How to Use Promotional Emails to Boost Your Email Marketing Revenue

Promotional Emails cover image

If you have noticed ads on a website or social media, you likely are familiar with promotions. Promotional emails are a similar and more effective way to generate sales. Unlike ads, there’s no waiting around for people to see your promotions — you can directly reach their inboxes.

Whether you want to improve your brand recognition or reward loyal customers, email promotions are the way to go. The possibilities are endless — announce a product launch, send an email invite, provide access to gated content, or send coupons and discounts to increase conversions. 

When done right, email promotions can build a positive brand experience and increase revenue. That’s why we want to show you the best ways to build promotional emails, teach you where and how to use them, and share the best practices for sending effective promotions. 

What is a Promotional Email?

Promotional emails encourage people to take action; signing up, making a purchase, or redeeming a coupon code. Brands typically use these emails to promote their products, services, or special offers to their target audience.

Their key features include:

  • Content promotions: Email promotions usually include compelling product offers, email content, and CTA to attract and engage subscribers. 
  • Special offers and discounts: Many email promotions contain exclusive deals to maximize the chances of subscribers buying their products.
  • Subject line: Since promotions may contain hard-selling tactics, their subject lines are usually short and intriguing.
  • Clear CTA: Email promotions clearly define what the audience must do next. For example, sign up to receive $10 off after our first product launch.
  • Subscriber-special offers: You can also include special offers only for your subscribers to encourage repeat business.
  • Seasonal campaigns: Holidays and other important days can be ideal for sending special discounts and coupons to drive brand recognition and growth.

Email promotions can come in different forms, such as marketing newsletters, sales promotions, product announcements, flash sales, or customer retention emails, among others. However, we should always make a distinction between them and transactional emails.

Promotional Emails vs. Transactional Emails 

While promotional emails are a type of marketing email sent to prompt subscribers to purchase products or services, transactional emails contain critical user information such as account verification or password reset. Here are more differences that set apart these two email types:

FeaturePromotional EmailTransactional Email
Purpose Promote products, services, or offersConfirm and facilitate a transaction or brand interaction
Content Focus Highlights promotions and discountsConfirms a transaction, and provides details and receipts
Timing Scheduled for specific email marketing campaignsTriggered by user actions such as sign-up (welcome emails), purchase (shipping confirmation)
PersonalizationUses personalized elements based on user preferencesPersonalization is limited to transaction details
Visual appealEmphasizes colors, graphics, and font stylesUses clear and concise format to present information
Metrics trackedOpen rates, click-through rates, and conversion ratesDelivery rates, bounce rates, and engagement metrics
Promotional emails vs transactional emails

When marketers adjust their email frequency and responsiveness, they can reach more people than before. For that to happen, you must know the types of promotional emails and when to send them.

7 Types of Promotional Emails — with Examples

Studies predict the number of emails will reach a whopping 375 billion by 2025. With so much competition, you must use email promotions wisely — include compelling offers in the subject lines and state the product benefits along with coupons and deals. 

Use these types of email promotions to build a strong relationship with your audience:

  1. New Product Announcements

If you release a new product, it’s time to send a promotional email to your entire email list. This is also a good time to implement clearance sales before you introduce new products to subscribers. 

Here are common tips for successful product announcement emails:

  • Identify the unique selling point,
  • Prepare your team for the new product launch,
  • Consider a mission statement,
  • Prepare a compelling product offer email,
  • Note down a good time to send emails,
  • Break down the key features and benefits of your products.

Mainly, include high-resolution product images followed by how-to guides to inform users. Stytch uses a simple email header that immediately mentions the message. Additionally, it provides an overview and more sections to build curiosity and answer customer queries.  

Stytch new product launch promotional email
Stytch new product launch. Source
  1. Limited Time Offers

Flash sales or limited-time offers provide a quick incentive for your subscribers, increasing the chances of purchases. This is true, especially if your subscribers were already considering purchasing your products. These coupons and deals urge them to complete their purchase, and countdown timers help build curiosity and enthusiasm.

