Thousands of marketers around the globe share the same mission – they want to send the best email marketing campaigns.
While there are many ways to measure your email marketing campaign’s success, what your subscribers think of your messages and how they make them feel is crucial.
That's why, in this article, we chose to not focus on raw numbers. We publish these in our email marketing benchmarks report, regularly.
Instead, we decided to look at the visual aspects of marketing emails sent by brands and companies from various industries.
To find inspiring marketing email examples, we decided to dig into our own email inboxes and reach out to other fellow online marketers.
If you’re one of them, big thanks for the contribution and sharing your thoughts – it meant a world to us!
What you’re about to see, other than the best email campaigns, is that there certainly is some truth behind the saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But before you start exploring the examples we’ve gathered for you, here’s an article, that’ll teach you the best practices for email marketing in 2020 and beyond.
30+ best email marketing campaigns
Below, we’ve included 30+ email campaign examples along with additional information on:
- who sent them,
- what the email campaign is about,
- and why they’re so good.
Feel free to save this article for later as we’ll be expanding this list to include some newer examples of marketing emails that stole our hearts.
And since we're already on the topic of making your email campaigns more engaging and interesting, this post on newsletter ideas will most likely also come in handy.
1. The New York Times
Weekly recipe recommendation from their NYT Cooking subscription.
I read this email without fail, every week. And I rarely make any of the recipes featured in the roundups. Why? The photographs are beautiful, and the long-form copy expertly written by Sam Sifton, the Food Editor at The New York Times, is informative, conversational, and personal. He shares anecdotes from his life, news as it may relate to one of the recipes featured, and cooking advice – every week.
I love the idea of how two supposed “dead and dying mediums” – newspapers and emails – are coming together to deliver something totally modern, shareable, and sustainable.
Abby Hehemann, Product Marketing Manager at GetResponse
This is the first email you receive after signing up to their emailing list.
An email onboarding sequence should set expectations. This email does that really well. For starters, you have the information about free shipping at the top, which is more or less an indication of how much money Patagonia would like you to be spending in the shop.
The email headline is inviting. They then tell readers what kind of content they send, although they don’t mention frequency. Just as importantly, you have the refund policy at the bottom. It’s setting expectations for customers, which is crucial for an ecommerce store.
The only thing I’d change in the copy is the ‘our mission’ section. Most people support the idea of saving the planet, so this statement without context means nothing to the reader. It’s a missed opportunity. The intro email is a perfect time to talk about what makes the company different. Just a sentence or two with a link to the site, maybe even a button underneath, would have done the trick.
Nico Prins, Founder at Launch Space
This is an email campaign asking the MVMT customers to submit their video content and celebrate the brand’s anniversary together.
I’m a big fan of MVMT and this is just another wonderful email campaign example from many that they send.
The message starts off well, with an intriguing subject line: “That one time we went viral...”
They got my attention right away and made me click. I wanted to know why they went viral, and I really hoped it wasn’t just a clever way of showing that their prices dropped.
I wasn’t disappointed.
What I saw was a newsletter that contained an animated video that showed numerous exciting pictures and a short message explaining how they’ve asked their fans to celebrate their brand’s anniversary together.
The animated GIF along with the message led to an exciting movie showing how the brand’s followers live their lives on their own terms.
The film combining their customers’ footage, stunning pictures, and exciting music gave me goosebumps!
At the time of writing this, this video has over 22,000 views, 1,000 likes, and almost 500 comments on YouTube – talk about engagement, huh?
In fact, it’s that kind of user-generated content that made me buy one of their watches a couple of years back.
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4. Charm Offensive
It's a welcome email received after signing up to win a free lifetime premium subscription to the copywriting course.
Just give it a read! When was the last time that you received an email with an evil laugh in the subject line? It's original, it's witty and you remember it because you've never had an email like this before. I've entered a competition where I need to compete against others, and the copy encourages me to do that, rather than shy away from it. It jokingly reminds me of what's up for grabs if I win. Then, there's a gentle reminder to join the Facebook group and get even more involved that I already am.
Phil Forbes, Marketer at Packhelp
5. Statwing (acquired by Qualtrics)
Cold email to sell a partnership.
I receive loads of cold emails, and I delete most of them immediately. But I actually replied to this one, because it contains everything a great cold email should have:
1. External proof: Y Combinator funded and other trusted companies who are partners already
2. Clear benefit, including a number: “users tell us they analyze survey data ~5x faster…”
3. Personalization beyond my first name: he actually looked at Survey Anyplace’s reporting capabilities and even links to them in the email
4. Clear ask for the next step (phone call)
5. The tone and format of the email is very casual, just like it was sent by someone I already know.
Stefan Debois, Founder & CEO at Survey Anyplace
This is an email campaign example sent on the Daylight Saving Time.
