The 10 Best Email Messages of 2019
The team at Email Connect spends our days working with leading brands to help them through the ESP vendor selection process. But when the sun goes down (OK, sometimes even before that) we become consumers and email subscribers like everyone else.
Because of the business we are in, individually and collectively we subscribe to and receive more email than your typical consumer. So it takes a lot for an email to stand out in one of our inboxes.
Over the course of the year we save those that do and then review them all to make our selections. This is the seventh year we’ve created our “10 Best” List. Some brands have been here before; others are making their debut this year.
As we say every year, a brand can’t enter this contest. And there are no prizes other than bragging rights. The categories remain the same since we first started and reflect our thoughts on which types of emails are most strategic in nature and, when done right, have the biggest impact on a marketer’s business. So now, without further ado, we bring you 2019’s winners.
1. Best Abandoned Cart Email: The LED Heroes
2. Best Coupon Email: 1-800-PetMeds
3. Best Request for Feedback Email: Clutter
Subject line: "Thanks for using Clutter!"
I don’t know about you, but we often are irritated by a request for feedback email from a brand with whom we’ve recently done business. If we have an issue, we’ll let you know! However, the simplicity of Clutter’s layout, and the perception (false as it turns out) that it’s “one click and done” make it extremely likely that the recipient will respond.
After one clicks he or she is taken to the website in order to provide some context for the thumbs up or thumbs down response, but it's simple to close the page without doing anything. But even if one does that, Clutter is still able to tabulate the response to get an idea of how they are doing. It's a simple rule for email marketers to remember -- the more things you ask in a preference center, poll, or customer feedback form, the fewer responses you are going to get. Every time.
4. Best Deal of the Day Email: Lands’ End
Subject line: "SPLASH SALE: 50% off full-price swim, tonight only"
Perennial email marketing powerhouse Lands’ End shows up again this year winning the best Deal of the Day Category (or in this case, Deal of the Night).
We like pretty much everything about this email, from the splash (not flash) sale subject line, to the countdown timer, to the clean and easy to navigate design. The whole email sets a summer mood, which is what you need before making summer apparel purchases.
This email also demonstrates how a good subject line can stand out in a sea of “Flash Sales” while also telegraphing what is going to be on sale even before it’s opened. Lastly—and something we noted in a lot of this year’s winners—this email is nicely on brand for Lands’ End. The design and copy reinforce the branding of the company without getting in the way of the sale. Well done!
5. Best Welcome Email: Spartan Race
Subject line: "Welcome to Spartan, your journey starts now"
There are a lot of things offered by Spartan Race, so its welcome email has to communicate a lot of things at once—no easy task in an email marketing world typically obsessed with staying above the fold. Spartan Race is actually three companies in one:
- a booking company that puts on running events,
- a retailer that sells products targeted to healthy and active lifestyles, and
- a publisher with lots of healthy lifestyle content.
Introducing a new subscriber to all of these options requires email real estate. And Spartan does a great job of calling out these three distinct parts of its business in the email layout. Which is important, because Spartan needs to be able to continue to engage people who are not yet ready to sign up for a race.
We also liked the strong branding of the email. The email starts with a reminder that the new subscriber has joined a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to the active lifestyle advocated by Spartan’s founder Joe De Sena. It’s a great way to reinforce the brand itself. Never ever forgetting that first and foremost Spartan is about racing, the bottom of the email gives the new subscriber one more chance to check out the upcoming races.
6. Best Triggered Email: Fairfield Inn & Suites
7. Best Drive to Retail Email: J. Crew
Subject line: "It won't be the same without you"
J. Crew makes the Top 10 for the second year in a row, but in a different category this year. Giving email subscribers a good reason to get into one of your stores when pretty much everything can be bought online seems to be getting harder. J. Crew addresses this situation by creating exclusive in-store events and sending subscribers invitations to attend.
I say exclusive, because the subscriber is asked to RSVP to the invitation and is “limited” to bringing one guest. By segmenting the email content based on the subscribers’ geography, the email is populated with his or her local store’s address, and the exact date of the event at that location.
The email copy promises that J. Crew and “Amy from Later Ever After” will offer styling, shopping, and refreshments while giving you a look at new arrivals. If that’s not enough to have you RSVP “yes”, they dangle a 20% discount on purchases of $120 or more. Great concept, great design, and like Spartan’s email, a great job of reinforcing the J. Crew brand.
8. Best Newsletter: allrecipes
8. Best Re-activation Email: CarParts.com
Subject line: "A Special Message from Lev Peker, CEO or CarParts.com"
10. Best Timed Email: LG
Subject line: "Life's Good News -- Their biggest accomplishment, your biggest joy"
We loved this email and it was the runaway winner of this category for 2019. Launched in the inbox on June 12th, it centers around graduates -- because June and May feature a lot of graduations -- and Dads, because Feather's Day falls in June. It links those two groups around the theme of rewarding them both for all the hard work they do.
Around that theme the email introduces most of its product categories -- TVs for Dad, monitors for the grad, cell phone for all, and sound systems for the inevitable parties. Collectively the email reminds the subscriber of the range of LG products available to him or her, but it refrains from shoving a lot of product into the design.
From a branding perspective, it's yet another email on this year's list that does a great job. Easy choice for this category.
So there you have it, Email Connect's Top 10 Emails from 2019. One of the things that linked many of this year's winners was their ability to combine good email direct marketing with good branding. Those two things aren't mutually exclusive despite what you often find in your inbox.