holiday campaigns

8 Promotional Email Examples You Can Steal – And Why They Work

Despite many of us overlooking the automated, promotional emails in our inboxes by the dozen, we can’t ignore recent data on the effectiveness of promotional emails.

The Average Email Marketing ROI case study by Constant Contact shows that the return on investment from email marketing campaigns averages a whopping $42 for every $1 spent. No wonder our inboxes are crammed full of them.

With so many ignored, just imagine how effective they are when done right. A well-constructed, clever email marketing design can break through the wall of noise created by the masses, and significantly increase a business’s revenue.

8 examples of effective promotional emails and why they work so well

#1. Loft

Making a play on the well-known saying ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life,’ Loft has cleverly attributed the same sentiment to your inbox, appealing to everyone’s desire to have a clutter-free email inbox. Making existing and prospective clients feel valued is a great way to gain their trust. Also, Loft is gathering important information as to their customers’ preferences, making it easier to sell to them in the future. 

This customer-focused message also contains a low-friction call to action (CTA), inviting their audience to manage their preferences simply to optimize their own experience. The copy is simple and clear, and the design compliments that energy perfectly.

Why it works:

  • Play on words to pique interest
  • Simple copy and design to match the simplicity of the message
  • Low-friction CTA
  • Making users feel valued and their opinions heard
email promotion tactics
What value would this email have if it landed in spam? Validate your email list before you send your next email.

#2. Moo

Making no bones about the fact that their email contains a promotional discount, the subject line of this Moo email acts as a friendly reminder vibe, saying, ‘Don’t forget your 10% off!’

Then, inside the email, the message is still loud and clear, in large font: ‘10% off. Just waiting for you.’ The clever subtext here is that there are no strings attached, no catches – the discount is there waiting for you to act.

The copy goes on to emphasize the great quality of their products. Then, it adds further peace of mind by stating that they’ll reprint your order if you aren’t completely satisfied. Again, another hint at the theme of ease, simplicity, and no strings or risks.

Why it works:

  • A friendly reminder-style subject line that also states the discount
  • Simple copy and design to match the simplicity of the message
  • Low-friction CTA that ties in directly with the copy of the email
  • A variety of direct and indirect suggestions of quality, simplicity, and peace of mind
email promotion examples

#3. Ripcurl

Making a powerful statement, Ripcurl invites you to ‘Join the revolution.’ This global giant in surfing sportswear and accessories lures us in via our common need to feel part of something important. In addition to the message that the offer is exclusive and limited, this is a winning combination to pique their audience’s interest.

By making the offering exclusive to subscribers, buyers feel a sense of importance. Furthermore, the fact that it only applies to a small number of items not only adds to the feeling of exclusivity but creates a sense of urgency. This speaks to shoppers’ FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). The colors and imagery appeal perfectly to the target audience, too.

Why it works:

  • Powerful impact statement to evoke the desire to be part of something important 
  • Combining exclusivity and urgency to maximize buyer motivation
  • Imagery and colors appeal directly to the intended audience
promotional emails

#4. 500px

Starting with the playful subject line, ‘Boo! Enjoy this Halloween treat,’ 500px have kept the attention-grabbing subject light while creating some intrigue as to what the ‘treat’ is. 

Once inside the email, the message is clear, and the imagery is dramatic and interesting without being overpowering. It’s not your typical pumpkin and witches imagery. It’s a little more haunting and the bright red element is striking. 

The offer is clear, in big font and contrasting black and white, and the CTA stands apart in a different color. The copy is straightforward and easy to understand for those familiar with 500px’s terminology, such as ‘Plus and Awesome Accounts.’

Why it works:

  • Playful subject heading that evokes curiosity
  • Striking, unique imagery that doesn’t overpower the message
  • Clear discount and CTA messages

Related: How To Use Email Coupons to Drive More Revenue for Your Business

promo emails examples

#5. Postmates

GIFs are great for capturing attention and further evoking an emotional response and this email example from Postmates has nailed it. The GIF they used is fun and would make any Chipotle lover crave some instantly.

Not only have they led with a light, fun GIF to highlight their product; they then used humor to add to the light-hearted energy of the message. All while tying the second ‘punchline’ directly into their offering. Genius!

They keep the copy light through to the end, using casual terminology like ‘guac’ and reinforcing that getting your hands on lots of affordable, yummy Chipotle is a dream come true for you.

Why it works:

  • Emotion-evoking GIF that’s light and fun
  • Using humor to deliver the promotional offering
  • Keeping the copy light and casual
  • Reinforcing the theme that Chipotle is what your heart desires
marketing ideas

#6. Grammarly

This promotional email from Grammarly is certainly designed to feed into our natural FOMO instincts. It makes it clear in the subject headline that time is of the essence – and that there is a significant saving to be had.

“TODAY ONLY: 55% OFF Annual Plans” – the capitalization only adds to the sense of urgency, and the extent of the discount is clear. Most Grammarly users care about their writing. This playful design saying Grammarly helps to ‘Win at Writing’ further incentivizes users to upgrade to an annual premium plan.

Why it works:

  • Focuses on FOMO by creating urgency with the timeframe
  • Further enhances the sense of urgency with capitalization
  • Very clear offering in the subject line
  • Playful graphic design that feeds into a user’s desire to improve their writing
grammarly email marketing

#7. Crate & Barrel

The subject line of this email piques interest and curiosity. “Our biggest sale of the year.” So, just how big? It also evokes a sense of not wanting to miss out on the biggest savings for the year.

Once inside, the email design perfectly uses contrasting colors to emphasize the offer. It ties the color red of the ‘60% off’ in with the striking red textured paper in the branded bags underneath.

The message is clear, and the copy is straight to the point, whilst highlighting some of the particular items on offer to further interest buyer desire. Lastly, the CTA “Shop now” in bold, at the end of the copy, is a low-pressure yet attention-grabbing way of inviting readers to shop.

Why it works:

  • Instilling some urgency and creating curiosity with the subject line
  • Using contrasting colors to emphasize the offering
  • Including specific item information in a simple copy
  • Making the CTA really digestible, yet impossible to ignore
Branding example from Crate and Barrel. Offering 60% off Winter Clearance.

#8. Sumday

Sometimes, a promotional email comes in the form of a thoughtful message. This is a great way to keep customers and instill more trust.

This email serves to inform users by acknowledging a site interruption. Also, it explains why it happened and provides the solution by announcing that it’s been fixed. It’s brief, yet friendly. That not only gives users a sense of their custom being valued, but reminds dormant users of their trustworthy offerings as a company.

Why it works:

  • Touching base to apologize for and explain site interruptions leaves users feeling they matter
  • Reminds dormant users of the trustworthy nature of the company
  • Warm copy that feels friendly while being succinct enough to not feel like a burden to read
Sumday example of Service Interruption notice.

Do your marketing emails have a clear message?

Whether it’s a huge sale, big discounts, or customer trust-building, a marketing email can make a powerful impact when you craft it thoughtfully. How do you do that?

In a nutshell:

  • Take the time to consider the overall design of your email.
  • Get feedback to confirm that your message is clear.
  • Ask yourself how easily the email grabs the attention of your target audience.

Most importantly, make sure you use a fresh, clean email list to avoid bounces and spam complaints. With all the hard work that goes into creating these emails, you want them to reach your customers’ inboxes.

Need to clean your list? It’s free to start a ZeroBounce account