When people think of email they often focus on marketing and promotional messages with special offers to encourage future purchases or inspire customer loyalty. But thousands of businesses also rely on email to automatically communicate information related to transactions or transactional email. This includes:

– Welcome messages
– Account verifications, updates, statements and notices
– Password delivery
– Order confirmations, invoices, receipts and renewals
– Shipping notifications
– Email alerts and updates
– Reminders and cancellations
– Product updates and instructions

To take full advantage of transactional email, you need to have a strong messaging strategy along with sound processes and data collection practices that will help ensure your messages are delivered immediately the inbox.

Here are five tips to ensure your transactional emails get delivered:

1) Are your messages reaching the inbox? Transactional emails experience higher open and click through rates because customers expect and even welcome them. So it’s imperative that your messages actually reach them. 20% of legitimate email routinely goes undelivered because ISPs think that email is spam. Therefore, you must continuously monitor your transactional email streams to identify delivery failures and take preventative action before it affects your customers.

2) How frequently are these emails being deployed? Transactional emails need to be timely. If a customer places an order or signs up for an account, they want an instant confirmation of that action. If you wait too long to communicate with them, your customer will lose confidence in your brand. Email deliverability becomes essential here. You may have set your systems to deploy instant notifications, but your emails may still be getting blocked preventing customers from receiving your messages. Invest in resources to ensure systems are compliant with ISP requirements so you can meet your customers’ expectations and protect your brand’s reputation. Each ISP has a different set of requirements so you’ll need a tool to help you out here.

3) Are you designing and coding your emails for optimum deliverability? Image heavy emails and HTML errors trigger spam filters and provide a poor experience for your customer. Consider the user when creating your emails. Yes, even transactional ones. Also remember, that your customers are reading emails on many different platforms. From smartphones to tablets, your customers are on the move. You have limited time to get your message across. Make sure you use it wisely.

4) Are you using dedicated IPs for your transactional messages? Your sending reputation is what ISPs use to make filtering decisions. Each IP has its own sender reputation. In order to truly optimize your email program, isolate your transactional email streams to one or more IPs. This way you can better monitor and diagnose potential delivery failures by email type. If your “friend request” email messages are being junked, then it’s easier to take action and solve your problem quickly.

For more information on whether you should use a dedicated or shared IP, check out this blog post.

5) Are your mail servers secure? Make sure you don’t have an open relay or open proxy. Follow industry standard best practices for network and server security. All the best mailing practices don’t matter if you don’t have control of your environment. If you use a third-party tool or system for this, you’re probably in good shape, but check with email deliverability experts to make sure.

Deliverability failure is a little known crisis, the dark secret of email. It may already be a big problem for you and you don’t even know. So, make sure you take the time to understand its implications on your business and get the right tools and expertise in place to properly manage and optimize your email streams.

To find out more about email deliverability and how to manage it, download our free Email Deliverability Guide.

With more than 15 years of experience, Carly Brantz is an email deliverability and inbound marketing veteran. As the VP of Revenue Marketing at SendGrid, Carly empowers her team to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. With a key focus on funnel optimization, Carly leads the team responsible for content creation, lead nurturing, SEO/SEM, and website optimization. An accomplished speaker, Carly shares her email delivery and revenue marketing tactics as a headline speaker on SendGrid’s international roadshow as well as other Marketing conferences.