As I’m sure you know, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were, once again, incredibly high-volume days for SendGrid in terms of email campaigns sent. We sent nearly 3 billion emails in just a 24 hour period.

While the online shopping holiday of the year has come and gone, we wanted to pull a handful of email marketing examples that we thought stood out from the rest. Below you’ll see some of our favorite email marketing examples, along with why we picked them. If you want to build your own marketing emails, our new email editor and email marketing templates will get you started in the right direction. Let’s jump into it!

GrubHub and Timing

This email came on Black Friday, but let’s be clear, the Black Friday push started well before the actual day, and the Cyber Monday messages ended a few days afterward. We’re seeing more and more companies announcing their upcoming sales, and then extending their discounts through the rest of the week after Cyber Monday.

This marketing email was nice to receive because it did a couple things for me. It reminded me that you can gift GrubHub to other people, which is great because I don’t think I was aware of that. It also gave me a heads up that this particular deal is ending soon, and that it could be used for the holiday season.

Herb Lester and Content

Herb Lester Associates is not a SendGrid customer, but they are a cool company based out of London that creates different travel books and maps. This email marketing strategy jumped out at me because they could have sent an basic email to their email list that just announced a new product, with a link back to their website, but they did a little more than that.

They included some extra content about why they made an air freshener, they linked to a blog post from the creators of the air freshener, and they link to their online shop where you can buy it. All too often, you receive Black Friday or Cyber Monday emails that are just huge images announcing some kind of discount, so it’s nice to receive something that has just a bit more information.

Another clever addition from Herb Lester is including a background image that plays off the map imagery.

Rapha and Minimalism

Rapha is one of very few email marketing campaigns that we came across that chose to forego images all together. Instead, they got right to the point. An all black email for Black Friday that tells their email list exactly what they want to know. You might think the pink call to action buttons are weird, but they’re actually Rapha’s signature pink, making the whole email very on-brand even though you don’t see any pictures of the products that are actually on sale.

Another unique addition to this email campaign is including an invite to a Black Friday ride at one of their local clubhouses. Personally, I like the idea of giving recipients a bit more than just a discount. It’s not something every company can do, but I think it works well in this situation.

Knockaround and Great Examples

Knockaround has gone in the opposite direction as Rapha with this email marketing example. The Black Friday offer that they’re giving to recipients is a free pair of sunglasses if they place an order. The email itself features some good examples of the different types of free sunglasses customers would be interested in and it shows how they can customize their sunglasses if they want.

The only thing that I think could be improved here is the number of links within the email marketing campaign. Currently, there’s so many different places for a recipient to click, it’s nearly overwhelming. By creating a single call to action, you might do a better job at driving recipients to engage.

Things to Consider for Your Next Email Marketing Campaign

Each of the examples above have different elements that are absolutely fantastic, and should be considered when you’re developing your next campaign:

  • Timing – For a consumer holiday like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, remember that the holiday isn’t the only time to send your email marketing campaign. Most of the companies I received emails from sent an announcement email, an email the day of, and a reminder email about their sales.
  • Leverage Engagement – If you send an email announcing a sale, and you see a segment of people engage with it, consider sending a follow-up email to those recipients if they didn’t complete a purchase. They’ve shown you that they’re interested, they could just need a little encouragement.
  • Create Better Content – As I’m sure you’re aware, sending a marketing email that’s just a sleek picture overlaid with the discount you’re providing is old news. Tell your recipients a story, or provide them with a little more information about the product you’d like them to buy.
  • Consider Leaving Out Images – Rather than spending your designer’s man-hours on creating yet another email header, maybe there’s an opportunity to pare down your message and get straight to the point.
  • Provide Great Examples – A lot of times, companies will leave out specific examples of the products that are on sale. Instead they’ll encourage you to visit the site and look for yourself. If your company sells a specific product or service though, include some examples of what customers can get on your site.  

Even though these emails were designed to drive engagement and revenue, not all email marketing campaigns need to be focused on ROI. For more email marketing examples, we recommend you check out Your Guide to Better Product Emails and 3 Ideas for Thank You Email Campaigns.



Warren Duff
Warren is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at SendGrid, specializing in email and content best practices, he develops many of the new guides you see SendGrid release as well as other pieces of content, including blogs, videos, case studies, and emails.