Marketing vs. Transactional Email: Which One Suffers Most?


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We know that 20% of email never makes it to the inbox. Those are the facts according to numerous studies on email deliverability. As an app developer, even if you have built a winning product, it means nothing if you can’t communicate effectively with your customers to get them to use it.

There are two types of email messages traditionally pushed out to customers – marketing email and transactional email. Marketing messages (a.k.a. commercial email) are email messages that encourage recipients to take an action such as purchasing a product, registering for an event or downloading content. Emails like newsletters, coupons or other promotional mail fall into this category. While recipients have actively subscribed to this list, it does not necessarily mean that this subscriber has converted to an active and loyal customer.

Unlike marketing or commercial email, transactional messages are sent to customers after they take a specific action like placing an order. This action tends to signify a relationship between you and the subscriber. Transactional email comes in form of welcome messages, account verification, invoices, and receipts, shipping notices, confirmations, service updates, subscription renewals, account updates, password delivery notifications, alerts and social notifications.

Most discussions around email deliverability focus on marketing messages but the reality is that transactional email messages are just as susceptible to deliverability failures. Poor deliverability for your transactional mail stream carries a particularly high cost because these messages are often expected, anticipated and necessary for the successful use of your product. So, if these fail to arrive, there is not only a loss of trust between you and your customer, but the reliability of your product or service is also called into question.

In summary, you need to stay on top of deliverability for all your mail streams – and you can’t assume that ISPs will consistently differentiate your essential transactional messages from the billions of spam messages that hit their networks every hour. Successfully delivered email is essential to long-term customer engagement, loyalty and trust.

Deliverability problems are preventable and manageable – don’t wait until you have a crisis to get focused on this critical issue – download SendGrid’s Deliverability Guide to learn more today.

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Carly Brantz is a veteran in the email deliverability space working to make email simple and easy for developers by regularly writing whitepapers, research briefs and blog posts about email, technology and industry trends.

Carly Brantz on Twitter

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