Campaign Refinery helps you build irresistible offers through the evergreen flash sale feature. To make it more interesting, you can integrate a third-party countdown timer and create scarcity. 

In the example below, P & Co uses bold lettering with complete information on the offer — no code or minimum spend required.

P&C Flash sale promotional email
P&C Flash sale. Source
  1. Contests 

If your sales cycle is slowing down, contests help you gain back the momentum. Whether it’s sharing brand information on social media, providing referrals, or purchasing, contests can do the trick for you. 

Airbnb uses dollars to grasp subscriber attention and provides the details right below, including the validity timeline. You can also use promo codes, gifts, or participation giveaways to increase the chances of sales. 

Airbnb Contest promotional email
Airbnb Contest. Source
  1. Rewards

Rewards help your customers connect better with your brand. When they feel valued, they are sure to stay long-term with your brand. You can send freebies, coupon codes, or discounts as rewards. Or take the unconventional route and use our gamification feature.

With the Gamification feature, you can reward your subscribers for opening and interacting with your emails. You can set the criteria for this method and decide the reward strategy, too. 

Rayban uses email copywriting techniques to incite excitement in customers. The phrase ”You deserve a gift” makes customers feel appreciated.

Ray Ban Birthday reward promotional email
Ray Ban Birthday reward. Source
  1. Customer Exclusive Deals

A discount just for your email list members is a great way to add more people to the list and keep the ones long-term. Since these emails rely on a psychological factor of exclusivity, you can use them to serve as an incentive for interested prospects to join your mailing list.

Headspace pairs a vivid layout with research-backed email content to inform and engage the users. Since emotions are a sensitive topic, Headspace keeps its language conversational and polite. 

Headspace Customer exclusive deals promotional email
Headspace Customer exclusive deals. Source
  1. Seasonal or Holiday Promotions

Holidays make special room for brand promotions and discounts. A few brands use tailor-made holiday email campaign templates to stand out from the crowd. Convincing your subscribers to make a purchase takes more than pretty images and colors — you need a solid product offer. Along with it, mention how the product will solve your customers’ problems and make their lives easier.

Look at how OrangeWood Guitars have done it — they have used product images and offers next to each other to emphasize the promotion.

Orangewood New holiday promotions
Orangewood New holiday promotions. Source
  1. Event announcement emails 

A few brands include company events and announcements as part of their email promotions. This is a great way to generate interest for the occasion, get more RSVPs, and update subscribers on the current happenings.

Elgato shows us that less is always more — with bold highlights and an exciting CTA, it urges the user to see more inside.

Elgato Save the Date
Elgato Save the Date. Source

So, you’ve set up your email promotions, but how do you send them? Are they manual or triggered? Let’s see the differences below.

Are Promotional Emails Triggered?

In common scenarios, you would schedule your promotions through automation software. But, in rare cases, promotional emails can be triggered by user actions.

For example, when your subscriber purchases a product, and your automation sends a post-purchase email with other product promotions, that’s a triggered promotional email. Bear in mind that not every promotional email follows trigger actions. It depends on your brand goals and customer preferences.

This takes us to the most important equation — in which campaigns should you use promotional emails? The answer is many, but it really depends on your brand needs and goals.

Promotional Email in Email Marketing Campaigns

You can include promotions as part of your email campaigns, provided they are not transactional. Let’s get to know which email campaign types can host your promotions:

Campaign TypePurposeExample Scenario
Product launch Introducing new products or servicesNew product releases, major updates, service launches
Flash sales Promoting urgency for time-limited offersLimited-time discounts, flash sales, one-day offers
Holiday and seasonal campaignsCapitalizing on specific holidays and important datesChristmas deals, Black Friday sales, and summer deals
Subscriber exclusive dealsAn initiative to retain subscribers or reward them for joining the mailing listExclusive discounts, early access to sales
Cross-sell and upsell campaignsPromoting related products or services to subscribersUpgrade offers, bundled product promotions
Event promotions Driving attendance for webinars, workshops, or eventsEarly bird discounts, invitations, exclusive access
Promotions for different email campaigns

Regardless of the campaign type, keep your email promotions short and engaging with compelling subject lines. To prepare you for the best, here’s a guideline for creating the best email promotion subject lines.

