The most important type of email any company sends is their transactional email, even more so than bulk/marketing campaigns.
A simple way to define transactional email is one to one email based on a transaction. You buy something, you get a email. You reset a password, you get an email. You book a flight and get several emails. You read this blog, you get an email. (Well, not the last one but you get the point.)
While transactional emails aren’t the sexiest in the email world, they are the most important because they confirm an action your end user has taken or hasn’t taken in the case of fraudulent activity. When your users don’t get that expected post-transaction email quickly, that can prompt a follow-up to customer service, leading to a waste of your staff’s time confirming something that should have been confirmed automatically.
Having a great email provider is a must for any ecommerce company, app developer, financial institution or really any company that needs transactional email delivered.
If you’re looking at primary or secondary email service providers for your transactional email, here’s a few things to consider and ask.
Depending on your volume, you’ll either be sending through a shared IP range with other senders or your own dedicated IPs. Ask if those shared IPs are transactional only and what your options are if you go the dedicated route as combining transactional mail with bulk mail through the same IPs might actually be beneficial depending on your reputation and volume.
You should be getting insight on the basics like opens and clicks. Typically, transactional email has massive open rates so being able to confirm that is obviously important as is the ability to visually confirm daily sending volume and bounces/complaints. (FYI: If you’re getting high bounces/complaint numbers, something’s wrong.)
You should also be able to retrieve reporting statistics in several ways, either via a portal, webhooks, or API calls.
Ease of sending
This should go without saying, but you should be able to easily connect and send emails through your provider and have several options in which to do so (SMTP, API). There shouldn’t be any delay in sending as transactional email flows 24/7 based on the need to send it.
Understand what happens if something goes wrong, especially on holidays and weekends. Confirm your support level and availability and how the process works if there’s an issue.
I’m a big fan of transactional email and a bigger fan of the engagement levels that type of email generates. You should be too, but only if you’re sending through a provider that is meeting your needs and ensuring you’re getting these all-too-important emails into the inbox.