As the Boston Globe highlighted eloquently on our behalf to announce the launch of HubSpot's email tools, email marketing is not dead! But over the years, some less than savory email marketing behaviors by brands -- whether they knew better or not -- have soured many recipients to the email messages filling up their inboxes.
On the other hand, it has also made consumers jump for joy when they actually do get an email that is helpful, interesting, or innovative. And that's the kind of email marketing we like to celebrate! We've written about fantastic ecommerce retargeting campaigns, how to craft an email newsletter recipients actually read, and even how to use your email signature to support your other marketing efforts. But we realized we've never compiled a list of just plain awesome examples of email marketing that could inspire us and our readers.
So, I set out to my inbox (and that of a few friends and coworkers), and looked for the email marketing that doesn't make me hit 'delete.' I hope some of these real-life email examples inspire changes, additions, or innovation in the way you approach your own email marketing campaigns!
10 Examples of Awesome Marketing Email Campaigns
1) ModCloth Communicates Changes to Its Email Policy ... Via Email
I bookmarked this email from ModCloth several weeks ago, because I was so impressed that a brand actually cared enough to tell me it was changing certain components of its email marketing program. Take a look at the copy called out in orange below to see what I mean.
Great companies are always changing and evolving, and your customers expect it. What they don't expect (because too many companies haven't lived up to this end of the bargain) is to be told about those changes. What a refreshing change of pace! If you're going to change the way you communicate with a lead or customer, give them clear, fair warning so, if they aren't on board, they can make the necessary adjustments to keep their inbox clean.
2) UncommonGoods Creates a Sense of Urgency Without Being Pushy
You've heard it a million times (a few thousand of those times may have been from us) -- you should create a sense of urgency with your calls-to-action! That's what makes a lead take action, right? Sure, if it's done right. But often, the call-to-action is positioned in a way that morphs urgency into pushiness. This email from UncommonGoods, however, succeeds in creating a sense of urgency because it focuses on the value of acting now.
Instead of saying, "Order your Mother's Day gift NOW before Preferred Shipping ends!", this email asks, "Don't you think mom would've liked a faster delivery?" Why yes, she would. Thank you for reminding me before it's too late, and I'm in the dog house because my gift arrived after Mother's Day.
3) Yapta Gives the Compliment Sandwich
Look, I know what this email is really trying to say: Corey, you could be using our tool way better than you are now. But they say it so nicely! Take a look at that first sentence ... they thank me and call me smart. Awesome! I'll keep reading.
The second paragraph is when they give me some constructive feedback on better ways to use Yapta. If I follow this advice, I'll be a better user of their service, and as such, be more likely to complete a purchase with them.
Finally, it ends with another heartwarmer -- they ask for my feedback! There's nothing better than asking for (and receiving) feedback from your users, even if they aren't a power user. In fact, those are often the ones who can make your product or service even better, as they've identified roadblocks to success that many other leads and customers may be facing.
You may also notice that this email doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. Great email marketing doesn't need to be highly designed! This email message is effective because it gives me helpful information in a brief, clear, positive way.
4) AmazonLocal Wants to Deliver More Personalized Offers
This email from AmazonLocal is short and sweet, with just one call-to-action: click through this email to tell them what I like and dislike. That way, the deals they send me going forward can be more in line with what I'm likely to actually want. What's wonderful about this experience is not just that they asked, but also how consistent the experience is from email to landing page. Take a look at the email below, and the landing page that follows.
Notice how the language in the email above, "like" and "dislike," mirrors the language in the buttons below? This is a simple way to get feedback from your email recipients to provide more personalized offers in their inbox, thus increasing the chance of a high click-through and offer redemption rate.
5) ModCloth Makes Personalization Fun
AmazonLocal's method of personalizing email content is effective, but props should be given to this oft-highlighted e-retailer ModCloth with its Style Whiz Quiz email. The end results are the same -- ModCloth and AmazonLocal both know what their email recipients like, and as a result, they can better segment their email lists to provide more relevant content. But this email lets recipients take a fun survey to get the answers! If this type of interactivity appeals to your audience, it's a great way to get the information you need to segment your email list and solidify yourself as an entertaining brand!
6) Focus Pointe Global Gets to the Point
Focus Pointe Global provides focus groups so businesses like you can get some meaty market research. This is an email I received from them to participate in one of their online surveys. I'm on a lot of mailing lists for this type of research -- and this is by far the simplest email I've received! All of the information I need to know to determine whether I want to participate is called out in bold, with extremely short explanatory copy following it. What is the survey about? What do I get for taking it? How long will it take? Where can I begin? All emails should provide such clear instruction!
7) Zipcar Brings Back an Abandoned User
This example comes courtesy of my coworker who started signing up for Zipcar, got busy, and had to abandon the form. Take a quick browse of the copy!
The email calls her back to the website with some lighthearted copy that nudges her in the right direction, and also reminds her of the value of using Zipcar -- being economical and helping the planet. If your site visitors are abandoning shopping carts or landing pages, use your email marketing in this way to remind them they have some unfinished business on your website!
8) ModCloth Promotes Its Referral Program
Do you have a referral program? Cool! Do your customers know about it? I didn't know ModCloth had one ... until I saw this email. Good thing, eh? This email is great because it recognizes that even engaged customers -- you know, the ones that are likely to refer customers -- might not know you offer referral benefits. Email marketing is ideal for ongoing communication with engaged leads and prospects; never forget about keeping them in the know!
9) UncommonGoods Lets Customers Sell for Them
Another repeat offender (in the nicest way!) on this list, UncommonGoods leverages the power of social proof to beef up its Mother's Day email marketing campaign. Not only does this email provide recommendations for those struggling to come up with a gift, but it also highlights what other customers have to say about them. And in case you forgot, user-generated content is wicked important -- so important, in fact, that 8 in 10 people's purchasing decisions are influenced by user-generated content of complete strangers.
10) Bonafide Reminds You Who They Are
HubSpot customer Bonafide uses this email in one of its lead nurturing email series, and it's one of my favorite examples of a principle so many email marketers forget. Your inbox recipients don't always remember who you are! Take a look at the callout in orange -- the first paragraph of this email tells the reader why they are being contacted. With the amount of inbox overload we all suffer, reminders of this nature are critical to preventing deletions and unsubscribes. Once your relationship with readers has been re-established, you're more likely to enjoy high click-through rates on your email's call-to-action.
There are hundreds of other examples of excellent email marketing. Share some of your favorite campaigns in the comments!