Hot Email Design Trends to Consider for 2020

Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of web promotion, and definitely the most cost-effective form of digital marketing, with measurable and high ROI.

The reason behind this is the fact that a well-crafted email can pretty much convince a person to do anything, with less effort than the rest of the marketing channels, and it can be used for any product, brand or service. This is why there are plenty of email marketing and marketing automation platforms, like Moosend, that offer marketing automation for agencies, SaaS platforms, high-end brands, retailers, real estate, any type of product or service one could ever imagine.

By sending an email, you’re essentially knocking on someone’s door and asking them to hear you out. It can capture customers’ attention like nothing else, but only if your email is well-crafted and on top of current design trends. So, let’s go see what those are going to be for 2020.

email design trendsIllustration by Justas Galaburda


It may seem unrelated at first, but hyper-personalization (not simple personalization like we’re used to) has to do with everything email, and that includes email design.

email design tips and trendsSource

You see, we’re not talking about email segmentation like we know it at this point. Instead, we’re talking about emails that will appeal to each and every person in your audience and will serve a purpose that will be tailor-made and will feel personal. Hyper-personalization is achievable through the use of machine learning and AI technology that will be able to train itself by running through your data and detecting the patterns that are evident in that data.

After that, the machine… Learns. By implementing the patterns, it can distinguish in the data. By learning, the machine enables itself to predict and suggest accordingly, making hyper-personalization possible. So, if responsive design is what got you the most email opens for 2019, or if a specific user is used to not clicking through an email whose dominant color is a pastel one, you’ll be able to recreate it. This will help you deliver results that will get clicked and will appeal to your audience with one-on-one content. And this will, ultimately, help you reach your KPIs in the end.


Interactivity is one of the finest ways to draw attention and the more attention your email gets, the more fruitful your efforts at CRO. Your email will need to be something that gets you noticed, that helps the user engage with your brand, and that encourages them to go ahead and click around.

email designSource

You can use plenty of interactive elements, and there’s bound to be one that’s best for your niche and the reason why you’re sending your email campaign.

For example, sliders will work best for those times when you want to display more than three products, whereas the scratch effect and flip cards will boost engagement when you want to go through with something like recommendations of similar products or discount codes and offers.

There are a whole lot of other options as well, but the point is that interactive emails help engagement rates and “discovering” the content is way more fun than reading about it in the main body of an email.

Just don’t overdo it, as it could get confusing and distracting in the end. You’ll see what I mean below.

Thinking Small

You don’t need too much content. Just the right amount can make the user be convinced and happy with what they’ve found and what they’re willing to do with your product or service. You need small pieces of content that will be memorable, like a punchline, something shareable.

Ultimately, you need something your prospect will remember and that they won’t forget to interact with. Small videos, tidbits of information, bite-sized infographics, anything that will be compact enough, small enough, and also memorable enough is what you need.

Why do you think flip cards are one of the interactive features mentioned above? They’re ideal for breaking content in two, making it appear smaller and helping out with making it memorable.

Social Media Shares and Feedback

In terms of engagement again, social media platforms are what can help you win this game. But not without leveraging email marketing.

You see, you can have the best Twitter header or the most wonderful idea that will help you reach out to social media influencers, and it still won’t matter that much if your email marketing game is not strong. Easily digestible pieces of content can be used to your absolute advantage.

Include a button that will encourage social sharing. It can either be for one small little quotes I mentioned before or a large one like the ones we’ve come to know and love:

email design trends examples

You can create unique buttons to share content, purchases, and so on and so forth. Just make sure to make your button discreet enough for your users not to feel intimidated by it, and you’re good.

And since email marketing is way more than simply promotions and payment receipts, you can design a beautiful email campaign that will have customer feedback as to its main goal.

Feedback is a win-win for both your brand and the customers. On the one hand, you’ll know better than any AI platform can show what your prospects and customers need; on the other hand, you’ll create the type of brand that actually cares. For example, in this email, I’ve got the option of tracking and using the hashtag, and the customer service email is right there for me in case I need it.

email design examples

However, there’s a fancier way to ask for feedback, and it will rule email design for (at least) 2020. Think about incorporating interactive elements here as well, like check-boxes or quizzes. Whether it has to do with your Net Promoter Score or general feedback of what your users would like to see on your platform, interactive quizzes are a great way to craft a memorable email with ease.

Bold Fonts, Emoji-ed Subject Lines and Muted Colors

This has been going around in 2019, but we will see a great rise in those three elements in 2020. Let’s begin with the emojis in email subject lines:

emoji email design

This image is from my personal inbox, and I dare say it made me click. Emojis are what carry the “feeling” of a message, and it is the equivalent of the use of colors in the main body of an email since it helps convey the tone. Not to mention that messages with an emoji in their subject line are what increases open rates by 56%, according to a report by Experian.

But let’s move on to the fonts. Minimal is making a comeback, and the fonts are expected to be bold, simple and no-fuss, allowing the message to shine through without it being too much:

email design trends

Netflix used this very well, as well as the GIF trend and the small, digestible bits of information. You can see that the font is bold, it’s not too much, and the message is clear: Series premiere is on September 12th, go check the trailer.

This is all the information one may need when it comes to a series anyway, and Netflix didn’t bother with odd details like a summary. That’s all included in the trailer anyway.

