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Promotional Emails - Types, Steps, and Examples

Rida Ali Khan

Guess what’s common between a good promotional email and a remarkable piece of art? 

Everyone thinks they can create one, but only a few master this skill. 

In a recent study, 49% of respondents answered that they like receiving weekly promotional emails from their favorite brands. Another research stated that people who purchase products marketed via emails spend 138 times more than others. 

Sounds like they’re in heavy demand. 

Apart from being desirable, promotional emails are powerful tools for engaging customers, nurturing relationships, and boosting sales. But the problem here is that many marketers are aware of the outstanding benefits of promotional emails which increases competition. 

So, how will you create a high-converting promotional email that can instantly grab your subscriber’s attention and make yours stand out among others? 

Don’t worry! We have mentioned below all the necessary details that will help you in this matter. 

So let’s begin by understanding promotional emails first. 

What is a Promotional Email?

A promotional email is a way of advertising your product or service through email. Each promotional email has something unique to offer; it can either be a new product, an irresistible discount offer, or a special update, etc. 

Sending promotional emails is a beneficial approach towards the progress of any business. We’ve mentioned below some advantages of sending promotional emails. 

Promising Reasons to Use Promotional Emails 

Advantages of sending promotional emails.

Using promotional emails is a pretty advantageous strategy for your brand. Each promotional email brings along multiple favorable outcomes. We have mentioned them below: 

1. Boosts Sales 

Ask yourself, did you ever impulsively purchase something after coming across a promotional email message? I’m pretty sure that’s a yes!

According to research, 60% of consumers said that they made a purchase after receiving an email. 

Email marketing boosts up sales dramatically. It’s super convenient for customers to shop online and if there’s an additional offer or discount, the chances of making a purchase increase even more. 

Hence, promotional emails are a great way to escalate sales by exciting the audience to buy something valuable.

2. Improves Relation with Customers

Promotional emails play a pivotal role in improving and sustaining customer relationships. 

The main reason for this is that promotional emails motivate the subscribers to purchase from your brand, notify them about new products, and allow them to buy their desired products at a lower price. This can help you build new customers and sustain loyal customers who have purchased from your brand over and over. 

3. Instantly Grabs Attention

What’s more attractive than a discount offer? 

Exactly, nothing. 

Whether the discounts are mentioned in the subject line or in the design, they instantly grab the subscriber’s attention. In fact, if a customer was previously double-minded about purchasing something, the promotional discount would turn their answer into a definite yes.

4. It’s Budget-Friendly

Email marketing is incredibly cost-efficient.

According to research, brands spend 30 to 60 times more on advertising through television, print media, and social media channels in comparison to email marketing. 

Email marketing is responsible for promoting the brand and increasing sales on a very economical budget. Its automation and personalization allow the emails to reach the right target audience quicker and more efficiently. This makes email the best platform for advertising. 

5. Improves Brand Identity

Promotional emails help to establish a strong foot in the market. Sending promotional emails creates a very positive image of your brand. It helps in building loyal customers who look up to your brand for making a purchase. 

Offering them something of value or at a lower price gives a feeling that the brand cares about them and wishes to give them the best. 

Eight Shades of Promotional Emails

Different types of promotional emails.

Promotional emails may have exceptional advantages, but the key to a successful campaign is sending the right type of email, on the right occasion, and at the right time. 

Promotional emails are of different types, each with its own benefits and influence. These types are as follows; 

Special Offer/Limited time

We as humans drool over things that are limited and exclusive - similar is the case with promotional emails that have limited-time offers. 

Special offer promotional emails instill a sense of urgency in the customers and turn them into impulsive buyers. That’s the only kind of impulsivity you might actually look up to. 

There are some things to consider when you create a limited-time promotional email. First, and most necessary, you must ensure that all relevant recipients receive your email in that short time span. Second, your written copy must include triggering words that indicate that it’s a special time offer. You can also show that through your design by adding icons like an hourglass, a flash, etc. 

