9 Brilliant Email Examples and What You Can Learn from Them

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by Jimmy Kim  If you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to creativity and your email campaigns, don’t despair...

by Jimmy Kim 


If you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to creativity and your email campaigns, don’t despair.

Crafting brilliant marketing emails doesn’t require you to be a master copywriter or design guru. In fact, sometimes it simply takes a fresh dose of inspiration and motivation to get our campaigns off the ground. 

That’s why we’ve broken down some of the best messages from nine of today’s most successful marketing brands. These messages span a variety of industries, but each represents examples of emails that force your readers to stop dead in their tracks and give you their undivided attention.
Regardless of the size of your business, you can take the principles from marketing’s biggest players and apply them to your own list.

Now, let’s get started with 9 brilliant email examples to help you get inspired!

Apple – Smart, sleek and simple.

Apple watch release email - brilliant email examples

Oftentimes the rule of “less is more” applies perfectly to our marketing messages. This rings true for design and copy.

Apple’s sleek invitation email may not seem like much on the surface but represents an effective, minimalist email in action. The message’s hero image is attractive without being distracting; meanwhile, the email’s call-to-action is crystal clear and impossible to miss. 

Through its straightforward color scheme (think: a combination of black, white and blue), the message is easy to navigate at a glance and would likewise look stunning on a mobile device.

Key Takeaway: Don’t over-think your emails. If you can get your point across in less than a dozen words, go for it. Your readers don’t have time for fluff and neither should you.

H&M – An Elegant example of urgency


H&M email example - brilliant email examples

Deal emails represent the bread and butter of B2C brands; however, such messages represent a delicate balancing act. After all, we want to get our deals and discounts across to our readers, but we don’t want to come across as a used-car salesman in the process.

This deal email from H&M follows the trend of minimalism without wasting the readers’ time. The subtle pink color scheme is a nice touch, but the email’s deal manages to speak for itself in the case that readers’ had images turned off.  

The message’s subject line of “Deal Alert! You won’t want to miss this” also pulls the psychological trigger of urgency to encourage readers to act now.

Key Takeaway: If your list is full of opt-ins who are hungry for your offer emails, you don’t necessarily need to get caught up in the weeds of your email body. Sometimes your deals can speak for themselves.

Warby Parker – Curiosity to drive click-throughs.

Warby Parker pop quiz email - brilliant email examples

Some brands make the mistake of being too heavy-handed when it comes time to check in on their list. This example from Warby Parker reminds us that a bit of playful personality can trump a traditional sales pitch.

Framing the CTA as a quiz is a brilliant invitation to encourage readers to click through. Meanwhile, the message’s personalization (“You’ve already passed”) and lighthearted tone (“Phew.”) serve as a warm welcome to recipients.  The subject line of “Matchmaker, matchmaker” is definitely not something you’d expect to see in your inbox, either.

Key Takeaway: Every element of your messages must work together to entice readers to keep reading and eventually click. From your subject line and headline to your call to action and beyond, curiosity is a must-have element for any winning email.

Carnival – The power of eye-popping imagery

Carnival promotional email - brilliant email examples

Sometimes image-heavy emails can indeed be a gamble; however, they have the potential to pay off with mobile users in particular. Considering that most emails are read on mobile devices, it’s always a  plus to provide your readers with messages that are both scrollable and easy to read.

Carnival goes all-in on eye-popping imagery with this personalized offer message that has all the qualities of a powerful offer email. The in-your-face headlines, time-is-running-out subject line (“_____, 48-hour sale starts Now!”) and high-res images of your dream vacation all come together to compel readers to keep scrolling.

Key Takeaway: Don’t forget about mobile readers. Even if you’re personally wary of image-heavy emails, bear in mind that simple, scrollable messages are infinitely preferable to walls of text.

Headspace – Friendly and funny messages work, too

Headspace humorous email - brilliant email examples

Humor certainly has its place in the marketing world; meanwhile, a more lighthearted tone can help set your messages apart from your suit-and-tie competitors. 

This cool, calm and positive offer email may not seem brilliant at a glance but is the perfect reflection of Headspace’s brand. 

If you have a product that’s a seemingly “hard sell” (think: such as Headspace’s app for meditation), humor serves as the perfect vessel to break the ice for your readers. Also, although this particular email would lose some of its appeal if images were turned off, it would still get its offer across.

Key Takeaway: Tone matters to your recipients, especially to those who are hearing from you for the first time. Ask yourself: what sort of vibe do you want to give off to your readers? Serious? Playful? The choice is totally up to you, just be sure that you’re conveying it correctly.

Sonos – Make your messages about them, not you.

sonos email example - brilliant email examples

In this message Sonos combines an awesome subject line (“Let’s listen better”) and headline (“You’re better than this”) to butter up the reader and get their attention. As always, the importance of a strong subject line that forces your reader to pause and read cannot be overstated. 

The body of the email certainly delivers, too. The short but sweet copy combined with an obvious CTA and imagery once again proves the power of minimalist messages.

Key Takeaway: Frame your messages as being tailored especially for your readers’ benefit. Your readers likely deal with their fair share of spam on a daily basis: by presenting yourself as a helping hand, you immediately stand apart from the crowd.

Samsung – Don’t be afraid to experiment

 

Although there are plenty of hard and fast rules about what you should and shouldn’t do via email marketing, sometimes you can score points by trying something new.

This .gif-based message from Samsung represents a successful experiment and the evolution of email marketing itself. Coupled with an inviting subject line (“<First Name>” unbox your phone) and a two-word headline, this message is pretty much the antithesis of a traditional sales letter.

But guess what? It works.

Key Takeaway: Take any and all email marketing advice with a grain of salt. If you want to inject some serious creativity into your emails, go for it (but perhaps run a test campaign or two first).

Birchbox – Classic templates still work today.

birchbox classic email template - brilliant email examples

Now, if you want to play your campaigns safe, fear not. Many classic marketing and copywriting tricks still work brilliantly today.

Case in point is Birchbox’s “Lucky You! There’s Still Time to Claim Your Prize” message. Such copy is straight out of the direct mail playbook and represents a fantastic strategy for building a sense of curiosity. 

The positivity within the email copy highlighted in phrases such as “something awesome,” “free prize” and “let’s play” are likewise inviting and don’t reek of spam.

Key Takeaway: Sometimes it pays to play it safe. Although you shouldn’t treat your messages like business as usual, old-school copy still has its place in modern marketing.

Canva – The untapped potential of “thank you.”

canva thank you email - brilliant email examples

From autoresponders to manual messages, sometimes a mere “thank you” makes all the difference.
This particular message was sent out in celebration of Canva’s 2 million member milestone, reminding readers that they’re more than just faces in the crowd.

The act of saying “thanks” cannot be overlooked in an era where we need to do everything to make our readers feel like a million bucks instead of a data point.

Key Takeaway: Not every email you send needs a sales pitch with a monetary CTA. Sometimes it’s a good idea to reward your readers with an unexpected dose of positivity.

Are You Ready to Craft Your Own Brilliant Emails?

And that’s that! These brilliant email examples are fueling your fire, right?

Although it may feel like there are millions of ways to write any given email, sometimes it’s best to start by looking at what works now and brainstorming from there.

Listen: sending brilliant emails isn’t something solely reserved for big-name businesses and brands.
Despite what your list looks like today, you can apply these same principles thanks to email automation through Sendlane. By putting your own twist on these strategies, you can the build foundation for your own base of hungry subscribers.

Whether you’re new to email marketing or simply want to see what Sendlane has to offer, give our trial a shot today!


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