Delivering Unified User Experiences With Transactional and Contextual Email APIs

Learn how product teams use transactional and contextual APIs to reduce costs, deliver engaging email features, and ensure a seamless user experience.

Transactional Contextual Email APIs

Email is the most popular communication channel among businesses and consumers alike, so it’s no surprise that hundreds of thousands of developers (and counting) are using APIs to build powerful email capabilities into their applications. 

But not all email APIs fulfill the same use cases: some support mass sends to thousands of leads (think newsletters and marketing campaigns) and enable automated transactional notifications, such as account creation emails and terms of service updates. Meanwhile, the Nylas Platform empowers contextual, conversational emails (between individuals or high volumes of recipients, up to the provider’s rate limit) such as outbound sales prospecting or customer support communications. 

If you need a refresher on the difference between marketing, transactional, and contextual email use cases, read this blog first.   

Despite these different API use cases, consumers expect a convenient, personalized experience from the brands they engage with. Similarly, the end-users of your application expect native communications capabilities that seamlessly support transactional (mass email) and contextual (bi-directional email) use cases. To deliver on these expectations, you’ll need to use multiple email APIs. 

In this post, we’ll share how product and engineering teams can harness the unique strengths of transactional and contextual APIs to reduce development costs, deliver engaging communications features, and ensure a seamless end-user experience. Let’s run through two examples where the combined capabilities of transactional and contextual APIs yield a unified experience. 

All-in-one sales and marketing communications 

If you’re familiar with the sales and marketing funnel, you know that both functions have very different email needs. Marketers need the tools to deliver email at a massive scale (well beyond email service provider rate limits), create responsive templates for easy personalization, and track advanced campaign insights. 

Meanwhile, sales reps work off targeted lists of prospects and need to send automated cadences AND receive replies. Reps also prefer to send messages directly from their own email addresses — to ensure their outreach feels personal and reaches their recipient’s inbox. 

If you’re building an all-in-one application that spans the sales and marketing funnel, these use cases can seem at odds. But by implementing transactional APIs (such as Mailgun by Sinch) and contextual APIs (such as the Nylas Email API), you can deliver functionality that provides your users with a seamless sending experience. Here are a few benefits of an integrated approach:

  • Build best-in-class email features within your app: Using both transactional and contextual APIs lets your users sync, send, and receive one-to-one and one-to-many communications directly in your application. This integrated approach can also help maximize deliverability rates, ensuring emails land in the inbox, not SPAM.  
  • Improve user engagement: By bringing email into your application, you can reduce context-switching between email tools and turn your application into a hub for communications. More time in your app means greater engagement, higher user satisfaction, and stronger retention rates.  
  • Conserve developer resources: Building with APIs drastically reduces upfront development costs as well as ongoing maintenance required to keep your integrations running. Instead of building custom integrations, your developers can focus on other critical work. 
  • Ensure secure sending: You can minimize organizational risk by choosing secure, compliant, and performant APIs built by industry experts.   

Customer support at scale

Customer service teams rely on email as a core channel to communicate with customers, quickly resolve issues, and deliver outstanding service. Sending directly from a representative’s own email address (using a contextual API) ensures the best possible customer experience. But sometimes, these teams also need to send massive volumes of emails (through transactional APIs) — especially when multiple agents use the same address or share offers or updates to a large database. 

Using Nylas’ contextual Email API, contact center and customer service applications can send and receive emails directly from service reps’ email addresses, allowing them to resolve issues faster. If they need to send emails at a volume beyond provider rate limits, they can seamlessly switch to mass sending through a transactional provider.  

Similarly, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), and telecommunications applications can use transactional and contextual email APIs to support customer use cases that involve both sending outreach to a large audience and receiving customer inquiries. 

In this scenario, transactional providers can support mass email capabilities for campaigns or other offers. If customers have questions about the offer, they can contact a customer support rep, who can quickly and easily answer questions with contextual APIs. Features like threading support and clean conversations arm agents with a single, clean view of customer interactions, giving them the context they need to deliver personal, timely service. Plus, building on secure, enterprise-grade APIs means you won’t have to worry about accessing sensitive customer data — which reduces your attack surface and ensures your customer’s trust.   

Deliver standout email capabilities in your application

Using both transactional and contextual email platforms ensures you can quickly deliver embedded email capabilities that increase efficiency, drive user engagement, and reduce risk. If you’re wondering what type of email API best suits your use case, you can speak with an email specialist at Nylas today.    

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