5 Common transactional email mistakes

5 Common transactional email mistakes

Posted under Transactional Email on February 9, 2018

The most important thing for a business is what its customers want to hear. Where content is the king businesses make no mistake to craft a personalized email message for engaging with the customers. We are overwhelmed to see growing number of social media channels and communication sites. But don’t we take email for granted?

Transactional emails have become an integral part of a business. They can not only increase the revenue and customer loyalty but also reduce cost. They have eight times more open rate as compared to the traditional promotional emails. Transactional emails are also categorized as triggered, automatic, real-time and personalized emails.

Transactional email is an automated message that goes to the customer’s inbox in response to the specific action taken on a website or App also sometimes for No Action.

Common transactional email use cases include; signups, verification, Password reset, financial transactions, order/shipment confirmation. These emails are also used to send alerts like In Stock, shopping cart abandonment, coupon expiry, daily digests and weekly newsletters.

We are living in an era where marketers send emails to increase customer engagement and businesses send transactional emails for shipping and order confirmations. Today brands use transactional emails to build customer trust and increase their customer engagement. Transactional emails remarkably enhance brand recognition as customers can relate to a brand. Most order confirmation emails carry the brand logo and signature. These emails also help businesses to generate revenue.

If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t make anything.  You can learn from your mistakes to turn your failure into an advantage. As Richard Branson rightly says, “One thing is certain in Business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes”.

So, let us walk you through five common mistakes that can prove fatal to your business if left untreated.

Mistake 1

It is a wrong perception that all transactional emails will reach the inbox of customers.  About 25% of transactional emails do not reach inboxes. The missing transactional emails can reduce the revenue of a business.  Businesses should gain the maximum profit by optimizing their email reputation. The expected transactional email that does not reach inbox leads to a poor user experience and additional calls into your support centre.

Don’t neglect to pay attention to the email delivery.  Spam is an unwanted, an irrelevant email, sent in bulk to a list of people.  Google, Yahoo, and AOL are the internet service provider ISPs that identify spam emails. Email is labelled as spam if the domain or IP addresses are untrustworthy or the content is suspicious.

You want to find ways to improve email deliverability by adding SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain keys identified mail) to your DNS settings. DNS (Domain Name servers) maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. SPF can jot down a list of servers that should be allowed to send mail for a specific domain. While on the other hand, DKIM verifies if the email content is authentic and trustworthy.

You have to apply various filters into your workflow to improve your email reputation. Mail recipient can mark your email as spam because he doesn’t remember you. We need to check the “From” and “Subject” lines with a critical eye. They mostly help customers to instantly identify the sender. You should never link to any bad site in your email.

Mistake 2

Emails do bounce and that’s OK.

What is an Email Bounce?

The bounce occurs when an email is returned to the subscriber’s server due to permanent or temporary failure of the subscriber’s email server.

Soft Bounce Vs Hard Bounce

Soft bounce means that the recipient’s email address is valid but the email message has not reached the recipient’s mail server, due to any of the following reasons.

  • The mailbox was jam-packed (the mailbox was full)
  • The server was down.  The email server is temporarily unavailable, was overloaded, or couldn’t be found.
  • The message was too large for the recipient’s inbox
  • Recipient is temporary unavailable

On the other hand, a hard bounce is when the email has not reached the recipient’s inbox due to any of the following reasons.

  • The email address is  invalid

The email addresses don’t exist-   the email address could have a typo or the mail recipient may have left the organization. It is also possible that the recipient has given a wrong email address.

Soft and hard bounces are not in the same boat as soft bounces are actually a short-term problem. Your email list should not take off the email addresses which cause short-term bounce. The invalid or non-existent addresses which cause hard bounces should be completely erased from your email list.

No More Bounces

Before designing flashy emails, you must focus on the email verification and email cleaning services. Email list should not include the incorrect email ids, invalid domains or typos. If you send emails to the hard bounce ids then certainly it carries a potential threat to your domain and IP reputation and MSPs might label you as a spammerA clean email list enables businesses to nail down the names of their most engaged customers.

You should keep email list clean and get rid of invalidnon-responsive and duplicate email addresses. You should also send a confirmation email to the users who subscribe to your list. The process of taking permission from users is called double opt-in. The mail recipient logs in to receive an email, after which he receives his first email with a confirmation link, and he will not receive future emails unless he clicks the link or replies directly.

Mistake 3

Why are we even thinking about Email Speed? Is it that important?

How many of us discuss an email speed? We always talk about inbox rate, response rate, missing emails and emails going to spam. Let’s focus on how quickly an email reaches an inbox. The missing emails may result in losing sales, increased customer calls and ultimately unhappy customers.

See the Figure below to understand how critical the speed of an email is for an average customer and your business.


Choosing the right email service provider (ESP) could change things dramatically and significantly improve the delivery speed.

Mistake 4

Why track transactional emails? It’s of no use.

Since we are talking about tracking transactional emails, let’s get back to the basics. We all know how hard it was to track transactional emails. But nowadays, things have completely changed and flying blind to the records means losing your customers.  If you choose not to track your transactional emails, then how will you find out about the number of bounce or spam emails?

We can track different types of transactional emails. We can develop an insight from the notifications coming from email servers.  You can derive the number of bounce emails to get an idea as to how are your emails seen by the third party i.e. ISPs. There are different ways to improve email deliverability. It all depends on your collected data from transactional emails. The open and click rates on a per-user basis are enough to give the feedback of transactional email.

Mistake 5

I don’t make anything out of transactional email.

It is a very common misconception. Transactional emails are not only about transactional notifications.  You don’t need to mention money or payment method in a transactional email. The transactional email is about a user’s account activity or a transaction. The email message can be personalized product notification, passwords reminder or purchase confirmation.  The transactional email includes any email triggered by a customer’s action. It could be: an action user took directly, an action he was the target of or, perhaps even inaction on his part.

Can transactional email benefit your business? With a high open rate and click through, transactional emails have remarkably high engagement levels. Transactional emails can not only create revenue but also serve multipurpose. From support channel to promotional content, the real-time connections with the customers increase profits. The transactional emails also build brand loyalty and leave a lasting impression on the users.

Example: An online specialty-products retailer found that 40% of its email revenue comes from transactional/triggered messages, which make up only 4% of volume. A major travel site generates 45% of its email profits from triggered messages that make up only 3% to 5% of its total message volume


  • Transactional emails are your face value of your brand, they need special treatment.
  • Save yourself from lots of Manual Customer Handling, set your triggers right.
  • Bounce management is the key to deliver mails to inbox
  • Authentications are MUST and can’t be overlooked
  • Tracking will bring useful insights which eventually will transform into revenue
  • Cross promotion is a serious business, take it seriously
  • Involve Marketing into your Template Creation & Trigger formation Strategy.

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Hi there. Thanks a lot! Useful article!.

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