21 Transactional Email Design Best Practices & Design Examples

Improve your transactional email design with these 21 best practices and real-life examples. Elevate your customer communication and engagement!

21 Transactional Email Design Best Practices & Design Examples

Table of Contents

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Do not index
When it comes to email design, the presentation of emails can significantly impact the perception and success of your brand. Transactional Email Design, in particular, has the power to engage and convert customers with high-open and click-through rates. Understanding how to design effective transactional emails is crucial in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Whether you're sending order confirmations, password resets, shipping notifications, or other transactional emails, the goal is to create well-designed, engaging content that enhances user experience while also motivating recipients to take action. In this blog, we'll explore the essential elements of Transactional Email Design that can help you optimize your email strategy.

What Is A Transactional Email?

Transactional Email Design
Transactional Email Design
Transactional email is a one-to-one record of previous interactions or commercial relationships with a company. Transactional emails are triggered by a user's specific action and contain only critical, relevant information to the receiver, such as an ecommerce receipt from an online purchase. While many companies understand email marketing best practices, transactional emails are often overlooked. But transactional email messages are a huge opportunity to connect with customers. That’s because they have open rates as high as 85%.
They typically have a functional purpose, like confirming email subscriptions, shipping notifications, or updating customers about their orders. In this way, transactional emails serve as a customer service tool, anticipating potential concerns your customers may have and answering those in a confident, reassuring way. This practice of communicating well through email builds trust.
A good transactional email design calls attention to important info. It can also make your brand stand out.

Transactional Vs. Marketing Emails

Transactional Email Design
Transactional Email Design
Transactional emails and marketing emails differ in terms of content, distribution, and recipients. While transactional emails contain user-specific content and are sent individually, marketing emails are mass distributions of the same message to multiple recipients simultaneously. Marketing emails aim to entice the reader to take action by promoting a business or nonprofit, asking the recipient to make a purchase, donate, or read more, while transactional emails confirm an action the recipient took without requiring any further action.
Another key difference between the two is how they are regulated. Transactional emails can be sent to customers even if they haven’t subscribed to your email content, while marketing emails should only be sent to subscribed customers.

Common Types of Marketing Email

The most common types of marketing email include newsletters, limited-time offers, sales campaigns, event announcements, vouchers, and giveaways. Companies often send both transactional and marketing emails using marketing automation, email marketing, CRM, and email delivery services to connect with their audience.

All-in-one Email Solution

Mailsplash is an AI-powered tool to create stunning email templates that convert. Design and create personalized, converting emails in minutes and send them with any email service provider such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo. Mailsplash enables freelancers, brands, and agencies to rapidly create personalized, converting email campaigns at a lower cost than traditional marketing agencies.
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12 Types Of Transactional Emails

Transactional Email Design
Transactional Email Design

1. Account Notification Emails

Account notification emails are essential to keep customers informed about any changes in their account. These emails play a crucial role in managing user accounts, providing updates about various activities such as order changes, login attempts, new comments on a blog, and more.

2. Periodic Update Emails

Periodic update emails are typically scheduled to provide an overview of a customer's activities over a fixed period. Examples include monthly bank statements, investment summaries, weekly trading updates, and more.

3. Receipts and Invoice Emails

Receipts and invoice emails provide customers with details of completed transactions, such as order confirmations, product invoices, subscription receipts, and investment or trading portfolios.

4. Support and Feedback Emails

Support and feedback emails help direct user feedback and support requests to the relevant teams. Examples include emails initiated by support requests, customer feedback, or contact forms.

5. Referrals and Invites

Referrals and invites are emails sent from applications inviting users to join or create an account. They may also contain referral links.

6. Reminder Emails

Reminder emails are sent to remind users of impending action, such as payment reminders, account renewal reminders, upgrade reminders, event reminders, and appointment reminders

7. User-Requested Emails

User-requested emails offer time-sensitive information explicitly requested by the user, such as exported files, links, or verification code emails.

8. Thank You Emails

Thank you emails express gratitude for subscriber actions, such as answering a poll or filling out a survey.

9. Cancellations/Renewals

Cancellations/renewals emails confirm user requests to cancel an order or subscription, providing reassurance that the request has been processed.

10. Double Opt-Ins

Double opt-in emails are sent to confirm both the user's intent and email address when building email lists.

