An Email by Any Other Name
Email is email, right? At the end of the day, the appropriate message is sent to the intended recipient.
So why is it necessary to learn the difference between transactional emails and marketing emails? After all, to quote Shakespeare, a rose by any other name still smells as sweet. An email is an email is an email.
But this sentiment lacks vision. It lacks planning. And vision and planning are exactly what will take your business to the next level.
You see, great businesses don’t just happen. Businesses become great when they use all of their tools and resources purposefully and intentionally to grow, and this includes capitalizing on the difference between transactional and marketing emails.
Two Types of Emails — More Different than They Seem
Transactional emails and marketing emails are two types of emails that businesses use to communicate with customers. While they may seem similar at first glance, they serve different purposes and are used in different ways. Understanding the key differences between these two types of emails can help your business to make better use of these tools and improve your communication strategies. Improved communication strategies lead to healthier and stronger businesses.
Let’s start with transactional emails.
Transactional emails are automatically triggered by specific actions or events, such as a purchase or account update. They are designed to provide customers with important information and support, such as order confirmations, receipts, and account updates.
Marketing emails, on the other hand, are sent to a list of opted-in customers and are intended to be promotional and sales-oriented. These emails promote products, services, or events. They are usually sent on a regular schedule, such as daily, weekly, or monthly, to generate interest among existing and potential customers. Marketing emails contain a specific action or request of the customer (a CTA, or call to action). They may include promotional offers, special deals, and product updates.
The Key Differences between Marketing and Transactional Emails
One of the key differences between transactional and marketing emails is the recipient’s level of engagement.
Transactional emails are typically read and acted upon by the recipient, while marketing emails may be skimmed or deleted without being read. Transactional emails are triggered by a specific action taken by the customer and are perceived as being more relevant and valuable to the customer. The customer has already engaged in an action item that triggered the transactional email. That email now contains further action items to complete what the customer started, or provides a summary or other relevant information that the customer desires.
Marketing emails, on the other hand, often attempt to create a customer’s first interaction with a company or product.
Another difference between these two kinds of emails is their level of personalization.
Transactional emails are often highly personalized, often including the recipient’s name, purchase history, and other relevant information. Since transactional emails are sent in response to a specific action by the customer, the email is tailored to that action and the appropriate response or next steps.
Marketing emails, in contrast, are usually more generic and less personalized. Marketing emails are designed to reach hundreds or thousands of customers simultaneously, often with a common goal in mind: buy this thing, click this link, subscribe to this. Because marketing emails are meant to persuade many people to do a specific thing, they have less personal relevance than transactional emails.
Transactional emails are usually sent less frequently than marketing emails, typically only when a specific action is taken by the customer. This may mean the customer only receives one transactional email from a company. Depending on the company and the types of transactional emails available, it may be more or less.
However, the customer has control over how many transactional emails they receive. The more a customer interacts with a platform, the more opportunities for a transactional email.
Marketing emails are usually sent on a regular schedule. Marketing emails may promote weekly blog posts or monthly sales items, for example. Or perhaps they promote quarterly or annual events and opportunities.
The customer has little to no control over how many marketing emails are sent to them. Once they have opted into marketing emails, they will receive them at whatever interval the company sends.
Transactional emails are also more regulated than marketing emails. Transactional emails are subject to strict laws that businesses must comply with. Some laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, require that transactional emails include a clear unsubscribe link, and the company can not send emails to customers who have unsubscribed.
It’s important to educate yourself about these laws so that you are in legal compliance in all the countries where you do business.
Marketing emails have fewer regulations. The knowledge of the regulations and legal requirements of different emails will help to keep your company out of legal trouble.
Transactional and Marketing Emails and You
While it’s easy to conclude that an email is an email is an email, this isn’t the whole story. Marketing and transactional emails have clear differences in both their purpose and their structure.
Transactional emails are automatically triggered by a customer’s specific actions, and they provide customers with important information and support. Marketing emails promote products, services, or events and are intended to generate interest and drive sales.
By understanding the key differences between these two types of emails, you and your business can make better use of them and improve your communication strategies.
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