Brands are neglecting transactional emails, leading to deliverability issues and lost customers

Email Marketing

Transactional and triggered emails (e.g., ‘welcome emails’) are on the rise, but senders are not investing enough in the technology behind them to maintain consistent deliverability, engagement and quality, according to findings from SparkPost’s 2020 Benchmark Report.

Transactional emails are a critical element of the customer experience. Whether it’s a confirmation email with a receipt, a ticket to an event or an order update, it is imperative that the email is sent to and received by the customer. Consistently delivering transactional emails is key to establishing trust with customers and maintaining the integrity of your brand.

For marketers, neglecting these types of emails could lead to long-term deliverability issues, including poor sender reputation, and tarnished relationships with customers.

Transactional emails make — or break — the customer journey

Many brands and
email marketers recognize the value of transactional emails and their positive
impact on the customer journey. But despite 95% of respondents indicating
transactional email is ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ for engagement,
customer complaints are on the rise due to transactional emails never making it
to the inbox.  “There is a direct correlation between a lack of investment
in fundamental elements – such as testing, deliverability authentication, and
email analytics – and the increase of customer complaints,” said April Mullen,
director of strategic insights for SparkPost.

Unlike commercial emails, which require the recipient’s explicit opt-in, transactional emails are sent in response to specific actions, behaviors or events. As global regulations tighten around email privacy, transactional emails are one of the few channels that marketers can leverage without explicit consent. This provides opportunities to include calls-to-action in the transactional emails, such as newsletter opt-in or following the brand’s social presence — steps toward building a relationship with the customer to achieve higher retention.

Marketing owns email, but responsibilities still fall to IT

Ownership of transactional emails is increasingly shifting to the marketing team and away from the traditional It department. Two-thirds of transactional email creators work in marketing or product ownership roles. More than a third of those writing transactional email content are in technical roles and likely do not have the necessary context or insight from the marketing team to produce engaging content that resonates with the recipient.

teams have fragmented responsibility and workflow, neglect authentication
protocols and lack analytics, they’re missing vital insights and control over
their email program,” said Mullen. “As email volume continues to
grow, there are significant opportunities for brands to remedy some basic
issues with minimal investment, resulting in positive impacts on customer

If the marketing team owns email, transactional emails are part of the package. Those leaving transactional email content in the hands of disconnected IT developers are likely leaving opportunities for conversion on the table and will fall behind in growth.

Authentication applies to transactional emails, too

issues for transactional emails are on the rise. Nearly 40% of ESPs report
deliverability issues, and only 62% indicated that their deliverability rate is
95% or higher. That leaves significant room for improvement and can likely be
addressed with authentication methods such as DMARC that can improve and
monitor the domain from fraudulent email and enforces policies for recipient
handling of authentication failures and reporting from receivers to senders.

For brands and email marketing teams that want to improve their transactional emails, performing a deliverability audit is a proactive step towards identifying underlying issues and outlining the process to resolution.

More about the Managed Inbox

About The Author

Jennifer Videtta Cannon serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.

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