Email Marketing Strategies: Lessons From 7 Brands Crushing the Game

In the digital realm, trends come and go faster than ever. However, there is one marketing channel that has stood the test of time – email! Email marketing offers personalization, targeted reach, and impressive conversion rates. No wonder brands continue to invest heavily in their email marketing strategies.

But crafting effective email marketing campaigns isn’t as simple as sending out a generic blast. The question remains: how do you create emails that truly resonate with your audience and drive results?

The secret lies in learning from the best! In this blog, we’ll delve into the email marketing strategies employed by well-known brands. We’ll dissect their design elements, content creation techniques, and overall approach to crafting emails that resonate with their audience and drive results.

Ready to unlock a treasure trove of inspiration for your own email marketing efforts? Let’s dive in! 

Why Email Marketing Still Reigns Supreme

The first ever email was sent in 1971! That was half a century ago! And we’re currently in the times of Tweets and Snaps and Reels. So, is email still a relevant channel for brands? Do you think investing in email marketing strategies actually pays off? Of course, they do. Here are some statistics to prove the point! 

  • Email expands your reach. There are billions of email users around the world and the number is projected to reach  4.73 billion by the year 2026. Email marketing opens up the opportunity to this ever-growing user base. 
  • Did you know that 27% of consumers, and a staggering 37% of Gen Z, are more likely to purchase from brands they receive regular newsletters from? Email marketing allows you to nurture relationships, build trust, and keep your brand top-of-mind.
  • Looking for a marketing strategy with a proven track record? Look no further!  Email marketing boasts an average return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 spent – a compelling reason to integrate it into your marketing mix.
  • With 55% of consumers citing email as their preferred channel for business communication, it’s clear that email isn’t going anywhere.  Furthermore, smartphone users specifically favor email for brand communications, making it a mobile-friendly approach.
  • Email marketing has become a small business marketing staple. A whopping 64.1% of small businesses leverage email promotions, making it one of the top marketing strategies preferred by brands. 

Now let’s talk about some brands that have managed to successfully tap into these benefits. And also look at the email marketing strategies they’ve adopted to reap these benefits. 

7 Brands With the Best Email Marketing Strategies to Learn From

Multiple elements contribute to the success of the email marketing strategies of the brands on our list. Years of consistent effort play a crucial role, as does the integration of these strategies with their overall marketing plans. After all, email marketing isn’t a standalone tactic; it’s a vital piece of the marketing puzzle.

However, in this section let’s delve into a few unique aspects that make these brands’ email marketing strategies stand out. By learning from their successes, you can implement valuable takeaways into your own strategy. Ready? Let’s dive in!

1. Duolingo 

The popular language learning app, Duolingo, is a master at using email marketing to woo new audiences and to retain existing ones. 

First, there are those catchy and funny (sometimes daunting) email subject lines they use! Did you know that about 64% of email recipients decide whether to open an email or trash it based on the subject line? Therefore, the personalized and comical subject lines used by Duolingo ranging from “🥺 It’s been 3 days…” to “🤔 How do you say “quitter” in Japanese?” evoke curiosity and enhance open rates! 

Secondly, they seamlessly extend their gamified approach into their emails. They don’t let you forget your language-learning goals! For this, they leverage follow-up emails featuring personalized progress reports. These reports showcase your completed lessons, earned points, and current streak status. This is a good reminder to include follow-up emails or retargeting emails in your email marketing strategies. 

Thirdly, they actively incorporate their owl mascot Duo in all of their email communication. This helps build familiarity. From delivering your reminders to pointing you toward the CTAs, celebrating your wins, and more, Duo appears in several places in their marketing emails. In fact, Duo helps add to the emotional quotient making their emails engaging. This shows the benefits that a strong mascot can bring to your email marketing strategies. 

Finally, a useful tip to take away from Duolingo’s email marketing strategies is to regularly incorporate animations in your email. Because getting customers to open your emails is one thing. Getting them to read what’s in the email and move to the next step is another! Simple animations like those used by Duolingo can keep the audience hooked! 

To learn more about Duolingo’s marketing strategies, check out our blog here

2. Grammarly 

Grammarly’s email marketing strategies are all about keeping it conversational and clear. Their emails seamlessly blend valuable information with engaging design elements, resulting in a personalized user experience that not only educates but also compels action. 

Similar to Duolingo, Grammarly regularly incorporates animations to keep the emails interactive. The strategic use of animation in their emails also helps add to the clarity of these emails. They keep these animations simple so as to maintain their sleek and modern visual identity. 

Another notable factor to take away from Grammarly’s email marketing strategies is the clear establishment of the hierarchy in their designs. Take their promotional emails for example, like the one below. They put their value proposition front and center. From big bold fonts to contrasting colors, they use a variety of design aspects to ensure that the spotlight is on the offered value. 

From cost savings associated with their premium plans to exclusive price discounts on annual subscriptions, their promotional emails consistently focus on the value grabs. This decision helps grab the reader’s attention and positions Grammarly as a solution worth investing in.

Finally, we would also like to talk about the clickable interactive elements they integrate into their emails. Quick action buttons like the one you see in the below image from a Grammarly email help boost the interactivity of emails. They ensure that your users do not get lost in the click-through process. The use of interactive elements like this one helps boost your email strategies by offering immediate action opportunities, keeping the user engaged, and driving conversions.

