Promotional Emails

Feb 13, 2018

PROMOTIONAL EMAILS

The Special Offer Email

Special offers that aren’t that really aren’t that special are a nuisance to your subscribers. It’s best not to overdo it with this genre of email.

On the other hand, if you’re regularly reminding customers and leads of offers that they would be genuinely interested in, then that’s a win for them and your business. The bottom line is to be strategic with these.

HULU

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Sometimes the right imagery is the strongest asset a newsletter email can have. It’s no accident that Hulu includes all the highlights of the shows people recognize most.

KOMOOT

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The orange-on-purple contrast works well in this email to emphasize what matters most: the discount-related CTA.

Too many emails distract from their main point… but we love that this entire email is about one thing: getting people to redeem their time-sensitive offer.

POSTMATES

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This special offer email also makes it obvious what should grab people’s attention. The fact that Postmates increased their referral reward 10 times is a noteworthy upgrade.

When the promotion is about giving more than it is about receiving, it’s more likely to pique someone’s interest.

A smart move for Postmates considering their stiff competition with Seamless, GrubHub, UberEats and even more food delivery services.

RYE 51 MENSWEAR

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The sleek design, the black and white aesthetic, and the element of mystery create a recipe for a successful email for Rye 51 Menswear.

This company succeeds because it’s all about the limited edition, act-now-or-miss-out-forever mentality. Since it’s a key part of the brand’s appeal, the mysterious quality is perfectly effective and on-brand.

BIRCHBOX

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Anything that’s tactfully animated and reflects the essence of your brand is a good idea. Birchbox has a super talented email marketing team.

They make this special offer email irresistible with a free prize offering, a fun GIF with a “Let’s Play” CTA, and by seamlessly incorporating social media icons and an invitation to download their app.

The Referral Request Email

If you are constantly nagging subscribers to refer you to someone else, it’s not going to help your business. Make sure you send these emails at optimal times (i.e. after you offered a special deal or did some other kind of customer appreciation gesture).

You want it to be a no-brainer for the recipient of your email to find your company worthy of a referral. At the end of the day, no matter the quality of the incentive, it’s the product and excellent customer service that will make people want to spread the word about you.

BOMBAS

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The way Bombas splits up the copy of this email into “Here’s What We Know” and “Here’s What We Think You Should Do” is comically simple. The list format is smart because it’s easy for people to skim and digest.

Bombas can get away with the boldness of the claim that they have “the most comfortable socks in the history of feet” because of how well they know their customers enjoy the product. The free socks don’t hurt either.

UBER EATS

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UberEats does a great job with this referral email by making it super clear what subscribers need to do to redeem (and give away) $20: Share the Code.

Instead of overcrowding the email, the template is streamlined and the green Share button can’t be missed.

The “Restaurant Picks” feature at the end of the email is a great final effort to entice subscribers to take action.

TREEHOUSE

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Treehouse frames referring friends as the easiest, most rewarding action ever. If you enjoy their service, you’ll want to keep using it (preferably for free) and you’ll naturally want to recommend it.

It’s this kind of effortless “why wouldn’t you?” message that gets your subscribers to take a minute out of their day to refer your product or service.

The Sales Email

Don’t ruin your legitimacy by sending spammy sales emails that people don’t want.

Only send these emails to people who have opted in and who actually engage with your emails. Otherwise it’s not worth your time or ruining your reputation.

BONLOOK

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Bonlook draws attention to the most important parts of the email: the $25 off and the deadline.

Another smart move by Bonlook is anticipating and answering a common customer question in corner of the email (emphasized in a bright color).

CODE SCHOOL

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Note how little copy and imagery there is in this email. Code School has the right idea not to add anything they don’t need.

Also, it’s strangely slightly more memorable to make the discount 51% instead of 50%. It might stick in some people’s minds, so it’s worth a try.

PEEL

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This email is a sight for sore eyes. The element of surprise is guaranteed to grab subscribers’ attention.

