What are Transactional Emails and How to Send Them? The TLDR

Categorized as Business

Do you know those emails you get from your utility company or bank about account updates or service changes? Those are called transactional emails.

Transactional emails are triggered by an action within a company, such as:

  • Account updates
  • Order confirmations
  • Invoices
  • Password resets
  • Policy changes
  • [ACTION REQUERED] emails
  • and other notifications that provide the customer with critical information

According to ChatGPT, these emails are a legal or service requirement and, therefore, are not subject to the same regulations as promotional emails, which is why they don’t have an unsubscribe option.

The last point mentioned there is very important, “they don’t have an unsubscribe option.”

The issue with loading your customer database into a traditional email marketing service is that your contacts can unsubscribe. That simply can NOT happen when you have to send critical information such as warranty information or terms of service updates.

How to Send Transactional Emails

To send transactional emails without using an email marketing service, you have a few options:

  1. In-House SMTP Server: Set up your own SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server. This requires more technical expertise to manage and ensure that it is reliable, secure, and that your emails are not marked as spam.
  2. Enterprise-Level ESPs: Utilize enterprise-level email service providers such as SendGrid, Amazon SES, or Postmark. These services offer APIs that integrate directly with your systems, allowing you to send large volumes of email with high deliverability rates.
  3. CRM Systems: Some CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems come with built-in email capabilities that are suitable for transactional emails.
  4. Dedicated Transactional Email Services: Use a dedicated transactional email service which provides the ability to send such emails without the marketing features, often with APIs for integration with your current systems.

All this goes without saying: when you set up your system, ensure you are compliant with all relevant legislation, such as CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. or CASL in Canada, which govern the sending of transactional and commercial emails.