7 Examples of Simple & Effective Emails

Some of the most brilliant ads and marketing campaigns of all time are so simple, aren’t they?

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.

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, classic simple text and single image messages were more than enough to get the job done for marketers.

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 patient to sift through an endless wall of stuff.

But what makes an effective “less is more” email, anyway?

You’re in luck. We’ve taken some of the best examples of stripped down emails from brands killing it today.

Now, let’s drive right in!

1. The power of getting to the point

Sometimes it pays to get to the point. Have an offer for your list? Don’t hide it.Want to say thanks for being a subscriber? Just say thanks.

The following “thank you” email from Harry’s represents a brilliant template for those looking to craft messages that are a little less busy:

Less Is More Emails - Harry's

Doesn’t seem like much on the surface, huh? Think again. The subject line “Two razors for your friends (on us)” and headline “You mean a lot to us” are perfect hooks to guide the reader through the message.

Meanwhile, the contrasting orange of the image leads us directly to the bold “CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS” call-to-action. A couple of sentences. An image. CTA. Done.

Seriously: Don’t be afraid to get to the point. Your list will thank you for not wasting their time.

2. The billboard approach

As a brand, Apple has dominated the marketing world via minimalist marketing. Their email campaigns are no exception.

Although Apple might be considered the defacto kings of new-school marketing, many of their ads and marketing messages are pretty old-school. Check out this recent MacBook Pro email as a shining example:

Less Is More Emails - Apple

This message follows the classic “billboard rule” of copywriting that states marketing headlines (such as, you know, billboards) should have no more than six words. After all, more words mean more work for your readers at a glance. Meanwhile, shorter headlines combined with an eye-popping image naturally grabs the attention of recipients versus a long-winded message.

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. Simple text doesn't have to be boring

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the roots of email marketing. That is, traditional letters and the good old days of direct mail. Many of the classic ad tactics of direct mail still work today. This campaign from Brooklinen reminds marketers that copy matters first and foremost when it comes to your marketing messages:

Less Is More Emails - Brooklinen

This message is also yet another example of the power of personalization and showing love to your list. The warm tone and disclaimer that “this is not a marketing email” serve as a stark contrast to what most businesses are sending out today.

In a day and age where image-heavy emails are the norm, switching up your approach actually serves as encouragement for recipients to stop and read.

4. When in doubt, make a list

If you feel like you’re not exactly a master copywriter or don’t think that your messages are packing enough of a punch, don’t fear.

Consider how listicle-style articles and blogs are all the rage right now. Easy to understand and digest in a matter of seconds, checklists and bullet points make your messages seem less daunting to your readers.

So why not take the same approach via email? This freebie message from Postmates uses a checklist format to let readers know exactly what to expect from their offer:

Less Is More Emails - Postmates

Not only that, but this email also makes great use of the power word “free” multiple times throughout its copy. Again, sometimes it’s best to just say what you need to say to your subscribers.

5. Let your headlines do the heavy lifting

You probably don’t need to be reminded just how important headlines and subject lines are, do you?

Among the many tips for catching your readers’ eyes, you should strive to write headlines that stop your recipients in their tracks. This email from StartupCamp titled “5 Slow, Difficult Steps to Becoming a Millionaire” does exactly that:

Less Is More Emails - Startup Camp

When you know your list and what sort of hooks make them tick, a couple dozen works is all you need to craft a killer email.

6. Make the most of your design

Now, not everything in your emails directly relates back to your copy. After all, effective design is what guides readers to get from Point A to Point B and eventually click your CTAs, right?

Taking advantage of negative space in your emails is easy to overlook; however, many savvy brands understand how to quite literally do less in order to make their messages flow. Meanwhile, it’s always important to keep your CTA out in the open for readers to see.

Notice how Herman Miller uses a distinct color scheme to make their CTA pop, all the while using whitespace in the bottom half of their message to lead readers all the way through to the end:

Less Is More Emails - Herman Miller

Remember: 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.

7. Keep it simple. Seriously.

There is no one right way to craft an email. Never forget that, either. Even so, your emails should be able to stand on their own minus any sort of potentially blocked out imagery or other flashy features. Basic “time is running out” emails such as this one from SquareSpace does exactly that:

Less Is More Emails - Squarespace

Providing a straightforward message coupled with images and a CTA that don't distract from the email’s core purpose, the message certainly stands on its own.

Heck, many of the messages we provide our subscribers here at Sendlane are often straight and to the point: When in doubt, ask yourself whether or not your message would make sense if images were turned off or your reader had a mere three seconds to decide whether to keep reading or click through.

If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time to simplify your email strategy.


How can you turn “less” into “more?”

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 wealth of messages in their arsenal to engage with their current list and attract new 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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