Ever since Gary Thuerk’s 1978 attempt to reach 397 ARPAnet users on the West Coast to invite them to a product demo, emails turned out to be real treasure troves for the e-marketing community. Besides launching the first email marketing campaign, Thuerk’s experiment resulted in 12 million dollars in sales, turning him from Father of Spam into Father of Email Marketing. We’ve come a long way since the initial days of unsolicited emails to today’s explicit-consent, value-laden email marketing programs.

Recent studies have shown that email marketing doesn’t only mean sending monthly newsletters or regular sales pitches. Transactional emails (also known as “triggered” emails) are where the serious dough is. Consider this: nearly half of transactional messages are opened - essentially double that of even the best marketing messages around. With the ability to generate an additional 33% in revenue for your email marketing program, this is one easy money-maker that you can’t afford to overlook!

“Ok, I’m sold - how do I do this?”, and what exactly is a transactional email? I’m glad you asked. A transactional email can come in so many wonderful, powerful, dollar to donuts, revenue-driving forms. Let’s dive into them a bit (more):

Take Action With Transactional Messaging Post Highlights:

  1. What are Transactional Emails and How do You Exploit Them?
  2. Types of Transactional Emails
  3. Three Dependable Tools to Create Transactional Messages
  4. Take the Lion’s Share with Transactional Marketing
  5. Tips and Tricks on How to Create Effective Transactional Messages

What are Transactional Emails and How do You Exploit Them?

Transactional emails are those welcome guests to whom you gladly offer a cup of coffee as opposed to the youngsters that knock on your door on a Sunday morning to sell you stuff you didn’t ask for.

In other words, transactional emails are automated messages triggered by an action pursued by the recipient. Usually, those emails contain important information for the client, such as an order confirmation, a receipt, delivery details, etc.

Used properly, transactional messages are a great method to stay in touch with clients, to create a long-term relationship with them, to make them yearn for more. Case in point, imagine booking a sunny getaway for two in Maldives; shortly, your fancy resort host will send you a reservation confirmation email and any other updates on your stay. Later on, a few weeks before your departure, you also receive a couple of pictures of your accommodation and a presentation of their facilities; and finally, after checking out, a ‘thank you’ email with an embedded satisfaction survey will arrive in your inbox. If that does not sound sustainable, then I don’t know what does.

Transactional emails, receive 8 times as many opens compared to regular marketing emails.

Although transactional emails typically take the back seat to marketing messages, this isn't the best approach at all when revenue is your main goal. Want some examples? Of course you do, you suave, attractive, and likable marketer, you. Transactional emails, on average, can return 4-8x more opens and clicks than the average marketing email. What’s more is that nearly ⅔ of customers say that transactional emails are the most valuable to them. This is only the tip of the iceberg: transactional messages are a cross-selling GOLDMINE. Take this incredible stat for instance: transactional messages garner over 50% higher transaction rates when your other product offerings are included, enticing the customer who JUST purchased your goods to crave for even more. Score!

Before going into the actual process, let’s tick off the main categories of transactional emails. Ready for the kicker?


Types of Transactional Email

  • Confirmation emails come as a response to an action initiated by the client (order confirmation, payment receipt, order refund, order canceled, etc.).
    OK, so your client has just purchased a new mobile phone, yay! Did she? Or did she not? A confirmation email would lay lingering doubts to rest and would give the seller serious credit. Now that’s feeding two birds with one scone.
  • Notification emails come as a result of password change, password reset, all sorts of updates, browse recovery, etc. To make a notification email relevant, include personal, to the point information; thus, the user will know exactly what action to take further on. You might also consider adding your brand’s label here and there to make sure that the client will know where to turn to when he is going to need a reliable retailer. Wink wink.
  • Reminder emails prompt the user about cart recovery, subscription renewal, account verification, etc. Without making a mountain out of a molehill, remind your user of the unfinished business he left behind. Do it as personal and as briefly as you can, it will be much appreciated by your potential client.
  • “Thank You” emails – Although not enough explored by vendors, ”thank you” emails put a smile on the face of the purchaser/ user/ visitor, and that is truly something to conjure up when in need to shop for something new in the near future. Y’all know what I mean? The “Thank you for trusting us!” email sounds precisely like the waiter that served you so kindly and then thanked you for dropping by the restaurant, reminding you that that cozy atmosphere awaits you to come back. And why do I get the feeling that you will?