One thing I value in email campaigns is their creativity.
Blowout sales or flash campaigns don’t impress anymore. They’re too common. And usually sent by the same brands, over and over again.
This campaign, however, was different. It was meant for Daylight Savings Time, a day nobody ever celebrates. In fact, all you usually do is sleep in.
And that’s exactly what the brand suggests, that you sleep in, but on a mattress you can buy from them, of course.
The overall email design, subject line (“That extra hour, though.”), animated GIF, short copy, and a clear CTA – everything fits perfectly.
The only thing I’d change is the discount value. If you follow Casper’s emails, you’ll see that their discounts are always 10%.
I get the strategy, but you become blind to these kinds of discounts, if you keep seeing them.
7. American Express
Email promoting live chat to get help with your Amex account.
Subject line: Got a question? Get an answer through Chat
The campaign is a win-win.
While many banks seem to try and deflect customers from contacting them, Amex is doing the exact opposite. Actively promoting and reminding their members about live chat. Inviting customers to ask them questions. It makes you feel good to be a member.
In one email they have been helpful and given a gentle reminder as to the benefit of Amex membership.
Brands that don’t have a continuous stream of new products and offers can find it hard to have something interesting to say. Amex found a good way to solve this.
The design gets down quickly to what it’s all about with the headline and a clear benefit of live chat – “Get a quick answer”.
The sample chat window gives context visually, so you get the message even with a skim read.
The final part of the win-win is that live chat is probably better for Amex too. The cost of support by live chat is likely lower than the cost of phone support.
A campaign beneficial for both the brand and the customer.
Tim Watson, Zettasphere
User onboarding emails with tips in the form of GIFs.
I was a new user of Mixmax and didn’t know all their functionalities.
Every three days they sent me tips how to use their software better.
This way, I didn't get overwhelmed by their software and I adopted the product very easily. The emails also expanded my knowledge on how to write great emails.
Now, I use the same tactic at Userpilot.
Aazar Ali Shad, Head of Growth at Userpilot.com
9. Smart Blogger
This was a teaser email sent to lure subscribers into reading a case study, which served as top-of-the-funnel content to a paid course.
Here’s why this email is compelling.
Firstly, it leverages the power of social proof in the subject line and opening line.
Who wouldn’t want to check out a post that got over 1 million visitors?
Secondly, it uses the hard-to-resist emotional trigger of ‘free’.
Finally, it goes straight to the point, something people appreciate in a crazy-busy world.
Qhubekani Nyathi, Long-form Content Strategist at Wholesome Commerce
This is a B2C flash sale email for Black Friday last year, giving newsletter subscribers exclusive, early access to their once-a-year sale.
First off, we all know how crowded our inbox gets around Black Friday.
Mejuri chose to keep their email simple and to the point, which I think we can all appreciate.
The email also stresses the exclusivity of this invite. The words “only sale all year” in the subject line, plus “private” and “secret” are powerful motivators – backed up by the fact that this invite is only going to newsletter subscribers.
The limited time frame (only until midnight today) and the idea of scarcity (Mejuri is notorious for running out of popular pieces) drive home the need to act now.
I’d been following their social media channels and newsletter for a few weeks. This was the trigger I needed to finally buy from them.
Bronwyn Kienapple, Content Marketer at Venngage
12. Product Hunt
A daily digest of featured products from Product Hunt.
Subject line: This is stomach-turningly good. Yikes. 👀
The subject line totally hooked me. Anytime I see “Yikes” in my inbox, I open. And the content didn’t disappoint once I opened. The conversational tone and description of the featured product made for an enjoyable read.
Their description of the product and inclusion of (creeped out) comments from the post then convinced me to click out to the listing on their site, and then finally to the actual product itself. It was a perfect combination of a well-chosen featured product, enticing subject line, and easy-to-read copy.
Abby Hehemann, Product Marketing Manager at GetResponse
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This is a follow-up email sent to registrants for a Webinar that didn’t show up for the live event. Our Webinar covered the 5 growth strategies that we learned during our time in Y Combinator in 2018.
This email works well for us because it’s being sent to an audience that has already opted in to a webinar. We know they are high-intent to watch this content — as they’ve already taken time out of their day to submit their information into a lead form.
