It’s a known fact that every company out there that has an online activity needs to engage its customers through technical information and increase awareness of its products via marketing campaigns. The problem is that in an email sending system that’s not set-up properly, the latter of the two can and will affect the overall deliverability of the company.


A marketing email refers to any sort of mass message sent to a large group of people, usually promoting a product or event, the kind of emails we usually receive from online stores with top deals.
So what are transactional emails? They typically represent purchase confirmation emails, sign up registration emails containing activation links, invoices, password resets, etc. or any other notification email that is mandatory to reach the user’s inbox right away or else you might lose a client. If you want to learn all about transactional email we have an intriguing article here.


Why is it crucial to separate marketing and transactional emails?

Take these two scenarios:

1. Let’s say you or one of your customers owns an online store sending:

  • Daily marketing emails with Daily Deals;
  • Purchase confirmation emails.

Using the same IP to send both of these things can be dangerous. We all know marketing campaigns can sometimes have a bad impact on your deliverability. Your IP can get blocked for various reasons. What if your emails get blocked for sending a marketing campaign to a bad email list? This will also impact your transactional email flow (emails that really need to reach the user in a split second). Think about it, your client makes a purchase and receives no confirmation email. This shows your website isn’t reliable and we all know how word spreads around in the online world.


2. If your business needs to send transactional email you are mostly likely a legit sender following the world’s best email sending practices, right? So why worry about getting blocked by ISPs when you send content that people want to receive?


Well things are not always as simple as they seem to be. Even though you are not getting blocked another problem might arise. Since marketing emails usually get sent to large email lists, sometimes even millions and your email server might take a while to send all of them. In this case your receipts or password resets will take part in the hellish marketing campaign load and can get delivered several hours late.


Separating marketing emails from transactional emails using different IP addresses is a common practice for most companies and allows the important things to get sent when you need them to.


How can I separate marketing from transactional traffic?

This depends on what email system you currently setup. If you are running your own email server make sure you won at least two separate IP addresses. Use one for marketing and one for the important stuff among with two different set of credentials.


If you don’t have your own email platform and choose to outsource your email infrastructure there are a lot of Email Service Providers out there and most of them are quite easy to get started with. Among the ESPs I found to be reliable and easy to use are:


  • SendGrid which allows you to upload your email lists, create marketing email templates and send. You also have the possibility to create subusers with different IP addresses to help you split up your email traffic based on different needs, like transactional mail.
  • MailChimp is also an important marketing orientated ESP which works in rather similar ways and has a separate product specifically created for transactional emails called Mandrill.


To sum up, splitting up marketing and transactional emails is a must because:

  • Marketing email servers are more likely to get blocked, thus stopping your transactional mail flow;
  • Marketing campaigns tend to get throttled so this will slow down transactional mail as well;
  • Using separate IPs or servers assures your transactional email will get to the inbox in time.