Plus, if you’ve already purchased a phone case from Peel’s website, then this email will remind you of the delight of the company’s sleek, thoughtful and modern aesthetic right away.

JUNIQUE

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It makes sense that a curated art company would want to have artsy sales emails. The vibrant pink makes this email hard to miss.

It’s also hard to forget the discount because it’s the only thing in the whole email worth noting.

By stripping down a sales email to its bare essentials, Junique gets the job done in a streamlined way.

LEGACY BOX

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The combination of great photos and branding, a generous discount, and a bright orange CTA.

The “Fill, Send, Enjoy” Infographic at the bottom of the email is also a nice touch– proving how easy it is to use the service.

The social media icons are also well-placed with the clever tagline, “Like if you love memories”.

The Holiday Offer/Promotional Email

These seasonally abundant sales emails are not supposed to aggravate subscribers.

Try to make them particularly enticing to avoid them ending up in the spam folder.

HARRY’S

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This universally appealing message has the visuals paired with three seamlessly integrated CTA’s makes this holiday email a welcome addition to subscribers’ inboxes.

Also, they cleverly pointed out a new-and-improved feature to help grab their audience’s attention.

LOFT

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This email also stands out from the technicolor (and often obnoxious) in-your-face holiday sales.

It gives the impression of being an editorial newsletter while slipping in 5 CTA’s and a 40% off discount.

The Birthday/Anniversary Email

Emails resonate more strongly with subscribers when they feel like individuals.

Acknowledging a birthday, anniversary, or milestone of some kind that is unique to only that particular subscriber has a stronger effect than you might think.

Use the opportunity to nudge subscribers towards taking an action that benefits your company. Use it to your advantage, but don’t abuse it.

PIZZA HUT

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Pizza Hut puts a funny spin on this birthday email. They seize the opportunity to get more people to use their online delivery system.

Free dessert can never hurt a customer, and if it pushes them to place more orders online, everyone wins.

FACEBOOK

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Since Facebook has no goal other than reminding subscribers of their omnipresence in their lives, even on their birthdays, this email works.

BEN & JERRY’S

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The opposite of the sweet simplicity of the Facebook email, this birthday message is loud and proud. That works for Ben & Jerry’s brand super well.

I included these contrasting examples in order to highlight that total opposite approaches can work equally well depending on the circumstances.

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A birthday reward discount along with inspiring imagery a three CTA’s is enough to drive anyone to Reebok’s online store.

Reebok takes advantage of the fact that some people treat their birthdays like New Year’s in terms of making fresh start for a more fit version of themselves.

People are generally is a positive frame and mind and are more impulsive with purchases on their birthdays as well.

The Event Email

The format is less important than the content when it comes to event related emails.

However, you want to concisely and clearly communicate the value of the event and the key details in a catchy way if possible.

EVENTBRITE

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This email is on target in all aspects. The simple but effective design provides the information the attendee needs, anticipates questions, and leaves out the extraneous.

THE FUTURE

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The balance between colorful, high quality images and descriptive but concise copy makes the announcement for this event perfect.

APPLE

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The inviting, personal tone to this simple reservation email is very well-executed.

They provide just enough event information to remind attendees what to expect without crowding the email with copy.

STYLIST LIVE

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This event announcement is dedicated to getting people to join who haven’t already. The two beautiful CTA’s match the social media icons.

If social media is a key part of driving awareness or building excitement during the countdown to this event, then definitely make the icons stand out.

The Clickbait Email

Don’t set out to make promises that you can’t keep. However, clickbait emails that actually have content that is as irresistible as the subject line are great at attracting and retaining a huge amount of traffic.

PEEL

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The body of this email lives up to its subject line, “iPhone Chargers that Don’t Suck”.

By visually representing the two selling points of their product Peel already grabs your attention.

Then, explaining how they’re going to make your life more convenient in a succinct way seals the deal.

5BY

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The best part about this email is that it has one simple goal: to drive people to website’s landing page for the video.

Curiosity will get the best of most people and they’ll just click it. It also helps that the email is about viewing content rather than purchasing an item.

