Promotional Emails Vs Transactional Emails: What’s the difference? In 2023

Promotional Emails Vs Transactional Emails:

Email marketing has undoubtedly revolutionized the world of marketing. What was once advertised through only expensive television commercials can now be marketed via personalized emails. What’s more, is that emails can easily be sent to thousands of recipients at once.

Nowadays, emails are being used more than ever due to the convenience they offer. According to the latest report by Statista, 269 billion emails were sent and received in 2012, which will continue to rise to 333 billion by the end of 2022. 

Amidst the pandemic, even businesses have improved their sales tremendously by primarily focusing on marketing their products and services via transactional email service. The emails used by companies mainly include either promotional or transactional emails. However, transactional emails are usually misunderstood as promotional emails, which is not true. So, it’s highly imperative to understand the difference between Promotional Emails and Transactional Emails before you can plan your next great email marketing strategy.

Defining Transactional and Promotional Emails

Before going too far into the details and difference between transactional and promotional emails, let define the specifics of both.

What are Transactional Emails?

Commonly used by high-scale businesses that operate online, transactional emails are those emails that primarily convey information and are sent based on something that a consumer does, be it logging into your site or wanting to change their password. Transactional emails, more often referred to as “Trigger Emails,” may be sent whenever a user triggers a response from a company. For instance, reset password emails, order confirmation emails, customer feedback, etc. 

What are Promotional Emails?

Promotional emails are also called bulk or broadcast emails that are sent to the group of potential buyers for the sole purpose of promotion and marketing content. In addition, these emails work to encourage customers to purchase any goods or services that a company may offer—for instance, Black Friday, Christmas, or New Year Sale emails. 

Now that you’ve understood the specifics of each email, let’s discuss the types of Transactional and Promotional emails with examples for your better understanding of the difference among them. 

Type of Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are sent with the primary objective of informing the buyers about the process. Some transactional emails best practices include; 

Order Confirmation and Billing Updates

Whenever any online shopper purchases anything, they get an order confirmation email from the company with a billing update or receipt of their purchased items. This is among the best and most common transaction email practices that all e-commerce stores use. 

Welcome Email 

Before ordering anything online, the majority of the stores ask for a sign-in or registration. When the customers do that, they receive a very interactive and meaningful welcome email from the company. 

Delivery Updates 

A type of transaction email that customers open with full excitement are the delivery status email. In these emails, the company informs the customer about the purchased items’ delivery status and lets the customer track them through CTA buttons. 

Type of Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are sent to the customer for the sole purpose of promotion and marketing of products. Some of the most common promotional email types include:

Cross-sell Emails 

Cross-sell email is a type of email in which companies send a promotional offer to the customer about complementary and related items and try to get buyers to upgrade their order. These emails are sent right after when a customer makes the purchase. 

Discount Coupons 

Another very popular example of promotional email is discount coupon emails. These emails are sent to the group of customers to promote products by offering a certain percent off or sharing coupon codes in the email to upscale the sales. 

Newsletter and Product Updates 

A promotional email category that is not liked by the majority of people is product updates and newsletter emails. However, customers are given an option to unsubscribe from receiving these updates at the bottom of the email. 

Key Difference Between Transactional and Promotional Emails

The major difference to note between transactional and promotional emails are:

Engagement Rates:

Transaction emails always have a more open rate as compared to promotional emails. Promotional emails are less engaging when it comes to company-customer communications.  

Delivery Speed:

The delivery speed of transaction emails is lightning fast as compared to the promotional emails, which are not usually timed. Another reason for that is, customers await the transitional emails. On the other hand, customers can easily get irritated upon receiving back-to-back promotional emails for a company.   

Recipient Permission:

The company requires customers’ permission to send them promotional emails, whereas transactional emails require no permission from the recipient. That means the company can use transactional emails for marketing purposes more effectively. 


Now that you’ve understood the difference between transactional and promotional emails, you can prepare some very effective email marketing strategies to cultivate a strong customer relationship and maximize your business’s sales. 

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