keep these two separate, you can easily change one workflow without affecting the other.

Wrapping up

Companies use advertising emails to get the word out about their products, services, and brands. These kinds of messages usually contain information about sales offers and new items. On the other hand, transactional emails provide particular information that is important to the customer’s account such as updates relating to money transfers or recent orders, etc.

Transactional emails and marketing emails serve different purposes, so it’s important to understand the differences and the regulations surrounding their use. Having the right information about what distinguishes these email categories from one another can help optimize any campaign so that users get what they are looking for.

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