A great coupon email is a must-have for any business marketing toolbox. Effective coupon emails communicate a specific, special promotion with a powerful subject line, beautiful design, and an irresistible call-to-action. Today we’re taking a closer look at how eight different brands recently tackled coupon emails with these examples from our inbox. Let’s dive in!
Subject: Coupon inside!
This coupon email from Chobani stood out to us right away because of its design simplicity. The streamlined header (no navigation menu or clutter), can’t-miss-it hero image, and live text copy all work together to communicate a succinct, compelling message. We might suggest getting a little more playful with the CTA button copy, and increasing the font size. A little personality can go a long way, even when your message is brief.
Subject: Recycle your old tech next week and earn a $10 off $30 coupon.
This dual-toned green-and-gray email from Staples takes a different approach to promoting its coupon: myth busting! The spot illustrations and their super short accompanying blurbs do a fantastic job communicating three points with simplicity. It’s easy to scan this email and get the message. The CTA gets a little lost, though, and isn’t the most compelling. Instead of “Learn More,” it’d be interesting to see how a variation might perform, like “Find my nearest store” or “Recycle my stuff today” or “Claim my coupon.”
Subject: Time is running out. Get up to $100 off Nest products.
The illustrated header in this coupon email from Nest Cam popped out as we browsed through dozens of messages in our inbox (and not just because it says “Save”!) The illustration is a simple design move but one that easily distinguishes itself from other email marketing coupon campaigns. There’s great use of plain text here, too, and a photo grid with plenty of white space.
Subject: For a limited time: Take $10 off your order
This bright and bold coupon email from Baggu is easy on the eyes. We love how the copy is large, legible, and left-aligned. Plus the earth-tone background color is just right for spring. And, bonus, check out the beautiful animated GIF:
Subject: Member Coupon Alert! Extra 20% Off One Item
REI’s recent missive is a great example of a promotional email that’s straightforward but effective. The z-pattern photo grid caught our attention, along with the use of white space and padding. Many of the emails in today’s post—this one included—also incorporate pale gray to distinguish content blocks. It’s a simple and effective design move, particularly with HTML background colors that are friendly for inboxes and email clients.
Subject: Get over $100 off your next design contest
This discount email from 99designs is optimized with live text and a bulletproof CTA button, and it looks beautiful. The gray background color gives the email a boxed effect, and the cute GIF immediately grabs our attention upon open (plus, we finally see some fun, playful CTA button copy!):
Subject: We have a plan for you + $80 off Sun Basket.
Hungry, anyone? SunBasket’s activation email says it all (almost) with a picture. The live text that follows is short and sweet (no header needed), and the CTA button is bulletproof with custom text. When your CTA button color matches your logo/header, it establishes design cohesion in your message and reinforces the brand. It’s the same strategy Chobani, Staples and many of the other brands in this post use as well. Keep in mind, though, that deploying an “isolation effect” with an alternate color can be another effective option. (Read about how to choose CTA button colors here.)
Subject: How To Get a $20 Coupon
We love Pact’s efficient use of subject line here, and that engaging tone is used throughout the email to call readers to act. (We love the CTA button text, of course!) The header text is part of the image, but this kind of format can also be achieved with BEE’s text overlay feature, so you can use inbox-friendly live text on top of images (instead of creating an image-only email like this one, which might more easily end up in a spam folder). Interestingly, this email has a few competing calls to action at its close, including the linked text under the button, and the animated GIF near the footer (shown below). We’d be curious to see which generates the most clicks, and how a pared-down version might fare (a good opportunity for A/B testing!)
Ready to start building a coupon email of your own? You don’t have to start from scratch! The BEE editor has a library of free, ready-to-use templates that are easy to customize, including a basic coupon template and green events coupon template. Check ’em out, and happy designing!
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