Email marketing examples

Email is one of the most powerful marketing mediums around, but sometimes it can feel like you’re bugging your buyers. And if every email you send is pushing them to buy, buy, buy! you probably are!

Keep your customers engaged WITHOUT being a thorn in their side (or their inbox) by switching it up. Try these 19 different marketing emails to show off your personality, share nurturing content, and keep customers coming back.

1. The Thank You Email

First and foremost, the email that should be going out every time someone makes a purchase or opts into an offer on your site: the thank-you email.

This email not only thanks the customer for their action, but sets an expectation for what the next steps will be. It might let them know when their order will ship, advise them to expect a call from your team, or inform them their question will be answered within X business days.

In your thank you email, it’s a great idea to close the email with additional ways for the customer to interact with you, like links to your social media accounts or a blog post they might like.

2. The Follow-Up Email

The follow-up email is next in the sequence after the thank you email. For retail businesses, I suggest sending this either once the item has shipped, once the item has been delivered, or both.

The follow-up email serves two purposes:

  1. Lets the customer know you care
  2. Intercepts any complaints before they’re posted online

The second item is important for brands that sell a product because your online reviews can make or break your sales.

We all have those competitors who seem to have only five-star reviews. Is their product perfect? Of course not. But the majority of the time, they’ve got a customer service A-team following up with each and every buyer to make sure nothing less than a five-star review is possible.

Your follow up email might look like this:

Hi [NAME]!

I wanted to follow up on your recent purchase with [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. How’s everything going so far?

I hope you’re loving your new item! If for some reason you’re not, please let us know at [CONTACT INFO HERE]. We want to do everything in our power to make it right!



By checking in to make sure everything’s A-okay, you give your company a chance to fix any issues and possibly turn a negative review into a five-star experience.

3. The Review Request

Once you’re sure the customer loves what he purchased, it’s time to ask for a review. Come right out and say it: you want five stars!

To sweeten the deal, incentivize your request with something for the customer, like a discount code he’ll receive after submitting his review.

Your review request might look like this:

Hi [NAME]!

Thanks again for shopping with [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. Your business is important to us, and we work hard to ensure you’re 100% satisfied with your purchase.

If you’ve had a great shopping experience with us, it would mean a lot if you took two minutes and left us a five star review [INSERT LINK TO LEAVE A REVIEW].

To say thanks, we’ll send you a discount code for 10% off your next purchase!

If for some reason you’re not completely satisfied, please get in touch with us at [CONTACT INFO HERE] and a member of our support team will be glad to help you out.

Have a great day!


4. The Win-Back Email

This is an important email in your sales funnel and one many companies neglect. We always think about nurturing warm leads, but what about the ones that have gone cold?

An easy way to re-engage distant customers is with the win-back email. Segment your email list to include only customers who haven’t purchased from you in several weeks or months, then send them a lucrative offer to come back.

Here’s an awesome example from on-demand laundry app Cleanly:

Win back email

20% off? That’s enough to get me to “TRY AGAIN!”

And, if you send a win-back email that doesn’t get opened, you know it’s probably safe to remove that lead from your email list.

5. The Announcement

Use an email to announce your latest company news, like a new website update, an office redesign or your Friday afternoon pizza party.

Customers enjoy seeing the people behind the brand name, and filling them in on your latest company news is one great way to show them this.

6. The Sale Alert

Trigger a traffic spike to your latest sale by sending an email alert as soon as it’s live.

The best sale alerts are simple, with a strong and vibrant call-to-action. Don’t distract the customer by including too much information. Your goal with a sale alert is to get them to click the button that leads through to your site.

Here’s a strong example from Expedia.

Types of marketing emails

They tell us what the offer is with a headline and eye-catching image and give us a big yellow button to start shopping.

7. The Product Showcase

While you don’t want to be pushing your products 24/7, your most loyal customers do want to be the first to hear when you’ve got something new!

Use a product showcase email to give an overview of what’s in stock with a gallery of great visuals to show off your merchandise.

Here’s a product showcase from Target.

Email marketing ideas

While I might not click through to buy every time, I enjoy being able to quickly glimpse the newest arrivals. Plus, it’s an additional touchpoint that reminds the customer you exist, without being too salesy.

8. The Coupon Offer

If you’re in the midst of a slow season or want to pump up traffic during a holiday, a coupon offer will get the cash register ringing.

Send your customers a time-sensitive coupon code that must be used by a certain date. For best results, make the expiration window less than a week. I’ve seen a few effective coupon offer codes that only last until midnight that night. Talk about an incentive to shop!

9. The Contest

Your customers keep you in business; reward them with a fun giveaway every once in a while.

A giveaway is a nice opportunity to generate engagement with your fans. It’s also a chance to make your list members feel special (i.e. “a giveaway exclusively for our email subscribers!”).

Once you’ve picked a winner, you can follow up by sending everyone who didn’t win a special discount code.

10. The Referral Request

Who better to help you win new fans than the people who love you most? Send your most loyal customers a friendly referral request asking them to introduce you to their friends.

There are a few good ways to do this.

  • Ask them to directly forward the email to a friend who might love the brand
  • Use a social sharing tool, like Share Link Generator, to provide a pre-written social media shoutout they can click to Tweet or post to Facebook
  • Set up a formal referral program, which allows users to receive a commission when they share your products with friends

After all, the best way to get referrals is to ask for them.

