Want to create fantastic promotional emails for your customers, but need some inspiration to get started, or back on track to even better engagement? What are some great promotional email best practices?
Take a moment to reflect on these 7 expertly-crafted promotional email examples and consider how you could adopt – and adapt – their techniques to your benefit…
1. Promotional Emails That Launch Products
You’ve done the hard work and done it right: you know your audience, you’ve educated them, built interest and anticipation… now it’s time the make the sale! But just how do you promote a product in an email?
This new product email from Apple shows that even the global big-hitters need to keep their marketing strategies relevant and follow the rules like the rest of us.
If removing distractions and clutter from around your Call To Action button yields better results – and according to vwo.com Open Mile increased its homepage traffic by a staggering 232% by doing just that – it’s no surprise to see that strategy employed here.
Combining the usual stunning visuals with a clear ‘buy’ call to action button and a subject line that focuses on the holy grail of benefits (a better you: more active, healthy and connected), Apple rightly keeps the top billing for its classic design. This is a really good promotional email!
What to learn from Apple?
- Use great visuals and clear copy to highlight your key message or product.
- Use classic sales techniques such as highlighting benefits over features.
2. Promotional Emails That Establish Positive Relationships
Here at Mailigen telling stories through email is our business, and we do it rather well… so indulge us momentarily in a brief example of our own!
Having signed up for a 30-day free trial, a personal, friendly salutation and introduction from Co-founder and CEO Janis sets the tone.
How often do we hear about the negative impacts of technology on human behaviour and relationships? Turning that idea firmly on its head, this clever email (and video) proceeds to explain clearly how Mailigen understands the complexity of email marketing, and how it can help you deliver real results by using its technology to deepen human connection.
In addition to the powerful email marketing platform at the heart of what’s on offer here, great people are an integral part of the product that Mailigen offers.
A great personal touch here is the inclusion of a welcoming video from Mailigen’s co-founders, anchored by Janis.
This sets out what the company can offer and shows that its people are passionate about that they do, instantly developing rapport and trust.
The email concludes by promising ‘the best information and insights’ for free, and over the next four weeks, Mailigen delivers just that.
What to learn from Mailigen?
- When starting out, you’re at the very beginning of the relationship-building process, you’re educating and informing, showing your value to your prospective customers. You’re building trust, establishing positive relationships.
- Video marketing is a very powerful promotional tool to have in your arsenal – according to renderforest.com in some cases it could increase your click-through rates by up to 300%.
- If you make promises, always deliver on them.
3. Promotional Emails That Reengage Your Customers Effectively
How often to customers demonstrate interest, maybe even complete a form, but only get painstakingly close to making a purchase?
This example from Chime demonstrates some great techniques for reengaging with prospective customers in an effective yet endearing way.
When effectiveness ratings for customer testimonials could be as high as 89%, it’s easy to see why Chime has used these as a foundation to shout loud and proud about its features and benefits from.
What else to learn from Chime?
- Personalized salutations (address someone as ‘dear valued customer’ and they will feel anything but) and casual, informal copy are engaging and non-intrusive.
- Customer testimonials and feedback are a great way to build trust – ‘you don’t need to take our word for it when our customers are this happy’.
- If you make promises, always deliver on them.
4. Promotional Emails That Focus On Simplicity
This Christmas email from IKEA FAMILY is, like most of its offerings, well-designed and easy on the eye.
IKEA doesn’t like to waste its customers’ time or overload them with information. Everything on display here is relevant and serves to reinforce its ‘raison d’être’ – selling attractive, practical and affordable furniture and homewares at affordable prices. I love how it features a few handpicked items, and includes the prices.
With just enough information to entice readers to click through to their website, three clear call to action buttons feature a choice of the rooms you’re most likely to want to furnish.
The personalised QR code is a finishing touch with impact for anyone who lost their membership card… and was thinking about delaying their visit. After all who’s got time for another probably fruitless hunt, or to work out how and how long it takes to get a replacement? Problem solved! This simply is a great retail promotional email.
What else to learn from IKEA?
- People do lose loyalty cards and will delay shopping – especially for ‘big ticket’ items – for this reason. If this applies to your business, this is a key learning point for you (hint hint).
- If attractive pricing is one of your key weapons, use it like IKEA. Transparent and honest, this serves to build and maintain its customers trust.
5. Promotional Emails That Offer Great Discounts
Time to make some more sales! Review and reflect on this attractive, no-nonsense discount offer email from Grammarly… after all, what entices us to reach for our plastic better than a hefty discount? And just how do you write a promotional email? Take some pointers from this great promotional email marketing example.
Targeted to students (segmentation, anyone?), this email uses the classic sales technique of presenting a well-known problem scenario, and then offering to solve it – or at least to make life a lot easier for those time-poor, overworked students!
When you consider that, roughly speaking, 30% of people buy to gain something but 70% buy to solve a problem, Grammarly wisely employs one of the most effective classic techniques.
The illustration here is great as it’s attractive and clean, and nicely in keeping with the overall message: this allows the reader to skim the email in seconds and focus on the thrice-repeated key offer: a whopping 55% discount on its Premium product.
While time-limited offers (think ‘today only’ or a counting down clock timer) are a great way of introducing urgency, Grammarly gets the message across through the context of the scenario it sets – for students the prospect of impending assignments does that job nicely.
Everything in this fantastic email focuses on the clear call to action, the principal one here being an unmissable big red-and-white ‘Upgrade Now’ button.
What else to learn from Grammarly?
