100 Best Email Marketing Campaigns You Should Borrow

This is a guest post by Andrea Robbins of Campaign Monitor. Campaign Monitor provides a drag-and-drop email marketing campaign builder which also provides strategies and real-time performance metrics.

As inboxes fill with emails, subscribers are demanding more from the businesses they love. It isn’t easy to get subscribers to open an email, read it, click on links, and follow through with an action. To create successful emails, marketers have to carefully consider what subscribers want.

So, what’s a marketer to do? It helps to see successful email campaigns in action. When you see what others are doing, it often provides the very direction you need to make improvements.

Campaign Monitor has compiled a list of the Top 100 Email Marketing Campaigns. The entire collection is impressive, but we’ve pulled out some of the best to help bring inspiration to your strategy.

We’ll explore what makes some of the Top 100 emails standout.

Newsletters

While you might assume that email newsletters have lost their luster over the years, research suggests otherwise.

When customers were asked how they’d like to receive updates from a company, 90% opted for a newsletter while 10% preferred Facebook updates, according to research from Nielsen Norman Group.

Additionally, the most successful newsletters have evolved to meet the needs of busy subscribers. Here’s what the best newsletters have in common:

Simplistic Design

Brands have reinvented the way newsletters are created and sent, turning away from walls of text and embracing a cleaner, well-designed format that lets users click on interesting content.

Here’s a great example from Rolling Stone Australia that offers a list of great content, each represented by an image, title, and short description.

Rolling Stone Newsletter

Briefly Described Videos

Videos are an attractive element in newsletters, but research shows you can’t just embed the video and expect success.

When adding video to your newsletter, make sure the video has a description. Using a few sentences to set expectations will increase engagement. You can even tell subscribers how long the video is so they know what kind of commitment is necessary.

Here’s a snippet of a newsletter from Litmus that explains what a video is about:

Video Newsletter Example

Marketing Offers

Email marketing is often used to sell a product or service. It’s a simple premise, but there are dozens of decisions that go into creating an effective marketing offer. For instance, marketers must select appropriate images, write intriguing yet simple copy, and create an attractive call to action.

Each piece of the email is important. Here’s a look at some of the best marketing offers sent via email and what makes them standout:

Relevant Images

Selecting images for an email campaign can be tricky, especially if the brand provides something that’s tough to illustrate like cybersecurity protection or counseling services. No matter what your brand sells, it’s important to pick relevant images that complement the purpose of the email.

Show images of employees providing your service, take screenshots of digital products in action, or if necessary, search stock photo sites to find a relevant image.

Pizza Hut provides a great example. When offering subscribers a deal, the image shows exactly what the discount is on.

Pizza Hut Discount

Clear CTA

A call to action calls for subscribers to click, convert, and engage with your brand. Marketing emails that have a clear call to action (CTA) took top honors in this email collection.

Don’t rely on hyperlinks. Instead, create a button for your CTA. The button should be a color that pops. You want a subscriber’s eye-line to be drawn to the CTA so they’ll instantly click it. Check out the CTA in this email from Speck:

Speck Phone Cases

Events Information

When you’re hosting an event, email becomes an amazing marketing and communication tool. Not only can you invite subscribers to an event, but you can also update guests, send reminder notices, or encourage subscribers to invite a friend. The options are endless.

A handful of event emails made the Top 100 list. Here’s what they have in common:

Clear Details

When inviting subscribers to an event, make sure you include all of the pertinent information. The email should include the event’s name, date, time, place and description. It might sound like a no-brainer, but the last thing you want to do is send out an invitation that’s missing information.

Here’s a great example of an invitation email from Hudson Ranch and Vineyards. It’s simple and easy to understand:

Hudson Wine

RSVP Options

Give subscribers a way to RSVP for your event. Whether you direct them to a page to buy tickets or sign up for a webinar, the email should include a way for interested subscribers to show their interest.

If you don’t have the tech knowledge to set up an online registration system, consider using a third party tool that’s integrated with your email service provider. EventHQ, for example, can offer online registration features that sync with your email list.

SXSW, an annual music, film, and interactive conference, lets its subscribers register quickly from the email invitation below.

Announcements

When your company introduces a new product, launches an app, or makes a company-wide change, you can tell subscribers the news via email.

The goals for announcement emails vary. You might want to educate subscribers and encourage them to learn more by reading blog articles, or you might try to get subscribers to take advantage of a new service by offering it at a discounted rate.

No matter what the goal, announcement emails that made the Top 100 list have the following aspects in common:

A Purpose

Decide what the goal of your announcement is and design an email around it. Is it to educate consumers? Encourage initial sales?

For Jaybird, a company that sells wireless ear buds, the goal of a recent announcement email was to introduce a new version of its signature product and encourage a sale. The text explains what’s new while the CTA pushes subscribers toward the checkout.

Jaybird Headphones

An Educational Approach

When you’re making an announcement, you can create a series of emails that share what’s new.

Consider sending emails that focus on education, not sales. Send subscribers helpful links to blog articles or videos that provide information about your new product or change.

Educational emails help retain subscribers and build a relationship. Subscribers need to know that your brand isn’t just out to make a buck, but here to provide important solutions for long-term customers.

FreshBooks, for example, created this educational email that explains updates to its app.

Freshbooks

Wrap Up

These emails are just a few that made the cut for the Top 100 Emails Campaigns, but you can browse through the entire list and draw inspiration from brands that are constantly working to improve their relationship with subscribers.