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Revisiting the Unforgettable Emails of 2019

Last week we teamed up with Really Good Emails‘ co-founder, Matt Helbig, to highlight the unforgettable emails of 2019. All in all, it truly has been a great year for email. We’re definitely seeing marketers unleash their creative talents creating all sorts of masterpieces on their email canvases.

If we had to summarize this year in email, we’d characterize 2019 as a year that saw an aggressive raising of the bar—emails are not only visually stunning, but they’re keying in on key attributes that hammer home high engagement: fun and valuable content, individualized and thoughtful messaging, and trendy and elegant UX design.

The Best of the Best

We sifted through hundreds (maybe thousands?) of email submissions in preparation for this best-of-2019 webinar. To be honest, it wasn’t easy narrowing down such a gigantic pool and picking categorical favorites. But we did it! And the results were awesome.

In this post, we want to shout out all of our nominees and recognize the email marketing teams who are making the magic happen. We’ve built a gallery* of this year’s unforgettable emails by category below—take a stroll through, browse, reflect, and find your inspiration for 2020!

*Note: click the hyperlinked company names to visit Really Good Emails’ detailed analysis of each email. 

Best Welcome Message

By now we’ve all come to recognize the importance of a great welcome campaign. These three examples from Glitch, Headspace and Hawthorne certainly knew how to make an inbox entrance. 

Elements of memorable welcome messages:

  • Colors, layout, and visual cues to keep the eyes moving
  • Friendly and inviting copy, illustrations, and “feel”
  • Interesting information that brings you into the product

Jump to: 3:41

Best Variation on the “Year in Review” Format

“Year in Review” emails are a great way to showcase personalization and remind your customers just how much they loved you. The New York Time and Fanduel took two very different, yet equally effective approaches toward recapping a year’s worth of engagement. 

Elements of memorable “Year in Review” emails:

  • New context applications outside of just the calendar year
  • Interesting displays of how and where you’re engaging
  • Ultra-personalized, dynamic content

Jump to: 7:25

“Something Different”

In our marketing world, style means expressing your brand’s “self” through customer messaging. Baggu, Baboon, and WeTransfer did their thing and earned a place in our minds as 2019 tastemakers.

Elements of memorable “Different” messages:

  • Non-conventional design, stylings, and layouts
  • Offbeat but pleasing uses of colors and fonts
  • New approaches on ways of visually standing out

Jump to: 10:56

Social/Political/Charitable Efforts

2019 marked a year where brands were recognized for taking a stance and having viewpoints on cultural matters. Penzey’s, Airbnb, and American Red Cross used their email platforms to pursue endeavors that mattered to them and their customers. 

Elements of memorable cause-based messages:

  • Use of marketing to advocate for brand views or initiatives
  • Moving narrative or storytelling that builds sentiment
  • Community-focused initiatives

Jump to: 15.58

Best Use of Dark Mode

Consumers quickly flocked to “dark mode” settings across their devices this year. Savvy email marketers like DesignModo, Bellroy, and Bose were quick to jump on the trend and play to consumer preferences. 

Elements of memorable Dark Mode messages:

  • Balanced use of contrast and color saturation
  • Product imagery that pops on dark layouts
  • Subtle design flair

Jump to: 21:37

Most Talked-About Email of the Year

Emailing with empathy is an attribute of brands who truly understand their audiences—some very self-aware marketing. Blooms & Wild made waves this year by recognizing that certain holidays resonate differently with certain people. 

Elements of Most Talked-About messages:

  • Showing customers the brand cares about you
  • Serving the customer before the brand
  • Easy control over messaging

Jump to: 24:36

Best Shark Week-Themed Email

Once a year, the good folks at Discovery Channel bless us with a week-long bingefest of captivating shark programming. The power of Shark Week knows no bounds and brands like Joann Fabrics and Crafts weren’t afraid to test the shark-themed waters in hopes of tuning into consumer trends.

Elements of memorable Shark Week messages:

  • Brand-applicable uses of shark themes
  • Fun, goofy, and lighthearted tie-ins
  • Appreciation of the Shark Week cultural phenomenon

Jump to: 31:18

Best Use of Illustrations

Oooooh, pretty! Brands definitely brought the creative heat in 2019 and found ways to maximize the visual appeal of their emails. Magic Spoon, Casper, and Today found their artistic muse and leveraged beautiful illustration to tell a creative brand story. 

Elements of memorable Illustration use:

  • Fun ways of showcasing brand personality 
  • New design spins for breaking up sections and layout
  • Clever ways of complementing text-heavy messages  

Jump to: 32:10

Best Interactive Email

Interactivity is the next frontier of email marketing, and Harry’s is off any running ahead of the pack. We’ve given the 2019 Grand Champion award to the folks over at Harry’s for this elegant and engaging interactive email—their email had it all: intriguing concept, elegant design, interesting copy, and in-message interactivity. 

Elements of memorable Interactive messages:

  • Delivering “surprise and delight”
  • Tying together interactive email input to product output
  • Captivating copy to entice recipients to engage

Jump to: 34:41

The screenshots you see here speak for themselves. Email marketers are did some very, very cool things in 2019. This recap only scratches the surface of what we absolutely loved about these unforgettable emails. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the webinar, be sure to catch the recording for detailed analysis and discussion!

As we close out 2019, let’s learn from our community and keep pushing the boundaries of email marketing! Cheers to you all, and let’s see what 2020 has in store for the world of email! 

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