Transactional emails: a feature in Planhat to send high-volume emails. In standard form, this means emails are default sent from @planhatbot.com, but depending on plan any email address on your own domain can be used as well.
Personal emails: emails sent directly via the user’s email provider and address (although facilitated by Planhat)
Transactional vs. personal emails - quick answer
When a Planhat user wants to send out a high volume of emails to a group of different customers or end users, there are two main approaches: transactional and personal. At times, it could be difficult to decide which feature best suits the case.
Some common situations where this question could arise:
A Planhat user wants to send out a newsletter
A Planhat user wants to send out a note to 30 customers who were asking for a feature which has now been released
Both transactional and personal emails can be:
Personalized with dynamic code, e.g., “Hi [name], hope you are having a good [weekday]!”
Automated using triggers/automations, e.g., “Send email when [NPS score hits 8]” or “Send email when [DAU/MAU drops below 10%]”
What differentiates the two is mainly the interactiveness: transactional emails are often not reply-able, while personal emails are sent from the personal email with responses popping directly into the inbox in both the native client and Planhat.
When to use which then?
Two simple rules-of-thumb to decide when to use personal emails:
When you want a reply or at least invite to a reply
When it is an email you otherwise would have sent manually (but now you just want to automate it).
If neither, then use transactional emails.
This means that a newsletter (no replies, you wouldn't send it manually) is a typical use case for transactional emails, while a note to 30 customers regarding a specific feature they were asking about (you want replies, you would send manually) is best practice to do with personal email.
Transactional vs. personal emails - deep-dive
For the more advanced use cases, it is worthwhile to take a step back and think about how to approach it more methodically. At the highest level, the selected approach should start with asking about your commercial objectives - what do you want to get out of the conversation, and what tone do you want to set?
There are two key factors deciding which approach to go with:
“Type of conversation” (driving factor): how personal do you want the email and subsequent conversation to be? A rule-of-thumb is that emails where you are seeking a reply (or at least give that impression) could be characterized as “personal” and emails that are more standardized, often perhaps to lower-value customers, are “impersonal"
“Emails per day” (constraining factor): how many emails do you want to send per CSM per day? Given limits to how many emails can be sent per day in Gmail/Outlook (e.g., 2,000 in Gmail), a separate service is required to send more than that
The Planhat email selection matrix (patent-pending) 🤓
High-density volume (>200 per day per CSM)
Transactional (likely undesirable)
Low-density volume (<200 per day per CSM)
In 3/4 situations everything is good, but 1 is undesirable.
Since since number of personal emails we can send are constrained, we could have a situation (top-right in matrix) where transactional emails would be required even though it's a personal conversation. One evocative example is that of a software security player that has had an outage, and they need to email their 10k customers quickly and in a highly personalized manner.
Here you should reach out to your CSM - but there are three options that would depend on the tradeoff between speed and personalization.
Use standard transactional emails: quickly send out emails to all customers, with dynamic code, but with no opportunity for responses
Use personal emails, but distribute reachout over time and people: send personal emails but split out the customer base over days. There is also an operational consideration - can your team manage direct responses from 10k customers?
Use customized transactional emails (available to some plans): there is an opportunity in Planhat to send transactional emails via the personal domain (e.g., Gmail) and manually set-up a response account. This would allow for speed and personalization. However, this set-up is more complex, and would require the involvement of a CSM. There is also an operational consideration similar to above.
Another advanced use cases we've encountered, with fact sheet 📚
"A Planhat user has two tiers of customers (50k freemium, 2k paid) and wants to use emails to convert the freemium users to paid"
-> Transactional if it's a mass send-out campaign, not looking to initiate personal conversations with each lead
-> Personal if they want to selectively target each user over time in a personal manner, e.g. triggered by certain events like NPS score change
Create an email (e.g., success@userCo.com) and set up a user in Planhat for this account, which can be used to send personal emails at-scale where all replies go to the shared team inbox in Conversations. Here it's clear to customers it's a shared email, but you can still manage it like a personal one.