What Is a Transactional Email? (With Examples)

Ive been researching, testing, and writing about email marketing software for the last three years. And I know the decision to choose an email tool can be time-consuming. So I spent several weeks researching and testing over two dozen transactional email apps—here are the six best to help you choose your email marketing software.

A transactional email is an email that is sent to an individual recipient following a commercial transaction or specific action performed by that person, such as a purchase in your connected store or a password reset request.

What are Transactional emails and how to use them sell

What are transactional emails used for?

Many companies send transactional emails, especially online businesses to connect with a customer immediately by using automation. Since many businesses use transactional emails, customers often expect them. For example, if a user resets their password for a website, they might receive an automatic transactional email when their new password is ready for use.

In addition, bloggers and social media Influencers may also send transactional emails to their audiences. For example, if a person subscribes to a bloggers email list, they might receive a transactional email every month detailing blog updates.

What is a transactional email?

Transactional emails, or triggered emails, are messages a company sends automatically when a customer performs a certain action. While businesses write and send traditional emails as part of their marketing campaigns, they design transactional emails to respond to each customers actions or needs. For example, if a customer purchases a new pair of shoes, they might receive a transactional email to confirm their payment was successful.

Types of transactional emails

Here are a few examples of transactional emails:

Purchase receipts

When customers shop online, their purchases can trigger an automatic email. These emails usually include a brief message of thanks, an order number, purchase details and a link to the company website to review more details or continue shopping. This helps the customer store the receipt and provides an opportunity for the company to encourage additional purchases.

Account creation

Similar to a purchase receipt, a company can send automated messages as soon as a customer creates a new account. Sometimes these messages are simple confirmation emails. In other cases, a customer may need to click a link to verify their email address. Encouraging people to create an account can be an effective method of ensuring they return to your website and make more purchases.

Password reset

If a person forgets their password for a website, they often receive an email to verify their identity. This transactional email might include a link to reset a password, offer a temporary password or direct them to the next level of verification such as a text message. Transactional emails can help companies communicate that they care about a customers privacy.

Account alerts

Sometimes account activity may trigger transactional alerts. For example, a bank member might receive a transactional email regarding a large bank transfer. This email is beneficial because it can encourage them to log on to their account and verify their activity, which can help prevent fraud. Customers may appreciate this type of transactional email because it can show a company is interested in protecting their account.


Unlike other types of transactional emails, behavior-based emails typically focus on marketing. For example, a company might send an automatic behavior-based email to a customer who is shopping online, adding items to their cart and removing them later. This can help the company confirm the customers decision and motivate them to reconsider a potential purchase. Similarly, if a customer is searching for a specific brand of handbag, they might receive transactional emails that recommend related products.


Reminder emails can help customers remember to take a specific action or attend an event. Reminder emails often include shipping updates, order preparation information or event dates. For example, if a person has registered for a free webinar, they might receive a transactional email the day before the event to remind them what time the webinar occurs and what topics the host plans to discuss.

How to create a transactional email

There are a few steps you can take to create your first transactional emails:

1. Determine which type of email to use

To create the right transactional email for your company, think about which type of email might enhance your email marketing. For example, if your business fulfills online orders, you may consider sending transactional emails after making a sale. Similarly, an online retailer could send a behavior-based email on products its customers view and their previous purchases.

2. Write the content

Next, you can write a transactional email that aligns with your current goals and design a template for future transactional emails. Consider researching how to automate your emails to manage your time efficiently. If necessary, you can make continual updates to your transactional email to add fresh marketing content and address new customer needs.

3. Find a mail marketing tool

Though many basic email services allow for scheduling emails, transactional emails typically require a mail plug-in or tool. Depending on the technology available, you could also use a mail marketing tool to design your email to accomplish your business goals. For example, you might use a high-contrast color to highlight important call-to-action links. Email marketing tools also can connect with your online sales tools to extract information such as a customers name and order details, which can help you customize your transactional emails.

4. Consider tracking user data

Once youve created your emails using a marketing tool, you can begin sending them. You can consider tracking user data to maximize engagement and provide information that can help you adjust your templates as needed. For example, a company may monitor the number of people who check the delivery status of a product they ordered online. This can help the company determine whether it needs to provide more up-to-date information in the transactional email and make necessary changes.

Tips for improving your transactional emails

Here are some tips you can use to maximize the benefits of transactional emails for your company:


What is a transactional email vs marketing email?

There are many types of transactional emails. But the most common examples of transactional emails are messages that confirm a purchase, confirm a newsletter subscription, or simply allowing users to reset a forgotten password. Plus, they’re more valuable than you might think.

What is a transactional message?

Marketing email is generally sent to groups of contacts that are prospects or customers. Transactional Email: One-to-one emails that contain information that completes a transaction or process the recipient has started with you.

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