9 Amazing Email Marketing Campaigns That Actually Work
So what do successful email marketing campaigns have in common? Ask this question to 10 people, and you’ll get at least 11 different answers. Some will say that subject lines are the most important aspect, while others will argue that the copy of your email has to be strong to be successful. Still others will say that the design of your email makes all the difference. As with most things in life, the truth about email marketing campaigns is somewhere in between all of these extremes, and it’s up to you to decide what mix of strategies work best for your business or brand.
We love companies that are creative in what they’re doing, and are able to show it in a unique way with their marketing campaigns. These examples of email marketing campaigns will give you some inspiration on how you can use your own design and brand voice to take your marketing campaign to a whole new level.
1) Airbnb – Host Story
Airbnb saw an opportunity to build out its host story through email and tapped its host community for help. The result is a creative and personal series of emails that showcase Airbnb hosts’ passions, interests, travels, and ideas about their cities. By interviewing individual hosts, Airbnb gathered ideas on what topics would appeal to guests in various cities.
Emails are well-designed to include photos from actual trips from hosts with useful tips on neighborhoods, restaurants, museums and bars; making these emails look beautiful isn’t enough – they also have to provide a relevant travel experience every time. This campaign showcases how good design can be a part of email marketing campaigns while being engaging at the same time.
Airbnb also leveraged email marketing to share information about its different types of trips. By having a section on its website dedicated to vacation rentals, Airbnb can more easily target hosts and guests who are interested in that niche of their business. Using email allows Airbnb to better understand what specific things people like about these experiences, how they work, and why travelers should consider booking them.
2) Best Buy – Geek Squad Agents Go Viral
Agents who operate under Best Buy’s Geek Squad program are experts in helping customers set up and use new technology—and they were frustrated with a name that didn’t reflect their expertise. So they hatched a plan to become viral sensations on YouTube by transforming ordinary people into singing, dancing geeks. Aspiring dancers recorded videos of themselves dancing along to songs like Barbie Girl and sent them in to be featured on Geek Squad’s own YouTube channel. This DIY campaign helped increase brand awareness for Best Buy (Geek Squad’s parent company) and attracted millions of views for its cute, clever content—with an average view time of five minutes! Not bad for an email marketing campaign that cost nothing but time.
Another email marketing campaign that went viral was launched by Away, a company that makes lightweight suitcases. When they were developing a new line of suitcases, their creative team asked themselves how they could get customers to care about their product. As it turned out, many people struggled with feeling stylish when packing for business trips—and most people just ended up wearing all black when traveling for work.
3) Dropbox - The Subscription Email
The best way to start your email marketing campaign is with a simple one. Dropbox has sent millions of emails offering 10GB free storage, and all they ask in return is that you complete their short form. There's no time commitment and, best of all, there's no follow-up communication once you sign up. The idea: offer something valuable enough to intrigue people into giving out their email address and then keep your promise once they do. If a user doesn't end up liking what you're offering, it's not much of a loss for them—because it didn't cost them anything to get started with you in the first place.
The key to Dropbox's email marketing campaign was that it offered something for free—10GB of space, no strings attached. And then, after getting your email address, they took care of everything else. This is an excellent model to copy if you want to kick off your own email marketing campaign: offer a free sample of your work with an attractive offer like Dropbox did and entice people with enough reason to give out their contact information.
4) Quora - Email from CEO to New Users
Quora's CEO, Adam D'Angelo, emailed everyone who signed up for Quora in their first few days to say thanks and ask them questions. Even though he sent it from his personal email address, it got a ton of media attention and ended up boosting conversion rates. Can you think of any ways that your brand can use a similarly personal approach to boost sales?
This is one of those emails that gets shared all over social media and makes people fall in love with your company. The same approach will not work for every business but I would encourage you to look at your audience and customers individually. You might be surprised at what they respond well to.
Quora also offers a free tier that allows you to make an account, ask questions and add answers. They only ask for your email address in return. I signed up when Quora first launched because it looked like it was going to be interesting but over time it just fell by the wayside.
Also read: 9 Surprising Benefits of Email Marketing
5) Simon & Schuster – Book Launch
Simon & Schuster chose to launch a new book, The Midas Touch, with a special email campaign that triggered at certain times and would send people one of four different subject lines (the book title, suggested reading list or in a few cases, previews of specific chapters). Each version of the subject line was designed for specific segments of people.
This is an incredibly complex email marketing campaign, but it works incredibly well because it's segmented based on opt-in preferences and behavior. This is something that you could replicate with your own audience by crafting unique subject lines based on their behaviors. It all depends on whether you're willing to spend time figuring out who your audience is and what they respond to best.
6) Atlassian - Use FOMO To Generate Leads
While we're not sure if they invented it, or just perfected it, Atlassian makes use of FOMO in an email marketing campaign and goes right for those who have ever felt that fear of missing out. And what is better than sending a simple newsletter with a couple links? So here's how Atlassian does it: FOMO Case Study. This email marketing campaign drove over $1 million in sales. It’s time to start thinking about your own FOMO campaigns!
The Atlassian’s FOMO email marketing campaign generated $1 million in sales, but how does a business utilize fear of missing out for their email marketing campaigns? In fact, there are many different ways that businesses can incorporate FOMO into their email marketing.
7) Automattic - Daily Reminders
Automattic is an email marketing company that makes blogs and websites more responsive. Through automated processes, users are able to manage sites, products, and mobile apps with a single interface. To ensure customers are maximizing their potential on Automattic’s software, there is an email marketing campaign that sends reminders to users about available features. The campaign drives traffic from email because it’s simple and directly related to improving your digital presence by highlighting Automattic’s capabilities; however it may be viewed as spamming because of its repetitive nature.
However, since customers have already subscribed to receive updates from Automattic directly (unlike other vendors or service providers), they likely see these emails as helpful and in accordance with their expectations for continued engagement.
The email marketing campaign is generally a success because it’s highly targeted, with a very specific audience of potential customers. Automattic has already established a relationship with potential customers by providing an adequate product that promises to offer value to those users and then follow up via email with service-related updates and reminders to use that product.
9) Starbucks - The Special Delivery List
This is a pretty basic email marketing campaign but it’s always been one of my favorites. If you receive an email from Starbucks make sure to open it! No doubt they have your email because you’ve bought coffee and now they want to give you a chance to win something great. But there are some crazy folks out there who just delete their emails without even reading them.
For example, I recently started getting emails from Chase Bank in regards to a recent purchase I made at Starbucks. So every morning when I open my email (and during lunch too) I see that awesome Starbucks logo and green header and can’t help but read it!
Even better though is that now my daily Starbucks coffee habit might win me a $5,000 gift card to use in any store! How cool is that? I’m going to keep reading their emails for sure. This email marketing campaign just worked for me and I’d bet it works for many others as well!
In conclusion, email marketing campaigns are a great way to encourage engagement and boost your subscriber list. Make sure you set yourself up for success by having a good process in place, pre-written emails and images, and an overall strategy. There’s a lot that goes into running an effective email marketing campaign but when it comes down to it, sticking with what you know works is often key.
Take surveys before sending any emails to find out which content resonates most with your subscribers; then stick with what works! Once you have all of that figured out, make sure you’re measuring your campaigns results—tracking click rates or sales generated can help you see where there are opportunities for growth.