The Top 10 Email Campaigns of 2020
In 2020, maybe you promoted a sale, launched a new product, sent out a newsletter, or announced a company update.
If you have an email list, it’s more than likely that you use an email campaign to communicate these one-off messages with your customers. And hopefully, you segmented those campaigns instead of batch-and-blasting them to your entire list.
But depending on the content of those campaigns, you may have seen varying degrees of results. In fact, you may even wonder what a “successful” email campaign actually looks like.
Wonder no more, because during the Klaviyo Holiday Show, I rounded up the 10 top-performing email campaigns of 2020.
Discover which brands have seen success with their email marketing strategies this year, why these email campaigns stood out, and how you can improve your own campaigns in 2021 by watching the video below or reading the full countdown.
10 | Alphalete
Alphalete is the alpha dog when it comes to creating emails that win sales. With their premium performance apparel, the brands created a loyal customer community of athletes—who are only too willing to take advantage of an 80 percent sale on all Alphalete products.
Besides the discount itself, this email campaign employed a few other strategies to drive peak performance.
First, the subject line hooks the recipient by announcing the 80 percent off site-wide. But when you click into the email, it’s clear that investing in product photography pays off. There’s very little written content. Instead, the campaign conveys the desirability of Alphalete’s product line through visuals and clear call-to-actions (CTAs).
The campaign’s success in driving sales shows that sometimes less is more. Had Alphalete included more content or CTAs, it could have distracted from the sale.
Instead, the point of the campaign was to announce the promotion, show off the products, and get the recipients to shop online. Mission accomplished.
9 | cocokind
Beauty brand cocokind turned superfood-based skincare into super high open rates in this blemish-free email campaign.
With their sustainability-in-progress subject line, the environmentally-conscious recipient instantly wants to to learn more.
If you’re a mission-focused brand, email is a great way to communicate your values and how you’re upholding the cause. For cocokind, it’s about showcasing their earth-friendly, waste-free product line. This is a differentiator for the brand, and it’s why their customers love them.
Additionally, Cocokind educates the recipient on how their balm differs in its product ingredients and then drives conversions with the “Shop Now” CTA. The overall design of the email is also clean, supporting Cocokind’s clean and conscious brand.
8 | Hedley & Bennett
Hedley & Bennett makes chef-quality kitchenware, and they’re serving up an email fit for the times with a face mask-focused email, which just goes to show you that the best campaigns are the ones that empathize with your customers’ needs.
This email had one of the highest open rates of the year thanks to a straightforward subject line: “Update on your H&B Mask.” The email then reassures recipients that their masks are on the way and sets proper shipping expectations.
If you’re facing your own supply chain delays, transparency with your customers is always the best policy—not just in an email, but across all customer-facing touchpoints. Setting clear expectations eliminates unnecessary friction.
7 | Oh My Cream!
French clean beauty brand Oh My Cream! turns heads with their all natural products and beautiful emails.
Need a campaign glow up? Check out this newsletter that features a round-up of beauty tips and best practices. I especially love the use of modules linking out to beauty tutorial video content.
In one of the GIFs, journalist Laurianne Melierre shares some of her staple beauty items. And in the other, Johanna shows off an anti-stretchmark product duo. It’s the perfect mix of show-and-tell.
If you’re struggling to create enough compelling content in-house, remember that sometimes the best way to get a feel for a product or how to use it is to see it in action. Oh My Cream! makes their clean beauty line accessible with educational demos.
6 | Andie
Andie tailors their swimsuits to the female form just as they tailor their email campaigns to their customers’ needs.
This new product release campaign makes a splash with the standout subject line: “Meet the Wynwoods.” Prior to the release, Andie had launched the Wynwood top to complement any bottoms.
Fans of the style then eagerly opened this email to discover the latest addition to the line, the Wynwood one piece. Not only does this campaign add hype to the new release and show off the product in multiple colors, but it also tells a story of product feedback.
The email starts by taking readers back to the genesis of the best-selling Wynwood top, giving them the chance to shop the collection. Then it shares how Andie listened to customer feedback requesting a one-piece version before revealing all the various options.
It’s always important to let your customers know you value their input, and Andie expertly drives demand with their CTA language calling the Wynwood one piece your new must-have.
5 | woom
Helping kids put the pedal to the metal, woom makes award-winning bikes for children of all ages. As you might imagine, woom felt the impact of the industry-wide bike shortage when it seemed like everybody wanted a pair of wheels this summer.
