5 Common transactional email mistakes
Written by
Amna Arbab

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5 Common transactional email mistakes

Published : February 9, 2018

When it comes to email marketing, companies need a sound strategy. While content is the key to engagement, email senders need to be careful with some basic and common mistakes. These minor mistakes can be rectified or avoided with the right practices.

Before we get into that, let’s look at what transactional emails are.

What are transactional emails?

Transactional emails are an integral part of business. They can increase revenue and customer loyalty. They have eight times higher open rate than promotional emails. Transactional emails are categorized as: triggered, automatic, real-time and personalized emails.

A transactional email is an automated message that is sent in response to a specific action taken by the customer on a website or App.

Common transactional email uses include; sign-ups, verification, password reset, financial transactions, order and shipment confirmation. These emails can also be used for; in or out of stock alerts, shopping cart abandonment, coupon expiration, etc.

Marketers send emails to increase customer engagement and drive sales. Businesses send transactional emails to confirm an activity or as a notification. More recently, companies use transactional emails to help build customer trust and increase  engagement. Transactional emails are likely to be opened. This serves as an additional opportunity for brand interactions.

Mistakes in Transactional Email

As Richard Branson rightly says, “One thing is certain in Business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes”.

So, now that you know what a transactional email is, let us take you through five common transactional email mistakes that can prove fatal to your business:

1. The perception that all transactional emails reach your prospect’s inbox

About 25% of transactional emails do not reach the inboxes of customers. Imagine the loss in revenue and customer satisfaction! Businesses should gain the maximum profit by optimizing their email reputation. When the expected transactional email does not reach your customers inbox, it leads to a poor user experience. It also generates cost, with additional calls into your support center.

Don’t neglect email deliverability.  Spam is unwanted and irrelevant email, sent in bulk to a list of people. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL are the internet service providers (ISPs) that identify spam emails. An email is labelled as spam if the domain or IP addresses are untrustworthy or the content is suspicious.

You will want to find ways to improve email deliverability by adding SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain keys identified mail) to your DNS settings. DNS (Domain Name servers) maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. SPF can jot down a list of servers that should be allowed to send mail for a specific domain. While on the other hand, DKIM verifies if the email content is authentic and trustworthy.

You have to apply various filters into your workflow to improve your email reputation. Mail recipients can mark your email as spam. It may be because they don’t remember you, they want to opt-out, they are unhappy with you, and many other reasons. You must also check the “From” and “Subject” lines with a critical eye since customers use this to identify the sender.

2. Emails do bounce and that’s OK.

What is an Email Bounce?

When an email is returned to the subscriber’s server, it creates a bounce. This can be due to a permanent or temporary failure of the subscriber’s email server.

Soft Bounce Vs Hard Bounce

Soft bounce means that the recipient’s email address is valid but the email message has not reached the recipient’s mail server, due to any of the following reasons.

  • The mailbox is full
  • The server is down or the email server is temporarily unavailable, was overloaded, or couldn’t be found.
  • The message is too large for the recipient’s inbox
  • Recipient is temporarily unavailable

On the other hand, a hard bounce is when the email has not reached the recipient’s inbox due to any of the following reasons.

  • The email address is invalid or could have a typo
  • The recipient’s domain could be unknown or doesn’t exist
  • The wrong email address was provided

Soft and hard bounces are not the same as soft bounces are a short-term problem. Therefore, you do not need to remove email addresses from your email list, which cause short-term bounces. But you must definitely remove the invalid or non-existent addresses which cause hard bounces from your email list.

No More Bounces

The first step is to focus on email verification and email cleaning services. Your email list should not include incorrect email IDs, invalid domains or typos. If you send emails to the hard bounce IDs, you are threatening your domain and IP reputation. At this point, the ISPs might label you as a spammer. A clean email list allows you to nail down your most engaged customers. Open rates will improve, based on potential customers who received your emails.

You should keep your email list clean and get rid of invalid, non-responsive and duplicate email addresses. You should also send a confirmation email to the users who subscribe to your list by using a double opt-in process.

A double opt-in means that a subscriber has actively confirmed their subscription. First the user subscribes via a form, checkbox, etc. The next step requests the recipient to respond to an automatically-generated verification email. This confirms that they wish to receive emails from you in the future. Many brands don’t want to use this method, as there will be a loss in conversion. But the alternative may be worse for you and your email reputation.

3. Why are we even thinking about Email Speed? Is it that important?

How many of us discuss email speed? We always talk about inbox rate, response rate, missing emails and emails going to spam. Missing emails may result in losing sales, increased customer calls and ultimately unhappy customers, but let’s focus on how quickly an email can reach the inbox.

Here’s an image to help you understand how critical the speed of an email is for an average customer and your business.

Choosing the right email service provider (ESP) could drastically change things and significantly improve the delivery speed.

4. Why track transactional emails?

We all know how hard it was in the past to track transactional emails. If you choose not to track your transactional emails, how will you find out about the number of bounce or spam emails?

You could derive some of the information you need, but you are better off switching to a provider that can provide you with those metrics.

There are different ways to improve email delivery. It all depends on your collected data from transactional emails. The open and click rates, on a per-user basis are enough to give the you feedback on transactional email.

5. I don’t make any revenue out of transactional emails.

It is a very common misconception. Transactional emails are not only about transactions, but about a user’s account activity. The email message can be a personalized product notification, password reminder or purchase confirmation. A transactional email includes any email triggered by a customer’s action. This could be an action the user took directly, an action that was targeted to the user or even inaction on his part.

With a high open rate and click through rate, transactional emails have high engagement levels leading to an increase in revenue. Transactional emails not only generate revenue but also serve multiple purposes. From a support channel to promotional content, the real-time connections with customers, increase profits. These type of emails also help build brand loyalty and leave a lasting impression on the users.

Example: An online specialty-products retailer found that 40% of its email revenue comes from transactional/triggered messages, which make up only 4% of volume. A major travel site generates 45% of its email profits from triggered messages that make up only 3% to 5% of its total message volume. These are common scenarios.

How Pepipost handles transactional emails:

Our email service makes it easy for business to build, send and monitor their transactional emails.

  • We provide tools to help you track real-time data, which is completely hassle free and helps in increasing your email ROI.
  • Pepipost suppresses email hard bounces as they occur and send an automated message so that you can monitor bounces at your end as well. This helps you maintain a high reputation score as a sender.
  • We use email protocols like SSL & TLS encryption to protect your data.
  • You can send emails using SMTP or HTTP API. It just takes a few minutes to integrate and send your first email.
  • We always ensure that the sending IP and domain is clean and not added to any blacklist database. We created a tool where you can check your IP/domain blacklist status in less than 30 seconds. Check if your IP/domain is blacklisted.


  • Save yourself from lots of manual customer handling, by setting your triggers right.
  • Bounce management is the key to deliver mails to inbox
  • Authentications are a MUST and can’t be overlooked
  • Tracking will bring useful insights which eventually will transform into revenue
  • Cross promotion is a serious business, so make a plan
  • Involve Marketing in your template creation & trigger formation strategy.

If you are looking for a transactional email service that provides high speed of deliverability and best inbox rates at a affordable cost, do give us a try! Visit Pepipost.com now and explore our features.

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