10 Great Email Marketing Examples for Marketers in 2020

Email marketing is an evergreen trend. When your marketing budget is limited, you can’t afford to ignore a tool as effective as email marketing. In 2019, every $1 spent on emails yielded $42

For SMBs, email marketing remains a top method for customer acquisition (for 81% of SMBs) and retention (80%). There are many reasons why emails work so well. Effective emails are personalized, actionable, and mobile-optimized—factors that guarantee a strong return on investment. 

But you can’t hope to get good results if your email marketing strategy is not on-point. People get tonnes of emails daily in their inboxes. Most of them are ignored, deleted, or worse still, labelled as “spam.” 

How can you make your emails stand out, get opened, and be acted upon? Are there any email marketing best practices that you need to follow? You can find these answers by studying email marketing campaigns that have delivered good results.

In this post, we have curated ten examples of companies that nailed their email marketing campaigns in 2019. You can take inspiration from them and replicate their strategies for your brand.


10 Great Email Marketing Examples

Whether it’s a welcome email or a cart checkout reminder, your emails need to catch the recipients’ attention and prompt them to take the desired action. You can use email marketing templates that are designed by marketing experts. 

But sometimes you can’t find templates that match your brand’s voice or design aesthetics. Then, it makes sense to craft your own email campaigns. Here are 10 email marketing campaign examples to give you a great head start.


1. BuzzFeed

Cute, catchy, and compelling—that’s BuzzFeed’s daily newsletter for you. It’s called “BuzzFeed Daily” and it’s delivered Monday through Friday, with specially curated resources, news items, and articles. 

When you subscribe, you get a welcome email with a bold red CTA that redirects you to their site’s Trending page. There, you see tabs for viral quizzes, news, and videos. The high-resolution images, concise headlines, and personalised content make for great reading.

Image via BuzzFeed

You can also select newsletters from their trending newsletters that you’d like delivered to your inbox. For instance, we subscribed to their Tasty newsletter which has four weekly updates. The newsletter contained cooking hacks, delish recipes, and a Tasty Starter Pack. We could also join their mammoth network of foodies and participate in their food quizzes.

Image via BuzzFeed

Your Takeaway: Give more than you take. Pack your emails/newsletters with valuable resources so that audiences look forward to the next edition.


2. charity: water

Interactive emails are the future of email marketing. Videos in emails provide an immersive experience to readers and retain them longer than plain text emails. We witnessed this when we signed up for charity: water’s newsletter.

Their welcome email has a video of their founder, Scott Harrison, who tells the brand’s story in an engaging way. The use of first-person language in the accompanying message humanises the brand. 

Once you pledge a donation to the charity, you get transactional emails telling you exactly how your money is being utilized. You get a graphic timeline showing the projects you’ve funded with your donation. 

They include a short survey at the end where they ask for your feedback so that they can optimise their reporting methodology. That’s commitment!

Image via charity:water

Your Takeaway: Don’t undermine the power of transactional emails (emails that are triggered after a transaction is made). Use them to keep customers engaged and move them through the sales funnel.


3. Uber

The attention span of netizens is short. Uber understands this fact well and uses clever copywriting to convey its message succinctly. Uber’s brilliant team highlights the key phrases and keeps the captions concise.

Image via Uber

We also love how consistently Uber follows its visual branding aesthetics. They use the same geometric designs and colour palettes in their emails, app, social posts, and website. This creates a memorable impression on audiences.

Your Takeaway: Keep your emails short and simple. Use font variations to highlight important bits of information. 


4.theSkimm

While theSkimm’s daily newsletters are great, we particularly like their event-based emails. Who doesn’t like hearing from their favourite brands on special occasions? Notice how they reward a loyal customer on completing a year of skimming. 

Image via theSkimm

The email aims to convert a subscriber into a brand ambassador. First, they complement the recipient. Then, using a conversational and light tone, they explain the benefits of becoming an ambassador. They place links in just the right places to make the task as painless as possible. The Instagram handle in the P.S. helps facilitate easy sharing and cross-promotion of the offer.

Your Takeaway: Triggered emails require little or no effort from your side if you use an email automation tool. Use them to the fullest and configure as many trigger events as possible.


5. Mom and Dad Money

How well do you know your audiences, really? While market research gives you loads of information, the real insights can be gathered from the horse's mouth, that is, from customers themselves.

Mom and Dad Money includes crisp surveys and questionnaires in their emails to get to know their customers better. Using the information gathered from these, they create targeted email content and financial plans. 

