10 types of marketing emails you should be sending

Marketing emails

Email marketing can be very effective because it gives you a direct way to communicate with your customers. But developing an effective email marketing strategy can be difficult. There are many types of emails you can use, so it can be overwhelming to know which ones will work best for your organization.

If you find that your email marketing campaigns are only seeing low click-through rates (CTR), you’ll benefit from learning which types of emails may deliver better results.

This guide outlines the 10 most common types of emails and best practices to help you decide which types are best for your organization — and for connecting with your customers.

We’ll cover the following types of marketing emails:

Most common types of emails

Marketers have seemingly endless options when it comes to reaching customers with emails. But there are some types of emails that will drive stronger results for your brand.

Let’s start by focusing on the five most common types of emails that brands use to reach customers.

Most common types of emails

Promotional emails

Promotional emails focus primarily on getting the word out about your product or service to potential customers. These emails could share coupons or discounts, provide access to gated content, or announce an upcoming special event. Promotional emails are by far the most common type of marketing emails that customers receive.

Because these emails are so widely used, you should try to make yours stand out. Your email should explain the benefits and features of your product or service when offering a discount or coupon code. This helps customers understand why they should purchase beyond just having a discount. Another way to make your emails stand out is to put the offer in the subject line of the email. This makes it more enticing for readers to click into the email instead of just reading the subject line in their inbox.

This promotional email from airline company JetBlue offers customers a discount for their purchase when they use a promo code. This email is simple and short enough that users won’t get tired of reading and skip it. Giving customers a discount can be enough of a nudge to convince them to make a purchase — or at least visit your site and engage with your brand.

JetBlue promotional email

Newsletter emails

Newsletter emails are widely used and are usually sent on a regular schedule. These emails may contain company updates, event or promotional announcements, and company blog content. Email newsletters are the second most widely used type of marketing email after promotional emails.

In addition to reaching new customers, newsletters can be a great way to market to your existing customers — by sharing content about how to use your products or services, customer success stories, and any promotions you are running. Newsletters are an effective way for organizations to stay top of mind for readers.

To get the most out of your newsletter, define the goal for the email. You should then focus on including only relevant and important information. It can be tempting to add too much, but you should focus on the most relevant content and the most important call to action (CTA) for your readers.

With newsletters, you can repurpose your existing content from your website, social accounts, or blog — making these emails less time-intensive to create than some of the others in this list.

This newsletter from cloud hosting company Kinsta shares valuable resources that potential and existing customers may be interested in. The content in this email is related to Kinsta’s solutions, but it doesn’t come across as spammy or too focused on driving sales.

Kinsta newsletter email

Lead nurturing emails

Lead nurturing emails are often automated email sequences that help advance potential customers through your marketing funnel toward making a purchase. The automated aspect of these emails lowers the time and content investment and makes sure you don’t forget to send at a certain stage or let the prospect fall out of the funnel.

These emails meet potential customers wherever they are in the funnel — whether they are just starting to research options or are comparing a few final choices. Lead nurturing emails play a key role in driving conversions and revenue for businesses.

You can use lead nurturing emails to promote company news, blog posts, eBooks, or discounts — anything relevant to a lead that could help convert them into a customer.

This email from Mersive Technologies shares the benefits of using its collaboration platform. These benefits could help move leads closer to making a purchase or prompt them to reach out to the company with questions about the product. Mersive also includes CTAs for readers to view a product demo or request a quote — which are all goals of this particular type of email.

Mersive lead nurturing email

Survey emails

Survey emails are a data collection method you can use to collect quantitative data from your customers — with surveys or questionnaires sent via email. Recipients can answer these surveys directly in embedded questions within the email body, through email responses, or on your website. Survey emails allow you to gather feedback from potential customers about what type of content matters to them, which questions they have, and what is holding them back from making a purchase.

These emails could be asking customers to rate and review a recent purchase or complete a formal survey about your company’s service. Another use of survey emails is to gauge customer interest and guide future projects.

This short and simple email from transportation company Bird thanks users for their business and then prompts them to take a survey. Emails like this help Bird understand how its customers use its service and any changes the company could make to improve customer experiences.

Bird survey email

Milestone emails

Milestone emails are a chance for you to connect with your customers by highlighting milestones personal to the customer or about their relationship with your company.

Milestone emails typically express appreciation for your customers’ contribution toward your achievements and success or for celebrating a specific occasion like a birthday, anniversary, or holiday.

For example, you could send an email after a customer has been with you for a year, or you could send a customer a personalized discount code on their birthday. Milestone email offers can be very effective because they’re highly personalized.

