Digital marketers who ignore e-mail put themselves at a major disadvantage. While using e-mails to market is now considered fairly “old school” in the digital world, it remains one of the most powerful ways to reach potential customers and secure conversions. However, not any e-mail will do. Organizations need to think creatively about how they can appeal to their audiences and attract their attention. After all, people receive an overwhelming number of e-mails each day. What does it take to stand out from the crowd?
The best way to create better e-mail marketing campaigns is to find inspiration from those that have worked well. The following are some of the most noteworthy e-mail marketing campaigns from recent years and what marketers can take away from each:
Transactional e-mails are very common in e-mail marketing. A transactional e-mail is a template correspondence generated automatically after the recipient takes a certain action. Whether someone fills out a form or purchases a product, they will receive an e-mail in return.
Typically, these e-mails are not very engaging and contain only plaint text. To engage people further, charity: water takes a different approach. Understanding that people want to know exactly where their donation goes, the organization sends an automated e-mail that shows exactly where the money went and provides a timeline for the project that it supported.
At a glance, people can clearly see the impact their money has had over time, which encourages them to donate more money in the future. Transactional e-mails do not have to be boring. With some creativity, they can even generate additional business.
To sell certain products, Petflow backs its e-mail claims with social proof. When the company is offering a certain product at a discount, the advertising e-mail does more than highlight the discount by bringing in social elements that support the product. The e-mails will often state how many products the company has sold and offer some of the real-person reviews from its website.
Petflow is also known for pulling in content directly from its Facebook page. If the product was featured on Facebook, the company’s e-mail will include some of the comments people have posted about it.
This approach has a much stronger effect than other types of marketing because it draws on the power of social media. These social elements increase trust and show that real people like the product. Word-of-mouth recommendations drive up to 50 percent of purchases, so why not include them directly in the e-mail?
A company that specializes in web-based e-mail, Litmus really knows how to wow potential clients with its e-mail marketing campaigns. First, the e-mails contain interactivity and animation. Moving elements alone help e-mails stand out from the other static messages in the inbox, but they become even more engaging with an interactive component.
Secondly, the interactive component involves a bar that scans over a part of the e-mail to reveal the underlying code, giving people a peak “under the hood” at exactly what the company does. All of this is backed up by concise copy that tells individuals exactly what Litmus does and gives them several links for learning more about different aspects of the service, including the ability to try the product on the e-mail itself and see all of the underlying code, not just what was previously revealed.
Most people think of BuzzFeed as a source of uplifting photos but not necessarily great e-mail campaigns. However, the company’s e-mails stand out with short and punchy subject lines, as well as preview text that tempts people to click and read.
BuzzFeed often uses a question-and-response format with its subject lines and preview text or issues a command in the subject line and elaborates with the preview text to build curiosity. Once a customer opens the e-mail, the rest of the copy is just as sharp, even the alt text.
Not everyone enables photos when they read e-mail, however. Therefore, alt text, which is displayed when the photo doesn’t load, is a great way to make the e-mail make sense either way. Alt text should pull people in when the pictures are not able to do so.
Anyone who has received an e-mail from Uber can attest to its simplicity. The text is very sparse and gives a very quick overview of the deal offered. Even when people scroll down for more information, the brevity of the explanation and the breakdown of how the deal works are masterful.
This sort of brevity is perfect for today’s increasingly busy customers who will simply reject a wall of text at first sight. Furthermore, Uber’s e-mails are consistently clean in terms of design. Each e-mail fits perfectly within the brand, which is largely built on simplicity, from the logo to the service itself. The lack of clutter makes it easy to get to the point and sell the deal or offer with a main call to action that is usually highlighted with a colorful button.