We’ve talked before about how email encompasses a significant portion of our daily lives, with the average worker receiving 300-400 emails per week. By taking a walk through the inbox, it’s clear that email plays a ubiquitous role in almost every instance of our waking (and sleeping) lives.
Many of the emails pouring into inboxes on a daily basis can be considered marketing emails. These messages contain commercial content intended to influence recipients into making a product purchase. Promotional emails, newsletters, and sales emails are common examples of marketing or commercial emails. These types of emails tend to have relatively low engagement rates. However, a significant amount of the messages we receive go beyond marketing attempts to sell or upsell products or services and are in fact sent with the sole focus of improving our experiences with those brands.
Behold, transactional email.
What are transactional emails, actually?
Transactional emails are automated messages sent to a recipient in response to an action or event. In essence, transactional emails are responsive notifications used by email senders to communicate valuable information to customers.
Typically, transactional emails are generated on demand, in response to a specific trigger or transaction, and have high engagement rates. They are narrowly focused to facilitate an agreed-upon transaction between the sender and the recipient.
When used correctly, transactional emails can significantly improve a user’s overall experience with a product or brand.
Why send transactional emails?
The goal of sending transactional email is to instantaneously connect and communicate valuable information with customers at key moments of the customer experience, thus driving stronger customer relationships.
Marketing and product communications teams spend a significant amount of time researching the customer journey to understand the most critical moments at which to communicate with users in order to drive these relationships.
Common examples of transactional emails:
- Account creation and activation emails
- Welcome and onboarding messages
- User invitations and shares
- Security and account alerts
- Password resets and two-factor authentication
- Purchase receipts and shipping notifications
- Legal notices
The more customers are provided with the essential information they need to succeed, the more likely they are to take the actions that lead to increased engagement and in turn, higher renewal rates.
Who sends transactional emails?
All businesses should send transactional emails or app-generated notifications in some form or another. It’s very common to see SaaS businesses implementing transactional emails directly into their products or applications. Product managers are also well aware of how transactional emails are driving conversion, retention, and growth. Our VP of Product has even outlined some great examples of companies doing transactional email right that you can check explore here.
Transactional email for SaaS businesses
Successful SaaS businesses view transactional emails as an integral component of their customer communication and engagement strategy. By taking advantage of the power of transactional emails at key touch points of the customer journey, product management teams are much more likely to see strong product adoption from users, which leads to brand loyalty and reduces churn. In fact, many SaaS businesses treat transactional email as a core product feature!
Having a strong email infrastructure that is built and maintained by an email API provider that’s reliable and guarantees email deliverability is a sure way to drive successful business relationships for any product or app.
Transactional email and the customer journey
It’s clear that transactional emails are essential throughout the user lifecycle and when implemented correctly, can significantly improve engagement, retention, and conversion.
Account creation emails, onboarding welcome messages, password resets and notifications, and other types of transactional emails are perfect opportunities for organizations to communicate with customers and should be seen as opportunities to build stronger relationships. To a certain degree, transactional emails, in general, are standard methods of business-to-consumer communication that are expected by consumers in order for them to stay loyal.
How to improve the transactional emails you send
Recently, SparkPost surveyed more than 1,800 SaaS, e-commerce, and other software businesses to assess how they’re using transactional email. Our experts analyzed the results and developed five core recommendations that will help every SaaS company make the most of transactional email.
You can access the full 2018 Transactional Email Benchmark Report here, but below are a few highlights:
- Overwhelming majorities of senders see transactional email as important to customer engagement (82%), retention (80%), and conversion (72%)
- Operational functions remain a core use case for transactional emails, as 45.9% of businesses believe these types of emails hold significant business purpose
- Though vital to business success, 72.5% of email senders don’t A/B test their transactional emails.
Overall, every business is unique, so it’s critical to truly understand the needs of your customers before making decisions on your transactional email program. With this information as a foundation, you can start sending successful transactional emails today that grow your business – you’ll be amazed at the results you can drive.