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What is a Promotional Email?

A promotional email refers to an email that is intended to promote your brand. Typically, it includes a discount, offer, event invitation, or exclusive content.

Email marketing remains an effective strategy for generating interest in your brand, and promotional emails are crucial for engaging your audience with your products or services. Your brand can have an even greater impact by using promotional emails as a component of a cross-channel marketing strategy that reaches your customer base across all the marketing channels they use—SMS messaging, in-app messages, push notifications, direct mail, and others—combined with segmentation to create a highly personalized approach to developing your promotional offers.

Let’s look at a few examples of types of promotional emails that your brand might send, as well as strategies for engaging your audience in a cross-channel marketing campaign that helps you get the most out of your promotional content.

New Subscriber Promotions

To incentivize customers to sign up for your email list, it can help to provide them with a special offer. Your website, app, and social media channels can spotlight a promotional offer that customers will receive once they sign up, which might include a generous discount off their first purchase. By encouraging them to sign up and make an initial purchase, you can build trust and familiarity with your brand and generate the opportunity to continue marketing to them on an ongoing basis.

Limited-Time Offers

Limited-time offers (LTOs) are campaigns that generate demand through a sense of scarcity. The promotional discount or product offering is only available for a set period of time. The LTO might include a substantial discount (40% off one item), a flash sale (all inventory 25% for six hours), or an item with low stock (only 200 remaining). LTOs can help to move your customers towards action, but make sure the offer is a genuine deal that’s only available for the time period you designate. If they receive the same LTO the following week, they’ll lose trust in your brand and no longer see the LTO as a valuable deal.

Product Launches or New Arrivals

If your brand has developed a new product or begun stocking a new product line, you can drive customer excitement by sending a promotional email as soon as it becomes available to order (or even before it’s available). Your message might include a description and image of the new product, as well as a link to a video about the product. While some product launches or new arrivals might be relevant to your entire subscriber list, others might benefit from a segmented approach to ensure that your audience is likely to engage with the offer.

For instance, if your apparel brand has just launched a new line of women’s jeans, you might consider targeting only customers who have purchased or shown interest in women’s clothing in the past, rather than those who’ve purchased only men’s or children’s clothing.

New Store Openings or Live Events

If your brand offers both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail channels, you can use your digital channels to alert your customers of opportunities to visit your retail stores and showrooms. When you’re preparing to open a new location, you can geo-target customers within a set radius of your new store to alert them of the grand opening, offering them a special incentive to RSVP in advance, and track the success of your digital promotion.

Is your brand hosting a conference, pop-up event, or other form of live event? Again, you can geographically target your customers based on their region to encourage them to sign up, and keep track of your response rate across various marketing channels.

Upselling Promotions

Your subscribers have already demonstrated interest in your brand—but can you entice them to level up by purchasing more premium products or services? For example, if you offer a freemium SaaS product, you can set up a cross-channel marketing campaign that promotes all of the additional services your customers will receive by paying for the premium version of your product. Think: 24/7 customer service, unlocked premium content, and additional storage, for example.

Focus your campaigns to align with your customers’ product usage and stage in the customer lifecycle. If a customer has just signed up for a freemium membership, wait until they’ve begun to explore the solution before triggering an upselling campaign. This way, they’ll understand the limitations of the freemium version and be primed to explore additional opportunities.

Cross-Selling Promotions

Cross-selling promotions are highly personalized, and involve promoting products that are similar to ones your customers have previously purchased or expressed interest in. For example, if a customer has previously purchased a graphic novel, your brand might follow up with a promotional email featuring a curated list of other graphic novels that might appeal to them. The customer doesn’t even need to make an initial purchase to generate cross-selling recommendations. If they browse a product on your website or app, you can generate a promotional email encouraging them to purchase that item, while offering other recommendations they might like as well.

Cross-Channel Engagement for Promotional Content

While, in the past, many of these promotions may have been distributed via email alone, today’s marketers have many more opportunities to build connections with their customers using a sophisticated cross-channel marketing platform, like Iterable.

Each of these types of promotional campaigns can include a sophisticated cross-channel sequence, in which all of the digital channels your customers engage with are targeted. This way, if a customer doesn’t open a promotional email, they’ll have other opportunities to engage with your brand. For instance, you might follow an unread promotional email about your new store opening with an SMS message and a push notification, as well as a piece of direct mail offering an exclusive discount.

You’ll be able to easily track which channels generated results among each audience segment, and target your channel messaging accordingly going forward. Cross-channel maximizes engagement among your entire audience base by interacting with them on their preferred channels, facilitating more sales and increased LTV.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.