At the same time, we know how busy day to day work can be for marketers and entrepreneurs. Rather than excluding them from getting the Webinar’s content because they didn’t show up live — we record our live presentation and follow up with an email offering them a second chance to view.
In the email body, we provide several links to our content and we reiterate the topic of the training multiple times. We also make it a point to leverage the names of bigger tech companies (Airbnb, Dropbox, Gusto) to add credibility to our presentation.
Finally, we generate the FOMO by saying “trust me, you don’t want to miss this” as our final signoff.
Ben Johnson, Content Strategist, Proof
13. Growth Hackers
Email campaign referring to real time events – the Oscars.
This is an interesting example.
And it’s not only because it’s using an animated GIF. It’s about what that GIF and the copy surrounding it tell us.
This email campaign talks about the Oscars, which may not be so unusual during the week when the 91st Academy Awards is taking place.
The interesting thing is the angle Growth Hackers took in this email. They’re not talking about the movies or music that were recognized. Instead, they’re talking about the true “winner” of the Academy Awards night – diversity.
As you can read in their article, which also provides an explanation to their GIF, the 91st Academy Awards broke the record of Female and African-American Awardees.
With this in mind, they decided to dedicate that email to diversity, too – and prepared a selection of only the best content that celebrates this important topic.
For someone who cares about these values and has actually not followed the Oscar night, this email was very inspiring and educational.
Something you don’t often see in your inbox.
This is a promotional email sent to people who have opted into Rothy’s marketing but have yet to purchase.
There are at least three reasons this email stands out.
First, it’s not just animated with a video at the top, the body of the GIF taps into people’s default responses to SMS or direct messages: namely, we can’t resist the temptation to read them.
Second, it uses real names, authentic conversational elements, and even images (e.g., the cat) that look and feel as though you’re eavesdropping (or, eavesreading) someone else’s texts.
Third, it subtly leverages one of the most powerful persuasive tools: social proof.
I know all this is true because I didn’t get this email.
Instead, my lovely wife forwarded it to me and immediately texted me afterward: “I just fwd you an email from Rothy’s. I’ve never seen one like this before.”
She’s a just-turned-30, urban, socially conscious kind of lady who loves cats. Talk about nailing your target demographic. (And yes, later that day she and I ordered her first pair.)
Aaron Orendorff, Founder and Content Strategist, iconiContent
A regular newsletter but aimed at warming up "sleepy" followers.
First of all, its catchy subject line: personalized and intriguing. I couldn't help opening it to find out WHY I'm the best. What have I done to become the best, given that I'm not an active user of Capterra?
Second, the structure: short, clear, following the "one mail – one CTA" rule and focusing on the value I'd get. It didn't take me long to understand it wasn't spam and what it was all about.
And third and the most interesting part is the motive they've used to send this offer: National Compliment Day. As a rule, marketers ignore such itsy-bitsy holidays, concentrating on big five (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Valentine's, and Easter); but appealing to such tiny but cute calendar days could bring benefits. Content ideas for newsletters, as a minimum.
Lesley Vos, Content Strategist at Bid4Papers
If you like this idea, be sure to check out our Holiday Calendar Infographic and see more tiny calendar days that can inspire great campaigns :).
Cold email to interview influencers.
1. Personalization: The email is highly personalized
2. Relevant: It mentions a recent interview they did on a podcast
3. Gives Value: It gives value by mentioning the audience size (20,000)
4. Strokes ego: It strokes their ego a bit (“successful leaders like yourself”)
5. Quick: Interview is a simple Google Docs interview, with no need to schedule time on calendar
6. One Simple CTA: Every email should have one easy to reply to ending CTA (Success! - He replied with “Sounds cool - I’m in!)
Will Cannon, Founder & CEO at UpLead
Confirmation Email sent after you’ve submitted content to Zest.
1. Fun and engaging: The email is different and completely set the tone of the brand
2. Relevant: It mentions the recently published article
3. Quick: The email is straight to the point and spot-on. Yet, it confirms that my suggestion has been considered, and I love that.
4. One Simple CTA: Although I’m waiting for them to come back, it suggests me to add more and empower the community
Baptiste Debever, Co-Founder & Head of Growth at Feedier
18. Hello Bar
The email offers some free tips on how to collect more emails to grow your email list of subscribers.
The email was very powerful, because it hits a nerve with the challenges we're faced with when trying growing an email subscribers list. It offers actionable tips to implement right away. By giving a small insight and not giving away the farm, and by using a strong call to action, they made me curious to reserve a spot for the training to learn more tips.
