What’s the difference between marketing email and transactional email?

Now what exactly is the difference between marketing email and transactional email? And can I use the Flexmail transactional API to send marketing emails too?

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between bulk and transactional email and explain how the Flexmail sending infrastructure can help you optimize deliverability for all your professional email.

What are transactional emails?

Transactional emails are those messages sent after your customer takes an action. Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • Confirmation of registration, Welcome emails
  • Account registrations
  • Reservation confirmations and reminders
  • Order confirmations and other emails following the purchase of a product or service
  • Comment notifications
  • Password recovery emails
  • Invoices and payment reminders
  • Activation emails
  • Password or data changes

So, we’re talking about emails that are super important for both the customer and your business. Picture this: You just made a cool purchase on an online store, but uh-oh, no confirmation email or any other form of communication in sight! Sure, the company might be legit, but doubts start creeping in about their reliability.

These special emails aren't just about sharing boring info; they're like your brand's superheroes, boosting your trustworthiness among your customers. Missing emails or transactional emails landing in spam? That's like a superhero losing their cape – not good for business!

Transactional emails are like VIP messages, one per recipient, triggered by user actions. They've got to reach their destination as soon and reliably as possible, every time.

What are marketing emails?

Marketing emails serve a different purpose. Where the recipient usually initiates when a transactional email needs to be sent, a marketing email usually always start with the intention of your business (or marketing team).

A marketing email typically includes the same message content sent to multiple recipients at once. There is no action from the recipient that triggers marketing messages to be sent. Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • Newsletters
  • Invites for events or webinars
  • Exclusive offers and promotions
  • Product launches and updates
  • Customer surveys and feedback requests
  • Announcements and other informative information
  • Marketing automation emails

Marketing emails play a different tune. Imagine being interested in a jeans brand and subscribing to their newsletter. A couple of months pass, and you haven’t received any email or information whatsoever. Chances are that when your favorite jeans rip, they won’t be the first brand coming to mind when looking for a new pair. Even worse, you maybe won’t even remember signing up for their emails in the first place!

Successful email marketing is all about consistency and relevant content. You want to influence your customers with great content and products that interest them to stay relevant and top of mind once they are ready to make a purchase. Or even to provide your recipients with useful and important information, with your content being the service.

Marketing emails are the rockstars, elevating your brand's trust quotient among customers. These are the headlining acts, customized for each recipient, triggered by interests and actions. They need to take center stage with flair, hitting the inbox consistently.

If you want to get into the specifics, have a look at the exact differences:

Email marketing Transactional email
Message originates from the organization Sent after a specific action by the recipient
Typically of a commercial nature Mainly of an informative nature
GDPR is applicable GDPR is not applicable
Opt-in and unsubscribe link are mandatory Cannot opt-in or opt-out
Can cover various topics, hopefully relevant Essential for both your recipient and your company
Often involves manual intervention Automatically triggered
Focus on potential conversion Focus on speed and deliverability
Tool to support your business Essential for continuity
"Bulk" Always one-on-one

What are the best practices for sending transactional and marketing emails from the same provider?

Because transactional emails and marketing emails are separate entities, with various origins and vulnerabilities, it’s best to separate them into different “tracks” or “streams”. If you would send all of them from the same IPs, receiving mail clients could classify more time-sensitive emails as marketing emails and vice-versa. This could lead to significant delays and deliverability issues.

Unlike many other email service providers, Flexmail keeps transactional and marketing emails completely separate, including distinct IP ranges. This aligns with best practices for preserving email reputation, as recommended by inbox providers like Gmail. By keeping sending environments as separate as possible, it becomes easier for providers to identify what content is safe to place in the inbox.

This means that you exclusively send transactional emails through the Flexmail transactional email API and use the marketing interface for your marketing emails.

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