Creativity makes the world go round. And in a world in which there are 269 billion emails sent every day, you need creative emails to stand out in the inbox.
Fortunately, we’ve been on the lookout for creative emails. And today, we’re going to show you examples of the most creative emails we’ve ever seen.
And to raise the stakes, we’ll also show you how you can start using email creativity more effectively. Just like the inbox wizards in our list.
Let’s hit ‘Send!’
The Easiest Way to Send Creative Emails: Cool Visuals
Let’s start off simple. You don’t need to have an email provider that offers interactive email content. And if you’re a solopreneur who wants to pack more punch with their newsletters, you can always use one thing:
- Unique GIFs
- Cool photos that fit your brand style
- Cool photos that don’t fit your brand style, but provide a positive shock effect that’ll keep your customers glued to their screens
Here’s what we mean:
Adobe: Hypnotic Animated Gifs
This is a minimalist email where the cool GIF definitely takes the cake. You can use their structure: CTA + a cool GIF to increase excitement and engagement about your brand.
For example, if you’re launching a new product, you can announce it in a few lines. And then add a GIF that stimulates excitement like this one:
This email example is creative, but it’s also punchy, so you can drive a lot of emotion at once.
CreativeMornings: Keep Your Customers Scrolling
CreativeMornings always start their weekly roundup emails with minimalist and interesting illustrations.
If you want to be artsy, you can find interesting visuals that fit your brand style for more toned-down emails, as well. You can start off your email with them to keep the readers scrolling.
We recommend creating an archive of gifs, images, and illustrations that will resonate with your audience.
Leaf Institute: Provide a Unique Twist
A great way to be more creative for both promotional and regular emails is to provide a unique twist on a common topic. Do this with interesting visuals and you may have a winning email.
For example, this email is targeted to artists, art historians and aficionados. But instead of simply pasting the Magritte painting, the marketers added a ‘Ringer on silent mode’ graphic.
This is a great email to draw inspiration from if you want to stand out from the crowd. And show your customers that, even though there are a lot of businesses that sell the same thing, your brand is special.
For example, if you’re a marketer, you might want to use standard visuals with a twist to show customers why you’re different from others.
You can also make your headline stand out with Portent’s Title Idea generator, where you’ll get ideas such as:
- Ways Your Mother Lied to You about Email Marketing
- 7 Things Spock Would Say about Email Marketing
- How to Fight the Rock Using Only Email Marketing
And you can easily create interesting graphics as a beginner with Canva (it’s free).
Tinder: Make Your Emails More Engaging with Smart Gif Placement
Your email provider isn’t letting you use dynamic content, but you still want to keep it fun?
No problem – just look what Tinder did!
You’d think this whole email is one big clickable fest, but it’s not. There are clear CTA buttons. Still, the gifs give it plenty of dynamism. Psychologically, this will make your customers want to click on some buttons and get right in there.
With gifs, you can illustrate it (and make it even more fun) and improve your engagement rate.
Main consideration: the gifs should be similar in style and tone. If you’re using a cartoon style, then make sure all the gifs fit it. We’d avoid standard reaction gifs here.
Engage: When in Doubt, Use a Bold Color Palette
These days, we use all kinds of color palettes, but let’s be real:
Nothing works as well as black and yellow.
In psychology, that color combination is meant to stimulate feelings of alarm and alertness. In interior design, these combinations are perfect for industrial spaces. At the end of the day, they’re very creative, and they stand out in inboxes.
Other color combinations you can work with include:
- Black and orange
- Grey and lime green
- Blue and orange
- Black and white
Let’s not forget the good old B&W.
These days, emails are so chock-full of colors that going Audrey Hepburn-style can really differentiate your brand. Especially if your customers love timeless elegance.
Peak Email Creativity: Interactive Content
Interactive email content has twofold benefits:
First, it’s interesting because not that many brands use it.
Secondly, it’s creative to see, and helps customers shape a good perception of your brand.
So really, it’s the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s not always that easy to use. Let’s call this an intermediate strategy (although we’re hoping that even beginners will start playing with it).
Interactive email content comes in many forms:
- Surveys, polls, quizzes, and questionnaires
- Zoom and rollover effects
- Animated buttons and content
Let’s see how our brands did it!
Handy: A Handy Quiz
Often, brands add CTA buttons that link to third-party polls and quizzes. This isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not engaging. It creates friction, and puts you in a place where you have to convince your customers that clicking through will be worth it.
But embedding a quiz or a poll into your email body?
If you embed a quiz directly into your email, there’s nothing standing between your customers and the target action. Forget about friction. It adds dynamism to your standard content and instantly makes it more creative.
