What Is A Transactional Email And How To Send One In 2021 [+ Examples]

Transactional emails are everywhere these days! But what are these campaigns, and how do you set them up?

First of all, email marketing is and will always be the best way to reach your audience. Be it a confirmation, a password change, or a lead-nurturing campaign, emails are an essential component of an effective marketing strategy. And let’s not forget that for every $1 you spent on it, you have an ROI of 4900%!

To harness the power of email, today we’ll learn everything you need to know about transactional campaigns, from the definition and types to finding out how to send and improve them! It’s time to let it roll!

Interested in getting an intuitive email marketing platform that will equip you with the right tools to create transactional campaigns? Try Moosend and get ready for action!

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What Is A Transactional Email?

A transactional campaign is an automated email that businesses sent to solidify a transaction between a customer and their brand. Some of the most popular transactional messages include account creation, order, and shipping notifications.

In general, due to their important content, these emails tend to have higher open rates than email marketing campaigns. We’ll see more about that later on!

Transactional Emails Vs. Marketing Campaigns

Speaking of that, the first thing you need to know is that transactional messages and marketing campaigns are very different things.

Promotional emails are meant to nurture your leads, offer different incentives, and lead them a step further down your marketing funnel. Also, email marketers send these campaigns to multiple recipients after they sign up for their newsletter.

Transactional messages, on the other hand, are delivered after a triggered action. For example, when customers make a purchase, they get an order confirmation with vital details about the purchase. So…

Why Do You Need Transactional Campaigns?

Well, for multiple reasons! First of all, when customers make changes to their accounts or buy something, they need to know what’s going on. Sending them transactional messages will keep them up-to-date, and deliver valuable information that’s necessary for the customer journey.

Apart from that, transactional messages reduce the number of customer support tickets, and provide amazing digital customer experiences with your brand!

Below, you’ll find the most common types that every business should send.

Types Of Transactional Emails & Examples

Knowing what messages you need to deliver is key to creating a robust email strategy. To make it happen, let’s see the types and some common examples of transactional emails that every business needs to send:

1. Email Address Confirmation

Confirmation emails are the first thing you have to set up. While your audience can join your list without verifying their email address (single opt-in), having double opt-in in place will help you:

These campaigns are perfect for keeping track of who joins your mailing list and increase your overall open, click-through, and conversion rates.

Example: Red Bull – eCommerce

Subject line: Please confirm your newsletter registration

red bull confirmation email

After signing up for its email newsletter, Red Bull automatically sends a transactional email to confirm your subscription.

This is a simple example that has all the right elements to encourage new subscribers to take action. From the bright call-to-action to the first-time discount voucher, this email is both effective and enticing.

2. Account Creation

Account creation emails are one of the most common messages that eCommerce and SaaS businesses send out.

These campaigns are triggered right after a potential customer creates a new profile. Marketers can use these transactional emails to welcome new users, give them incentives, and even invite them to join their loyalty program!

Example: Tease Tea – eCommerce

Subject line: Customer account confirmation

tease tea account confirmation email

Tease’s email lets new customers know that they have successfully created a new account. Not only that, but the brand also grabs the opportunity to welcome them on board, informing them that they can save time at checkout simply by logging in to their profiles.

The pink CTA is also a nice touch, standing out in the background. Apart from that, you can also see how Tease promotes its loyalty program by highlighting the benefits of becoming a member.

3. Welcome Email Campaigns

Here’s something that might come as a surprise: welcome emails are transactional emails!

After someone signs up for your newsletter or an account, you need to make a great first impression. As we saw, when we analyzed some of the best welcome email campaign examples, your “welcome wagons” should:

  • Be friendly and have personalized content.
  • Provide valuable information.
  • Include a straightforward CTA.

Also, keep in mind that your welcome recipes need to be triggered at the right time to engage your audience and offer valuable information the moment they need it.

Example: TOPOL.io – SaaS

Subject line: Welcome to TOPOL.io

topol transactional campaign welcome email

TOPOL’s welcome message is simple and straightforward, with a bright yellow CTA that’s hard to miss. As you can see, the SaaS company gives new users information about their trial status and a checklist with all the cool things they can do.

Of course, extra elements like the “contact us” link and the account manager’s personal email address are a great way to give new users a direct communication line with your company.

Having trouble with your welcome messages? We got you covered! Check out these welcome email templates to capture your audience’s attention and lead them closer to conversion! Then, hop into Moosend’s platform and create yours!

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4. Password Reset Emails

Let’s be honest; we’ve all forgotten our passwords at least once! When this happens, users will click on the “Forgot password” option and wait for the magical password change message. Effective password reset requests should:

  • Be clear and to the point.
  • Include a password change link.
  • Assure users that their password hasn’t automatically changed.