Subject Line Ideas For Email Promotions

35% of people open emails based on the subject lines. With the increase in spam filters and dedicated promotions tabs in inboxes, it’s more complex to reach subscribers. Worry not, we have put together the do’s and don’ts of promotional subject lines:

The Do’s:

  1. Stay simple and professional by including your recipient’s name and personalized elements in the subject line.
  2. Create urgency with exclusive offers and deals.
  3. Include product benefits or ask a question to increase subscribers’ curiosity.
  4. Use emojis to make subject lines more friendlier.
  5. Stay true to your brand character and identity.

The Don’ts: 

  1. Don’t use All Caps: All Caps can be considered unprofessional and rude in certain cases. Plus, it can trigger spam filters and lead to deliverability issues.
  2. Avoid excessive punctuation: Stick to one or two punctuation marks. Overdoing it can make your emails look spammy and hard to read.
  3. Don’t mislead subscribers: If you promise something in the subject line, make sure to deliver it inside your email. Deceiving subscribers can lead to a loss of trust and brand credibility.
  4. Keep off clickbait content: Compelling does not always mean clickbaity. Steer clear of lines like ”top secret magic for success”.
  5. Avoid vague subject lines: Generic and vague lines can confuse readers and push them away. For example, ”Hi [subscriber name], learn more about your prize inside.”
  6. Don’t make it long: Don’t overdo your subject lines — a good subject line is 7-10 words long. Anything more than that can be cut off while displaying on different devices.
  7. Don’t overdo discounts: Providing too many discounts can diminish your product value and your subscribers might get used to it. 
  8. Avoid formal language: While professional is okay, overly formal language can make your emails impersonal.

Words and Symbols to Avoid in Promotional Emails

Avoid these spam-trigger words and symbols in your subject lines:

Spam-trigger WordsSpam-trigger symbols
Act now!!!
Order now $$$
Free trial100%
Satisfaction guaranteed####
Free sample
Spam-triggers words and symbols

Now, you’re probably pondering over how to write effective promotional email subject lines. We have subject line examples to guide you in the right direction.

Type of Promotional Email CampaignExamples
Product Launch”Discover our latest innovation [product name]”
Flash Sale”Limited time offer ends tonight, hurry”
Holiday Promotions”Avail 25% off on this exclusive day”
Event Promotion”Join us for the live demo on [day and date]”
Loyalty Rewards“Thank you for being here, enjoy an additional 10% off on your next order”
Examples of subject lines for different email campaigns

But writing great subject lines doesn’t cut the chase; you also need effective content backed by data and stories.

How to Put Together Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are cost-effective compared to PPC and other ad formats. However, with it comes customer retention challenges. Since you will be targeting people who show interest in your brand, your emails must convince the readers to explore further. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you persuade readers to take action:

