When you strip away the design, copy, imagery, and metrics, the core purpose of email is to communicate something. If you're an eCommerce business, it's more than likely you rely on email to communicate several messages to your customers at once.
One of the most common types of emails to send customers is the promotional email. Promotional emails are typically used when brands want to create excitement around something, like a new product or service, an event or partnership, or a sale.
There's no question that great promotional emails are among the most critical types of emails in any successful email marketing strategy.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is a promotional email campaign?
- What is the goal of a promotional email campaign?
- 5 Examples of successful promotional campaigns
What is a promotional email?
Promotional emails are one of the foundational campaign formats in email marketing. This type of email is designed to publicize, share, and create a buzz around, well, anything really. eCommerce brands can use promotional emails to inform customers about new product launches, upcoming events, discounts, and so much more.
We cover several excellent examples of promotional emails in action later on.
Promotional email campaigns are a critical part of any brand's email marketing strategy, and for a good reason. According to Statista, 49% of customers claim they prefer to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis.
Not only do customers love getting emails from their most-liked brands, but email, in general, is great for your bottom line, too. According to Wordstream, for every $1 spent on email marketing, brands typically see an ROI of $44. That's a 4300% increase!
What is the purpose of a promotional email campaign?
Aside from spreading the word about a new product or service, promotional emails can be used in many creative ways.
Some of the top reasons why eCommerce brands send promotional emails include:
- Establish trust with customers (both existing and potential)
- Generate high-quality leads
- Raise brand awareness
- Educate potential customers about your brand or offerings
However, there's one significant obstacle to overcome.
Tons of promotional-type emails are sent daily, which creates quite a bit of noise in your customers' inboxes. The average person receives roughly 126 emails per day.
Luckily, there are several ways to design a promotional email that stands out from the crowd. A few ways to do just that, like:
- Use a creative or engaging subject line
- Include eye-catching or bold visuals and imagery
- Add a clear call-to-action (CTA) with a button so customers know what to do after reading
- Design your emails with an email marketing software (like Sendlane!) for easy optimizing and testing
Like any email campaign, building a high-performing promotional email will likely require some A/B testing and creative thinking. Start with your goal. Are you trying to generate awareness around a new product launch? Or maybe you want to increase the number of sign-ups you have for your virtual event.
Once your goal is established, think of the content that needs to be included in the email to get your subscribers to convert.
5 of the Best Promotional Email Examples to Inspire Your Strategy
Feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities to take your promotional emails? Don’t be. There are tons of different ways to create high-converting campaigns.
It’s essential to lean on your data to guide the design and cadence of the campaign. Embrace A/B testing! Think of it as your way to get to the bottom of what makes an excellent promotional email campaign.
Now, let’s take a look at nine promotional emails from brands of varying industries. You may find inspiration for your next campaign!
1. Brooks - Personalizing based on email engagement
This email from running shoe company, Brooks, is meant to collect information from customers regarding their content preferences. In other words, Brooks wants to ensure their audience segments are as correct as possible.
Why do this? It all comes back to emotion. Whether we realize it or not, we're emotional creatures and often act accordingly to those emotions. An email like this is a great way to collect information about customers' interests and values, ensuring you send the right messages.
Plus, if customers see content for products they're interested in, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Besides learning about their customers' preferences, Brooks also uses this email to feature some of their products. There's a clear CTA button for readers to browse other Brooks products at the bottom of the email. It's a subtle way to show customers what they can expect from Brooks.
How to implement
- Identify the tags — or categories — you want to create campaigns around. For example, if you're using Sendlane, you can create tags for best-selling products or specific interests or preferences.
- Next, add these tags to your email campaigns. You can include these tags in images or links so that whenever a customer clicks, that tag is added to their profile in your email marketing software.
2. GoPro - Generating FOMO with clear copy and imagery
This holiday-themed promotional email from GoPro is a textbook example of how to highlight limited sales during prime shopping seasons. The playful email copy not only aligns with GoPro's brand but it also creates a sense of urgency — customers must make a purchase soon to receive this deal.
Promotional emails like this are impactful because FOMO — or the fear of missing out — is a very real thing for many customers. It's one of the leading reasons Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the monumental shopping events they are; customers don't want to miss out on a good deal when they come their way.
What's more, at the bottom of this email, GoPro includes a promotion for their GoPro Plus service, which offers additional deals.
How to implement
- When creating a promotional email that includes a limited-time offer, there are many ways to slice it. You can target customers based on product pages they've visited on your website or how much they spent with you in the past. For example, you can create segments for products like jackets, shoes, or in GoPro's case, their HERO8 bundle.
- Next, narrow down your audience segment further by selecting which contact list as well as other behavior like customers who have purchased in the past or who have visited the product page you're creating the segment for in the past. Here's an example:
- If you're using Sendlane, you'll see all the customers who fall into the criteria you set once you save your segment. Then, it’s time to start customizing your emails!
- Once you’ve created your emails, be sure to set a cadence that compels customers to act sooner rather than later. We recommend sending 3-5 emails every few days.
3. Google - Creating a sense of urgency with last chance reminders
Like the GoPro example, this promotional email from Google features a few of their products while evoking a sense of urgency. Like the GoPro email, Google lists the original price and the discounted price to highlight how much consumers can save by shopping for this particular deal now.
The simple copy and clear product imagery leave nothing to question, which is a key component of a successful promotional email.
How to implement
- One of the cornerstones of promotional emails is the sense of urgency they create. Your emails will need a combination of strategic copy and cadence to get your desired result.
- To create this kind of email, you’ll want to focus on the customers who have expressed interest in the product(s) on sale. These customers can be identified based on their engagement with prior emails as well as their activity on your website.
- Create a segment of these customers and deploy emails with a cadence that suggests urgency (and that they should act now and take action).
4. White Horse Wine - Casting a wide net to maximize engagement
2020 caused countless retailers to change up their offerings to stay open. White Horse Wine decided to combine two great loves: pizza + wine, by selling pizza-making kits paired with a bottle of their wine.
Using quality imagery that also serves as a how-to infographic of sorts, this email is a great example of how promotional emails can also mean thinking outside the box.
How to implement
- With a promotional email campaign like this, it might be beneficial to cast a wider net with your targeting.
- Even if someone on your list doesn't necessarily care for what you're promoting, they might know someone else who would. This could also be a great way to extend your brand awareness to an audience you otherwise would not be able to reach.
- Once you send the email, you can pare down your audience into other segments based on their email engagement. In this case, White Horse Wine could create a "Pizza Night Essentials" list and create other high-intent promotions.
5. Starbucks - Simplifying a recurring promotion with educational emails
Starbucks lovers know the importance of Stars. Collect enough stars and unlock all the drinks and treats your heart desires. This particular email is about their upcoming Star Days week, where customers can enjoy special offers, games, and more.
Starbucks also includes incentives for downloading their app, which is how customers can follow along during this special week. It's a classic promotional email that is equal parts educational and exciting.
How to implement
- Since this happens every year, this type of promotional email can be treated like a seasonal promotion.
- Make sure you send out enough emails before the actual launch of the campaign or event to generate excitement, interest, and action.
Promotional emails are versatile and foundational to any thriving email marketing strategy
Whether you're using email to inform customers about a new product line or an exclusive sale, there's no denying the importance of the promotional email. The flexibility of promotional emails means lots of opportunities for innovation and experimentation.
While there may be tons of promotional emails floating around in your customers' inboxes, email marketing tools can help you optimize your promotional emails for the best results.
Want to level-up your promotional email campaigns? Try Sendlane free for 14-days.