Email best practices

Optimizing the performance of transactional emails

Considering how relevant transactional emails are, it’s quite surprising that they are often neglected. This is how you can optimize their performance.

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Do you know that feeling? You've just treated yourself to a long-awaited purchase, and you immediately go to your inbox to check on the Holy Grail: the confirmation email! 🤩 Because of it, you can rest assured that your new phone, laptop, or Bob Ross painting kit will arrive safe, sound, and soon. These feelings of excitement and confirmation are why the transactional emails are so important. But, before we dive in, let’s back up and revisit the concrete definition of transactional email.

What is a transactional email?

Unlike email marketing, which is an email sent "en masse" to many recipients (e.g. newsletters), transactional email is sent to a single individual as a result of a particular action.

It can be, for example, a purchase confirmation, a password reset, a delivery follow-up, a registration validation... the possibilities are endless.

These emails have become very important in consumers' daily lives. Nearly a third of them receive more than four per day, and 93% people say they are ready to give up a brand because of a bad experience with a triggered email. These emails have therefore become an important issue for companies. Correctly used, transactional email is a powerful marketing lever capable of differentiating you from your competitors and decreasing your turnover.

Turn your transactional emails into a marketing opportunity

Sometimes the look and content of triggered emails are overlooked by brands, but transactional messages have the highest engagement rates. That's why it is important to follow some basic best practices when designing your triggered emails.

Consistency with brand image

To ensure that your users have a good experience, the design and tone of your transactional emails must respect the graphic and editorial standards of your website and your marketing emails. It is extremely important to provide your users with a harmonious and consistent user experience. Any and all communications you send them must be in line with your brand's visual identity. Avoid triggered emails with only black text on a white background and, instead, infuse them with a little marketing magic.

The power of cross-selling in transactional emails

We also recommend that you take advantage of these triggered emails for cross-selling. This technique consists of alerting the customer to the sale of a product that complements the one he has just bought. Take advantage of your transactional emails to highlight other products or services that could be interesting for your consumers. For example, if you send them an email to confirm a flight reservation, why not offer them a car rental service in the destination city? The important thing is that the offers are consistent and non-intrusive. Once again, keep in mind that the user experience comes first!

Upselling opportunities in transactional messages

Transactional messages also provide the perfect pretext for upselling. Upselling is the practice of offering a slightly superior product or service - one that is more expensive than the one the consumer is interested in. For example, if you offer different types of subscriptions, you can take advantage of a sign-up email to praise the merits of your superior subscriptions.

Referral and loyalty programs

Use your transactional emails to promote your referral or loyalty programs. For example, you can insert a banner at the end of your emails to encourage your customers to refer their friends via a dedicated code. Remember that your consumers are your best brand ambassadors! Make them want to talk about your services to those around them. You can also offer them points to add to their loyalty account. This will allow them to benefit from many exclusive advantages and further improve their customer experience.

Examples of successful transactional emails

Some brands have already understood the huge potential of transactional messages and are sending their consumers high performance emails. Below are some good examples of transactional emails, which can help you build your own effective emails.

American Airlines

American Airlines offers clear and well-designed travel confirmation emails. Travellers can easily find all their flight information at a glance, which helps reassure them after a major purchase. And at the bottom of the email, the brand takes advantage of the opportunity to promote its mileage program, and to offer the consumer a hotel reservation service. These proposals are non-intrusive and completely consistent with the potential needs of the person making the purchase.


Not only does this transactional email from Cream make us hungry, but it also makes us want to tell our friends and family about it. With a simple referral code to share, the brand allows their consumers to benefit from a $100 credit on shipping costs and to pass on the same advantage to their friends. Like Cream, don't hesitate to put forward a very advantageous offer that makes your readers want to jump on the occasion.


BarkBox is a pretty fun concept: sending boxes to the owners so that they can spoil their dog with toys and treats. With this simple shipping confirmation email, the brand manages to convey the offbeat tone and image of the brand. Additionally, the brand offers consumers to offer a gift box to a "dog lover" like them. This gives good ideas to their customers.

Transactional emails and deliverability

If you send your marketing emails (newsletters, promotional campaigns...) and transactional messages (notifications, confirmations, alerts...), we recommend that you separate your sendings. This way, possible sending restrictions (often triggered by non-compliant statistics or by bad emailing practices related to the account used for your marketing campaigns) will have no impact on the sending of your transactional emails.

It is crucial for your company to ensure the best possible deliverability of your transactional emails. You might not know, but a study by Mailjet showed that 41% of consumers get annoyed if they have to wait more than 60 seconds for a transactional email to arrive in their mailbox!

Send your transactional emails with Mailjet

Mailjet offers many services that allow you to design, send, and track effective transactional emails. From creating attention-getting, personalized and responsive email to important, real-time email traffic analytics, our transactional email solution provides multi-faceted support for developers and marketers alike.


Create and send your transactional emails with Mailjet

Design beautiful transactional emails with a consistent brand image and send them with Mailjet's powerful email infrastructure.

Do you design original and efficient transactional emails? Share with us all the practices you apply to your emails on Twitter!

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