Mastering Promotional Emails: Best Practices, Examples, and Templates

Do you want to write promotional emails that will convert more subscribers into customers?

Promotional emails are powerful marketing tools for eCommerce businesses. They let you communicate your offerings, increase sales, and build customer relationships.

In this blog, we’ll explore the world of promotional emails and delve into best practices for creating impactful campaigns.

Furthermore, we’ll provide real-life promotional email examples and templates to inspire your own marketing efforts.

What Is a Promotional Email?

A promotional email is any email marketing campaign that promotes a product, service, event, or special offer. Promo emails encourage recipients to take a desired action, such as making a purchase.

Promotional email from Marriott Bonvoy. It features a photo of people on the beach, a message about getting 30% off, and a CTA button that says "Plan Your Getaway."

The best promotional emails use persuasive content, eye-catching visual design, and strategic calls to action (CTAs) to engage their audience, boost brand awareness, and drive conversions.

Why Are Promotional Emails Important?

There are many reasons why you should send promotional emails. Here are the top 3 benefits:

1. Promotional Emails Build Trust & Engage Customers

Email promotions build trust with your customers by providing them with real value. That value can be a coupon, free information, or a limited-time offer. When you send helpful and valuable emails, you’ll convert more of your subscribers into loyal customers, who are excited to purchase from you again and again.

Promotional emails also build engagement by giving people an incentive to engage with your content. In fact, promotional emails that contain both content and incentives (like lead magnets) can increase your click-through rates (CTR), conversions, and customer loyalty.

2. Email Promotions Save Money

Promo emails are cost-effective because they target an existing audience that has chosen to learn more about your company. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be quite expensive, as you’re paying a premium to reach interested users.

To send promotional emails, you need only 2 types of software:

These types of services generally have reasonable fees. This lower cost means that even small businesses, nonprofits, and startups can afford to send promotional emails.

3. Email Offers Boost Your ROI

Since promotional emails are targeted toward audiences that have already shown interest in your business or products, promotional emails have the highest return on investment (ROI) of all promotional tools.

This is because promotional emails provide real value to the recipient, giving them a greater sense of trust and appreciation for your business.

How to Write Promotional Emails: 6 Essential Strategies

There are many different types of promotional emails, and they can have a wide variety of goals. Popular uses include:

  • Emails that promote a flash sale
  • Product launch emails
  • Special holiday emails for Christmas or other special occasions
  • Emails that promote a webinar or demo
  • Birthday emails with coupon codes or special deals
  • Email offers for a free ebook or PDF guide

These are just a few examples of promotional email uses. With so many possibilities, there isn’t a single right way to write an email promotion.

However, the best promotional emails share some essential qualities. And you can turn these qualities into strategies for your own email marketing.

To send successful promotional email campaigns, your strategies should include:

Let’s take a look at the first objective of a good promotional email.

1. Have a Goal for Your Email Promotion

The first step to sending any promotional email is knowing your goal. Having a specific goal lets you:

  • Tailor your email to that goal
  • Measure the results of your email campaign
  • Adjust your goals and approaches for future email promotions

Common goals include:

  • Selling a specific product
  • Encouraging subscribers to shop during your sale
  • Selling tickets to your event
  • Getting donations for your nonprofit
  • Promoting giveaways or contests
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Getting more followers on social media

Whenever possible, your emails should have a strong primary CTA that helps you reach your goal.

Promotional email that says "This Halloween . . . be prepared. Shop early and save. Just use code TRICK and get 30% off orders from select stores. Hurry, this deal vanishes on 10/23." The CTA button says "Shop now"

The sale email example above is from the delivery service DoorDash. This email has 1 goal: to encourage subscribers to place DoorDash orders from select Halloween and party stores.

This email is tailored for this singular goal. It explains the sale offer simply and includes a CTA button. It also includes a deadline to create a sense of urgency.

Not every promotional email can have 1 primary CTA, but it should still have a goal.