And as far as the colors are concerned. There will be a rise in the use of muted colors. Intense colors are now a thing of the past, and the softer, darker colors that are easier on the eyes will see an increase in use.

Two Trends That Are Here To Stay

Of course, I’m talking about User Generated Content (UGC) and video email marketing. Those two trends are guaranteed to stay beyond 2020.

Let’s begin with video email marketing. Here’s an example:

email design

We’re talking about a Halloween makeup tutorial I received in my inbox about a couple of weeks ago. Clicking on this got me to a dedicated page that showed me the tutorial and the products used. And this gave the brand a better chance at conversion:

email design statsSource

I saw the products in action, and this was all that I needed in order to be convinced to buy something off an email.

And as far as UGC is concerned, this is a very underrated (so far) but highly effective technique that can drive more engagement.

After all, who doesn’t want to be a marketer, and who doesn’t want to see their content featured in a newsletter? Especially now, with the rapid rise of social media platforms that are centered around UGC, like Instagram or VSCO.

UGC practically leverages the good old word-of-mouth marketing that all consumers trust to this day-hence the rise of influencers-and can work as referral marketing does. Users create content for a brand. The brand trusts users enough to share it without damaging its own image. The users become ambassadors, engage with the brand, and convince their friends to buy as well, and the prospects turn into customers easily, seamlessly, and, most importantly, at a low cost. In fact, 92% of buyers trust in recommendations from people they know.

By incorporating that fact into the design of an email, you’re shooting for maximum engagement, conversions, and shares-who would miss out on a chance to show that their content was actually taken in by their favorite brand?


All in all, email design will appear to be simpler and no-fuss in 2020, but with a lot more complex, interactive elements that will aim for engagement.

This means that we’ll see a huge rise in personalization that will take over email design as well.

Author: the guest post by Téa, a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. 

You might also like the review of hot UI design trends, tips on choosing color scheme for user interface and effective design for CTA elements


We’ve been exploring the Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability over the past few weeks, and today we’ll delve into the not-so-sexy, but still vitally important, area of infrastructure.

While marketers may not be in charge of their company’s email infrastructure – typically the IT department handles such matters – it’s critical that marketers have insight into how everything fits together so they can talk with the engineers that are configuring their email-related systems. The following elements refer to the way email is sent, routed and received through the internet. 

The Mail Transfer Agent (Ta) is software that transfers email from one computer to another using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, known as SMTP. When users receive, view and reply to email messages, they use a Mail User Agent (Ua), or MUA. This is also called an email program or email client and it sometimes is used through a web-based interface. Outbound messages use an SMTP server (Ss), while inbound messages use a POP3 (P3) or IMAP server. 

An IP (or Internet Protocol) (Ip) address is a number – or “address” assigned to each computer, network device or network that’s connecting to and communicating through the internet. Depending on how you are sending email, you may have a dedicated IP address, which is solely your own, or a shared IP address, which you share with many other senders using the same host or email service provider. This is important because Sender Reputation is often assigned by IP address, as it’s difficult to distinguish between multiple senders using a single IP address. Therefore, if you want to be in control of your own Sender Reputation, you will use a dedicated IP address so that only your own sending practices – and no one else’s – can affect your Sender Reputation. 

Typically, your IP address will be associated with a domain name or a subdomain (Sd) – like or – through the Domain Name System (Dns). The DNS maps domain names to the IP addresses hosting the web sites and the IP addresses sending mail for, a particular entity with a particular domain name. 

Having your own dedicated domain name and IP address are also important when it comes to getting feedback – through a Feedback Loop (Fl) – from inbox providers about how your messages are being received by recipients. Not all inbox providers offer this service, but the larger ones do, and this feedback loop can include data on complaints and other information that can help marketers optimize their lists and messaging. Typically, these feedback communications will go to your email service provider – the company or software you’re using to send your emails.

Managing your Sender Reputation through the use of dedicated IP addresses and monitoring feedback from inbox providers are elements of Reputation Management (Rm) – tools marketers, their IT staff and their email service providers use to manage the reputation of their domains and IP addresses. 

Download the newest Periodic Table now and ensure your email marketing’s on the right track.

More about the Managed Inbox

About The Author

Pamela Parker is Senior Editor and Projects Manager at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces Martech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Digital Marketing Depot. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.


Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify has announced the launch of its newest marketing app extension, Shopify Email. Shopify Email will allow Shopify merchants to create, execute and monitor email marketing campaigns natively within the platform. The new capabilities are expected to be generally available to Shopify merchants beginning in early 2020.

In 2018, Shopify launched Shopify Marketing as an all-in-one marketing solution for merchants on the platform. Shopify Email marks the platform’s next step towards making marketing tools more accessible to sellers. Emails can be sent from the merchant’s domain name, and require little technical setup.

Why we should care

The value of email for SMBs and should not be overlooked. As one of the highest-converting marketing channels, email is critical for establishing trust with customers. Adding email capabilities to its platform will enable Shopify merchants to manage their communications with their customers alongside their inventory, creating a streamlined system within the Shopify environment — while saving merchants the costs of investing in and integrating a third-party provider.

