5 Types of Marketing Emails Worth Trying

Lately, I’ve found myself writing more email campaigns than ever before. It’s a layup: free access to someone’s inbox. The payoff is always worth it, especially if we’re using names already accumulated (not generating new ones for a price in a platform like prospect.io or GrowLabs, though we’ve seen ROI there as well).

As I write more emails, I’ve been paying more attention to the marketing emails I receive. There’s always a clear formula, so I’ve been testing out those formulas in client campaigns. Here are five types of emails worth testing:

1. “Hurry, This Won’t Last!”

In other words, build urgency. This extremely popular formula shouldn’t work if you think about it. In most cases, there’s no need to hurry to buy a particular product or even capitalize on a sale. The product will always be there, as long as it’s any good. And another sale will come again—possibly an even better one.

Take a wine club I joined, for example. I bought my parents a one-time subscription for Christmas. Their spiel is that they can match you with new wines you’ll love based on a quiz you take.

A few days after purchasing a gift card, I received an email with the subject line: “Hey! You have a discount” from someone named Maria S. For the next 48 hours, I could get $50 off the same gift I’d just purchased for my parents. I didn’t think it necessary to buy myself a Christmas gift too, so I just deleted it.

Twenty-four hours later, however, Maria S gently warned me “Discount expiring.” She broke it down even further: “4 wines for $38 is a pretty incredible deal, so please let me know if there's anything I can help with before it expires!”

That IS a great deal, I thought.

I’m now a proud member.

Would they have sent me another discount after 48 hours? Undoubtedly. I’m making this educated guess because I get frequent discounts all the time, specially chosen for me.

Which brings me to another shockingly useful email formula...  

2. “You are a VIP”

We all want to feel special, and when someone flatters us, we’re apt to listen to them. Sometimes, a company offers specific VIP perks through a program—I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about making any old customer feel special. These emails can be empty, of course, but they don’t have to be.

Seven days ago, I received an email from a clothing store. The subject line said, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”

In the spirit of analyzing my emails, I opened it and was pleasantly surprised by the contents:

“This dress is more than just a dress, it is a representation of the beautiful strength found through enduring and overcoming hardships. It is inspired by the strong women worldwide who have fought and are currently fighting cancer and those supporting them along the way.”

I felt proud to be a woman and interested in buying a dress that I didn’t even like to support a great cause. The VIP approach doesn’t have to be pure flattery; it can be rooted in profound truth and the values at the core of your organization.

While we’re talking about truth and good intentions, it’s about time to acknowledge email formula #3...

3. “This Will Change Your Life”

Sometimes, the value prop of a product really is enough in and of itself.

If we could simply send an email describing how great a product is and see results, marketing’s job would be really easy (though a lot less creative). Most marketing emails I’m served fit this formula to some degree.

A few days ago, for instance, I received an email from a company that began aggressively contacting me. The subject line? “Use one inbox for every customer interaction.” The rest of it reads much like a website with brief benefit statements and blurbs. Disparate customer interactions isn’t really a pain point for me, so I’m not the target. But when your product offers clear value, it will work sometimes.

When it doesn’t, you can try another increasingly common formula…

4. “Hey, Friend!”

When someone I’ve never heard of pretends to be my friend, I’m always caught off guard. Did I forget a name? Worse, did I forget a meeting?

A recent subject line I received said “Andy<>Laurel Connect.” Once into the email, I saw that we had indeed never met or set up a meeting, but “Andy” had done a relatively good job of personalizing the info. The body read like a personality test result, alternating between “That’s SO me!” and “Eh, that’s not quite right.” I imagine some effort went into the text and, for that reason alone, I contemplated giving him 20 minutes of my time.

On the same day, I received another disconcerting note that said “Reconnect / New Info” from a Marcus Hall. The body of the email was short and sweet:

“Let me know if we can connect in the coming weeks. I'd like to catch up, see how your project is going and share a few important updates that might benefit you.”

I’ve never met Marcus Hall... but I had to double check.

If you successfully connect with someone this way, great! But if fake friendships don’t work, you can always go for desperation…

5. “Please open me”

If you’re going for this kind of email, go all in. The subject line might be “Important note” or “Your account status” or even “Please open me.”

In a way, I appreciate the direct punch. This kind is also a fun type to write.

Most recently, an email of this ilk promised “Information on Your Free Night Award from Marriott Bonvoy.” Turns out, I absolutely did not have a free stay at Marriott Bonvoy to receive information about, but there are action steps I can take to get one.

Honestly, I will probably take them.

Email isn’t always the most popular marketing channel, but it can be one of the easiest ways to generate revenue. If you’ve found a formula you love, please share it! Or test it out on us. ;) You can find us at info@growthguild.co.

Laurel Brunk