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The Differences Between Transactional and Event-Triggered Emails

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Transactional email

Transactional emails are messages that businesses send to ease a transaction, provide a service or deliver a product, as requested by the customer. Unlike promotional emails, companies don’t have to take consent from their customers to send transactional emails. Organizations use these emails to communicate important information to customers at significant moments in the customer journey.

Transactional emails are usually initiated by a customer’s or prospect’s interaction with an app or website, such as sending receipts, password reset notifications, and delivery information.

Transactional email lets you present information that is exclusively relevant to the recipient. These emails can remind individuals of needed actions or give requested information, such as completing the transaction and buying the items in their shopping cart. Transactional email generally uses an SMTP or API integration to send emails. This typically requires a developer to set up a system that sends coded templates to specific recipients based on a precise action.

Importance of transactional emails

Transactional email is vital to businesses as these emails bring immense value to them. Here’s how: 

It increases customer trust.

Customers certainly feel much safer when interacting with a business that offers valuable information during every cooperation phase. Companies can effectively eliminate customer concerns with the help of transactional emails.

It enhances customer engagement.

Transactional emails take up a coordinated approach that lets customers feel appreciated, which in turn invites interaction. This cooperation then leads to even higher customer participation and better social media engagement.

It motivates additional sales.

Marketers can send product ads that are correlated to what their customers are buying or have bought with transactional emails. These subtle advertisements go a long way and help cultivate the desire to purchase complementary or additional business products.

It cultivates brand recognition. 

Transactional emails are an elegant way to present and bring the client’s attention to the brand’s elements like typography, logos, colors, and more. This ensures that the buyer remembers a specific thing about your business in the future.

Event-Triggered Email

Event-triggered email is a commonly used term in the email marketing world. Simply put, it’s an email sent by a brand to its subscribers that’s automatically triggered by a specific “event.”

For example, when someone subscribes to your brand for email alerts, maybe it’s your company policy to send them an email on their anniversary with a coupon. This email will be sent automatically on their date of birth. In this example, the “event” was the anniversary, and it “triggered” the sending of the email. However, in reality, event-triggered emails are much more than that.

Organizations harness the power of automated emails to stay in touch with customers, strengthen their brand value and image, and engage with prospects. They are also known as behavioral emails sent automatically based on predefined conditions or events triggered by specific actions, behaviors, or other signals.

The main and most significant difference between general promotional emails and triggered emails is that triggered emails are delivered to an individual automatically on a one-to-one basis. In contrast, promotional emails are sent on a one-to-many basis manually. Triggered emails are exceptionally powerful tools in email marketing because they are relevant and timely, providing the recipient with usefulness and actual value.

Some widespread use cases for triggered emails are

Product View Abandonment

Whenever a customer browses a specific item on a laptop or a mobile app but doesn’t purchase it, ultimately, a triggered email about the viewed product will be sent to re-engage them after exiting the app.

Cart Abandonment

For many e-commerce businesses, shopping cart abandonment is a serious issue. It is when a customer adds items to their shopping cart but leaves without purchasing them. You may trigger a cart abandonment email to attempt and recover them from buying and completing their checkout process.

Order Confirmation 

Order confirmation emails are sent to the customer after they have purchased and their order is finalized and confirmed. Set the email trigger upon purchase completion and send order information, important shipping details, and more.

Transactional emails Vs. Event-Triggered emails:

There is an extensive hazy line between transactional email and triggered email with many misconceptions and half-accuracies. Many want to use these terms interchangeably, but that would not be accurate at all! They are two very different and essential things.

Triggered emails enable businesses to connect with their customers using the appropriate message at the optimal moment, contributing to an excellent customer experience. Transactional email, on the other hand, is not always strictly one-to-one. While it’s true that emails are modified and personalized to suit the needs of the recipient in some way, transactional emails generally adhere to a particular profile.

You must not categorize email as transactional only if it is so grave that it must not be subjected to any filtering. Mailbox providers (MBPs) are highly concerned with delinquent filtering when it comes to transactional messages. There is always a path for or a mitigation plan for things like order confirmations or receipts that get bounced as spam. This brings our focus to the triggered mail.

Many marketers feel that triggered emails are different from mass marketing emails, and they are not wrong. It is not like sending the same message to many people with no personalization. However, it’s not right to label it transactional either because the primary goal of these types of triggered emails is to drive people back to the website to complete a purchase. 

So it becomes vital to fragment out a transactional email from triggered email because misclassifying significant amounts of marketing email can adversely affect your sending reputation. This will leave you with significantly fewer options to get essential emails to your recipients.

Well, it might sound harsh in the beginning, but it will be very safe and effective to manage your transactional mail, your triggered mail streams, and your reputation if you are honest with the intention of your email from the start.

If you seek some professional help to jumpstart with email marketing, then let Sootra Consulting guide you. All you need is to ask or send us your business information or email requirements at So, let’s start talking!

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