Paul Granger, Content Marketer at Website Promoter
Triggered email from a former phone company (Spanish company) after requesting to migrate a telephone number to a new one.
When you decide to change your phone service, you expect:
1) getting bombarded with offers, promises and gifts;
2) red-tape hell.
The very catchy subject line (adapted from a popular song, probably only relevant to my generation) + the friendly and informal tone of voice ease those fears.
The reassuring content, thanking me for their business and stating that they won't harass / try to overcharge me made me wonder whether I took the right call (and whether it will be so easy to shift again next time).
Angel Lorente Paramo, Former Global Head of Emarketing at Qatar Airways
20. Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity Black Friday campaign
This is an "oldie but goodie" email campaign example.
Being a fan of Cards Against Humanity I expect nothing less than exceptionally sarcastic, cynical, or at least unusual communication.
What's more unusual than an ecommerce brand saying that they’re shutting down their online store for Black Friday?
They even ask you to donate money for absolutely no good reason (through a CTA button that’s totally against the email design best practices).
The follow up to this campaign was fun, too. It turned out that they received a total of $71,145 for absolutely nothing. And they even listed what kind of fun things they decided to spend that money on.
You can read more about this campaign on their website.
Ever since, I eagerly wait for their Black Friday emails and I’m never disappointed.
Post-purchase customer review email
I received this product satisfaction email a few days after ordering a pair of boots from Native Shoes.
Although this type of emails should be an industry standard, few ecommerce sites actually do it, and even fewer do it this in a good way.
This email checks all the most important details:
- Highly visible company logo
- Customer's name personalization
- The name and image of the product that was purchased
- Ability to write the review directly in the email itself. This is much easier than to navigate over to the site.
- Detailed review options: stars, text area and sizing fit. Note that the 5-star option is pre-selected.
- Large call-to-action button at the end
- A touch of humor to make things more lighthearted
From my point of view, this is a great way to collect reviews for ecommerce stores. Maybe the only thing that’s missing in this email, is an incentive. Customers would be much more likely to write up reviews if they were offered a discount on their next purchase or something similar.
Radu Vrabie, Full-Stack Digital Marketer at Guaranteed.software
Black Friday email campaign promo offer
Every element of this email campaign says it’s something exclusive:
1. The dark theme of the email with very contrasting white fonts.
2. The rose gold card rotating in the GIF.
3. The eye-catching pink call to action button.
And finally, the copy, which says they normally don’t jump on the Black Friday bandwagon, but over 9,000 requests from their users isn’t something Revolut can ignore.
The email is super simple and very clear – the main benefits are emphasized in a bulleted list, and then the monetary value is restated just above the CTA button.
It’s completely different to their regular newsletters and automated emails.
As their customer, I knew straight away that this offer is special and worth checking out.
Marcin Struzik, Video Manager at GetResponse
Converting users who searched for accommodation in a specific city and didn't book.
This email marketing campaign is a good example for any company operating online.
I've received this email because I've given consent for receiving marketing content and because, one day, I was casually checking out places to stay in Berlin on Booking.com.
I was browsing with no clear intent of buying, but after being reminded of traveling, the thought of it doesn't go away.
Other than that, this email campaign is a good example of personalization: I could see my name on the banner, and they didn’t spoil it with Dear [Name], which sometimes looks bad when lots of other companies do it.
Besides, the dates I was interested in were already filled in, which also shortens the possible purchase process.
Although some people might find it creepy – Booking is explicitly mentioning they’re tracking users’ activities online.
Margo Burkivska, B2B Marketing Specialist at GetResponse
Promotional email introducing a new line of products.
This email’s so playful.
Underwear is something that people usually hide and don’t want to talk about.
To promote it, you can either be shy about it – hey, I don’t want to disturb you, but in case you’re looking for panties… that’s what we do – or be loud and proud about the products you’re offering.
MeUndies does the latter. With this beautifully animated email, they’re showing how colorful and playful their products are.
This email says – whether you decide to go on a sushi date with a friend, or fly solo, you can have fun with their products.
I love it.
Email campaign introducing a new product
This is a great example of a simple yet informative email promo.
I appreciate the combination of beautiful design and great copy.
After the short introduction, you learn a bit of basic information about the mushroom trio that helps boost the immune system.
Next segment tells you where it’s grown and why it matters.
Then there’s the last segment inviting subscribers to take the quiz to help them with choosing the right product for their needs.
And there’s just one clear call to action – I love these kind of emails.