Shopify Email also includes campaign analytics to help users measure their email marketing campaigns with open and click-through rates, as well as insight into the products added to shopping carts and purchases. Merchants can take advantage of these to optimize their email marketing campaigns.

More on the news

  • Shopify Email provides customers with customizable email templates that can be used with existing brand assets and products.
  • Shopify has partnered with advertising platforms such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Snapchat.
  • Third-party marketing apps including Seguno, Omnisend and SMSBump have also integrated into the platform to allow for integrated, cross-channel marketing campaigns.

About The Author

Jennifer Videtta Cannon serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.


In recent weeks, we’ve been exploring the themes laid out in the first-ever Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability. After Permission, and inextricably tied to it, is the concept of trust.

Gaining permission from a recipient to send them email sets the stage for building trust. This includes both the trust of the recipient and the trust of their ISP, which ultimately controls which emails are delivered, which go into the spam folder and which are blocked entirely. 

A number of technical measures, designed to verify the sender of an email, fall under the blanket of Authentication (Au) and represent the basic requirements that mass-senders must fulfill to gain the trust of inbox providers.

Domain Key Identified Mail (Dk), also known as DKIM, refers to mail that uses a public/private cryptography key set to verify the identity of the sender. Sender Policy Framework (Sp), or SPF, is a different authentication standard that specifies which IP addresses are authorized to send mail for a given domain. Domain-based Message Authentication and Conformance (Dc), or DMARC, aims to help brands prevent their domains from being used by other entities for malicious purposes. 

Maintaining that trust also means including the Physical Address (Ph) of the entity sending the email which, according to CAN-SPAM regulation, must appear in the body of the email. A sender can also gain credibility by being placed on an inbox provider’s Whitelist (Wi), a list of IP addresses and/or domains that are permitted into a particular network, allowing emails to bypass typical checks designed to quarantine emails.  

Finally, the Sender Domain (Od) and Sender Reputation (Sr) elements refer to the fact that marketers need to own the domain from which they are sending emails, and that they need to develop and cultivate a good reputation with inbox providers, since that reputation for abiding by responsible practices will affect how the sender’s emails are placed – in the inbox or in the spam folder – going forward. 

Download the newest Periodic Table now and ensure your email marketing’s on the right track.

More about the Managed Inbox

About The Author

Pamela Parker is Senior Editor and Projects Manager at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces Martech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Digital Marketing Depot. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.


Email Design

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are marked with red ink on every retailer’s calendar. Combined, these dates offer an excellent opportunity to increase revenue. They are peak volume days when potential clients are eager to wander around digital stores.

Use email newsletters to drive traffic directly to your website and channel it in the right direction. When skillfully designed and sent at the right time, they can work magic. They deliver a message, engage subscribers, boost income, and build strong relationships. Their success depends on several factors, and the timing is the most crucial.

We have already highlighted the basic principles of good email campaigns as well as considered highly converting subject lines; it is time to maximize your strategy with proper timing.

Start with Email Design

Before we move into finding the best time to send an email for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we need to make sure that the design of our newsletter will not fail us nor disappoint the audience. Therefore, it should comply with best practices of email newsletters such as:

  • Have a themed look
  • Include an attractive offer or offers
  • Highlight the value of your deal
  • Stress a deadline
  • Include brand identity
  • Meet the mood of the event
  • Do not bore the audience
  • Do not overwhelm users with too many options
  • Has optimal readability
  • Be straight to the point

Check out our guides to get more information.

Also, ensure several vital things.

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  • First, you should have good deliverability rate, even on the busiest days of the year.
  • Second, your email should look great across various email readers. Pay attention to the limitations of using images, gifs, and emojis.
  • Finally, your email newsletter should look good on small and large screens.

If you do not have time to create a design that will look great across numerous devices, and email readers, you can use special tools that will do all the heavy lifting. Consider Postcards for that.

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Postcards is a free HTML email template builder with a drag-and-drop interface where you can quickly create a template without coding. Inside you will find more than 100 functional blocks that have responsive behavior, elegant design features, and most importantly work consistently across all popular email readers.

How Many Emails to Send for BFCM

According to recent statistics, November (the month when BFCM campaigns are sent) have an average open and click rates that are lower than usual. Many reasons cause this, but one of the most obvious is that hundreds of emails will bombard subscribers’ inboxes. Even if people want information, this flood is just too much. Therefore, you need to be ready to face the harsh reality where your email newsletter will go unnoticed, and your rates see a decline.

However, it does not mean that something is wrong with your strategy. It just indicates that you need to be tougher and more creative. One email newsletter is not enough to get through the door, to say nothing about encouraging subscribers to open the email and click the call-to-action button. You need more to do the trick.

Several strategies imply sending out more than one or two emails. Let us consider the most popular ones.

The first strategy covers the period from early November to early December. It aims to:

  • Nurture your audience
  • Build momentum
  • Create engagement

It primes subscribers long before the big day. Send teasers the week after Halloween. During the entire month of November, including Thanksgiving Day, drums up interest and butter up the audience.

Consequently, by BFCM weekend subscribers are truly excited and looking forward to an email from you. Numerous retailers, some of whom are the goliaths of industry, adopt it from year to year. And it works.

