When used correctly, email marketing can be a powerful marketing channel. For the best results, you need to get every aspect of your promotional emails right — from design and copywriting to tactics. 

Sound overwhelming? A great starting point is to check out what others are doing right in their promotional emails and take some notes. 

Let’s explore some of the best promotional email examples to help you write emails that engage your audience and drive conversions. 

Introduction to promotional email strategies

Promotional emails are messages you send subscribers to advertise your company’s products or services. They can announce sales, let customers know about new products or features, or share personalized recommendations. 

Why are promotional emails key to marketing success?

Promotional emails are essential to any marketing strategy because they offer a cost-effective way to share marketing messages with your target audience. They’re highly customizable, too, so you can use promotional emails in almost any marketing campaign. Plus, you gain access to in-depth data that will help you fine-tune your marketing efforts. 

Understanding the purpose and goals of promotional emails

The exact goals for your promotional emails may vary from campaign to campaign. Some common goals include:

  • Generating interest in a new product or service
  • Upselling and cross-selling
  • Strengthening customer relationships
  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Nurturing leads
  • Boosting customer engagement

Planning your promotional email campaign

So, how do you promote something in an email? If you’re thinking of launching a promotional email campaign, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Choose what to promote: Product, service, or event

The first step is choosing what you want to promote in your email campaign — perhaps a new line of products, a premium service your business offers, or even an event you’re hosting.

Often, the more specific the promotion, the more effective. Trying to promote too many things will likely overwhelm and distract your subscribers.  

Identify why you’re promoting: Goals and objectives

Once you know what you’re promoting, you need to determine why you’re promoting it. What are your main goals for the email marketing campaign? How will you know whether you’ve succeeded?

Lay out your top goals and objectives for the campaign alongside the key performance indicators you’ll use to measure your success. Measurable goals help you fine-tune your campaigns. 

Define who you’re promoting to: The target audience

While you can send email campaigns to your entire list, focusing on smaller audience segments sometimes makes more sense. Before developing your campaign further, decide who your target audience will be. 

For example, one campaign might target existing customers to encourage them to repurchase. Another might focus on new, prospective customers who have shown an interest but never purchased from your business. 

Types of promotional emails

You can create a promotional email for almost anything you want. The sky’s the limit. That said, certain types pop up time and time again. 

Here are the most common types of promotional emails:

  • Special offer emails: Let people know about special offers or promotions you’re running. 
  • Sale announcement emails: Tell your audience your products or services are currently on sale. 
  • Holiday-themed offer emails: Capitalize on the holiday spirit and keep your audience engaged with holiday-themed offers. 
  • Event announcement emails: If you’re running an event, a promotional email helps spread the word.
  • Upgrade opportunity emails: Inform customers they have the option to upgrade their service or product. 
  • Exclusive deal emails: Offer your email subscribers an exclusive discount or deal. 
  • Content promotion emails: Share helpful informational content you’ve published, like a blog or how-to video. 
  • New product or feature announcement emails: Use this method to spread the news that your business is launching a new product or feature and build excitement. 
  • Personalized recommendation emails: Use customer data to make personalized product or service recommendations to your email subscribers.
  • Flash sale promotional emails: Send an announcement email to make sure email subscribers don’t miss your flash sales. 
  • Loyalty and reward program emails: Share the details in promotional emails to encourage customers to take advantage of your loyalty or reward programs. 

Writing compelling promotional emails

After planning, it’s time to get writing. 

Crafting attention-grabbing subject lines

Before recipients ever open your email, they see your name, the subject line, and some preview text. That tiny amount of information is all you have to convince them to open the message. 

To make sure they do, craft a subject line that’s as appealing and attention-grabbing as possible without misleading readers.

Experiment with different options and consider examples of great promotional email subject lines like:

  • Hi, [Name]! Here’s a welcome offer.
  • Limited time offer: Take X% off your purchase
  • Early access: See our new product/service
  • Last chance! Take advantage of this expiring offer
  • VIP Alert: Exclusive deals
Subject line example from Etsy
This subject line from Etsy uses strategic capitalization and emojis to catch the reader’s attention and persuade them to open the message. Source: Etsy

Writing engaging email content

So, what do you write in a promotional email? The best promotional email marketing examples include direct, engaging text. You probably don’t want to read through dense paragraphs of dry information, and your email subscribers don’t, either. Stick to short, snappy lines of text that get to the point.

Incorporating strong calls to action

Getting recipients to read your emails is a big accomplishment, but what’s next? Your next goal is convincing them to keep interacting with your brand, and that’s what the CTA is for.

Your call to action tells readers what to do next with strong action verbs like “buy,” “subscribe,” and “claim.” Make your CTA as persuasive as possible so readers can’t help but click on it.  

Adding visual elements to increase engagement

In a promotional email, a picture is worth even more than 1,000 words. Readers enjoy visual elements like photos and videos in emails because they make the content more appealing. Add one or two photos or videos where appropriate to engage your readers further and help get your message across. 

Best practices for promotional email templates

Whether you’re building your own promotional email templates or using existing ones, here are some best practices to consider:

  • Keep your headings consistent to enhance brand recognition.
  • Emphasize urgency and scarcity in your promotional emails to motivate readers to take action.
  • Vary your design depending on the type of promotional email you’re sending.
  • Avoid overwhelming readers with too much text or distracting visuals.

