You know what the best marketing emails are?
Well, you can’t know.
Why? Only people that have the metrics and know their opens, clicks and sales know which emails are best.
So, any blog or article showing off why this email and that email are so great are likely very, very, very off base. It’s some guy or gal going – “huh, i like their animations and their simple, cute little designs, teeheehee” (which clearly the regular, jaded, bleary-eyed user doesn’t notice) – with no basis whatsoever.
But today, I’m going to do something stupid. I’m going try to write about this anyway.
The catch is… I’ll AT LEAST try to back my stuff up with concepts rooted in marketing.
So, let’s get into the best marketing emails I’ve seen so far.
“Best” is a pretty big word.
By best I mean… marketing emails that get the job done. They get the user to click, buy and continue paying attention to the sender.
So, you won’t see crazy designs.
1. AppSumo Emails
Appsumo sends out weekly deals on software. And as you can clearly see, I’ve bought a bunch of deals and some I even wrote about: Stencil, Brain.FM. These guys are geared towards entrepreneurs, wantrepreneurs, bloggers and anyone that does some type of online work.
So, why are their emails good?
New Stuff. You know what people like? New stuff. And they send new deals every week. New thumbnail maker. New stock photo deal. New marketing course. New thingamajig that boosts sales. Well, because every time is something new, you can’t help but keep check.
Solutions. You know what people also like? Solutions to their problems. Things that make sales skyrocket. Software that makes it easy to do X or Y.
Oh, Free Stuff. Once in a while they send freebies. Free is the most important word in marketing. So, there’s a good chance that these emails do quite well.
Your Identity. Think about it. Being a blogger, business owner, entrepreneur, site builder, online marketer or whatever – that’s a part of your identity. It’s your job. And like everyone else, you want to be damn good at your job. So, if someone’s sending you solutions that help you become a better you, you’ll listen.
Compelling Writing: “How to get noticed…” Oh, I’m listening. “Last week, I noticed this on social media… which caught my eye. It was an image.” Oh, I do social media, I could use more images.
And on the topic of compelling writing…
Simplicity (Easy to read & Easy to understand): The subject catches my eye. The first paragraph is just 1 line long. It tells me a story. And down the greased chute I go. They got me reading.
2. Quora Emails
Quora’s supposed to be a high quality version of Yahoo Answers. Well. it was – until they started letting more people in. And they’ll email me with questions on topics I’ve marked interest in. And definitely on topics I’ve NOT expressed interest in but clicked on anyway. Well, their emails do have some redeeming qualities.
Curiosity driven headlines. Just take a look at the headlines below. The first one was the subject of the email. Tell me you wouldn’t be JUST a bit curious to look at it.
Personalization. Well, the more you cater to my interests, the more I’m going to listen.
But, there is a strong caveat though. Just like with retargeting advertisements, it can become PAINFULLY obvious that they’re tracking your clicks and feeding you data accordingly. To the point where it’s PAINFULLY obvious that they’re doing more stalking than helping.
Rule of life: When you notices someone is trying to sus information out of you. When you notice a salesman is trying really hard to close you. When you notice a certain ad following you around. When you notice the advertisement for the advertisement and not the message it’s supposed to tell you… you’re dead in the water.
Click one Japan related topic and jeez. Note to self: unsubscribe.
3. 1-800-Flowers emails
You probably already know what 1-800-FLOWERS is and what they do.
So, what’s so great about their emails?
Not much to the e-mail geek looking for spaz out on some wise words or fancy gifs. But to the dollar spending consumer, like myself, they offer…
A Solution: It’s not my relatives’ birthdays all the time. But when the birthdays and holidays roll around, guess who’s been emailing me. Guess who I don’t unsubscribe from because I know I’ll likely need their stuff. That’s right, these guys. So, when some special day rolls around and I need a gift, guess who I go to? That’s right. These guys.
