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Transactional emails and why they are often a missed opportunity for small business owners

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

Todays post is written by Easy SMTP.


These emails are the ones most often saved and read, so businesses must be resourceful in leveraging the time such emails have in front of the customer’s eye.  Research by Experian shows that transactional emails have the power to help businesses boost revenue by up to 3 percent.  They also have far higher open and click rates than the average bulk message.

Earmarking budget, time and talent to optimize transactional emails can ensure that no opportunity to cross-sell, provide support  or otherwise engage the customer is missed.  The following tips can help businesses make the most of these emails.


Even though a transactional email is a utilitarian message to provide essential details about some action that a customer has taken, it need not be dry or sparse. Businesses can include far more than just the necessary information; incentives to get the customer to buy more and keep buying are key, especially since customers are up to 70 percent more likely to patronage a business they have already completed transactions with.

Include brand elements and brand messages   in addition to information on related products and future sales.  Link to products pages, sales pages or abandoned shopping carts. Use HTML instead of just plain text messages.  Content should be arranged in a stylish layout to attract the customer’s interest; include images and subheads, if warranted.

The tone of the email should be personal and address the customer directly to emphasize the individualized one-on-one communication. Recipients should feel like valued customers who have received special attention and special promotions related to their personal interests and buying needs


Any emails pertaining to an actual purchase can yield big additional dividends because people eagerly read them to learn more about their purchase. Often they save these emails and glance it them multiple times, increasing the chances that the customer sees brand logos and attached promotions.  Since readers are already excited about their recent transaction, they are highly responsive and open to other opportunities from the same business.

Emails announcing that an item has shipped are the most lucrative, followed by  the initial order confirmation email.  However, even purchase-related emails sent after a product has been received are still valuable — and 60 percent more likely to get open than bulk emails. An email offering information about how to return or exchange a previously received product, for example, still attracts a customer’s attention and offers a chance to remedy a negative impression.   Messages reminding customers that it’s time to reorder product they liked in the past are also profitable for businesses.


The initial design of the transactional email should be created by both marketing specialists and informational technology specialists.  Marketing experts can regularly brainstorm a variety of promotions based on seasonal interest or product rollout, matching those promotions to a customer type.  They can also design an eye-popping design and decide where promotions such as coupons, product images, and other ads should go in relation to the transactional details and brand elements.  Obviously, details related to the recent transaction should be prominent and the main focus.

IT professionals can integrate marketing promotions by creating the right programs that automatically display cross-sell promotions in transactional emails according to a customer’s  tracked current and past buying behaviors in order to create instant individualization.

Rather than in a sidebar, having related product images or recommendations for additional products in the body of the email after the essential information is most effective for cross-selling.  However, sidebars are also valuable and can list popular items, links to website pages or even account status information.  In addition to actual products, the team designing the transactional email should also pitch company services, such as online or phone support, warranties,  resell opportunities or affiliate partnerships.

A review panel for transactional emails should be in place to periodically assess whether the email formats and designs are working optimally.  The choice of subject lines, headers, images and position of promotions should be regularly tested to see what configurations are most effective.

Good luck!

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