27
min read

15 Swipe-Worthy Email Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign

Table of Contents

Great marketers are always on the hunt for the best email marketing campaigns.

And even though most articles do a fine job of pointing out individual strong points (i.e. a clever subject line or eye-catching visuals), they rarely explain the underlying strategy that ties each of these elements together.

And without that, it's hard to tell whether an email really "worked" or not.

In this article, we pulled together a selection of email examples that we believe best illustrate what actually works in email marketing today.

We'll break down 15 high-impact marketing emails from B2B, B2C, and ecommerce and show you why they work using a simple 4-part framework. 

By the end, you'll know exactly how to pick and choose which examples make sense to pattern-match in your own campaigns.

But first, let's quickly cover the typical email marketing strategy, different types of email campaigns, and outline the four-part framework we alluded to above.

If you already have a solid grasp of the fundamentals, feel free to skip straight ahead to the examples.

The standard email marketing strategy

In its simplest form, the standard email marketing strategy looks like this: 

The standard email marketing strategy graphic

An email campaign is one or more emails focused on a single goal.

Email marketing goals can include:

  • Increasing conversion
  • Building brand trust
  • Decreasing churn
  • Driving engagement

To achieve these goals, your emails must persuasively answer three critical questions:

  • What are you offering?
  • How will it help the reader?
  • What should they do next?

This is essential for grabbing the reader’s attention and enticing them to take action.

Types of marketing emails

Emails can take on different formats, but there are two campaign distribution models: broadcasts and automated sends.

Let's first define each one, then look at examples.

Broadcasts

Broadcasts are one-time emails you manually send to subscribers:

  • Email newsletters: Things that can’t be automated, like our Demand Curve newsletter.
  • Updates: Product updates, special events, announcements, etc.
  • Promotional emails: Sales, new product launches, and holiday shopping events.

Automated

Automated campaigns are pre-written campaigns that trigger based on someone's engagement with your site or app or after a certain amount of time has passed.

For example, you can receive post-purchase transactional emails, including receipts and shipping confirmations.

Native shipping confirmation
Never waste an email. Every email you send is an opportunity to strengthen a relationship with your customer.

And you can receive welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, and hundreds of other variations. 

Let’s cover a few:

Automated email flows

A flow, or drip sequence, is a series of emails that moves leads through your funnel. 

Through segmentation, you can make sure the right people receive the right message, at the right time, based on where they opted in, purchase history, or email engagement.

Use email flows to:

  • Greet new subscribers and get them to engage immediately
  • Nurture subscribers and get them to buy from you
  • Win back subscribers who stopped engaging your emails
  • Maintain a “clean” subscriber list to improve deliverability

There are four flows that are essential for most businesses:

  1. Welcome/onboarding: These flows are meant to remind new subscribers what benefits they can expect and drive them to take their first meaningful action with your business. The action could be around product usage, reading a piece of content, or making a purchase.
  2. Nurture: Nurture flows are focused on providing value and, in return, turning subscribers into new customers. Use them as a way to stay connected to the leads you collect that aren't ready to buy from you yet, and build up trust until they are ready. 
  3. Win-back: There will always be a percentage of subscribers who don’t engage with your emails after a certain stage. Win-back flows entice customers to come back.
  4. Abandoned cart: An automated email a potential buyer receives after failing to check out. Inside, the reader will usually receive a coupon to incentivize them to complete their purchase. This will likely be the most profitable email you'll ever send (over 70% of ecommerce carts are abandoned).

Tip: To make your abandoned cart emails more effective, answer "why buy now?" when their buying intent remains extremely high.

Abandoned cart email example

4 elements of an effective email marketing campaign

Every email has four crucial elements:

  1. Subject line
  2. Design
  3. Body copy
  4. Goal

The subject's job is to stand out in the recipient's inbox and entice them to click. Design helps engage the reader and keep them interested. Marketing copy is what drives response to your offer. And the goal is what each of these three components ladders up to to make your campaign succeed.

Let's look at the best practices for each.

1. Email subject line

The subject line earns the open. Make sure yours is:

  • Appealing: Have a hook; avoid blending in with other emails.
  • Concise: 30 characters or less is best for mobile.
  • Self-evident: Don’t make people guess why you’re bugging them.

Subject lines need to answer "what's in it for me?" 

limited offer - get 1,000 lives with your subscription

Make the value of reading your email very obvious, and encourage opens by piquing curiosity about what's inside.

Tip: Include an employee's name and your brand name in the "From" field.

From: Mike from Buffer

This gives your reader context. Try sending emails from different emails depending on the context (ex. sales, customer success, announcements). 