Promotional email with the header "Coming Soon to the Orpheum & Halloran Centre". Below is a chronological list of events. Each event has an image, description, and a button to purchase tickets.

This event promo email comes from the Orpheum Theatre. Below the “Coming Soon” header, the email has a chronological list of upcoming events. Each event has its own CTA button to purchase tickets.

Although there are multiple CTAs, the email still has 1 goal: informing subscribers of upcoming events they can attend. The email concludes with a CTA button to see the full events calendar on the theatre’s website.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few of the benefits of setting goals for your email promotional messages:

  • You can include a clear CTA for your subscribers.
  • Subscribers will understand exactly what your email is offering.
  • You can track CTRs and conversion rates to measure whether your email succeeded in your goal.
  • Your overall marketing campaign will become more strategic and data-driven.

2. Establish Positive Relationships With Email Subscribers

Congratulations! You just got a new email subscriber. Now it’s time to establish a relationship with them.

And what is every great relationship built on? Trust. Trust should be 1 of your main goals when crafting your promotional emails.

Here at OptinMonster, we work hard to establish positive relationships with subscribers right from the very beginning:

Welcome email from OptinMonster. It starts "Subscribing to our newseltter was a very SMART decision. Let me tell you how your business is going to change in the next couple of days and weeks."

When you first sign up for OptinMonster’s newsletter, you receive a welcome email from “Angie at OptinMonster,” our product manager.

The tone of the email copy further supports a personal feeling by being cordial yet professional. The email feels like it’s coming from a knowledgeable friend who is interested in helping you.

Later in the promo message, Angie points out that OptinMonster’s promotional newsletter is free, even though it provides information many businesses pay for. This adds unexpected value to the customer journey.

This welcome email example introduces the brand and establishes a strong groundwork for a relationship with the reader. With trust established, subscribers are more likely to pay attention to your sales pitches down the road.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few ways you can write a stellar email similar to OptinMonster’s:

  • For a personal touch, use your name.
  • Thank your reader for their time.
  • Set expectations and stick to them.
  • Make promises and follow up.
  • Offer value to your new customers early and often. Show them the benefits they can expect from this new relationship

Get Started With OptinMonster Today!

BONUS: Done-For-You Campaign Setup ($297 value) Our conversion experts will design 1 free campaign for you to get maximum results – absolutely FREE! Click here to get started →

3. Offer Something of Value in Each Email

When someone signs up for your email newsletter, they have offered you precious real estate in their inbox. You have to continue to earn that real estate by offering value with your email promotions.

Valuable offers help your email campaigns:

  • Catch and hold users’ attention
  • Endear them to your brand
  • Encourage them to purchase your product or visit your website

Thankfully, value is easy to add because you’ve already created a product, a service, or content. Simply offer discounts on your merchandise or services, or promote some of your best blog posts.

Here’s a promotional email example by Walgreens that does this really well:

Promo email from Walgreen's that says "Today Only - Friday, Mar. 31. Friends & Family 20% off eligible regular-price items with card and coupon"

Offering your audience a valuable discount can convert unsure readers into faithful customers. In the example above, Walgreens speaks to the bargain hunter in each of us by offering a 20% coupon.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few ways to make your promo emails more valuable for your readers:

  • Don’t simply try to sell. Instead, share free content you’ve produced.
  • Explain how your content will benefit your reader by solving a need.
  • Offer your reader valuable coupons or discounts.

4. Use Subject Lines that Capture the Audience’s Attention

You can create a well-written and beautiful promo email, but it won’t matter if subscribers don’t open it.

That’s why email subject lines are so important.

You have a limited number of characters to catch your reader’s attention, so make them count!

While your audience has already shown interest by subscribing to your list, you can’t become complacent. With each new email you send, you need to recapture their attention and entice them to stay engaged with you.

You should title your emails to address a specific need of your audience or entice them with a special offer inside.