11. The Social Discussion

It’s sometimes tough to bridge the gap between your emails, your website and your social media channels. Ideally, you want fans to be present and engage with your brand on all of them.

One way to bring customers from your email list over to your social channels is by referencing an awesome recent post.

For example, you might share two color options for a new product and ask your Facebook followers which they like best. If you start getting a ton of comments, send an email to your list that goes something like this:

Subject line: Which color should we release next? Weigh in!

Hey [NAME]!

We asked our Facebook fans to choose the next color we’ll release of [INSERT PRODUCT NAME]. The debate is getting pretty exciting!

We want to her your thoughts on the matter. Join the conversation now on our Facebook page [LINK TO THE POST].

For even better results, send the email only to people who have expressed an interest in that particular product in the past.

12. The New Content Alert

Just published a new post? Blast that baby out to your email list! You can (and should) do this for every piece of content you create, whether it’s a product guide, e-book, new catalog or what have you.

Neil Patel sends an email each time he publishes a new post with a compelling subject line, a short summary and a link to read it. It’s simple, but it does the trick:

Marketing email ideas

Again, for best results, segment your email list and send your content to the groups of customers it’s most relevant to.

13. The Industry Roundup

Build value for your customers and prospects with an industry roundup. In this email, share useful information from trusted sources in your industry—and not just your own website.

If you sell clothing, maybe it’s a link to a fashion magazine detailing the season’s upcoming trends. If you sell sporting goods, maybe it’s a profile piece on an up-and-coming athlete.

Here’s an example from a tech group I’m part of.

Types of marketing emails

I always enjoy skimming through these emails because it keeps me up to date on the industry without investing too much time. It’s one more way to become a trusted resource for your customers.

14. The Loyal Customer Reward

Say thank you to your very best customers with a special reward—just because. This is part of the “delight” phase of the inbound marketing process. Remember: your work doesn’t end when they buy from you; the fun is just beginning!

Treat loyal customers to something juicy, like a high-value promo code or a free trial of your newest product.

Bed, Bath and Beyond is famous for rewarding its loyal customers with percent-off discounts (by the way, I recently heard they were doing away with these, but I definitely continue to get them. Anybody else?)

Email marketing examples

15. The Buddy-Up Email

Sometimes, it’s nice to get in front of a fresh set of eyeballs. You can do this without spending money on ads by buddying up with a complementary brand and doing some cross promotion.

Find a product or service from another brand that complements yours, then brainstorm together on a special offer that will entice both of your followers.

Here’s an example from Uber and American Express.

Email marketing example

The key is that you’ll both distribute the offer to your own email lists. That way, the customer is being introduced to your brand by someone they already know and trust. Win-win.

16. The Sneak Peek

Everyone likes to be in on a secret. Make your email list feel special by sharing the first sneak peek of your latest project or a soon-to-be-released product.

Looking at the open and click rates for a sneak peek email is also a good way to gauge who might be a potential future buyer, if it’s a new product you’re sharing.

17. The Abandoned Cart Email

Most e-commerce platforms integrate with your email provider to track abandoned carts—a.k.a. the people who put something in their virtual shopping cart but leave without completing the purchase.

Don’t just let them walk away. Hit them with an email and give them a reason to come back! Here’s an example I recently received from retailer Express.

Abandoned cart email example

Guess what’s now part of my closet?

Email marketing example

If I’m a marketer and abandoned cart emails work this well on me, just imagine how well they can work on your customer base.

You can double up your efforts by hitting abandoned-cart shoppers with a Facebook ad offering the same incentive you sent via email. Remember—many different touchpoints with the customer is key to closing the sale.

18. The Cross-Sell

The big-box retailers like Macy’s and Wal-Mart are all-stars at cross-selling. This is when they use your previous purchases to send you new products you also might be interested in.

Your product line might not be as big as theirs, but if you sell more than one item I’m willing to bet there’s something you can cross sell to your audience.

Phrase it like this, referencing the original product they bought:


We noticed you recently left five stars for our [INSERT PRODUCT NAME]. Have you checked out [INSERT SECOND PRODUCT NAME] yet? We think you’ll really love it!

19. The Feedback Survey

Finally, one of the most valuable emails you can ever send: the feedback survey.

The most successful companies are always gathering new intelligence from their customer base. It’s your job to find out what your customers like, what you could do better, and what ideas they have. Oftentimes, your next great product idea comes about directly from audience input!

Here’s an example of a feedback survey from Qwilr:

Customer survey email example

You should be noticing a theme by now; when we ask the customer to do something, like leave a review or take a survey, we give them something in return. In this case it’s the chance to win a gift card, which is a great way to incentive your survey without a huge up-front investment.

Wondering how on earth to coordinate all your email campaigns that are flying through the airwaves? You need a platform that makes it manageable. I’m a huge fan of ConvertKit, which makes it easy to send your customers and prospects the right emails at the right time.

Remember above when I talked about sending emails only to a certain group of people, like customers who’d purchased a certain item? That’s what a platform like ConvertKit can do. It integrates with whatever platform you use to run your website, like Shopify, Squarespace, WordPress and more, to make email marketing simple. Check it out here.


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Tami Brehse

Tami Brehse

Tami is a television news anchor turned digital marketing consultant who helps small businesses achieve their PR and marketing goals.
Tami Brehse
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