2. Email design

Once people open your email, they’ll reflexively decide if they’re going to read it, skim it, or bounce (and archive). 

Good email design is:

  • Simple: Your design needs to be simple, elegant, and clear. 
  • Neat: Use a clean design that includes plenty of negative space. 
  • Easy on the eyes: Use a standard typeface with large-ish typography and make it easy on the eyes. 

And don't forget to check how your emails look on mobile.

Insight: How to design mobile-first emails

More people read emails on mobile, not desktop. So if you aren't creating mobile-first emails, your campaigns aren't fully optimized.

Most email clients automatically adjust mobile-first designs to desktop, whereas the opposite isn't true. So if you optimize for mobile, your design looks sharp regardless of the device.

Here's how you create great mobile-first emails:

  1. Write short subject lines so they don't get cut off on mobile.
  2. Keep the design clean to make your email easy to read and engage:
  3. Narrower design with plenty of negative space.
  4. Bigger, legible fonts.
  5. More prominent, easy-to-click CTAs.
  6. Use small files only. Many mobile devices are running weak processors. Compressing your image files can prevent people from bouncing due to slow load times.
  7. Send a test email to your phone before scheduling.

3. Body copy

Body copy serves a specific purpose: It drives people to take action on your CTA. 

Here’s what works best:

  • Be concise. Don’t waste your subscribers’ time with fluff.
  • Fulfill the expectation you set in your subject line: deliver on your promise.
  • Promise more value that is only delivered when subscribers click your CTA.
  • Show social proof so subscribers see the value their peers got from you.

4. Goal

Most of your emails should only include one clear CTA. 

If you use more than one, you run the risk of distracting subscribers from the goal of your email.

  • Marketing emails with a promotion should drive people to purchase.
  • Nurture emails should get people to read a single blog post about a relevant topic.

The CTA(s) in your emails should drive people to that goal.

However, for certain welcome emails, it’s okay to break this rule and include multiple CTAs to give people a “Choose your own adventure” experience. 

For example, our Demand Curve email drip contains a nurture email that includes multiple CTAs:

  • Watch our masterclasses
  • Hire an agency
  • Get discounts on tools, etc.
Demand Curve nurture email

We've just covered the types of marketing emails you can send, along with the four elements you need to consider in your campaigns.

Now, let's move on to the examples.

15 best email marketing examples for B2B, B2C, and ecommerce

Business-to-business (B2B) examples

1. Bluewolf

Campaign type: Newsletter

Bluewolf is a Salesforce partner and consulting service. Their job is to help clients get more value from the product and grow their business.

This email has only one goal: entice subscribers to click "Get Your Copy Now" and read the annual State of Salesforce report.

Bluewolf State of Salesforce report

Subject line

find out how the best companies are using Salesforce

Bluewolf uses a healthy amount of FOMO to entice subscribers to open the email and discover what strategies they might be missing out on.  

Body copy

The body copy delivers on the subject's premise and builds on it to create intrigue—"Just because you have the world's #1 customer success platform, doesn't mean you experience all its value." 

Salesforce is one of the most expensive enterprise SaaS platforms for B2B, and customer retention is critical. To reduce churn, Bluewolf needs to help users get as much value as possible from the service, so they feel like they're making the most of their investment.

Bluewolf - get your copy now CTA

Design

The design is clean and professional, which helps increase the perceived value of the report on offer—it feels like premium content. The mock-up has the look of a framed piece of art on display. 

Bluewolf report mockup

Goal

In line with best practices, there's only one CTA in this email and no distractions whatsoever—download the Salesforce report. 

Key take-aways:

This email perfectly demonstrates the power of One—a single goal supported by all four elements of a successful campaign. 

  • Subject line: The subject tells you there's valuable content inside without being cheeky or sensational.
  • Copy: Body copy delivers on the promise made in the subject line, builds on it, and leads the reader to take action.
  • Design: The design is crisp, professional-looking, mobile-optimized, and uses complementary colors effectively to draw the reader's eyes first to the report mockup, then to the blue CTA towards the footer.
  • Goal: This email aims to entice readers to engage with a single piece of content and become more skillful Salesforce users.

What kind of asset can you create that positions your business as an authority and helps your users get more value from your product?

2. InVision

Campaign type: Nurture/update

InVision is a popular design software company. This nurture campaign promotes their Freehand tool, a digital whiteboard that lets teams collaborate in real-time on design projects, wireframes, charts, and diagrams.

InVision knows one of the main obstacles for new users is overcoming the learning curve and integrating it into their team workflows. 

Invision full email

Subject line

Invision subject line

The subject line gets straight to the point: new templates.