And so much more - the list really does go on and on (and on!). Basically, anything that can be triggered via an action taken by a customer falls into this broad category of highly-engaging and highly profitable emails.

Three Dependable Tools to Create Transactional Messages

  1. Take, for instance, Mailchimp transactional emails; say you have an online shop,
    and you wish to notify your users about their activity. With Mailchimp, you can send transactional emails with a limited number of words to one or more clients,
    in multiple manners:
  • Bulk – marketing emails sent to more users at a time;
  • Transactional – emails containing information about an account status or a purchase;
  • Non-subscribers – like the name suggests it, it refers to transactional emails sent to users that interacted with your shop but did not subscribe to your email list;
  • Cart recovery – prompts the user about an incomplete purchase;
  • Order status – gives the client updates on a purchase.
  1. Magento is a versatile shopping platform that allows you to edit content in real-time, change, and save new layouts, preview your changes in preview mode; it also adds a testing tool that prevents you from manually adding an email address every time. Magento transactional emails can be integrated with Mailchimp.
  2. This one goes out to every Shopify retailer. Here are the triggers of a Shopify transactional email:
  • Cart abandonment
  • Order confirmation
  • Renewal
  • Refund
  • Payment failure
  • Review request
  • Double opt-in

Take the Lion’s Share with Transactional Marketing


Transactional marketing implies an interaction between a) and b), while a) is the customer and b) is the service provider. For instance, imagine entering the supermarket around the corner and going straight to the personal care aisle to search for your favorite deodorant. Next to it, one of its competitors offers an attractive discount for a similar product. What do you do? Thought so… Without mulling over, you go for the promotion. Now that’s what transactional marketing is all about - seizing an opportunity to target your customer at the point in time when they’re most interested in purchasing or reordering.

Long story short, transactional marketing aims to sell. How? By adopting the Four Ps Strategy:

  1. Product – The key to close a deal is to anticipate or identify your clients’ needs and to create a product based on those requirements;
  2. Price – Instead of focusing on making a killing, aim for something in-between - good quality-price ratio over profit only;
  3. Place – Search for your targeted clients, make sure you reach them online and/ or offline;
  4. Promotion – Clients love and expect deals, so getting back to number 1., give them what they want + a discount to it.

Tips and Tricks on How to Create Effective Transactional Messages

  • Be brief and orderly;
  • Stay human, sound like a human;
  • Be consistent;
  • Throw in a smiley;
  • Use clear CTAs;
  • Personalize your tone;
  • Avoid spamming words;
  • Take advantage of your transactional email to close a deal.

And I'm sure you probably think you're currently doing pretty well here. A friend once told you about these transactional emails, you read a whole bunch of interesting stuff online
and were ready to start countin'. Hopped on an ESP email builder, pulled 3 modules in, and launched the transactional send excited to see your growth and already planning a week in Bora Bora for you and your significant other. If only things were this simple!

While something is (almost) always better than nothing, the default Shopify, MailChimp, Magento, or WooCommerce templates (the list goes on) are just that - default! If you had (or have) a store, would you let your employees give advice to customers without being dressed as they belong there? Would you sell your stuff without any sort of tag or branding on it? How could you ever expect your brand awareness to grow if your emails look the same as my great aunt's Margaret for her DIY Christmas sweater business?

In order for your business to grow, you need to be a grown-up about it and realize that you cannot be the best at everything. Focus on what's truly important for your business - managing it - and let the pros handle the rest.

So, are you ready to throw down the gauntlet? Don’t know where to begin? Reach out to us - we’re happy to chat and see how we can get your transactional game optimized. Chat soon!

Don’t be a stranger. Just do it!