Here is a perfect example of a promotional email showing a limited-time offer from Teavana. Look how they have placed a countdown at the bottom to trigger urgency among its subscribers. 


Example of promotional email from Teavana


Sales 

People love sales more than sharks love blood. 

Creating and sending sales emails is an excellent strategy to motivate people to engage with you and boost revenue. However, one thing worth being careful about sales emails is that if they’re not drafted carefully, they might end up in the spam folder and damage the reputation of your brand. 

The best way to avoid this is to send promotional emails exclusively to subscribers who showed interest in your brand and opted to receive them. 

Besides this, pay special attention to the content of your sales email and mention what you’re offering in a bold and attractive manner. Remember, just one glimpse at your sales offer should be enough to grab the attention of your subscriber. 

Here's an eye-catching sales email from West Elm. The coolest thing about this email is how the GIF shows light switching on and off to attract its reader’s attention. 

Example of promotional email from West Elm

Exclusive Subscriber

Who doesn’t enjoy attention? And if it comes with a discount, it’s a double catch!

The intent behind sending exclusive subscriber promotional emails is to nurture bonds with subscribers and turn them into loyal customers. 

Exclusive subscriber emails are targeted and since every subscriber is at a different point in his/her customer journey, the content differs from email to email. For example, some brands send a discount email right after a customer signs up and some may send an exclusive subscriber email to a loyal customer. 

Such emails are a gift from the brand to its customers. It’s a great strategy to build a good reputation for your brand. You can see one beautiful-looking exclusive subscriber email below from Whistlefish.

Promotional email example from Whistlefish

Holiday

The holiday season is all about celebrations and building better relationships. 

Holiday promotional emails consist of exclusive discount offers limited for that holiday season. These emails follow a particular theme depending on which holiday season it is. 

It’s a great way to send good wishes to your subscribers and bag some extra sales. 

Seasonal promotions and discounts are opportunities to make immense profits from online sales. As research shows that 84% of customers wait for email marketing to receive their holiday discount. 

Look at this holiday email from Canvaspop that highlights their discount offer boldly to attract customers. 

Example of promotional email from Canvaspop.

Event Announcement

Research says email marketing is the most effective marketing tool for 78% of event managers. On the other hand, 45% of event tickets have been sold as a result of sending emails. 

The purpose of sending event announcement emails is to boost attendance, increase engagement, and improve relationships with subscribers. Your event announcements email can include an early bird booking, a teaser of an interview, a personal invite, or a reminder to book for an event or show, etc. 

Ensure you add vibrant Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons and mention all the necessary details about the event in your email. 

Product Launch

Product launch emails are sent out when your brand plans to introduce a new product or feature. 

People are pretty fond of new and innovative products; therefore, such emails result in good engagement. Product launch emails help to keep your brand on the top and increase brand awareness among your new and existing customers. 

Send the email either on or before the launch date and tell them about the advantages and details of this new feature or product. 

Gift Vouchers/Giveaways 

A little excitement kills no one. 

Gift vouchers attract subscribers like magnets, which further results in engagement from them. Ensure you choose attractive and captivating designs for these. 

Here is an email with a gift voucher from Apto that has the potential to win over subscribers. 

Promotional email example from Apto

Upgrade

Upgrade emails are sent out if you provide a subscription or software and choose to upgrade it. You would want your subscriber to opt for this new plan or upgrade without sounding too forceful so the best practice is that you make them an offer. 

Personalize this email and add necessary details like a free trial, advantages, and details about the new offer, etc. Ensure that the tone is polite yet convincing. 

Upgrade emails have a positive impact on brand identity and customer relationships. Here’s one such example from Evernote. 

Example of promotional email from Evernote.

Six Easy Steps to Create Your Promotional Email

Six steps for creating promotional emails

According to statistics, 64% of small businesses reach customers through email marketing while 35% of businesses send marketing emails 3-5 times a week. 

Damn, you can only imagine the abundance of emails in each subscriber’s inbox. That’s why we have mentioned some steps to create a promotional email that will instantly catch your subscriber’s attention.  