The word "new" automatically makes the subject more appealing, and the words "retrospectives" and "standups" are ubiquitous among product teams, which makes it feel more relevant and personalized.

Design

InVision uses abstract illustrations rather than in-app screenshots, which might feel too technical, slowing readability.

The vertical layout of content blocks is mobile-friendly, and there's plenty of negative space to contrast the whimsical designs, which are easy on the eyes and quick to consume.

Invision email design

Body copy

Tech companies often make the mistake of speaking to product features instead of benefits. InVision strikes a good balance here with concise body copy that marries benefits and features all-in-one, illustrating use cases their subscribers likely encounter daily.

The body copy communicates how InVision's Freehand templates can be used to improve cross-team collaboration via visual communication:

  • Gather your team's thoughts on what's working and what's not
  • Collect and share updates
  • Map out your architecture and processes
  • Get the team together to share ideas
Invision body copy

Goal

Like in the previous Bluewolf example, this email has one clear goal: to bring users into the app to try some templates. 

It's a retention strategy: The more time subscribers spend using the app successfully, the more likely they'll continue using it and paying for it.

A few more real-life use-cases where Freehand templates come in handy:

  • Run agile meetings 
  • Draft technical diagrams
  • Walk stakeholders through your work
Invision goal

Key take-aways:

  • Use simple abstract design to communicate the complex: Instead of depicting literal features and functionality, try conveying your product's most exciting features using simplified designs. Let your landing page expand on the details for readers who click through.
  • Marry features with benefits by illustrating real-world scenarios: Don't focus on features. Give readers a relevant context and position your product as the ideal solution to a common problem within that context.
  • Feature one clear call-to-action: In most cases, your emails will be more effective when you focus on one clear goal.

3. Avocode

Campaign type: Win-back

Avocode - full email

Subject

Avocode - subject line

Avocode calls out a specific pain point in this subject. Anyone who has experienced slow loading times is likely to open.

Design

Avocode - design

Avocode makes good use of contrasting colors and large font sizes to create text that pops. And to anyone who's ever owned an iPhone, the red 1 graphic resembles the low-level dopamine hit of a notification. 

Body copy

This headline hits on a common pain point—slow loading. We can probably assume it's also a common reason for customer churn. By sending out an email that addresses the issue head-on by providing a solution (3.7 software update), some fraction of subscribers will return to the app and give it another chance.

Avocode spent four months working to improve a very specific problem.

By respectfully acknowledging that the reader's time is valuable and showing that they've been hard at work to improve, Avocode likely won back a decent number of subscribers.

Avocode - body copy

Goal

Win back subscribers with a 20% off discount and product update that solves a specific pain point.

Key take-aways:

  • Provide multiple incentives to one goal: Avocode leverages a 20% off discount, empathy, and a strong reason for subscribers to come back and give the app another chance.
  • Offer a tangible solution to a known problem: Avocode lets the subscriber know that they've been working hard on a new update that solves a specific problem—slow loading times.
  • Give subscribers a valid reason to comeback: Why should people give you another chance? If people aren't engaging with your emails or using your product, you need to find out what that reason is, then present a tangible solution or incentive to come back.

What are your product's top pain points? Consider writing win-back campaigns about each one, and offer solutions to overcome them.

4. Zapier

Campaign type: Welcome/onboarding

Zapier is a popular automation tool that enables different apps to pass information between one another. Users can set up "Zaps" between hundreds of apps to automate workflows, configure notifications, and perform other simple tasks. 

Getting started: What's a Zap?

Subject line

Zapier - subject line

Zapier's subject line is concise, self-evident, and tells you exactly what to expect inside the email. Anyone who's just getting started probably has a general idea of what a Zap is, but more clarification is needed to get started.

Design

The design is simple and straightforward and uses three types of media to explain how Zaps work:

  • Explainer video at the top (some people prefer video over reading)
  • Simple graphics using familiar app icons (Facebook and Slack)
  • Concise copy that explains how to set up a Zap in simple language
Zapier - design

Body copy

Zapier's copy is an excellent example of what it means to be aggressively concise. There is zero fluff in this email; every sentence adds value. 

Zapier - body copy

Zapier makes it easy to get started by introducing two simple Zaps: a daily SMS weather report (personal) and a weekly Slack reminder (professional). It's a subtle way to show that Zapier isn't just for work but can also help automate rote tasks of daily life.

Goal

This email aims to motivate subscribers to take action and set up their first Zap or two. 

Zapier goal

Key take-aways:

Zapier gives new subscribers everything they need to get started without overwhelming them with irrelevant content, competing CTAs, or fluffy messaging. This email is entirely geared towards action. 

