Why Marketing and Transactional Email Don’t Have to Battle One Another


Posted on

Guide-logoTransactional email has certainly earned its place in the world since the start of email. While marketing email gets all the hype, transactional email —the messages that people often welcome in their inbox—receive little glory. However, one hand washes the other when it comes to building a comprehensive email program.

Marketing email leads the charge

Marketing email (or promotional email as it is sometimes called) is the dark horse that always rides into battle invading inboxes with the hopes of achieving the ultimate goal—conversion. Examples of marketing email include newsletters, email promotions, coupons, and special offers.

Essentially, marketing email attempts to encourage the recipient to take an action such as making a purchase, downloading content, registering for a service, attending an event or visiting a store. Since the intent of marketing email is to promote a commercial product or service, it must adhere to certain legal requirements defined in the CAN-SPAM Act that were specifically developed to protect consumers and help senders provide the best possible email experience.

Transactional email holds the line

Only after marketing email has done its job by lobbying buyers to your side, does transactional email get to show its true colors. Its job is to hold the line and protect your company’s greatest assets. It qualifies the sale, monetizes the effort, and maintains an ongoing dialogue with your new recruits.

Today, transactional email includes any email triggered by a user’s interaction with a web application, including signups, password changes, check-ins, notifications, and friend or follower requests. These emails typically contain information a user wants or needs and consequently have the highest open rates across all categories of email. Open rates remain high for transactional email because subscribers expect to receive them and even welcome these messages.

Together they go for the gold

When transactional and marketing email work in tandem, the two are a force to be reckoned with. Marketing email continues the push to find new customers while keeping existing ones interested. Transactional email validates the relationship and provides another level of conversation for those who choose to engage on a deeper level.

It’s important to think about both email types as part of your entire marketing strategy since they are two parts of a whole. Our new guide Marketing & Transactional Email : How to Build a Powerful Integrated Email Program  provides a comprehensive overview of marketing and transactional email and how they can work together to provide a powerful email program.

To learn more about how these two email types can work together and to see some real-life examples of email done right, download the free guide here.


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
Have thoughts on this post?
Chat with us about it on Twitter and Google+