Transactional Emails and Marketing Emails: Know the Difference

 In About Email

We all receive different types of emails in our inboxes. Most businesses use two types of emails: marketing emails and transactional emails. For users/customers, the two types of emails differ based on content. However, marketing and transactional emails are sent out differently.

What are Transactional Emails?

A user’s action can result in a transactional email. These emails are usually automatically generated.  They occur when you fill out a form, check-out online, ask for a password reset, etc. These emails are generated and are rule-based. The emails are sent through SMTP relay or APIs.

Examples of Transactional Emails

Here are a few examples of Transactional Emails:

Updates about online shopping – this includes emails informing you that your order has been shipped, out for delivery and delivered.

Social media updates – Updates on your social account which include new messages received. Other examples include;  pending notifications on Facebook, answer questions and see followers in Quora, notifications on LinkedIn, etc.








Changes in basic information of your account like password changes or resetting your password.

Reminder emails for loans or repayment







Remember that transactional emails are the ones that you are expecting.  You should swiftly deliver them, without any delay. To know more about the best practices for transactional emails, click here.

What are Marketing Emails?

Marketing emails differ from transactional emails due to their content and their method of sending. The sender decides what to send. You can use SMTP Relay or Web API based platforms to send these emails. But most marketers will want added functionality from campaign management programs, including email list upload, template builder, segmentation, etc. The main purpose of these emails is to market to customers and/or spread awareness regarding the latest activities or trends in the business.

Effective marketing email campaigns following best practices:

  • You have explicit consent from the recipient
  • You don’t bombard them with too many emails, maintaining a healthy email sending frequency
  • Send only to your subscribers and do not purchase email lists (learn about the hazards of buying email lists)

With the advent of regulations and laws like CAN-SPAM and the recent GDPR legislation, it’s important that you follow the best practices and are compliant with the laws and regulations for email.

Examples of Marketing Emails

Here is a weekly newsletter from Cole Haan:







































Luciana sends promotional email before their sales.


Required Practices When Sending Transactional Emails and Marketing Emails

No matter what type of email you are sending, your email needs to meet the following requirements. It will give you the assurance that your emails are effective. This allows you to derive maximum benefits out of them:

  • Your customers want personalized emails. You can base personalization on their past browsing and shopping habits of your customers. Use their name and location when you can.
  • Monitor the performance of the emails. Take effective measures to optimize your emails.
  • Do not spam their inbox by sending repetitive emails. Send relevant emails; sending the same thing over again is insanity by definition! You need to send relevant fresh emails that will keep customers from opting out. Then, your emails will not be marked as spam.

For a business to grow well, you need to send both marketing emails as well as transactional emails. Be sure to check out our consulting services if you need some help with your email strategy.

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