Learn From These 5 Beautiful & Interactive Email Template Designs

by 6 01/25/2012

The right email template can make or break a promotion.

And, while image-based e-commerce emails got 50% more clicks than their plain-text counterparts, it’s worth noting that less than half of all emails show properly across all types of devices – including mobile phones.  Today, there’s even more of a push to include rich media such as video in email.  With more and more smartphones, tablets and touchpads coming online – it’s quickly becoming crucial to make sure your template looks and functions well no matter how your audience is connecting.

With this in mind, here are five gorgeous email newsletter designs that not only give your eyes a visual feast, but also spur you into taking action by putting a unique twist on traditional email marketing.  Let’s take a closer look at each one, and what you can learn from them – as well as a couple which could greatly be improved.

Turn Readers into Active Participants

Mountain Dew Newsletter

Mountain Dew’s “Dewsletter” combines social promotion, sweepstakes and surveys to encourage viewer participation

The Mountain Dew “Dewsletter” invited its readers to participate in electing its next flavor via a “Dewmocracy”. Not only did a winner prevail, but you can also visit the Dewmocracy site to find a state-by-state breakdown, a county-wide breakdown and optionally see how your friends voted by Facebook.   The Dewsletter’s edgy design appeals to its core audience of young teens and 20-somethings while social campaigns on the website urged visitors to discuss and promote their pick via message boards, website buttons and grunge-themed social skins for Twitter.

Free Stuff that’s Meant to Be Shared

TGI Fridays Email Newsletter

T.G.I. Friday’s Email Newsletter includes social links, a call-to-action and limited time offer they encourage you to share

It’s common knowledge that giving away free stuff is a great way to appeal to subscribers, but most stores don’t want their printable coupons shared.  T.G.I. Friday’s turned that concept on its head by giving away a free appetizer to promote its “Appy Hour” campaign.  Not only could you print the coupon, you were also encouraged to forward it, tweet about it and share it on Facebook.  It’s coupon-style design, tasty appetizer photos and limited time offer helped spread the word quickly and got more feet in the door.

A Fresh Look at Using Calls-to-Action

Fresh Email Design

Vibrant and healthy – Fresh&Easy’s newsletter gives customers multiple places to click

The Fresh&Easy email below not only gives readers a sense of exclusivity (“You’re In!) and simplicity, but its vibrant colors also lend themselves well to its mission of promoting natural, additive-free foods.  It also includes a video that shows readers how to save money on healthier choices when they shop and includes weekly specials, a coupon and discussion area for favorite recipes and products.  What makes this email stand out is that it isn’t your typical text-laden newsletter.  Every area is a simple call-to-action that can easily be segmented and tracked.

Be Educational without being Overwhelming

Slidedeck Email Newsletter

SlideDeck helps users learn helpful ways to use its versatile display technology

Newsletters can be educational without boring you to death, as Slidedeck has done with its Survival Guide.  It lets new users explore ways to use its product by breaking up those suggestions into ten, mentally-digestible “chunks” for easier reading and to let the ideas settle.  What are some versatile ways that people could use your product or service?  Make a checklist or “top 10” steps that can easily be put into action.

Pique Curiosity with Video Ads

Gu Pudding

What happens when pudding meets dominoes meets kilts meets bubble wrap?

Gü (pronounced “Goo”) is a type of pudding sold in Europe and the U.K.  So what does pudding have to do with bubble wrap, dominoes and kilts?  The video advertised in their newsletter promises to reveal all.  That’s the kind of headline angle that would make anyone want to click, just for the sheer curiosity value of it!  Be sure that with a hook like this, you have the content to back it up!

Email Templates – What NOT To Do…

Now that you’ve seen some great examples of well-planned email templates, would you like to know what NOT to do?  Even well-known brands make email marketing blunders from time to time – like these:

Not So GOOD…

Good.IS email newsletter

All of this content is connected…somehow.

Good.is is a hybrid news/shopping/social sharing site.  Great idea, but cluttered, cumbersome email.  For example, unless you looked closely, you’d have no idea that the striped graphic on the left is actually a survey which ties in with the graphic on the right.  The right is made up of avatars of folks who have pledged to donate $52 a week to a different charity, every week for a year. Awesome concept – except you wouldn’t know that the 52×52 group of images is even part of the story below, about creative microphilanthropy.

The way the email newsletter is broken up makes each piece look like its own little self-sustained article.  It would also increase readability if they broke the actual article up into paragraphs with a headline and sub-headlines.

Thanks, but No Thanks

Converse email newsletter

Thanks for giving up your email. Now get lost.

While this Converse.com email isn’t your typical newsletter – the arrogance that permeates it is enough to you want to run – not walk – to the delete key.

Not only do they brush potential customers off with a “Thanks for That” headline, but they encourage you to head on over to the main website to go…do something.  The email never says what a Converse.com account entitles you to.  In fact, unless you went to the main site and scrolled all the way to the bottom, you’d have no idea that you could design a pair of shoes and save your designs, track your orders and create a wishlist.

Still need help? Sorry, Converse tells you not to even bother replying – it’s not that kind of note. In fact, it gives you every possible reason to go shop somewhere else.

What Can You Learn from these Designs?

Being able to create beautiful email templates is just the first step in getting your audience’s attention.  Now, you’ve got to add a layer of interactivity (as with videos or surveys), be able to track your clicks and test calls-to-action, as well as educate, inform and entertain – all in a very small amount of space.

But when you have your customers’ best interests at heart, and the marketing savvy and systems to back it up – not only can you do all of those things, but you’ll ensure that they’ll look forward to every message you send.

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About 

Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversion rates with custom design, copywriting and website reviews.  Get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up by visiting iElectrify.com.

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6 COMMENTS

Navigator Multimedia

I can see what the Converse email response was attempting to emulate: a dissonant, devil-may-care “cool” that the content team clearly feels reflects the general attitude of their customers. However, the booming “THANKS FOR THAT” opener and belittling tone of the text below actually detaches the Converse brand from their target audience. They’re left with an flattering interpretation of “cool” as childlike insolence.

One of several interesting examples here. Thanks!

Cheers,
Sarah Bauer
Navigator Multimedia
http://www.navigatormm.com

January 25, 2012 Reply

Navigator Multimedia

…and by “flattering”, I most certainly mean “unflattering”.

Cheers,
Sarah Bauer
Navigator Multimedia
http://www.navigatormm.com

January 25, 2012 Reply

Sherice Jacob

Sarah, I agree wholeheartedly! I realize I’m not in Converse’s target audience, but even if I were, I don’t think that kind of greeting and tone would make me want to shop there for long!

January 25, 2012 Reply

Dani Spinks

This is an excellent post, thank you. I have a number of new ideas, just when I was starting to think email was dying. I think compatibility across devices could be an issue, but I guess it comes down to knowing your customer and maybe segmenting into device groups for the most effectiveness. Thanks again.

March 4, 2012 Reply

Sherice Jacob

You’re very welcome, Dani! I agree that segmenting your list by user device (if you can) is a great way to learn who’s using what, and design accordingly.

March 5, 2012 Reply


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