5 Types of Emails Explained (With Tips & Examples)Julie Griffin
Product, event, promotion, oh my! There are many different types of emails that you can send for a variety of purposes. To help you craft the best email for your business goals, we’re sharing examples of 5 different types of emails and tips for each.
Keep reading for information on product, privacy, event, educational, and promotional emails.
Different Types of Emails
1. Product release email
When sending a new product or update email, refrain from including every detail about your product. We know you’re excited to tell your recipients about this awesome new offering, but over-describing can be overwhelming to the recipient.
Instead, pare it down to the most important takeaways for the recipient. Then, point them to a blog post or your website where you have more information about your product release or feature.
Check out this new feature email from Wistia, a video software company. It hooks your interest by promoting the new feature in the subject line, “A/B testing is here! 🎉 Ah, that new feature smell.”
From there, it quickly describes the new feature and leads to a call-to-action button for you to learn more. Nicely done, Wistia.
For more tips on shortening emails, take a look at our blog post, Email Length Best Practices.
Many people highly value their privacy and account information, and it can be offensive to make light of a bad situation. Avoid being cute or funny with this important message, and instead, get to the point, keep it dry, and crystal clear. It may not be enthralling, but it’s not supposed to be.
Also, notice in Indiegogo’s email how the updates are bulleted and bolded, so you can get an idea of what’s changing without needing to fully read the additional text. Follow Indiegogo’s lead and spell out the updates or problem with brevity and visual comprehensiveness.
3. Event email
For event emails in particular, keep your desired action in mind. Do you want your recipients to add the event date to their calendar, submit a form to RSVP, or go to your website to purchase tickets? Once you determine the action, you’ll be better able to structure your email. We usually see more information about the event in the first email of the series, and in subsequent emails there’s a bigger push to the website.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see RSVPs or ticket purchases right away. When people are dedicating their time to an event, they need reminding and plenty of it. Maybe someone clicks an event they’re interested in, checks their calendar to see if they’re available, and then gets sidetracked with another task. I know I’m guilty of this!
To get these recipients back on track try segmenting those that click to learn more or add their tickets to the cart and forget to check out.
Here’s a great example of a “Go buy your tickets!” reminder from the Grandoozy music festival. This colorful, funky email would look very different if it was for a networking event or career fair, but for a music festival, it works!
Reflect on the type of event and your audience when designing your email. Try to add some of the flavor of the event in your email by visualizing how you want your recipients to feel at your event. Let those feelings flow and influence your email design.
4. Educational email
Have you ever felt bombarded by the number of promotional offers in your inbox? Especially during the holiday season, the quantity of holiday deals can feel overwhelming. Give your recipients a break by providing educational information. It’s a great way to continue your relationship with your recipients without coming off too pushy.
Rather than pushing me to sign up or upgrade, this email from Bonusly, a platform for recognizing and rewarding employees, offers valuable information on employee habits and how to provide employee recognition.
This type of email works really well for Bonusly, but really any business can take advantage of this opportunity. A retailer, for example, could provide a what-to-wear guide for holidays, weddings, and company events. A home improvement business could talk about how to prepare your home for winter. And a communication platform can inform recipients with tips on how to engage their customers.
Still unsure about educational emails? Provide an article or guide in the email to help you track engagement and click to open rates (CTOR). Let the data be the deciding factor.
5. Promotional email
The promotional email is arguably the most common form of email marketing. This email offers you discounts or deals with the goal of persuading you to purchase their product or service.
Our data from last year’s holiday season showed that emails with percentage discounts (i.e. 20% off) in the subject line performed up to 6% worse than those without percentage discounts. We suspect this is due to the sheer number of emails in the inbox highlighting percentage-off discounts, making it difficult for these emails to catch recipients’ eyes.
Try testing other ways to phrase your promotion, such as “Buy one get one free”, “$20 off”, alongside more creative slogans, and see if that connects more with your recipients.
This email from Postmates, a food delivery service, hooked me in with the subject line: “FREE delivery to try the best of Denver!” The colorful gif of tacos caught my eye, and the simple copy with one call-to-action, led me exactly where I needed to go to get my taco fix. Huzzah!
With these emails, be careful that the deal promoted in the subject line matches the actual offer. It’s so disappointing to open a $20 off email to then realize you have to spend $100 before it can be applied. Be frank about your deal, and highlight that information in the subject line or preview text.
For more suggestions on promotional email content, check out Promotional Email Examples | How To Improve Your Subject Lines & More.
How to know which type of email to send
Use the above tips and examples to help guide your variety of email marketing sends. This blog post, of course, doesn’t discuss every possible email type, so when creating an email that’s out-of-the-box, or when you want a simple framework to make sure you’re hitting the right notes, ask yourself three basic questions:
- Why are you sending this email?
- Who are you sending this email to?
- What action do you want recipients to take?
These questions will inform how you’re going to create your content, the content’s tone, and the design and structure of your email. If you ever feel you’re getting off track in your email marketing, circle back to these questions.
Send the right email type every time
Marketers have one primary goal: to send the right email, at the right time, to the right person, on the right channel.
A big part of that is choosing the right email—and with so many different types of emails, that’s easier said than done.
To expand your email marketing knowledge and find even more great tips, read our 2019 A-Z Marketing Guide.