Did you know that Monday was officially the first day of summer? In my opinion, nothing compares to mixing some fruity drinks, throwing some shades on, and heading outdoors to soak up some sun. But of course, this scenario is far from complete without some great music playing to complete the ambiance.

Either Pandora knows me like I think they do, or they’re appealing to the masses, but this email was the perfect cocktail to get me clicking through to their site. Let’s walk through their recipe:

#1. Strong Branding

This always seems like the “no brainer” highlight, but I always put it first because you would be surprised to see how often I find unbranded email in my inbox. It drives me nuts! If you’re taking the time to send an email, you better make sure you get credit for it by ensuring your logo is the star of the show.

#2. Vibrant Header Image

When I take a gander at this “hang loose” sign in front of a wave, it’s kind of like I’m the lucky recipient of a 5 second mini vacation. Who wouldn’t love to be on a beach somewhere, gazing out at that exceptionally turquoise water? Not only does the image fit the theme, it transports the recipient somewhere they’d like to be. I know I’d visit my inbox a little more often if I knew an image like this was waiting for me.

#3. Concise, Relevant Messaging

Catch a wave with our island stations so you can turn up the volume and the aloha.

This is actionable, fun messaging that is on theme and describes the next action Pandora would like me to take. With the structure and layout of this email, it frames the messaging so that the reader’s eye is drawn to consume the few lines of text. (My recent Q&A with one of our designers also touches on email templates and formatting.)

Pandora could have included a full paragraph of content describing how great their island stations are, how each one was different from the other, and why listening to them right now is the right choice, but that would have distracted from the ultimate CTA—to click on a playlist and start listening. In this case, less is more.

One thing to note is that you want to make sure you don’t go too overboard with an image only email. To help your deliverability, inbox providers like to see a balanced image to text ratio.

#4. Button/Images for CTAs

These tile images for each playlist are hyperlinked to act as buttons when the recipient clicks on them. You’ll need to test both buttons and hyperlinked text to see which spurs more engagement with your specific audience, but in this case the image tiles with the play button work as perfect buttons and get people clicking.

#5. Subtle Social Buttons

Every main call to action (CTA) that you write will not be a home run, and that’s okay. Sometimes messages just don’t resonate with audiences. Though it can be a tricky line to walk with having too many secondary CTAs, these social buttons are subtle and don’t compete with the email’s purpose. Maybe I’m not in a great place to listen to music right now, but I may remember that I wanted to follow Pandora on Twitter!

#6. Physical Address

Just a friendly reminder, you need to include your business’s physical address in the footer of your email in order to be CAN-SPAM compliant. The world of email regulation is constantly evolving, so it’s a great idea to stay on top of things by keeping an eye out for updates. (Check out our webcast to learn more about Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation!)

Between the strong branding, vibrant imagery, and convincing CTAs, Pandora’s email was a stand out pick to feature as an email marketing inspiration. It transformed my inbox into a Hawaiian paradise and easily convinced me to click through to start listening to some tropical, ukulele-filled tunes. Aloha! If you’re thirsty for additional email marketing inspiration, download Email Marketing 101 Tips for more on email marketing strategy, welcome emails, and content.



Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.