What are transactional emails?
The Salesforce definition of a transactional message is:
Transactional messages are deployed to an email client or mobile device in real time, resulting from a transaction initiated by a person or system. These messages contain information about the transaction or event. The primary intent is not for promotional reasons, but to deliver critical information immediately.
They are different from ‘Operational emails’, which are emails sent regarding critical information that must be communicated to all customers and subscribers regardless of whether they’ve opted in to receive marketing emails. For example, legal notices, requirements for the user to update their password, and so on.
Sending transactional emails in Pardot
Here’s the critical thing to note: even though ‘transactional’ and ‘operational’ are not the same in the general marketing world, in Pardot, they are treated as one and the same because ‘transactional emails’ are not a thing in Pardot.
If a prospect has a Mailability Status of ‘Operational Emails Only’ they will not receive any email communications, including what we consider ‘transactional’ messages such as order confirmations, unless they are set up as an auto-responder. They cannot receive Engagement Studio emails, list emails, nor emails triggered by an automation rule.
In a nutshell, all of your transactional emails must be auto-responders.
If that’s not the case, there is a semi-workaround for Pardot, although it comes with a major limitation.
Your Pardot Administrator can bypass the restriction on Operational Emails so that a checkbox appears in the Email Builder, allowing users with the right permissions to select the email type as ‘Operational’. This means a transactional email can be delivered to those who have opted out or never subscribed to marketing emails.
The problem is, transactional emails are usually time-sensitive but operational emails can only be sent manually by a user. Nine times out of ten, you’ll need a better solution.
Our recommendation is to explore Marketing Cloud Engagement because it supports transactional emails and can be used and integrated with Pardot. Especially if you have any sort of ecommerce element, or even emails with attachments, you should be looking at Marketing Cloud Engagement.
If you’d like support with your email marketing campaigns or maintaining a healthy prospect database, send us a message.