D’ya think email marketing is sexy?

“Do you think email marketing is sexy?” Most of the times when we pop this question at the beginning of a presentation we see startled faces, fall into an uncomfortable silence or even get plain laughter. We swiftly counter that by saying that it’s not a rhetorical question. That there really is an answer. That’s when the chuckling stops and eyebrows are raised. Well, the answer to this question is as simple as can be. Email marketing has an unsexy image, because frankly: we don’t make it sexy.

When we talk about best practices we focus on segmentation, conditional personalization, efficient use of data, well-structured emails,… and other effective techniques. No doubt they will boost your campaigns. But when we talk about ‘creativity’, we mean being creative with data, with design or with a clever email campaign approach.
In essence, you have to think outside the box and look at the broader picture. There are tons of tips and tricks to get your creativity going on the web. That’s a good starting point to get inspired. But to make it easy for you, we’ve put up our 5 favorite creative email marketing techniques. Bound to spark your brainwaves!


1. Get creative with data

Being creative with data is not just about first name personalization. It’s about making clever use of all data at hand. To give you an example: LinkedIn emails you the overview of your LinkedIn contacts every year. Basically you see icon pictures of all your LinkedIn contacts who got promoted, switched jobs,… and short text snippets like ‘Find out about Jane’s new job’ or ‘Do you know where Anne works now?’. Great use of a massive amount of data, translated perfectly in your inbox.
Just have a look at this:


2. Get creative with design

Think about how you would design your email without thinking about width, length, colors, background images, all images and that jazz. Take this concept and see if you can make it work. Take this email from BrooksBrothers, for instance. How do you fit 44 pieces of clothing in one email? Well, you just build a stack.
Brooks Brothers

3. Get creative with obstacles

When images are blocked by default, how can you be creative with that? Well a clever art insurance agency designed the email below. In the ‘images off’ version you don’t see anything but text. In the version with images you actually see your living room come to life. But where you’d expect your painting, it looks like the image is still blocked. Tagline: “What if your paintings at home were gone, just like the painting in this image…”. Clever, huh?
Living _room
4. Get creative with the unsubscribe link

We all have the bad habit of trying to hide the unsubscribe link. And if someone does click on it, they’ll probably see the most static page ever built. The people of Groupon saw this as an opportunity to re-engage people with their brand and created the video below. So simple, but highly effective.

5. Get creative without images

An image says more than a thousand words? Cliché, cliché, cliché! You still have text fonts, colors, background colors and font sizes to play around with. Why don’t you see if you can build an email with just those ‘basic’ elements. You’d be surprised about the sexiness of the result!
Conclusion: Focus on a creative concept for your next email campaign first, then see how you can make it work. The result will be sexier and more effective.


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