What is RTM?

A real time message (RTM) is a single message sent to a single recipient, which refers to a specific interaction between the recipient and the sender. In the context of emails, real time messages are also commonly referred to as transactional emails.

As opposed to batch mailings, where the same content is sent to a large volume of contacts at the time of the sender’s choosing, a transactional mail is triggered by the recipient, typically via an action performed on a web page, and contains information relevant only to that person. Examples of such emails would be payment confirmation, password reset request, travel confirmation, etc.

How does it work?

Emarsys RTM consists of two elements:

  • Templates
    These are the framework of the emails that are sent, and contain the design elements and placeholders for the dynamic content that is taken from the transaction that triggers the message.
  • Mail streams
    These are the context in which the message is sent and the reporting is made. A stream contains a snapshot of a mail template which needs to be explicitly updated for changes to the template to become active.

All real time messages are triggered by an Emarsys API call integrated into your website or web shop. This API call contains the transaction-specific content that is needed for the fields in the email template and launches the email.

Why is it so special?

  • As transactional mails are usually sent as part of a real-time interaction with a customer, they have good engagement metrics compared to newsletters or batch mailings. This makes them a great tool for showcasing your customer engagement and improving the quality of your brand experience.
  • By separating design from implementation, your creative team can continue to improve the look and feel of the emails without affecting the mail streams. Changes to a template can be previewed and tested in the mail stream and only after they are accepted there will the next emails look different.
  • It’s easy to copy over the design of your existing Emarsys email campaigns and templates.

How does it compare to other Emarsys event-based email campaigns?

Emarsys already supports a number of transactional email types, such as on-event campaigns and Automation Center programs. You can also implement HTTPS feeds to trigger emails. However, these cannot truly be called real time messages because they access the contact database of the account to retrieve contact data, which causes a slight delay.

Emarsys RTM messages contain only data pulled from the transaction itself and are consequently delivered much faster, typically taking just over a second to reach the inbox.

What about opt-in and content considerations?

Since transactional messages are initiated by the customer, it is implictly understood that the recipient has given their permission to receive emails concerning the transaction that triggered them.

Therefore no opt-in is required to send them. However, transactional emails are defined by their content, therefore you should take care not to include any product or marketing content that is not directly related to the transaction.