Thinking of the perfect email send can be a challenge. You want to provide value and stay on brand, but you also want to use email marketing as an avenue to promote your business. You want to see a return on investment for all the hard work you and your team put into your marketing efforts. So you need email marketing ideas that are going to help you produce content that excites your subscribers and keeps them informed.
That’s why we’re here to help you get started with a whole slew of ideas to get the gears turning. Maybe you’ll try to add an incentive to sales email, or you might decide to optimize a send with a video, or perhaps you’re ready to venture into the risky waters of contest entries.
Once you understand the types of emails you can use, you can put together a plan to get the results you’re looking for. In this post, we’ll look at email campaign ideas all small businesses can try out when launching email marketing campaigns.
Introducing your business to new customers
Introducing your business to subscribers will help you build brand awareness, instill loyalty and trust, and promote your products and services. Marketing emails like a welcome series and event invitations will grow your contact list and turn subscribers into customers.
Blick Art Materials sends a welcome email to thank customers for subscribing to their email list and includes a coupon code for $5 off their purchase of $45 or more. Follow their lead by creating a welcome email that offers valuable information, familiarizes them with your brand, and encourages them to return to your website.
Events are a great way to introduce new customers to your business. Make sure invitations have important details like date, location, and cost. When appropriate, include a link for people to register in advance. Your event invite is also a space to help you advertise your products and services. Add a call to action that directs subscribers to RSVP and consider sweetening the deal with a promo code or gift when they make their reservation.
Event invitations are important for big events and fundraisers but can also be used to get the word out to your subscribers about some of the smaller activities you have going on. Use them to keep your business top of mind.
Some of the most important emails your business will send are emails featuring new or revised information about your business. Changes to hours, location additions or store moves, event snafus like rain delays, and regular updates about products and services are all relevant topics to keep your subscribers in the loop.
Your audience is invested in the success of your business. If you have an ongoing project you’ve been working on, a software or policy update, or new products and services to feature, share regular updates to keep people involved and in the know.
You’re constantly growing and improving your business, and you probably have a lot of news to share. Send an email to inform customers about immediate actions, improvements, or challenges. Take this example from Djusie. They’re using the breaking news format as a clever way to deliver information about their product and to create a sense of urgency.
Make sure your audience doesn’t miss out on the insanely good online content you’re creating by putting together a regularly scheduled email digest.
For example, if you have a blog, you can give readers the option to sign up to receive a weekly roundup of your latest blog posts. Owl’s Nest Farm is a women and locally-owned farm. They send out emails that include links to recipes they’re making.
Caption: The email from Owl’s Nest Farm includes a digest of recent recipe content to share with subscribers. Image source: Owl’s Nest Farm
Email newsletters are an effective way for you to give people the information they need in a medium that’s reliable and convenient for them. Your company’s newsletter should include a range of topics, from product updates to changes in business operations to stories from happy customers.
You should include an email about industry news in your email marketing strategy to bring your business to the forefront of your industry and prove your expertise. A good example can be seen with the Courier Weekly — a weekly email newsletter that shares stories about modern businesses on the cutting edge of their industries. Boutiques and homeware stores might want to send emails about current fashion and design trends. Restaurants might email subscribers about new advances in cross-breeding produce or flavor experimentations. Whatever industry you’re in, you can use email marketing to set your status as a thought leader.
Emails that promote sales, products, and services will help your business grow your customer base by turning subscribers into purchasers.
Featured products and services
Promotional emails for products and services can go a long way toward driving purchases. Feature elegant product photography and provide specifications, ingredients, benefits, etc. Describe services and how they’ll bring value to customers. This email from Salt & Stone features education on the Endless Santal Body Wash. To entice customers to purchase, it includes:
- A minimalist photo to bring the product front and center
- A clever description
- A call to action (CTA) that directs the reader to “Buy Now”
- A top banner to emphasize free shipping and encourage customers to fill their carts.
“Best of” and Top-Sellers
Pay attention to your best-selling products and services and send a roundup of what’s turning subscribers into paying customers. Take Misc. Goods Co, a gifts and keepsakes company with local artisans to design and develop quality products. They collect their “best of” products and company memories in A Year in Review.
The power of an email marketing campaign is that it’s immediate. You can create a drip campaign to promote a major sale and send an email blast out in the morning as a final effort to drive shoppers to your store later that day.
Take the opportunity to let your email subscriber list know when you’re offering special discounts.
Generate hype for limited edition products and services via email. For inspiration, take a look at this example from Compass Coffee. They’re advertising a limited edition coffee blend they created in partnership with The Washington Post. The email is bold, placing emphasis on the partnership and the product.
