Email Service Providers (ESPs) like Elastic Email support, in general, two kinds of email: transactional email and marketing email.
Transactional emails are essential for the proper functioning of your website and your business. They’re usually triggered by actions your visitors and customers do on your website and include registration, password reset, order confirmation, and other such emails.
Marketing emails are used to build email lists and send newsletters and targeted campaigns. They’re usually sent at will, often on a schedule.
Deliverability and Engagement #
Two of the basic metrics that help understand the differences are deliverability and engagement rates.
Deliverability basically measures how many emails are delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, as opposed to emails that fail to be delivered for technical reasons or emails that land in the spam or promotions folders due to poor reputation.
There are different metrics for engagement, but they basically measure how many of the delivered emails are actually opened by the recipients or are clicked on.
For the website and the business to function, transactional emails have to have high deliverability. If a user asks to reset their password, for example, it’s pretty crucial for those emails to land in the right mailbox for the recipient to actually see the email to begin with. Because users usually trigger them, they also tend to have very high engagement.
Marketing emails, on the other hand, almost always have much lower deliverability and even lower engagement, even when done well and following best practices.
Engagement (as well as other metrics and factors) directly affects your reputation, which directly affects deliverability. If a lot of recipients open your emails and interact with them (e.g., click the links in the emails), you get a higher reputation score and future emails are more likely to be delivered directly to your recipients’ inboxes. If recipients ignore your emails or mark them as spam, your reputation score suffers and future emails are more likely to be delivered to the spam or promotional folders.
Using the Right Tools #
We set up your website with Elastic Email for transactional email by default. It has great deliverability, is easy to set up, and is extremely affordable. We use the Elastic Email Sender plugin to route any email sent by WordPress through Elastic Email, though it’s intended primarily for transactional email.
Although some customer are happy using Elastic Email for marketing email as well, we find that different customers have different needs and preferences for marketing email ESPs. Mailchimp is the industry leader but Active Campaign, MailerLite, and countless others all have their followers. Our personal preference is Moosend.
Most ESPs provide native WordPress plugins to connect your website to the ESP. We can also use a combination of webhooks (a.k.a. APIs) and automation tools such as Integromat, Zapier, WP Fusion, and others to communicate with your ESP of choice and kick off your campaigns, add subscribers, and perform other related marketing tasks.
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