Promotional Emails: 25 Examples, Best Practices, & Tips

Written by: Chris Donald
Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

Effective email marketing is a direct channel to engage with a broad audience. Not only is your reach significant, but the conversion rate is where your business will stand out. 

Here, we explore a definitive roadmap to creating compelling, engaging, and conversion-driven promotional emails. This guide breaks down the strategies and best practices to craft promotional emails that capture attention in recipients’ crowded inboxes and inspire them to take action. 

According to recent studies, nearly 40% of the surveyed customers expressed interest in receiving weekly promotional emails from their preferred retail brands. (Statista).

Whether you’re a seasoned email marketing pro looking to perfect your approach or a newcomer wanting more insight into effective email promotion, we can help you achieve your business’s goals.

What are Promotional Emails?

Promotional emails are sent from a business to specifically promote their products, services, offers, events, or other initiatives. The primary strategy is to ignite customer interest, attract potential customers, retain existing ones, and drive sales, sign-ups, and other conversions.

Your business can use these types of emails to your advantage, including product launches, special/exclusive offers, event promotions, giveaways, seasonal products, and more.

How to Write Promotional Emails: 9 Effective Tips

How to Write Promotional Emails 9 Effective Tips

Modern marketing strategies emphasize creating effective emails to maintain audience engagement and generate sales. Competing with an inbox full of other marketing emails is challenging, so here are our top tips for writing some of the best promotional emails.

1. Identify the objective

What do you want to promote? Is it a new e-book? A new physical product? Sales on current products? Pin down the product information you want to promote.

2. Decide your Why

Why are you promoting this? To generate sales? To increase your number of subscribers? or Just to raise brand awareness? Narrowing these two factors down will help you create specially tailored copy for these emails. 

3. Showcase

These emails must present specific products, services, or promotions and include images, descriptions, and pricing information to entice recipients to purchase. Highlight the promotional benefits the customer will receive in the subject line and preview text. 

4. CTAs

A compelling call to action, such as “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” “Get 50% off,” or “Subscribe Today,” draws the customer in further to finally take a specific action that hopefully generates sales.

5. Personalization

Effective emails often use the recipient’s name, previous purchase history, or other email personalization techniques to make the message more relevant and engaging.

6. Design and Visuals

The email design should be visually appealing, with attention-grabbing graphics, branding elements, and a cohesive layout that complements the company’s branding. Break up the text with brand-aligning images and pictures to make it easily scannable.  

7. Create a Sense of Urgency

“Time is running out.” “Final hours…” You’ve seen these phrases hundreds of times. There’s a reason for that. This type of phrasing creates a sense of urgency to take action when subscribers are more likely to turn into customers.

8. Timing

Timing is crucial. Ideally, you’ll send your emails at specific times or on specific days to maximize engagement and conversion. But timing is not limited to just days of week, but also customer behavior. Timing is also critical when it comes to trigger-based emails like abandon cart, welcomes, etc.

9. Targeted Audience

Segment a list of subscribers or customers who have opted to receive marketing communications. Segmenting the audience ensures that the content is more relevant to each group.

Best Time To Send Promotional Emails

There is no single, across-the-universe, best time to send promotional emails.

Timing and frequency of promotional email sends are highly dependent on several factors, including your industry, your program goals, your specific campaign goals, and more.

It comes to testing. Consider day of week, time zones, time of day, and frequency.

Top 25 Promotional Email Examples

We have curated 25 best examples of promotional emails to get you inspired for your next email campaign.

Welcome incentives

Welcome incentives Promotional Email Example

Bloom welcomes new subscribers with a warm, personalized message AND 20% off the next order incentive. They also added a great touch of two testimonials from previously fulfilled customers. A positive initial connection is well-established; how could a new subscriber pass this up?

Returning Products

Returning Products - Example of Promotional Emails

That product your customers wanted so badly before has now returned. Let them know ASAP. There’s nothing like one of your previous favorite items coming back into stock to make you want to buy it more.

Positive Feedback

Positive Feedback - Promotional Email template

Care/of draws customers in with concisely listed product testimonials and a fun design. They emphasize how easy it is to find the vitamins best suited for you with their service. It lets the customer know that their business will do the hard part, which is always an appealing incentive.