No subject line or preheader text generates more excitement than “gift with purchase.” When your business can gift subscribers/customers with a special product, service, or offer, send an email to promote it.
Your email audience will appreciate access to exclusive information. If you’re adding a new line of products or planning big improvements, send a sneak preview to let people know what you have going on.
A coupon is still one of the most effective ways to boost sales and bring new customers into your store. You can include a coupon in your next email and allow people to redeem the offer right from their mobile device or through a printed copy.
When used correctly, video can improve your email marketing results and make a more meaningful impact on your audience. Make video the focus of your message or add a video to support the action you want people to take.
Back in stock
When customers are eagerly awaiting the return of coveted products or service availability, make sure to send an email when you’ve restocked and are ready to accept new orders. Give subscribers the chance to sign up for a segmented email list to be the first to know when what they’re looking for is available.
Seasonal and time-sensitive
You’re going to have email sends that only occur at specific times or are appropriate in a particular season. For instance, you might want to advertise a seasonal event or send well wishes for a special occasion or birthday.
Even if it’s not a holiday or your busiest season, you should take the time to reach out to your audience so you can stay connected.
Take RhizomeDC, an art workshop which is open for only open for certain portions of the year. Sending regular emails during the offseason allows them to keep people engaged and bring them back each season.
Your customers play an essential role in the success of your business and will be happy to celebrate when you reach a new milestone. On the flip side, it’s vital to appreciate your customers’ loyalty to your business. Perhaps you want to celebrate their first purchase or the anniversary of their email subscription with a special offer or incentive.
Rain, snow, a seasonal dry spell – if weather conditions impact your regular business hours, send an email to inform customers.
There’s no shortage of holidays that you can celebrate with your staff and customers. In addition to the major holidays, there are also some less-serious holidays that customers might want to celebrate with your business, like the ultra-silly and niche International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day (February 23) or the quaint and wholesome Take a Walk in the Park Day (March 30).
Find other fun holidays and celebrations here.
Caption: Ceremony Coffee Roasters sent an email to promote National Coffee Day and included a discount to encourage subscribers to visit a cafe. Image Source: Ceremony Coffee Roasters
Your business will likely have leftover products or specials on services that you’re trying to push at the end of the season. Email makes it easy to showcase items and include special offers to encourage your customers to take action.
Even if you don’t have “seasonal” products or services, you can still use the changing seasons to add personality to your messages. Perhaps you’re hosting a fall festival fit with hay rides and apple cider, or maybe you are coming out of the cold with a celebration of spring. Advertise your seasonal events through email to get customers in the spirit and to attract attendees.
Customer outreach emails are geared at expressing gratitude, gathering feedback, offering reminders, giving subscribers a nudge to take a desired action, and re-engaging readers who have fallen off the bandwagon.
Take advantage of every opportunity to let customers know how much you appreciate them. Send a thank you email to express gratitude for purchases and loyalty shown by your customers and subscribers.
For a business like the award-winning Franklin Cape Ann, a thank you email with a unique coupon was a great way to show customers some love.
Encourage customers to share their thoughts about your business, products, and services by including an online survey in your next email marketing campaign. Keep your surveys short and choose just a few key questions to yield the best results.
Even if you’ve sent announcements and posted about a product, event, or sale on social media, that doesn’t mean potential customers are ready to take action. A lot of people wait until the last minute to take advantage of a special offer, so sending a last-minute reminder could be exactly what customers need.
Social media is a crucial element of every good marketing strategy. Ensure your email subscribers know they can connect with you outside the inbox by adding social media buttons to your emails and create a special announcement encouraging people to connect.
If you have a group of people who signed up for your email list but haven’t been opening your emails, take some time to reach out to see how things are going. Consider adding an engaging subject line to get their attention. Present Company used the subject line “New Beers and Food at Present Company Public House” to reengage subscribers who haven’t stopped by in a while to come try out their new menu.
Raffles, giveaways, and contests
Have fun with your audience and encourage them to participate in a contest. You can use a raffle to increase foot traffic and encourage people to enter to win.
Tip: Promote your contest, raffle, or giveaway on social media.
Emails offering incentives are one of the simplest ways to reward loyal fans and promote products and services. When you have the opportunity and room in your budget, consider adding an incentive to purchase, like free shipping.
Don’t underestimate the power of a follow-up message. Whether you’re sending pictures from a recent event or connecting with new customers who signed up for your email list — a follow-up email can help turn a new visit into a repeat customer.
When customers leave their carts before purchase, you’ll want to send an abandoned cart email to remind them of what they’ve forgotten or what they haven’t decided on yet. Include imagery/links to the items shoppers have sitting in their carts and point them in the right direction, aka “Go To Cart.”
Which of these email ideas will you try first?
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