11. Password Reset Emails

Password reset emails are crucial for users to recover lost account access due to forgotten passwords.

12. Shipping and Order Tracking Notifications

Shipping and order tracking notifications provide updates on order status, reassuring customers that their order is on its way.

10 Transactional Email Design Best Practices For Responsive Emails That Convert

Transactional Email Design
Transactional Email Design

1. Keep it clean and simple

When designing transactional emails, it's crucial to keep the layout clean and simple. This helps draw attention to the most important information. Clean and visually appealing designs like those used by Everywell make it easier for customers to digest the content. By using big fonts, white space, and a well-divided layout, you create an email that is easy to read and understand. The strategic use of colors can help highlight the main information or concept of the email.

2. Have a clear call to action (CTA)

Transactional emails often require customers to take specific actions, such as confirming their email or renewing a subscription. To ensure these actions are completed efficiently, your transactional email template should emphasize the call-to-action (CTA). By using a clear and easily noticeable CTA button like the one Twitch uses in its welcome email, you guide your customers to complete the desired actions.

3. Stand out with bright colors

To make your transactional emails stand out, consider using bright colors and fun graphics in your design. While many transactional emails tend to be simple or text-heavy, incorporating vibrant colors can capture the reader's attention and make the email more engaging. Teavana's new arrival email is an excellent example of how bright colors can make your transactional emails pop.

4. Use graphic images

Adding graphic images to your transactional emails can enhance the email's overall appearance and provide additional context to the content. Visual elements like app screenshots can guide customers on how to take specific actions. Slack's confirmation email effectively uses graphic images to illustrate the transition from email notifications to mobile notifications.

5. Add a human touch

Incorporating a "human" touch into your transactional emails can make your brand appear more warm and approachable. Consider signing the emails from a member of your team to establish a personal connection with the reader. Demand Curve's subscription confirmation email effectively humanizes the transactional email experience.

6. Flex your brand voice

Even though transactional emails convey essential information, it's essential to let your brand's personality shine through. While your email copy should be clear and concise, infusing your brand voice can create a unique and memorable experience for your customers. Chipotle's playful confirmation email showcases how you can maintain your brand voice even in transactional emails.

7. Avoid jargon

To effectively connect with customers, transactional emails should use a conversational tone and avoid technical jargon. By keeping the email content easy to understand, you make it simpler for customers to digest the information and complete any necessary actions.
Transactional emails can also serve as an opportunity to engage customers with your brand through social media links. By updating customers about items on their wish list or latest arrivals, you can provide valuable information while driving traffic to your social media profiles.
Optimizing your email footer with essential information such as contact details, website links, social media profiles, unsubscribe links, and legal information can enhance the overall transactional email experience for customers. By providing easy access to critical information, you improve user experience and brand engagement.

10. Split test your emails

A/B testing your transactional emails can provide valuable insights into what resonates best with your customers. By testing different variations of templates, subject lines, content, and CTAs, you can continuously optimize your transactional emails to enhance customer experience and drive better results.

Complete Step-by-Step Guide On How To Use Mailsplash’s All-in-one AI Email Solution For Creating Emails

Getting Started: Uploading Brands and Products

Before you can generate an email, you’ll need to upload a brand and product.
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Navigate to the “Brands” tab and select “Add a Brand”. Once you’ve defined the brand’s name, logo(s), font(s), and color(s), you can upload your product(s).
You can do so by simply pasting in the product link, which will auto-populate the product description, name, and images, as seen below. Now you’re ready to design and write stunning emails with Mailsplash.

Design & Write Emails with Mailsplash: A Guide

Generate with AI

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Not sure where to start? From your dashboard, click “Generate with AI” to get to ideating. Simply select the brand(s) and product(s) you’ve uploaded and describe the email you’re looking for (e.g. an email campaign promoting new pants on sale for 25% off). You can even define the design style you’re looking for!
notion image
If you’re feeling like a pro, click “Advanced Setup” to get more detailed access to other parameters such as your target audience, the type of email, and so on. Once you’re happy, click generate and watch the magic happen! In 30 seconds or less, you’ll have a email custom-tailored to your input.

Start from Template

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Already know what kind of email you’re looking to create? You can then click “Start from Template” and browse through our gallery of templates, curated for the most common use cases. We currently support 21 templates for 7 different categories, but will be continuing to update this based on your feedback! Once you select an email type, you’ll be prompted to select a brand and product and be taken straight to the builder.

