Making Promotional Email Marketing Campaigns Feel Unique in 2020

There’ll be a time when you will feel that your promotional email marketing campaigns are becoming a bit stale. That’s when you know it’s time for a change. This blog post will help you get through that, and give you some tips to spice up any email.

“Hello, first name. You’ve been looking at product X, so here are some other products that are broadly similar to (and/or compatible with) product X. Pay particular attention to product Y for no clear reason. You could unsubscribe below, though we can’t imagine why you’d want to.”

Take text as dry as ancient sandpaper. Slap on an ill-fitting subject line that promises absent grandeur.


And you have one of the most popular promotional email templates used today.

At first, these promotional emails are opened. Then they are sometimes opened. Then they are ignored. And after a while, they are either marked as spam or avoided completely through the removal of subscriptions.

These emails might work well enough for some brands, but if you are looking to stand out from the crowd, you need to start thinking outside the box.

The question we are attempting to answer in this blog post is: How do you take the basic here’s-a-product-you-should-buy formula and give it a unique feel, particularly given how much competition you’re facing in the retail-rich online world of 2020?

Level Up Your Promotional Emails: Basics, New Trends in 15 Examples

Get Creative with your Email Copy

Promotional email marketing campaigns can sometimes have thin email copy.

It’s perhaps believed that the discounts are so tempting that they can be presented without other selling features or arguments. This might not always work because your audience receives multiple discount offers, mainly from your competitors.

Luckily, email is a very freeing format. This means that you can include pretty much anything you want in your emails. So take advantage of this platform by thinking of some creative copy to really add some punch.

You may think upon the stereotype of the pushy salesperson discouraging you with their eagerness, but what about the opposite?
Isn’t it worse when you go into a store to ask for guidance on what to buy and are met with a shrug from the assistant?

And while you generally send emails out automatically instead of providing them specifically upon request, the recipients decide to open them because they’re interested in the contents, with each one essentially saying “OK, I’d like to know more. Sell me on what you have to offer.”. There are no points awarded for being coy. Cut to the chase.

So what can you do with your copy to give your product emails some more vitality?

Indulge in some poetry

Purple prose is generally something to be avoided in promotional email marketing campaigns. It feels forced and over complicated. You don’t want your subscribers to get lost in a sea of meaningless words.

Keep your promotional email copy short yet witty.

You can, for example, take a more poetic approach: Rhyming couplets, haikus, anything you enjoy writing.

This email copy stands out in fun ways, gets the attention of your subscribers, and remains memorable.

Enjoy ye this blog post, and share it with most
For that, we might bolster our emails, a toast.

Tell a Relevant Story

We use stories to convey emotions, impart lessons, and share knowledge.

When you’re trying to convince readers that a product is worthy of their immediate attention, telling an interesting story about do just that.

Classics are always a strong option. The story of how a customer encountered a problem, identified your product as a possible solution, selected it, and found, to their delight, that it did all they expected and more.


Testimonials and customer stories increase your brand’s credibility and reassure prospects. Not to mention that it gives your brand more character and makes you seem more approachable.

Everything You Need To Know About Customer Reviews: Email Examples, Messages, and Templates

Put Some Humor Into It

Overblown drama isn’t a good thing when you come across as sincere, because anyone who believes that their cut-price eCommerce gadget is going to change the world is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Overblown humor, though, can work well if it’s firmly tongue-in-cheek.

It’s particularly good if you immediately walk it back because it works oddly like haggling. You can say for example “Product X will solve all your problems!”, then accept “OK, it won’t solve all your problems, but it definitely will solve this problem.” Going from comedic to serious makes the latter note seem more convincing.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and come up with funny email copy or email design.

This promotional email marketing campaign from Cards Against Humanity on Black Friday is hilarious! They use funny copy and an absurd offer to connect with their audience and stand out from every other brand during BF.


Include Personalized Statistics

If you’ve used a grocery store’s loyalty program for an extended time, you might have come across some interesting statistics about what you buy and when — and there’s a lot more that can be done with this approach when you’re marketing to your existing customers.

For instance, if you were trying to sell some kind of nutritional product that a customer had purchased numerous times before, you could say something like this:

“You’ve ordered this item seven times in the past year, putting you in the top 10% of all our buyers. One more order would bump you up to the top 5%. Sounds pretty elite, huh?”

People like to compete, even over silly things like who’s bought the most boxes of a specific variety of oat bar in a 12-month period. What’s more, when you lend context to how much someone has bought something before, it tends to make them want it more.

“If I’ve ordered it seven times in the last year, then clearly I really like it, and if I really like it then it makes sense for me to buy more.”


Retail psychology is always interesting to play with. And since it’s relatively easy to insert fun statistics through eCommerce systems, there’s little reason not to give this a try to see what you can achieve.

Use Video Content and Animations

Video is clearly the pinnacle of digital content formats when it comes to engagement, and it’s likely to stay there until mobile data networks collapse or VR technology advances to the point that we can start spending our time in action-packed virtual environments (give that one a decade or two). It’s the kitchen sink of the marketing world: sound, visuals, and text if useful. Especially when it comes to announcement emails, using visuals can highly increase its performance.

You can now easily embed video content and animated GIFs in your emails without affecting the size and quality of your emails.

What videos fit in promotional emails?

Well, you actually have some interesting options.

You can include customer testimonials to increase social proof.


You can provide product tutorials that speak to and demonstrate the utility of the items on offer (tutorials, guides, and FAQs are all important for modern content marketing).

video in email marketing for promotional emails

Promotional Email Marketing Campaigns: A Team Effort

Draft an email, read it, shrug, and send it out: this is the process that the author of the typical promotional email follows.

This is one of the reasons why the ena result can become stale after a while.

Instead of allowing that to happen, change the way your emails are built: make it a fundamentally collaborative process by engaging various people with different sets of skills to weigh in on them and shape them as they see fit.

Chamaileon was built for this: you can easily bring everyone together (in the digital world, at least) to combine their competencies.

This automatically means that the first draft for any given email won’t fly. Every email team member will bring their expertise to make sure that the final promotional email checks all the boxes: creative copy, beautiful design, and innovative concept.

email production processWe’ve asked 10 email experts about their ideal email production process, and here’s what they said:

  1. Ask questions about your subscribers and collect pertinent data. This data can be simple (subscriber names, genders if needed, age groups) or more complex (like their previous purchases, their last viewed items, etc).
  2. Create sub-segments in your email lists based on specific criteria relevant to your offers and messages.
  3. Create email messages personalized for each email list, and curate the content.
  4. Design your master email template, with saved email blocks that you can reuse in different email campaigns.
  5. Schedule and send your email campaigns.
  6. Evaluate performance and repeat.

Wrap Up

Product emails might be boring in principle, but they don’t need to be boring in practice. There are plenty of ways (we’ve looked at just some) to make your product emails stand out in a sea of identikit emails full of dynamically-generated grids. Make them much more collaborative, use eye-catching video, have some fun with your copy, use stats to tempt people, and — if all else fails — just be contrarian. That should get you some results!