  1. Decide your promotional products: Write down the email outline and the reasons for promoting a product, offer, or service. For instance, you can send a promotional email for a customer’s birthday or a reactivation email to engage inactive subscribers. 
  2. Understand who you’re targeting: Each email promotion varies from the rest — you need to identify your customer segments to send personalized content for each target group.
  3. Discover the need: You may want to promote products to increase sales, improve audience participation, or bring back dormant subscribers. Outlining the objective will help you produce emails aligned with your overall brand goals.
  4. Focus on the benefits: Although your emails are promotional, mention product benefits. Tell your subscribers how your brand can help achieve results with little time or money. Of course, your benefits can and will vary for each product or service.
  5. Use individual sender names: Instead of sending from your brand name, use a teammate’s name to make your emails more personal. Make sure to add the teammate’s signature and social links if available.
  6. Use a preheader text: Including a preheader text improves the chances of your subscribers engaging with your emails. The preheader text acts as a second chance to influence readers into making the desired decision.
  7. Use clean spacing: Break up the email body into readable blocks of text. If you’re using images, ensure to make them responsive and quick-loading.
  8. Use a clear CTA: Use action-oriented language to guide readers to the desired destination. Additionally, make your CTA buttons legible.
  9. Create urgency: Without overdoing it, create a sense of urgency. For example, ”Hurry now, the offers are valid till tomorrow”. 
  10. Provide unsubscribe options: As much as you would like people to continue doing business with you, providing unsubscribe options is mandatory as per CAN-SPAM and GDPR. 
  11. Test and optimize: A/B test different email elements to understand content gaps and audience preferences. 
  12. Follow up and nurture relationships: After the promotional email campaign, send additional content and exclusive tips to continue helping your readers. You may also request feedback to improve your future campaigns.

More importantly, use the right email marketing software that aligns with your marketing goals and budget. When you don’t, it’s easy to slip into the cracks and the result is —  people deleting your email promotions without even opening them.

How to Prevent People From Deleting Your Email Promotions

With email clients like Gmail providing separate tabs for promotions, it’s easy for your emails to escape the Gmail primary inbox. This can affect your email metrics and sender reputation eventually. 

To avoid this, follow the to-do list:

  1. Don’t use email blasts: Sending the same email to numerous recipients can trigger spam filters. Instead, send an email sequence to the targeted audience list for higher engagement metrics.
  2. Warm up your email account: Start slow and gradually build trust with ESPs. You can also start by manually delivering emails and slowly increasing the outgoing emails.
  3. Improve your sender reputation: Your sender reputation shows ISPs that your emails are safe to be delivered to the recipient’s inboxes. Cultivate practices such as email list verification and authentication protocols to enhance your sender reputation.
  4. Avoid too many links: Even though your promotions might demand links, avoid adding too many to your emails. A good practice is to use 2-3 links, but you can go up to 5 links based on your email structure.
  5. Focus on the formatting: Email clients usually run through your email content and formatting to check if they meet the requirements. When they don’t, your emails are sent to the other tabs instead of the primary inbox.
  6. Request recipients: The easiest way is to ask your recipients to move back your emails to the primary inbox. When your recipients save your contact, your emails will reach their inboxes.
  7. Time your emails well: Send promotions in intervals and at the right time. Too many emails can frustrate your readers and lead them to delete your emails.

Reaching your subscribers’ primary tab is crucial for higher visibility, open rates, and engagement. To achieve that, you need to follow good sending practices. You can either undergo these steps manually or use Campaign Refinery to send all your promotional emails.

How Campaign Refinery Helps You Maintain a High Sender Reputation and Deliverability?

Our software allows you to:

  • Verify recipient email addresses, allowing you to maintain a positive sender reputation
  • Automatically generate HTML and plain text versions for high deliverability rates.
  • Promote interaction through gamification rewards feature for near-guaranteed inbox placement.
  • Automatically include a true 1-click unsubscribe button in the footer for reduced spam complaints. (We honor the unsubscribe process, which helps us maintain a positive sender reputation for our clients).
  • Use a simpler process to save your audience segments based on tags and engagement.
  • Automatically remove inactive and harmful email addresses with our automatic email list cleaning feature.
  • Default-enabled tracking to help you understand your open and click-through rates.
  • Automatically removes hard bounces in the first failure and soft bounces in 5 failures.

Campaign Refinery promotes the highest security and safety standards to maintain your deliverability and sender reputation score. This happens through a series of steps, the most important being preserving list hygiene. Our software is built in a way that catches malpractices and removes unwanted email addresses for a healthier email list. 

As we briefed you on the technical aspects, it’s time to move to the creative parts of email promotions.

