The 5 best email marketing campaigns from 2021

What makes the best email marketing campaigns stand out among the rest?

From jaw-dropping design to kick ass strategy, the mmunic team and some of our friends have gathered five of the best email marketing examples we’ve seen this year so far to inspire your future email campaigns.

In our roundup of the best email marketing campaigns from 2021, you’ll find:

  • Super fresh sign up journeys
  • Strategic ‘light bulb’ moments
  • KISS/Super simple stylistic design (even with Crocs!)
  • Utilisation of Latest Trends – who doesn’t love a meme?
  • Data Driven Personalisation to put your email marketing on the map

The best of Email Marketing Journey

Abel & Cole: How do you like them apples?

Lisa Winter
Customer Growth & Sales Manager at mmunic Ltd.

Coming from a design background my reasons for loving these emails are very unapologetically all about the look and feel, that’s not to say I don’t love the process too. The journey Abel & Cole take you on is easy to navigate, quick and informative – but that’s enough about the practical stuff, let’s talk about the good stuff. 

Their brand is fresh, fun (like their produce) and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Vibrant use of colour mixed with the beautiful photography make for a lovely email that’s easy on the eye. All topped off with adorable line illustrations that compliment the main font used for the headers. 

The website signup – which has an informative popup box that explains exactly what I’m signing up for – puts me at ease straight away before I hand over my personal information. I’m also told that unsubscribing at any time will stop all communication which is reassuring. It’s a simple note, but one that’s not to be taken for granted.

The moment I signed up, the welcome email came through was a bonus for me. If I have to wait and get distracted then I may not go back into my inbox to click confirm, basically the journey from website to interested customer to being on their mailing list flowed well. Well enough to keep my attention span, and I have the attention span of a six year old.

I’m not bombarded with emails, which is also very important to me. Everytime I open an email from them I see something different and get taken somewhere new. The CTAs (calls to action) they place at the top of their email answer my questions that I had before opening the email. 

In a world full of spammy terrible sales emails and failure to capture the audience’s attention, Abel & Cole are a little shining light of hope for us all. 

The best of Email Marketing Strategy

B&Q: How everything changed with a tin of paint…

Charlotte Girow
Operations & Studio Manager at mmunic Ltd

My key accounts are probably fed up with me fangirling about B&Q’s email campaigns by now, but for me this DIY superstore’s email marketing strategy has really stood out as cream of the crop (or should that be ‘hammer among nails?’) this year.

For B&Q, email marketing is deeply embedded in, and responsive to, its solid understanding of their customers’ journey. They know that home renovations aren’t one-shop-fixes-all kind of projects (or at least not for an enthusiastic-but-inexperienced amateur like me). Instead, they’re made up of lots of smaller purchasing experiences – a few rolls of wallpaper here, a new saw bench there, and an ‘oh shoot, we forgot to buy bulbs to go with those new lights we bought’ moment there.

B&Q realise that if you’re doing a DIY project, after that first time you walk into the store, the chances are high you’ll be back next weekend, and the weekend after that… and so on, right up until the job is done (and you’re a broken person huddled in the corner of your living room covered in a layer of plaster dust and wallpaper paste stuck in your hair… please tell me that’s not just me, is it?).

But with so many purchases to make when you’re doing a DIY project, how do B&Q make sure you make them all in their store and not with a competitor? Artfully, that’s how.

Take for instance – my husband and I moved into a fixer-upper at the start of summer 2021 and decided to work on the garden while we were waiting for the renovations inside to start. I swiped my B&Q card at the checkout when we picked up some plants from our local store, and in the weeks that followed my inbox was alive with attention stealing subject lines such as ’10 steps to garden greatness’, as well as tips on watering, composting and soil types. To help encourage me back, they threw in vouchers alongside suggestions on related garden products. As autumn came around, with our glorious garden accomplishments behind us and our renovations underway, I swiped my B&Q card again while buying a tin of paint and two days later this beauty of an email landed in my inbox. 