Step 1: Pick a Campaign Strategy 

This is a pivotal step and it’s responsible for shaping the nature of your campaign. 

Ask yourself first, what exactly is the idea of your campaign, what measures will you take, and what are the consequences that you expect from this campaign? 

Jot down pros and cons and analyze them carefully. Do your homework. Once you have clarity on the strategy only then you are ready for implementation. 

Step 2: Extensive Competitor Analyses

Never stop learning, even from your competitors. 

Do competitor analysis as a routine and learn the kind of emails your competitors are sending. If there are gaps in the marketplace, find out ways to finish them. 

This will help you to create the best promotional emails with the likelihood of standing out in your subscriber’s inbox.  

Step 3: Segment Your Email List 

Pick and choose your audience according to the campaign that you selected in the first step. 

Segment your email list and send them automated emails. Sending relevant emails to your target audience results in a greater return on your investment and prevents them from landing in the spam box. 

Step 4: Write Powerful Content

Never underestimate the effectiveness of a well-written email copy. 

Subject Line 

Promotional emails must be catchy, and so should their subject lines. 

Write a precise but compelling subject line. It must summarize the purpose of your email as research says 64% of recipients decide to open emails on the basis of its email subject line. 

Lastly, it’s understandable that it’s a promotional email but avoid adding words like ‘make money’ or ‘FREE’ as they might send your email into the spam box.  

Written Copy

Your written copy is a game-changer, its quality evaluates whether the subscriber will interact with you or not. 

You must consider some things while writing your promotional emails. Firstly, make sure that you clearly explain the purpose of your email. Whether you introduce a new feature or offer something new, the intent should be clear and precise. 

Secondly, your written copy should provide something of value to them. For example, if you talk about upgrading your software, let them know how the new software will add value to their lives. 

Lastly, your written copy must have a conversational tone. Imagine you’re talking to a particular person and want them to know how this offer is a must-have and avoid jargon that they might not understand. 

Once you’ve done this, read out the email copy to yourself to assure quality. 

Step 5: Choose an Attractive Design

A good visual works like magic. Remember to keep the following in mind when designing your promotional email.

Attractive

Choose an eye-catching design. The colors should complement your message and make the text stand out. 

Create a design that not only grabs the reader’s attention in the moment but also helps them remember your brand because of its beauty and attractiveness. 

Feeling overwhelmed? No worries. Take a look at this range of professionally designed and beautiful looking email templates that will help you create promotional emails that instantly catch your reader’s eye. 

Interactive

Try to add interactive elements as they boost up click-through and conversion rates. 

Interactive elements may include GIFs, CSS animations, videos, etc that motivate the subscriber to interact within the components of your emails. 

Responsive

Research says that 63% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This means that responsiveness has become a necessity rather than an option. Make sure that your emails are ideally responsive on all devices. 

Speaking of responsiveness, all of our email templates are mobile responsive and can be viewed perfectly on every device. 

Campaign-Centered

The design of your promotional emails must speak for your campaigns.  

Make it catchy and captivating, for example, if you’re promoting a sale on the 4th of July then use the colors of the national flag in your design’s background. 

Call-To-Action Buttons

Call To Action buttons prompt your reader into taking necessary action.

Research says if you add a vibrant and attractive call-to-action button you can increase the chances of click-through rates by 371% and conversion rates by 1617%. 

Amazing right? Then, don’t forget to add them.

Also, if you need any more information on how to design an ideal email, read our article on email design best practices. 

Step 6: Pick the Right Time to Send Promotional Emails

There’s a right time for everything. 

If you don’t send your emails at the best time, chances are that your emails will get ignored by your recipients because of their busy schedules or maybe lack of interest at that time. For instance, if you want to send an email about a flash sale on your brand right after they have already made a purchase, they will simply ignore it. 

It’s important to keep your audiences in mind before sending your emails. This means a time that may be ideal for a particular audience may not be right for the other. 

According to research, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days to send emails. This is because people are relaxing over the weekend and don’t like attending to emails. 