Irek Klimczak, Content Marketing Expert at GetResponse
26. American Giant
Email campaign inviting subscribers to the retail store
This email informs about the New York pop-up. It’s a great idea to use email marketing to invite subscribers to your brick-and-mortar location.
Let potential customers know that you’re around and that they can come by and try on your products.
Make the most of both the online and offline experience.
That’s the way to do it.
Irek Klimczak, Content Marketing Expert at GetResponse
Email explaining the ways you can use Trello
Subject line: A free personal habit tracker for you
I love Trello's emails because they’re so useful, and provide real-life examples of using the solution.
After receiving this email I ended up creating two new Trello boards, so I guess the email reached its goal.
What’s so good about it?
1. A clear CTA to a detailed blog post with useful product screenshots and use cases.
2. Brand-consistent and fun graphics that match the look of the product.
3. Fun copywriting in line with the brand.
4. Addresses user persona – Trello is used mainly for project management, and procrastination is a common challenge faced when handling projects.
Marta Kusinska, Email Marketing Manager at GetResponse
28. Aaron Krall
Email announcing a special offer: convert email contacts into customers
Subject line: If you’re under $10 MRR…
This is a surprising email that landed in my inbox, and I think it’s worth noting.
With a great intro, including some personal details of the sender, this email gives you an impression of coming from a friend.
So the main aim is building trust, also by using some numbers and social proof in the body of an email.
After all, you’re to trust Aaron with your money and need to believe that he’s a suitable person to help your Saas business grow.
And get curious enough to ask about his special offer.
Marta Kusinska, Email Marketing Manager at GetResponse
29. Carnival Cruise Line
Promotional email campaign
The email by Carnival Cruise Line is a sheer delight for the subscribers, with its creative presentation. They have followed all the email marketing best practices and created a visually impressive design that is sure to kindle wanderlust in the subscriber’s mind.
The subject line: Deposits are taking a dive. (See what they find down there!) along with the preheader text: Get reduced deposits starting from $50 per person for sailings through December 2020 are interesting enough to capture the attention of the subscribers and make them open the email.
The header image and text are crafted in such a way that the recipients are compelled to scroll through the entire email.
Finally, when they reach the bottom of the email, the sea floor with beautiful fishes usher them in. (Animation couldn’t have been used better.)
The email ends with a clear CTA “Search All Cruises”.
All in all, it sets a great example of how travel industry emails should be. Inspired already?
Kevin George, Head of Marketing at EmailMonks
Email sharing the latest content from Phrasee blog and other places on the Internet.
Subject line: Is it hot in this inbox, or is it just you? 😍
I always look forward to Phrasee’s content emails. I love their tone of voice and love how – as a B2B tech company with a really serious product used by huge brands – they stand out from other brands in the space just by the way the speak to their audience. Because, hey, marketers just wanna have fun, too! Couple that with gifs and a very specific type of humor – and it’s a perfect Thursday read.
They’re also great at what a lot of emails keep missing – which is creating meaningful preheaders that go together with the subject lines. I always feel like the subject line + preheader duo is so underrated (and too many companies don’t ever go beyond “Read this email online” in their preheader), while it can be a great open rate booster.
Plus, I find it awkwardly satisfying to find a pickup line in my inbox sent by a brand I actually like!
Karolina Kurcwald, Chief Wordsmith at GetResponse
Email invite to a conference.
This one is a no brainer.
What’s the best way to get people to get excited about your email design conference?
Show them an amazing email invite that’s using coding tricks you haven’t experienced before.
And that’s exactly what Litmus does with their email invitations.
One time, they added animated videos in the message background. The next year they’ve added a live Twitter feed showing peoples’ reactions to their campaign.
This email is among the best ones I’ve ever seen being deployed on a larger scale.
Before You Go
Learn how to increase your ecommerce sales and make your every email count.
If you’ve scrolled down this far, that means you saw over 30 great marketing email examples.
You’ve probably noticed some interesting:
Some of them had great copy, others were all about the design, and then there were those that were just entertaining.
In other words, there’s no one way to make a great email marketing campaign.
It pays off to follow the best practices, but without talking to your audience and checking your analytics reports, you won’t know for sure if a campaign was successful.
So, what’s the next step you’ll take?
My recommendation is that you start designing your email campaigns, A/B test them, and keep optimizing them to achieve the best possible results. If you want more information first, we’ve got a great step by step guide to email marketing for beginners.
And if you didn’t know that yet, GetResponse provides email marketing software that can help you with all of that.