- Keep your email clear, concise and impactful.
- Highlight the problem your email – and product – solves.
- Lead with the value being offered – in this case a solid 55% off.
- Introduce urgency – encourage an immediate decision.
- Know your audience: Grammarly knows who it’s addressing here, which allows it to focus on a clear message and simple, clear imagery.
6. Promotional Emails That Are Really Well-Timed
You might be thinking, “how do I promote my business through email”, but when you have a straightforward idea to deliver and time is of the essence – for you and your readers – it pays to stick firmly to the “KISS” principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).
This classic Christmas ‘carpe diem’ CTA email from New Look landed just two days before the big day, with a clear and reassuring “don’t panic, we’re here for you” message for its potentially stressed subscribers.
This design is easy to scan, visually appealing and includes just the right sense of urgency.
What else to learn from New Look?
- Ensure your emails are easy to skim to ensure recipients don’t switch off.
- When you have a simple message, keep your content simple.
- Urgency is a good tool to employ, but setting the context is key too – putting recipients under needless pressure might well backfire.
- Introduce urgency – encourage an immediate decision.
7. Promotional Emails That Reconnect With Inactive Subscribers
How can you reengage with – and crucially win back – your inactive customers in an effective and non-intrusive way? Given that up to 50% of your customer / subscriber base could be inactive, and that it costs significantly more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, customer retention is no joke.
However, this ‘give us another chance’ example from Dropbox combines humour, creative brand imagery and concise copy that highlights its best features to great effect. It also plays cleverly on one of modern life’s most sobering fears – losing those treasured files and photos that we forgot to backup – but in a comfortable and non-threatening way.
This may not look like a promotional email, but it is. The fact it’s so understated and avoids any mention of offers or sales is where its ingenuity lies.
I also like the way Dropbox pulls on our heart strings here, the well-placed emoticon plays well with the cutesy cartoon imagery. Who would have thought we could feel an emotional connection for a cloud-based file hosting service?!
Dropbox takes the notion of avoiding hard sales content to another level, emphasizing that where email marketing strategy is concerned, it’s often clever to play the long game.
What else to learn from Dropbox?
- While it’s tempting to try and prompt a sale through each email, focus on building and maintaining a trusting relationship with your customers.
- Short, sweet and subtle can be a killer combination for effective promotional email wording.
- When it comes to reminding your customers about your benefits, repetition is not just ok, at sensible intervals it’s strongly recommended.
Bonus Learning Points…
So what is a promotional email, exactly? While you might think some of these examples aren’t the most obvious promotional email samples (and you’d be right) it’s worth remembering that all emails you send can – and should – promote specific aspects of your business or organisation. And anyone still entertaining the misperception that email marketing is ‘old school’ or irrelevant should wake up and smell the proverbial coffee!
Emails are here to stay, and while statistics inevitably vary the agreed email marketing ROI seems to be somewhere around a whopping 4,000% ROI, or $40 for every $1 spent. Need to arm yourself with some great up-to-date stats that emphasize the positive impact and value of a solid email marketing campaign to your business? Campaign Monitor has compiled a useful list of 70 such stats which are worth a read.
Here are 5 additional promotional email tips to reflect on when you sit down to review your email marketing strategy, or before you compose that next email…
- Tell your branding story clearly, build rapport with your customers and build towards that first sale.
- Personalization is essential if you want to ensure your different customer groups only receive relevant content, at the right time. If segmentation, dynamic content and email automation are not already an integral part of your current email marketing strategy, then it’s about time for a review…
- Easy does it. Offer extras, free content, add value and build a strong relationship before prompting sales directly, if your customers trust you, they are much more likely to buy from you.
- Send emails from an address that customers can reply to, that’s how a conversation works isn’t it? Those dreaded “firstname.lastname@example.org” addresses are sure to make your readers’ blood run cold.
- Keep your content attractive and relevant
Maybe you noticed one of the key themes running through the examples we’ve shared here…? Simplicity. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s a great place to start.
Great content should include:
- An impactful subject line
- Personalised greeting
- Engaging promotional email copy and images
- Clear contact details
- Finish with a clear CTA for positive impact
Don’t lose sight of the action you want your customers to take next, whether to discover more about how your company will add value to their lives, or to grab that great deal that’s about to expire. Ensure your visual and written content is designed to get them clicking those enticing call to action buttons.
- Avoid standard ‘click here’ wording.
- Offer something of value, such as “Start my 30-day free trial now”
- Optimize for handheld devices
These days it’s much more likely that online retail customers will be interacting with your emails and website from a smartphone or tablet than a desktop. It’s also hard to understate the damage a bad mobile experience can inflict, so it’s imperative you invest in a mobile-friendly email marketing platform like Mailigen.
Proofreading is Essential
You would think this is obvious, but the number of times I wince when reading supposedly professional written content that features bad grammar, typos and misspelled words suggests proofreading isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be!
Always check – and check again at least twice – your emails for spelling and grammatical errors before you hit send.
Whether you’re a small non-profit or a multinational juggernaut, presenting yourself as competent and professional is key to building and maintaining that all-important trust.
Hungry for more inspiration to get started with your next email marketing promotional campaigns? Why not check out one of our other really useful blog articles:
If you have any comments, questions or even suggestions of your own, please leave them below – we’d love to hear from you.
And finally, if you’re still on the hunt for a fantastic user-friendly email marketing service that includes full automation, integrations and a dedicated account manager, try Mailigen’s affordable service for a 30-day free trial now.
You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Thanks for reading!