  • Start with education: If education is involved in your onboarding process, pick the most important topic and first step necessary to get started. You can always stagger your automated email flows and help users level up one step at a time instead of overwhelming them all at once. 
  • Focus on the what, not the how: Notice how Zapier doesn't talk about technical details like API integrations or event configurations. At this point in the customer journey, focusing on relevant use-cases and high-level concepts makes the most sense.
  • Give the reader options: Zapier gives subscribers two simple ways to get started, depending on the user's intentions (workflow automation or personal task automation).

What is the first action new subscribers must take to begin the onboarding process successfully?

5. Packhelp 

Campaign type: Nurture/newsletter

Packhelp sells sustainably-sourced, custom packaging solutions B2B. 

Packhelp - full email

Subject line

Packhelp subject line

People love unboxing experiences, especially the people creating them.

Design

Packhelp lets the visuals do most of the talking in this email. Great visuals; you can see everything that comes inside the box. There's an artistic element to it. Package designers want to craft experiences that delight customers when they open the box. 

Packhelp - design

Body copy

Aside from the headline, there are only three sentences in the entire email—and three is enough. 

The copy is concise and gets straight to the point. This is great content marketing. It's the equivalent of a case study. It is a real-life success story of a coffee company that wanted to create beautiful packaging for their customers. Thanks to Packhelp, they succeeded.

Packhelp - body copy 1

Testimonials are an effective form of social proof.  

Packhelp - body copy 2

Goal

The main goal is to entice subscribers to read the story of how Dak Coffee Roasters used Packhelp to create great packaging and delight their customers.

Key take-aways:

  • Use testimonials: Testimonials are powerful because they let others speak on your behalf. Packhelp positions itself as an expert in custom packaging design without explicitly saying so.
  • Integrate content and promotion: Packhelp seamlessly integrates its product with an exciting success story to inspire subscribers to create stunning packaging experiences.
  • Keep it short and sweet: One specific goal lets you create more concise, digestible emails.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) examples

6. Grammarly 

Campaign type: Win-back

Grammarly is a writing assistant app that scans your text for common grammatical mistakes then helps you correct them to improve your writing. A Chrome extension lets users edit their writing in Google docs and emails. There's also a desktop version.

Grammarly - full email

Subject line

Grammarly - subject line

This subject line will stand out in the recipient's inbox because it makes them scratch their head and wonder what they could've done to earn a badge. 

Design

When you're trying to win someone back to re-engage with your brand, you can assume they're most likely going to ignore it. That means you need to be brief and capture their attention as quickly as possible.

Grammarly does a nice job with an eye-catching hero image and only one short paragraph of copy. You can skim it in a second and decide whether to click the giant GO! button or delete the email. 

And for folks reading on the phone, the entire email is above the fold, which requires minimal effort to consume.

Grammarly - design

Body copy

Grammarly takes a light, playful approach, rewarding readers with a made-up “Wrinkle in Time” badge for their inactivity. 

Moreover, they remind the reader of a previous action—installing Grammarly on their browser. If the reader had a positive experience in the past, this might be the reminder they need to start using the app again. 

Goal

The goal is clear: re-engage subscribers and bring them back into the app.

People who read to the bottom might notice the subtle Grammarly Premium offer, a sale. Some portion of readers will click and upgrade to the premium tier. 

Grammarly - goal

How Grammarly could have improved:

  • It would have been nice to see the Grammarly Premium sale featured more prominently since there isn't a substantial incentive in the body copy, save from banking on the reader's previous history using the app.

Key take-aways:

  • Don't take yourself too seriously: Grammarly's win-back email is playful and fun, not pushy or desperate. 
  • Reference a previous action: Referencing a previous action puts the reader in the state of mind when they first signed up. They might ask themselves, "Why did I install that extension in the first place?" If they can remember the reason and have positive thoughts about the experience, they might log back into Grammarly again to see what's new.

What user data can you reference in a win-back campaign? Think: hours spent using your product, number of tasks completed, or streak of days or sessions using the product. 

7. Calm

Campaign type: Promotion

Calm - full email

Subject line

Calm - subject line

The subject line is self-evident—a discount on a lifetime subscription. 

Design

The design is simple, and the serene visuals are on-brand. 

You could create something like this for yourself in no time using Canva:  

Calm - design

Body copy

With such a steep discount, body copy is best kept minimal: Calm simply reveals the offer and gets out of the way, allowing the user to take action with minimal friction.

They still managed to state the offer, value, and benefits of upgrading to a lifetime subscription.