This kind of email marketing is perfect for performing customer research. You can even use it to send personalized suggestions.
Harry’s: Create a Wonderful and Creative Experience
Speaking of quizzes and interactive, creative content, we can’t get enough of this email example from Harry’s.
Why is it so wonderful our team can’t stop talking about it?
Firstly, it fits the brand style. Look at the colors, the copy, and the visuals. Everything is perfectly calm and relaxed, creating a soothing atmosphere that customers can immerse themselves in.
Secondly, it’s a very creative take on interactive content. Quizzes, in particular.
Again, the whole quiz is integrated into the email body, and customers can simply take it right there to receive product suggestions. It flows intuitively and naturally, creating a seamless experience.
The main lesson we want to impart on you here is that visuals aren’t the be-all and end-all of creativity.
A creative email has to offer a certain atmosphere. It could be an artsy atmosphere, or a soothing atmosphere. And you can create it with a careful combination of:
The New York Times: Personalize with Interactivity
Instead of just linking to an article or taking your readers to a place on the web, try embedding useful content into your email.
This example comes from the New York Times. They’ve created a handy calculator that shows their readers whether it’s better to rent or buy, based on the parameters they insert.
And the readers can get all the calculations they need right there in the email!
We admit that this is an ambitious example. But it just goes on to show that creativity can be repurposing a useful resource in a native way.
One simple example of this creativity tactic off the top of our heads: turn your most popular blog or video content into infographics.
Quick and Dirty Email Creativity Examples: Pen It Like Hemingway
Finally, you don’t have to be an email marketing whiz to create a darn good email.
Just ask yourself: What do you do before checking out an email that landed in your inbox?
You scan the subject line.
If the subject line isn’t working, well… Your email could be the most creative peach in the marketing orchard, but no one will get to see it.
So how do you improve your copywriting even if you’ve never taken a course in it?
Our friends have a few tips:
- Craft surprising subject lines
- Examine topics from a different point of view
- Reference pop culture
Let’s see how they do it!
Loaf Creative: Say What Your Customers Would Never Expect You To
A marketing agency that says nobody cares about advertising right there in the title?
Sign us up, because we have got to read this!
Of course, that’s the power of totally opposing what everyone would think you stand for. It’s shock value, right there in the headline. You see a subject line like that, and you’re immediately intrigued.
Promoting shoes? Our headline idea would be: “We hate shoes.”
The content could then go on to explain that all the shoes you had were so darn uncomfortable. And eventually you gave up on the search for a comfortable pair. This is something your customers can definitely relate to. But they should give your shoes a whirl, because you’ve been through the uncomfortable-shoe hell.
Promoting software? Our headline idea would be: “An email marketing tool your mom would hate.”
Because it’s rebellious. And It’s challenging. And it’s as sexy as Elvis Presley in his hey-day. When all mothers bemoaned the horrible rock music that made their kids twist and shout instead of going to bed at 9pm.
Think about what no sane business owner would say in your position. Then forget about propriety and put on your dancing shoes.
Honey Copy: Tease Your Audience with Unexpected Headlines
What does coffee have to do with marketing?
No one has a clue, but you can bet that’s exactly what’s going to make them click through.
The man behind Honey Copy, Cole Schafer, is notorious for his engaging and surprising subject lines. But, at the same time, they offer a different perspective for the reader who’s expecting him to drone on and on about marketing.
Instead, he likens asking a girl out for coffee to the idealism we just have to have as business owners.
A surprising subject line will definitely improve your open rate, especially if you follow up in the same tone.
P.S. See that GIF? Scroll up and remember what we told you: gifs are golden for email marketing.
Dorsia: Reference Pop Culture
Dorsia’s email is creative because it took a pop culture reference (“Say hello to my little friend”) and put a unique spin on it that serves their brand.
Instead of just saying: “Book your next trip with us,” they gave their audience more emotional value with this headline.
When you’re using pop culture references, you’re establishing a point of connection between you and your audience. It also makes them feel like there’s an actual human writing that email.
You can pick pop culture references that fit your industry. For example, an obvious choice for a fashion brand would be a quote out of The Devil Wears Prada. But you can stray from the path more traveled by.
You can also use quotes and references in their original context. For example, the following movie quotes always work well:
- Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (Casablanca)
- Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. (Gone with the Wind)
- I’ll be back. (Terminator)
To drive the point home, you can even use a GIF from the source material (especially if it’s a movie).
After all, creativity is all about taking the known and turning it into the exciting unknown.
(You can bet we’d click on that!)