What is an example of a promotional email?

A typical example of a promotional email is a message announcing a sale the company is running. The message keeps email subscribers informed and may motivate them to make a purchase while the sale is running.

FTD sales email sample
This sale announcement email from FTD lets readers know about the extended sale and includes the recognizable FTD header for more consistent branding. Source: FTD

Tactics for effective campaigns

Beyond the writing and design of your emails, the success of your promotional campaign comes down to the tactics you use. Try these effective email marketing strategies:

Segmenting your audience for tailored messaging

Sometimes, your marketing message doesn’t apply to your entire email list. In that situation, breaking your list up into smaller target audiences is the way to go. 

Segment your email list by details like:

  • Purchase history
  • Demographics like age, gender, and location
  • Activity on your website
  • Stage of the purchase process
  • Interests
  • Engagement level

For example, send targeted messages to subscribers who haven’t engaged with your emails lately, encouraging them to re-engage. Segmenting helps you send more personalized, relevant messages to your audience. 

Scheduling your emails

Did you know that the timing of your promotional emails can significantly affect your campaign’s success? Schedule your emails at the best time for sending promotional messages. The ideal timing will depend on your target audience and their routines. 

Ensuring mobile-friendly email design

So many people these days use their phones for everything, including reading their emails. Remember that when you’re designing your emails. 

All the best company promotional email examples are mobile-optimized. Keep your design mobile-friendly by compressing any included images, using large, easy-to-click buttons, and adding lots of white space. 

Providing opt-out options respectfully

It’s a marketing reality that some email subscribers may not want to receive your promotional emails forever. You need to give them a way to opt out. 

Adding a clear, straightforward path to opting out will boost trust with your audience and reduce the number of spam complaints you receive. 

Our Place email footer with unsubscribe option
At the bottom of this email from Our Place, recipients can use the Unsubscribe link to easily opt out of further messages from the company. There’s also an option to change how frequently they receive messages, which may encourage customers to stay subscribed. Source: Our Place

Understanding regulations 

There aren’t a lot of rules about what you can and can’t do in your promotional emails, but there are a few. Keep them in mind as you design your campaigns. 

Adhering to email marketing laws and regulations

Different jurisdictions have different rules for email marketing, but generally, it’s important to obtain consent before sending promotional emails and be transparent about data collection.  

Two major pieces of legislation to keep in mind are the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. and the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union. Make sure you know these laws inside and out to avoid fines and other punishments. 

Securing your email campaigns against cybersecurity threats

Cyber attacks on your email can severely damage your reputation and cost you heavily. Protect your business against these threats with measures like:

  • Choosing a secure email provider
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication
  • Keeping your email software updated
  • Using antivirus software
  • Training your employees on threats and protective measures

Investing in security for your email campaigns may prevent expensive, inconvenient problems in the future. 

Advanced promotional email techniques

Once you have the basics down, you can implement some advanced promotional email techniques to take your campaigns to the next level. Try strategies like the following.

Leverage artificial intelligence for email customization

With the help of artificial intelligence, you can create more personalized emails for each recipient. AI software can comb through data sources like a customer’s behavior on your website, email data, and social media to produce personalized email content. 

Since the majority of consumers now expect companies to tailor messaging to their needs and provide customized product or service recommendations, AI is a powerful tool for your email marketing campaigns. 

Implement email automation for timely delivery

Certain moments are ideal for reaching out to customers, such as right after they visit your website or shortly after they abandon their cart. Manually tracking all that information and ensuring messages reach recipients at the correct times is next to impossible, but email automation solves that problem. 

Whenever customers take specified actions, the software sends them the coordinating promotional email. That way, they get the right messages at the right times without you having to manually track and send each one. 

Use email analytics for insightful campaign decisions

There’s always something you can improve about your campaigns, but how do you know what changes to make? Email analytics are the answer. 

Track key metrics, such as:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Return on investment
  • Engagement rate

Analyzing these key metrics will help you understand where your campaigns are succeeding and where you can make improvements. For example, if your conversion rate is low, you may want to try a different call to action. 

Additional resources and tools

Email marketing is an ever-changing landscape, so make sure you stay up-to-date on new developments and rules. To learn more about this marketing channel, check out guides like “The Ultimate Guide to Direct Email Marketing” and “What’s a Newsletter?” 

Tools and templates for email campaigns

You may also benefit from using additional email tools and templates in your campaigns. 

Email marketing templates provide a starting point for your messages based on your campaign type. That way, you don’t have to start from scratch and build each message from the ground up.

Tools like Constant Contact provide pre-designed email templates you can customize by simply dragging and dropping elements like images. Constant Contact also helps you automate messages and track your campaign results in a user-friendly dashboard. 

Sign up for free to learn more about how Constant Contact can help you upgrade your email marketing campaigns. 

Conclusion and next steps

High-quality promotional emails stand out to your target audience and help you reach your marketing goals. Keep your email content and subject lines engaging, include some visual elements, and track your results to continually improve your promotional email campaigns. 

Anyone can use promotional emails to successfully promote their business. Get started planning your own promotional email campaign today.