3. Spotify 

The popular music streaming service Spotify is a pro when it comes to email marketing. From clear layouts to lively color schemes, Spotify’s emails are spot-on when it comes to aesthetics. But that’s not all! Their emails go beyond promoting playlists and product features. There are several other nuances that make their email marketing strategies work. 

First, there is the clear and catchy copy they use in their newsletters and promotional emails. From creating a sense of urgency to evoking FOMO, their emails subtly plug in a gentle nudge and this is made prominent in the hero text. For example, the below email uses a concise and compelling copy to tell what the email is about. 

This clarity and sense of urgency encourage users to engage with the email and take action immediately.

The other detail you might observe with Spotify’s email marketing strategies is that, unlike many brands that focus on promotions, Spotify prioritizes personalized content. They leverage user data to curate playlists, recommend new artists, and highlight upcoming concerts based on the user’s listening habits. This tailored approach makes each email feel unique to the user and relevant too. Moreover, this approach helps foster a deeper connection with the user. 

The Spotify Wrapped campaign is a good example of Spotify’s personalization prowess. 

4. Skillshare 

The online learning platform Skillshare focuses on engagement when it comes to email marketing. Their emails are visually striking and informative. They focus on inspiring users to unlock their creative potential. So how do they manage to stay ahead of the curve with their email marketing strategies? Let’s find out. 

First, Skillshare strives to keep their users in the loop. They curate emails about trending courses and topics that a majority of users are discussing. This approach sparks curiosity and encourages users to explore in-demand skills they might be missing out on.

Secondly, they focus on visually immersive email designs. Gone are the days of text-heavy emails. In fact, data shows that incorporating images into your emails helps increase click-through rates by 42%. Skillshare pays attention this this fact and regularly includes relevant and engaging visuals in emails. They give a quick visual snapshot of what the class is about thus helping users make quick and informed decisions. 

KIMP Tip: When it comes to using visuals like images, GIFs and videos in emails, clean layouts, and high-quality graphics are a necessity. They help grab the user’s attention instantly and make the message crystal clear. 

Need help designing visually appealing marketing emails? Get KIMP

5. Starbucks 

The global coffee giant, Starbucks, isn’t just about coffee but also about compelling marketing emails. There are several things that set their email marketing strategies apart. 

Like the visually rich emails that add a touch of intrigue, like the one below.  Starbucks understands the power of a good tease. The crisp copy in their email piques the reader’s interest. Moreover, from the email subject lines to the copy in their email, they try to keep the text concise. 

The other thing you might notice is how they have unified messages in their emails for a more focused impact. They avoid bombarding users with a variety of promotions in a single email. Instead, they focus on a unified message, often highlighting a specific product or seasonal offering. 

This targeted approach allows them to delve deeper into the product’s features and benefits, creating a more compelling narrative that resonates with the audience.

And finally, Starbucks’ emails are visually appealing, featuring high-quality product images and relevant alluring color schemes. Their visual storytelling enhances the overall email experience and makes the product even more desirable.

6. National Geographic 

Just as National Geographic’s television programming transports viewers to diverse locations around the world, their emails achieve a similar effect through visually immersive designs.

In fact, visuals are at the crux of their email marketing strategies. From stunning wildlife photography to breathtaking landscapes, and captivating scientific imagery, they incorporate stunning visuals that communicate the message. Moreover, these visuals instantly transport the reader and create a powerful emotional connection to the content.

For instance, look at the below email for Halloween. The catchy image and the color scheme together evoke the right mood! 

Most importantly, these images work well because National Geographic defines clear themes for these emails. One email might delve into the mysteries of ancient history, featuring captivating visuals of archaeological discoveries. Another might focus on the wonders of the underwater world, showcasing vibrant marine life in its natural habitat. The email below focuses on pets and hence keeps the overall visual tone cheerful and fun. 

Evidently, this thematic approach allows them to deliver in-depth content that caters to diverse interests within their audience.

7. Airbnb 

The globally recognized hospitality company Airbnb has creative email marketing strategies that help the brand preserve a loyal customer base. 

Traditionally, most hospitality brand marketing emails rely on staged property listing images. However, with Airbnb, emails, they prioritize showcasing travel experiences. They achieve this through lifestyle graphics that evoke emotions and help users envision themselves enjoying their next adventure. 

As can be seen in the above example, Airbnb deploys a powerful combination of visuals and copy to effectively communicate the essence of travel and ignite a sense of wanderlust. 

Additionally, Airbnb emails are also known for their clean and clear layouts. As can be seen in the below example, visuals, text, and CTA are all well-organized. This creates a strong visual balance and comprehensible hierarchy making it easier for users to navigate through the content in these emails. These clearly defined layouts also result in mobile-optimized designs. 

Unleash Your Email Marketing Potential With Designs by KIMP 

In conclusion, mastering email marketing strategies requires a strategic approach that goes beyond generic promotions. Hence top brands like the ones on our list leverage personalization, captivating content, and user-friendly design to create email experiences that resonate with your audience and drive engagement.

Feeling inspired to implement these powerful ideas in your own email marketing strategies? But maybe the thought of creating those stunning visuals and ensuring a seamless design across devices is holding you back? That’s where KIMP comes in! 

For a flat monthly fee, you gain unlimited access to a team of talented graphic designers, unlimited designs, and unlimited revisions. Sign up for KIMP Graphics today and unlock a world of creative possibilities to elevate your email marketing strategies and captivate your audience!

Or register now for a free 7-day trial!