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The Different Types of Emails

3 different types of emails

This table summarizes the situation; please note the different equivalent designations. As you can see, the Unsubscribe Link is not required in every case.

1. Marketing Emails


Marketing (or Bulk) emails stimulate your clients and leads. They contain informative / incentive messages. The recipient must agree to receive such emails: opt-in is mandatory.

However, the recipient does not make an explicit request for a message in particular. For example: he doesn't subscribe for the "November Newsletter", he rather subscribes to the "Monthly Newsletter".

There can be a periodicity, but the message can also be sent to a segment in particular. Nonetheless, the main point is that messages are sent independently from specific actions from the clients.

With Marketing emails, you don't state: "such clients will receive such message if they perform such action": it would then be a notification email (see below). We would rather state: "such clients will receive such message". The message is neither related to an "event" nor to an action from the recipient.


Common examples of marketing emails:

  • Newsletters
  • Flash sales
  • Sales/promotions announcements
  • Etc.

2. Notification Emails


Notification email are also known as trigger, alert or auto-responder. They allow the user to be notified each time a particular event happens (or has happened). More generally, the notification email may be used in order to celebrate and/or mark an event.

It is either the recipients themselves, or the sender that will establish criteria for an outgoing message to be triggered by an event.

From a marketer's point of view, it can be relevant to encourage the targets to opt in to receive notifications about the services being offered. Think of an email such as "Mr. X is now following you on Twitter". This kind of message is more often opened and it motivates the recipient into checking their account.

You may also decide to create notifications by yourself. These will then be related to events occurring after a client's action. The purpose here is to mark a significant event in order to capitalize on it.


Common examples of notification emails:

  • Getting in touch a few days after registration
  • Congratulations after a status change (first purchase, subscription...)
  • Birthday email
  • Shopping Cart Abandonment email
  • Goods back in stock
  • Discounts on recently browsed products
  • Greetings after a purchase
  • Feedback request after a purchase (product, service...)
  • Email following up a purchase and proposing other items
  • Series of greeting messages and/or hands-on account management messages
  • Etc.

3. Transactional Emails


This is an expected message and its content is information that the client wishes to check or confirm, and not "discover". This type of email is not intended to optimize the customer relationship but to define it and mark it out. It is a point of reference in one’s CRM.

Strong attention should be paid to this kind of email. These emails must be specifically dealt with: wrongly delivered newsletters might impact leads, but an undelivered transactional email will upset the customer.


Common examples of transactional emails:

  • Welcome message / Account opening
  • Shipment tracking and order status
  • Order shipment confirmation
  • Account termination
  • Payment confirmation
  • Invoice
  • Etc.

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