Email Marketing

5 Unique and Effective Email Offers

The offer in an ecommerce email campaign is key. Coming up with offers that stand out from the competition and get your subscribers’ attention, however, can be difficult.

A straight dollar-off discount gets boring over time, and email recipients will eventually ignore the same types of offers coming to their inboxes. However, there are unique and creative offers you can do that will freshen up your email program and get your subscribers excited again. Below, I’ll discuss five such offers.

Offer 1: Exclusive Invitation

People who are subscribed to your email program did so for a reason: exclusive offers, news, or content that is unique to them. It’s important to deliver on your opt-in promises. Make your recipients feel as though they are part of an exclusive club, and it will give them a reason to stay subscribed to your emails. Highlighting an “Exclusive Invitation” to a sale or other type of event only for your subscribers is an effective way to deliver on this promise, and get recipients reengaged. Make sure that the offer or sale is indeed unique, and not offered to other website visitors. extends exclusive invitations to email subscribers. extends exclusive invitations to email subscribers.


Offer 2: ‘Oops’ Offers

“Oops” emails are sent typically because a mistake occurred either on the site or a previous email. Subject lines that address mistakes tend to receive some of the highest open rates. This is presumably because the recipients were curious what the mistake was. They open the email to find out. You don’t need to wait for a mistake to use an “Oops” subject one, however. Some of the most effective subject lines I’ve developed were versions of oops-related headlines that state, “Oops, we accidently extended our sale by three more days!” or “Oops, we accidently ordered too much, and now have extra inventory marked down!” Use this approach rarely. When you do, it can help increase opens and reengage dormant subscribers.

Bargain Catalog Outlet sent an "oops" email when it realized customers may have had trouble placing an order.

Bargain Catalog Outlet sent an “oops” email when it realized customers may have had trouble placing an order.


Offer 3: Launch a ‘Create Your Own Sale’

Consumers love to be in control of the shopping process. Creating a sale or offer whereby subscribers can choose the best option for them can be very effective. Many times consumers become frustrated with the small print on an offer, and may spend a considerable amount of time shopping and filling their carts, only to find that the offer or promotion code doesn’t apply to the items they selected. This is a quick way to increase abandoned shopping carts. Offering up a flexible sale is an effective way to give consumers what they are looking for, and change the monotony of the typical offers or sales.

Fashion retailer Avenue allowed its subscribers to decide what's on sale.

Fashion retailer Avenue allowed its subscribers to decide what’s on sale.


Offer 4: Contests or Giveaways

Consumers respond to contests and giveaways. Develop a creative contest or giveaway that gets subscribers reengaged in your brand, while giving them a reason to look forward to your emails. Consider giveaways where smaller prizes are given away daily for, say, one month. Then send emails every day announcing the winner. Your subscribers will be excited to follow the giveaway. And making the prizes smaller and giving them away daily will help recipients believe they have a chance of winning.

Zagg, an electronics retailer, gave away a computer tablet every day in April .

Zagg, an electronics retailer, gave away a computer tablet every day in April .


Offer 5: Free Surprise Gifts Waiting in Your Shopping Cart

This is an extremely effective offer. It truly helps boost conversion rates. Identify products for which you have excess inventory. Then choose one with a broad appeal. Next, email your subscribers, offering a free surprise gift with any order. When your subscribers click through, have that free gift already populated in their shopping carts. This gets them halfway through the checkout process. If it is a compelling product, subscribers may complete an order that they were delaying or were going to purchase elsewhere. This offer gets customers excited and reengages in your brand.


Carolyn Nye
Carolyn Nye
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