It’s that time of the year where we look back on the last 12 months and make all sorts of resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to nail your sales and marketing emails, then I have a treat for you. I’ve put together 10 of my favorite e-commerce emails from 2017 and analyzed what makes them effective. Take a look and get inspired for your next year’s worth of emails.

Duolingo

Product: Language education;
Email Type: Seasonal;duolingo-email-exampleWhat better way to kick off a list of 2017 e-commerce emails than with a New Year’s email? In this example, Duolingo use short, simple text to get their point across. They also highlight a popular part of the holidays (New Year’s resolutions) and tie it in with their service (learning a new language).
Action: Is there a seasonal link to your product? Make the most of it in your promotional emails.

Penguin Magic

Product: Magic props and tutorials;
Email Type: Promotional;

penguin-magic-email-example

The emails are plain text and may not look pretty compared to some of the other emails in this list, but don’t let that fool you. Instead, Penguin Magic use some powerful marketing principles to appeal to their target audience. All of their emails use social proof beginning and end: There’s a testimonial from a professional magician in the subject line, as well as more quotes from ‘living legends’ to finish off. Their emails also focus on benefits rather than features; we’re sold on strong reactions and effects to fool and delight even the pros, rather than getting caught up in the details of what the trick actually is.
Action: Have you got any testimonials and positive reviews for your product/service? Use the best ones in your sales emails to reassure your potential customers.

Amazon

Product: Literally everything;
Email Type: Promotional;

amazon-email-example

You can’t have a summary of e-commerce emails without including one of the biggest e-commerce sites of all time. Amazon are the masters of the email, and most days there’ll be some message trying to persuade me to part with my money. By segmenting their customers, they make sure the emails are tailored to the recipients. For example, after having checked out noise cancelling headphones, the next day Amazon sent me the above email for related products.
Action: Customize your emails to your customers, based on their behaviors and preferences.

Ramit Sethi

Product: Financial Information Products;
Email Type: Apology;

ramit-seith-email-1-example

ramit-seith-email-2-example

Ramit Sethi has a great reputation for his emails, and I always find them worth reading as an example of persuasive copywriting. However, for this list I picked a recent example where he apologized for a previous email. He is completely transparent in what happened, why it happened, and how he is making sure it won’t happen again. He even included some of the negative responses he’d received:

ramit-seith-email-3-example

When you make a mistake, it can be so tempting to carry on and hope no-one will notice. Even worse would be offering a half-hearted ‘I’m sorry you didn’t like something I did’ apology. Instead it’s important to treat your audience and your customers with respect.
Action: If you mess up, be completely transparent with your customers to maintain that relationship.

Salt Rock

Product: Surf fashion;
Email Type: ‘We miss you’;

saltrock-email-example

Most sources claim it costs between 4 and 10 times as much to gain a new customer as keep existing customers? That’s why looking after people who’ve already bought from you is so important. UK surfwear retailer Saltrock try and tempt their customers back with this conversational email (‘Things aren’t the same without you’), with the headline being an extra £10 off.
Action: Don’t forget those customers who haven’t bought anything recently.

Asics

Product: Sportswear;
Email Type: Abandoned Cart;

asics-email-example

With the average website losing 69% of their sales to abandoned carts, it’s important to have an email strategy in place to recoup some of those losses. In this example, Asics make the most of the opportunity to remind customers what was in their cart. They also address the reason the cart might have been abandoned (indecision) and shows their other best sellers, while also reminding customers of the free shipping.
Action: Implement an abandoned cart email strategy.

Shake Shack

Product: Food and Drink;
Email Type: Email List Welcome;

shake-shack-email-example

Most welcome emails are a wasted opportunity. Congrats, you’re now on our email list. Click here to go to the site. Meh. Shake Shack shakes up the welcome email from the very start, opting for ‘This is the start of a beautiful friendship’ rather than the typical ‘You’re now subscribed’. They follow this up with beautiful photos and highlighting some of the benefits subscribers can expect by being part of the ‘Shack Fam.’
Action: Make the most of any emails you send to engage with customers.

GMB Fitness

Product: Fitness instruction;
Email Type: Seasonal;

gmb-email-example

This email stood out from all the ‘Black Friday’ emails in my inbox as the only one not promoting some kind of sale. While everyone else was zigging, they well and truly zagged. Instead, they used the opportunity to share some of their best articles. The whole email effectively explains their brand, their philosophy, acting as a magnet for those who feel the same.
Action: Don’t limit seasonal emails strictly to promotions. Instead, look for opportunities to engage with your ideal customer.

Whisky Loot

Product: Whisky;
Email Type: Abandoned cart;

whisky-loot-email-example

Here we have another abandoned cart email, but this time Whisky Loot use humor to grab the customer’s attention. Rather than settling for an average, standard email, the message is full of personality that stands out.
Action: Try a different tone of voice for your standard emails to reflect your brand and stand out.

Process Type Foundry

Product: Typefaces;
Email Type: Special Offer;

process-type-email-example

I’m a big fan of keeping your message as simple as possible. Here, The Process Foundry clearly spells out that their sale is almost over. The small print reminds readers they only have two sales a year, so it’s likely to be six months before you have this chance.
Action: Make sure the point of your email is clear, not buried in pages of fluff.

Whatever else you have to say about 2017, it’s been a good year for e-commerce emails. None of these examples settled for just saying ‘buy my product.’ Instead they took advantage of external, seasonal factors or internal customer behaviors to power up their message and increase their effectiveness. Use the same principles for your emails in the year to come.

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