Transactional emails are automatically triggered by user actions, like order placement, registration, reminder or notification emails.
There are tons of transactional email service providers out there. And most of them essentially provide the same basic features. But that absolutely doesn’t mean you should go for the first one you come across.
Before picking a transactional email service, you need to consider pricing plans, add-on features, pros and cons, and of course, service quality and customer feedback.
To save you the time and effort, we have narrowed it down to what we think are some of the top transactional email service providers in 2018.
Read on for more details about each service:
SendinBlue is a great email platform for start-ups and new businesses to get started on.
It allows you to send up to 9,000 emails per month completely free of charge! Plus, their pricing plan is also relatively affordable if you want to scale up, unlike most other platforms that tend to offer more expensive premium plans.
What makes SendinBlue special is it doesn’t just stick to transactional emails. It also lets users send automated marketing emails and transactional SMS messages, and run regular email marketing campaigns too.
SendinBlue comes with a very clean, user-friendly interface, and has a great reputation for high deliverability rates and advanced analytical reports. You can also easily get your app/service connected with e-commerce and CMS platforms using SendinBlue’s integrations.
The platform offers great customer service, along with extensive documentation to get you started. SendinBlue has around 50k companies using its services, including some famous clients like BMW, Spiegel, and Michelin.
- Customizable emails and SMS
- Powerful API to send and track emails
- Free dedicated IP for customers sending 350,000+ emails/month
- Email templates and a drag-and-drop editor
- Advanced analytics
- Free Plan for sending 9,000 emails/month (300/day) with some core features
- $25/Month Micro Plan for sending 40,000 emails/month with core features
- $39/Month Bronze Plan for sending 60,000 emails/month with advanced features
- $66/Month Silver Plan for sending 120,000 emails/month with unlimited features
- $173/Month Gold Plan for sending 350,000 emails/month with unlimited features
- $334/Month Platinum Plan for sending 750,000 emails/month with unlimited features
- $603/Month Diamond Plan for sending 3 million emails/month with unlimited features
- Customized Enterprise Plan
2. Amazon SES
Amazon offers the most cost-effective, scalable, and simplest solution to sending transactional emails. Amazon initially developed the service for its own use, but now it’s available to everyone. And that too at a much lower price than most other platforms.
The good thing about Amazon SES is it offers all the basic features to get you started. You can send emails from verified addresses, and also store files and access a limited range of analytics if you integrate with Amazon’s other hosted services.
If you’re looking for more fancy features, however, Amazon SES might not be a good option. It lacks some options like design tools, templates, advanced analytics, and the ability to use dedicated IP addresses.
The nitty-gritty aside, Amazon SES is a great option for start-ups and small businesses looking for a cheap and simple option. It lets you send bulk emails at the lowest price in the market. In fact, the platform is also used by some famous companies like HBO and Siemens.
- Send emails via API and SMTP
- Statistics for successful delivery and bounced/rejected messages
- Filtering to ensure high deliverability
- Integration support with other Amazon Web Services
- First 62,000 emails free of charge
- $0.10/thousand emails
- $0.12/GB attachments
SendGrid offers its users the best of both worlds: transactional emails and email marketing campaigns!
With an impressive clientele of high-profile brands like Spotify, Airbnb, and Uber, this platform has arguably the best reputation for its high deliverability rates and amazing 24/7 live support. It also offers easy integration with the SendGrid email API, and comes with an advanced set of analytics to track all kinds of important metrics, including opens, clicks, bounces etc.
SendGrid’s pricing plan isn’t the most affordable one, but it’s not very expensive either, especially when you consider all the handy features it offers. It also has a great interface, and an easy-to-use drag and drop editor.
The platform also offers a 30-day free trial option, so you can test it out to see if it suits your needs before purchasing their services. It also comes with a library of helpful documentation and videos to help you get started.
- Send emails via API or SMTP
- Custom SPF, DKIM and DMARC records
- High deliverability
- 24/7 live support
- Advanced analytical tools
- Templates for transactional emails
- Online documentation, guides, videos and more
- Free for sending 100 emails/day
- $9.95/Month Essentials Plan for sending 40,000 emails/month with core features
- $19.95/Month Essentials Plan for sending 100,000 emails/month with core features
- $79.95/Month Pro Plan for sending 100,000 emails/month with full features
- $199.95/Month Pro Plan for 300,000 emails/month with full features
- $399.95/Month Pro Plan for 700,000 emails/month with full features
- $699.95/Month Pro Plan for 1.5 million emails/month with full features
Mailjet is basically an all-in-one solution for businesses looking to up their email game.
The platforms offers full features for transactional emails, marketing automation, and email marketing campaigns. It has almost the same pricing plan as SendGrid, and is built with both developers and marketers in mind.
Mailjet comes with a clean, easy to use interface and a collection of pre-designed email templates to choose from. These templates are also highly customizable with a drag and drop editor.
The platform lets you use customer data to personalize your emails and segment your lists, and also features a developer zone for people who like to venture into the technicalities.
Another great thing about Mailjet is its A/X testing feature, which allows you to test up to 10 variations of your campaign before you sending it to your customers. You can also access real-time analytics and data comparison tools to see how your emails are doing over time.
The one drawback about Mailjet is their ticketing system for customer support. A lot of users prefer 24/7 live support over the ticketing system, since the latter might take a while to respond.