Screenshot of a mobile email inbox. It shows a promotional email from Jimmy John's with the subject line "You look like you need a treat" and an email from Land's End with the subject line "Mystery sale, today only!"

The screenshot above shows a mobile email inbox. It includes 2 promotional emails that use different tactics in their subject lines:

  • Jimmy John’s subject line presents a problem that the company can solve: your need for a sweet treat. The cookie emoji lets users know that the offer inside will involve a cookie from the restaurant. This subject line example shows the perfect use of a highly relevant emoji that will catch users’ attention. And make them hungry!
  • Land’s End‘s subject line focuses primarily on creating a sense of urgency by including “today only.” It also leverages the fear of missing out (FOMO) by calling the promotion a “mystery sale” that subscribers can only learn about by opening the email.

These email subject lines give just enough information to pique the audience’s interest without giving away the whole story. If users want to get the cookie offer or find out about the mystery sale, they have to open the email. These subject lines also inform subscribers that they’ll find something valuable when they open the email.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few subject line tips to increase your chances of readers opening your emails:

  • Present a problem the email seeks to solve.
  • Make the subject short and impactful.
  • Lead with the value you’re offering your reader.
  • Use urgent language.
  • Avoid fluff.

Get more ideas with our list of best email subject lines.

5. Know Your Audience and What They Expect from Your Brand

Depending on what you’re promoting, your audience will expect different things from your emails. Your subscribers joined your list for a reason, so you should work to meet their expectations.

When crafting your promotional sales emails, consider the image you want to present. That is, what do you want your audience to feel and think when they see an email from your brand?

Take this sales email example from the pizza chain Papa Murphy’s:

papa murpheys pizza promotional email

The audience for this email is likely people who like quality pizza that’s not too expensive. The promotional email is perfectly suited for this audience.

It has a large, quality image of 1 of their signature pizzas. The second largest element here is the price, $12.

And there’s a very simple and bold CTA button to place an order.

This promotional email example is uncluttered, focuses on a specific sale, and speaks directly to the target audience.

Key Takeaways

Here are some take-home points that can help you create an email that meshes well with your audience:

  • Have a strong concept of the image you want to present for your company.
  • Know that just because something works for 1 company doesn’t mean it will work for yours.
  • Guide your promotional email decisions by the established expectations for your brand.
  • Be consistent so you don’t alienate your audience

6. Send Emails That Are Easy to Read

Many readers skim emails looking for interesting and relevant information.

If your email is difficult to read, disorganized, or doesn’t compel them to read further, then it’s dead on arrival.

The following email from IKEA is easy to skim:

ikea promotional email

It uses clear images, different colored text, and bold titles to break up sections. Notice that the text and images alternate from left to right. This zig-zag style creates visual interest and encourages the reader to continue scanning the email.

The main messages the company wants to get across are front and center: the purpose of the promotion, the sale they’re advertising, and the prices they believe their customers want to see.

Additional information is in smaller print for customers who want more details.

The email piques the reader’s interest while still leaving much to be explored on the company’s website. Call-to-action buttons instruct the reader to click through for more information.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few ways that you can learn from IKEA and make your own emails more compelling:

  • Make emails easy to skim.
  • Emphasize the most important points so they stand out from the rest of the email.
  • Break emails up with pictures, specific sections, and paragraph breaks to keep the email clean and simple.
  • Tempt your viewer to click through by keeping some information on your site and not in the email.
  • Make your call-to-action links and buttons clear and easy to find.

Now that we’ve seen some common qualities for promotional emails, let’s turn our attention to 9 promotional email examples you can use for inspiration today!

Promotional Email Examples (That Any Business Can Learn From)

The following promotional email examples were taken from some of the biggest names on the web.

However, the strategies they use are available to any business, no matter how small. You don’t need a huge marketing team or budget to apply the same concepts to your own marketing.

Click on any of the example images to see a scrolling GIF of the full promotional email.

