22 sources of inspiration for email marketing designs and tactics
Well, yes…we’d all love to be more creative and innovative.
It’s kind of tough though: you can’t just slip a card into the ideas ATM and pull out something clever and inspiring whenever you need it.
You can, however, look for such inspiration from seeing what other people do and do well, so you can draw out ideas and insights for your own efforts.
Which leads us nicely to this list of sites and tools that highlight exactly that: what other people do and do well with their emails.
Email campaign galleries and design showcases
Campaign Monitor Gallery
Campaign Monitor began their gallery of great email designs in 2005 and continue to add examples every few days. You can view designs by the number of columns (one to three) and purpose (announcement, newsletter or invitation).
BEN – Beautiful Email Newsletters
Dozens of screenshots of good-looking emails from around the world, searchable by category tag.
Extensive collection categorized by brand, industry and email type. Also lets you search the subject lines.
A series of collections of real-world email designs, mostly with an emphasis on good, strong images.
Emma Design Showcase
Displays custom and template email designs produced for this ESP’s clients, together with an explanation of the thinking and goals behind each. Check other vendor sites to see if they display a portfolio of any design work they do.
New School Marketing
This Responsys blog has a strong design emphasis, with each post typically highlighting an example of eye-catching design.
Though it’s not seen an update for a long while, this site has huge collections of email screenshots for individual themes, such as brands (e.g. 40+ Circuit City emails), design elements/colors (e.g. “rounded corners” or “orange”), industry type (e.g. “fashion emails”) etc.
Email Design Review
Many posts at this site tackle some aspect of email design and email marketing by reviewing a real-world email example.
Showcase of the best work of their customers.
Searchable database of email and social media campaigns. Includes additional services, such as the ability to monitor the activity and emails of specific senders.
Searchable database of email campaigns. Also supports the monitoring of specific companies, industries, subjects…
A searchable real-time stream of email newsletters from top brands.
Indexes campaigns from hundreds of sources and includes search and analysis tools.
Multi-category images, plus offer descriptions and profile information.
Multi-language brand newsletter database with monitoring and analysis tools.
Global database with tracking and monitoring features.
Campaign reviews and case studies
Retail Email Blog
The mother of all mail monitoring sites, with a daily watch on trends in (retail) email design and tactics. Most posts feature a screenshot to illustrate the point made in the post, as well as an overview of current retail subject lines. Also includes the Design Hall of Fame.
The Style Campaign blog often reviews examples of email design, with a core focus on the use of video, animation and images, as well as design for mobile email.
The Relevant Marketer
This blog by eDialog often includes screenshots of emails within themed reviews (e.g. “theme park emails”) or to discuss particular aspects of email marketing (e.g. “encouraging interaction”).
Notes from the Lab
This blog category is actually labelled “how others are doing it”, and includes reviews of email campaigns with screenshots.
AWeber’s blog includes a case study category which presents lessons learnt and actual numbers taken from tests and campaigns done by their clients.
The Email Zoo
This multi-author blog presents the good, the bad and the ugly of individual email campaigns, with screenshots and often extensive commentary.
Big Fat Marketing Blog
Sherry Chiger’s regular columns on “emails we love” is a rich source of campaign reviews, mostly on specific emails, but also covering wider topics like “Christmas Emails”.
A huge database of detailed email marketing case studies with results data and actionable conclusions.
MarketingSherpa email marketing awards
Campaign details and creative for 17 winning entries from 2011, judged primarily on the results they produced for the sender. Equivalent articles from previous years are also available at the site. Here’s 2010 and 2009, for example.
ClickZ Connected Marketing Awards
The awards contain a “best use of email marketing” category, but you’ll have to hunt down the actual emails elsewhere as they list the winners and why they won, but don’t present the winning creatives.
LISTSERV Choice Awards
These awards are given for the best use of the same-named mailing list technology. Nearly all past winners come with an associated case study.
Internet Advertising Competition
There are two email categories in these awards that go back to 2003. Winner listings typically include a link to further details of the campaign in question.
Personal favorites in categories like “most original 12 days of Christmas email” from the Trendline Interactive folk.
These resources focus on individual email designs or reviews of a particular sender’s tactics. For more general advice and inspiration, there are many other great industry resources that you’ll find listed here.
What sites do you turn to for design inspiration or tactical innovation?
Find related articles:
You can follow any comments on this blog post through the RSS 2.0 feed.
24 comments on “22 sources of inspiration for email marketing designs and tactics”