[Updated April 2017]  Alerts, notifications, confirmations and other kinds of automated or user-generated messages have become key customer communication channels that really demonstrate the power of email. A few short years ago you’d expect to get transactional email and SMS text messages from online retailers or your wireless provider: “Your bill is ready to view…”. But today you’re just as likely to get appointment confirmation texts from your dentist or email alerts from your auto shop that it’s time for an oil change.

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Years ago the strict definition of transactional email would have gone something like “an automated message generated in response to an online business transaction initiated by a user.” Meaning, the email you got confirming an order placed on Amazon or other online retailer.

The wild growth in social media, cloud computing, mobile apps and smartphones has broadened the concept of transactional messaging, what it is, and what it is capable of. For instance, say someone favorites a Tweet of yours or comments on your Facebook post and you get an alert. These are events taken by another user, so it’s outside the original definition, but today these are widely considered transactional messages.

The good news is that businesses have more choices than ever to use transactional messages and alerts to inform and delight customers. The bad news is that very few companies understand how to use transactional communications in ways that ensure customer engagement and drive maximum value for the business.

The Power of Email: Event-Triggered Messaging

SparkPost has been a leader in the field of cloud transactional email and multi-channel messaging for years now. We’ve developed key technologies and capabilities that have broadened what’s possible with transactional email in numerous ways. More importantly, we have the technology, the vision and the know-how to help companies in any number of industries to harness the power of transactional messaging to create valuable new services and products.

Using our solutions, many of the world’s largest social networks, banks, publishers and travel companies are creating message-driven workflows that tap real-time customer data to create communications tailored to individual preferences. In fact, a large percentage of the notifications you receive today most likely originate through SparkPost. Consider the ways transactional email can help you engage customers more effectively and advance your business objectives.

Personalize Content and Cadence

Customers love to be able to set their own preferences for when and why they’d like to hear from you. When you provide preference-setting capabilities, the contextual relevance of your outgoing communications goes way up. Your customers will know when to expect you’ll be reaching out and why.

Monetize Your Transactional Messaging

Create new revenue streams by integrating data from affiliates and partners to add marketing content or offers into transactional notifications and alerts.

Message-Enable Existing Business Processes

Insurance companies, financial services providers and healthcare providers have automated many account and onboarding processes, yet still rely heavily on snail mail for customer communications. Integrating transactional messaging into these processes can drive down costs and boost customer engagement.

If you’re looking for more ways to better leverage transactional email, have a look at our Guide on Building Trust and Loyalty with Transactional Email. Through real live examples of customer communication, we highlight some of the ways that brands are using transactional email to drive new revenue opportunities!