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Emails, from one to the next you either love them or hate them. Bad ones are deleted and I even enter the bin and 'delete forever' if I think a particular example is karmically altering my inbox.

In the past I've written about some things I like to see in emails. I've been on the look-out again and here you'll find six companies (B2B and B2C) that sent me emails deserving of mention for their creative strategies.

Design and copywriting are hard to teach, I'm certainly not somebody that sees natural order in things. See what you think of these examples and feel free to tell me if you would have deleted them in an instant.

EasyJet

Multi-persona messaging

EasyJet uses a fair bit of its email content to hit me with several different messages, almost aimed at different personas.

This is a good tactic as I’ll ignore those I don’t think are for me and narrow in on the ones I do. Two different age demographics are depicted, as are groups of friends and couples.

Spreading its bets means that easyJet is more likely to catch my imagination with something. This might show the dangers in over personalisation and segmentation. Getting it wrong is easier than getting it right.

different personas represented in easyjet email

Unique copy to encourage app download

The eye catching thing here is the copy. Not simply a plain call to action but the rather creative ‘faff free’ and a nice image denoting relaxation.

The app is darn good, but it won’t sell itself. This is nicely done.

easyjet email app download cta

Google Play – content tiles and colour

I’ve always admired Google Play’s emails for their colour and layout. Tiles are a really nice way of bringing order to an email layout and allow easy resizing on different devices.

For a sector such as entertainment, providing choice is important. The catalogue is big and the email should include a representative sample. I've chopped off a few rows here but there's plenty included.

google play email

Box – B2B content tiles

I find the simplest formats to be the best for B2B content marketing. Box here uses tiles like Google Play does to nicely delineate pieces of content and keep the email easy on the eye and a pleasure to read.

Partly this format’s advantage is in reading a bit more like a web page than a letter. The user is able to scan quickly from box to box until something appropriate catches the eye. 

box email

Accor Hotels

GIF call-to-action!

accor hote gif used in email about booking early

Check out the email in a browser (click below) to see it in action within the content. This GIF of an alarm clock is mirrored on the site if you click through, too.

It surprised me and made me more likely to click, though it must be said the rest of the email is pretty abject, from the copy, to the image and the rest of the email design. It could be a lot better and clearer in pointing out the 30 day early booking period for the 30% discount offer.

I don’t necessarily think ramming a GIF in each email is the way to go, but if you’re advertising discounts, you have to get noticed somehow.

accor email

Young Vic - Using email for customer awareness

Visually this isn’t my favourite email and indeed this isn't really an example to demonstrate creative, but it did surprise me strategically. I don’t think I’d ever received an email from a theatre or a gig the day before the event, reminding me of when and where I should be.

Theatres have the daily nightmare of dealing with returns and no-shows. Keeping customers aware of the date and time of their performance in this way will help the Young Vic reduce the mad rush of phone calls and enquiries on the night.

This production was a long monologue that was particularly taxing for the actor. Ensuring that everyone is in the house and sat down for the scheduled start time is therefore an even greater concern.

Directions, start time, food and drink info and even an illustration of the venue are included in the email, as well as some cross-sell on other events.

young vic email to remind me to turn up

Twitter - A B2B email with effective creative and calls to action.

twitter content marketing email

None-salesy subject

Here’s the subject. It’s canny. I’m not sure if Twitter has me segmented as a B2B publisher in digital but the subject line certainly worked. I was keen to see if the infographic was worth sharing and if the headline was mere supposition or not.

email subject headline: [infographic] the value of twitter followers

Second subject (headline) reinforced with imagery

Once I’m in I get a headline emphasising the message, that a business benefits from having more followers on Twitter.

This headline is backed up with some fairly simple and obvious imagery, with some generic avatars and a magnet. This kind of pictoral representation is great as it’s what people are used to across the web and particularly on mobile.

email headline reinforced with imagery

Formatted as a content email

Leading a B2B sales email with a content-oriented subject is one thing, but making the sure the email stacks up once opened is important, too.

You don’t want to leave the user disenfranchised by goading a click out of her and then shoving sales messaging in the email.

Several features make this email feel like a content update, like the invitations to download the infographic from the header links.

twitter email with infographic ctas

The infographic preview and button to ‘view infographic’ stand out nicely.

The email copy also includes an anchor text link to the infographic, making sure the content can’t be missed.

view infographic cta in email

Cute personalisation

It’s nice that the email is addressed to @herrhuld. Twitter has my name but it recognises that the addressing me with my handle will raise a smile.

I’m so used to poorly mail merged greetings that being surprised with something different is a good thing.

Soft sell copy

Sign in to ads.twitter.com to grow your community of followers today.

It’s simple stuff but defining the benefit of Twitter ads in the sales copy (grow your community of followers) is better than simply saying ‘sign in to make the most of Twitter ads’.

Linked call to actions within the infographic PDF

More simple but effective stuff. When I open the infographic, at the bottom you can see linked calls to action to share or to get started.

This makes sures the customer isn’t shuffled away into a dead end of content, without the ability to buy, or at least do some marketing for Twitter.

infographic footer ctas

Ben Davis

Published 3 March, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (8)

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Ibeagle promo

Great Article. I am Starting my Email Marketing. your all Example is Really helped me to Create my Email template. Thank you very much for Sharing.

over 2 years ago

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TN

Raise your hand if you have enabled display of all e-mail contents in your e-mail program.

If you didn't, all you see from any of these e-mails is broken image-boxes, and your e-mail program will strongly advice against downloading the rest of the message.

If you did, report yourself to the IT Security for a corrective course on personal data security.

over 2 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

over 2 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

@TN Google recently enabled display of all e-mail contents, following the lead of Apple who already did that by default. I expect other email clients to fall into line, to remain competitive, so it's fair enough for email marketers to assume that most people will see their images.
http://gmailblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/images-now-showing.html

over 2 years ago

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Simon Kenworthy, Digital Marketing Consultant at 9xb.com

@TN all the examples shown clearly have a high level of plain text in them so the email makes sense with images turned off. The author even makes a point in the Twitter example of pointing out the anchored text link for the infographic, enabling a viewer without images switched on not to miss out.

over 2 years ago

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Pauline Sonmereyn

The Young Vic email is a nice one, but I think this kind of email is pretty standard for performing arts venue: the Royal Opera House emails you one week in advance of the show you are attending. In the last email they sent me they even included some travel information about the Covent Garden tube station which is currently partially closed - which I found very useful.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Pauline

Yes, I think many are better at using their database. But, there are also many that aren't doing this. Last time I visited the National Theatre I wasn't updated. I guess even these simple bits of automation are only just becoming de rigueur and indeed useful.

over 2 years ago

Evans Akanno

Evans Akanno, Founder at Cregital Design Agency

Very insightful. A none-salesy subject is really key in gaining high open rates.
We have designed an infographic for Ecommerce Email Design - http://cregital.com/ecommerce-email-marketing-design/

11 months ago

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