Discount & Promotional Email Examples

Sales and promotions shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all email strategy but can help boost sales periodically.

Explore all 88 sales and discounts emails

Sign-up for MailCharts to discover sales and discounts campaigns and get inspired!

Try for free

Pro tip: Scroll down for hand-picked emails.

Did you know that discounts can help drive website traffic and ultimately, sales? Okay, we admit, that statement is something you’ve probably heard a thousand times in your career.

However, while this tactic can help drive purchases, it can also lower the cost of an average sale and eat into a company’s profit. It’s important to note that these emails shouldn’t be sent too often or else customers will expect discounts in the future, so tread lightly. Ready to dive in? Let’s get started with some recommendations…

Sales and Discounts strategies

Discount emails shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all email strategy but can help boost sales periodically. Think of ways to integrate discount emails into existing strategies, like win-back campaigns. Take a look below on a few content ideas to get started:

Give a time limit and provide urgency

A sale should only last for a limited time and drive urgency for customers to purchase a product now vs. later. For example, natural home and body shop, Thistle Farms, uses urgency with emojis in the subject line and a sale deadline clearly defined within the email. This helps drive more traffic to the website as well as purchases.

It’s easy to get lost in the number of examples for this recommendation. Use MailCharts advanced reporting metrics to understand what makes the email successful. In the example above, Thistle Farms excels at email weight, GIF usage, and optimized pre-header text, but they miss the mark in terms of mobile optimization.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Add intrigue by creating mystery sale discounts

Nothing piques a customer’s interest quite like a mystery sale that comes along with a special discount just for them. Is it 50% off? 30% off? Or maybe 20%? Build-A-Bear Workshop uses a clever ‘spin the wheel’ image within their mystery email. Using appealing images and gifs entices shoppers to click to see their deal which results in traffic and potentially a sale on site.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Use the rule of 100 to help determine or test your subject line

This is a rule that follows the psychology of pricing. For items under $100, using percentage discounts seem larger. For items over $100, a dollar amount discount seems larger. For instance, Jessica Simpson Sunglasses typically are less than $100, so offering a percentage off makes the deal appear larger than it is. For a larger retailer like a furniture wholesaler, this may not make as much sense as offering a dollar discount.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Send more than one email

Artifact Uprising created an inspirational discount email – they suggested different ideas on how to use the products that are on 20% sale. We love the creative CTAs that they included next to each product recommendation.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Send more than one email

You can send more than one email during an ongoing campaign and remind the customer about the expiration date. Julep reminded the customer that the discount offer expires in less than 12 hours and linked the clearance page. To create a sense of urgency, Julep added an animated timer at the top of their promotional email.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Remind the customer that it’s time to reorder

Combine the deal with a replenishment email and encourage the customers to complete a repeat purchase. Pet supplies company Chewy asked customers if they are “Running Low?” in the subject line and included a free shipping deal for orders over $49.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Simplify the purchase process

Make the purchasing process straightforward and include helpful links and filters in the discount email. Dockers sent an email that focuses on the pants sale and listed available sizes. The customer is taken to the page with pre-selected filters from where they can add pants to the cart.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Mention the discount in the subject line

Capture customers’ attention by mentioning the offer in the subject line and increase chances for making the purchasing decision. Everlane said “Free 2-Day Shipping? Nice.” in their subject line and in the email they included popular product recommendations.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Use real-life photos

Clothing brand Petite studio offered premium products on a $200 discount and used photos from social media to share outfit ideas and encourage customers to purchase the items. This is also a good strategy to promote social media pages and invite customers to engage with the community.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

Include gift guides

Include the gift guide in the sale email and let the customer know that they can save on gifts for the upcoming events. Puma suggested gifts for the upcoming holiday season and offered a generous 40% discount.

Sign up free for 88 curated examples

These strategies are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of discount emails. Looking for something specific? Utilize MailCharts advanced search to discover more discount emails from similar brands.

Sales and Discounts implementation details

Now that we’ve got our content covered, how are these emails actually implemented? Get creative with segmentation and personalize emails when possible for that extra touch of magic✨:

Offer different discounts for different people

For frequent purchasers, a deep discount doesn’t matter as much as it does to the infrequent shopper. Consider segmenting lists and discounts based on engagement with the brand. For those who haven’t placed orders in the past 6 months, consider a larger discount than say, shopper Suzie who buys 10 sweaters every month.

Setup A/B testing within the email service provider (ESP)

Some of the strategies suggested above require setting up A/B tests. Most ESPs include this feature, but it’s important to test a large enough group to get statistical significance. This can be calculated outside of an ESP using an online Chi-Square test tool.

Personalize with customer tokens when you can

Pull in the customer’s name in the email copy and subject lines to make the discount seem more personal, especially for mystery sales to draw intrigue.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “I need more insights”! By joining MailCharts for free, you’ll have access to thousands of email examples like the ones noted above including robust analysis of individual emails. Join the Pro plan and get access to entire email journeys, too!