Although email marketing is a widely used way to reach people, doing it well is not always straightforward.
How can company representatives create emails that make people feel glad they opened them and eager to do business with the brand?
Here are 10 best practices, plus email marketing examples that brand representatives can adjust to suit their needs.
In this article
- 1. Make the Need-to-Know Information Accessible
- 2. Help People Envision What's Possible
- 3. Remind Recipients What They're Missing
- 4. Convey the Authority Readers Want
- 5. Use Emails to Support a Segmentation Strategy
- 6. Show How Your Offerings Support Customers' Goals
- 7. Celebrate Milestone Events in the Brand-Customer Relationship
- 8. Request Feedback Before People Provide It
- 9. Encourage Consumers to Complete Their Purchases
- 10. Show Gratitude to Customers Without Asking for More
- Email Marketing Examples to Guide Future Campaigns
1. Make the Need-to-Know Information Accessible
Using too much marketing jargon in an email can cause people to tune out. They don’t see how the content on the screen relates to their needs. It fails to answer the all-important “What’s in it for me?” question. Companies can overcome this challenge by using emails to break down the details people need to know to prompt a purchase.
This example from Ritual explains the different pill forms the company sells and the advantages they provide. The third main section of the content mentions generalized capsule perks, such as that Ritual’s options won’t cause nausea and are certified as vegan-friendly. The addition of the social media prompt at the end encourages people to learn more about the brand via the channels they probably already frequent.
The supporting graphic for each pill type also helps people understand the thought that went into the products. Whether companies sell home security systems or high-end suitcases, they can make emailed content resonate with users by showing them why their products are best. Giving potential buyers information directly in emails means readers get informed without having to look for the information on their own.
2. Help People Envision What’s Possible
Encouraging people to share experiences, running email polls and launching contests are excellent ways to boost engagement levels with your inbox-based strategies. When creating a competition, explore how email content could encourage people to take action. Pictures are an excellent way to do that. They remind viewers of a brand’s positive characteristics
In this emailed image, Threadless promotes a contest that lets a winner get goodies for a home makeover. The “Last Chance!” phrase emphasizes that people have to act quickly to avoid missing the entry deadline. Even more importantly, the picture shows a room full of Threadless gear. The diversity of products in the photo provides plenty of reasons to start daydreaming about living in revamped abodes.
The usefulness of this tactic spans beyond getting people to enter the contest. Recipients see examples of the available merchandise in the image. It then becomes likely that a sizeable percentage of them will make their way to the website to fill out entry forms and browse for products. Even if a person doesn’t win, they might reengage with the brand enough to remember that it’s worth buying something from it.
3. Remind Recipients What They’re Missing
Email marketing can be an effective way to reconnect with a person who ended or paused their relationship with a brand. The right phrases and feature mentions can help a recipient recall the factors that initially brought them to a company. It can also draw attention to the recent ways a brand improved.
This renewal prompt from the RunKeeper app offers several email marketing examples to mimic. It uses conversational language to lay out the various perks that help people meet their training goals. The text also mentions how people who sign up for the Elite tier can access all premium training plans for free. The green button helps recipients go directly to a renewal page. Then, the “You Rock” signature line gives them a confidence boost.
Suppose a company’s internal data shows that many people stopped associating with a brand because of a fixable problem. In that case, the brand could address it before reaching out to customers. They then have perfect opportunities to say things like, “We heard you!” or “Your feedback helped us improve.” That way, if an issue did cause a person to leave, they feel assured of a better experience this time around.
4. Convey the Authority Readers Want
A forecast indicates that people worldwide will send an astounding 347.3 billion emails per day by 2022. This growing volume means email marketing professionals have to work exceptionally hard to offer content that people find worthwhile and useful. Providing authority on a topic is a fantastic way to do that because it builds trust in readers.
Mint does that well by giving people straightforward answers about a topic many of them probably find confusing — credit scores. Most individuals know the importance of having a good credit score, but they get overwhelmed by pervasive misinformation. This email gives a rundown of common credit score myths by introducing them with sections and short paragraphs.
People also get direct links they can use to learn more about the questions explored within the email. When brands use this approach to show authoritativeness, they should always do so in ways that align with the products or services offered. Mint provides a personal finance app with credit score-specific content, so this kind of email makes sense. People already depend on Mint for budgeting help, and many will look to the brand for reliable credit score tips, too.
5. Use Emails to Support a Segmentation Strategy
Research shows that 91% of people unsubscribe from emails. Various factors could make that happen, including if recipients no longer deem the messages relevant to them. Segmentation is an excellent way to ensure information companies send match with what customers want. Begin by looking at internal data showing what people purchased before, or which emails they opened.
In the example below, representatives from OFFICE, a footwear retailer based in the United Kingdom, sent a straightforward email prompt. The image asks for people to confirm whether they want to receive newsletters centered on males or females. The fashionable people in the picture also remind recipients that OFFICE is the ideal place to get stylish footwear.
