11 Best Email Campaigns of 2018(and what you can learn from them)

How do you start a new email campaign?

You might start by brainstorming some ideas for possible emails and then you might start writing the emails.

But there’s an even better way.

Why not take inspiration from the campaigns that are already doing well?

This will not only help you generate more ideas for possible email campaigns, but it will also help you to find out what’s doing well and what’s not. So let’s take a look at some of the best performing email campaigns.

1. Canva: Creating a great weekly newsletter

People are busy and lazy.

They don’t have time for your app, or they might have forgotten about your app after signing up for a free trial.

This is why you need to remind them, inspire them, and make them take action.

Canva, for instance, in their weekly newsletter use smart copywriting along with breathtaking graphics (of course) to add that “wow” factor.

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So let’s analyze this email, and let’s see why it works so well:

  1. Not making it look like a weekly newsletter: Although it is a weekly newsletter, they have been very smart about it. Instead of sending some article headlines, they added a hot tip for the user.
  2. Super simple to take action: A major win here. They have added those beautiful templates so a user can get started right away.
  3. Smart CTAs: They have used call-to-actions smartly. They are placed in the right positions (above the fold, and in the end) and the text is also one of the highlights of this email.

2. Buffer: Customer happiness

Here’s an email I received from Buffer on my birthday: (Not the day when I was born, but the day when I completed one year with Buffer)

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So what are the key things that you can learn from this campaign:

  • One thing that stands out is how warm this email feels. It feels like an email from a friend. There’s no button, no link, no survey, simple plain text like you get from your friends.
  • Most of the companies try to sell on every email campaign. This email is the opposite of that. Here, Buffer is being friendly trying to make a connection with their customers.
  • They are also celebrating the achievements of the customer. This is crucial when you want your customers to feel good about you.

3. Frontend Masters: Survey

You want to understand your user’s pain.

You want to know what’s keeping them up at night.

You want to understand their psychology behind signing up.

And you want to use all this information to segment your audience and create a personalized experience for your users. But that’s not possible without a survey.

Yeah it’s boring and nobody wants to fill a survey, but that’s where this email comes in.

This email is from Marc, founder of Frontend Masters.

What can you learn from this campaign?

  • Taking out the pain from the survey: This email has made it really simple to get the user’s input. Marc has asked one open-ended question: “How are you enjoying the service so far?”. I am sure this open-ended question will be getting lots of helpful replies.
  • Asking the right question: Lot of surveys don’t know what to ask, but this email does that with just one question.
  • One only one key action: In this email, the user is encouraged to take just one action and that is replying to the email.

4. TunnelBear: Sales email

I am a fan of TunnelBear (and their bear illustrations).

This email is also a great example to include here. First of all look at the email without graphic:

You’ll notice they have used descriptive alt attribute for their image. Adding alt attributes goes a long way in ensuring readability for users as well as for screen readers.

Now let’s take our attention back to the original email:

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This email teaches a lot of things:

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to have a long email when you can achieve the same goal with a simple graphic and a few words.
  • This email also uses a deadline to get people to take action.
  • Finally, they also added trust factor at the end of the email: “TunnelBear is the world’s only VPN to independently publish annual third-party security audits.”

5. Wistia: Content promotion

When you create an epic piece of content, you want to promote it.

You want your whole audience to see it.

But that won’t be possible if you don’t have proper plans for content promotion.

For instance, look at this email from Wistia:

They created a piece of content to answer a burning question of their audience. They made it epic by conducting their own research and spending almost $100,000 on it.

Finally, to get the traffic they crafted this wonderful email campaign.

The key takeaways from this email are:

  • Making efforts to promote your content: If you have an epic piece of content, you don’t want to miss on traffic. So make special efforts for content promotion.
  • Teasing the audience: Notice how they teased the audience with just a few lines. Sprinkle just the right amount of information to get the audience to take the desired action.
  • Using multimedia: Notice the use of video. The Wistia team not only created an epic broadcast email, but they also made some videos to go along with it.

6. Headspace: Welcome email

A welcome email is the most important email as it gets most open-rates. Because of this importance, it is also challenging to craft this email campaign.

What should you say?

Should you try to build a connection with the customer?

Or should you sell something in this campaign?

Here’s an idea, why not look at a welcome email which is doing well. This welcome email from Headspace does a lot of things correct: 

  • The email looks simple and minimalistic, going exactly with the nature of their app.
  • They have highlighted the aim in the title, “Just showing up is important”. Believe me, this is a huge encouragement for people like me who set big expectations.
  • They are guiding the user and even included a gif to help users get started.

Remember, way more people read your welcome email than a regular one. So you can be strategic with it.

