The Best Email Marketing Campaigns We’ve Seen

The best email marketing campaigns out there need to be celebrated.

Every other industry champions their best of the best.

With sports, you have your choice of the Olympics, the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl, the World Series or the NBA World Championship.


For those folks in Hollywood, it’s all about the Emmy’s or the Oscars. Or maybe People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

And if you’re into the more heady type stuff, take a look at the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize or Pulitzer Prize.

Yeah. But what about email marketing?

There’s nothing out there that comes with a golden statuette, but why not take a look at some of the best email campaigns and email marketing strategies to get you inspired?

Here you go. We rounded up this collection of 10 companies that may not be the best of the best (we didn’t have time to scour billions of emails) but they were good enough to catch our attention in 2016.

Check them out to see how your email campaign game stacks up in comparison.

» Free Bonus: Click here to get access to free blueprints to 10 proven marketing automation drip campaigns.

Creative One-liners!: The Valfre Shop

This online retail company is not afraid to have a bit of fun. With young edgy females as its core audience, The Valfre Shop came up with one of the best email marketing campaigns this year with this zinger of a subject line to advertise its new portable chargers:

Electro-Cute Yourself With New Arrivals!

Then they nailed it with the overall design. Simple and super cute.

the valfre shop best email marketing campaigns

They keep it up. Here’s another creative email from The Valfre Shop. This one for a cat-inspired top.

Subject line: Here Kitty Kitty

Email message: The All New Bruno Crop Top


valfre shop best email marketing campaigns example

Other times, The Valfre Shop simply gets to the point, which we can appreciate. Here are a few subject lines designed to entice subscribers to open and click their way to great deals:

  • Black Friday Sale – UP TO 80% OFF!
  • Sale on Sale on Sale
  • Extended: Extra 30% Off Sale!
» Recommended Reading: Email Countdown Timers: How to Create Urgency in the Inbox

Getting down to video business: Marie Forleo

Videos are considered one of the essential marketing and business trends going into 2017, according to a Forbes study.

More than 65% of business executives said they visited a vendor’s website after watching their video, while 80% said they are watching more videos online than they were just a year ago.

Video is obviously the new way to go. You ready to jump in?

Check out Marie Forleo, who has been including videos in her digital newsletters for years. And once you subscribe to Marie’s updates, there’s little chance you’ll ever be tempted to delete her from your inbox. She’s that inspiring and original.

This business guru keeps it fresh — from her friendly email messages to her snappy videos, she gets a nod for having one of the best email marketing campaigns out there.

Take a look at one of Marie’s videos, which are regularly featured in her digital newsletters:

And here are a few of Marie’s email subject lines to give you an idea of how she pulls you into her site:

  • This is how I used to hold myself back
  • Hey — It doesn’t have to be perfect
  • Rejecting complacency

Tip: Write and talk as if you’re communicating one-on-one with an individual … a close friend or acquaintance. Your content will come across more sincere and engaging.

» Recommended Reading: Video Email Marketing Best Practices, Ideas, and Statistics

And, if you’re in the B2B business, you could take some tips from Marie on providing helpful tips:

  • Personalize as much as possible, using the recipient’s name in your subject line and greeting.
  • Write in a personalized style about topics your audience cares about. It could be general tips on how to succeed.
  • Put your CEO in front of a camera to give a short and sweet message about what we all care about — succeeding in the business. You don’t have to be Marie or Richard Branson to send an inspiring message.

Proving a mix of new and traditional is good too: Birchbox, Lucky Brand

Birchbox built its business upon a novel idea — a monthly subscriber model for beauty samples. But when Thanksgiving came around, the company decided traditional is a good way to go.

It sent subscribers an email campaign with this simple subject line:

  • A note of gratitude from our CEO

We like this thank you email that straightforward approach because it stands out, and it also receives praise as one of the best email marketing campaigns.

Here is the letter Birchbox CEO Katia (who didn’t include her last name, which is a good way to keep it more personal).

Hi _______,

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving, and while it’s a week away, I wanted to personally reach out and send an early thank you. Thanks, appreciation, gratitude…none of those properly sum up how I feel about the love and excitement you show Birchbox. It is a privilege that you let us into your lives and have embraced our vision of creating an easy, delightful way to discover and shop for beauty. I also know that we have a responsibility to deliver on that month after month. That responsibility is something that drives all of us at Birchbox — to work harder, to use our brains and our hearts, to encourage each other, and to do everything we can so you feel our reciprocated love for you.

You are a group of people who believe in taking chances on new ideas and experiences; you give your feedback, and share your happiness and disappointments. We are in this together—and by this, I mean life. We are so thankful today, tomorrow, and every day to be a part of yours. It’s an honor. We hope with every Birchbox you feel our love, appreciation, and admiration.


Katia, Birchbox Co-Founder and CEO

Tip: During the next holiday — or your company’s anniversary —  send a simple and heartfelt message of thanks in appreciation for your clients. Make sure it comes from the top honcho. That makes it more impressive.

Birchbox also knows a couple of things about combining a clever idea with great design. Check out its email with this subject line:

  • The closest thing to a scratch-and-sniff email

birchbox best email marketing campaigns

Tip: Every once in awhile, come up with an idea that provides an element of surprise. It will be like opening a gift. Do it once a month or quarter, and you could boost your email open rates. Your subscribers will wonder what you’re putting in their inboxes next.

» Recommended Reading: Increase Email Marketing Engagement by Leveraging Your Data — Here’s How

Here’s another great example of a retail email that likely took some extra work but gets subscribers’ attention. Lucky Brand ran a 7-day campaign with an enticing retro yet new design for deals of the day.