This approach doesn’t work as well if a company primarily sells gender-neutral products, such as cooking supplies. For footwear and other apparel, however, it can be a smart move. With more people opting to define themselves as gender nonconforming, businesses may also wish to have a newsletter option featuring content and products geared to everyone. It would cover those preferring not to mention gender, too.
6. Show How Your Offerings Support Customers’ Goals
Many of the best email marketing examples position a product or service as the perfect solution for solving a customer’s pain point or helping them achieve some of their aspirations. Brands often adopt this strategy when people are highly likely to think about their goals — such as near the start of a new year.
Headspace, a meditation app, featured such messaging to emphasize that people still have some control over how the next 12 months turn out for them. The lighthearted theme supports a no-pressure attitude perfect for appealing to those trying to set their New Year’s resolutions. The expiration date clarifies that people need to act before the end of the year.
The six months for $20 mention is a particularly useful perk to include. Most people would likely agree the price is quite reasonable. Additionally, if individuals stick to using the app for six months, they’ll have created a new regular meditation habit. When consumers feel ready to make changes in their lives, it’s the perfect time for email marketing professionals to offer deals that support those shifts.
7. Celebrate Milestone Events in the Brand-Customer Relationship
Email marketing helps brands retain top-of-mind positions, but companies should explore how they can do that without seeming annoying or pushy. Marking the day or month associated with when a person made their first purchase, signed up for a mailing list or otherwise supported a brand is a great reason to send an email that shows gratitude toward the recipient.
This anniversary email from skin care brand Paula’s Choice gets attention for several reasons. First, it offers 15% off and free shipping on the next order. Both of those advantages encourage people to act. Next, the bullet list directly below the offer reminds people of some of the things that make the brand stand out, including 100%-guaranteed products that do not include animal testing in their development.
The last section of the message discusses how people get free samples with every order and receive credit for referring friends to the brand. It urges readers to consider signing up for the auto-delivery service to prevent running out of their must-have products. This email does a nice job of balancing brand-centric content with material that drives purchases and reinforces why customers made a smart decision to shop with the company.
8. Request Feedback Before People Provide It
Exceptionally delighted or frustrated people are more likely to give feedback to companies without prompting. They feel so strongly about their experiences that they want to tell others about them. A well-thought-out email marketing strategy can help companies reach out to customers who feel indifferent about their interactions with a company. Maybe they felt pleased or a little upset but did not immediately think to give feedback.
Target uses email to ask shoppers to give opinions about the items they purchased recently. People can add a star rating directly in the email, giving the impression that sharing what’s on their minds won’t take much time. The brand also tries to proactively avoid negative reviews by giving recipients a link to help them address issues.
Feedback can support growth, but only when companies tune in to what people say within their comments. However, Target chooses to focus on how reviews help other shoppers. Many people respond well to the idea that they can do something positive for others in just a few seconds. There’s no harm in messaging that says feedback will primarily aid a company. However, some brands may want to do what Target did and call out the helping others aspect.
9. Encourage Consumers to Complete Their Purchases
Daily life features lots of distractions. Even when people intend to buy products and get to the point of nearly doing so, a ringing phone, crying child or oven timer are just a few of the many things that could interrupt them. A popular and effective email marketing practice involves sending emails to people to remind them to follow through and submit their incomplete orders.
Bearsville Soap Co. specializes in natural products for men. The brand’s abandoned cart email message offers a gentle reminder about the products someone wanted to buy. The copy also successfully gets across that finishing the purchase will not be a major ordeal. Since the business saved the items in the recipient’s shopping cart, the person does not have to pick them out again.
The Return to Your Cart button also lets people go directly to the right place from the email. They don’t need to type in a URL or use Google to find the site. The email’s subject line also has a bear emoji. That’s a simple addition that makes sense for the brand due to its name. However, brand representatives should take care not to go overboard with emojis. Misusing them could come across as cartoonish and unprofessional.
10. Show Gratitude to Customers Without Asking for More
An earlier section discussed why it’s a wise move to celebrate milestone dates with your customers, such as by marking their first purchases. Company messaging can — and should — convey a grateful attitude to people much more often, however. After all, consumers collectively play a massive role in helping brands prosper.
An email from Abercrombie & Fitch recognizes that and mentions how it’s an honor that people chose to shop there for their style needs. The message doesn’t try to get people to place another order immediately or urge them to write a review once the items they bought arrive. It simply shows thankfulness that a recipient chose to shop with that brand when so many other possibilities exist.
Email marketers should keep in mind that one of the reasons why this approach works so well is that it doesn’t place demands on people. In one day, someone could get urgent requests from their bosses, children, spouses, friends and others in their lives. It’s a refreshing change for them to receive correspondence that merely expresses thanks without requiring more from people who may already feel overwhelmed.
Email Marketing Examples to Guide Future Campaigns
Succeeding with an email marketing effort is not easy. People may get hundreds of messages per day, meaning company representatives must think creatively to get their content noticed.
However, this list of 10 tips with examples will give marketing teams some excellent inspiration to steer their ideas and boost their chances of having multiple successful campaigns.