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5 Examples of Simple & Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

Some of the most simple and effective email marketing campaigns in history are just that—simple.

Think about it. The Nike swoosh. “Just do it.” The iconic Apple logo. 

They say so much despite doing so little, right?

The same rings true for your marketing emails. Sure, it’s nice to have some shiny bells and whistles to reel in readers once you’ve found yourself in their inboxes. 

That said, marketers that understand how to craft minimalist messages know how to drive their subscribers to take action without relying on templates or tricks. And the good news is—it works. Email marketing has a whopping 4200% ROI, so for every $1 put into a campaign, marketers get about $42 back. 

In this article, you'll learn:

  • Why “less is more” matters
  • How to Create an Email Campaign That Sells
  • 5 Examples of Simple & Effective Marketing Campaigns

Let's dive in. 

Why “less is more” matters

Here’s some food for thought: email marketing has slayed all other marketing channels in terms of ROI for years on end. Before the modern era of automation and so many new functions, simple text and single image messages were more than enough for marketers to get the job done.

People clicked then. And you better believe that they're still clicking today.

Meanwhile, reading email via mobile is at an all-time high (according to Litmus), with mobile readers currently outranking desktop users. Straightforward, clean messages mean the world to mobile readers who don't have the time or patience to sift through an endless wall of stuff.

But what makes an effective “less is more” email, anyway? What does it take to create an email campaign that actually works?

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How to Create an Email Campaign That Sells

We all know the basics of what needs to be included in an email marketing strategy. 

Well-designed content with appealing images and graphics. A catchy subject line that gets your audience clicking "open." Some product promotion or an interesting story to keep them interested. 

But what does it take to turn a basic email campaign into one that sells?

Here are three ways to get your emails to stand out in every inbox 👇

1. Have a (short and sweet) CTA

Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are the driving force of marketing strategies—they tell your reader what you want them to do. 

CTAs are arguably the most important parts of any campaign because including just one can increase clicks by 371%. Without a CTA button, how will the person who’s reading your email know where to go to learn more about your product or buy something?

And the best CTAs are short and sweet. Don't underestimate the power of a simple message like "buy now" or "take another look," as Everlane uses on its email marketing campaigns:


2. Make emails automated 

The best email campaigns work in the background of your marketing operations automatically. 

These are campaigns triggered by events and user actions, so every email that hits their customer's inbox is meaningful. Yet, only 20% of marketers are using automated email marketing campaigns and reaping the benefits they bring. 

Using a tool like Sendlane, building automated email funnels is a breeze. Thanks to email templates and pre-built sequences, you can create campaigns that welcome new customers or encourage them to return to their abandoned carts in a couple of clicks. 

Sendlane's automation builder allows you to create email sequences and automate your marketing campaigns.

Creating an automated funnel only takes a couple of steps: 

🎛️ Settings: Giving the automation a name and choosing the trigger you want to use

👩‍👩‍👧‍👦 Audience: Deciding what list or audience segment will go through the funnel

📝 Content: Creating dynamic emails to sell your products

⏱️ Activate: Publishing the automation so contacts will automatically funnel through the sequence  

Pro-tip: Want to learn more about how automated email campaigns can help you supercharge sales and engagement? Check out our useful guide with practical examples here. 📖

3. Target user behavior using segmentation

Let's cut to the chase—not everyone thinks the same.

So, sending the same email to every person on an email list and expecting amazing results seems like wishful thinking, right?

Studies show that almost every email marketing KPI—from open rates to revenue and sales leads—improves with a segmented campaign. However, sending out email campaigns to specific demographics or age groups can take a ton of time if you plan on doing it manually. 

A successful email marketing campaign will target user behavior and segment your audience based on factors like:

  • Their demographics
  • The date they joined your subscriber list
  • Their buyer behavior (like previous purchases or link clicks)
  • Their geographic location

The good news is that creating an email campaign that uses segmentation is easy with the right tool kit. For example, Sendlane's advanced segmentation features allow you to target everyone from regular customers to people on your list who haven't shown recent interest in buying your products. 

Once an email marketing campaign is ready to launch, create a segment of people who haven't opened any campaign so far—and give your brand a chance at winning them back. Here are five examples of campaigns that have used these tactics effectively 👇


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Here are five examples of campaigns that have used these tactics effectively 👇

5 Examples of Simple & Effective Marketing Campaigns

1. Harry’s: Keeping the message simple

Remember how we mentioned earlier about keeping things short and sweet?

You should remember this for every email you send out to your customers, whether offering them a discount or if you just want to tell them how much you appreciate them. 

