Promotional vs Transactional Email: How To Stand Out In A Email Inbox

WebLITE Team

Reading time ≈ 3 minutes

Email marketing is probably one of the most effective digital marketing techniques out there, but that also makes it incredibly competitive. Standing out in a cluttered email inbox is the goal, but how do you go about doing this? Is there a way to craft that perfect message that will get people opening your inbox?

The truth is, while there is no magic formula to answer this, there are certain elements of an effective email campaign that help it become more successful. Most brands are so focused on growing their email list, which is always good, but capturing the attention of this list (and keeping them from unsubscribing) is just as important.

Of course, you cannot force people to continue subscribing. But by understanding the different types of email content you can send, as well as conducting some testing to see which one is more successful, you can hold customer attention to build a meaningful engagement with them.


50 OFF email

Have a new product launch? Or maybe you are offering long-time customers a great deal, or incentive of sorts? Perhaps there is some exclusive service you want to offer? All of these are examples for promotional emails.

Essentially, it is a way to promote yourself and your brand, as simplistic as it sounds. If you are looking to let customers know about a certain aspect of your business, you would be crafting a promotional email. This is generally for the top of the funnel customers as a way to convert them by promoting your brand.


Less promotional in nature, these emails are designed to encourage a transaction of sorts. Rather than marketing your business, or promoting a certain aspect, this email needs to be crafted based on an action they have taken (or lack thereof). These are personalised and usually automated to be sent in real-time. For example, if someone signs up for your email list, and you send them a 'thank you' email - that becomes a transactional email. The customer performed an action, and you have sent them an email acknowledging this.

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Types of emails within this sphere could include cart abandonment emails (i.e. "Complete your order!") or recommended products based on their past experience on your site. In that vein, you could also use transactional emails such as receipts and confirmation to embed some of your other products so that customers can continually browse.

So...Which One Should I Do?

Honestly, both. By creating campaigns that alternate between promotional and transactional, you can keep your email subscribers interested without seeming like you are spamming them. Too much of one kind of content tends to alienate certain segments, so there needs to be a careful balance between the two.

Think about your business from a seasonal perspective, and design content accordingly. Higher seasons will likely need a transactional email, whereas low seasons would need a promotional incentive. By mixing the two, and analysing the ensuing data, you can get a better idea of what content works, and what does not.

Using the data, you can continue to improve your campaigns and build better, hyper-focused email marketing material that gets you the level of engagement you want.

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