Not only does it look great and adapt brilliantly on mobile, but it’s full of helpful tips to guide me through the project, relevant products, and – most importantly – that next voucher for me to spend with them.

Oh, and let’s not forget – there’s my Clubcard number and barcode right at the bottom, making it as simple as possible for me to scan my card again next time I make a purchase with them in store. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just remembered I forgot to buy paint rollers…

The best of KISS (keep it super simple) in Email Marketing

Anthropologie‘s Valentines day email: It started with a kiss

Clare Walker
Senior Client Experience Manager at Movable Ink.

This email ticks all the boxes for me. The layout is different and stylish, it somehow manages to be big and bold as well as understated at the same time. The imagery pops out from the white space so much that I wanted to buy crocs, and I hate crocs. 

This email swoons into your inbox with its minimalist headline and text which doesn’t give you too much to think about. It just draws you in to read more and if there is no more text within the email you look for a click through. It’s very clever. 

Then you have the CTAs that are so brilliantly underwhelming that they make me want to click through. The fact that I actually had to look for the CTAs made me want to click them just to make sure they were there. Who knew that not shouting at someone to ‘CLICK HERE’ would be so effective in making people, well… click here. 

Anthropology has taken the KISS theory (‘keep it super simple’ – one of the key stalwarts of marketing) and made it hit you in the face with an understated sucker punch. I love it. 

The best of Classic Email Newsletters

BuzzFeed: always in style

George Evans
Head of Design at Type One Style

BuzzFeed gives you the option to select the newsletters you’d like to subscribe to and receive in your inbox. They send you customised marketing messages about them and their advertising partners.

As a millennial, I enjoy the way Buzzfeed incorporates pop-culture and trending topics into their newsletters. They even add memes into them, and I do love a good meme. I think the personalisation element to their newsletters is brilliant, as it gives their audience the option to subscribe to only what they’re actually interested  in – and skip out on what they’re not.

The brand itself is always posting the latest news, so I already know as a subscriber the content is going to be worth reading.

They tailor each individual category exactly to the recipient, which is a clever way to keep their recipients engaged. The way the layout is designed is simple but effective. Giving the reader one choice each swipe, keeping it minimal, almost forcing the end user to click the CTA, as there are no overwhelming amounts of buttons to click on!

The copy they use is always very playful and I love that when reading any email. Emails that use less corporate words and more chatting with your mates is always a plus in my eyes.

“Just sign up for BuzzFeed Tasty’s new newsletter and we’ll send you a weekly email featuring the most gloriously mouthwatering recipes that Tasty has to offer. From pizza boats to cinnamon roll bites, you’ll get it all, plus other awesome content from the editors at BuzzFeed Food. So come on — let your inbox indulge a little.”

The best of Email Marketing Personalisation

easyJet’s 20th Anniversary Campaign 

The mmunic team

It wouldn’t be right not to mention one of the big boys and a campaign that embraced a highly personalised data driven email marketing strategy. easyjet were one of the first in the airline industry to use this strategy of user-centric personalisation. For their 20th anniversary, easyJet released a personalised email marketing campaign which was highly successful to say the least. 

The brilliant ad campaign “How 20 Years Has Flown” played on the audience’s nostalgia by building the email around the data on each customer’s journey with easyJet over the years. 

The personalised emails contained images and links that retold each customer’s story from their very first easyJet flight right through to their flights to come. Who wouldn’t want a trip down memory lane of all their happy holiday memories. This is data-driven advertising genius contained in a standalone email at its best and we love it. 

The emotionally charged campaign boasted open rates over 100% higher than the average easyJet newsletter – with 25% higher click-through rates.

Need we say more?

Closing thoughts…

So there we have it, five of the best email campaigns loved by our experts for very different and varied reasons. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes an email marketing campaign great or send us your examples.  You can get in touch by emailing us with your comments which we’ll feature in our next blog. 

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