Password reset emails are among the most crucial transactional emails your business needs to set up. Here’s what they look like!

Example: Spotify – SaaS

Subject line: Reset your password

spotify password reset message

Spotify’s password change email is everything the absent-minded subscriber wants to see. The green “Reset password” hyperlink manages to stand out, while the email copy is short and straightforward to avoid confusion. What’s more, the company reassures the recipient that they can delete the email if they didn’t make the request.

Keep in mind that these campaigns need no fancy subject lines to get high open rates! Your subscriber will instantly open them and take action when they see them. I guess these campaigns are magical after all!

5. Order Confirmation Emails

If you successfully managed to convince your audience that your product/service is worth their time and money, they’ll eventually make a purchase.

So what’s the next thing they expect to see in their inbox? That’s right! An order confirmation message to let them know that the transaction has been successfully executed. Order confirmations are a must for all businesses that want to keep their customers stress-free about whether their payment has been received or not.

Example: Udemy – Online Learning

Subject line: Order Confirmation for March 31, 2021

udemy transactional campaign for order confirmation

Udemy’s transactional email shows you exactly what you need to know about your recent purchase. You can check the list price, your price (which in our case was free!), the tax, credits, and the total.

What’s more, this email doesn’t have any promotional messages since they are unnecessary. The CTA is focused, prompting learners to start with their new course immediately. On top of that, the online course platform has come up with an effective subject line to show customers what the email is about, even adding a date (“for March 31, 2021”) to make it more specific.

6. Purchase Receipts

During Covid-19, many retailers and hospitality services had to take their businesses online. As a result, some of them started sending customers e-receipts.

These purchase receipts are perfect for informing your buyers that you’ve received their payment and reassuring those who might be worried that you’ll hold up your end of the transaction.

Example: Home Depot – Retail

Subject line: Your Electronic Receipt

home depot purchase receipt


Home Depot has taken your traditional receipt and turned it into a brilliant email. Now customers can access the digital copy anytime they want, print it out, or save it.

What’s more, using transactional messages like this is convenient not only for your buyers but also for the environment! So if you want to promote an environmentally-friendly business, using e-receipts might help you out more than you think!

Need more information about how to take your brick-and-mortar company online? Make sure to watch our insightful Academy video to find out!

7. Account Notifications

Of course, account notifications couldn’t be missing from our list! These emails are extremely helpful for people who want to keep track of things happening to their profiles.

This transactional email type needs to be short and to the point, functioning as real-time updates.

Example: Amazon – eCommerce

Subject line: Updated Language Settings

amazon account notification email

This campaign is triggered after changing the language settings of your Amazon account, informing the recipient about the update, and providing additional details. This is just a small sample of how the company uses notification emails to keep customers updated about everything happening on their profiles!

Other transactional messages that Amazon sends out regularly include sign-in attempts, information update requests, thank you emails, and so on.

8. Shipping Notifications & Updates

When your customer base makes a purchase, they look forward to receiving that one email that’ll give them more details about shipping. When it comes to these transactional campaigns, customers will check them out when they hit their inbox. And, as you can guess, they also tend to have high open and engagement rates.

Shipping transactional emails need to have all the right information to keep your customer updated. A broken tracking link or insufficient details will result in them reaching out to your customer support team and have a negative impact on their experience with your brand.

Example: Redbubble – eCommerce

Subject line: Your order has been printed & shipped.

Redbubble shipping notification example

Redbubble steps up its shipping notifications using a beautiful email design and visuals. While not necessary, the brand makes sure to provide a great customer experience, pleasing the buyer’s eye and giving them everything they need to know about the shipment.

Also, one of the best things about this example is the little FAQ section at the bottom. This way, Redbubble aspires to minimize friction and offer assistance before customers get to open a ticket.

9. Social Media Event-Triggered Notifications

Almost everyone has at least one social media account these days. For big social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, keeping users up-to-date with what’s going on is a must.

To do it, these platforms tend to deliver event-triggered notifications when users take specific actions on their profiles. Let’s see what these transactional emails look like:

Example: Twitter – Social Media Networks

Subject line: Mac Walters Tweeted: So looking forward to this…

Twitter event-based social media updates

These notification emails from Twitter are very common. To receive them, users need to have enabled notifications for a specific account or follow certain tags. Also, while your brand has no say in these messages, they are perfect for your social media marketing strategy as they help your audience keep track of what you post and lead them back to your profile.

So next time you create a post, why not prompt your followers to enable notifications for better engagement?

How To Send Transactional Emails

Transactional messages require something more to get delivered. In our case, that’s an SMTP server (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), i.e., a TCP/IP protocol used to send, receive and relay messages.