Let’s dive into our list:

1. Text Promotional Email from OptinMonster

optinmonster promotional email example

At OptinMonster, we send different types of email campaigns. But often, we’ll use plain text promotional emails rather than HTML-based emails with images.

Text emails can boost deliverability, meaning your emails are less likely to end up in spam folders. Also, one A/B testing study compared how many conversions came from HTML vs. text emails. The test showed that 63% of converting existing customers and 49% of converting non-customers clicked from the text-based campaign.

What can you learn from these numbers? That you can succeed with text-only emails and that it’s a good idea to experiment with them.

For OptinMonster, these emails let us connect with our audience through storytelling. Plus, we can embed CTA links throughout the message to improve our click-through rates.

Bonus tip: You can send successful promo campaigns even if you don’t have a designer on your team! If you enjoy writing but aren’t great with graphics and layout, try using plain text for your sales emails.

2. A Focused and Attractive Email From Bose

bose promotional email example

The audio brand Bose has a great promotional email with lots of appealing visuals. It features various products with multiple CTA buttons throughout.

Notice that the email is easy to read and features plenty of negative space. The background is color-blocked, alternating between black and white. This visual style improves scannability and makes the photos pop.

Bonus tip: Send promotional emails with a specific focus or theme. Bose’s email is designed to appeal to athletes and people who listen to music while working out. All of the photos depict athletes, and the CTAs are for Bluetooth speakers and earbuds. The email’s heading, “Bose sound keeps you moving,” tells athletic readers exactly how they’ll benefit from using Bose products.

3. A Single-Goal Email From Netflix

netflix promotional email example

Netflix has a simple but effective email campaign.

Netflix sends emails asking for ratings for their most popular shows. You may even receive an email for a show you haven’t watched yet. When you rate the show, you’re taken to your Netflix account, where you can continue watching or start the series.

This is a great way to expose people to popular shows on the streaming platform. Plus, Netflix gets valuable data on your likes and dislikes, helping them improve the user experience.

Bonus tip: Offer a strong, simple, and obvious CTA.  In this email, Netflix only asks 1 thing: whether you liked a specific show. Users won’t get distracted or bogged down in other information. They just click the thumbs up or thumbs down.

4. An Informative Email From Formidable Forms

formidable forms promo email example

Formidable Forms has a very informative promotional email.

They provide multiple links to various pages on their site, giving users a lot of ways to interact with the brand. The email is mostly text-based, but they use emojis to spice up the promotional message. The email includes a lot of information, but it’s broken up with headings, white space, and divider lines for scannability.

Bonus tip: Try this format if you have a lot of updates and features to showcase. For instance, Software as a Service (SaaS) companies can use this combination of headings, paragraphs, CTAs, and emojis to keep users updated without overwhelming them.

5. A Strong Incentive From PayPal

paypal promo email example

PayPal leads their promotional email with a strong incentive: get $30 off a future purchase when you’re approved for a PayPal credit card.

It’s a straightforward email that’s well-designed and easy to read. The incentive and the “Apply Now” CTA are prominent at the top of the email. As the user scrolls, they learn more of the benefits of having a PayPal credit card. Then, the incentive and CTA are repeated at the bottom of the email.

Bonus tip: When you need to provide more details about your offer, repeat your CTA at the end of your email. This way, your action button is immediately available after the reader has learned more about your offer.

6. A Heavily-Branded Email From Amazon

amazon promotional email

Amazon gives us another promotional email example that leads with an incentive: you can save $5 by using a pickup location, rather than having your packages delivered.

While there are prettier email templates out there, Amazon has done an incredible job of consistently branding these emails. You can usually tell the message is from Amazon before ever reading the company name.

Bonus tip: If your company has a recognizable logo, take advantage of it! And if it’s not recognizable just yet, your email designs can help your subscribers become more familiar with it.

7. Promotional Newsletter Example From Medium

medium daily digest promotional email

Medium Daily Digest is a promotional newsletter for the blogging site Medium. Each email provides subscribers with links to multiple blog posts, based on their interests.