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Time to Send Email Newsletters for Black Friday

The Apple Shopping Event

The second strategy bets everything on the BFCM weekend. It implies sending out emails during the sale window that is from Friday (or one or two days before Friday) to Monday (or two days after it). Here you can send two emails a day. As a rule, they will be packed with psychological tricks. So be ready to:

  • Stress urgency
  • Underline scarcity
  • Use magic words, such as “Exclusive” or “VIP”
  • Place huge bold “SALE” message

What’s more, you should make the most out of the transactional emails such as abandoned cart notices or follow-up emails.

Hour Send Email Newsletters for Black Friday


Note both these strategies involve sending multiple emails. While it may seem like overkill, however, bear in mind customers will be hit with hundreds of newsletters during BFCM weekend so this will increase your chances of success.

The Best Day to Send BFCM Emails Is…

There are several strategies designed to improve BFCM email campaigns, and one of them implies sending out email newsletters as early as possible. Many experts and skilled marketers adhere to this scheme since they will be able to build anticipation and generate excitement.

If this is your strategy, the best day to start sending out BFCM email blasts is a week after Halloween. The day after All Saints’ Eve is often regarded as the start of the holiday season, but wait until the fuss around it settles down. By then, subscribers will be ready to receive another dose of offers. Do not bombard your contacts with teasers. Drop them a line once or twice a week building anticipation unobtrusively, preferably on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (the most favorable days of the week to send out the email newsletters, according to stats published by Mailchimp).

The Best Day to Send Black Friday Email Newsletters

Source: Mailchimp Insights

What if you are not a fan of premature campaigns? In this case, you start sending BFCM emails right before Thanksgiving Day and consider combining it with a gift card. Note sending out the first email newsletter directly on the big day is considered a bad practice and leads to little or no results.

Best Time to Send an Email Newsletter

If you send an email too early, chances are your best offer will sink in inboxes. If you send it too late, it will sit unopened and may be forgotten.

With the busiest shopping weekend of the year, you will not have many opportunities to be heard. Knowing the time of the day when subscribers will be waiting for your email is the way to success.

To determine the best period for sending out BFCM email blasts, you need to analyze open rates and click-through rates since they give insights about the time when your contacts are mostly engaged in your emails.

According to recent studies that analyzed the period from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., there are two absolute winners. The best times to send out emails are 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These times show the highest open rates. The reason for this is that usually at that time people open their inbox and go through them. Some evening hours can also be regarded as an alternative; 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. are other options.

Best Time to Send an Email Newsletter

Source: Mailchimp Insights

These studies are based on the open rate. However, what about click-throughs? After all, it is a more important number. The situation is no different. These four times still show the best CTR with 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the lead.

To sum up, there are four most convertible times – 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. – that are recommended and statistically proven to send out email newsletters for Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. However, 4 p.m. sees an uptick in both open and click rates. Therefore, if you want to bet everything on just one email, then you should probably go for this time.

If you are eager to send more than one eblast then you should make a small interruption between these two. For instance, send the first one in the morning and the second at 4 p.m.; or start at 4 p.m. and then send a reminder in the evening. In this case, you will have a better chance to get the attention of subscribers and drive traffic to your website.

Use A/B Tests to Polish Timing

We have determined the best hours to send out email newsletters. But there is a catch. There is not, and never will be, a one-size-fits-all answer.

The Mailchimp team has analyzed thousands of campaigns and found that optimal send times by hour of day differ for various groups of people. For instance, if you are targeting Egyptians, then the best time to send an email blast is at 1 p.m., whereas those who want to reach Spaniards need to send at 10 a.m.

Use A/B Tests to Polish Timing

Source: Mailchimp Insights

Your target audience is unique therefore the best time for sending out email newsletter may vary a bit. The weekend after Thanksgiving Day may also bring changes in behavior patterns and preferences. To draw conclusions about the best delivery times, conduct A/B tests during the year and right before the event. What’s more, if you have been running email marketing campaigns for a number of years, then you should use data from last year since it can provide helpful insights.

Use A/B tests to determine a specific delivery window and properly segment your audience based on preferences in time. Moreover, clean your subscription list to check who is still active, retarget customers who abandon their carts, and send out the offer on a schedule that works best for your subscribers.

Finally, yet importantly, keep in mind that BFCM weekend is a holiday period. People will be engaged in shopping and various social activities. Therefore, stats collected during past events will help you polish your tactics.


Thanksgiving, as well as the weekend after it, are massive email days. Subscribers’ inboxes will be flooded with deals and offers. It is a noisy time with the toughest competition ever, so everything should be perfect. For that reason, do not neglect timing.

Much like the subject line is the first impression of your email, it is also responsible for open rates that may lead to better CTR and growth in revenue.

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As the world becomes increasingly connected, the email marketing regulation landscape becomes more and more complex. Whether or not you operate directly in different countries, it’s good practice as an email marketer to know which laws and regulations apply to your subscribers, wherever they are in the world. In recent years, keeping on top of new legislation has been challenging – most notably in Europe, with the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

The team at EmailOctopus have compiled this guide to make things easier. Our aim is to create a space where the email marketing community can keep each other up-to-date about regulations around the world, so it’s easier for us all to be aware of new legislation, as and when it’s implemented.

At a glance

For more detail about a country’s legislation, click the country name.

