10 killer email ideas that generate replies and sales

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I spend a lot of time explaining to people why marketing automation makes sense and how it can drive incredible customer numbers your way.

But there’s more to it than signing up to a software platform. You also have to put a strategy in place for how you are going to keep in touch with your clients.

Beyond automatic appointment reminders and sales data figures, the content of your email marketing is really important. With so many vendors jostling for attention in our inboxes these days, it can be a challenge to achieve your target open rates. Getting the click-through to your site can be even harder.

Here are a number of the most effective marketing email ideas which will help boost your leads and help you clinch those sales.

  1. Birthday offers

If you’re anything like me, on your birthday you’re on the lookout for the people who are going to make you feel special. Even though you know it is automated, a birthday message from your hairdresser / car mechanic / favourite restaurant is a happy heartwarmer.

When sending birthday messages to your clients, add a special offer like a two-for-one discount. Give it a time limit so they will take you up on it sooner rather than later.

If you’re not the type of business that gathers client birth dates, you can always message them on the anniversary of you doing business together. Thank them for working with you and offer an incentive for them to work with you again. Your email marketing can be set up to do this automatically — there’s no need to keep a diary stuffed with client anniversaries!

Wishing Birthday

[Even dogs get birthday emails these days]

2. Time sensitive offers

Hurry! These Prices Won’t Last!



Sometimes shouty, capital letter type emails are justified, especially when there’s an offer too good to refuse.

Creating a sense of urgency can create a temporary sales boost. You can also send a follow up email for those who didn’t respond, letting them know they missed out by sharing a ‘consolation’ of a smaller discount or a similar product at a good price.

Spacer Savers

[Specsavers teamed up with The Fred Hollows Foundation, offering to match donations over a 48 hour period]

Big brands like Forty Winks and Bonds feature these types of sales regularly, especially at the end of the financial year when they have a lot of stock to move.

3. Personal emails

This is a tactic a lot of businesses use and it can be very effective. Instead of sending their email missive from ‘The Company’, it comes from an individual and looks as though it has been quickly typed from this person.

Usually headed with a question, these emails have no images or fancy graphics so they don’t come across as automated campaigns.

Sometimes a simple ‘Hi’ is enough for the subject line of this kind of email. Other headings which work include:

  • Touching base
  • How are you?
  • Just a quick question
  • I was hoping you could help
  • Do you have two minutes?

The text included can be brief, something along the lines of:


I noticed one of your emails the other day and thought I would touch base to see what you have been up to lately and if there is anything you need help with at the moment.

How are things going with you?


Most people can’t resist an invitation to talk about themselves! This gives you an opportunity to relaunch a dialogue with leads who have gone stale.

4. Exclusive deals

The words “Just for you” evoke a little thrill of excitement.

Woolworths has this nailed, giving customers offers based on their exact past purchases and creating incentives to shop “this week!”

Secret Offers

[Wow! These savings are ONLY for me!]

Consider how you can create a similar sense of exclusivity. It could be for long term clients, for clients who spend a certain amount of money or for brand new clients. The more you can personalise this type of message, the more special your clients will feel.

5. Get moving

As yet, you can’t insert videos into emails and have the reader pay them without having to open a new web page.

However, you can add an animated gif to your email, making it dynamic and more appealing to the reader.

You can create gifs with a load of different online tools such as www.giphy.comwww.giffingtool.comwww.ezgif.com or www.gifmaker.me. Once you have your gif, paste it into your email as a point of difference.

6. ‘Series’ emails

If you have a really exciting new product launch, sometimes it can work to break your communication into a few different emails.

For example, your first email can be a teaser, with the subject line, “Something big is coming”. The contents can hint at what is the horizon and share how it will benefit your clients.

You can follow this up with “Our HUGE announcement”, sharing details about your new product or service release, or even keep up the tease with an email saying “One day till the big news…”

Keep this going by making the announcement before the date of the launch, then sending another email when everything is live/ready to purchase.

To enhance the urgency of this kind of campaign, add a special offer which will encourage customers to book ahead or be one of the first to order. You could make a discount available to the first 65 customers or given them a deadline on an early bird special. Then, you can follow up with a “Only three spots left…” announcement.

The risk of these types of ‘saturation’ campaigns is you can get some users unsubscribing, so unless you can afford to lose a few hundred of them, don’t go overboard and send emails every day.

7. Irresistible content emails

Forget the hard sell and make it your mission to keep your audience informed. A monthly, fortnightly or weekly newsletter collating your most recent blog posts delivers a subtle reminder to your clients that you exist, without pushing a sales message.

[This winter recipe is shared in a massage and acupuncture clinic’s regular newsletter]

Add strong images, great headlines and clear calls to action in your newsletter to encourage readers to click through to your site. You can share a single blog post or a few different items but make sure they are relevant to both your business and your target audience.

8. Occasion emails

The calendar year is packed with opportunities for marketing campaigns, especially if you have a product which can be ‘gifted’.

Plan your campaigns to give people the chance to order ahead and tick that box. Some of the gift occasions you can create email campaigns around include:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Christmas

Then, there are the party occasions, which can be a great excuse for your business to celebrate, such as:

  • New Year
  • Australia Day
  • St Patrick’s Day
  • Halloween

And you can structure campaigns around the end of the financial year, the changing of the seasons or times which are relevant to your local or target users such as Star Wars Day (May the 4th), Independence Day (USA) or school holidays.

9. Reminder emails

A simple reminder sent to customers you haven’t heard from for a while can prompt them to get back in touch. This can work particularly well for businesses like dentists, chiropractors, counsellors or repair workshops.

[US company pinkberry reminds customers to come back by sending a free frozen yoghurt coupon]

Schedule reminder emails for every six months, twelve months etc, and make it as easy as possible for your customer to book an appointment by providing a clear link and call to action.

10. Follow up emails

Once you have done business with someone, send them an email thanking them. You have a few options here to strengthen your relationship, including:

  • Asking for their feedback
  • Sending a (time capped) special offer
  • Providing an incentive for them to refer a friend
  • Giving them a link to schedule their next appointment
  • Checking if they have any more questions they would like to ask

According to Hubspot, the important features of an attractive email marketing campaign are personalisation, imagery, responsive design (i.e. looks great on mobile) and meaningful calls to action. You also need clever writing, including a headline which will make them click.

Email marketing headlines

There has been a lot of research into what type of email headline is most attractive, and while there is no definitive answer, the following have been found to have better open rates:

  • Questions — Can you help us out?
  • Urgent statements  — This offer won’t last!!
  • Intriguing statements  — Why you need this email / How to slash your mortgage payments and be debt free sooner
  • Free stuff  — Get your FREE gift today
  • Relevance  — The perfect raincoat for your three-year-old
  • Puns and wit  — Now is the winter of our discount tent (a classic advertising example)
  • Reverse psychology  — Do not open this email
  • Importance  — Please read: An announcement from our CEO

Above everything, your emails must offer value to your clients. If they know when they see your business name land in your inbox that there is something in it for them by clicking, they will be more likely to do so.

Want to create winning email campaigns? Contact Win More Clients.

Related Tag: Sales Automation Consultant

Tim Hyde

Tim Hyde

Tim is an Infusionsoft certified partner, fixer and seasoned business growth strategist with real world business experience. Tim works with coaches, consultants and small business owners to help them get more time money and freedom from their business by optimising and automating the customer lifecycle.

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