And in terms of time, 9 to 11 am are the best hours for sending emails. 

Regardless of these statistics, you can only know the best time and day for your campaign after having multiple tests and trials. 

Top Five Compelling Promotional Emails 

Here are the top 5 promotional emails that we have come across. These might help you create an amazing and high-performing promotional email. 

Tarte 

This promotional email shows a limited-time offer in the most captivating way. Look how they have used CSS animation, an enticing CTA, and minimal text together to create such a catchy promotional email. 

Example of best selected promotional emails.


Peel

A little mystery never hurts. This amazing email from Peel instantly grabs the user’s attention with its mysterious design. It builds curiosity and excites the user to click that CTA button to know more. 

Example of best selected promotional email

Outdoor Voices

They couldn’t have made it more perfect. Mentioning the necessary details, a captivating CTA button, and a reference picture - this design has it all without appearing too clustered.

Example of best selected promotional email.

Grammarly

We previously talked about how your promotional emails should show that they are adding value to your customers. Well, look how Grammarly understood the assignment. 

This catchy email offers you a low price for something valuable to your customers. The design goes with their theme and mentions everything necessary

Example of best selected promotional email.

Dunkin’ Donuts

You can tell it’s an email related to Halloween without reading a single word, can’t you? 

They did an amazing job at incorporating a Halloween theme along with their brand colors. Also, they have mentioned their exclusive deals in a very comprehensive way. 

Example of best selected promotional email.

Watch Out for Gmail’s Promotional Tab

Research says, 19.9% of Gmail users have not used the promotional tab. Ouch. 

So how exactly will you prevent your email from landing in Gmail’s Promotional tab? Here are some tips to avoid landing there. 

  1. Avoid using sales-y words like “urgent” or “free” etc. 
  2. Personalize your emails. 
  3. Add a few pictures as possible. An image-loaded email might end up in spam. 
  4. Don’t add more than 2 links per email. 
  5. Avoid overusing HTML elements.
  6. If you have an unsubscribe link, place it at the footer of your email. 
  7. Avoid using filters from Gmail. 

We know you’ve worked pretty hard for your email campaign and we would hate to see your efforts landing in the promotional box. So keep these tips in mind before sending your emails. 

Promotional Emails Best Practices 

Now that you’re aware of all the necessary steps for creating a promotional email, here are some of the best practices that result in high-performing promotional emails.  

Pick One Message per Promotional Email

Have you heard people say “less is more”? Well, we stand by this too. 

Don’t overdo your promotional emails. Send only one promotional message per email. This ensures that your message has the subscriber's undivided attention and s/he doesn’t get distracted.

Analyze Performance

Can’t stress the importance of this step more.

Whether it is analyzing the best time for sending an email or testing the effectiveness of any metric, analyze the performance of each email. This helps you to evaluate what measures have the best results. 

Experiment

Never stop experimenting. Try new features and ideas, you never know what will turn out to be the best campaign strategy. 

Roleplay as a Customer Before Sending

Before sending an email, put yourself in the shoes of your recipients.

Do you like what is being offered to you? Be your own judge. This will help you tailor your email perfectly according to the needs of your customers. 

How can Unlayer Help You Make the Best Promotional Emails? 

We know how much you value your campaigns and wouldn’t want anything but the best for your emails. Well, that’s exactly what Unlayer offers. 

Unlayer provides a range of well-designed templates to design promotional emails. These beautiful-looking templates will save your time, effort, and money for hiring a new designer. All these templates are mobile responsive and can be viewed perfectly on every device. 

You can embed interactive elements like videos in your email. Also, customize the template easily with its easy-to-use drag and drop editor. 

Unlayer’s email templates and promotional emails are a match made in heaven. Want to try them out for free? Start designing!

Final Thoughts

Now that you have all the knowledge about creating promotional emails, you’re all set to make one for your own. 

Excited to begin? Here are some beautiful-looking promotional email templates to get you started. Start designing your email copy for now!

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