What is a transactional email?

4 minute read
What is a transactional email?

A transactional email is an automated email sent to an individual that contains information required by the recipient. This can include: password reset emails, subscription confirmation, order confirmation, and delivery notifications.

When is an email considered transactional?

Transactional emails are notification, updates or information that have been implicitly or explicitly requested by the recipient.

Compared to marketing emails, transactional emails are initiated from actions taken by the recipient. These actions can be explicit, such as requesting a password-less login link, or implicit such as a credit card expiration notification.

Marketing emails, on the other hand, are promotional in nature. Recipients receive marketing emails after opting-in and agreeing to receive messages. This is not true for transactional emails.

How are transactional emails different from marketing emails?

The biggest difference between transactional emails and non-transactional emails is that transactional emails ignore rules such as opt-out preferences, guardrails to prevent multiple sends of the same email and more.

Transactional emails should never be used for marketing purposes.

Always personalized

Transactional emails require personalization because they contain information that is unique to the individual recipient.

What are some common examples of transactional emails?

Let’s look at some good examples of real transactional emails. We’ve also put together a tutorial to help you create your first transactional email in DailyStory.

Appointment reminders

An appointment reminder is an email sent to remind the recipient of an upcoming appointment.

Transactional email appointment reminder

Invoices and Receipts

Invoices and receipts include details about charges the customer owes or charges you’ve made on their credit card.

Transactional email receipt

Account alerts

changes in account details, credit card expiration, etc.

Transactional email account alert

Password management

password reset, password-less login, etc.

Transactional email password management

Event notification

shipping updates, delivery notifications or order confirmations

Transactional email event notifications

Customer support

updating the status of an open support incident

Transactional email customer support

Subscription management

subscription created, paused, deleted etc.

Transactional email customer support

Legal updates

changes to privacy policies or other notifications

Transactional email legal updates

Examples of emails that can be considered transactional, but can also be considered marketing:

  • Requests for feedback or reviews
  • Abandoned cart notifications

The emails all contain information requested by the recipient and they are all emails that are highly personalized to the recipient.

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