New products/offers

New products offers Promotional emails

Fleur & Bee packs a punch with its tagline, “We’re putting the word “clean” in cleanser,” and an instant CTA, “Let’s get clean” to shop. It also brings valuable information relevant to the product’s benefit and sparks customer interest to learn more.

Upselling 

Upselling - Promotional email examples

Lowellita does a great job in sending upsell emails by addressing the customer’s previous purchase and adding a short recommendation to check out their new arrivals. It’s an ideal incentive to purchase from the same business again to complete an outfit.

Giveaways

Giveaways - Example of Prromotional emails

Birchbox plays a children’s game to decide what prize a subscriber will win. Their CTA, “Let’s play,” brings a fun aspect for the customer and a desire to know what they’ll win. 

Left Behind

Left Behind - Promotionaal emails

Loefeller Randall follows up with their customers abandoned carts or previously viewed items. This wording is a simple nudge to the customer to say, “Hey, don’t forget about this.” Adding a CTA to buy the product makes the customer’s journey more effortless. 

Birthdays/Anniversaries 

Birthdays Anniversaries promotional emails

Birthdays and anniversaries are some of the most common types of promotional emails. This example rewards customers with 20% off a purchase using a unique code to celebrate something personal. 

Another example we love is from Office. They personalize a birthday message and emphasize they want to send you a gift. 

office - prommotional email template

Businesses can capitalize on their anniversary, the customer’s birthday and celebrate how long the subscriber has been loyal. 

Sales

Vitamin S's sleek and simple design promotional email

Vitamin S’s sleek and simple design with a significant 40% off entices subscribers to take advantage of this great sale.

Another sales email we enjoyed is from Zwilling. They clearly stated the sale was ending soon and cleverly attached the percentage off each item during this time. The options leave you wanting to see more, and the 57% off the original price is hard to beat.

 

Contests

contest based promotional emails

Many businesses partner up to provide their customers with exclusive benefits such as winning a trip. A simple design and attractive graphics accompany the list of what you will win if you enter. A 3-night stay at a Jamaican resort? Count us in to enter this contest.

Free shipping/rewards points

free shipping email example

Free shipping generates buzz and excites your customers to purchase a product. This company is celebrating the unique Groundhog Day with free shipping for orders over $25 for their subscribers.

Limited time offers

limited time offer promotional email template sample

Offers with a time limit create great urgency, making people feel like they must act quickly. The tactic is one of the more common ones to get customers to act fast and boost engagement. 

 Product Launches 

Product launch email examples

Subscribers love when there’s a new product for a brand they already use and trust. The curiosity about a new product and the fun color scheme draws the audience in to know more.

Free content/resources 

free content promotional email

Customers can access thousands of free resources and build trust with a brand. Giving subscribers useful, free resources will have them turn to your expertise when purchasing a product. 

WhatSkatieUpto.com does an excellent job at linking the blog about being strategic when building an email list with the “Learn more” CTA.

Refer a friend programs

Refer a friend programs - Promotional email

Referral programs are an excellent business tactic to turn positive customer testimonials into new, happy customers. People want to share what they love with others, so being rewarded is a considerable customer incentive.

Scarcity as an advantage

Scarcity as an advantage - Promotional email template

Dell is a unique brand because their deals are rare, but it’s a frenzy when they happen. People want to capitalize on a great deal, mainly so they don’t have to wait an extended period for another one to come around.  

Donations 

Donations - Email example

Asking loyal subscribers for a donation brings the emotional touch to fruition. This brand continues to emphasize that it will match each contribution and lays out its goals. The eye-catching design and clear layout make this email easily scannable and have the customer wanting to donate to a good cause.

Free Trials

classpass Free Trials email example

People seek out free trials of just about anything to try a product. Class Pass offers a 10-day free trial to potential customers. The simplistic branding and bold “It’s On Us” immediately convince the audience to try the free trial.

Informational

Informational email example from intelligent change

Intelligent Change draws its subscribers in with an emotional appeal and delivers weekly tips. They section off their products cleanly with underlined CTA to encourage customers to explore each category.

Featured product promotion

Polaroid - promotional email example

Polaroid has been a big name in the game for a long time. People know the brand and are familiar with their products, so it only takes a little promotion or convincing their customers to explore new featured products. They often promote their latest camera, accessories, and kits, and customers quickly reach for the chance to get the hottest product on the market.