This is a great promotional email example because the content is personalized to the user. Each reader chooses categories of interest when they subscribe. Because of this relevant content, these emails will have higher open rates and click-through rates.

Bonus tip: As you become more advanced in your promotional email marketing, try out list segmentation and email automation. Both of these tools will help you provide your subscribers with more relevant content and offers.

8. A Seasonal Email From Best Buy

best buy promo email

Electronics retailer Best Buy has a stylish and professional promotional email campaign that’s perfect for summer.

It shows products that go well with the season, such as a stand-up paddleboard. The background’s blue sky and streaming sunlight add to the email’s summer vibes.

Their CTA buttons also stand out with a bright yellow color, making them incredibly easy to find and click.

Bonus tip: Take advantage of the excitement of changing seasons. Whether it’s for summer, fall, or the holiday season, get your emails out early. During seasonal transitions, consumers are ready for change and are looking to buy products to prepare for shifting weather.

9. Bold Letters and Message From Constant Contact

constant contact promotional email

Constant Contact has a great promotional email with big, bold letters to grab your attention.

As you scroll down, there are various links and CTAs that the target audience would find valuable. Then, there’s a section specifically designed to provide users with a link to call for support.

This is an excellent strategy for connecting with your audience and getting more people to engage with your support and sales team

Bonus tip: Check your open rate statistics to determine how many of your subscribers read your emails on mobile. That information will help you decide if a “click to call” button makes sense for you.

Promotional Emails Best Practices

Successful email marketing requires careful planning and execution. Before we wrap up this post, let’s review how you can write effective promotional emails that will drive sales and create a loyal customer base.

By following industry best practices, you can maximize the impact of your campaigns. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1. Define Your Goals and Target Audience

Identify the objectives of your promotional email campaign and define the specific audience you want to reach. This will let you tailor your content and offers accordingly.

2. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

Capture your recipients’ attention with concise and engaging subject lines. Avoid spammy language and aim for clarity and relevance. Put your incentive front and center to entice recipients to open the email.

3. Personalize and Segment Your Emails

Leverage customer data to personalize your emails. Segment your audience based on demographics, purchase history, or behavior to deliver targeted content that resonates with each group.

4. Create Compelling Email Content

Keep your email content concise, engaging, and visually appealing. Use persuasive copy, high-quality images, and clear CTAs to convey the value of your offer and encourage recipients to take action.

5. Optimize for Mobile Devices

What percentage of emails are opened on mobile? The number varies widely depending on the target audience and demographic. However, you can generally expect about half of your emails to be opened on a mobile device.  It’s therefore crucial to ensure your promotional emails are mobile-friendly. Use responsive design techniques to ensure a seamless experience across different screen sizes.

6. Test and Analyze

Use A/B testing to optimize your promotional emails. Experiment with different subject lines, designs, CTAs, and offers to identify what resonates best with your audience. Analyze email metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to gain insights and make data-driven improvements.

Free Promotional Email Templates

If you’re new to sending promotional emails to customers, a template is the easiest way to get started. Here are 2 proven promotional email template samples that you can use to increase sales at your business:

Template 1: New Product Launch Announcement

Subject Line: Introducing Our Exciting New Product – Discover [Product Name] Today!

[Recipient’s Name],

We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of our latest innovation: [Product Name]! Designed to revolutionize [industry or specific need], this cutting-edge solution is set to transform the way you [benefit or solve a problem].

Key Features:

  • Feature 1: Describe the first standout feature of the product.
  • Feature 2: Highlight the second key feature that sets it apart.
  • Feature 3: Explain another important feature that adds value.

Why Choose [Product Name]?

  • Benefit 1: Explain how this product addresses a pain point or enhances their experience.
  • Benefit 2: Highlight another key benefit that makes it irresistible.
  • Benefit 3: Describe a unique advantage or value proposition.