Country Legislation Content required Opt-out required Consent required Penalties
Australia Spam Act 2003 Name, contact information Yes Implied consent if you have a previous business relationship. Otherwise, explicit Up to $1.8m AUD per day
Brazil None at present, LGPD comes in August 2020 None No Consent is not required None
Canada CASL Name, mailing address, contact information Yes Implied consent if you have a previous business relationship. Otherwise, explicit Up to $10m CAD per violation
Germany Federal Data Protection Act, GDPR, Telemedia Act Name, mailing address, clear identification of the sender Yes Implied consent if you have a previous business relationship. Otherwise, explicit Up to €20m, or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher
India None at present None No Consent is not required None
United Kingdom GDPR, PECR Name, mailing address Yes Explicit consent, via a minimum of soft opt-in Up to €20m, or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher
USA CAN-SPAM Name, mailing address, contact information Yes Prior consent is not required Up to $16,000 per violation

Explicit vs implied consent and other key terms

Explicit consent

Explicit consent gives the individual or business the right to deal with personal data. Consent can be acquired in writing or verbally. Generally speaking you’ll need to keep a record of consent collection.

A typical example in email marketing is a website registration form. Some legislations will require that you include a check-box to allow customers to consent to receiving your newsletter.

  • Soft opt-in: When you’ve collected an email address as part of another process, such as a purchase flow, and can reasonably assume the customer will be happy to receive further communications. However, you must have given them a clear chance to opt out – both when you first collected their details, and in every future message you send.
  • Single opt-in: A one step opt-in, so only a registration form is filled out.
  • Double opt-in: A multi-step opt-in, so the registration is confirmed via a link sent to the acquired email address.

Implied consent

Implied consent, also known as inferred consent, is usually derived from actions and circumstances, often a previous purchase or enquiry.

The best example is during online shopping. Imagine a customer has just bought a games console from your online store. You may assume that the client is interested in games and wish to contact them after their initial purchase with other similar products. If you haven’t specifically asked to contact this user again (via a checkbox or similar), this is called implied consent.

The exact boundaries for both types of consent are defined in the specific country laws.


This guide is a community resource which is open to edits from members of the public. Information may be inaccurate and shouldn’t be taken as legal advice – always consult a local lawyer before carrying out email marketing in any region.


In December 2010, something unexpected happened: Facebook surpassed Google in terms of website traffic according to The Economist. Over the next few years, the Facebook-dominant phenomenon would repeat in other ways: time spent, usage on mobile devices, user growth, etc. Ten years ago there seemed to be no ceiling to how high, or how fast, social networking would grow. Even when social networks began to stratify – e.g LinkedIn for business and Instagram specifically focused on sharing visual content – there seemed to be market share for every unique segment or audience. The only limiting factor seemed to be the number of humans on the planet, hours in the day and the ability of a given platform to grab their attention. That was nearly ten years ago. That isn’t the case today.

emerged. Not all social network platforms were created equal. Some of the names that fell by the wayside include: Vine, Yik Yak, Google , Google Buzz, Friendster, Meerkat, Orkut, Yahoo! Buzz and others. Today, social network usage is steady, but user adoption is declining.

In the last two decades, social networks have redefined how we connect with one another, engage in discourse, read news and partake in a grand online experiment of sharing memories, experiences and ideas. Despite the cosmic scale achieved by social media platforms that didn’t become obsolete, or get swallowed by bigger competitors, there’s a movement away from social media. But if people aren’t running towards social networks anymore, where are they going?

email. In fact, email was always quietly operating in the background as the vital support for the Social Media Age and even proved impossible for the social network Gods to conquer. So, what makes email so steadfast, ubiquitous and complicated and how can marketers respect how people use email, while using it to their advantage?  

Email as identifier

Email was integral to the birth of the Social Media Age – and played a vital role in the meteoric ascent of social networks to the near-ubiquitous roles they play on the internet today. Email facilitated social media’s first identification method. That identification method is still, oftentimes, the only, or most common means, of creating an account with an endless array of service providers. When new SaaS companies are born that offer services, portals and applications, users have to create a profile. That profile will always have email at its heart – it will never be a question of email or some other identifier – it’ll always be email and other identifiers. 

The social network as mailbox provider

At one time, during the reign of MySpace, users could have email addresses. It seemed like a great idea to get people to use their social network as their inbox. Facebook tried it too. However, in 2014 Facebook decided it wasn’t in the business of providing mailboxes. Instead, the goal was to  provide a platform for people to connect with one another. Why did Facebook abandon email? Operating a mailbox service is as difficult as sending email at scale. There are problems and dangers that only manifest when the service or the volume approaches a critical mass. Once a platform achieves critical mass, and let’s face it, the day that Facebook turned on their email service, they were at critical mass, cyber criminals turn their attention to the mailbox service as a new audience and new set of vulnerabilities to test and exploit. The social network then is not only focused on preventing abusive accounts, they also need to prevent external attacks to its mailbox service. One has to pause and ask a basic question: what’s the purpose of a social network and where do you invest limited resources? There’s probably another reason why Facebook might’ve abandoned it’s email service: change is hard because our inboxes are the documentation of our daily lives. 