Announcements

Pelago example of promotional email

Your customers need to know important changes like a company name or migration. Pelago concisely brings this information to light and separates it into small sections to make it easily scannable. Subscribers have the opportunity to learn more with their clear CTA.

Discovery

Tripadvisor eamil template

Trip Advisor is a widely known travel service that does it all, from itinerary planning to accommodation, and works with anyone’s budget. Whether customers are experienced travelers or beginners looking for tips, they will discover how easy the planning process is with a company like Trip Advisor. This email displays adventurous graphics and short paragraphs with recommendations on what to explore.

Progress Updates

Methodical coffe - promotional email template

Order updates are very appreciated from the customer aspect. If your business can enlist detailed tracking services, do it. The updates confirm the shipping address and give an estimated day of delivery, the shipping company name, and the tracking number. Details like this can help the customer better prepare to receive the product with fewer problems.

Promotional Email Best Practices

Promotional Email Best Practices

Ever-evolving consumer expectations and industry standards can be challenging to keep up with. Here are our best practices for creating and sending promotional emails to maximize their effectiveness. 

Consent and Compliance

Only send these emails to individuals with explicit permission or who opt to receive them. This helps you comply with email marketing regulations and ensures your recipients are interested in your content. It’s necessary to adhere to legal email marketing regulations and include opt-out options, provide contact information, and respect recipients’ preferences. Include a visible and easy-to-use unsubscribe or opt-out link in every email.

Audience Segmentation 

Divide your email list into segments based on demographics, purchase history, or engagement level. This allows you to send targeted and relevant content to different groups, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

Personalization

Use recipient’s names and personalized recommendations based on their past interactions with your brand. Personalization can significantly improve open and click-through rates.

Clear and Compelling Subject Lines

Make your email subject lines concise, relevant, and enticing. It should give recipients a reason to open your email. Avoid using any spammy or deceptive wording. 

Good example: “Sandra, have you seen our latest product drop? Access your exclusive discount”.

Bad example: “Hi there! Open me up and see what’s new inside”.

Mobile-first

Email templates need to be mobile-responsive because countless people check their emails on smartphones and tablets. Test your emails on various devices; check for errors, broken links, and rendering issues by emailing yourself and other internal associates to ensure they are received in the correct format.

Provide engaging content

Give your subscribers something valuable. Whether it’s information, promotions, or offers, guarantee it’s relevant to your audience and addresses their needs or interests.

Impressive design

Use visually appealing designs that align with your brand identity. Include high-quality images, clear calls to action (CTAs), and a sharp layout. Avoid excessive images or text. 

Frequency: what is too often?

Don’t overwhelm your subscribers with too many emails; they will likely unsubscribe if they feel bombarded. Establish a frequency that fits your audience and stick to it, such as bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly schedules.

Split testing

Add some variety. Experiment with different elements of your emails, such as subject lines, CTA buttons, images, and content. Testing various options helps identify what resonates best with your audience to optimize your campaigns.

Measure and Analyze

Use analytics to track the performance of your email campaigns. The most important email metrics you should look at are open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and generated revenue. Use these insights to refine your future email strategies.

Provide your Contact Information

Include your company’s contact information and a physical address if there is one. This helps build trust with recipients and adds legitimacy to your emails.

Follow-Up 

Implement automated follow-up emails for abandoned carts, incomplete registrations, or other specific customer behaviors. Nurturing leads through email sequences can help convert potential customers into buyers.

Authentically resonate with your audience by following these best practices to maintain a positive sender reputation and achieve your marketing goals. 

Promotional emails can take various forms, including email newsletters, product announcements, special offers, event invitations, etc. When executed effectively, they can be a valuable tool for businesses to engage with their audience, promote their offerings, and drive sales. 

However, it’s crucial to balance promotional content and providing value to the recipients to maintain a positive relationship with subscribers. You want to promote your products continuously by engaging your subscribers with a personalized touch or incentive. Identify a balance that your business can execute and track analytics frequently to see if you need to adjust anything to get more conversions. Reach out to InboxArmy, one of the top email marketing companies in the USA. We are here to help!

About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

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