Calm - body copy

Goal

The goal is abundantly clear—entice subscribers to upgrade to a lifetime membership of Calm premium at 50% off.

While understated, Calm creates urgency with a time-sensitive offer. 
Key takeaway:

Calm - goal

Key Take-aways:

  • Lead with your best offer: Leading with a generous discount is often the best way to convert subscribers who have been on the fence about upgrading to a premium tier.

8. Freshly 

Campaign type: Promotion

Freshly sells pre-made meals direct-to-consumer. Unlike competitor brands like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, Freshly meals don't require cooking or cleaning—just heat the entree and eat. 

Freshly - full email

Subject line

Freshly - subject line

Freshly takes a shot at their competition (home-delivery meal kits) and states the offer right in the subject line. Using a single emoji can work well to increase open rates, too. Just don't use them in every email you send. Otherwise, people will get too used to seeing them.

Design

Freshly does an excellent job of comparing their product to similar alternatives using a vertical side-by-side graphic. 

In it, they communicate the product's top value props (heat and eat in just 3 minutes and zero cleanup) and illustrate the cons of other meal kits (60+ prepping and cooking, and time and energy spent cleaning up).

The combination of photography and illustration makes your eyes naturally gravitate to the Freshly images in the left column. 

Freshly - design

The benefits are clearly articulated in bullet format:

  • Decide if it's chicken, fish, or pasta night
  • Heat and eat—ready in just 3 minutes
  • Zero cleanup!

Body copy

The email starts with a punchy headline: "Save an hour a day with Freshly." Then, the sub-header elaborates on the promotion from the subject line.

Freshly - body copy

What Freshly can improve:

  • It would have been nice to see what the shipping costs are. If, for instance, free shipping was part of the offer, they should have mentioned it in the copy. If not, they should have given the reader some indication of what that cost might look like—or simply that there is a shipping and handling cost in addition to the offer.

Insight: People expect free shipping

So if you surprise them with shipping costs at the end, you'll end up with poor conversion. Considering baking them into the prices in your emails and pages to avoid unnecessary negative surprises

Goal

Freshly - goal

Key take-aways:

This is basically the perfect promotion email:

  • Lead with an offer: Freshly's example is offer-led, with a clear value proposition (save an hour a day with Freshly).
  • Position your product as the obvious choice: They effectively differentiate themselves against alternative meal kits and position themselves as the superior product.
  • Commit to clear, compelling copywriting: No fluff. Everything is focused on value props and benefits. 

What are your top value props? How do they make your product better than your competitors? Write a promotional email about that, and pair it with a compelling incentive to drive response.

9. Strava 

Campaign type: Promotion (free trial)

Strava full email

Subject line

Strava - subject line

The words "right now" draw the reader's attention to the present, which creates a sense of urgency—there's a decision to be made here. 

The subject also tells you what the email is about: the Routes and Segments product features are available to use right now, for free.

Design

Strava is mindful of negative space, and aside from the orange branding color, uses a subdued palette of greys, which naturally draws your eye to the colorful screenshots.

Strava also gets points for making the email responsive to mobile.

Strava - design

Body copy

The body copy first articulates the offer (a free 60-day trial) then does a good job of pairing the segment and route features with their respective benefits.

  • Feature: Segment customization
  • Benefit: Compete against yourself or others on specific trail segments.
  • Feature: Route creation
  • Benefit: Variety; find new places to run or ride—anywhere in the world.

What Strava can improve:

  • It's a small detail, but we would have liked to see the final CTA stand on its own. The paragraph before the button slows down momentum, and it's just a little too much text that you're asking people to read.
  • Strava could have re-iterated the 60-day trial length next to the CTA, then consolidated the body copy in the header content.

Goal

The one goal is to entice subscribers to sign up for a 60-day free trial.

Key take-aways:

  • Utilize negative space: Great example of using negative space and concise copy to your advantage.
  • Balance features with benefits: Good balance between features and benefits, using in-app screenshots and short descriptions.
  • Offer a generous free trial: 60 days is generous (most apps offer a week or 30 days). And the limited-time offer combined with a risk-free guarantee helps create a sense of urgency, which helps drive conversions.

10. Noom

Campaign type: Win-back

Noom used a steep discount to win-back unengaged subscribers.

Noom - full email

Subject line

Noom - subject line

The subject line, “Come back” and the header, “Don’t wait to reclaim your health,” meet unengaged customers at their stage of the buyer’s journey with Noom—most of them haven’t opened or engaged with emails in a while. 

Design

Design-wise, this is a good example of playing it safe. While there isn't anything particularly remarkable about the design, it gets the message across and ends with a call to action. Notice how the shade of blue on the CTA button doesn't appear anywhere else in the email.  