7. Todoist: Price hike

Price change never goes well with users.

When you announce that change, you’ll see many upset faces (that’s just to put it mildly.)  

And if you mess this up (e.g., make any typo) people are going to react very harshly.

That’s why it’s crucial for you and your company to get your email ready weeks before announcing the change. For example, look at this email from Todoist:

So, what can you do to make a price hike email a success? Here are a few lessons to learn from this email:

  • Proofread, proofread, and proofread: Yes it is important to proofread your email but you should do it well before the D-Day.
  • Make efforts to take special care for your customers: Todoist used grandfathering for their current customers. They gave a special discount to their present customers. They also announced some new features to justify the price increase. Think about what you can offer to your present customers to make them happy.

8. Casper: Cart Abandonment

How many times does a visitor add an item to their cart and exits without purchasing it?

That’s called cart abandonment.

A possible customer has abandoned his cart. It’s not a good sign for your business if cart abandonment keeps happening.

Casper was also worried about this, but instead of sitting around they created a well-crafted email. Let’s take a look at it: 

Awesome, right?

This is one of the best cart abandonment emails I’ve seen in a while. Here are a few reasons:

  • The very first thing you’ll notice in this email is its subject line: “Did you forget something”. I forgot the pillow I put in the cart. Likewise, your customers are also busy. They don’t have time, so make an email that’s worth clicking.
  • Then comes the headline: “Come back to bed”. Another element that quickly gets your attention once you open the email.
  • Look at the testimonial (I’ll zoom in for you):

    I love this one. This is not just a review to add a trust factor but it is also funny. And making customer laugh is one of the fastest ways to gain instant trust and liking.

9. Epic Games: Customer Appreciation

Celebrating your customer’s happiness is awesome. (Just like Buffer)

But you know what else is awesome?

It’s giving a special discount and making that day epic for your customers, just like Epic Games. This email from Epic Games (apparently about a game known as Fortnite ;-)) is a good example to include here. 

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For celebrating the first birthday of Fortnite, they gave away a bunch of offers and also announced new features. For gamers (their audience), this email is great. Here’s why:

  • They announced a special discount for celebrating. What can you offer to your audience so that you can also make their day awesome?
  • If you’ve played Fortnite, then you know their design. This email’s design matches the game’s design. This totally makes sense because you want your audience to relate your design with your brand.
  • They also announced new features in the game. Similarly, you can also announce some new changes to celebrate.

You might feel like they are not offering much. But if you think from their customer’s point-of-view this email is huge.

And that’s exactly what you want your audience to feel as well.


10. Airbnb: Customer engagement

Once a user takes an action, what’s your next move?

You might send an email thanking him for the purchase.

This is where you are making a mistake. Because this was your time to show that you truly care about her.

You could have sent an email campaign for not just thanking her, but also to simplify her life.

Look at Airbnb:

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There’s a ton of goodness in this email, so I’ll just start right away:

  • They have planned your visit for you. How awesome is this? You (the customer of Airbnb) have nothing to worry about now, they have made a schedule for you to make your visit memorable.
  • This is smart. By making a schedule for you, they’ve moved you one step closer to their sales funnel. Your next step might be to book an “experience” with Airbnb.

Think about it:

With just one email, they’ve served the customer in a delightful manner as well as they’ve moved the customer to take next step.

Similarly, think about your sales funnel: What steps you can add so that you not only serve your customer, but you also make it stupid simple for her to take action.


11. Framebridge: Retention campaign

It sucks when your subscribers are not opening your emails.

So you keep sending email campaign one after another and hope that she might click. But you’re also prepared for that unsubscribe notification?

What else can you do?

Well if you ask that question to Framebridge, you’ll get the example of this superbly-worded email:

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This email is the best retention email I’ve seen. There are a few reasons behind that, let’s see these reasons one by one:

  • Look at the headline and subject line: “Is this the end?” and “Goodbyes are hard…”. These lines are tempting and heartbreaking. Because of this, it’s difficult to avoid this email.
  • They are doing what is unthinkable for most of the companies – they are unsubscribing you themselves.
  • The call-to-action is bold. It’s not something like “Re-subscribe”. It is bold, and it is urgent.

You might question this email.

And in a hindsight, they might delete many subscribers. But look at the brighter side:

By doing this, they will not only be able to clean up their list, but the bold language will also get many people back on their list.


Get started with these templates right away

Ready to use these email campaigns to get better results?

If not, then you should do it right away. These campaigns should have given you enough ideas to help you with your email game.

Remember, even one email campaign added can go a long way in ensuring that you have a wonderful 2019.