Now, to send these campaigns to your target audience, you need to get your hands on a transactional email service like Moosend or Mailchimp. While some email service providers (ESPs) allow you to send these emails on free plans, they do have certain limitations that aren’t ideal for growing businesses.

So if you are serious about your digital marketing strategy, you’ll need an advanced email tool to handle everything for you! Getting a paid SMTP server solution will:

  • Provide you with additional functionality.
  • Offer better security.
  • Minimize configuration time.
  • Give you a dedicated IP address.
  • Ensure high email delivery rates.
  • Allow you to monitor performance through analytics.

So to answer the question, all you need to send a transactional campaign is an SMTP relay service! Now let’s see how you can do it using Moosend!

Delivering Transactional Messages with Moosend

Moosend’s platform is equipped with the right tools to help you deliver your transactional emails no matter what.

To access the SMTP server, you first need to sign up for a free account and then upgrade to a Pro plan. Pricing starts at $8/month, and you can send unlimited emails for up to 1,000 subscribers.

Here are some simple steps to set up Moosend’s server:

Configuring the SMTP server

To configure the SMTP relay server, you need to log in to your account, click on “Mailing Lists” from the left side menu, and select the “Direct SMTP” option.

Here, you’ll find all the details to connect:

moosend smtp server configuration

Selecting your recipients

Moosend gives you the option to send your SMTP campaign to an email address or a mailing list.

To deliver it to a single recipient, create your campaign and add their email address. Note that when you send your message, Moosend will automatically generate a new mailing list with the name “Transactional Campaign Recipients.” Every time you repeat this step, the system will add your contacts to this list unless you choose otherwise.

If you want to send your campaign to an existing Moosend list, you have to deliver it to “your-mailing-list-id-here@lists.mailendo.com,” where you have to replace mailing_list_id with your own mailing list id.

Tracking your transactional email campaign

To monitor the performance of your campaign, you can access Moosend’s reporting and analytics. There, you’ll find a campaign named “Transactional Campaign.” By clicking on it, you can see how your recipient/s have interacted with it.

Also, the system will automatically create a “Transactional Campaign Recipients” list where all your transactional message recipients are added.

Need help configuring your SMTP server? Make sure to check out this article to set everything up in a jiffy!

Transactional Email Performance

As we saw at the beginning, transactional campaigns tend to receive higher open rates than marketing emails. According to the following statistics, shipping confirmations have the highest opens with a 149.4% rate.

Also, bounce rates are low, especially for password reset emails! To give you an idea of how transactional messages perform, let’s take a look at the most common types and their rates:

transactional email performance rates


What these stats reveal is that email recipients value these messages more than anything. So sending them the moment they need them is crucial to improve the customer journey and provide stellar experiences.

Be careful, though! While transactional campaigns will give you high rates by default, you also need to help them out by:

Using DMARC and BIMI is a great way to improve your transactional messages in an era where scammers and hackers roam free!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Before I see you off, let’s see some common transactional email questions and their answers.

Q1. Do I Need to Add Unsubscribe Links to Transactional Campaigns?

Transactional campaigns don’t need to have an unsubscribe link. However, to minimize any potential frustration, you can add one to allow your audience to manage their preferences or remove themselves from your list.

Q2. Are Bulk Emails the Same as Transactional Messages?

No. Bulk emails are sent to multiple recipients at once for promotional purposes. Popular bulk email examples include newsletters and coupons. On the other hand, transactional emails are event-triggered, such as confirmation emails, shipping notifications, etc.

Q3. Are Abandoned Cart Emails Transactional?

While they feel like transactional campaigns, cart abandonment emails are more on the marketing side. To set them up, you’ll need a marketing automation tool like Moosend or Mailchimp.

Q4. How Can I Send a Transactional Campaign?

To deliver transactional messages, you need an email API or SMTP server solution. The market offers a plethora of transactional email services to deliver your campaigns. Among them, Moosend is the most affordable option, offering unlimited campaigns for up to 1,000 contacts.

Q5. How Do You Write a Transactional Message?

Transactional campaigns need to focus on the information the recipient wants to see. Try to avoid promotional elements and give your reader a clear CTA to get the job done. Also, your subject lines should be as clear as possible to communicate the content of the email at first glance.

Q6. What Are the Most Popular Transactional Email Use Cases?

The most common transactional campaigns are account creation and confirmation emails. Password reset requests are equally popular, along with shipping alerts.

Create Transactional Email Messages Today

Transactional campaigns have always been there, giving customers immediate access to important information.

Whether you have an eCommerce business, a retail store, or a SaaS company, sending these messages will improve the customer journey and build trust with your audience.

If you don’t know where to start, you can sign up for a Moosend account, upgrade to the lowest tier plan, and set up yours in no time!

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