Sending Emails: Integrate with Any ESP

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When exporting your email generation, you’ll be able to integrate with Klaviyo by inputting your API key. It’s as simple as that. We’re working on adding support for other major ESPs!
Now you should be well-equipped to save time and money on your email marketing.
Still confused? Have feedback? Let us know by sending us an email.

11 Other Transactional Email Best Practices For Delivering Great Customer Experiences

Transactional Email Design
Transactional Email Design

1. Match Your Emails with Your Brand Voice and Design

When designing transactional emails, it's important to ensure they align with your brand's identity. Consistency in voice, look, and feel can enhance your brand's recognition and customer experience. Don't treat transactional emails as an afterthought; they should be a seamless extension of your brand's identity and values.

2. Use a Recognizable and Readable Email Address

Avoid cryptic "From" names and odd email sub-domains. Make your emails easy to spot by using a readable "From" name, a simple reply-to address, and BIMI for logo recognition. Stand out in your recipient's inbox and increase open rates by making your transactional emails easily identifiable.

3. Avoid the Use of "No-Reply" Addresses

By using "no-reply" email addresses, you discourage customer engagement. Allow customers to ask questions or seek help by providing a real contact address or a "contact us" link in your emails. Open communication can improve customer satisfaction and potentially boost email deliverability rates.

4. Be Concise with Your Subject Line and Pre-Header Text

Keep your subject lines and pre-header text succinct and to the point. Refer to the specific action the recipient has taken to make the email relevant. Avoid lengthy subject lines and keep pre-header text under 100 characters for an engaging preview of your email's content.

5. Ensure Your Email Templates Are Responsive

Make sure your email templates are responsive to ensure they display correctly on various devices. From mobile to desktop, a responsive design guarantees that your transactional emails look professional and engaging regardless of the screen size.

6. Include a Plain Text Version of Your Email

In addition to responsive design, include a plain text version of your email for accessibility. Some recipients may rely on low-bandwidth connections or assistive technologies, making plain text versions crucial for inclusivity. Ensure your plain text version mirrors the HTML email content closely for consistency.

7. Adopt Email Authentication and Security Practices

Secure your sending domain by setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to improve deliverability and verify your identity. Set up a custom return path for bounced emails to maintain your sender reputation and ensure email delivery reliability.

8. Allow People to Manage Their Email Preferences

Give recipients the option to manage their email preferences to reduce email clutter and potential spam marking. Providing a way to unsubscribe or customize notifications can enhance customer experience and engagement with your brand.

9. Monitor Your Email Activity Regularly

Track key metrics like opens, clicks, bounces, and spam complaints to optimize your transactional emails' performance. Real-time email analytics tools can help identify issues like emails landing in spam folders or being blacklisted, supporting your efforts to maintain email deliverability.

10. Follow Data Protection Rules (GDPR)

While opt-in consent may not be required for transactional emails, ensure GDPR compliance by avoiding overly promotional content and processing data lawfully. Maintain transparent data practices to uphold customer trust and adhere to data protection regulations.

11. Pick a Reliable Email Service Provider

Choose an email service provider that offers robust tools for creating dynamic transactional emails and has a reputation for high deliverability rates. Selecting a reliable provider can make a significant difference in delivering a positive customer experience through your transactional emails.

Create Fully-Built Stunning Email Templates That Convert With Mailsplash

Mailsplash is a game-changing tool for email marketers looking to take their campaigns to the next level. With Mailsplash, you can design and create stunning emails that convert in minutes. Our AI-powered technology streamlines the entire process, from creating personalized branded templates to crafting engaging email copy.
Plus, you can use Mailsplash with any email service provider, from Mailchimp to Klaviyo. Whether you're a freelancer, brand, or agency, Mailsplash makes it easy and affordable to create personalized, converting email campaigns.
Give our All-in-one Email Solution a try for free today and see the difference Mailsplash can make for your email marketing efforts.

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Saif Akram

Written by

Saif Akram

Hello, I'm Saif Akram, founder of MonetizeMail, an innovative email marketing agency. We're proud partners with Klaviyo and Customer.io, specializing in boosting MRR and reducing customer churn. Our agency has scaled over 50 brands, generating over $18M in revenue. With proven expertise in enhancing engagement and driving sales, I'm passionate about transforming businesses through effective email marketing strategies.

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