Noom - design

Body copy

The tactical copy combined with the steep discount likely win-back customers who would otherwise simply drop out of the funnel.

The specific course number in the hyperlink (#6500500) is a subtle touch that makes this feel like a personalized email.

Noom - body copy

Goal

This is a special promotion win-back campaign. The goal is to reactivate lapsed customers with a deep discount. 

Noom - goal

Key take-aways:

  • Boost conversions with a promotion: 90% off is insanely steep, but at this point in the customer's lifecycles, Noom has nothing to lose. Every re-engaged customer is a win. And it comes at no additional cost since it's a digital product.
  • Use multiple incentives: Strong, time-sensitive CTA—get 90% off now.
  • Simplify your design: Noom's design tells the reader what the email list is about (come back and reclaim your health) and draws the reader's attention straight to the offer (14-day free trial and 90% off).

11. Persona 

Campaign type: Welcome

This incentivized welcome campaign from Persona Nutrition optimizes for mobile with stacking columns and increasing font sizes. Crisp, bright visuals make this email easy on the eyes.

Persona full email

Subject line

Subscribers are more likely to take action when they first sign up. Persona welcomes new subscribers with a 50% off discount right out of the gate.

Persona - subject line

Design

Persona sells personalized healthy supplement subscriptions. Notice how they use pristine whites and contrasting black fonts to create a sterile, almost medical aesthetic.  

Persona - design

Body copy 

Persona communicates everything a welcome email needs to say in the first paragraph. 

Persona - body copy 1

Then, in the body, they articulate their brand values:

  • Transparency
  • Personalization
  • Expert care
Persona - body copy 2

Most consumers are skeptical of supplements because the industry is largely unregulated. Many brands fail to disclose where they source their ingredients and even the specific contents of their formulations. Persona positions themselves as a desirable alternative because they're transparent, backed by a medical advisory board, and have expert nutritionists on staff to provide customer support. 

Goal

This welcome email aims to introduce subscribers to the brand ethos and entice them to take action and sign up for their first month of personalized supplements—using a 50% off discount as an incentive.

Key take-aways:

  • Match design with positioning: Subconsciously, the design scheme makes you associate cleanliness and quality with Persona.
  • Optimize for readability: It's easier to skim short blocks of text than read a wall of words. This is another example of how you might break down complex topics into smaller parts. Persona did this by physically separating distinct messaging points and using visuals for variety.

What Persona can improve: 

Two criticisms:

  1. The subject line is pretty weak: "50% off welcome offer" is dry and robotic, like they aren't trying. The new subscriber is just starting their customer journey, so it would have been nice to see more effort to welcome them and get them excited about taking the next step. For example, "Congrats on taking the next step in your wellness journey" or "Welcome to Persona! (and a special thank you for joining)."
  2. The bottom quarter of the email is essentially wasted space: There's nothing valuable there except for a few links. Persona could have condensed this space by about 80% or used it as an opportunity to incentivize referrals or include a strong testimonial.
Persona email - bottom quarter

Ecommerce examples

12. Baggu

Campaign type: Nurture

This is a great example of how visuals can speak louder than words. Baggu used animated GIFs to turn a mundane chore like laundry into a fun and engaging nurture email. 

Machine wash cold, line dry.

Subject line

Baggu - subject line

Design

The whole idea behind Baggu is to reduce waste using cute reusable bags. But to make sure Baggus have long lives, you need to keep them clean. 

No matter what kind of product you sell, modeling it in action will always be compelling on some level. When you demonstrate how to use a product properly (either pre or post-purchase), you illustrate a real-world scenario that invites the subscriber to participate in. You give them a framework for success.

For subscribers who already own the product, this email shows them how to use it properly and get more value (a longer life). It also re-affirms their decision to purchase in the first place, and this email might sway them to come back ad buy again.

Tip: Use user-generated content as social proof

Demonstrate the benefits of your product with content from real customers. 

Baggu - design

Goal

This email is meant to educate subscribers on how to get the most out of the product and stay top of mind. It's a brand play that shows subscribers how to live more sustainable lives.

Key take-away:

Visuals are engaging. Motion is even more so: If you have a visual product and the creative bandwidth to create high-quality GIFs, consider adding product-focused GIFs into your emails to increase engagement.

What Baggu could have improved:

  • If we could have done this differently, we would have chosen images from social media that capture people modeling the product in action rather than the product by itself.

If you're struggling to develop nurture email ideas, think of all the different ways someone could have a better experience using your product. What tips do you have for your customers? What's something your subscribers might not know but perhaps should?