Look at that sparkly and animated snow globe.


Pop-up invitation for great deals: Groupon, White House Black Market

These two retailers get high marks for doing what they should be doing: Tell website visitors upfront the benefit of signing up for your emails.

Just spell it out, as Groupon does with its pop-up email sign-up invitation. Give an immediate incentive to avoid the risk of a potential subscriber from ignoring your invitation.

groupon best email marketing campaigns

Same with White House | Black Market:

white house black market best email marketing campaigns

Tip: Make signing up for your emails easy peasy. And throw in a bonus for doing so. Remember, people are getting more choosy about what goes into their inboxes. The average person already is getting over 150 a day, according to The Radicati Group.

» Recommended Reading: Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update Impact on Email Newsletter Popups

Making ‘em feel part of the team: Under Armour and Nike

A welcome message is major. Really major. Someone just said yes to your proposal of spending more time together.

Here’s how Under Armour went about it, with a pop-up message that immediately welcomes new subscribers with this short message:

under armour best email marketing campaigns

Who wouldn’t want someone in their corner, trying to make them better?

Also, keep in mind your audience. Athletes will unlikely go for the cutesy stuff. Just let the message speak for itself.

And, now, here’s Nike’s turn. Again, this company is thinking about what matters most to its audience … they’ll hear about the latest Nike products first. It also invites the subscriber to go to the next level by becoming an official member.

nike signup best email marketing campaigns

Of course, you never want to drop the ball, so to speak. And Nike doesn’t.

Here’s the company’s welcome message email campaign that comes in the subscriber’s inbox. Notice the repeated CTA for membership.

nike welcome message best email marketing campaigns

Nike also chooses a few items for you to peruse … sort of an attempt to get to know you.

Click on one, and it’s likely you’ll enter their marketing automation system — getting more targeted emails based on your selected interests.

Lastly, you’re invited to watch a video. Who can resist?

» Recommended Reading: 9 don’ts of retail email marketing.

Tip: Go for a great balance between email copy and graphics. Keep the words to a minimum but still engage. When writing your welcome message, make sure you spell out the benefits of receiving your emails. And keep them in mind as you send out emails. Don’t go back on your commitment.

nike video best email marketing campaigns

Telling them what’s coming next: The Virgin Experience

Here is Virgin, again showing its expertise in communicating with the masses. In this introductory/welcome email, it tells new subscribers what they can expect in their inbox:

“… weird and wonderful updates from Richard, the best of the Virgin Podcast, latest videos and news …” And if they can’t get enough, subscribers are invited to seek out more on Virgin’s social media accounts.

Tip: Offer as many different channels that make sense for your industry and your company. Mix it up. People have different preferences for how they consume their information. Give it to them. Read more about multi-channel marketing here.

virgin best email marketing campaigns example

Use subject lines as CTAs: American Giant

American Giant, which specializes in streetwear made in America, mixes up its subject lines with great effect.

Some subject lines are basically CTAS:

  • Give American Made. Give American Giant
  • Upgrade Your Crew: The City Sweatshirt

Other American Giant subject lines build a bit of suspense about new products:

  • Back in Black. The Limited Edition Stealth Full Zip
  • Our New Obsession: The Pant
  • Finally: The American Giant Blanket

As a bonus, American Giant uses its email message to get straight to business. Products and prices are in full view.

american giant best email marketing campaigns

Tip: By all means, invest plenty of time with your CTAs. Have numerous ways for subscribers to click to areas of interest on your site. CTAs are majorly important.

Although the American Giant design is clean and simple, it has numerous ways for subscribers to further engage. Five areas to click through to the site … and that was only the half of it.

» Recommended Reading: What We Learned Testing Our Email Call to Action Buttons

Make your email marketing campaigns sing

email marketing campaigns that sing

Maybe it’s just the musician in us, but crafting a great email is like writing a catchy song.

There are a lot of components that go into each that determine whether it will be a success, whether it’s the intro, the “key”, or the choice of words.

Let’s have some fun with this and go over a few, while also revisiting some of our other relevant blog posts:

The Title/Subject Line

Every great song’s got a great title, and that’s the first thing the listener will see when choosing a song to play.

Same goes for your email’s subject line.

Catch their eye with their name or a promotion and convince them to open your email.

The Key/Design

The key of a song is a very important choice when writing – it determines which notes will be played and sung, the song’s range, and the song’s mood.

Choosing the right layout and color scheme is the next step in your quest of getting the customer hooked – the more aesthetically pleasing the design, the more intrigued the reader.

Side note: make sure your emails are designed for mobile as well!

The Chorus/Content

The meat and potatoes of your creation – this is where you get your point across.

Have a melodious, solid chorus and it’ll be stuck in their head for days.

Have content that is clear, concise, and grammatically correct, and your email is sure to stand out.

The Climax/Call-To-Action

Every song has that one moment that trumps the rest – think of your favorite song that you sing in the car or shower; you know what I’m talking about!

A song without its climax is boring and repetitive, same with an email with no specific call-to-action.

Make your calls-to-action bright and visible and your customers will be more likely to click.

Now, what about you?

2017 could be the year that you’re sending an award-winning email campaign that doesn’t necessarily include trophies.

Having one of the best email marketing campaigns could pay off with incredible ROI, like the 4,300 percent increase you read about in studies.

In that case, you may not be waving a golden statuette in your hand. But you might be feeling like a boss.


If you’re struggling to get the email marketing results you need to reach your goals, Delivra can help.

Out staff of email marketing account managers and graphic designers can help you craft captivating email marketing campaigns that drive revenue and engagement.


Join the email marketing community at an upcoming event near you.