Email’s power comes from it’sarchivability and recall. Email inboxes are infinitely easy to search, organize and recall. On social networks, posts and conversations become buried, vanish, and can be deleted by their owners. The ownership chain can be confusing because unless you started the conversation, you don’t own it. Whatsmore, a complaint against the conversation by someone else can mean that entire thread could be deleted and blocked – saving, screen snapping, copying the text and downloading is necessary to preserve something with certainty. Email is by default a system of record – everything that enters your inbox can be auto filtered, sorted, foldered, tagged and will remain there until such time you choose to delete it. 

Hitting the pause button

Email gives recipients the ability to pause a conversation. The pause can take multiple forms, and here’s where marketers need to pay attention. There are good pauses and there are bad pauses. A good pause is one that can be communicated through a preference center. The more robust a brand’s email preference center, the more utility it can provide the recipient to customize the cadence and frequency of conversations. Poorly designed preference centers will by default give recipients the impetus to use a different form of pause: marking a message as spam. When that happens the overall sending reputation of a brand takes a hit. So which would you as a marketer prefer? Delivering less email that’s regarded as high quality enough to keep in the inbox, or being banished from altogether and impacting if you can or can not deliver email to other inboxes?

Self segmentation

I often ask this question when I’m on stage: who here has more than one email address? I’d say 99% of the audience raises their hand (the other one percent is too busy scrolling through their social media). And then I ask how many people have more than two accounts, more than three, more than five, more than 10? Invariably there are those in the audience that will keep their hands up even when I hit double digits. Most people fall into the category of two to four email accounts. The reason for this is self-segmentation of communications. It’s not uncommon for recipients to funnel all of their marketing emails to one account. Often times this account is a catch-all for both transactional and commercial messages. More personal communications or more valuable services are tied to another account so as to diminish the noise. Most users have a work email address and sometimes might have a professional email address distinct from their personal email address that has been around for 20 years and isn’t firstname_lastname@domain.

How does this benefit marketers, you ask? It demonstrates the value that recipients place on email. Going through and opening an account to use as a catch-all or a place to store marketing emails for perusal later in the day or at one’s leisure demonstrates the relative value these communications hold. There are services out there that claim to identify primary, secondary and tertiary email addresses. Although it might seem tempting to uncover the numerous email addresses of a given recipient, I would caution against this. Imagine the surprise when a communication arrives in an inbox it was never meant for? The surprise might turn to anger, which in turn becomes a spam complaint and possibly total disengagement from the brand across multiple accounts.

We are in an era of authenticity – pundits have beaten the drum for some years now about how social media can fuel envy, anxiety and lead to unhealthy comparisons. It’s part of the reason why social networks are resonating less and good old-fashioned email is undergoing a renaissance. Sometimes being content with the status quo, and respecting how people have organized their email, is ok. 

The real time email 

Email is both real-time and passive. Email is sent and delivered, in most cases, in mere seconds. Transactional email especially needs to be as real-time as possible because it’s entire purpose is to substantiate and close the loop on userinitiated transactions. Imagine what happens if it takes more than a few seconds to receive a password reset? How long would you wait around for one before you navigated elsewhere or thought twice about using that service?

At the same time, received email can be viewed on the recipient’s time. Marketers use every trick in the book to convince recipients that a particular communication needs to be opened right this second. This, as we observed on Black Friday, can have a detrimental effect on overall opens.

Society is experiencing social media burnout. The simple fact is that we’re aware of how much time Facebook, Twitter and other social networks demand from us. Social networks are ad-driven, which gives marketers the ability to create uniform experiences across channels and gives users the ability to determine only the relevance of the ad, but not how often they see it. Email, on the other hand, is designed so that users can determine both frequenc, relevance and cadence. 

It’s never ‘either,’ ‘or’

I can’t imagine a future without social networks. They have their place. I have some friends that prefer to communicate over Facebook Messenger, others via Slack, yet others rely on SMS and some use all of the tools indiscriminately. The point is that people have choices – just as marketers do. Making the right choice starts by acknowledging that people are unique and need to be treated as such. For marketers, it’s not just about the right message for the right person at the right time, it’s also via the right channel. However, research clearly shows that consumers across generations prefer brands to communicate with them via email versus social.  This doesn’t mean that marketers should abandon social media – quite the contrary. Marketers need to better understand how social media can spread authentic messages while reinforcing the brand and humanizing it.

The scandals following the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica, Brexit, violence in Myanmar, and the polarization of our political discourse, echo chambers, bias confirmation and weaponization of social networks have led to people thinking twice about how much time they spend on social and the kinds of information they share. Email, on the other hand, is the perfect “Goldilocks channel.” It’s not too hot, not too cool, pre-built with a shut-off valve and already in operation for 40-plus years. It’s the place people are turning back to find a little quiet and new, previously forgotten value.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Twilio SendGrid. Len serves as an evangelist and proponent of best practices and drives thought leadership and data-driven insights on industry trends. Len represents Twilio SendGrid on the board of M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) as vice chair in addition to co-chairing the Program Committee. He’s also part of the MAC (Member Advisory Committee) of the Email Experience Council where he serves as the organization’s vice chair. The EEC is owned by the Direct Marketing Association of America, a nearly 100-year-old organization where he also sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, Len has worked closely with the Email Sender and Provider Coalition on issues surrounding data privacy and email deliverability.