Here’s an email I received when I downloaded their Road Map. Note the casual tone of the email, as if it’s sent by a friend or relative. 

Image via Mom and Dad Money

They use the information you submit to create a precise buyer persona that has an uncanny resemblance to the real you. Naturally, the content you’ll receive henceforth will be more relevant to you than a random email. The click-through rate and open rate are bound to shoot up.

Your Takeaway: If people have subscribed to your newsletter, it's a sign of their willingness to engage with you. Make these interactions meaningful by asking the right questions. 


6. Starbucks

Make your email subscribers feel special by providing them with insider scoops and gated offers. Through your welcome email, explain the benefits you offer to subscribers. If you’re making your email contacts privy to exclusive content, add quick links to take them to the given page. 

Image via Starbucks

Don’t forget to add the next steps subscribers need to perform to redeem their benefits. Check out how Starbucks weaves in information about their app and loyalty programme in their email.

Your takeaway: Once again, it’s about giving value to your customers. Sometimes, people subscribe to your newsletter as a last resort, just to get their hands on a content piece that you keep gated on your website. They take no time in unsubscribing once their agenda is met. But if you explain succinctly the benefits of remaining subscribed, they might just stay.


7. Dropbox

Who doesn’t enjoy a dash of emotion in their emails? Dropbox re-engages lost contacts by sending reminders about their tool’s great features. They use hand-drawn pictures to paint a  picture and say that they’re missing their old users.

Image via Dropbox

You can’t help but feel a tug at your heartstrings on reading the heartfelt copy of their emails. They use short, crisp bullet points to remind you about why you signed up with them in the first place. You can also include an incentive to reel back the customer, such as a promo code.

Your Takeaway: Once a customer, always a customer. Not exactly, but you got the point. Don’t let go of your old subscribers once you earn new ones. Keep in mind that it’s relatively easy to re-engage old customers since they already trust you enough to share their contact information. 


8. InVision

InVision sends really long newsletters but they are sprinkled with captivating pictures, which makes them thoroughly readable. They include fun surveys for crowdsourcing next post topics from their users. They feature an InVisioneer from their team that talks about why working at the company is a blast.

Image via InVision

We particularly love their quirky CTAs. Often, they add a direct link to an exclusive webinar or interview with an industry stalwart. This is one loaded newsletter you won’t want to miss.

Your Takeaway: Nobody enjoys reading text-heavy emails. Balance text with high-quality images, GIFs, or videos to keep readers hooked.


9. Warby Parker

Personalisation works, especially in emails. Emails with personalised subject lines and dynamic content appeal to audiences. Warby Parker, the prescription glasses brand, nails their subject lines every time. Their “Hey, Joe! Uh-oh your prescription is expiring.” is hard to miss even in a crowded inbox.

Image via Warby Parker

The expiry date is mentioned in large font to create a sense of urgency. The CTAs have a standout colour scheme of light text over a dark background and aligns with the brand’s theme colours. 

The smart co-marketing at the bottom is unmissable. They include the nearest optometrist from where you can get a new prescription. It doesn’t get easier than that.

Your Takeaway: Ditch the assembly line approach to email writing even if you’re sending emails to large batches of contacts at a time. Take the time to personalise each email, though not manually. Use subject line tester tools to compare different subject lines. Email marketing tools help you with contact segmentation and personalisation.


10. HireVue

You can be doing everything right, yet there will be email unsubscribe requests. If you’re using email marketing tools, sometimes alerts and reminders will be sent automatically if a recipient hasn’t been opening your emails for some time. 

HireVue has perfected its goodbye email. Their tone is persuasive but not desperate. The red CTA stands out against the stark white background and its label is heart-stirring. They could have sweetened the deal by offering a discount code or subscribers-only privilege.

Image via HireVue 

Your takeaway:  Activate unsubscribe triggers if you are using email marketing tools. It’s best not to invest in unproductive contacts. Inform these contacts that you are striking them off your contact list and give them a last chance to prevent you from doing so. If they don’t take up your offer, give up gracefully.


Final Thoughts

If you’re struggling to extract returns from your email campaigns, you need not lose heart. The examples given in this post are not overnight success stories. They have perfected their strategies after many trials and failures.

You too can try new email marketing ideas, A/B testing of email content, and different sending times. If you optimise your emails, you can open up a great channel for customer retention and acquisition.

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