[Optional: Include customer testimonials or social proof]

For a limited time, we’re offering an exclusive introductory discount of [percentage or dollar amount] off the regular price. Take advantage of this opportunity to be among the first to experience [Product Name].

Click the button below to explore [Product Name] in more detail and place your order today!

[CTA Button: Shop Now]

Thank you for being a valued member of our community. We can’t wait for you to experience the game-changing potential of [Product Name].

Best regards,

[Your Name] [Your Company]

Template 2: Limited-Time Offer

Subject Line: Final Hours! Grab [Percentage/Dollar Amount] Off – Shop Now!

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Time is running out to take advantage of our exclusive limited-time offer! For the next [number of hours/days], we’re thrilled to extend a special [percentage/dollar amount] discount on our wide range of [product or category].

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your [product], enhance your [activity], or simply treat yourself, now is the perfect time to make it happen.

Why choose us?

  • Reason 1: Highlight a key reason that makes your products or services stand out.
  • Reason 2: Emphasize another unique selling point or benefit.
  • Reason 3: Explain why customers love shopping with you or any special guarantees.

To take advantage of this offer, follow these steps:

  • Visit our website: [Website URL]
  • Browse our extensive collection.
  • Add your favorite items to the cart.
  • At checkout, enter the promo code: [Promo Code]
  • Enjoy your exclusive discount!

Hurry, this offer ends [date and time]. Take advantage of the chance to save big on [product or category]. Start shopping now!

[CTA Button: Shop Now]

Our friendly customer support team is here to help if you have any questions or need assistance.

Happy shopping!


[Your Name] [Your Company]

Feel free to customize these templates to match your brand’s voice and specific promotional offers. Remember to keep the content concise, focused, and compelling, with a clear call-to-action (CTA) that encourages recipients to take the desired action.

Get Started With OptinMonster Today!

BONUS: Done-For-You Campaign Setup ($297 value) Our conversion experts will design 1 free campaign for you to get maximum results – absolutely FREE!Click here to get started →

Increase Sales By Perfecting Your Promo Emails

With these tips, examples, and templates, you’re ready to start sending promotional emails to customers and subscribers. You’ll see growth in your engagement, conversions, and sales when you use the strategies we explained above.

In other words, effective promo emails help your business succeed.

We hope you found this post helpful for your own promotional email ideas. If you did, you definitely want to check out the following resources:

Those resources will have even more helpful information on how you can improve your email marketing strategy to boost conversions and sales.

I'm writer and digital marketer with over 15 years of experience. As a former marketing director for small nonprofits, I understand what it's like to be a one-person marketing department. I'm here to help you generate more leads in less time.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.


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  2. Hey Kevin,

    After reading your post I wanted to ask you a simple and straight question. I hope you gonna answer me. My question is based on open rate, currently, I am doing Email Marketing (sort of service marketing) but I am not getting leads through emails so can you tell me how can I approach my readers and secondly, my email going into a SPAM folder. I don’t know why my email going into SPAM folder particular in Gmail platform.

    No doubt your post is too wonderful and your guide is too good. I will be going to implement this technique which you mentioned in your post.

    I look forward to your response.

    Rameez Ramzan

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall October 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Rameez, we’re so happy that you found the post useful. 🙂 If you’re concerned about your emails going into recipients’ spam boxes, check out our tips on the reasons why emails end up in spam, and how to stop that from happening.

  3. Natalie Tindall March 18, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Thank you for your guidance! About to send out our first promotional email so we’ll keep you posted!

  4. Mahmoud Ibrahim March 22, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Thank you so much for these email templates. really it helps me too much. when I start my email marketing, I don’t know about the goals and techniques that should be used, but after I read your blog so, I’m so excited to start over again. In my website I used many apps to push e mails and pop ups that really is kick out visitors from my website because I don’t follow the goals that you discussed in this great article. thank you so much.

  5. Excellent. Thanks.

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