250ok, an email analytics and deliverability platform, has integrated Google Postmaster Tools data into its solution. It can pull in Google Postmaster data from Gmail across multiple IP addresses and sending domains for deliverability analysis via an API.

Google Postmaster Tools, launched in 2015, is a resource for high volume senders to analyze email performance and Gmail deliverability.

“Before now, it was very challenging to monitor Gmail performance across multiple IP addresses and domains,” said 250ok Senior Vice President of Product Alex Griffis, “This integration provides more context into Gmail delivery in a single report.”

Why we should care

Optimizing for deliverability is a key focus for email marketers, particularly in the age of the managed inbox. With this integration, 250ok clients will be able to access up to four months of Gmail performance data, which can be back-filled into 250ok’s analytics reports and dashboards — giving marketers more flexibility when it comes to analyzing their email marketing data.

250ok also said it will soon release tools that allow marketers to build custom dashboard widgets, reports and alerts based on Gmail performance.

More on the news

  • 250ok claims to be the first email analytics platform to gather Google Postmaster Tools data into one solution.
  • 250ok email marketing insights includes analytics around deliverability, design, sender reputation, fraud protection and consumer engagement.
  • The company recently launched a Validation solution for list hygiene.

More about the Managed Inbox

About The Author

Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability, which we launched at the MarTech Conference in Boston recently, we consulted with many email experts to determine the essential elements for success in this complex medium.

One of the important themes to emerge was that of Permission, which resides in the Optimization half of the chart. Let’s explore the four permission essentials for email marketing success.

Before marketers even begin to email, they must first secure the affirmative permission of the recipients. This sets the stage for a positive relationship between the mailer and the mailee, because the customer or prospective customer has raised a virtual hand and agreed that the marketer’s email will be welcome in their mailbox. 

Typically, the opt-in (In) process occurs through a sign-up form, where a person submits their email with the expectation of receiving a newsletter, a white paper or some other form of communication from the sender. Double Opt-In (In2) goes a step further, requiring that subscribers click on a confirmation email sent to the address submitted. This has the advantage of collecting a second agreement from the recipient and stymies situations where people or bots input bad email addresses that don’t belong to them. However, the double opt-in process may also leave some potential subscribers behind, when they neglect to respond to the confirmation email. 

To maintain a positive relationship between the parties, and also to be in Compliance (Cp) with national and international regulations, senders must always provide recipients with an easy-to-find option to unsubscribe, or opt-out (Oo) at any time. 

Download the newest Periodic Table now and ensure your email marketing’s on the right track.

More about the Managed Inbox

About The Author

Pamela Parker is Senior Editor and Projects Manager at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces Martech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Digital Marketing Depot. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.


five email automation examples

Email automation examples help you learn what other companies are doing so you can better decide how to leverage marketing automation technology.

We don’t know what we don’t know.

If you’re just getting started with email automation, it’s hard to know where to start. Even if you’re somewhat of a pro, you might still find plenty to learn from these examples.

We’ve got five email examples for the following use cases:

  • Incomplete user task
  • Website visitor viewed specific page
  • Highly engaged website visitor
  • Win-back email for previous customers
  • Quiz email for user onboarding

1. User didn’t complete task (InVideo)

Automated email example for InVideo

Email type:

This email from video ad creation tool InVideo is sent when a user begins to create a video using one of their templates, but does not complete the process.

The email trigger here is the user’s incomplete task.

InVideo is a newer startup so they’re going above and beyond the standard incomplete task email by also asking users to take a survey about what went wrong and schedule a meeting.

Why InVideo sends this email:

Just like ecommerce companies might send an abandoned cart email, SaaS companies are wise to send an incomplete task email. There are a lot of benefits to doing so:

  • Get users to log back into the product if they felt stalled or unsure how to proceed
  • Get new users to experience the “Aha” moment before they churn completely
  • Remind users that their task is incomplete (in case they got busy, or simply forgot)

As a newer startup, InVideo isn’t just sending this email to better onboard new users and inspire existing users to log back into their platform, they’re also sending this email to collect feedback.

Not every company will be in the position to hop on a phone call every time a user doesn’t complete a task, but for companies that are still building their product and are hungry for feedback from actual users, it can be smart to take the opportunity to dig deeper.

How you can benefit from something similar:

Take stock of your product. If a user doesn’t complete a task, what is likely to be the reason? What would the goal be for your email? Would it be to just get them to log back in and complete the task, or is the goal of your email to also collect feedback about what went wrong?

If you’re uncertain why users don’t complete tasks, then some customer feedback (in the form of a survey or recorded user sessions) would be really smart in order to help you build out an automated sequence that really helps people.

First figure out what the problems are, then build your email content around what you discovered so you can automatically help other users experiencing the same issues. And of course, update your UX to fix anything you find.

2. Website visitor viewed an important resource (InVision)

Email automation example

Email type:

Here’s the deal—not very many companies send emails based on pages that website visitors have viewed, and since GoSquared can help you send this type of email, it’s very exciting to see one out in the wild.

This email from InVision is sent to leads who have viewed The New Design Frontier landing page.

Without even downloading the report, a lead will still receive this email.

