Senders often approach our team with questions around “transactional” messaging. Sometimes our team receives email examples and are asked whether or not those messages can be sent off their transactional IP. Other times senders will try to “disguise” messages as transactional under the assumption that if they send it off their transactional IP then they are guaranteed inbox delivery.
In reality, ISPs don’t distinguish or care if the IP you are sending from is promotional or transactional. Delivery will still be determined based on reputation and takes all of the standard metrics into consideration. We do recommend that our clients group their messages by transactional and promotional and send from separate IPs so that the reputation from your promotional streams will not affect your time sensitive transactional messages.
So what exactly would be considered a “transactional” message?
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself “if the customer does not receive this message, would they call in to complain”? If the email facilitates or confirms a commercial transaction then chances are your customer is expecting this information (i.e. account specific emails such as forgot username/password, billing information, etc).
Another common question we receive is “can I include some level of promotional content within my transactional message"?
Messages should be clearly associated with a specific transaction and the customer should be able to easily determine why they are receiving the message. If you include any promotional content, it should be less than 1/3 of the overall message and expect it to be viewed with extra scrutiny by ISPs. Again, you want to remember that your goal with transactional messaging is to keep complaints low and reputation in good standing. If you start adding too much promotional content then your subscribers may start to hit the spam button.
Let’s review types of emails that often come into question.
These are not transactional. If you’ve just added in new subscribers and are sending off welcome emails, these should be sent off the promotional IP. New addresses increase the chances of hard bounces and spam complaints which could in turn hurt reputation if either measure exceeds the recommended threshold. These emails also often include enticing offers to help encourage new customers to interact with your brand.
These are not transactional. This is not an email your customers would expect to receive. If you’ve made product updates and want your customer base to be aware, you should send this message along with your regular promotional mailings. Be sure to use engagement filtering and send only to those that are still actively engaging with your brand.
These are transactional. If a customer has just placed an order then they are likely waiting for the shipping confirmation details. If they do not receive these details then they would likely call your customer service department to confirm if the order was processed.
These are not transactional. Surveys should only be sent from your promotional IP. These types of messages are not expected and often times cause high numbers of complaints when not targeted properly.
All in all, you’ll want to do your best to keep the reputation high on the IP that is handling your transactional messaging since ISPs are not distinguishing between the two types, but rather delivering based on reputation. To do that, review your content and make sure it isn’t likely to cause high spam complaints, keep your list clean with explicit opt-ins, include unsubscribe links, and make sure your message is clear and tailored for your audience!
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