Timeliness: They email quite often. And like I said, I don’t need them all the time. But I also don’t unsubscribe since I’ll use them later. So, their once-a-week (?) emails end up coming right on time when I need them.
But if I didn’t need them, I’d unsubscribe. Notice that? It’s all about the utility.
Nice Product Shots: Well, they do sell plants and flowers, right? So, the nature of their business lends to some good looking product shots that I’d click on.
Discounts: Think what you will, but a discount will knock a person off the fence. Usually, it’s a “well, I do need this… and they have a discount, so….” type of reaction.
4. I Will Teach You to Be Rich Emails
Ah, what a name. “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” aims right at my inner most desire to be rich. I mean, wouldn’t you stop for at least a second to take a look at someone who says they will teach you to be rich? Of course you would.
So, what’s the deal with the emails?
Authority: The author, Ramit Sethi, has been blogging, writing books and runs a company based on teaching personal finance and personal development… for a very, very, very long time. So, when he talks, I listen. Which brings me to another fun point…
Authentic (It’s from Ramit): This is one person writing to you. The guy behind the company. The guy that knows it all, writing to you in a “you and I” type of style. It feels personal and authentic.
Now, if a company were to send you an email, telling you “we have been at this for many years and blah blah. We have some lessons for you. Have you ever wondered why…” And the whole email is sent “from the company?” Or from “The Popup Website.” It starts feeling like…
Self-interest: I mean, we’re all already on the hook because of the name of the site. But that aside, the emails have to do with self-improvement and growth. Whether financially or professionally. And there’s always some sort of lesson inside.
Which brings us to the next point…
Compelling writing: “Instead of criticizing, do this.” Hell, we all criticize. We all want to do better. So, if this email’s offering something to make me a tad bit smarter and some interesting story, I’ll listen. Why? See self-interest above.
And speaking of writing…
Simplicity (AKA Easy to read writing): Ramit knows copywriting well. So, look at the screenshot above. The paragraphs are 1 to 2 sentences long. So, it’s very easy to dive in and keep reading. You’re not met with a wall of text staring back at you. You’re met with a question: “What was the last time YOU….”
New Stuff: Remember, we talked about new stuff already, right? Well, here it is again. The thing is, I’ve yet to see Ramit recycle an email that he sent last year or 2 years ago. And in the email business, this is the easiest thing to do and there’s nothing really wrong with it. My point is – I always hear some new story from him. Even if it reiterates some principle he has talked about before, it’s always new, which perks up my ears.
Personalization: Although you can’t tell, that email starts with my name. Not “Dear Reader” or “Hello,” just “Yuriy.” That’s a great way to get anyone’s attention.
5. The Hustle Emails
I don’t remember how I got on their daily newsletter but I don’t mind that I did.
The Hustle sends out newsletters dishing out the latest in tech, business and other things you (if you work in tech… or in a business) should know. Around 5 news entries. And some bonus recommendations of cool stuff.
So, what’s the big deal?
New: Well, they do offer news after all.
Timely/Relevant: And said news is fairly timely. I do use slack at work. I hate it at times. Especially when people message about (non-urgent) things that they can send an email about.
Simplicity (Easy to read & Easy to understand): This is a big deal in all marketing and advertising. If your offer is hard to understand, no-one will buy.
So, you shouldn’t make it hard for a reader to understand your stuff. They’re clearly serious about their writing style and on top of that, I don’t have to look at a wall of text. Their constant use of headlines and sub-headlines is worth mentioning if you’re looking for “Tactics” to apply.
Interesting: I mean, I’d want to know if we can trust Amazon reviews.
Note, this is not the comprehensive and exhaustive list of best marketing emails.
Just what lands in my inbox.
I did not spend too much time on the actual copywriting because it all comes down to the offer. Or, what the email offers the user. If the offer is good, even bad copywriting can sell it. If the offer is bad, not even the best copywriting can save it.
Anyway, leave a comment with your thoughts.
Done for now.