This campaign is entirely informational and intended to provide clarity to customers regarding their pre-orders.
What I love about the language is that it takes accountability—woom apologizes for the negative customer experience that their previous pre-order process created and reassures customers on the proactive steps the brand took to fulfill their orders optimally.
In the email, woom introduces official wait times for all bike models so their customers know when they can expect to pre-order and receive a specific bike. The brand understands that the way to ease supply chain volatility is through proper expectation setting and consistent communication.
Through this campaign, woom restores trust by empathizing with their customers’ situations and giving them everything they need to know to feel at peace with their purchase.
4 | Copper Compression
Copper Compression creates high-performance copper-infused gear. When news of the global pandemic spread and face masks became required attire, the brand sprung into action, donating their entire on-hand supply of face masks to New York City hospitals.
“When this got picked up in the news and on YouTube, we needed help. We gathered emails from people looking for high-quality masks. And then on April 22nd, we sent a campaign to everyone to let them know we were back in stock,” said Benjamin Lundquist, digital director at Copper Compression on their strategy.
“This year has been an outlier, but I truly believe that without Klaviyo’s support, we would not have been able to be so agile when we found ourselves in the right place at the right time. For everyone in the community, keep your content fresh and stay nimble,” he added.
Between the empathy-first messaging and helpful product visuals, there are a lot of things this email does well. But the product overview section is especially impressive.
People may not know what a copper-infused face mask is or why it’s important. Through a diagram and easy-to-follow breakdown of product benefits, the recipient learns that they get additional layers of protection. It’s made out of a material that can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, and it’s durable, washable and re-wearable. How could you resist?
3 | Who Gives a Crap
What happens when people start to panic-buy essential products like toilet paper amid a global pandemic? Widespread sell-outs.
Who Gives a Crap experienced this firsthand and expertly created a waitlist to address customer needs as inventory became available. In this email, the brand levels with the recipient, explaining that they can order a box of toilet paper and introducing a new process.
Who Gives a Crap then uses the email to gauge people’s immediate need with eye-catching CTAs that capture custom profile properties.
This is a unique and helpful way to learn more about your customers. Plus, you can easily use the properties captured in your future segmentation for a more personalized experience.
2 | Goli Nutrition
With their apple cider vinegar gummies, Goli Nutrition has proven that happiness and wellness go hand in hand—just like email and sales go hand in hand.
Everybody loves a flash sale from their favorite brand, especially when it offers the biggest savings to date, as this campaign subject line promised. When you click into the email, you’re met with a vibrant product promotion for a discount that ends at midnight.
Goli’s claim that they never go on sale only further enhances the urgency of this email campaign and the fear of missing out (FOMO) is real. If you want to save on your Goli, you’ve got to act now.
The campaign then makes it easy to redeem the deal by clearly calling out the promotional code right before the “Shop Now” CTA, which is even more enticing because of the promise of free shipping.
But Goli understands that people may still need more convincing, so they follow up the promotion with a series of relatable customer reviews supporting the products’ benefits.
And for customers that are still unsure, the campaign adds further credibility by sharing its many certifications, all before driving it home with Goli’s commitment to supporting children in need through each product sale.
1 | PURELEI
Beyond that, the campaign visuals bring the limited time offering to life. PURELEI features a revolving gift of included jewelry as well as a video explanation about the promotion. It’s an inviting and stylish take on a classic tradition, and it’s no wonder it drove so many euros.
“The strategy behind this campaign was to design a product that evokes nostalgia for our current customer base—in this case, an advent calendar. Our next step was to take last year’s lessons as well as customer feedback garnered through polls and email surveys in order to design a limited edition product which would be attractive to both our new and existing customer base. Finally, we amplified our messaging via promotion across all our sales channels,” said Jessica Hutchinson, the head of email marketing at PURELI.
“With regards to segmentation, we targeted customers who had recently engaged with us, people who tended to shop during our sales periods, people who had been interested in last year’s advent calendar and/or surprise boxes, and our current list of sign-ups for this campaign,” she added.
As for Jessica’s tips for a high-performing email campaign?
“If you want to know what your customers want, ask them. Additionally, assume that most people skim your emails, so make sure your most important key messaging is in your first banner.”
These email campaigns aren’t just nice to look at—they’ve proven their worth for each brand in opens, clicks, and attributed revenue.
By studying the elements of these high-performing emails, perhaps it’ll spark some ideas you can use in your 2021 ecommerce marketing strategy.
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