Understanding how to create email marketing campaigns that really connect with your audience begins with learning from those who have already mastered it.
Luckily, there are plenty of great real-world examples of how to do email marketing in a way that provides value and inspires readers to take action.
The following 14 email marketing examples and email templates will help you model your own approach based on the best in the business.
Don’t Make it Feel Like Work
Reading emails shouldn’t be a chore. As marketers, it’s our job to do the work for our readers by trimming the excess and leaving just the good stuff.
1. Make Your Emails Easy to Read
We’re all overwhelmed with thousands of marketing messages every day. To cope with this information overload, your audience has changed how they read online content and emails.
First, they skim to see if the content is useful. If it is, they’ll go back and read the parts that matter to them.
Making your content scannable is one of the most important email marketing tips we can share. Breaking text into sections makes your content easier to skim and increases the likelihood that your reader will stick around to the end.
One of our favorite B2C email marketing examples is from Duffy’s Sports Grill. Notice how effortlessly it flows.
2. Cut Out the Clutter from Your Email Designs
Visually cluttered email templates are overwhelming and often difficult to read.
Instead of stuffing your email full of random content, select a few strong images to tell a story quickly and organize them into a clean, crisp layout.
This great example of effective email marketing from Nike shows how less is often much, much more.
3. Make Your Emails Mobile Friendly
Every year, more of us are reading emails and browsing the Internet from our phones. In fact, it’s reported that 67% of emails are read using a smartphone or tablet. That means that if you want to connect with 100 percent of your audience, you need your emails to look just as good on a small screen as they do on your desktop computer.
The good news is that this is now easier to accomplish than ever before. Most popular email marketing platforms use responsive design, with email templates that automatically configure to each unique device.
This example from The Wine Station shows a full-sized email next to its mobile-friendly counterpart. Notice how the information is simplified into a scrollable flow to accommodate a smaller mobile screen.
4. Be Consistent
Creating a consistent experience with your brand makes your offerings
- more memorable,
- comfortable, and
- easier to interact with.
You might think that constantly changing up your color palette, layout, design, and imagery makes your emails more interesting. But the truth is that you’ll get bored with your visual branding much faster than your customers ever will.
People are drawn to the feelings of security and safety they get from interacting with their favorite brands. By constantly changing your visual elements, you’re taking away the very thing that may create that same type of connection.
FreshBooks uses the same color palette across its website and email marketing campaigns to create a more consistent audience experience.
5. Focus, Focus, Focus
The more diluted your email’s message, the less meaningful it will be to your readers.
Are you trying to get them to click on an article, subscribe to a newsletter, and sign up for a trial version of your product — all at the same time?
The more options that you present in a single email, the higher the risk that your readers won’t do anything at all.
Focusing each individual email on one big idea helps it cut through the noise, just like in this email marketing example from LearnVest.
One big idea. One call-to-action. No confusion.
6. Be Concise
The harder your readers have to work to get to the good stuff, the greater the chance that they’ll just click away. Every word needs to add value.
Edit your emails relentlessly, cutting out dead weight with each pass!
This email from Headspace is short and to the point. All value, no fluff.
Creating great marketing starts with really caring about the customers we serve. Without that sense of empathy, we’re just adding to the noise.
7. Reach the Right People
Targeted, relevant emails work better than generic messages because they speak to the unique needs of a very specific group of readers.
Don’t just send the same email to your entire list. Segment your subscribers by:
- Buying patterns
- Job title
- Past activity
- Buyer’s journey stage (awareness, consideration, decision)
How do you learn more about your readers? This great example from Mom and Dad Money shows how creating effective email marketing can start with asking your audience what they really care about.
8. Be Authentic
Using a stiff, corporate tone is a sure way to turn readers off. Great email marketing is about being more human, and that means marketing your business in a way that seeks to serve.
Write in a conversational, respectful tone.
Authenticity isn’t something you create, it’s something that you already are.
Here’s a great example of personal authenticity from Daniel DiPiazza (Rich20Something). This works for Daniel because it’s his own unique style. Find yours.
How many times have you eagerly read an email that starts with a generic “Dear Subscriber”?
Just like your readers, you want to be treated like an individual, not a number.
- Using your reader’s name in the greeting
- Ending your email with a personal sign off and signature
- Creating offers geared toward what each reader will find most useful (based on recent interactions)
This prescription reminder email from Warby Parker is personal, relevant, and useful.
Think about the marketing emails you look forward to receiving. Are they all about you, or just about the company sending them?
10. Focus on Giving
Every email you send needs to add value to your readers’ lives.
The most effective email marketing strategies aren’t about relentlessly pushing your products or constantly talking about your company’s “commitment to excellence.” Your goal is to give by educating, inspiring, and sharing useful information about the topics your readers care about.
The bottom line:
It’s not about you, it’s about them.
This Airbnb newsletter focuses on creating value for a specific audience of freelance photographers looking for ways to improve their craft.
11. Make Your Subject Line Count
The subject line might be the most important part of your email marketing campaigns.
Your subscribers are already overwhelmed with marketing messages and emails. If the subject line doesn’t do its job and compel them to open your email, then nothing else in your campaign will matter.
Each subject line needs to speak directly to your readers’ needs and desires and make a promise that’s clearly fulfilled in the email.
Don’t try to be too clever. Just keep it short, personal, and honest.
This headline from Litmus is clear, to the point, and relevant to its target audience.
12. Create a Compelling Call-to-Action (CTA)
Every email needs to have an obvious next step — the action that you want your reader to take. A great CTA makes a clear promise that your audience cares about.
Don’t assume that your readers will automatically know what to do next. Use clear headings and visually distinctive buttons to draw their eyes to your CTA and prompt them to click.
Even if your email is purely educational, you can offer additional content on your website and start building a stronger connection with your reader.
The call-to-action in this email from Stitcher is about as straightforward and enticing as it gets.
13. Create Urgency
Sometimes, the gentle application of urgency can nudge readers to take action on your offer.
Be careful not to overdo this — a little urgency goes a long way. Trying too hard can come off as pushy and manipulative.
This Walgreens campaign uses a clear deadline and compelling benefit (saving 20%) for taking action.
14. Be at the Right Place at the Right Time
The success of your email marketing campaigns sometimes comes down to simple timing.
Using drip campaigns — a series of emails scheduled to be sent out, one after another, over a specified period — helps maximize your chance of being at the right place at the right time.
The total number and frequency of emails in your campaign will depend on your offers, your audience, and your goals.
The more emails your subscribers receive, the higher the likelihood that your readers will see one at the right time and take action.
That said, sending too many emails can turn readers off. It’s a delicate balance.
This email from Sark eMedia is a great example of managing your subscribers’ expectations so that they know exactly how many messages they’ll receive and why those emails will matter to them.
For the most effective email marketing, build a connection with your ideal prospects by sharing meaningful, useful content with them.
Remember to use clear, crisp formats to make it easy for your audience to get the most benefit out of your email marketing with the least amount of effort.
Be sure to create a consistent, personal experience, and focus on giving real value with every touchpoint.
Now it’s your turn.
What other ways have you found to create more effective email marketing campaigns?
Share in the comments below!