How to Write Email Promotions That People Will Read — with Subject Line Examples

Writing an effective promotion is a balance between strategic elements and a compelling subject line and body copy. Sometimes even with no offers or discounts, you can capture your subscribers’ attention through brand storytelling tactics. 

Let’s show you how to write compelling subject lines and body copy to attract your audience:

  1. Start with a captivating subject line

Example: “Unlock 20% Savings, Exclusive Offer Inside”

  1. Personalize the greeting

Example: ”Hello [subsriber name]”

  1. Grab attention with the email opening line:

Example: ” We’ve got something special just for you.”

  1. Highlight the value proposition

Example: “Discover our Fall Collection and Enjoy Free Shipping Inside.”

  1. Create scannable content with subheadings
  2. Use persuasive body copy

Example: “Indulge in our premium bottomwear because you deserve the best.”

  1. Use high-quality visuals and interactive elements
  2. Implement a clear CTA

Example: “Shop now for exclusive savings.”

  1. Create urgency and scarcity

Example: “Limited Stock, Gran Your Favorites Before Midnight.”

  1. Add proof or testimonials

Example: “Our Customers Love These Products, See For Yourself.”

  1. Tell a story

Example: “Our journey started in a simple 10*10 room with a vision to grow into the best SaaS company in the market.”

  1. Include a footer with contact information 
  2. Follow up with a Thank You email 

Example: “Thank you for being a valued customer, here’s 10% off as our gift to you.”

  1. Include an unsubscribe link in a prominent place.

Promotional emails are more effective when you send them at the right time; when your audience is the most active. Let’s see the best times to send these emails.

The Best Time to Send Your Email Promotions

Promotions gain better engagement during the weekdays; preferably mid-week between 9 am – 3 pm. You may be tempted to schedule your emails during the weekends, but Mondays see the least open and click-through rates. 

It’s because people are starting the week and are likely catching up with the messages over the weekend. Evenings around 6 pm – 8 pm is also a good time since people are unwinding and have more time on their hands. 

Most newsletters hit recipients’ inboxes around 10 am, which means many readers let it sink under a pile of other emails. The same is possible with many of your subscribers too. So, the best way is to study your recipients’ behavior and send your promotions when they are the most receptive. This way, you can cut through the competition and build genuine customer relationships.

Key Takeaways of Promotional Emails

Email promotions can be your greatest customer retention and profit-driving factor. 

Here’s the summary of the key takeaways you need to remember when you’re writing promotions:

  1. Use a segmentation strategy to send the most relevant and compelling product offers to your readers.
  2. Include the value proposition in the subject lines and talk to your readers like you would to a friend. 
  3. Enhance your emails with GIFs, images, and other visual elements to create an interesting contrast.
  4. Keep it brief, always — lengthy emails are boring and time-consuming. But, you’re free to use a medium-length copy for product benefits and usage tips.
  5. Include attractive CTAs and place them in prominent places in your emails.
  6. Promote urgency and scarcity to encourage subscribers to complete their purchase.
  7. Use personalization to enhance your emails and increase open rates.
  8. Build trust with interesting customer reviews and testimonials (they are your superpower).
  9. Optimize your email promotions and tailor them according to different email clients.
  10. Use a reputable ESP to achieve a high inbox placement (we’ll show you how!).

Of course, we’re talking about Campaign Refinery! Let’s show you how we can uplevel your email marketing game.

Want The Highest Deliverability For Your Promotional Emails?

Effective brand promotions are a mixture of good sending practices, elegant email designs, powerful copywriting, and automation. These elements must work together to produce emails that your subscribers will open and read.

Campaign Refinery understands this, and has made it easier for you —- to use our campaign library filled with pre-made templates to customize emails for every audience type. When you are busy focusing on the creative aspects, we look out for your sender reputation and provide the highest deliverability on the market today.

Our consistent email security practices have enabled clients to achieve higher deliverability rates of up to 600% more. This was possible for them after they signed up with us and let us handle their email marketing.

If you would like similar results for your promotional email campaigns, we welcome you to apply and become our client now!

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