- Send emails via REST API or SMTP
- Same account for both transactional and marketing emails
- Customizable email and newsletter templates
- Drag and drop editor
- A/X testing for up to 10 variants
- Real-time analytics
- Consulting services
- Free Plan for sending 6,000 emails/month (200/day) with some core features
- $8.04/Month Basic Plan for sending 30,000 emails/month with added features
- $12.92/Month Basic Plan for sending 30,000 emails/month with advanced features
- Customized Enterprise Plan
SparkPost is a relatively new transactional email service, but it has some major clients like Pinterest and Zillow using its services.
The cloud-based platform offers some amazing features, like HTML templates. You can add conditional rules to these templates to easily send personalized emails to each recipient. SparkPost also lets you access around 40 real-time metrics and track delivery, sending process and engagement.
SparkPost offers a free-trial and scalable pricing plans. It also makes sure your emails are sent securely by restricting each API key to certain IP addresses. It also comes with some nice email templates you can easily customize, and a cool email preview feature.
The platform also has a great reputation for being developer-friendly, and providing fast and efficient technical support.
- Send emails via SMTP or REST API
- Advanced API security
- Customizable email templates
- Real-time analytics with 40+ metrics
- Email preview feature
- Developer-friendly infrastructure
- Free Trial for developers for sending 15,000 emails/month
- $9/Month for sending 50,000 emails
- $49/Month for sending 150,000 emails
- $124/Month for sending 250,000 emails
- $249/Month for sending 500,000 emails
Postmark is a specialized transactional email platform, and one of the most expensive options in our list. The deal with this email service is it focuses a lot on providing transparency, data security, and high receive rates to its users.
The platform is developer-friendly, and offers a lot of useful features like responsive templates, email verification, profiles of email recipients, and a searchable history to let you check out your past emails and see what worked and what didn’t. It also processes inbound emails into JSON and sends them to you via its API.
Postmark works a little differently than most other platforms. Instead of purchasing a plan, you purchase email credits and use them as you need. It does get expensive as you scale, but the first 25,000 emails are completely free of charge!
They also manually review every account on their website, and have a great reputation for being reliable in the market. Moreover, they have great customer support and also offer extensive troubleshooting options in case you need help with something.
- Integration of data with your app via API
- 45-day searchable history
- Detailed recipient and campaign stats
- Responsive email templates
1 credit per email sent
- 25,000 free credits upon signup
- $1.50/1,000 credits
- $1.25/thousand emails for 200,000+ credits
- $1.00 /thousand emails for 500,000+ credits
- $0.75/thousand emails for 1 million+ credits
- $0.50/thousand emails for 2 million+ credits
Mailgun is a very good option for developers. Nearly all its features are designed with developers in mind, and it seems most of their expertise lies in the technicalities. The platform is used by several famous brands like Github and Uservoice, and is known for its reliable hosting.
For a non-developer, Mailgun might not be such a great option. Their setup process is quite complicated, and even their pricing plans, although simple, can come across as a bit expensive.
Other than that, Mailgun is a very reliable transactional email service for coders. The cloud-based platform offers a lot of tools like batch sending features, detailed analytics, email validation to ensure you’re sending to real recipients, and more.
You can also access isolated sub-accounts for each of your domains. This makes it easier to manage client emails along with your own.
Mailgun also offers deliverability services to oversee your account and monitor your email program, so you can focus more on what you do best: coding.
- Send emails via REST API or SMTP
- Routing, storage and parsing for incoming emails
- Mailing lists
- Detailed, searchable 30-day account logs
- Email validation
- A/B testing
- Sub-accounts for multiple domains
- $0.50/1000 emails Pay As You Go Plan with core features and first 10,000 emails free
- $79/Month Production Plan for sending 100,000 emails/month with added features
- $325/Month Scale Plan for sending 500,000 emails/month with advanced features
- Customized Enterprise Plan
8. Mandrill (by MailChimp)
Mandrill is one of the most popular transactional email services out there. However, the reason we have it last on our list is because it’s no longer available as a free or separate plan.
Instead, Mandrill is now offered as an add-on service to only MailChimp users who have a paid account. This makes Mandrill a relatively expensive option for new businesses looking for a more cost-effective and simpler solution.
Aside from that, Mandrill has a lot of good things to offer to its users. It has a great dashboard and interface, is super easy to set up, and even comes with some basic analytics.
Plus, it’s an excellent option for businesses who want to manage their marketing and transactional emails all from one place. It also comes with some nice-looking and highly customizable templates, and a sandbox mode for testing emails without actually sending them out.
- Send emails via API or SMTP
- Custom SPF, DKIM, and tracking domain on all plans
- Highly customizable email templates
- Dashboard with 30-day statistics
- Automatic feedback loops to track spam
- Multiple domains per account
- Supports split testing and inbound emails
- Mobile app for both iOS and Android
In addition to a paid, monthly MailChimp account:
- $20/25k emails for sending 500k emails per month
- $18/25k emails for sending 500k-1m emails per month
- $16/25k emails for sending 1-2m emails per month
- $14/25k emails for sending 2-3m emails per month
- $12/25k emails for sending 3-4m emails per month
- $10/25k emails for sending over 4m emails per month
Remember, choosing the best transactional email service provider depends entirely on your needs and budget considerations.
All of the services listed above are great at doing their job, but vary in terms of pricing plans and add-on features. Choose wisely, because you don’t want to end up spending for more than what you’re actually using.