13. Columbia

Campaign type: Abandoned cart

Columbia answers, "why buy now?" with a price reduction in this abandoned cart email.

Columbia - full email

Subject line

Columbia - subject line

Even though Columbia doesn't mention the specific items or the customer by name, the subject line feels more personal than the usual "looks like you left something behind," which is formulaic and expected. It also gives you a reason to open the email—a price drop.

Design

Dynamic content blocks are a handy feature you can find in most email clients. You can use them to display specific products and content based on user data. Columbia makes good use of dynamic blocks to show certain products based on the item added to the cart. 

Columbia - design

Body copy

Abandoned cart emails typically don't need a lot of copy. Simply show the item added to the cart, and give the customer an incentive to complete their checkout.

Columbia - body copy

The "Reveal New Price" is the cherry on the cake. To find out just how much the price went down, you have to click through to the landing page. 

Goal

This is an exception where having multiple goals can work—Black Friday. Abandoned cart emails are meant to bring potential customers back to a shopping state of mind. 

If you can get someone to come back and resume the checkout process for the item they left behind, they're more likely to add additional items to the same order, especially during a sales event. That's because, unlike in-cart cross-sells, which potentially disrupt the checkout process, you have the customer's undivided attention in an email. 

Key take-aways:

  • Consider testing cross/up-sells in your abandoned cart emails: You can introduce relevant products to the initial add-to-cart item using dynamic product blocks. If your email can rekindle the subscribers' desire to purchase, they're more likely to add additional items as well.
  • Tease the new price, but don't show it: Notice how Columbia doesn't show the reduced price of the original add-to-cart item. Instead, they included a CTA with "Reveal New Price." You have to click-through to the landing page to find out the actual price, then decide to buy or not. Clicking on the CTA is a micro-commitment, so when the customer lands on the next page, they're already primed to take action and complete their purchase.
  • Don't settle for pre-written copy: You can fully automate abandoned cart emails in most modern ESPs—in some, they even include pre-written copy for you to use. But this type of copy never reads like a human wrote it. Columbia does a nice job with their email copy in this example. It feels more genuine and personalized, not formulaic, which is how most transactional emails feel.

14. Methodical Coffee

Campaign type: Newsletter / Cross-sell promotion

This is a great example of a fully-realized newsletter broadcast. Methodical Coffee combines content and promotion seamlessly, unifying both into one cohesive theme: how to enjoy black coffee.

Methodical Coffee full email

Subject line

The subject is concise and self-evident, and the coffee emoji is hard to ignore.

Methodical Coffee - subject line

Design

This email exemplifies a tried and true ecommerce newsletter template: hero image and primary CTA, followed by relevant product blocks, a secondary promotion (optional), and product categories.

Notice how this email's branding and color scheme are consistent with the blog post. The white/bronze color patterns and floral design match the website, which feels cohesive. And the blog post recommends the same products from the email.

Methodical Coffee - design

A lot of newsletters don't include product mentions. And that's fine. Sometimes it's best to separate content from promotion. However, a bag of coffee doesn't cost much, and since the content is naturally tied to the product, some subscribers are likely to buy after reading the post.

Body copy

Black coffee is divisive—you either love it or hate it. Methodical Coffee uses the divide as an opportunity to teach non-black coffee drinkers how to enjoy it. Then they recommend the best roasts to try black.

Methodical Coffee - body copy

Goal

The goal of this email is to sell coffee, using relevant content to engage readers and entice them to try a new roast. 

Key take-aways:

  • Experiment with product promotion in your newsletters: However, it helps if the products you want to promote are inexpensive and directly related to the content you're promoting.
  • Choose subject lines that are self-evident: For content sends, it's usually best to choose clear and direct subject lines over enigmatic ones. Newsletters are your chance to deepen your relationship with your subscriber base and provide value (e.g., blog posts, video, webinar, resources) without asking for anything in return or testing their patience.

What could Methodical Coffee have improved?

  • In our opinion, it would have been better if they ditched the second half of this email. The gift card promotion and product categories distract from the core content.
  • By focusing on the subject of black coffee drinking, exclusively, Methodical could have gained higher signal data on their subscribers' preferences by measuring click-to-open. They could then use that information to adjust their content strategy and product offerings accordingly.

15. Tracksmith 

Tracksmith is a case study in good branding. Their email marketing is so good that the next two email examples are both from Tracksmith. 

Campaign type: Welcome

Tracksmith welcomes new subscribers with stunning visuals and complimentary copy that expresses their mission and values and invites readers to follow their socials.

Welcome To The Team

Subject line

Tracksmith welcome email - subject line

When brands say "welcome to the family" in their welcome emails, it often seems disingenuous and forced.

