Email Marketing Campaign Ideas: Creative Ways to Pull in Customers

Chloe Smith
6 min read
Dec 14, 2017
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email marketing campaign ideas

Email marketing still stands as one of the pillars of digital marketing. Although its revenue can sometimes end up being on the lower side, it's by far the cheapest.

Now, when thinking up fresh campaigns every now and then, it can get hard to be innovative. The content gets old, the tried and tested methods fall flat and we're left confused, trying to pick up the pieces and start anew. But fret not, we still have many tools in the never-ending fight to stay fresh, we just have to know where to look.

Get up close and personal

First and foremost, cater to your audience. Whoever you're marketing to, you need to figure out what they want and when they want it. People have already gotten used to the idea of receiving personalized offers. These offers have been tailored to suit their needs and have shown a rise in statistics than conventional blanket chain emails.

Every potential customer likes to feel special, cared for, unique. By researching what our customers are interested in, we can improve both their mood and our sales.

Adapt to lazy visitors

Yeah, who would've thought, the same customers who like to get pampered are lazy too, go figure. Today's digital environment revolves around the concept of speed and availability. Every link needs to load fast, every offer needs to be concise and to the point. If these requirements are not met, people simply click away and move on, unwilling to take the time to read. The same goes for email marketing, the messages need to be clear, concise, they need to have videos, images and so on.

Take the BuzzFeed for example - this brand probably has the best subject lines, because they keep them short and punchy. Additionally, they are accompanied by the perfect preview text - if there is a question in the subject line, there will certainly be the answer in the preview text. There is no way that any visitor will resist to open your email with a technique like this.


Ah, GIFs, the building blocks of the internet... well, at least the fun parts anyway. Gifs have become an integral part of today's environment, blending in everywhere we look. Compact, colorful and to the point, these nifty animations meld cost-efficiency with pizzazz. They are easy to make and deliver a powerful message while being fun to look at. This helps draw the recipient's attention while incentivizing even more spending. Take special care that the GIFs represent the values you're trying to convey.

If you’re looking for the good reference, check out Poncho. This customizable weather forecast service uses delightful colorful images and GIFs, but its biggest advantage is the fact that is easy to scan. The multimedia doesn’t distract you from the text but gets you closer. It will show you how to use design in order to improve your communication.

Revamp transactional emails

Transactional emails don't seem like much and are often forgotten by marketing teams. Although the reasoning behind this is solid, we tend to forget that these emails are crucial. This is a template that every person who's ever done business with the company will see. This is one of the only ways clients see what's going on with their account and how they get their receipts. Taking the time to spruce these up a bit will bring your campaign to a whole new level.

You can follow the example of charity: water which has taken a slightly different route. When someone donates to their project they make sure that donors can follow the journey of their money. In order to accomplish this, they use automated emails that will show the donors how their money is being used in the course of time. They use project timeline accompanied by the table which makes it even unnecessary to read the email - it requires just one glance to see where is your position in the whole process.

Experiment with imagery

This can be considered fine tuning but is still an essential part of running a campaign. Take the time to make iterations, gauge performance - go back and do it again. A particular image might work, but would it perform better with i.e. another model, if it was stylized etc... Constant alterations will ensure that we reach the best conversion rates we can. It will take time to hone in on what works, but the payoff makes it more than worth it.

Feature user reviews

Ah, nothing beats free marketing. Now, this comes in various shapes and sizes but one of the best ones out there has to be - user reviews. These little popularity boosts give users a chance to chime in and share their thoughts. If we're careful and our service was satisfactory - we'll get praise.

Putting positive user reviews into our emails can help spread praise that didn't come from us. Use Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media to collect reviews and use them later. The thing is that not many people are willing to write user reviews, so you need to find a way to get them to do it.

You’ll find a good example of Mom and Dad Money - the email they send you asking to fill out their questionnaires looks like an email from a friend asking a quick favor. And that’s not the whole trick - they also send a response after you’ve filled in their questionnaire to thank you. That email includes a large number of links and helpful advice tailored to your answers. This is the perfect example that shows you need to persuade your customers that their feedback is important.

Create themes

Ah, now comes the fun part. When trying to figure out what kind of email to create, one of the best and easiest things to do is to come up with a theme.

Let’s say you work for a storage company, your theme can be anything from seasonal offers to articles about easy storage solutions, to hacks for storing your holiday-themed trinkets (and we know that everybody loves a good ‘hacks’ article). These don't take much to set up but can break the monotony that user's end up getting served a day in and day out. Add some snow effects during the holidays or attach articles about related content. These will all help supplement the email and give your audience more to look at without detracting from the main point - the sale.

Be punctual, spark interest

With the rise of podcasts and similar shows, people have grown accustomed to punctuality. When we've settled on a topic, a theme and so on, we need to keep it up. Set a date it the month and stick to it. Believe it or not, people have a tendency to eagerly await future editions of podcasts, why not emails? If the content is interesting and appeals to the person on the receiving end - it'll work.

This will make both your campaign and your company seem reliable - something worth its weight in today's world.

Don’t be afraid to try new things

Whatever option you end up going for, be it one, all of them or none at all - remember to keep at it. No one gets it on the first try, there will always be a need to iterate, to improve and adapt.

Cater to your readership, revamp your old strategies and don't be afraid to try out new things. By focusing on the reader as an individual rather than a number, we will bring our companies into the modern age.

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