GoSquared has the technology to trigger these sort of emails to captured leads and users.

Why InVision sends this email:

Clearly, InVision has decided that anyone who checks out this report could be a great fit for the enterprise version of their app. InVision is waiting to only send this email to leads who have downloaded this particular report.

Even if you’ve just viewed the page, InVision will send this to leads who were captured from downloading something previously, or because they are using the free version of their software.

Essentially, why only send email to people who have downloaded a certain report, if you can also email people who have viewed the landing page?

How you can benefit from something similar:

Perhaps downloadable guides and lead magnets are essential to your business. If so, you can follow the above example very closely. If not, you can use the same technology to send emails you have viewed other important pages like:

  • Pricing pages
  • Product pages
  • Feature pages
  • Demo request pages
  • Contact pages

Knowing which pages a visitor has viewed can give you context to start a conversation or inspire action via email.

3. Highly engaged website visitor ( by InVision)

Email marketing example

Email type:

This email is a simple request to share with friends. The CTA button takes the user directly to a pre-written tweet to share on Twitter.

To sweeten the deal, there’s the chance to win a notebook. Hey, why not?

And to increase the chance of sharing even further, this email is sent only to new users who are highly engaged. Typically, this type of email is triggered based on when someone signed up and how many pages they have viewed or long they have been on the site.

For example, inside of GoSquared, you could create a smart group with this criteria:

New email subscriber fewer than 10 days old AND viewed 4 or more pages OR time on site is greater than 5 minutes.

Why sends this email:


In all seriousness, knows that they are giving away really valuable information (via their podcast, conversations, and ebooks) that product design leaders probably can’t get anywhere else. It’s not unlikely that their audience would want to share, and the chance to win swag certainly doesn’t help.

It’s also one of those emails that makes you feel like you’re getting a warmer welcome than the initial “you’re now subscribed” sort of email. It’s a bit more persona, despite the HTML styling.

With this email, can inspire more sharing from its most engaged new subscribers.

How you can benefit from something similar:

You can copy this to a T and ask only your most engaged website visitors for a share (using the Smart Group filtering criteria mentioned above). You can even offer the chance to win swag, or entry to a special live event.

However, the lead filtering behind this could be used for other campaigns besides asking for shares:

  • Drive engaged website visitors deeper into your funnel
  • Offer a special coupon
  • Offer a resource or guide
  • Schedule a demo

When you’re able to segment out who’s engaging with your site the most, you have the opportunity to deepen the relationship further.

4. Win-back email (Skillshare)

Email marketing example

Email type:

This type of email is called a win-back or a re-engagement, because you’re trying to convert someone who used to be a customer back into a customer again.

Skillshare is offering a special promotion for previous customers. Instead of the standard $12/month for monthly billing or $8/month when billed annually, Skillshare is giving a deal of $4.95/month when billed annually.

Why Skillshare sends this email:

Sometimes, your best new customers are your old customers. In a world with rising customer acquisition costs, no one can really afford to just spend money on bringing in new people and forget about everyone who had converted at some point in the past. Not realistic!

Are you sending win-back campaigns, or are you letting former customers fall through the cracks?

How you can benefit from something similar:

If you have a subscription-based company, you can follow Skillshare’s lead and send a win-back email that offers a good (or great) discount on an annual plan. For service-based businesses, you could offer an add-on service when someone purchases a regular service, or you could offer a discount on a regular service.

For ecommerce, a BOGO deal or a really great coupon applicable for anything on your site would be a great way to inspire repeat purchases from someone who hadn’t shopped with you in a while.

With GoSquared, you can create a Smart Group with criteria to automatically send a win-back email to customers who haven’t had a repeat purchase in a certain number of days or months.

5. Email to onboard unengaged users (Eventbrite)

digital marketing example

Email type:

Onboarding is no easy feat. It requires creativity to stand out in crowded inboxes, and it must be centered around problems that the user is trying to solve—or objectives they are trying to achieve.

Great onboarding reminds users why they signed up for your product in the first place, what they can achieve, and why they should log back in.

Why Eventbrite sends this email:

Eventbrite sends this email to new users who aren’t engaging with the product and using it to create and promote events.

Too often, companies have an initial onboarding email, but they fail to keep in contact with users going forward, especially with inactive users. This is a big mistake. Your inactive users are a very important audience to win over.

How you can benefit from something similar:

If smart onboarding is essential to your business, you should create a sequence for all new users. If your product is fairly simple, you can use the above email as an example, and educate users of your value propositions to entice them to log back in and get started.

What about onboarding for more complex products? In your first email, you’ll want to hit on the main value of your product. In subsequent emails, you should introduce readers to increasingly more advanced features.

Instead of just setting this up as a drip, you can trigger your onboarding emails based on user activity and behavior. For example, a user who has used the core feature more than 3 times (or simply logged in more than 3 times) will get the next email in the sequence to learn about the next feature.

Meanwhile, a user who hasn’t logged in again since signing up will be reminded of the core value propositions of the product.

Email automation allows you to cater your messaging to what a customer needs, when they need it. Hopefully, these email automation examples and the triggering criteria behind them help inspire you to set up similar automations of your own.

Did you know? GoSquared is launching Marketing Automation to help you put your website analytics and customer insights to work.