But given how Tracksmith caters to such a specific, tight-knit running culture—where teams are a thing—saying "welcome to the team" feels like you're being accepted into a thriving community with a shared passion for the sport of running. 

Design

Tracksmith uses beautiful photography as a form of visual story-telling and highlights the lifestyle component of their brand. Professional photography is woven throughout their website and marketing materials. It's impressive how seamless this is.

Crucially, this email doesn't focus on the product. It communicates brand ethos with photos that look raw and real, not aspirational, as if to say "this is what real running looks like." Which is what the Tracksmith brand is all about.

Tracksmith welcome email - design 1
Tracksmith welcome email - design 2

Body copy

Tracksmith keeps it brief in their welcome email by telling the reader what they do as a company and why they do it. Tracksmith doesn't just sell running gear like any ordinary brand; they "deliver products and experiences that embrace the legacy of the sport."

They don't talk about founders, where they're headquartered, or how the company came to be. Instead, they speak only to their values and mission. This feels more personal, more authentic. In this email, Tracksmith isn't so much an ecom brand but a lifestyle, a movement for like-minded people to join.

Note: This brand-heavy approach doesn't work for every company. It works for Tracksmith because they are so heavily invested in branding, which is air-tight.

Tracksmith welcome email - body copy

Goal

Tracksmith's goal is to indoctrinate new subscribers into their world and drive traffic to their website to learn more. 

Key take-aways:

  • State your values: Use your welcome email as an opportunity to communicate your brand image and state values. Tracksmith leads with brand and leaves the reader with a sense of belonging. Product promotion can come later.
  • Create a bigger impact using less: Companies often try and jam too much content into their welcome emails. To stand out, decide on a single goal, then create content that serves that goal clearly and concisely.
  • Set the expectation in your subject line: If new subscribers must take action right away, include "getting started" or "start here" in your subject—it implies action. If like Tracksmith, you want to communicate your mission and values first, a simple "Welcome to [brand name]" suggests as much and sets expectations accordingly. Whichever you choose, the key is to fulfill the expectation you put in your subject: deliver on your promise.

Campaign type: Promotion

Merino for the Mountains

Subject line

Tracksmith promotion email - subject line

It's appealing and concise and hints at the email content rather than explicitly telling you what it is. And the playful alliteration of "Merino" and "Mountains" helps stand out in the inbox. 

Design

Like in the previous example, Tracksmith emphasizes high-quality photography and complementary colors to engage the reader. And the vertical orientation and center-alignment of the text mean it's mobile-optimized. 

Tracksmith includes clear product shots and lifestyle images that model the product in action. In line with Tracksmith's brand, they emphasize the lifestyle aesthetic, an appealing scene for the reader to step into. 

Tracksmith promotion email - design

Body copy

Notice how the copy focuses on story-telling and real-world benefits instead of product features or perfunctory garment details. Each section contains an aspirational lifestyle narrative and an elegant product description. 

Tracksmith promotion email - body copy

Goal

The body copy tells you this is a seasonal promotion: the goal is to promote running shirts from Tracksmith's fall collection.

Key take-away:

  • Show the product in action: If your product is visual, try including high-res product images alongside lifestyle shots that model the product in action. Focus on lifestyle benefits in your copy, and back them up with your product's most compelling features and value props.

Wrapping up

Email is one of the most profitable digital marketing channels because you have a direct line to an owned audience—your email list. 

Looking at examples is a great way to inspire your own emails. When you're ready to execute a successful email marketing campaign (either broadcast or automated flow), start by answering these questions:

  • What are you offering?
  • How will it help the reader?
  • What should they do next?

Then, using your answers, follow this four-part framework and write a great email.

1. Your subject line should be:

  • Appealing: Have a hook; avoid blending in with other emails.
  • Concise: 50 characters or less is best for mobile
  • Self-evident: Don't make people guess why you're bugging them

2. Good email design is: 

  • Simple:Your design needs to be simple, elegant, and clear.
  • Neat: Use a clean design that includes plenty of negative space.
  • Easy on the eyes: Use a standard typeface with large-ish typography and make it easy on the eyes.

3. In your body copy:

  • Be aggressively concise. Don't waste your subscribers' time with unnecessary fluff.
  • Fulfill the expectation you set in your subject line: Deliver on your promise.
  • Promise even more value that is only delivered when subscribers click your CTA.
  • Show social proof so subscribers see the huge value that their peers got from you.

4. Your goal:

  • Marketing emails with a promotion should drive people to purchase.
  • Nurture emails should get people to read a single blog post about a relevant topic.
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