STRAVA

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The simple suggestion to “join a club” is attention grabbing in and of itself. People crave group activity and comradery.

Strava makes clicking the CTA seem like a no-brainer.

TILT

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Using a celebrity name in the title almost always seems to put emails in the clickbait category.

Although Tilt has now been acquired by Air B&B (RIP) it certainly had enticing emails when the service was in its prime. The colors, spacing, and personal touch of this email make it great.

DESIGNMODO

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This clickbait email plays the doomsday card but in a funny, practical way.

Anyone using this service would be at least vaguely aware of the Google mobile update and would agree in the gravity of the consequences on a website that disregarded Google’s rules. The big green CTA is perfect in this case.

ADIDAS

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Everyone has had their fair share of wifi issues, so this email catches our attention whether we want it to or not.

The funny twist of assuming a broken Internet connection could be the only explanation for not following through with a purchase is guaranteed to get a chuckle or an eye-roll, but nevertheless a reaction. Clickbait at its finest.

The “Did You Know?” Email

The majority of emails that lead with “Did You Know?” are informational and either err on the promotional or behavioral side.

They’re usually used to either re-engage or onboard users. The more highly targeted the email, the more effective.

SQUARESPACE

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This email is targeted for re-engagement and highlights the new features that are supposed to draw subscribers in to start using SquareSpace again.

This email is filled to the brim with details about these updates, but of course the CTA is bold, front-and-center.

DROPMARK

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This is a proactive use of a re-engagement email: reaffirming the multi-purpose quality of the product and encouraging people to share why they use it and enjoy it.

This is a forward-thinking strategy to make sure people don’t drop you when it’s time for them to make budget cuts.

RDIO

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This is more of an alert email than a “Did You Know?” email, but nonetheless worth including here.

The fact that rdio is reminding users of their service by shooting them an email when their playlists get followers is validating for users.

If someone is mindlessly opening emails and stumbles across this one, there’s a chance they might get the sudden desire to listen to that playlist. It doesn’t always work but it’s another worthwhile tactic.

MAILBOX

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This email uses the opportunity of being acquired to thank their customers, while informing them of the details in a clear, brief statement.

Most people will probably be grateful for the update.

The Apology Email

In the fast paced world of email marketing, mistakes are inevitable, and so are apologies.

You can turn saying sorry into a great opportunity to prove he character of your brand as well.

Don’t shy away from these emails and spend extra time to make them as close to perfect as possible.

FRAMEBRIDGE

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One effective approach to apology emails is super basic design and sincere copy.

As long as subscribers can detect a human sentiment behind an apology email, you’ve done your job.

EXTENSIS

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Depending on your audience, saying sorry with a sense of humor is the best way for your message to resonate with your subscribers.

It also subconsciously minimizes the thing you’re apologizing for if the person is reading it in a comedic light.

MADEWELL

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When your website crashes, users are going to expect an explanation apology fast, no matter what product you sell or service you provide.

This lighthearted and conversational apology email does the trick for Madewell’s target audience.

TOPSHOP

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Topshop made the right move with this apology email. Using a website glitch as an excuse to give free shipping for a period of time is guaranteed to drive sales and appease the complainers.

The Invitation Email

Segmentation is your secret weapon when it comes to invitation emails.

As long as you’re sending the right kinds of invitations to the right kinds of people, you’ll leave a positive impression and boost engagement with your brand.

Segmenting based on past behavior is always a safe bet.

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Even though this isn’t an event invitation, it does a great job of making something that should be pretty commonplace (a business messaging channel) into something notable worth joining.

ELLO

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The simplicity and beauty that this social network claims to embody is reflected in this email. Short and sweet and black and white works very well for Ello.

CIRCLE

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The monochrome nature of this email is strangely inviting in and of itself. Also, note how the text in the body of the email emphasizes the user’s skills and eligibility to join.

Making the offer to join seem like it’s exclusive to serious, experienced, and dedicated members makes the invite more inviting.

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