This milestone email from software company MacPaw celebrates the company’s fourth anniversary and offers readers a discount on MacPaw’s software solutions. Even if readers don’t immediately make a purchase after reading this email, it can still generate engagement and keep the brand top of mind.

MacPaw milestone email

Five more common types of emails

5 additional common types of email

Welcome emails

Welcome emails are usually the very first email communication that you have with a potential or current customer. You could send a welcome email after a customer’s initial action with your company — like signing up for an email list or creating an account. Best practices suggest sending these emails within 24 hours.

These emails can help build a relationship with a customer by creating a positive first impression, building trust, and setting expectations. Welcome emails have better results — like higher open rates, click-through rates, and engagement — when they are personalized. It’s best to keep these emails brief and simple. Avoid including sales pitches right away.

This welcome email from electronics retailer Best Buy thanks customers for signing up to receive emails from the company. It also encourages users to sign up for Best Buy’s loyalty program or download the mobile app.

Best Buy welcome email

Dedicated emails

Dedicated emails — sometimes called standalone emails — are sent to inform your email list of one specific offer. For example, you can use dedicated emails to let customers know about a new resource you’ve published or invite them to take part in a virtual or in-person event. These emails have a very specific CTA, which makes them quicker and easier to measure. These emails aren’t sent as regularly as some of the others on this list because they’re dependent on the offering or event you’re promoting.

This email from snack company Nuts.com shares an announcement about an expansion of their product line. The CTAs in this email encourage readers to click through to the website and shop the new range of products. If customers were unable to find a product that met their needs before, this email may spark interest and drive them back to the website to browse the new offerings.

Nuts.com dedicated emails

Re-engagement emails

Re-engagement emails are designed to reconnect with****email subscribers who may have stopped engaging with your regular emails. If they haven’t opened an email, engaged with your emails, or clicked through to your website for a while, you may use re-engagement emails to encourage them to do so.

Re-engagement emails can take many different forms since they are intended to remind customers about your brand. You can share promotions, company announcements, newsletter content, and more.

According to Invesp, it can be up to five times cheaper to turn an inactive subscriber into a customer than to acquire a new one. So sending out re-engagement emails can be a more lucrative strategy for your business than focusing on customer acquisition.

It's 5 times cheaper to turn an inactive subscriber into a customer

This re-engagement email from electronics company Withings serves multiple purposes. It reminds customers of the benefits of Withings’ key product offerings, shares a special promotion, and presents multiple CTAs to get users back to the company’s website.

Withings re-engagement emails

Abandoned cart emails

Abandoned cart emails are sent to customers who have added products to their shopping cart but haven’t completed the checkout process. These emails act as reminders to encourage people to return to your site and complete their purchase.

Reminding your customers to complete a purchase helps create a sense of urgency. You can include an image and description of the item, along with discounts that may entice customers to convert. You should also include a prominent CTA to help drive sales. If a specific item was out of stock when someone added it to their cart, you could send alerts when that item gets restocked and is available for purchase.

This abandoned cart email from outdoor brand Cotopaxi reminds customers that they left an item sitting in their cart and encourages them to complete their purchase before an item sells out. In this case, the email contains an engaging product image along with the details of the product that the customer was interested in. The most important aspect is the direct CTA that Cotopaxi uses to prompt users to check out.

Cotopaxi abandoned cart emails

Transactional emails

Transactional emails help facilitate a transaction or provide an update on an existing order or purchase. These include order confirmation emails, shipping updates, refund confirmations, and more.

Transactional emails have a higher CTR than other types of emails because they include information that customers are looking for specifically, like when their order will arrive or what the next steps are after making a purchase.

This email from financial platform Coinbase is transactional in nature as it’s just requesting that the reader click a link to verify their email address. Because users need to take action, the main focus of the email is the “verify email address” button — with no promotional aspects at all.

Coinbase transactional email

Best practices

Now that you’re familiar with the most common types of emails, we’ll explore a few best practices to help you get the most out of your email campaigns.

Taking your email marketing strategy further

Figuring out the right mix of marketing email types to build a strategy around can help you engage customers, nurture leads, and solidify relationships. You can start by looking at the types and frequency of your current emails to customers. This will help you identify any immediate opportunities for improvement, like sending fewer emails or improving your targeting.

Adobe Campaign can help you collect and analyze data on the emails you send so you can create a personalized and effective email marketing strategy. You can create, coordinate, and deliver dynamic campaigns using an integrated, no-code interface and synchronize campaign elements into one manageable workflow.

Request a demo to learn what Adobe Campaign can do for you.