That's why we love this email marketing campaign from Harry's

Less Is More Emails - Harry's

Here's why it works

Is the email short and sweet? Tick. Does it make the customer feel loved and appreciated? A-b-solutely. 

And because Harry's has been so clever in saying so much with so little, they've left themselves enough room to market their product, too. After making the current customer feel so appreciated, the campaign goes a step further and offers to get their family and friends involved with some freebies with two tricks:

  • A subject line to lure them in—“Two razors for your friends (on us)”
  • The CTA (Choose your friends) which asks reader to invite their friends to try out the products—free of charge

Not only is it a great, low-risk way to bring new customers in, it also gets straight to the point. And Harry's email list will thank them for not wasting their time.

2. Apple: Mastering the "less is more" email

When thinking about worldwide brands, there are arguably none that are more recognizable than Apple.

And the business has built its brand with the motto less is more. Apple's minimalist approach to marketing also spills into its emails, where sharp and targeted copywriting act as the fuel to successful campaigns. 

Check out this email touting the MacBook Pro:

Less Is More Emails - Apple


Here's why it works

Interestingly enough, this email follows a fairly common copywriting technique called the "billboard rule,” where every headline is no more than six words.

There's a reason for this. To keep the reader's attention and make the email easier to scan without reading the whole thing. Look at how Apple does it: 

  • The headlines are broken up by striking images and brief sentences about the MacBook Pros, which lets the products do the talking.
  • The FAQs are kept to the bottom of the email, so the reader isn't bogged down with loads of information

While your business isn’t expected to keep up with the marketing masterminds at Apple, we could all learn a thing or two from their “less is more” approach.

3. Brooklinen: Focusing on convincing copy

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the roots of email marketing (and email itself.)

Email was originally created as a way to send digital letters to each other. And many email campaigns that use traditional direct mail techniques—like persuasive copy—still win over customers for business owners today. 

Take this campaign from Brooklinen:


Here's why it works

Email campaigns like this lay bare the skills of marketers in a brand: it lets short, snappy text do the talking (selling!)

Here, customers see nothing but Brooklinen and carefully crafted copy:

  • The bolded copy helps guide the reader to the important bits of the email
  • The checklist of benefits makes Brooklinen's message even more persuasive 

We also love the "you're looking, you're liking" talk, as this kind of copy—bundled together with a deal—gives the reader an offer that's hard to refuse. 

4. Herman Miller: Let the visuals do the talking

The opposite of using convincing copy to connect with your customers? Letting images do the talking. 

Filling your email with striking visuals and taking advantage of negative space is how many savvy brands use product images to make their messages flow. 

The tricky part about relying on visuals for an email marketing campaign is making sure your message and CTA doesn't get lost in the noise. And this email campaign example by Herman Miller ticks all the boxes: 

Less Is More Emails - Herman Miller


Here's why it works

Now, a lot is going on in this email. 

Pay attention to how HermanMiller has kept it flowing using: 

  • A distinct color scheme to make their CTA pop
  • Whitespace in the bottom half of their message to keep people reading to the end of the email

Essentially, the email is two messages tied into one. The top part of the email is encouraging customers to shop for the latest products, while the bottom half focuses on their working from home needs. 

Remember: splitting emails up like this is a smart way to keep customers engaged and scrolling. Anything that encourages easy scrolling or tapping is a plus since it’s likely your recipients are on their mobile devices whenever you hit their inboxes.

5. Nike: Draw customers back with FOMO

Finally, what would an effective email marketing campaign list look like without a Nike mention?

The brand sends roughly 3.7 emails a week to its customers. And if a customer abandons a cart, this is what will land in their inbox:

Here's why it works

On the surface, it may look like any other abandoned cart email. 

It covers all the basics:

  • Reminds the customer what products are in their cart
  • Offers similar products they might be interested in
  • A clear CTA so the customer can complete their purchase

But what sets Nike's abandoned cart campaigns apart and makes them so successful is that they tap into their customer's emotions. They know the brand is cool, and people want to wear it. So, they remind the potential buyer that they only have a couple more steps to take to avoid having Nike FOMO. 

Look at the wording at the top of the email: 

It's almost teasing the customer about the awesome products they've left in their cart: you're nearly done, what are you waiting for?

Looking for a new way to build effective email marketing campaigns?

We at Sendlane understand the need for marketers to switch up their email strategies. 

From simple messages to more complicated emails and beyond, today's businesses need a treasure trove of messages in their arsenal to engage with their current list and attract new email subscribers. 

Looking to experiment with new messages? Want to see how you can incorporate the less is more approach?

Give Sendlane a try to see exactly how our email automation solution can help!

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